A/N: This is just part two of my original one-shot. Thank you to AsktheMagic8Ball and Feral for editing.
"When the dark of the night
Comes around that's the time
That the animal comes alive
Looking for something wild"
-Kesha: Take It Off
I spend the next four days in a downward spiral.
My nights are long and sleepless, and when I do manage to find unconsciousness, I wake up screaming. My throat is permanently raw from my cries of fear, and the skin under my eyes is now dark and purple from what little sleep I've managed to get. My mind is constantly racing with thoughts, trying to piece together my dreams that are vague and confusing.
The same streets passing me by, the same storm bearing down overhead, and the same unmistakable vision of the obscure man I see standing in front of me just before I scream myself awake.
I'm headed to rehearsal after another sleepless night. I thank the driver and toss some money over the seat before I exit the cab with my bag, drawing my hood up over my head. The rain outside is nearly torrential, and I dash inside the theatre before I get completely soaked.
I warm up instantly, feeling more at home and safe in this place than anywhere else. It's been my only form of solace since my insomnia started, and I'm glad I have an escape, something that can tear me away from my life, even if it's only for a few hours every day.
I make my way between the aisles, down to where most of the cast is already changing. Since this is a dress rehearsal, everyone in the production is required to wear their full costumes to ensure nothing is wrong with the material and everything fits properly.
Mine is a dress, sleeveless and royal blue, with a hem line that skims the floor. It's not much, but it's one of my favourite costumes because it's simple and beautiful.
I find Rose among the rows of seats, changing into her outfit. It's a deep green and shimmers in the dim lights that dot the theatre. I join her, giving her the most normal smile I can muster given the circumstances. She offers me a sympathetic smile in return, focusing her attention on me as I take off my shoes.
"Hey," she says, "how's it going?"
I shrug, "Same old, I guess."
I shimmy out of my jeans and t-shirt, laying them neatly on my chair as I step into my dress.
"Still can't sleep?" she asks in astonishment. I shake my head, pulling the straps over my shoulders, and adjust the dress to fit. "Bella, you really should go to a doctor," she suggests with concern. "Maybe it's something more than just temporary insomnia. Maybe it's something else-"
"I'm fine," I reply sharply as I finish zipping the back of my costume. "Just...back off."
Her brows furrow and she narrows her eyes. "Don't get pissy with me," she retorts. "I'm just trying to fucking help."
I sigh loudly before I rake my fingers through my hair. The threat of angry tears prickles the back of my eyelids, and I bow my head. "I'm sorry," I say quietly. "I just...I don't know what's wrong with me, Rose, and I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I can't sleep for two minutes without screaming bloody murder when I wake up."
She takes a step closer, and when she puts her hand on my shoulder, I look up at the friendly concern on her face. "That's why I'm trying to help, Bella," she reasons. "I hate seeing you like this. I don't know what else to do."
"Thanks," I say earnestly, feeling thoroughly stupid for my behaviour, "I'm sorry for...you know, being such a bitch, but thanks."
She smirks, "Bitch or not, I still love you."
I find enough strength to laugh and follow her to the end of the row. We head down the stairs, preparing for a night of rehearsal; Esme is already onstage, announcing that we will start promptly in five minutes.
Practice is long and tiring, to say the least. I struggle to stay awake some scenes, standing constantly when I'm not onstage instead of sitting to keep from falling asleep. I almost forget my lines at one point, almost stumble over my words, but I catch myself. I deliver the speech perfectly, and when I'm offstage, I want to kick something.
I never forget my lines. Ever.
I'm irritated with myself and my lacklustre performance, but Esme doesn't say anything. She congratulates the cast for a perfect evening, stressing that punctuality is crucial tomorrow since it's the night the play debuts.
Opening night is always the most important; it gives me something to look forward to.
Rose and I get redressed in silence, and when I put on my jacket, she clears her throat. "Hey, um...do you want to come to the bar with me?" she asks. "I mean, if you're up for it," she backtracks.
I draw the zipper up to my chest and fluff my hair out around my shoulders. "Uh, sure," I respond with a small nod, "it'll give me something to do, actually. Home hasn't exactly felt like home lately."
She avoids my gaze, probably unsure of what to say to something like that. I just sigh, gathering my dress carefully before I take it down to the stage so I can store it until tomorrow. God knows with my lack of sleep I'd forget something as important as my costume on opening night.
