Title: The Closet Confides
Pairing: Edward/Emmett
Word count: 8529
Rating: M
Summary: Surrounded by jade and despair, Edward finds himself lost in a world without love. All alone he wanders through shadows of dark questions, when a new presence appears in light and warmth, hoping to show him the blues and browns of happiness. AH/Lemons


~oOo~

For weeks, he had holed himself up in the Closet, using it as his confidant and best friend. A blanket to keep him warm on those freezing New York nights and a window during the summer's heat-waves. He hadn't left it once, not since January 5th, and his somber state continued to sullen with each passing hour.

The yellow walls of his living room – the old wallpaper redone and painted months ago – did not sooth him the way the Closet did. Beyond the confides of the Closet he could not find peace and love, healing and forgiveness, it all stayed within the jade color of his walls.

It was the only place his meddlesome ex-girlfriend couldn't get her hands on while they were together. "I've given you permission to redo the living room, Alice, but this is the one place you can't touch," he'd seethed to the small frame of a girlfriend, not caring how her eyes had watered and lips quivered in fear and sadness. But she had complied, never going inside the Closet with her brushes and color-samples. The Closet had remained untouched from her slender designer fingers and scrutinizing eyes.

Their relationship had not lasted long after that. Once Alice had realized that her boyfriend would never open up to her the way she wanted, she had left, in the middle of the night after a heated discussion where the bed had been made in fury. There was no discussion, nor was it a spat; it was a full on brawl – minus the physical contact – where profanities and insults had been shouted so loudly that the neighbor Mrs. Cope had been on the verge of calling armed forces.

But the sound had quieted down before it came to those matters, but she had still been wary, and in her pink floral robe she had patted across the hall to assure her concerned mind that no one was hurt. He had answered the door in only his boxer shorts and stained cheeks, making Mrs. Cope stutter out her words. She wanted to know if his "lady friend" was there, and even though he had told her, "Yes", she had commanded to see her.

And see her she did. Alice had barged out from the Closet holding her overnight bag – for which he never allowed her to stay more than a few nights in a row – and cried her way out the door, shoving his arm to the side roughly. "I hope you find whatever you're looking for, Edward, and when you do I hope you'll be happy. You deserve happiness, even though it won't be with me." Her final words still sat with him, even long after the scent of J'adore had ceased its hold on the air, and the expensive fluff-pillows had left the leather couch.

But she was not missed, no matter how depressing that was he had never missed her smile or her bouncy personality. And even on those nights when his only lover became his right hand, he did not miss how her heated and slick core felt wrapped around him.

What's wrong with me? he thought to himself, as his stomach growled for the fifth time that day. Why can't I just be normal? Why can't I be free? But the answer to that was so easy, so simple that it was sitting on the tip of his nose. Because I'm not.

It had been mid October when Alice had broken up with him, and to stifle the depressive thoughts that roamed his mind – those who said 'be sorry you lost your girlfriend!' and 'if she doesn't want you, who will?' – he had decided to drown his thoughts in alcohol.

Mercer's bar was placed just a few blocks from his Brooklyn apartment, and it had been there he had bought his first Guinness, gotten drunk for the first time, thrown up as an effect, and it had been there he found his only peace outside of The Closet before it became his solace.

Being of Irish descent himself, he always liked the way Mercer's reminded him of the green hills, the black cauldron above the bar glinting with the fake gold coins, the entire staff jolly and sarcastic with an attitude only the real Irish could ever control. No one ever complained if a waiter shot back an angry comment of how slow they were at making their orders or how they didn't even get their food and beverage if they behaved in a manner not acceptable for the waiter at hand, because that was the way it worked as Mercer's, and everyone knew it. It was the way the original Mercer had handled his business, and it was the way his grandchildren handled it now, even 60 years later.

It had been the female grandchild, Victoria, with fiery red hair and eyes the color of clovers that had spotted him the first time. He had been on his merry way home after visiting a college friend and had bumped into her purely by accident, and immediately Victoria had been slack-jawed by his beauty. Copper hair and piercing green eyes. She had invited him in for a drink, only to be shocked again when he said he had never had a beer in his life.

"But, how is that even possible? You must be old enough!"

"Oh yes," he had replied with a shy smile. "I am well old enough to indulge myself to a drink whenever I want, but I have never seen the temptation in losing your inhibitions in such a manner. Though the opportunities have been many, I have never accepted an offer. I have simply let them slide."

"Well then you are in for a treat, young sir!" she had proclaimed.

Their friendship had formed as quickly as the golden liquid had vanished from glass after glass, and he had found love in the bottom of each glass. And Victoria had watched him gulp down each drop, never letting a single droplet go to waste, never touching the bowl of peanuts. "Do you have any idea how many people that have touched those things?" And she had laughed, letting her head fall back and closed her eyes. She liked this man, she had decided, but when Mercer's came to close for the night, she had not taken him back to her bed, nor had he offered the same for her. And that was the way they came to be, never going further in their friendly banter.

