Letting Go


This was written for gkkstitch who won this long-time-comin' fic in the Fandom Gives Back Auction. Yes, the one in NOVEMBER. I'm only 90 days late; don't judge. My most sincere thank you to her for buying this, providing the prompt, and then WAITING so patiently while I worked this out. So, thanks, Sweets, for the donation and the patience. I hope you likey and it's everything you wanted.

To my ever-faithful, always-truthful, relentless beta TheGreenPuma who is the creamy middle to my double-stuff Oreo: I love you and your chainsaw. Without you, we might've had to commit this Edward for schizophrenia.

To KnittyKitty: thank you for setting my priorities straight and for sending me edits that say "Edward would never say sex kitten. You would say sex kitten. So maybe Edward might not want to have a vagina…"

And my dear fuckawesome SinAndNoShame: thank you for listening to me hem, haw, and fret and then so sweetly sending me down the right path without even telling me to grow a pair.

Now, on to the good stuff: this is (hopefully) canon, set after Twilight and before New Moon. Now don't forget: what is the best form of inspiration to a writer? Reviews!

"Oh, come on, Edward. It's called a walking cast for a reason!" she protested as I scooped her up and carried her to the car. I smiled at her wolfishly as she squirmed in my grasp, gritting her teeth and rolling her eyes.

Why did I get such a twisted thrill from watching her struggle? Was it the monster in me that loved to watch her protest helplessly, or was it the human wanna-be counterpart that loved the fact that she actually thought she could squirm free against my strength? I chose to believe it was the latter.

"Bella," I said, squeezing her to me, "can't you just let me enjoy this? I swear I'm not reveling in your inability to walk normally. I'm just basking in the feeling that you're the damsel in distress and I'm saving you," I said, smiling brightly at her.

Instead of the other way around, I added mentally.

She had, in fact, rescued me more times than I could count. She made me feel more alive—more like a man—than I had in a century and it was glorious.

Glorious and frightening: the perfect way to describe my current situation. My mind was on indefinite loop, mulling over the fact that Bella's long, slim legs were hardly covered at all. The thin material of her cotton shorts had taunted me before I'd even picked her up. As she'd swung into my arms, they'd had the gall to ride up her thighs even farther leaving a long, soft stretch of skin from mid-calf to—gulp—mid-thigh free to rest against my forearms, my biceps, and the crook of my elbows.

Her skin.

If I let my mind wander, I'd never be able to stop my brain from continuing its saunter right down that path.

Her hot, bare, smooth skin.

Fondling my arms and flirting with my eyes and I really want to just slide my hands up those thighs and-

I blinked hard. Time to occupy my mind with something else.

Anything else until she's out of my grasp!

So I forced my brain to analyze her constant need to push back whenever I tried to help her. Anything I did for her, no matter how small, seemed to threaten her independence. It was a fact I'd recently started to resent.

I never thought I could feel resentment toward her, but it was like my attempts to woo her were met with complete resistance at every turn. My patience, although eternal as a result of my complete love and devotion, was feeling the strain. I just wanted to be able to do something for her and have her feel taken care of. My affections were not meant to offend her. Bella seemed to believe my gestures conveyed some desire to control her. If only she could see how my entire wellbeing sat fragile and exposed, sheathed only by her delicate human hands.

Bella owned me. She had saved me from despair, and self-loathing, and a century of depression. I was a dying man and she had resuscitated every part of me: my will to live, my humanity, my desire…

Not only was the man inside of me alive and kicking once again, but my inner caveman had also awoken and lurked under the surface. My caveman knew what he wanted: desires that were not on the agenda of appropriate thoughts for my turn-of-the century views about one's lady.

Unfortunately, my caveman didn't care much for propriety, nor did his close friend and co-conspirator, the predator. Increasingly, they were all hushed tones and raised eyebrows in the corner, doing little to conceal their plans for a jailbreak. My squirming girlfriend didn't help much in the way of calling off the dynamic duo; at the moment, her wriggling was only egging them on.

"Edward, I am not a damsel in distress! Why this constant need to save me?" she asked, letting a hint of frustration seep through.

"I don't need to save you, Bella. I just…want you to feel taken care of and protected," I urged. I knew from her familial history that she had been the caretaker for so long, and I wanted to remove that burden from her life and let her see what the world was like without that weight on her shoulders.

"I don't need to be protected, Edward, but I know you think I do, so let's just drop it." She sighed dejectedly, putting a slight damper on my mood. I just wanted to make her happy, so I did something I never do—not to her, not to anyone. I'd never been physically close to anyone enough to actually touch them so intimately.

I tickled her.

It made her laugh.

It was a bad, bad idea.

Her heart started hammering, her blood began to really pump, and she commenced squirming against my lower abdomen. Her gusting breaths trumped the warmth of the July day, hitting me like a breeze from a space heater, right in the face. Her scent, her blood, her breath, her bare skin…

Suddenly, I felt everything tighten within me. An insane urge to pounce tickled my hamstrings and my jaw twitched. My head felt light and I wanted to spring, hold her down, feel her against me, and…bite. My teeth itched.

The moment I realized it, I set her down, leaning her against the door of the Volvo, and ran to the other side of the yard. Leaning over with my hands on my thighs, facing away from her, I took in gulps of air clean of her scent. I slowed my breath, reined in my senses, and locked down my brain. Standing up, I clenched and unclenched my fists, trying to unlock my jaw, and listened closely. Even though my instincts told me to…end her, my mind and my heart concerned themselves only with her wellbeing.

"Edward?" she whispered.

Executing the tenth self-check, hair to toenail, in as many seconds, I confirmed my body was back on lockdown. Taking one last, clean breath, I hurried back to her side.

"Yes?" I asked softly, reaching for her hand, taking it in mine and raising it up to my lips. I took a moment to assault my senses with just a small part of her first, before I reinvaded her personal space to let her whole, pulsing body cloak me in scent and torture.

I lightly brushed my nose and parted lips back and forth, over and over, across the back of her hand, breathing deeply and reacquainting myself. I turned her hand over to further test my limits. Wetting my lips, I dragged them over her pulse point, circling, breathing deeply. I suddenly realized this whole ritual may seem strange to Bella. That she might think I was losing my mind due to the torment her body wrought upon me. I looked up at her without moving away from her wrist. She was staring at me, her eyes slightly dazed, her breath wavering through her parted lips.

The temptation that suddenly washed over me had nothing to do with her blood, although it was always there, whispering in the back of my brain and the bottom of my throat: I wanted her. With that expression. Beneath me.


Shaking the image from my head, and I smiled genuinely, hiding my treacherous burning need, and opened the door for her, once again taking her hand to balance her as she sank into the supple leather passenger seat. I moved around the back of the car pausing to adjust…everything… back to its normal frame of mind, and slipped into the driver's seat.

"Ready?" I asked.

"Um, maybe."


"Well, I will be ready once you tell me where we're going," she said with determination as I started the car and backed down the driveway.

"Ah, my dear, you promised I could have this one weekend. Just this one to do as I please," I said, looking at her with unintentional yearning, "and I will hold you to that."

She shivered and I turned down the air conditioning as we sped down the street. It was true I had refused to tell her where we were headed, but she had promised me that I could organize one weekend out of the whole summer where I could do something on my terms.

My eyes drifted from the road to her face and I found her smiling wryly at me, her eyes peeking at me while the rest of her faced forward. I smiled, realizing she was teasing me. I did own a sense of humor, and per her earlier request, I had been diligently working to resurrect it around her and my family.