Rose and I haul ass to the bar, getting drenched in the process because it's still monsoon season outside. I'm shivering and shaking by the time we get there, chilled to the bone because a sopping wet winter coat doesn't exactly offer much in the way of wind resistance.
When we walk into the bar, my teeth are practically chattering I'm so cold. I peel off my jacket, hanging it over the seat before I sit down and start shaking again. Alice comes by to serve us, frowning at how we look like we've just stepped out of a hurricane.
"I might have something for you," she says with a look of determination, "I'll be right back."
Rose makes a funny face at her retreating form and turns back to me. Her hunched shoulders quiver from the cold, and she looks at me from across the table, offering me a sad smile. "So, this was a bad idea, yeah?"
I laugh, the sound stuttered and choppy, "No-o, it's okay."
Alice returns a minute later, offering us two oversized sweaters. Elation sweeps over me, and I gratefully take one of them and slip it over my head, basking in the immediate warmth that encompasses me. The sleeves are several inches too long, and I could probably fit two of me inside the sweater, but I don't care. It's warm and dry.
"Thanks, Alice," I say sincerely, "I appreciate it."
She waves her hand coolly while Rose frowns at the sleeves and pulls on the chest to look at the emblem on the front. "Is this Emmett's?" she asks curiously.
Alice chuckles, "Yeah, he tends to leave things here. I remembered seeing them in the back...I know he won't mind."
Rose pulls the collar up to her nose, slumping down into the seat as a small smile pulls at her lips. She thanks Alice as well and orders us some drinks, looking over her shoulder. I look with her, craning my neck to get a glimpse of Emmett. He's a beast of a man, with dark, curly hair, a cute, dimpled smile, and a seriously muscular frame.
He waves a glass in our direction, and we both nod back, in thanks for the sweaters he unknowingly offered.
When I'm comfortable and finally warm, I suddenly remember where I am. I impetuously look for the beautiful man, searching for his familiar face, but my hope quickly fades when his booth is vacant. I'm disappointed, though not entirely surprised.
I only drink a bit at first. I take tiny sips instead of big gulps, knowing how little I've eaten today and how much it will affect me in the morning if I drink too much too fast. I'm almost done with my first beer, and when I watch the miniscule beads of condensation trickling down the side of the glass, something changes.
Suddenly drinking too much too fast doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
Maybe, if I get drunk enough, I'll just...pass out.
I could get a peaceful night's sleep.
I order a double shot of tequila and another beer, earning a curious glance from Rose. She orders the same, watching me as I wait anxiously for what will hopefully give me what I need to get to sleep. The shots arrive, and I take mine quickly, smacking my tongue against the roof of my mouth in distaste because of the strong liquor.
I wash the flavour down with beer, though, and Rose sets her shot glass on the table, looking at me strangely. "Bella, are you okay?" she asks.
I chug half my beer before I take a breath and sigh, "Yeah...great. Just thirsty, I suppose."
She frowns, "Uh-huh...thirsty."
I ignore her comment, and after that, I drink...a lot. Alice cuts me off eventually, saying I've had way too much in the short amount of time I've been there. Rose agrees with her and stops drinking as well, suggesting maybe it's time to go home because I look a little incoherent.
"I'm good," I protest, "seriously."
"Bella, you are not good!" Rose hisses at me. "You're exhausted and now you're drunk. Just let me take you home." I stare at her, feeling dizzy, and my vision begins to haze. I'm buzzed, that's for sure, but I'm not drunk – not yet. "Please, Bella," she pleads, "you need to sleep."
Sleep. Elusive, unobtainable sleep.
She's practically begging me, and since I hate to see her so concerned, I acquiesce. I figure I have a bottle of wine or something useful at home. "Okay," I say in resignation, "okay, Rose, I'm done. I'll go home."
She smiles in relief, asking Alice for the cheque before she goes up to the bar to pay. I wait for her in agitation, impatiently jiggling my leg under the table, and tug at a loose thread on the sleeve of Emmett's sweater. Rose comes back a couple minutes later, with Emmett in tow, claiming they can give me a ride home.
"Rose, it's completely out of your way," I argue, "I'll take a cab."
"Bella, you're not taking a taxi. We can give you a ride," Rose replies.
"Yeah, Bella," Emmett chimes, "it's not a big deal."
I sigh before I remove Emmett's sweater and hand it back to him. "I appreciate the offer, but it's o-kay," I retort, strongly stressing that I don't need to be babysat. "I'd like to get some fresh air anyway. Please..."