He wanted to see Victoria then, to talk to her about Alice, to get insight in the situation. Maybe then he would understand how a simple thing as him asking when she would leave turn into a heated brawl where she cried for him to love her.

He shook his head. Love. Had he loved Alice, or had it all been an act? He couldn't deny that some of her perceptive comments had hit close to home, her questions of his life intriguing, but he couldn't be sure if that had been enough to love her. "Why won't you make love to me?" she had cried. In that moment, staring at the small woman clad still in her purple nightgown that she had bought just for such an occasion, he could not find a reason, an explanation to why he couldn't find it in himself to be affectionate towards her. "Are you complaining now, Alice? Is my fucking so bad you need more? The last time I checked – the last time I fucked you, you seemed pretty damn pleased!" had been his only reply.

And because of this, he walked past the long line outside the Irish pub, ignoring the irritated shouts from his patrons, and walked right up to the doorman. Benjamin, the male grandchild of the original Mercer, smiled brightly and opened the door for him without second thought. But his smile faded when his sister's friend did not smile back like he normally would have. Never overly-happy, but always polite. Leave it to Victoria, he thought to himself. She knows how to fix him up.

But Edward did not find Victoria that night, for she had left early to see a man about a horse, the man being the infamous Santiago Gerandy – chief-editor of Men's Health Magazine and known womanizer – and the horse being Gordon Ramsey's newly opened restaurant The London where they would share an expensive meal before retreating to his penthouse and spend hours and hours in bed before she would be kicked to the curb while he dressed in his Armani-suit and found someone new to conquer.

Edward realized quickly that she was not there, but was not in the mood to go home. Instead, he went to the bar where the bartender Collin stood ready with a pint of Guinness. Sitting down on the stool, he shoved the bowl of peanuts out of the way with his forearm and a grimace. He nodded to Collin and sipped from the glass, hanging his head low so that his hair fell over his forehead and to the sides, making his vision limited to the glass in front of him.

And then he pondered, trying to figure out his life without the help of Victoria. But even going over his life, he couldn't think of where it all went wrong.

He had grown up in Chicago with his mother and father, not in the suburbs but not in the poor neighborhood either. They had been middle classmen, wealthy enough to have health-insurance and save up to visit Grandma Sue every summer in California, but not wealthy enough to buy the newest TV and the best cars. They only had one car, whereas his father dropped his wife off at work, his son to school, and then drove himself to City Court. Working as a public defender didn't pull in the rich clients, but it kept his family sufficient and happy. He had never foreseen that his job would be as dangerous as it turned out to be. At the age of 37 – leaving his wife three years his junior and a teenaged son – he was shot on his way home, a former client shooting him dead in the open day lit street.

The day had been bad enough as it was for Edward, his head being ducked into the boy's toilet between English and Geometry and failing a History quiz he had studied for into the wee hours of the night. And then to come home to a sobbing mother, knowing no way to comfort her, the day had turned from bad to worse. A distant aunt had arranged the funeral, coming all the way from Dublin to take care of her brother's corpse.

Edward's life had not gotten better after that, though his grades remained normal and average, his mood had become dark and to the point of depression where no school-appointed councilor could get through to him. And even though his own mother had seen the change in him, she never mentioned it, as she tried not to look at him too often. So alike his father, was all she could think before slipping into her own depression.

The Masen house was never neared, not by friends nor family, and the first chance he got, Edward fled. The day after graduation he gave his mother a timid hug and made his way to college, moving into an apartment – even in his freshman year he stayed there despite the expenses – and to this day he had only lived two places: his Chicago childhood home and his one-room apartment in Brooklyn.

College had gone by in loneliness, The University of New York only a faded memory to him now. There was never late-night partying for him, or one-night stands where the girls dropped like flies at his feet. Had it not been for his immediate handsome looks, he would have gone by completely unnoticed. And he used that knowingly, only sating his itch when it would come to the point that he couldn't satisfy himself, and a lap-partner would become his fuck-buddy for the next weeks or months.

But he had never loved any of them.

Was it there it went wrong? Was it in college and in his use of women that his life tumbled to the ground?

School had passed quickly, the fastest four years of his life, and again on the day after graduation he stood ready to leave. But not his home, no, this time he was leaving his childhood for good and stepping into the world of the adult and responsible. Full-time job working as an intern for Webber, Newton & Hale, paying his bills, sending letters home to his mother with updates of his life, dating.