"So?" she asked.

"No chance, Bella. You'll just have to find out when we get there." I smiled widely as I glanced at her.

"We're going to Port Angeles?" she asked, with dare I say a hint of disappointment playing at the corners of her mouth, which were heading south.

I chuckled lowly, enjoying her confusion just a little. "Bella, patience. You'll find out when we get there," I said, knowing we would arrive in mere minutes.

We passed the sign that said, "Olympic National Park 12 miles" and made a quick right a few moments later, starting up a long drive.

"Sul Duc Hot Springs Resort?" she asked, incredulously. We were on the border of the Olympic National Park, heading into the resort area. "I've always wondered what this place was like. I've never been to a hot spring before."

"Well, I hope you like it because we're spending the whole weekend here," I said, glancing at her sideways as we pulled to a stop before the lodge.

"The whole weekend?" she said with a tinge of panic. "How…I'll have to…Charlie…" she stuttered, obviously at a loss.

"Bella, do you think I've not thought that far ahead? Alice has already taken care of everything. You're 'spending' the weekend with her. She called Charlie yesterday to invite you over as an 'end of the school year' surprise getaway," I said, conspiratorially. "It's a weekend of massages, pedicures, and all things spa-related. According to Alice, he choked at the mention of waxing, and asked to be spared hearing anymore."

She giggled and leaned forward, taking my hand and smiled broadly at me. "Well, that's too bad, no massages or pedicures or any sort of spa treatments whatsoever. I could use a good massage," she said, leading with her eyebrows. "I do feel a little bad for misleading Charlie, though," she contemplated.

"Well, if it makes you feel any better, everything Alice told him was true: the surprise, the location, the pedicure, AND the massage," I said, with a sneaky smile. "Everything except maybe the waxing," I laughed, turning our hands over and kissing the back of her fingers.

"A little waxing never did anyone any harm," she crooned, shocking me to my core with her coy glance. "And, Edward, I can't let you pay for a massage and pedicure, really, that's just-"

"Wait," I interrupted, hand up, stopping her. "I'm not paying for any of that," I said, leaving her looking nervous, as if she were doing a mental tally of the money residing in her bag. "But neither will you. It'll all work out in the end. Trust me," I winked at her, and climbed out of the car. "I'll be right back; I'm just going to check us in."

I ran up the short staircase to the wooden lodge, ducked inside and gave my registration information to the tall, trim woman behind the counter. She was completely confused as to why a "young man" of my age would want to rent out a cabin by myself on a Friday night when I could be out partying with my friends. Whilst contemplating why I would choose to stay in a cabin in the woods when not being forced to by family members, I caught a wisp of a thought: "…but, oh! What a beautiful specimen he is. If I were ten years younger…hmm…what gorgeous lips…I wonder if they're as soft as they look…ungh, lordy. I'm married, I'm married, I'm married…"

I contained myself from rolling my eyes and started to verbally interrupt her thoughts when they stopped me. "Maybe I should ask to see some ID, to make sure this is kosher… Am I a cougar? I'm not old enough to be a cougar. What do they call women my age hitting on poor, senseless 19-ish looking boys? Hmm…well, not a cougar. A cat? No, that sounds stupid. Cat doesn't say 'he wouldn't be walking straight by the time I was done with him.' And not…ferocious enough."

I couldn't stifle the surprised cough and bug eyes that escaped me, but she didn't seem to notice, as she was off in a daze.

"A mountain lion? Naw, too ferocious sounding, not sophisticated enough. I could teach him a thing or two…or four. Or twelve. Mmmmm…I know: a puma. Sleek, sophisticated, and sexy."

Rather than fight the age issue, or listen to anymore of her arguing with herself, I took the easy way out. I wasn't proud of it, but it got me back to Bella faster. Leaning both forearms onto the counter, I clasped my hands and looked up at her through my lashes with a suggestive smile. "Is there a problem with the reservation?" I asked as innocently as possible, blinking slowly.

"Uh, uh…no, no. No problem. I just need to see…" she started. Your ID, she thought. I raked my teeth over my lower lip, not breaking eye contact with her. Her heart stuttered. "…your credit card," she finished, letting out a gust of held-in breath.

"Oh, no problem," I said, pulling out my black Centurion card, tapping it against my lip as I watched her melt. "Do you take American Express?" I said, slowly, with as much dazzle as I could muster.

"Oh, we take it all!" she said, a little too enthusiastically. Uh-oh. It was time to turn down the dazzle. She ran the card slowly, her eyes on my lips the entire time. I had the slip signed, the card back in my wallet, and out the door before she could regain her senses.

I chuckled to myself as I slipped behind the wheel, feeling humored but a little sorry for having taken advantage of the sweet, bored woman like that. Bella interrupted my thoughts.

"Have you noticed there's no one else here," Bella contemplated innocently.

"Yes, well…the whole place is rented out to a couple for a wedding reception, but the couple cancelled today at the last minute," I said, knowingly.

"What? Jesus, they wouldn't refund them their money at the last minute like that. Who would do that?" she asked, shocked.

"Jasper," I chuckled, before realizing how she would react.

And react she did.

"WHAT?" she demanded, her eyes as wide as saucers.

"Bella, calm down, let me explain," I said, hearing the accusation in her tone as her pulse began to pound.

"Edward! Seriously? That must have cost a freaking fortune!" she screeched, her face turning a blotchy, angry, delicious red.

"Bella, please…" I pleaded, asking with my eyes that she let me explain without intentionally dazzling her.

She huffed, crossed her arms, and raised one eyebrow. "Well!" she said impatiently.

"I wanted to spend the weekend with you without rousing suspicion. This is the only weekend Alice saw everything working out for us, and it's supposed to be sunny tomorrow. She didn't want you to spend the whole weekend inside because of me so she and Jasper reserved the whole place. They just told me this morning," I said, reaching my hand out to pry hers away from her forearm.

"Please don't be mad. They just thought it would be safer this way," I explained. I didn't tell her that I suspected something else from Alice's demeanor earlier today, when she told me why she'd reserved the place. She'd been mentally cataloging her winter shoes and trying to determine what to look for when the fall magazines came out, which meant she was hiding something.

Bella rolled her eyes and tried to fight off a smile. "Well, in that case…if it's Alice's money, she can do with it what she wants, I guess. Someone better alert Gucci, though, her shoe budget might be impacted."

"Bella, she sees the future. Suffice it to say her stock portfolio will not be impacted by renting this place for the weekend. No one that makes leather into footwear has anything to worry about. Trust me," I said, simultaneously scoffing and smiling at the idea of Alice sacrificing anything for her shoe budget.

"Okay, okay," she softened, smiling her acceptance. "I give up. Let's just go find our cabin."

I drove us to a quaint cabin right next to the lodge with a wide, wooden, welcoming porch battling against the green of the forest. I parked and grabbed Bella's bag, helping her out of the car. Beating down my immediate impulse to carry her in as well, I simply took her hand in mine.

The cabin was subtle, clean, and modest, but cozy. After exploring the inside, Bella wandered around toward the back while I took the bags to our room. When my ears detected her gasp, I mentally praised myself for having picked the cabin with the fantastic view. Sneaking up behind her, I wrapped my arms around her, pulling her back into my chest. She jumped just slightly but relaxed as she let out a slow breath.

"Edward, it's just…perfect," she said, shaking her head. She couldn't seem to tear her eyes away from the backdrop of mountains dancing behind the blanket of green fir.

