Pick-A-Pic Challenge

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Title: Land in My Arms

Penname: luckyirishtart

Banner: 3


Rating/ Disclaimer: M / I do not own these characters, they are Stephanie's. I am just making my own reality with them

Summary: He was her best friend with benefits. But now it felt like more, it was more and she knew someday he was going to have to choose. ExB AH

My mother once tried to explain the nature of relationships to me. I had just come home from school, huffing and crying over the treatment I had received from my best friend Jess. We were inseparable in junior high and did everything together. If I wasn't at her house, she was at my house. Our parents practically took turns raising us. But then Ben happened and all of the sudden I wasn't needed anymore. In fact, I was completely pushed aside.

I plopped myself down on a stool, watching my mom get out the ingredients for bread pudding. She walked by me, running her hand over the top of my head and down the side of my face in a soothing motion.

In her usual offbeat way, she explained that every relationship, like food, has an expiration date. Sometimes friendships can be over when they have served their purpose. Sometimes the reason will be right there in front of you. While sniffing the milk container, she went on to say sometimes you won't have a clue as to why it's gone bad. All in all, sometimes things don't last as long as you would like them to, whether it be food or relationships.

I tried to apply her quirky theory to me, my situation. I couldn't find a good reason for anything that was happening to me at this moment. I was hurt. I knew that people change, relationships change, but there are some things to which you just can't apply an expiration date.

"Miss, may I have some sugar for my coffee?" I turned to look, as the passenger to my left looked up at me expectantly. I smiled vaguely at Mr. Businessman in his rumpled shirt and tie, and hand over the small packet.

It was a full flight but the service was running pretty smoothly. I went back to the center galley to refill my coffee pot, where a few of the attendants were restocking for the next service. I skirt my way around one of the girls from Business Class, who huffed to no one in particular. Her name was Tanya, and she was the human version of Airline Barbie. She was standing there, with her hand on her hip, waiting for someone to find her some more champagne for Business class.

Then, she started talking. Quietly rolling my eyes, I kept myself busy by replacing the sugar and sweetener on my tray so I wouldn't have to engage her, and listen to her babble. Unfortunately for Sam, she had his attention.

"...and his name is Edward Cullen, he's one of our pilots. Our families have known each other for years. And he's invited me to Aspen next weekend. And... "

What? No. Can't be him. There has to be some kind of mistake. Not my Edward.

"...we're getting engaged!"

Sam looked at me with wide eyes. I turned from the galley with my tray and headed for the back. Ignoring the pleas from the passengers to pick up their assorted garbage, I raced down the aisle. I make it to the back lavatory and shut myself inside. My gut heaved, not only from my heightened sensitivity to the smell, but a realization that it's over.

He's moving on...without me.

I had suspected something was up for the last month, but didn't have any idea who it could have been. But I know now, and I have to fucking hear about it from her.

But he's mine.

Not mine. Not anymore.

In twelve hours, Edward and I are supposed to meet in Anchorage. His family has a cabin there where we usually go to hang out - like friends do. A place where we get together and recharge. I usually would work on my Master's thesis and cook, and he'd play music, or be my sounding board. It is a place where we forgot about the outside world, where we existed inside a bubble.

He is my best friend...with benefits.

The sex started out as just fun. It had always been a part of us, who we were with each other and it worked.

I knew from the way that he talked about his family, that he was a very committed and loyal kind of guy. He would do anything for anyone in his family. Neither one of us were really seeing anyone else, as far as I knew. I remembered he mentioned once that his family had expected him to marry the daughter of their longtime friends when they were younger. He never spoke much about it so I thought it a moot point.

I guess I was the one living inside a bubble. How could I not see it? But, if he had chosen to be with her... The nausea hit me again. I was losing more than my best friend. I was losing my heart.

There is no way this is happening. I began to hyperventilate, I could feel the bile start to rise up my throat. Oh God. The worst of it was being trapped on this plane with her for another 2 hours.

A soft knock on the door broke me out of my stupor.

"B, Are you okay?" Sam's muffled voice came through the door. I grabbed some toilet paper and wiped the smudged makeup off of my face.

"Are you alone out there? " I sniffed.

"Yes, doll. Come on, open up." I unlatched and slid the folding door slightly open. Sam stepped in , took one look at my face, and said. "Oh, Honey...," and wrapped his arms around me. The tears really began to fall at that point.

Sam said," I'm sorry B, I don't know what to say to you, but I know you'll be okay. Just make it through this flight and you'll figure out what is going on, okay? I'll keep Little Miss Porn Star away from you."