He was 25 years old when he met Alice Brandon. She had swung by the office to have lunch with a friend when she had spotted him. "Give me a piece of that!" had been her immediate thought seeing the carrot-top in his pin-striped suit and outgrown hair. But he had not seen her, not until she had not-so-subtly bumped into his desk 'by accident' causing his cup of coffee to spill on his dress-pants. She had been mortified, for sure! But she was clever and conniving in her flirting, managing to get his phone number and the promise of a date.

It had lasted two years, one and a half years of official dating.

Was it there? Had it gone to hell when he met Alice?

But it was to no avail, as he found no meaning to his life and depression.

"You look like hell took a bite out of your ass" said a patron next to him, snapping Edward out of his thoughts. He didn't give the man a second glance – nor a first one at that – but waved to Collin who came to refill his drink. "You don't talk much, do you?" the patron asked again, only to be given a shake of the head in return.

Edward wasn't looking for a friend, only the sight of an empty glass, and all he hoped was that the patron would leave his side. But he didn't, he stayed there and watched his brooding drinking buddy slouch deeper into his chair.

"I'm Emmett. Cullen," he pushed on and held out his hand for the brooding boy to shake. And he used the term lightly, for though he could tell the boy was not a boy but a man, Emmett was still older than him. Established accountant and the sign of wedlock wrapped around his finger, while this person had no band on his finger, and by the way he sulked Emmett could tell this was no man in a relationship. At least not a happy one.

Agitated, Edward straightened his back and lifted his head to look at the patron. He held the face of a strong man, broad shoulders filling out his grey suit-jacket, a thin black tie trailing down his front covering very little of his white button-up. But it was the face that Edward found himself captivated with, the broad jaw and the five-o'clock-shade, the blue eyes and hopeful expression. Without sensing the motion, his hand found Emmett's. "Edward Masen."

This caused Emmett to smile wide, Colgate-white teeth showing and all.

"Our parent's minds must have been stuck in the early nineteen-hundreds. Who on Earth names their children with names like ours now-a-days?" Emmett mused loudly with a smile, and picked up his glass of Jameson. Edward couldn't help but stare at him and the way his Adam's apple bopped every time he swallowed. Mesmerizing.

~oOo~

Over the next weeks, they grew close, sitting in the bar at Mercer's they talked into their drunken stupor. It wasn't every night, but neither did they arrange their meetings. Some would have called it pure luck that they would be there on the same nights, at least that was what Emmett thought of the situation, but Edward knew otherwise.

Benjamin had been the first to notice his more frequent visitation, though the polite smile was back in its rightful place, he still wondered why his sister's friend was coming in so often. Fuck, it's not even often. It's EVERY NIGHT! And Edward didn't even go to see Victoria, though she had become occupied with her own affairs. Surprisingly enough Santiago had called her again after their one night stand. And again. And again. And again. Edward and Victoria had only spoken once after that October's night. Only once. She had confessed her love to the womanizer, and Edward had told her about his break-up, but had surprisingly enough not spoken up about his doubt in love.

That had been reserved to someone else.

Someone with deep blue eyes, always in a grey jacket and black tie over a white shirt (though the type of pants would change from day to day, from khaki's to jeans), and always with a friendly smile over the rim of his glass of Jameson.

"Do you never drink anything else?" Edward asked the second night they met. But Emmett retorted with the same question, rendering Edward silent in embarrassment and red cheeks. It was that way their conversations would sometimes go; questions meeting teasing response, curiosity ending in scarlet cheeks and another round of Guinness. "Touché," ended their conversation that night.

But as the weeks flew by and the drinks were downed, honesty came out in the only way it could: drunk.

"This is the love of my life" Emmett said another night, holding up his wallet so Edward would see the photo inside. Or three, all from different angles. One was showing the front, another; the backside, and the third viewed the slender and voluptuous curves from the side.

"She's beautiful," Edward slurred out and grasped the wallet, sticking his nose so close that his breath fogged on the plastic covering the photograph. "For how long have you had her? She looks in great shape."

"Five years now" Emmett smiled proudly and took it back, pocketing it inside his jacket. "Went all the way to Neckarsulm to bring her home with me."

"Germany?"

"Nothing better."

"Model?" Edward pressed on, intrigued.

"A8… I stayed there for days looking over the assembly-line as they put her together. I've been with her since her first spin. She is, by far, the most precious of all my belongings." Emmett couldn't help but smile picturing his beloved car in his mind. "I'll let you take her for a spin if you want to?" he asked and glanced over to Edward who suddenly blushed crimson and gulped down his fifth pint of the night.

"What's the matter?" Emmett became immediately concerned for his friend, whom he's never seen act so nervous before.

"Uhm…Well, to be honest, I haven't driven a car since I was 20" Edward confessed and laughed nervously, filing his fingers through his hair in the way Emmett secretly found enchanting.

So sullen, yet so beautiful at the same time.

"City boy, I take it?" Emmett said to relieve the awkwardness only Edward could feel. "I know how it is, I didn't drive for years after I got my license, not until I met Bella."