"The view is beautiful, but this, here," I said, squeezing her just slightly, "is enough to take my breath away every time." I buried my nose in her hair, intoxicated by her scent. She leaned back and turned her head to nuzzle my neck, smiling against my skin. Closing my eyes, I fought the desire to lose myself in her, then opened them, determined to distract myself from her siren call for just a little while.

Taking in the Adirondack chairs on the deck flanking the sunken fire pit, an idea began to tease my brain. "What if we unpacked a little and watched the sunset out here, next to the fire while you eat dinner?"

"Mmm, fantastic idea. Do you mind if I take a quick shower first?"

Gulping down the image that immediately invaded my brain; I shook it off, blinking once and forcing an innocent smile. "Of course not, make yourself at home. I'll just put some dinner together for you."

"You don't have to do that, you know," she said, turning in my arms. "I can make something, especially since you're not going to be eating. I'm used to taking care of myself." She sounded almost guilty, which was not on my agenda for this weekend.

"I'm well aware of your talents in the kitchen. I just thought I could try out some new skills I've been practicing in anticipation of a weekend alone with you," I said, not realizing the innuendo of my words until they'd left my mouth. She blushed and I pretended not to notice, though every part of me did.

"I've been watching The Food Network," I admitted, to cut the tension. The shock that registered on her face made me feel defensive. "What? When you don't sleep you have a lot of free time. And…I'd like to do something for you." I like taking care of you. It makes me feel wonderful. Useful. I did not utter those last thoughts aloud. They sounded desperate

"Oh, well…I'd love to see what you've learned, then. And, to be honest, I'm starving," she said shyly.

"Good, because I can't wait to try out some things I learned from Alton Brown," I said mysteriously, smiling and chastely kissing her cheek.

She headed to the shower, shaking her head. I unpacked the food from the car and began assembling the ingredients for the spinach salad with walnuts, goat cheese, and vinaigrette dressing, the chicken with wild mushrooms and garlic parmesan cream sauce, and radiatore pasta. I'd made a coffee-flavored Italian dessert ahead of time so it would be frozen and ready right away. I started the chicken and pasta and made the sauce, starting the fire and configuring the deck the way I wanted it while waiting for things to boil, simmer, and braise.

I heard the water turn off as I finished plating everything and was just setting the tray of dishes down on the table next to the chairs when I saw her emerge from the bathroom. Her hair was wrapped in a towel twisted atop her head. She was wearing a navy blue terry cloth robe belted around her midsection. I soaked in the way the light refracted in rainbow prisms from the stray droplets of water on her face, her neck, her calves and feet. It was like there was an aura of light around her she couldn't see with the limitations of her human eyes. I longed to describe her angelic appearance to her, but she spoke before I could find the words.

"I'm just going to find some clothes to change into and then I'll be right out," she said, her walking cast clunking softly as she made her way to the bedroom where I'd left the bags.

"Wait," I whispered.

The longing in my voice made her stop, though I was surprised she heard me from so far away.

"Um…I was thinking…after you eat, I could give you a massage, since the staff is gone and I did promise to pamper you in Alice's stead. So you could… could you just leave the robe on?"

"Uh… okay. I guess."

I smiled, then, realizing she felt the same nervous anxiety I seemed to exude.

"Let me just…go comb out my hair, and I'll be right back." She shuffled away as quickly as her cast would let her into the bedroom.

I heard the plastic teeth of her comb slide through her hair, then the zipper running the circumference of the suitcase and the rustling of clothes against her body. I was strangely relieved and disappointed that she'd taken the safe route and gotten dressed.

She emerged from the bedroom and clunked across the hardwood floor. I met her at the French doors leading outside and pushed down the wave of delight and arousal with the realization that she had, indeed, left the robe on. Her still-damp skin made her alluring scent almost palpable in the air around her. I sneaked a noseful of her as I gripped her around the waist and gently lifted her down the two stairs to the deck, just in front of one of the chairs. She surprised me by not rolling her eyes, as was her normal reaction to my chivalrous gestures, but rather stifled a giggle and a blush.

I grinned like a fool at this reaction and bowed, inviting her into the chair with my outstretched arm so I could serve her. She sat slowly, holding onto the armrests, and I gingerly lifted her feet onto the footrest as she relaxed back into the chair.

I scooted the other chair close to her and leaned over, looking her square in the eye and said in a pleading voice, "Bella? May I…" and then I quickly lost my gumption.

Her eyebrows rose, creasing her forehead in question. "May you what? Please, please don't ask if you can feed me…" she sighed.

"No, no…although that's not a bad idea. On the contrary-" I started with a Cheshire grin but stopped when the previously anticipated eye roll made its appearance. "I was thinking I could start the pampering right away…as you ate your dinner," I hesitated tensely, waiting for her to dismiss this idea altogether.

"How are you going to give me a massage while I eat, sitting in a chair?" she inquired innocently.

I smiled broadly and zipped around to sit in front of the footrest, pulling the small bottle from my pocket as I did. Holding it up and shaking it back and forth so that the little ball inside clicked against the glass, I made clear my intentions.

Just as realization swept across her eyes, I summoned the huskiest voice I could find, hoping to convince her, and crooned, "I was thinking we could start off with a little pedicure and work our way up to massage after dessert."

Her jaw hung open as I carefully removed her cast and opened the nail polish bottle. I cradled her injured leg to support the weight of her leg at the correct angle. I looked up when her cheeks flushed, wondering if I'd inadvertently hurt her.

My worry dissipated when she leaned back and speared a piece of pasta with her fork. "It might be possible…that I could actually get used to this," she said right as she plucked the pasta from the fork with her pursed lips. I quickly redirected my eyes to the task at hand before my mind could run away with the image now burning in my brain.

I concentrated on making sure each toenail was adorned with two coats of Cha-Ching Cherry. I tried to tune out her humming of appreciation for my culinary skills; my lower regions only succeeding half-way when the hums turned to groans. When I finished, I moved to the hand she wasn't eating with to keep myself distracted. Once I was done, and she was immobilized waiting for the polish to dry, I glanced at her, only to find her staring at me with a question in her eyes.

"You know, I've been complimenting you left and right and trying to gain your attention for a good ten minutes now. Are you okay?"

I forced a smile and reclaimed my inner calm. "I just wanted to make sure I didn't mess it up. It's my first time doing that, you know. I mean, Alice told me how, but I'm a novice…and a perfectionist. And, well, that deadly combination requires complete concentration," I said, hoping to win her over with my smile.

She smiled in return. "Well, you did a perfect job. Really. The only thing missing from the whole experience was the toenail dryer-thing they have at the nail salon…and dessert."

"Oh, really? You thought we were done? Well, just hold tight, dessert is coming up." I sped inside, removed the mocha semifreddo from the freezer, scooping it delicately into a wine glass, placing a maraschino cherry on top—which, for the life of me, smelled like wax—and was kneeling before her with the decadent dessert before she had time to register my disappearance.

"A delicious chocolate-coffee treat for the lady, while her toes dry?" I inquired formally. She took the glass with a shocked expression, and dipped her spoon in as I reclaimed my place at her feet.

"It looks delicious. What is it?" she asked.

"Just try it and don't think about what it's called. Focus on the flavor." I leaned forward and blew on her toes. She squealed in surprise as the cool air hit them, but replaced them just as quickly, an odd look on her face as she watched me.

I watched as she spooned the first bite into her mouth, entranced, as she closed her eyes and her lips, around the spoon, and then slowly dragged it between her teeth, groaning in delight.

My breath faltered as her toes curled under and her back arched slightly as her thighs moved together under her robe.