I had to laugh a little at that. Since Sam and I seemed to fly with each other a lot, I had told him quite a bit about Edward and me. He understood.

Who was I kidding? Why wouId Edward want me over her? I sniffed once more, took a deep breath, and straightened my uniform. Sam gave me an encouraging look as we walked out of the lav together. Mr. Businessman, who was waiting for the restroom, raised his eyebrows at us. Sam winked at him, before dancing around him and taking turn up the aisle.

I manage to avoid Tanya for the rest of the flight. It was a large plane with a big crew, so I really didn't have to see her since she was working up in Business class. Once we landed, I robotically plastered a smile on my face as the passengers filed off of the plane.

A half hour later, I was finally in my truck. I gripped the steering wheel while I tried to make a decision about Edward and me.

I thought back to the first time Edward and I met. It had been on a layover in Hawaii. Well, actually, he practically saved my life that night.

After we landed in Honolulu, a few of the flight attendants and flight crew met up in the open air bar at the hotel for drinks. Edward and Paul, two of the pilots from our flight, had joined us as well. I had a brief encounter with Edward earlier in the day. I was opening a bottle of wine and whacked myself in the chin with the wine opener as I first laid eyes on him. Needless to say, I was really embarrassed so I avoided him the rest of the flight.

Turns out he was a blast to talk to, and not hard to look at either.

The hotel band was playing some pretty decent covers, so several cosmos later, a few of us got up and danced. I noticed that every time I turned around, Edward was leaning against the bar, watching me with this lopsided grin on his face. I attempted to smile back and but it felt awkward.

It was warm that evening, and even though the breeze was gently blowing onshore, those of us dancing were getting overheated. Bree said," Let's go to the beach and cool off!" So the six of us wandered through the open patio onto the beach, stumbling and laughing. The sun was just setting, and the breeze felt good. I pulled off my flip-flops because I loved the feel of walking across the sand in bare feet. Edward, for some reason, wasn't too far from my side. I could feel him right behind me.

The sun had set just below the horizon and the evening light refracted off of the clouds. "I'm goin' in!" shouted someone. I swear it was Eric, but we all joined in and ran into the surf.

As I ducked below the water, I felt a strong tug under my feet and was swept out a little by the undertow. Coughing and hacking I tried to turn around back towards the shore but I was a little disoriented and the next wave flipped me over. When I started to panic, large, strong hands grabbed me, pulling me up towards the surface. The next thing I knew, I was looking into those beautiful green eyes I had avoided all day, sputtering for air.

"Are you okay?" he said. All I could do was nod.

As he walked me back onto the beach he said, "I don't know what it is, Bella, but I feel this need to protect you." I looked up, back into his eyes and immediately felt safe there.

Needless to say, he didn't leave my side that night.

"Um, swim much Bella?" Eric said laughing, reminding me of yet another embarrassing moment in front of Edward. Jeez, was the universe against me?

I turned around and Edward was stripping off his t-shirt to wring it out. I couldn't stop gawking at the nipple ring on the right side and the tattoo he had running up his left side. It started at his hipbone and curled up around his shoulder like an antler. I never imagined that under his uniform. His chest was perfect. His stomach was divine. I wanted to run my tongue up his chest and flick that ring...

"Bella, are you really alright?" as he turned to tuck my wet hair behind my ear.

"I think I need another drink, " I laughed.

We made our way back and continued to drink around the outside bar. The bartender threw us a couple of pool towels so we could dry off.

The other crew members started to straggle off until it was only Edward and me. Things were getting fuzzy at this point so I decided to call it a night. He offered to walk me to my room, and I couldn't refuse him.

When we arrived at my room, I couldn't get my key to work in the door. Edward took it out of my hand, and swiped the lock for me, before turning the handle. I turned around to thank him, and my nose nearly grazed his chest, he was so close. We stumbled into my room, giggling and laughing.

He grabbed my waist to steady me, and the lack of space between us made me pause. I was so close I could taste him. His lips crashed into mine, and he turned and lifted me against the inside wall as my door slammed closed. Panting, groping and stumbling, I wrapped my legs around his waist and we fumbled our way further into the room.

Since my suitcase was still lying on the bed, he carried me out, through the sliding glass doors, onto the secluded balcony. My back was against the cool glass doors, as I wrapped my legs tighter around him. His mouth connected with mine as we tore at each other's clothes. The warm night air fell on our naked skin, and I shivered as a breeze rolled over my nipples. The ocean crashed in the background, as his hands ran up my side, giving me goose bumps. His hands moved over my thighs, and he gently squeezed, indicating for me to slowly let go. He slid me down, and held me steady until I was standing.