"Bella?" Edward asked cocking his furrowed brow. Never once had he heard Emmett speak of a woman in his life, and his inside dropped at the thought. Of course. His wife. His ring!

Emmett chuckled from deep within his chest and flagged down Collin for the tab. "Ah, yes Bella. It's Italian for beautiful. Ironic, isn't it? She's German, driven by an American, and her name is Italian."

Realization dawned on Edward fast and he blushed even deeper. Emmett continued. "Born and raised in NYC does that to you, you know? The fact that I always had someone to drive me around didn't really help the matter."

"Friends?"

"No, uhm, I had a driver" Emmett replied just as shyly as Edward had before, and Edward spluttered out his last sip of beer onto the bar-top. Collin grimaced from the other side and groaned in the frustration.

"A driver?"

And that has started the tale of Emmett's life.

Emmett Cullen was in truth a city boy at heart, born and raised in the concrete jungle and surrounded by money driven sharks. His father – the one and only Carlisle Cullen – was the founder of Cullen Enterprises, a manufacturer who specialized in oil-drillings in the North Sea outside the coast of Norway, and over the years he had became so filthy rich that his plats were to be found all over the world. The main office remained in New York, where he founded his family: the statuesque Esme, the son Emmett, and daddy's little girl; Jane.

Growing up, Emmett had always lived comfortably and never had to work for food or shelter. He was a spoiled brat – like his father would complain – but his mind had grown individually from the pack and was not corrupted like the other trust-fund kids were. So a young age he was branded the black sheep, whilst the true bad seed of the family in the form of his younger sister who terrorized the staff and her friends with an iron fist that even Stalin would look upon with envy.

The second he had turned 18, he cashed out his first million from his fund and went backpacking through Europe (without his father's permission) and loved every second of it. It gave him a bigger and clearer perception on life. This was why he had loans and a mortgage now, why his apartment was small and undecorated, why he was still an accountant (though working for Cullen Enterprises and his own father) and working his way up.

"You say apartment," Edward cut in. "But what about you wife? Where does she stay?"

Emmett let out a large breath. "Rosalie and I…we haven't been spouses for a very long time. Years even!"

"But, your ring" Edward stuttered, confused.

And again, Emmett exhaled like the world was placed upon his broad shoulders. "I only wear it – well, because when I do I don't feel so alone. Wearing it, and then just looking at it, it makes me feel wanted. I know it sounds strange, but I've never felt like I belonged. Not in my family, not in my job, and not in my marriage.

"I've known Rosalie since I was a kid, and though it's pathetic to admit, I did only marry her because that was what was expected of me. And of course, she only went along with it for the money. She wanted the big house, or maybe a penthouse on the Upper West side, have lunches with my mother and catch up with her sorority-sisters over tea at Tiffany's. She wanted the sweet life, but that was never what I wanted.

"She was a real bitch, you know. During those final years, but it wasn't always like that. She wanted kids. 2.5 children and a picket fence. A happy life, in the end that was all she craved. But I – I couldn't give that to her. You see," He bowed his head and prepared himself to say the words out loud. "I never loved her. Not once, not even in a friendly way. Sure, I saw how beautiful she was and how her smile would light up an entire room, but I was never attracted to her. And, down the line, that was too much for her to handle, so she left me. Six years ago. Hah! Divorced at 25! You should have seen the looks on my mother's face when I told her about the divorce. Priceless!"

But Edward wasn't amused at all, and while Emmett paid his bill and collected his coat, he pondered over the words. And as they parted outside the bar-doors, Edward asked a lat question.

"So you've never loved anyone besides your family?"

"No."

And in this, Edward found hope.

~oOo~

With his body stewing in his musty odors from a week in bed, he remembered back to January the 5th, when he had imprisoned himself into The Closet. Russians had roamed the street to prepare for their own Christmas, filling the malls and the street-stores that were giving almost everything away for free. Sale, sale! 50% off! Take 3 and pay for 1! It was the sweetest Christmas of them all.

"Edward, how was your Christmas?" Emmett asked, looking concerned as his friend downed yet another Guinness. Sure, he knew Edward drank a lot sometimes, but never this much, never to the point of oblivion.

Edward laughed out loud at the question, but menacingly so. "How was my Christmas? How was my Christmas? I'll tell you how it was, it was a nightmare! Do you want to know what happened? Do you? Alice came by to get something she'd apparently forgotten in her haste to fucking leave me. But that's not all, no-no. She wanted more, like always! Always more, never content with what she has. Fucking climbing me like a tree."

He broke out a sob, lowering his voice to a mere whisper so only Emmett would here. "There's something wrong with me, Emmett. Why can't I love her? Why can't she be enough for me? Jesus, Emmett, she couldn't even turn me on. I've fucked her a million times, but she got on her knees and I couldn't even get hard."