Once I let myself notice, I couldn't stop.

Her robe had fallen open around her crossed knees and ridden up her thighs during the course of her meal—enough for me to notice that she was visibly rubbing her thighs together as her voice broke through my perverted musings.

"Oh! Oh, my God, Edward, this is... this is possibly the best thing I've ever tasted. It's so… oh, so smooth and sweet and cold and... so delicious, I can't imagine tasting anything better!" she groaned.

I was lost before she'd even made it to delicious. I didn't have a chance. I tried to convince myself that even a human man would've been aroused at this scenario.

Before it became too obvious the influence her words and actions elicited, I made an excuse, citing the preparations I would require for the next pampering event on the agenda and escaped into the house. As soon as I rounded the corner, I leaned back against the wall, my chest heaving with breath I didn't need, my hands clenching, and my erection deceiving every good intention I fought to hold onto.

Between her thighs, I had definitely seen a miniscule glimpse of what "clothes" I had heard her put on earlier.

Black. And lace.

I slid down the wall and buried my hands in my hair. I wasn't going to make it through this weekend without losing control, and that was with Bella taking the extra precaution of underclothes. What was I even thinking, suggesting she keep the robe on? I needed to go outside, refrain from taking her virginity or draining her dry, and break the news that the trip must be cut short because, as it turns out, I can barely refrain from keeping my hands off her thighs even in my mind!

With that thought, my phone buzzed against my thigh. I slid it from my pocket, waiting just long enough to inhale before I flipped it open and exhaled. "Yes, Alice?" My voice sounded even more defeated than I felt.

"Edward! Seriously. Snap out of it. You haven't done anything wrong, and don't go browbeating yourself for some errant—albeit, completely NORMAL—thoughts. You've not attacked her, and both of your innocence is all-too-blatantly intact. So stop fretting, quit freaking out, and enjoy this! Enjoy being with her, enjoy being attracted to her, and for lord's sake, enjoy touching your girlfriend, Edward. It will be fine.No one will be harmed, and everyone will walk away from this weekend happy and relaxed as long as you loosen up-"

She was still talking when I flipped it closed.

I took a deep breath, and let it out slowly between pursed lips. Alice wanted me to stop worrying. Alice saw us having a happy, relaxed time and saw me touching Bella…and it ending well.

I closed my eyes and pictured that tiny scrap of lace between her thighs. Hesitantly, I relinquished control of my thoughts; they spun higher and higher, imagining my hands on her skin, then my lips. I kept my eyes clenched shut and shrugged off the urge to stop myself. If I couldn't think this through, how would I know if I could touch her in reality?

I let the daydream progress a little further—bare skin touching, lips sliding, strength under wraps, teeth within their soft lip barrier. My hands were reaching places I'd rarely let myself ponder, although I'd seen such places a thousand times in others' thoughts. My spirits were soaring with hope and sensation and anticipation. Could I possibly execute such a dream? Would it be fair to her to try? My mind told me no, that it was creating unnecessary risk; my heart was aching and threatening to come to life from its cold dead state.

The phone buzzed again. It was like I'd tossed a dangerous coin, and the phone was pushing the result at me, whether I wanted to peek or not.

Flipping it open, I read the text. "Trust yourself. I do; I can see. She does; she can't see. Can you imagine what that means? It's not naiveté, it's faith in love."

I stood up and put my mind on indefinite hold with a deep breath. "Bella," I called through the open doors, "I'll be right back; I just need to grab something out of the car."

From the car I pulled out the kit I'd purchased online along with the electric blankets, sheets and towels and then set everything up on the next tier down of the deck, just outside of her line of sight. I set up the massage table, and put everything together so that she would be lying on a satin sheet atop the blankets and damp towels in a warm, relaxing atmosphere.

I rearranged some of the other deck furniture so that the oils and lotions were within reach along with my mp3 player and speakers. Once ready, I made my way to the upper tier of the deck to find Bella licking the last of her dessert off the spoon.

Stifling a groan at the sight, I cleared my throat and offered her my hand to help her stand. "Ready for part two of your pampering?" I said evenly, hiding the mischief from my expression.

"There's more?" She giggled.

"You know I don't do anything half-way. I know you think my 'over the top' tendencies reek of indulgence, but just this once: let me. Just…let me?" I pleaded.

She started to argue, and then seemed to check herself mentally. "Okay, but just this once," she smiled. "And only," she said as she wrapped the robe more tightly around herself, "if I can talk you out of more of that dessert later."

Almost giddy with relief, I scooped her up, descended the stairs and set her gingerly on the massage table.

"If you wouldn't mind, please…uh…remove your robe, and lie face down, under the sheet, with your head on the pad, there," I said, exerting great effort to keep my voice calm and even. I held the top sheet in front of my eyes to her side and waited for the plop of the robe on a neighboring chair before lowering the sheet over her body without looking.

Well, without taking too long of a look.

That one glance of her laying face down in only a bra and black lace boyshorts was stamped onto my brain forever. I couldn't erase it no matter how I tried to focus.

"Have you ever had a massage before?" I shifted the oils and lotions around aimlessly.

"Well, actually, yes," she said. "Renee and I used to go get them for special occasions—you know, her wedding, my sixteenth birthday…" she started, but then stopped when she looked up at me and noticed the scowl on my face.

She giggled quietly. "I know you well enough to know that the thought of someone else—possibly male—touching me would set you off," she said with a shake of her head. "And, really, I swear, they were all women massage therapists."

My meek smile grew just a little, and if I could've blushed I would have. I did hate the idea of any other man touching her. But I liked that she knew that and felt the need to reassure me.

Her relaxed moan brought me back to the present. "Mmm…it's so warm…"

"Yes, well, we don't want my cold hands to make you chilly. Massages are supposed to make you warm and relaxed."

She raised her head up so she could cock one eyebrow at me. "There is NO way that your hands, Edward, could ever make me…chilly," she said, and with an attempt at a smug smile, lowered her head back to the head rest.

Mouth agape, I think the sound that escaped me might've ended up resembling a confused cat. I quickly regained my senses and pulled the sheet down to bare her back to her waist. The sight was something out of my daydreams: Bella half-bared prone on a warm bed of satin on a cedar deck with the wide expanse of forest, lake, and mountains before us at sunset and music softly swirling sensual words around this woman – this wondrous, curvy, trusting woman.

For a moment, I let my hand wander: fingertips touching the nape of her neck, along her spine, skipping onto the sheet where she was covered, an inch north of where her glorious back dipped down and then rose back up to the top of her full hips. I jerked my hand away just before I let it drift farther, keening inside to feel her round, lush behind beneath my outstretched palm and the satin. To feel the roughness of the lace, the only barrier….

I took a calming breath and did my best to deflate my erection with the air escaping my lips. I focused on her heart; it sounded as if it were ready to take flight—a thought which brought me back to my senses.

I started in neutral territory along her neck and shoulders pressing just deep enough to feel each muscle and work the tension out when I found it, eliciting quiet moans from her. I savored each press of a finger pad into her sweet, warm skin; I was so concentrated that her words halted me with a start.

"Wait, wait, just…one second." She lifted her hands to the middle of her back and dexterously unsnapped her bra. With a movement quicker than expected of a human, much less Bella, she rolled away from me, snatched the bra off, and threw it atop her robe currently lounging on a chair. I tried to ignore the fact that I'd just seen what Emmett referred to as "side boob" and tried to act somewhat professional about continuing the massage.