Edward's voice was rough in my ear, "Turn around."

Both my hands went on the glass of the doors to keep myself from falling over. He kissed my neck and grazed his hands over my breasts. I could see his reflection as his hands slowly worked their way down and back up, under the hem of my skirt.

"I just want to make you feel good" he whispered.

"Yes, please," I moaned, as his fingers found their way under my panties and into my hot, wet flesh.

What I remember most about that night, is he made it all about me, wanting nothing in return. We played for a few more hours before he tucked me under the covers. Knowing I was close to sleep, he kissed me on the cheek and whispered, "Goodnight beautiful."

I didn't really ask at the time if there had been anyone else . I didn't care.

Over time, we had eventually forged a friendship that I knew I couldn't live without. We turned to each other for comfort when lonely, but it felt safe, or so I thought.

I finished packing what I would need for this weekend, and left to drive back to the airport. A few hours later, I found myself on the flight to Anchorage, where we had planned to hang for the long weekend.

Picking up the scotch I ordered, I slowly sipped it, letting the amber liquid warm me inside. Pushing the ice cubes around in my glass, I keep telling myself that this would be it. One more weekend was all I wanted. No drama, no questions.

I picked up the Jeep that he had left for me at the airport. I knew he had arrived a few hours earlier to ready the cabin for our weekend stay, so he wouldn't be waiting for me in the terminal. Now that winter was upon us, there was more to deal with when opening up the cabin.

You can do this.

Arriving at the house, I stayed in the Jeep with my arms wrapped around my middle, watching my breath fog up the windows. I know I need to get the facts, but wasn't sure I wanted the truth.

I could feel the cold creeping in, my gloves not enough protection against the icy air. I knew I would need to move towards the house soon. I climb out of the jeep, slipping on the snowy ice under my feet. My insides begin to churn with uncertainty as I pull my purse off of the passenger seat and trudge towards the house.

The door was unlocked, so I push my way slowly in, expecting a musty odor as the house had been shut up for a few months. The scents that hit my nose as I walk through the door are cinnamon, nutmeg and pine.

Warmth. Home. Edward.

Slipping off my snowy wet boots and heavy down jacket, I make sure to leave them by the front door. Working my way towards the kitchen, I call out his name.


I listen for a second and I hear the water running in the upstairs shower. He'd left a bottle of wine on the counter, uncorked, with a glass and a note.

If you get here before I'm out, have a glass and relax. - E

I love his notes. He's always so thoughtful. I remembered the first of many I had received from him. He had left it in my box at work, not long after I had met him in Hawaii. I had been confused at first, thinking someone had give me someone elses mail. Attached to a life jacket was a note: Maybe you should bring this next time. -E

I let out a small laugh at the memory. With a big sigh, I slug down a glass of wine in less than a minute. I knew it would hit me fast, not having eaten anything for hours.

Climbing the stairs, I steel my nerves with what is about to happen. As I walk through the master bedroom, I can see his figure behind the glass in the shower. God, he's magnificent.

I need this. I will risk the possible rejection.

I slowly take off my socks, pants, and sweater, leaving a trail of clothing behind me. Down to my bra and panties, I push the bathroom door the rest of the way open. He hadn't heard me so I strip my remaining garments off, and open the shower door. Carefully, I step into the tub, with the steam surrounding me, and the smell of his soap filling my nose. His back was to me, but I knew he felt my presence.

"Hey, You," he murmured.

I slid my arms under his and slowly began to kiss him down his back. He let out a low hum and tried to turn in my arms.

"No, I just want to feel you for a moment, " I said softly against his wet skin.

I press my chest into his back and glide my hands down over his stomach. There, I feel the deep "V" of his abdomen and continue to move my hands to the front of his thighs. As I drag my fingertips lightly back up, I take him in my hand and leisurely start moving my wet hands up and down his shaft. I cup him gently and begin to feel and memorize every bit of him that I can. He doesn't stop me. Maybe this last time is what he wants as well.

I could tell he was getting worked up by the deep moan coming from his throat . He suddenly spins around and his mouth crashes down on mine. I can feel the passion and the lust pour out of him as he becomes almost desperate in his kiss. Like me. We match, movement for movement, touch for touch.

Keeping my eyes closed, my slow tears mingle with the water coming from above our heads. He takes me against the wall in the shower with a purposeful tone. I arch my back as we come together, relishing in the feeling of being one with my best friend and lover.