He was crying, a full on wailing fit, and Emmett hastily got out from his chair, slapped some bills on the table, and put an arm around Edward's shoulders and followed him out.

"Do you want to go home, Edward?" he asked, getting a hesitant nod in return. Emmett hauled a cab for them, shoving Edward gently in next to him on unstable feet. "Where do you want to go? Home, or I could take you to my place…"

"Home."

It was a soft whisper, barely audible over the cab driver's radio blasting with exotic tunes, but Emmett heard. There was only one problem; he didn't know where Edward's home was. Sure, it was in Brooklyn, but searching for a beat-down apartment (like Edward had described it) there would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. With Edward slouching against the door, Emmett made up his mind, reaching his hand forward and reaching inside Edward's pocket. His large hand barely fit inside to bring the wallet out, but he couldn't believe how exhilarating it was to be so close to him.

In the rear-view mirror, the cab driver gave Emmett a long, hard, knowing look, but said nothing. But then again he didn't need to, because that look said so much. Disgusting – Sin – but also, surprisingly – Don't take advantage. At that he growled, making the driver look away in shame, and he pulled Edward closer to him. Protective like a bear.

Mine.

Arriving outside Edward's apartment building, Emmett threw his money to the front and slammed the door shut, hauling his drunken friends with him up the stairs, into the apartment (where he yet again had to fish the keys out of Edward's pocket) and then just held him. Held him with his back resting against the door. But not from physical exhaustion; from mental and emotional draining. '

All the lies. Because he knew it was lies, lying by omission. But how could he ever tell the truth? Looking down on the passed out boy…no, man….in his arms, he felt like crying – something he hadn't done in 6 years. When Rosalie had left him, he hadn't cried from the breakup, but from realizing the truth. He didn't feel attracted to Rose, he never had, but he was able to be by someone.

Like Jasper, for example.

A co-worker that was the only openly gay man working for Cullen Enterprises, but because of his position as a junior partner, no one dared to say anything about it, he even was one of the most liked men working there. But it was his confidence, his smile and glinting eyes, his total control that drew Emmett in. Working late had never been so good, stealing as many glances of Jasper during board-meetings and on his way to get coffee.

That was how it had started, and not that long after he became bolder and struck conversations with Jasper as much as possible. Work talk turned into late night coffees, going go bars together, until Jasper finally got the clue and kissed him. They were never a couple, but when Emmett admitted his attraction Jasper had taken it upon himself to teach him the ropes.

How could he ever tell Edward that? Admit his lies and get cast away. It would be his marriage all over again. Only this time he would mourn the loss – because even though it scared him to death, Emmett was in love with Edward.

"Where is your bedroom, Edward?" he asked, stirring him.

"Unghmmms, rwight" came a slurry reply, and Emmett opened the right door. He was met with vibrant green colors filling the walls, a bed spread matching in its lighter shade on top of a white mattress. Just like his eyes. It was so Edward, so shocking and calming at the same time.

Emmett carried Edward over to the bed and placed him down, his head falling back onto the pillows softly. What to do next? Still protective and maybe a little selfish, he began undressing him, taking first his shoes and socks and placing them neatly on the floor. Then he grasped his shirt, pulling it over his head with much resistance. It felt like dressing a petulant child, except this child was very much grown and asleep. He folded the shirt and put it on the dresser just as neatly as the shoes. But then he halted, mesmerized by the large amount of skin on display. A toned pale chest, perked nipples from the cold air, a stomach flat and showing of a admirable 'four-pack', and light brown hair curling beneath his navel.

Adonis.

With unsteady hands, Emmett began unbuckling Edward's belt and dragged his pants down, but as his hands touched the zipper a loud moan ripped through the silence. First Emmett thought it had been himself from his hands brushing against a hard length, but then he realized it wasn't him. It was Edward. Could it be?

"M's'goood."

It was.

Feeling bold, most probably from the alcoholic influences, Emmett dragged the zipper down slowly, relishing in the sounds echoing from the walls around him. He didn't know if Edward was completely aware of what was happening and didn't dare to look up, but in a selfish moment he didn't care. He didn't want to stop, he didn't want to hide anymore, and he wanted Edward Masen.

He grasped the fabric of the jeans and pulled gently, careful not to make any rash movements that might alarm Edward, and pulled them all the way down his long legs and then off, folding them and adding them to the dresser. And then he stood, towering, his shade cascading over pale skin, tone muscles and light hair. He watched Edward squirm lightly on his back. He's asleep. This is so wrong. But then why does it feel so right? He squatted down on the floor next to the bed and carefully raised his left hand, ghosting over Edward's calves and legs, resting it finally on the knee-cap.