All I could think about where these two things: one, she was nude from the waist up. Nude. The connotations that word brought to my mind made me want to do feral, illicit things to her body, and in more than one position. Two, she was warming my hands. I don't think I'd ever touched her for this long with my whole hand, and definitely not creating this much friction. I forced my lower body an inch farther away from the table.

I started to worry the electric blankets were making her too warm. Continuing the long, sweeping strokes I asked, "You're not too warm, are you?"

"Uhh…" she stuttered, as if I were breaking her from a reverie, "no, no, I'm fine. Just…relaxed. Why?"

My inquiry seemed to have made her nervous, as her heart beat quickened. "I was just noticing your body temperature had increased a couple of degrees, and I wanted to make sure the blankets—"

"You can tell that?" she said, embarrassment thick in her voice.

"Well, yes, but it's probably because–"

"No, no, I'm fine. Just…cozy, really," she said abruptly, cutting me off again.

She shifted under my touch, moving her hips against the table, her thighs shuffling just slightly against the satin of the sheet. And then I smelled it. Bella was as turned on by this whole scenario as I was.

In that moment, I hit a new low point in my life. I scooped her gently up into my arms, snatched up her cast as I passed it, and made for the bedroom so quickly I was kneeling above her petite form outstretched on the bed before either of us knew it.

She blinked quickly, focusing in on my face, then smiled, bringing a smooth hand to rest along my cheek. She searched my eyes trying to read what was behind them. I don't know if she saw the need, the desire for both her body and her blood, or the mild panic at the loss of control I was feeling, but she calmed it in one sweet breath.

"I love you," she said slowly, carefully as she brushed the hair away from my forehead with both hands. I felt frozen, afraid that if I were to make a move, it would be the wrong one. She seemed to sense this and softly pressed her lips to mine once, then twice. She pulled back to look at me and whispered, "I think I should go with my brain on this one, and go to sleep. And I think you... you should probably hunt. Quickly," she added with a smile, "And find your way back to me."

To have her here, helpless, stretched out, topless except for the sheet I'd wrapped around her; I had never been more turned on in my life. I struggled to do the right thing. I could take her—her body and her blood—and it would be heaven and hell in one feral, carnal moment. But she loved me, and I wanted her for as long as she chose to have me. I needed to quell these untamed feelings and find a way to keep my love intact.

I followed her orders immediately, leaving no time to second guess myself, and took off running out of the cabin and toward the mountains. I needed something to satisfy this feeling, something large, something carnivore, and something that would offer me a fight. Emmett would be proud; I don't think I'd ever intentionally gone after a bear before.

After six hours of hunting down anything with a pulse and a bit of fight, I sloshed back to the cabin overly-full and hopefully safer for my human siren. Hoping that she couldn't possibly hold any appeal to me after consuming so much, I snuck through the French doors away from the clean air of the mountains. Her scent immediately hammered upon my senses and left me dizzy with want. Although her blood set my throat on fire, it was the memory of her near naked body that induced vertigo deep within me.

Before entering the bedroom, I said a silent prayer to whoever might be listening that she had covered herself and sighed with relief when I found her in striped satin pajamas. Her damp hair had wriggled out of her elastic and was basking lazily in the moonlight, spread out on her pillow.

She slept so soundly she didn't move at my touch, but I smiled to myself as I heard her heart's beat increase. Even in sleep, her body recognized me. I relaxed and focused on acclimating myself once again to her luscious scent, hoping that by morning I would still be relaxed and back in control.

Luckily, a few hours later, morning brought me both.

"Edward?" she croaked, her voice rough and beautiful as she squeezed her eyes shut against the light dancing through leaded panes of glass supported by dark polished cedar. She turned her head, opening her eyes just enough to make out shapes, then squeezing them shut again when she deemed her search unsuccessful.

"I'm here," I said, leaning over the bed to plant a kiss on her forehead. She always fought with morning as if it were a dreaded deadline. Once my voice registered, however, she carefully blinked open her eyes and smiled sweetly at me.

"I made you breakfast, I thought you might be hungry. Pancakes and fruit sound good?" I said in my most tempting voice.

"Mmmm. Perfect," she sighed as she stretched, one bare calf escaping the blanket, the pant leg having crawled up during the night.

"Yes…" I couldn't help myself as I brushed my fingers behind her knee down to her ankle, watching her eyes to see her reaction. "Perfect." I saw her shiver, her eyes widening at my touch.

I could almost feel the air throb with the sudden increase in her blood flow, pumping through her beautiful body and pinking her cheeks. She smiled at me through her blush, and said, "What time is it? I am hungry."

"It's almost 11:30. I'd let you sleep all day, but I have plans for you," I said, enthusiastically…until my eyes darkened with all the things I'd love to have planned for her.

After her massage, I realized I could touch her and arouse her and quicken her breath and feel these amazing, intense things, all without killing her. The bloodlust still lay there, but it was not out of control. Whether I could touch her when I finally gave in to truly do so was another story altogether. Although I loved her dearly for her complete and utter trust in me, I did not trust myself.

"What do you have planned for the rest of the day?" She maneuvered the last bit of pancake into her mouth, oblivious to the drop of syrup that had escaped.

It made a slow path from the corner of her mouth down her chin. I gulped audibly and with my finger rather than my tongue, which is what I desired to do, I brushed the sticky drop from her chin.

She caught my finger almost on instinct, looked at it, then looked up at me. Her demeanor went from brave to shy in a millisecond. Visibly trying to regain the braveness, she slowly pulled my finger toward her open mouth, gliding my finger inside.

The all-encompassing warm, slick feeling around me literally left me trembling. She closed her mouth around me and slid her tongue around my finger, sucking slightly. Surprised, aroused, and baffled by my innocent girl, I felt myself spiraling toward bliss. I couldn't look away from her as she smiled up at me from around my finger. The moment ended before I could revel in it and I attempted to gather myself back together with some semblance of decorum.

"So…what are we going to do today, again? I don't think you ever answered my question," she said, a faint smirk teasing the corners of her mouth and a full out smile dancing in her eyes. She was fully aware what she had made me feel just now. She might even know what had happened south of my waistband; the proof of which I was attempting to conceal by slouching over and reaching around her to clear her plate.

"Wait," she said, grabbing my wrist and stopping me from scrambling away from her to hide my reaction. "Edward," she said, a contemplative look shadowing her previously coy façade. "I need… I need to know how you feel," she said, the slightest bit of insecurity leaking through her attempt at a mature discussion. "You… pull away and end things before I can even gauge your reaction. I know sometimes you have to. I'm just…" she trailed off, a slight crack to the sweet timbre of her voice. "I need to know how you… how I make you feel," she said, dropping her eyes finally, torn away from me by fear. Fear of rejection. Fear she had no plausible reason to feel.

I shook my head at my own stupidity. How was it possible that each time I'd pulled away I'd only thought of me, what I needed. Granted, it was for her own safety—and my own sanity—but there was a gap in her sense of security in our relationship. She knew I loved her, but it was time to finally put to rest the idea that chaste kisses and innocent touches were all either of us desired.

She needed reassurance that what she was feeling was not unique in our relationship. It was easy for me to tell how I affected her: the race of her heart, the microscopic beads of perspiration on her skin, and last night—the sweet tinge of her arousal in the air. She needed to know I was affected as well. It was time I set my attempt at a chaste perspective on this relationship aside and put her at ease. The attraction I felt for her was real, tangible, but she had never been witness to it.

"Bella," I sighed. I took her hand and pressed it to my chest. "I know you can't feel it racing," I said, giving her my heart to hold in her hands, "but if it could, it would be."