"Rose, please," I interrupt, "I promise I'll get into a cab."
She sighs, "Fine. But go home; go to sleep. Lord knows you need it." I nod in response, plastering a small smile on my face, and stand up and put on my wet coat. "Text me when you get in, okay?" Rose asks as we head for the doors.
"Yes, Rose," I say with a slight giggle, "anything else?"
She glances at me over her shoulder and snickers, "Yeah, stop being such a snarky bitch."
I laugh loudly and bite my lip as we step outside, underneath the awning that shields us from the storm. Rose and Emmett wave goodbye before he tucks her under his arm, protecting her from the rain as they make their way around the side of the building. I lean back against the cold window, enjoying the peace and quiet for a moment while cars whiz by and frantic people run along the sidewalk, bracing against the harsh conditions.
I stand outside the bar for as long as I can bear, cooling my skin until my cheeks and nose are stinging with numbness. I sniffle and straighten myself up, brushing my damp hair away from my face. I fish my phone out of my pocket, intent on calling for a cab, when I clumsily drop it.
Right into a puddle of water.
"Shit," I curse. I bend down to pick up my waterlogged phone, and when I stand back up again, I unceremoniously bump into someone.
"Oh," I gasp, placing my hand over my chest, "I'm sorry."
I look up, taking in the form of the tall, attractive man in front of me. He is soaked from head to toe, as I had been, water beading on his unnaturally long eyelashes and falling down his perfect, pale cheekbones. His thin lips are dark from the cold rain, and his hair is covering part of his eyes.
"It's not a problem," he responds in a deep, striking tenor, "no harm done."
I smile sheepishly, clutching my damaged phone between my shaking fingers. "Okay," I murmur quietly, "thanks."
He smiles in return, slowly combing his long, thin fingers through his darkened hair. He smoothes it from his face, revealing eyes that are almost black in the dim light. I sigh audibly at his near-perfect features and cup my hand over my mouth in embarrassment when I try to pass it off as a yawn.
The beautiful man smirks this time, shifting from one foot to the other. "So," he begins, "where were you headed in such a hurry?"
I'm a little self-conscious at my lack of coordination so I blush. "Just home," I reply. "I wasn't really looking."
He chuckles, casually waving it off. "As I said, it's fine." He pauses, glancing briefly over my shoulder and into the bar. "Would you like to grab a drink instead?" he asks as he looks back to me. "I could make up for getting in your way." His tone is playful, and I feel my blush deepening despite the biting chill of the rain.
"Um, yeah...sure," I say, utterly baffled that the beautiful man is asking me to have a drink with him.
He ushers me into the dark bar, his hand on the small of my back as he guides me over to his usual booth. I try as gracefully as I can to slide into the seat but of course, I falter. My wet jeans stick to the leather, and my face burns when it squeals in protest.
"Sorry," I mutter incoherently.
He simply smiles, sliding effortlessly into the booth across from me. I discreetly run my fingers through my hair, taming the wet curls as the beautiful man leans back in his seat. We get the awkward introductions out of the way, and I quickly learn his name is Edward. I find it such an old-fashioned name for such a seemingly young man but I figure his parents must be like that.
Besides, it's not like his name makes him any less beautiful, in fact, it seems to suit him. It's unique.
I shrug off my jacket once I'm sufficiently warm and listen to Edward's honeyed voice as he talks about the city. I lose myself in his words, completely enraptured by his soft, deep tone and the way he uses his hands when he speaks.
Although I could have listened to him for hours, Alice comes by to take our order and interrupts the conversation. "Oh, you're back," she comments curiously, briefly casting a glance at Edward. He unleashes that heartbreaking, crooked smile on her, and she looks back to me. "You're still cut off, I'm bringing you water."
Edward laughs at her conviction and orders himself a pint of beer. His eyes meet mine when Alice leaves and he angles his head, watching me interestedly. "So, did you drink a little too much before?" he asks with a note of amusement in his voice.
I playfully narrow my eyes and reply, "Something like that."
He smirks. "Well your secret's safe with me."
He winks flirtatiously at me and I have to look away; I can barely contain how badly I want to lunge across the table and lick the sexy smirk from his lips.
I tap my foot nervously against the floor, trying to control my urges as we start talking again. He asks me questions about my family and my job and I answer, feeling more confident than before. I lean forward with my elbows on the table to get closer to him, and when I look down, I notice he hasn't touched his drink. I frown at it, swiping my finger from the rim to the base in question.