Beneath Emmett large hand, Edward felt everything. But it was so surreal, for the feeling was so warm and comforting and erotic, and yet nothing he'd ever felt before. It was not the soft feeling Alice had given him, no, this was rough and surprisingly better. Or maybe it was all a dream, he thought, because how could he possibly be bestowed such a gratifying feeling?

The feeling continued, electrifying his body with faded touches, starting on his legs and moving upwards. And when it vanished, it reappeared mere seconds later on his other leg, moving in the same way in calming strokes up and down, circling and rubbing. So erotic and calming at the same time. Then it moved again, but this time forming on his chest, right by his collar bone. And the feeling intensified, the fire coming from two sides this time from two sources, repeating the cycle.

Then the hair on his arms rose and his fingers twitched in excitement. I never want to wake up, because this is heaven and surely anything else must be hell. Arousal crept from his chest and further down, obediently following the trail of fire until it surpassed it and went on its own accord, moving south to the only place he'd find release.

Release!

His hand shot forward, trapping the warmth where it had settled on the trail of hair under his navel, and it froze.

"N'don stop" he mumbled to no one, to the warmth, and hoped it would comply. And it did, as Edward moved his hand and the warmth further down until it settled on his arousal, concealed by thin cotton. "Off." And as fast as the words were uttered, air embraced his body and he sighed happily.

"More." And again the warmth complied, moving it with his hand up and down, from the top and to the base, gathering the slickness and spreading it down, soft as satin and cool as velvet. His fingers laced together around him, and everything became too hot and too good. They sped up, moving together in perfect sync in the effort to please him. A glorious weight weighed him down into the mattress and tightness knotted in the depths of his stomach.

More, more, more! it called to him, and his hips thrusted uncontrollably. Frantically, he called out for more, moaning and groaning in sweet and utter need. Craving. Carnal lust shooting through him. He felt so primal and alive, more than he ever had before.

And as his release finally found him, exploding through his body from his toes to the tips of his fingers; his eyes flew open as a warm liquid cascaded down his hand.

But what he saw rendered him speechless and frozen, gazing into blue depths dark with lust and want. "Emmett" he rasped, his voice laced with content and sex. Lips met lips, surprising him as his best friend jumped him and pressed their lips together. Mouths open, wet tongues massaging and thrusting.

Kissing. He was kissing his best friend. He was kissing Emmett Cullen!

And for two seconds, he let himself do so, relishing in how rough and soft it felt at the same time, how his body complied with the large frame pushing him down. Trapping him and setting him free at the same time.

But then it hit him. He was kissing a man. He was kissing his best friend. He was kissing Emmett Cullen! And to him that screamed wrong on so many levels, overpowering the calls of right. In pure and utter confusion, he pushed Emmett off of him and jumped to his feet.

Fear is the ground of anger, and looking down on his naked body and to Emmett, he exploded with fury.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Getting no answer but a shameful blush and brimming tears, he continued his tirade, moving forward – pushing and yelling. "How dare you? How dare you trick me? Was it all lies? I can't believe you did this to me, I can't believe I ever thought you were my friend! Was this your plan all along, to befriend me and then take advantage of me?"

Blind in his anger, he punched Emmett square in his nose, but as he staggered back Emmett remained stoic. "Fight back!" Edward called through tears that broke from his eyes and ran down. "Be a man!" But he didn't, Emmett stood still with his own tears falling, never meeting Edward's eyes.

"Why?" Edward cried finally, tired and broken on the floor, shielding his nudity with his legs hugging his chest with abandon. "Why me?" He sobbed, for the first time in years, and didn't let himself be bothered that he was. For god's sake, the man had already seen him orgasm, what would a few tears hurt?

A crazed laugh split through him at the thought, but it subsided quickly into the silence. "Get out" he finally snapped. "If you're not gonna say anything, just—just get the fuck out."

Nothing. Just silence. And when he thought he had lost it all, three words echoed off jade, laced with brown and blue and hope.

"I love you."

And then he was gone, shutting himself into the Closet. But a place that once had been for comfort, now held so much more, and in an act of hopelessness Edward threw himself into the darkness, hoping to never emerge again.

~oOo~

Surprisingly enough, Victoria – despite her heavy involvement with Santiago – had been the first among Edward's friends to notice his absence, voicing her concerns to Benjamin who in return went to Collin for clues.

"The last time I saw him he looked like sheit and five days of Guinness, mate. Emmett took him home, but I haven't seen that oaf either."

While Emmett had started to avoid Mercer's in fear of another lashing and more heartbreak, Edward hadn't come up for air at all. In a small broke down apartment in Brooklyn, dust gathered on every single surface, while food rotted away in the fridge and bread going stale. And in the bedroom, his form laid naked under the sheets, forming a grown fetus position. Eyes never opening, fearing to see the truth that has stared him right in the face.

I love you.

Eyes closed, he denied the statement. He denied the feelings. He denied the truth access to seep in.