I slid her hand to my cheek. "And I know you can't feel the flush, but my mind tells me its there," I said, leaning into her hand and reveling in the warmth she brought me. Her eyes welled with tears.

I swallowed the lump of nervousness in my throat and stopped breathing so as to not be tempted in any way. And then I kissed her.

I really kissed her.

I parted my lips breaking every rule in my book. I pulled her warm, pliable bottom lip between mine and sucked, but not hard enough to pull her too close to my teeth. The zing that sped from my lips through the racetrack of my veins around my body and back startled me in its sudden appearance and ravenous need. It wasn't my teeth itching to bite her; it was something else altogether.

I moved my lips again with more pressure, always carefully measuring and gauging how best to proceed without using too much force. I sucked a bit harder this time and her lips parted, allowing a sweet, low moan to escape. I wanted to press her to me the instant it registered, but I held back for a bit longer. I almost stopped everything when I felt her suck my lip between her lips and slowly rake her teeth over it as she released it. I trembled with anxiety, need, shock, but best of all these: desire. That one action was more erotic to me than any other touch I'd ever felt because it was unscripted, unexpected, and totally honest.

She must have surprised herself as much as she had me, because she immediately stepped away with a gasp and stuttered apologies that made my heart clench. "I'm sorry. I don't know what, I mean, I know you're trying, and I don't even know... why... why I kind of just… bit you just now, I didn't mean…" Shaking her head, her eyes returned to the floor.

"Bella, look at me," I pleaded, desperation leaking into my tone. "Bella," I implored. She finally looked up shyly and so unsuspecting. "The most obvious proof of how you make me feel, my lovely," I said, holding my breath but mentally taking in a last, deep one in preparation for what I was about to do, "is more than a blush or a racing heart. Real or not, I can only pretend they are there," I said as I slid her hand down. "The way you make me feel, with just one warm look or lick of your lips or yearning sigh is so obvious," I reassured her, even though confusion still lingered in the crease in her forehead.

"It makes its appearance so often; I'm surprised you've missed it. And I've kept it under wraps for fear that letting you see it would require me to trust myself, which you know is hard for me to do around you. But there's no mistaking, Bella, how I feel about you, how you make me feel, or the feelings you elicit from me with just the slightest touch of your lips or fingertips…" I continued, still sliding her hand down my chest, past my ribs, pausing just above my navel. Mentally taking one last breath and swallowing around my pride, I watched as her eyes widened with a tinge of realization and whole disbelief.

"The proof is right here," I said, as I slid her hand home, and fiery sparks shot through me from her small palm pressed against my swollen erection. I gasped as flames suddenly shot through my groin.

Her shocked eyes were locked with mine. Her lips had fallen apart and a squeak of sorts escaped her as I tried to rein it all in and lock everything back down. She shocked me, quickly regaining awareness and reacting in the most surprising way: she squeezed me.

I suddenly understood the concept of pre-ejaculation and how it might affect one during a time such as this. Luckily, I did not have to endure that embarrassment. It was such a shock to my system that I let out a surprised huff and her eyes blinked twice in disbelief before she let me go. I let out a relieved, tortured sigh and although I felt like screaming and running and wanking off all at the same time, I found it in me to smirk at her.

She pressed herself to me in a hug, half-laughing and whispering, "I love you, I love you, I love you, you strange, amazing man."

Chuckling, I pulled her close and felt the relief work its way through her. "Bella, I realize I don't always open myself for you to see how you affect me, but…" I sputtered. I knew how important this was to say to her, for her to understand. I braced my ego for her reaction and squeezed my eyes shut. "It's against my nature to be vulnerable and… I've spent so long honing my control; it's difficult to let any part of me go."

She squeezed me tighter and looked up at me. "It's okay, I understand. Like last night, sometimes you have to distance yourself and regroup, but I… sometimes I need to hear you say why. That it's because you are feeling overwhelmed or… hungry," she swallowed, looking back up at me. Her voice was shaky and I could see her fighting her insecurity, even though I'd just proved to her she had no reason for it.

"I know sometimes I push you away, too. I've been trying. It's hard for me…to let you take care of me. I'm so used to standing on my own that I have to fight off my brain's immediate reaction that you think I'm helpless." Her eyes searched mine, hoping for some understanding.

"I know you're not helpless, and I don't want you feel like I'm trying to control every situation. I just have to be so careful. You are the most precious thing in my life. I worry that I might not be able to protect you…even from myself." I hugged her closer, always careful not to squeeze too hard. If only she could feel what I feel, know that it's like cradling a fine Venetian glass globe in a fist of stone and trying to squeeze it without breaking it.

"I have faith, Edward, I have faith that you can protect me, and still let me in, let me make my own decisions. Let us be a couple. Let me see how I affect you," she said seductively—whether intentional or not—as she pressed herself closer to me.

I kissed her again, stroking her hair up over and behind her ear. "Mmm, yes, I will," I said as I fought the fog of lust starting to swirl around my brain, "but first, let's get our day started. Now, hiking, or hot springs first?" I said, totally changing the subject—not to avoid the discussion, but to maybe move it farther along. I'd never felt anything in my life like her hand against me, and I couldn't waitto feel it again.

"Hiking might be a bit difficult with that cast, but I can carry you on my back for a whirlwind tour of the park? I promise not to go too fast," I said, as I scooped her up and swung her so delicately onto my back, taking off at a slow lope toward the path around the lake.

Really, the hike around the park was just an exercise in preparation for the one, big event of the entire weekend: her, in a swimming suit next to me in the hot springs. It was time to work some frustration out of my system, and a tour was just the thing…

"I'm almost ready!" she called from the other side of the bathroom door.

Our hike had lasted a couple of hours and had allowed us some time to further elongate this newfound comfortable conversation about our relationship. I felt I could reveal more to her than I had ever dared to in the past. I realized that this was what an adult relationship felt like, and scoffed internally at the fact that it only took me one hundred and nine years to get here.

"Okay," she said, rounding the corner and stealing my breath. "I'm ready." She smiled through her nerves and maintained a steady voice. Although I could sense the affects of her nervousness, she was trying to keep a mature air about her.

I, on the other hand, was ogling her like she was wearing a string bikini. The modest two-piece tankini covered more than I expected, and should not have resulted in an immediate erection, but the fact that she was leaving bits and pieces to the imagination was a turn on.

Shall we?" I offered her my arm. Our path only took us next door to the lodge, but I wanted her holding the crook of my elbow in case she tripped with her cast.

"Edward? Would you mind…um, carrying me? The terrain is just a bit unsteady between here and the lodge." Though her gaze was downcast, she spoke with resolve.

I stood for the count of three seconds, mouth agape, before I found my words. "I do so love to carry you. I would be honored," I said as I swung her into my arms, feeling her warm body against my abdomen.

We were beside the spring in a matter of moments. The air was humid and heavy around the pool. I steadied her as she inched into the water with her waterproof cast. Once she was in and seated, I turned, ripped off my shirt, tossed it on a nearby chair, and made my way back to the pool where my gorgeous girlfriend was staring unabashedly at something south of my eyes.

"Bella?" I asked, incredulous and smug.

"Um…what?" she asked, taken by surprise and feigning innocence.

"Nothing," I said, sliding into the pool beside her.

I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and kissed her as I had that morning. My lips parted; ready to feel hers between them again. That was when I noticed it: the flames were present but not roaring in my throat; my urge to drain her was not overwhelming. I kissed her for the first time with little restraint and almost danced at the feeling growing inside me.