"How come you haven't had a sip?" I ask curiously.
Edward leans forward as well, his flawlessly proportioned face highlighted by the subdued lights above. He looks at me with eyes that are still dark, and still completely mesmerizing.
"I've been incredibly distracted," he says quietly. "I guess I forgot all about it."
I gather quickly he's referring to me; I'm his distraction. Since I'm still riding a nice buzz, I don't blush like I normally do. My lack of inhibition finally kicks in, and I give him what I hope is a sexy smile. "I've been distracted, too," I reply.
Edward's fingers graze mine as we stare at each other, and though his skin is still cold from the rain, I feel fire. My stomach twists in knots, my excitement escalating with his gentle touch. I rub my fingers against his, trailing the tip of my thumb over his protruding knuckle.
Edward's eyes darken and he drops his head, regarding me carefully. I bite the corner of my lip, completely aware of my actions, desperately hoping he'll do something about it. He shifts slightly, taking one of my fingers between his, and he tugs me closer. I lean in further when he lifts my index finger to his lips, pressing the soft, icy skin to the tip.
"Oh," I sigh brokenly. I don't even care that I probably sound like an idiot.
"Want to get out of here?" Edward asks hopefully.
I nod emphatically. I don't even have to think about my answer.
He graciously helps me with my jacket and slips his own on before steering us through the crowded bar. His arm is around me the entire time, keeping me close as he flags down a taxi and slides in beside me. I direct the driver to my apartment, and on the way there, I'm hit with a twinge of uncertainty.
While I'm undoubtedly attracted to Edward like a moth to a flame, I'm not usually one to take complete strangers home with me.
Edward suddenly tightens his arm on my waist, and his cool lips graze my temple. My unease falls away and I sigh, turning my body into his because I'm still a little cold. He asks me if everything is all right, and I nod my head, simply chalking my hesitation up to some serious nerves.
We get out of the cab and enter my building silently, still connected because his hand hasn't left my waist since we began walking. I feel warm again – maybe even more so than before – and since the alcohol has really decided to kick in, I'm aroused. Despite the fact that Edward's hand is still cold, what goes on inside of me is nothing akin to his icy skin – it's the complete opposite.
My body aches and my heart hammers, my fingers yearn and my lips...
My lips are hungry for his.
I'm so lustful that I push Edward up against the wall when we get inside. I stand up on my tip toes, seeking his mouth as I grip the collar of his wet jacket between my fingers. He greets me willingly, hands cupping my back and waist to pull me closer, and he tilts his head.
His lips, the same lips I'd fantasized about, are cool and soft, so much softer than I had ever imagined.
His probing tongue meets mine and we kiss eagerly, without pause. Edward doesn't even question my ambush on his mouth; he simply accepts it, reciprocating perfectly, responding to every bite or suck of a lip. It's so intimate and charged that I moan, scraping my nails against the back of his neck as I curl them into his damp hair.
I hold him against me, hitching my leg onto his waist because the alcohol in my system is a tremendous boost to my confidence. In response, he groans into my mouth, and I gasp when Edward's hands grip me hard and lift me off the floor.
He carries me effortlessly, deep within the kiss and yet still able to navigate his way to my couch. I scramble back against the cushions when he sets me down, breathing heavily as I wait for him to join me. He sheds his jacket and shoes, crawling next to me, and I kick off my own shoes and fumble desperately with my jacket.
He places his hands over mine, stilling my frantic movements as he reaches inside the hefty material. He grips it tightly, easily tearing through the seams, before my expensive winter coat falls in a heap around my hips.
I want to be furious with him, to yell at him for ripping a jacket that had cost me an arm and a leg, but frankly, I can't find a reason. I'm too turned on to care about the damn coat.
I pull him back to me, gripping him by the shoulders as I tug at those soft, swollen lips with my teeth. One of his strong arms wraps around my waist, moulding my body to his, and he reclines us both onto the couch. He hovers over top of me, drawing my legs up over his hips as he angles his head and pushes his tongue fervently into my mouth.
I whimper at his divine taste, relishing in the way every inch of my skin physically responds to his touch; the tingle of my lips against his, the sparks in my fingertips as I explore his silky hair, the way my lower back ignites as he slowly manoeuvres his hands up my shirt.
It's so much to feel and take in at once, and before I've made a conscious decision to do anything but kiss him, I hear the audible rip of my shirt when Edward yanks on it. Even though I'm startled at his unorthodox method of undressing me, I find myself smiling against his mouth.