For a full month, he remained in his room, only leaving to use the restroom. One month without food, and yet he couldn't feel hunger. At least not famish for food. Hunger on the other hand, hunger for truth and understanding ate him up from the inside, gnawing on his heart and mind.

Could it be real or had it all been one terrible nightmare that never seemed to end?

He wasn't sure at the time, but when a furious red headed woman had bashed his door in and demanded what 'had crawled up his ass' and why he was avoiding everyone and everything, he knew it hadn't been so. It was real, and seeing Victoria rant on and on of how worried she – they all – had been; he broke down even more.

Tears ran and dry heaving crashed down on his chest, shocking Victoria into a never-before-seen muteness. So instead of lecturing, she simply crawled in next to him and let him cry. Let him break down in her arms while she rocked him to a motherly hum. But nothing had helped, and it took Benjamin and Collin to get him out of bed and into the shower, making him clean himself up and dressing him. But not once had he blushed or looked ashamed, in fact he had no look at all. Only a blank mask that cowered his vast features.

Sunken in cheeks, a thick beard on his jaw, dark purple rings under his eyes, and when he finally dressed; clothes barely hanging on his body. He must have lost almost fifteen pounds in that month and it showed profoundly on his body.

He was wasting away.

When he returned to work, Angela Webber took it upon herself to give him the tongue-lashing of the century, but even she – with her fury from her best friend Alice's heartache caused by him, combined with her anger over his disappearance from work for an entire month – could not stand to tirade him once she saw how broken he looked.

Just a shell of his former self. Once occupied by a lost soul and now empty of all emotions.

He was not instantly forgiven when he returned and was put on 'parole' where he was constantly watched for mistakes for another month. Another month of emptiness, but in the ache he buried himself in the masses of work he was assigned and never once made an error.

Proof reading legal files, translating them into layman terms for trials, doing research, getting coffee, he did it all without complaint. Because how can you complain when you can't feel? When you're numb…

~oOo~

At the end of his probation Edward went home to his apartment and locked himself back inside the Closet like he did every night. Victoria came by a few hours later to make sure he ate and didn't fade away, but had to leave him to his loneliness shortly after.

March had begun its spring cleaning, the crisp air leaving evidence of breathing all around and frost still covering the trees. But the chill had warmed from February's violent attack; having left all New Yorkers in heavy jackets and boots. Now buds were beginning to cover the trees in a faded light green, ready to pop when April came around the corner. And that green was now artificially intensified all around, and in Queens hey stood the proudest. And beneath a banner in Mercer's Bar, with the picture of a Leprechaun dancing on it, stood Edward.

Victoria had begged, pleaded and bargained, anything to make him come. But no, he had been adamant on staying away. Yet, when she started to guilt trip him – 'I kept you alive, without me you would have starved to death or worse, died from your own stench! You put me through that, never thinking how you hurting affects me.' – and so he'd had no choice but to come.

Benjamin had been a great help, picking out clothes with green, a button up and tie matching with black denim jeans, all ready to take on the day of St. Patrick. But standing there along as Collin mended the bar and Victoria flitted through shouting Irishmen, watching Benjamin kicking butts to the street; surrounded by the crowd he had never felt more alone.

And it hurt more than a knife to the heart ever could, for he had cleared his thoughts and cleansed his soul for answers that had been found. But what to do with them? The one person who could ever benefit from his search had been gone for two months, leaving no one behind to share this thoughts. He missed his drinking buddy, the one who ordered another round when things got bad. But most of all he missed his friend, the one who always listened and always seemed to understand.

Without him there was nothing.

Doors slammed together by the entrance, a gust of air slipping in and making him aware of his surroundings for the first time in a long time.

Warmth spread through him, igniting his entire body with the fire that heated him to the core. He knew that feeling, he knew that heat. But oh, it was so frustrating and scary at the same time, making his breath sharper and more frequent, gasping for air that seemed less than before. He was swimming in a sea of jade, but the color that had once been his comfort now became his worst nightmare, the walls closing in. Closer. Closer. Suffocating. His lungs pleaded for air but his legs refused to move. Refused to budge as if they could sense the change.

Don't be a coward!

His own legs were reprimanding him!

As he drowned, choking to death on the jade, he looked frantically around the room for something grasp onto, something to save him. And then he saw an angel, an angel in brown and blue pulling him out from the green. The angel pulled him, with each closing step he took, out of the sea and onto land. Grounding his feet and letting him live. They stood close, closer than they ever publically had. Two inches separating their noses, letting each other's breaths fawn over the other. And then they spoke the words of which lovers speak, unspoken and loud. Atonement and forgiveness.

I'm sorry.

I forgive you.

They pulled away from the festivities, remaining unspeaking as they walked outside and down the street. Two inches continued to be their separation, keeping them together and apart as they went back to where it all began.