When I pulled back, my whole body was shuddering as if my veins had begun to pump adrenaline. I kissed her again with more pressure and then again and again, only drawing back for mere milliseconds to let her catch a breath before I dove back in to rub those soft, warm lips with mine. I felt like an addict who needed a fix and couldn't get quite high enough.

I didn't realize how long we had been at it until I felt her move. She had shifted out of her sitting position to try to stand in front of me. I lifted my arm and pulled back so she could stand, trying to hide the confusion and disappointment on my face that she was ending the exuberant feeling overtaking me.

She smiled at me, pecking me softly once before raising an eyebrow in question. I realized that I'd never kissed her quite so passionately, with so much contact and pressure, and surely without reminding her to breathe every thirty seconds.

"I don't want to know why. I just don't want you to change your mind, okay?" she said, not waiting for an answer. "But I do need to change position. Sitting next to you feels like you're too far away. Can I…" she started and then blushed furiously.

"Can I… sit here?" she asked, as she leaned forward and slid the knee of her uninjured leg onto the seat next to my thigh.

Seeing no resistance in my thoroughly confused, happy, awestruck face, she brought up the knee of her wounded leg and scraped the plastic cast against the seat until her knees were at my hips and her hips were resting on my knees. Which, luckily, were a good few inches away from the erection now pitching a teepee in my swim trunks. I'm sure the dumbfounded look on my face told her all she needed to know in answer to her question.

She leaned forward and whispered in my ear. "If this is too much—and God, I so hope it isn't—will you tell me to just slow down, or move away, rather than run off?" She paused and then added, "Please?" in a cracked whisper.

Her vulnerability made my chest tight as I remembered all the times I had disappeared without a word, not even apologizing later with nothing but a passing remark about needing to hunt.

"Yes," I whispered in promise, into the shell of her ear, nuzzling her with my nose. I wanted her to know I desired her and that I'd never meant for her to think it had been anything other than my bloodlust.

"Yes," I whispered again in reverence, suddenly finding the courage to softly kiss her earlobe, then the space just below her ear. I took a note from my own bravery just minutes before and opened my mouth. Her quick intake of breath reassured me that this new freedom with my kisses produced the same effect in her as it had on me.

Running the question through my now-brazen mind, I couldn't find a reason not to use my tongue. My tongue posed no threat to her and my urge to bite was completely under control. I kissed her again in the same spot and tentatively touched my tongue to her skin. We both moaned at the sensation, the newness of this intimacy, and, shamefully for me, her taste. My mouth watered and my erection swelled and twitched at her taste, but after a quick check, I was surprised to find my need for her blood was under control. This opened a whole new realm for me to explore.

"Now," I muttered, not realizing I'd said it aloud. I kissed her again, swiping my tongue back and forth. She arched her chest into mine and let a strangled sigh escape.

She seemed hesitant to let me know how I was making her feel. I chastised myself, reasoning she was afraid I might stop and pull away at any moment.

I moved my mouth back to her ear, and sighed into it. "Those sounds you're making? Please, let them free. You have no idea the power you hold over me, and giving it over to you makes me feel…liberated." She trembled above me, but I wanted to bring home the sentiment and really hear her.

"I'm not going to stop and leave you. In fact, now that I've had a taste of this," I reached my tongue out and slowly licked up the outer edge of the shell of her ear, "I don't think I could ever stop tasting you," I breathed into her ear.

"Ohmygod, Edward," she stuttered, "are you…what has….please, don't stop."

I nibbled her earlobe before returning to the spot behind it and dragged my tongue down her throat. Tempted for only a moment as I slid along her pulsing artery, I continued down to the base of her neck, stopping to kiss and lick her there when she began to squirm and whine.

"Here? You like it here?" I asked quickly, wanting so badly to please her, and embarrassed that I truly knew so little about how and where to touch her. I returned to my ministrations immediately, like I couldn't waste another second after all the time in the past that I'd only allowed us chaste kisses.

"Oh, God, I can't…even…anywhere, Edward. Everywhere," here voice cracked, and my control cracked just a fraction right along with it.

I brought my hands up to her back, holding her in place while I continued to cover her neck and collarbone and shoulders with open-mouthed butterfly kisses and licks. She began to groan and my grip tightened. I wanted so badly to slide my hands down to her waist, to rest on the dip right above her ass. The fog of lust had settled back in my brain with full force and my erection was so hard it was nearly painful. I pulled away for a second and breathed out, steadying myself. I closed my eyes imagining my hands sliding down to cup her and pull her against me.

That's when it happened. I felt myself decide it was time to stop us, to pull away. And that's when my naïve, lovely girl made her first decision for me. I did not argue. We took an emotional, and a giant physical, step forward.

"Edward, is it too much?" she asked, breathing hard through lips flushed with heat.

"Bella, I…yes." I said, resigned.

"Why? Why is it too much?" she pushed while attempting to control her breathing.

"Because I'm afraid if I don't stop, I might…" I couldn't find it in me to continue and verbalize what I'd been thinking.

"You might hurt me? Bite me?" she said, pulling my face up to look at hers above me, my eyes opening at the gesture, and finding hers boring into me, asking the question. Normally, my response would be just to move her off me and end the moment for us. But we had a new agreement now, and I would be mature and respectful this time.

"Um…no." I admitted.

She raised a disbelieving eyebrow. "What?" After collecting herself, she followed up with an even, patient, "Why, then?"

"Because…" I started, embarrassed, before conceding that our newfound openness had only brought good things so far. "Because…I want more," I admitted.

"More?" she said with a squeak, her face lighting up and her eyes asking me to continue.


"What, exactly?" she pushed, again.

"Exactly?" I hedged.

"Yes," she said with determination. "What, exactly?"

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and was more honest than I'd been about my sexual feelings with anyone. Ever.

"I wanted to slide my hands down, feel the dip of your waist," I started, pausing momentarily to gather my resolve. "I wanted to slide them down and cup your beautiful, round…" I started, not able to finish because I couldn't find it in me to use the term ass with her. I started again, "I wanted to feel you in my hands, to pull you to me. Into me." I felt like I was open, now. Exposed. Rambling on like a drunk, unable to shut myself up.

I peeked open one eye, not able to take the torment of her silence any longer and found her smile splitting her face right in two, eyes dancing.

"Wow! I finally get you to talk and it's like Christmas; I almost get dirty talk at the same time," she prodded. My face must have betrayed my mortification at her words.

"Edward," she said, suddenly serious, leaning into me, placing her cheek against mine, and touching her lips to my ear. "I want you to do those things."

I hissed in breath in surprise and elation. I couldn't believe that she wanted me to touch her that way.

"In fact," she said, coyness sliding into her tone, "I have a few things of my own I want to do," she said, her voice electrifying me. "I'm going to push you outside your comfort zone, and I need you to do what I ask to keep us both safe," she said in a rare, self-assured voice.

She pulled back and locked me in a serious gaze, waiting for permission. I couldn't find the words to address this frequently imagined, but never expected situation, so I simply nodded my assent.

"Good," she said, not quite relaxing. "I want you to put your arms on the rim of the pool—outside," she directed.

I did as she asked, a crease between my eyebrows giving away my curiosity.

"You are, under no circumstances, to move them. Understand? At. All."

I nodded my confirmation.

"Now," she said, as she lifted herself away from my body to balance on her knees, "scoot your hips away from the wall, toward the edge of the seat," she instructed. I did her bidding again, and when I opened my mouth to ask why, she stopped me: "You know how you said you wanted to surprise me and take care of me this weekend and to 'just let' you, this once?"