I open my eyes, watching as his meet mine in the dim light of the hallway.
"I hope you plan on buying me some new clothes," I whisper.
I sit up as he peels the torn shirt from my torso and smirks, placing the softest kiss on my lips. "I'll buy you anything you want," he says in reply. His words are low and husky, and when he nimbly pulls his shirt over his head, I can't tear my eyes away. I overtly stare, taking in his exquisite physique and the dark trail of hair that disappears into the waistline of his jeans.
Edward bows his body back over mine, drowning my thoughts with his lips and hands, touching and kissing and sucking in all the right places. I tangle my fingers into his hair, urging his mouth closer as he nips at my collarbone and gently bites on my throat.
Although it feels nothing short of amazing, the foreplay is too much to withstand. I take it upon myself to finish undressing, deftly undoing the button on my jeans and wiggling my hips as Edward assists in removing them.
He makes quick work of the rest of the restrictions between us, pushing everything to the floor before he pulls me on top of him. I straddle his waist, clutching the back of the couch, and his hands skim down my back to roughly grab my ass. He pushes his hips into mine, causing my breathing to falter, because his icy skin alternately stimulates and shocks me.
I want to ask why he's so cold, but when he latches his mouth onto my neck and sheathes himself inside me, the question dies on my lips. I hunch forward, moaning at the contact as I try to match him thrust for thrust, rolling my hips down when he pumps up. My thighs burn deliciously after only minutes, and I slow my movements, whimpering because it feels so good I don't want to stop.
Edward can feel my dwindling pace, though, and he pauses, tipping me down so my back is resting on the coffee table. I gasp at the change in angle, crying out exceptionally loud when his pelvis rocks into me and triggers my orgasm. My entire body shakes as I come and I toss my head back while Edward's teeth return to my throat, biting and sucking my skin so hard I know he'll leave a mark. It briefly occurs to me that it will be visible with my costume tomorrow night, but with a little make-up or a silky scarf, my problem is solved.
His teeth sink further into my neck, scrambling my thoughts, and while I find he has a certain affection for my throat, I also learn something else about Edward.
He's got stamina.
He takes me on the coffee table, the floor, over the arm of the couch. We end up in the bedroom, rattling my old, wooden dresser as it haphazardly smacks against the wall with each of Edward's deep thrusts. I'm digging my nails into his back, anchoring myself to him as he rests one hand on the wall behind me and uses the other to grip my thigh.
He moves his lips up from my throat, nibbling absently on my ear before he gasps, "Bella-"
His pace quickens briefly, and he shudders against me, moaning softly when he finds his release. He lays his head on my shoulder, relaxing marginally as the overwhelming heat between our bodies slowly dissipates. I can feel the coldness of his skin once again and I lean into him, shivering at the sublime contrast in temperature.
Edward pulls out eventually and helps me down from the dresser. I stumble when my feet touch the floor, probably because my legs feel like goo and between my thighs is absolutely throbbing. But Edward catches me, laughing quietly as he bears most of my weight and guides me over to the bed.
I climb in, snuggling underneath the warm comforter, and he sits on the edge.
"Are you going to stay?" I ask quietly, and my eyes involuntarily shut. I'm suddenly very sleepy.
Edward sweeps my hair away from my face, affectionately rubbing his thumb over a sensitive spot on my neck. I hiss at the mild, stinging pain and I scrunch my nose up, leaning into his touch.
"I can't," he replies quietly, "I wish I could, but I can't." I nod sadly as the spot on my neck throbs and he continues, "But I'll see you tomorrow. I wouldn't miss opening night." I smile at how he remembered and sigh in contentment.
"Goodnight, Isabella," he whispers in my ear, "sweet dreams."
I run, away from the storm, away from something I can't see. I pass the same stores and the same lamp posts on the same street, dragging myself through the downpour to an unknown destination. I push myself, ignoring the burn in my legs as my chest begins to heave with my effort.
I stop eventually, desperate for breath, for this unending nightmare to go away. I look up from the ground and into the rain, catching sight of the man, the one I always see. I feel my heart rate pick up, in anticipation of my scream, but it never comes.
Instead of staying concealed in the shadows like he usually does, the man takes a step forward.
I finally see his face.
And I don't scream when I wake up, I gasp.
The man in my nightmares is Edward.
A/N: Leave some love! Let me know how I'm doing :) Teasers will go out to those who review.