As I come down from my glow, reality rears its ugly head. Oh God. What am I doing? I start to speak and he places his index finger over my mouth and gently replaces it with his lips.

Some moments don't need words and I could feel that the atmosphere definitely was different tonight. He continued to carefully and sensually wash my body. As we moved out of the shower, I gave him a small smile as we toweled each other off. Wrapping me in a towel, he took my hand, moving me into the bedroom and motioned me to sit on the bed.

As he sat down next to me, he twisted to turn on the iPod on the bedside table. I couldn't help but run my hands up his side, caressing the same tattoo I had ogled when I first met him. I lusted after this man and I wanted to memorize his entire body. Otis Redding began to croon :

Oh she may be weary

Them young girls they do get wearied

Wearing that same old miniskirt dress

But when she gets weary

You try a little tenderness

He slowly turned back to me. Smiling that melting grin, he began to kiss me deeply murmuring, "I'm so glad you're here."

His hands moved from the side of my face down over my arms, as he laid me back onto the bed. My fingers slowly crept up around the nape of his neck, and threaded themselves into his hair. He moved his right hand slowly down my forearm leaving a trail of heat in its wake. Moving over the top of me, he dipped his head to the space between my collarbones and placed a gentle kiss there.

Mine. I imagine him saying.

My body is burning with need for him. He moves down over my breasts, licking and sucking my nipples with equal attention as I arch up against him. I have never wanted anyone so much as I had in this moment.

He continued kissing his way down over my stomach, leaning off to one side to place a kiss on my hip. My need at that point was too great.

"Please, inside me," I whispered.

He moved over me again and placed his knee between mine, moving my legs a little wider. The anticipation built between us, and I felt his fingers running over me, testing me. I whimpered and bit my lip, my hips rising at his touch. Finally he settled himself between my legs, and I could feel him at my entrance. His lips found mine again, as he slowly pushed into me. Being filled by him, felt like heaven. I can't imagine being anywhere else, with anyone else.

He began to move inside me, while placing kisses on my mouth from every possible angle. His right hand moved up and curled around underneath my shoulder, while his left hand brought my leg up around his waist. The change in angle caused me to tighten my grip on his shoulders and buck up against him to get closer. I could feel my body start to clench around him and I knew I wouldn't be able to last long. His arms were tight and hard from holding himself up. He thrust into me twice more and I exploded, my head back, my body writhing in pleasure. He came not long after I did softly cursing as he buried his head into my neck.

I thought we were done, but he kept moving slowly, inside me and I felt another wave coming to consume me. And he was there to catch me again.

At one point, we wound up on the floor. I don't care that this will be it. I selfishly want everything. It was then when he looked in my eyes, I knew, deep down it is me he wants and I feel, in my heart, he is the only one for me. He has touched me so reverently, I feel loved, and I believe in my mind, in this moment, that he loves me.

We barely rested for several minutes in silence listening to music coming from the iPod.

Something always brings me back to you.

It never takes too long.

No matter what I say or do, I still feel you here 'til the moment I'm gone.

When I start a slow torturous line of kisses up his neck, he laughed, "Bella, you'll be the death of me." I just hum in agreement.

I climb on top of him, and pour my heart and soul into making love to him, hoping that he can feel everything that I feel for him. When we are absolutely spent, he helps me up off of the floor and into the bed. As I pull his head to my shoulder, he murmurs , "I barely even got to say 'Hello'..."

"Hello, " I smile into his temple, breathing in his scent from his hair as he nuzzles my breasts.

But I need to say goodbye.

I don't sleep. I run my fingers through his hair and plant small kisses on his head. Tears roll slowly out of the corner of my eyes. When I figure it is getting close to dawn, I slip out of bed, grab my clothes and quietly make my way downstairs. I definitely will be able to make the first flight out on standby. My suitcase was still in the Jeep because I knew what I came here to do. I was leaving him to a future with another woman now that I was no longer needed. Part of me still hoped, someday it would be my arms he craved.


K, folks, this is my first attempt and I really enjoyed the entire process... Huge thanks go to elusivetwilight for help in betaing this... Your comments and suggestions really helped me through this and inspired me to be better every time. And I couldn't help but fiddle with it even more... :$ And to Coopsmom thank you for pre-reading this when I needed another set of eyes. We definitely need a GNO and I'm not waiting until next November... ;)

Songs: Otis Redding "Try A Little Tenderness"
Sara Bareilles " Gravity"