I nodded.

"Well, I need you to take care of me, now, Edward," she said pointedly, her voice dripping with innuendo. "So, no protests. No worries about squeezing me too hard or going too far. I have the power in this position and I will be safe, okay?" she asked.

I nodded again, still struck mute by her newfound confidence and sensual words.

She leaned forward and whispered in my ear. "Good. Now, I believe I have, as of yet, to taste you."

She slowly reached out with her tongue and made one long swipe from the base of my neck to right below my ear and then moaned—moaned!—into my ear with a sound so sexy I was afraid I'd blow my load right then and this moment would be over too quickly.

"Oh holy hell, Edward, you taste like…honey and man and…" she trailed off and then pulled my earlobe between her teeth and sucked, groaning in delight as she did so.

I tried to keep my wits about me but having her hot and wet and warm around me, feeling her tongue stroke forward and back just before she pulled her mouth away—all my body could do was try to translate that feeling into what her mouth would feel like if she'd done that to my cock.

I let loose the air in my lungs like someone had kicked me in the stomach and tried to suck more in without grabbing her and making her mine immediately. My brain had already done the math and I knew exactly what three steps had to happen in order for penetration to be achieved. Ashamed at that thought, I pushed it out of my mind and tried to focus back on Bella.

Still above me, her open-mouthed kisses returned the favor, laving her tongue against me: my neck, my collarbone, my jaw, my earlobe, which she sucked again and again. I was panting like a dog when she finally pulled back.

She looked at me—slack-jawed, panting, eyes wild—before she kissed me. We began moving together in this new arena of open-mouthed kisses and she sucked my bottom lip between hers, making me crazy with need. She ran her tongue across it as she sucked, then dragged her teeth against it as she let it fall back away from her lips. She repeated this several times, and before I reached my limit she surprised the hell out of me.

"Edward," she whispered against my lips. "I know you don't want to hurt me with your teeth, but I want to feel your tongue in my mouth. Can you do that?"

Overwhelmed with feeling, I held on to the order she had given me earlier, letting her control this to keep her—us—safe. I nodded, wanting so badly to try.

She kissed me with parted lips, and as I slanted my mouth against hers I eased my tongue into her mouth. She rubbed her tongue against mine and continued the pressure on my lips. Over and over again she pressed her pulsing, hot tongue against mine, kissing me with growing passion. I felt the predator take note of the feeling of her blood moving through her tongue against mine and I started to panic.

Thankfully, she pulled away to breathe.

"Bella, oh, god," I panted, "it feels so good, but I can't…with my mouth—tongue—right now, too much." I wanted it so badly, but it was too much to coordinate all at once and for the first time.

"Okay," she said, trying to catch her breath. "Okay, okay." I couldn't tell if she was saying that to calm herself or me, but I decided I didn't care.

"Let me…are you okay now?" she asked, regaining her composure and asking pointedly.

Completing my inner inventory, the predator's brief thoughts and appearance were confirmed gone.

"Yes," I breathed, honestly. I was still harder than hell, but she was no longer in danger of my bloodlust.

"Okay, then we'll just try something different," she said.

She lowered herself down to my lap, but with my shifted position, she was no longer sitting on my knees. She was sitting flush against my erection. I let out a whimper and let my head drop back against the concrete surrounding the pool.

She leaned forward to kiss me again and with one shift of her body, I thought it was over.

She grabbed my shoulders and pressed her entire, hot, supple body against mine.


Oh, the pressure! The sweet pressure! I couldn't...


It escaped before I could pull it back. My jaw dropped and my eyes crushed closed. I tried to rein in my mouth, but could only focus on that delicious pressure against me as I throbbed. I was certain I had been waiting for this my entire life: both the living and the undead part.

"I do need you to take care of me, Edward, I need this," she mumbled against my lips. My world tipped on its axis as she used my shoulders as leverage and rocked against me while she kissed me.

I had no idea what pleasure was until this moment

As she exhaled sharply against me, her shocked face gave her away. She was just as innocent in this and just as surprised at the feeling. We were like novice riders on runaway stallions. The exhilaration felt like adrenaline that had been shot right into our hearts and we were flying too high to think about the crash landing sure to meet us at the end.

"I can't," she whispered between gulps of air. "I...can't...stop. I, I...I need you. I need this...I need…you...to…watch," she whimpered nonsensically.

The thrill of her words and the sensations bursting through me like a sputtering sparkler were too much. I was going to lose control of everything.

"Please," I begged, desperate for her to stop, to not stop, to hurry, to savor it so I could watch it to replay in my mind over and over.

Not knowing what else to do at this point, I begged again, "Please!"

Risking everything, I raised my hips against her, trying to be so careful, but barely holding on. My mind spun out of control as I felt the heat of her all around my cock. Her tender flesh pressed and molded to mine as she slid over me through the scant material between us. I sobbed with desperate wanting.

The increased pressure from my raised hips made her grunt in pleasure and she began to move faster against me, grinding and rotating over me to find the friction I knew she yearned for. She leaned forward and I could feel her hardened nipples against my chest as she kissed anything she could reach—my neck, my shoulders, the top of my chest.

I wanted so badly to cup her ass and press her harder against me. Not knowing if I could control myself to do so without hurting her, I stuck to the torturous rules and kept my hands off her.

I felt the seam of her bathing suit shift across the tip of my cock and realized there was one less barrier between us now.

"Bella," I groaned, and her rocking motion became longer, claiming my entire length in the heat of her.

I felt the curve of my tip press against her clit even through my bathing trunks.

"Oh!" she whimpered. "Oh, oh, I feel…oh, Edward, I'm…I need you to…" she gasped out.

"What? What do you need? Anything! Oh, god, anything, Bella, just…oh, please anything but don't stop," I begged.

"I need to watch you, your eyes, please. I want to see you feel this," she said, panting with the effort of making a complete thought.

"Oh, god," I said, the heat of her moving against me, her nipples hard and rubbing my chest through the thin material of her suit. I swung my head up with considerable effort and opened my eyes.

She met my eyes and it was like throwing gasoline on a fire. I felt the sensation build between my hipbones and the pull center between my legs. There was an itching at the base of my spine. I knew, staring at the lust clouding her eyes, her face overcome in pleasure—her sweet, wet, full lips hanging open in concentration—it was going to be over quickly.

"Oh, Edward, I'm going to-" she panted.

"Yes, please, oh, please…" I couldn't help it. I wanted her to come so badly, I felt my body aching for her release along with my own.

"OH! Oh, Edward," she yelped as she held herself to me, and the heat and moisture and pulsing blood pounded against my erection and tipped me over the edge.

My orgasm throbbed and pulsed, releasing a growl from the base of my throat I hadn't realized was building. The groan that followed was one of relief and disbelief in the pleasure that I had never experienced before.

She laid her head against my chest, panting for breath, searching for words. I brought my hands down, finally, and wrapped my arms around her, feeling alive and warm and loved and so elated. We were safe, and it had been her, once again, to save me.

"Bella?" I asked.

"Yes," she answered, so quietly.

"I like this idea of giving up control to such a volatile young woman," I said, only slightly mocking.

Chuckling against my skin, I heard her mumble, "And I don't mind so much when you take care of me. In fact, I'm thinking about completely revamping my feelings on being taken care of altogether."

Heh. I said "revamping". Thanks for reading, kittens! Please review, my dears. It means the world, you know.