Walking two steps a time up the stairs, almost running to be alone, running for answers, they exhaled heavily into the nothingness of Edward's empty apartment. But no it wasn't so empty, was it? No, now it was filling, filling with happiness and contentment and answers.

"Why did you do it?"

"Honestly? I can blame it on the alcohol or the fact that I'm terribly attracted to you, though the last one does stand as a mayor part, but then I'd just be making excuses. Edward," Emmett sighed and sat down on Edward's bed, the mattress dipping under his weight. "When I first met you I just wanted to make sure you were okay, but then I saw you and I felt this jolt. You know? Yeah. I mean, it was fireworks or love at first sight, but I saw something, felt something. And then I got to know you, and I told you about me, and you didn't run away or said I was weird. You stayed, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, you felt something for me.

"Because, Edward, I do feel something for you. It's…uhm…been going on for a while, the eh, attraction, but I didn't really know what it was until January. And Edward, I really am sorry for how and why I said it. And again, the alcohol has nothing to do with it. I touched you and it sounded like you liked it, so I continued. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I did and now it's done.

"I understand if you never really want to talk to me again after this, but I just needed you to know this." He exhaled heavily, a burden lifted off his broad shoulders, and gazed down on his hands which laid in his lap.

But then, five pale fingers that were not his own, intertwined with his, smaller than his and fitting beautifully. Edward didn't say anything for several, just staring at his hand fitting with Emmett's, and just looked.

And he saw everything.

"When?"

Emmett furrowed his brows in confusion and asked, "When what?"

"When did you realize…uhm, that you eh…love me?" The final words came out as a mere whisper, and had it not been for the complete silence enveloping them Emmett might not have heard, but since he did, he couldn't help but smile.

"I fell in love with you when you spoke about your family, when I realized I wanted to make the world a better place, to make things better for you just so you'd smile again. I fell in love with you when you couldn't stop blushing, when you opened up and let me in at the same time as you broke down my own walls.

"I realize I love you when I nothing else mattered, when I saw your pain and I felt it as my own. That night, Edward, I saw everything running through your mind; the confusion and the fear and the hate – because I'd felt it myself, and it all came rushing back to me. I saw that, and I felt it, and I realized that if you're not happy then I'm not happy. If you're glad that I'm glad. When you laugh I laugh, and when you cry I cry…"

He trailed off, the picture clear of what he meant, and Edward nodded seriously. Just once, two inches apart. Then he looked up, green meeting blue, and sea met land, their shores of connection pebbled with shiny rocks and clear sand.

"I think, Emmett" he started, unsure of what to say next, "that…gah, why is this so hard?" He shook his head furious with himself for not knowing how to make his thoughts into words. "When you said that, well, it was hard to hear that because of the obvious. I've never seen myself with a man, not like that, but then on the other hand I've never managed to see myself with a woman either so my grounds are broken.

"You shook my world, Emmett. You grasped it and shook it until everything was upside-down. And, at first I didn't believe you. For the reason that we're both men, for the reason that you're older and better and more experienced than me. For the reason that I was scared… I wanted, gah, but then I saw that you were gone and I didn't know what mattered anymore. For the past months you've been in my every waking thought, even evading my dreams, but in reality you weren't there and that tore me apart. If it hadn't been for Victoria I don't know what would have happened, but I'm glad she helped me. Because now I've found you."

He breathed in, finally raising his head to look at Emmett's face, to gauge his reaction to what he was saying, and all was mortification and sadness. Regret, love, concern. But he continued on, needing to tell his story like Emmett had done.

"I think, for the past months that I've changed…for the better. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I know that I can't go around doubting everything that's good in my life. I can't close up just because I don't deserve the love you…"

Surrounded by jade, Edward was lost in blue and brown as they gazed at each other. Hands broke apart and intertwined in new places, a hand to the neck and one to the hip – grasping brown; grasping bronze. Green looked beyond the shaking irises of blue, and saw a soul of gold expressing a love he had never seen before.

Leaning close together, two inches – one inches – none. Their mouths pressed against the other, but only chaste and peppered and soft, leaving passion aside and letting affection shine through.

"You do deserve it," Emmett sighed and held on to the one thing in his life that mattered. His heart; placed in the hands of Edward. "And you own it. You own me, my love, my heart, my soul. If I could I'd give you the stars and the moon too, but this is all I have to offer. Will you take it? Will you please take me?"

Edward moved, constantly keeping their skin in contact until their eyes were locked once again and mouths were touching and not touching at the same time. Green meeting blue, locked together in the confides of a closet, they spoke in the voices of lovers, loud and silent, declaring.

As long as you'll have me too. And then lips said I missed you! – tongues shouting I need you! – and then finally, they both said, with eagerness, hope, content and purity, feeling alive;

"I love you."