Stephanie Meyer owns Twilight, no copyright infringement intended.
Massive thanks to Twihard-girl, BendItEdward and especially edwards-dubussy (whose suggestions and words were completely snatched up and put into this chapter, so I really can't take credit for them) for the New York help!
The usual gratitude to all of those who are reading/recommending/reviewing, etc. Big wave to all of the FB lovely's!
Pixiekat7 continues to be like my right arm, she really is just all-out chuffing marvellous. All hail the pixie lady!
Alright, we've got some fairly heavy descriptive narrative in this one. I know there's a definite spilt when it comes to what people like, but it's one of those to get to 'B' you have to go through 'A' type scenarios :)
"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet."
~ Roger Miller
There is a point in everybody's life where some things become routine. You learn to hold certain expectations, you develop certain prejudices and you can almost begin to distinguish how situations will unfold. On occasion, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised, or perhaps even shocked or saddened, when something doesn't quite pan out the way you had initially thought. And then there are those times where everything happens just as you had originally anticipated.
There are times in this life where we all expect the worst to happen. We observe a person or a situation and we immediately judge and criticise, for we have often seen many a tale spin the same old story with the same beginning and the same ending and we believe so vehemently that we know the outcome - and that that outcome will not be a good one. Like watching a car crash waiting to happen, there is often very little you can do to stop it, but you know in your heart of hearts that naught will end happily for anybody involved.
But then every once in a while, almost as if there really is a God 'up there' trying to reaffirm people's faith in humanity, something happens that completely blows all of your preconceptions right out of the water.
My own expectations, prejudices and foresight were really not that much different from any other ordinary person's. As a child I knew that taking candy from a stranger was a definite NO. As a young teen I knew never to accept a ride from a strange man in a van. And as a young adult, I knew that registering with a Sugar Daddy website would probably land me in hot water with a repulsive, sweaty, balding old man. And yet I did it anyway. I ignored every stigma, every screaming ounce of common sense and every right and wrong that I been brought up with and I went ahead with my search.
My expectations were tuition money in exchange for sex.
My prejudices led me to envisage a creep with halitosis.
And my foresight told me that it would work out, because it would be nothing more than a detached arrangement for four years, that while it may not be ideal, would highly benefit my future prospects.
Before I continue, I would like to submerge you all in one tiny little picture.
Thursday 2nd September.
Edward was called into his office early in the morning for an emergency meeting. Something had gone wrong whilst attempting to fit the glass panels into a new all glass structure his company were currently overseeing, and he had needed to sort the problem out quickly before the project deadline was jeopardised.
Finding myself all alone, I had dressed, downloaded a transit map application of New York onto my iPhone via Edward's pervious instructions, and left for the day.
I had heard of a fantastic bookstore called The Strand, and I wanted to investigate.
I'd strolled happily and without any wrong turns up to 8th Avenue, where I had hopped onto the subway heading towards Rockaway Parkway. I'd clambered off at the Union Square 14th Street station and made a quick journey down Broadway towards the bright red hooded hangovers of my target.
My God, what a place! I must have spent hours in there just trawling through the shelves of books. They had everything, new, used, rare – they even had Curated Collections. I was not surprised when the woman at the checkout announced my total of $203.85. I'd happily handed over my card, not Edward's, but mine. It had been my treat to myself and I felt overtly proud to pay for the purchases with my own money.
From there, I'd made my way up towards Union Square Park, stopping only briefly at a Starbucks to grab a coffee and something to eat. I'd spent all afternoon sheltering myself from the scorching New York heat under a large, shaded tree and simply immersed myself in my new reading material. The sounds of the city all around me had been welcome, there were various dance and musical acts performing freely and with spirit within the park's grounds and the general feel within the open space had been a cheerful one. I'd absorbed it all, snapping pictures occasionally to add to my album.
Time had completely escaped me and I had been shocked to find myself still in place at six o'clock. I had quickly gathered my things and made for home, giving myself a big pat on the back for remembering which way to go sans map. I had only just missed the subway going to 8th Avenue, so I waited patiently for the next.
I didn't walk through the front door until just after half past six. The house had been quiet but the lights were on, indicating Edward's return. I'd checked his workroom and the music room, but hadn't found him in either. My next guess had been the kitchen.
And this is the picture that I wanted to share.
Edward had been in the kitchen and upon seeing him; my preconceptions were blown right out of the water.
You see, Edward Cullen was many things. He was rich, successful, devastatingly handsome, accomplished, knowledgeable, kind hearted and so on and so on. In layman's terms, he really was almost too good to be true.
But I didn't see any of that when I walked silently into the kitchen.
What I saw was a man hunched over the breakfast bar, running a hand anxiously through his hair as his other hand repeatedly fiddled with his cell. There had been a bag of promised Chinese takeout sitting untouched on the counter top, along with a bottle of wine and two unused glasses. There was something incredibly defeated about the way Edward had held himself in the large room, all by himself. The atmosphere in the kitchen had been strange, there was a tenseness radiating off of Edward… a certain desperation to his movements as he tugged at his hair and keyed numbers into his phone.
I had always struggled to understand Edward's reasoning behind taking me in. I wasn't a fool, I was well aware of the differences between us. He seemingly had it all - he had everything that I did not. And for once that was not my self-deprecating nature talking; it was merely what I saw as truth. What could I, realistically, ever possibly offer such a man?
I was very young, where he was not. I was inexperienced, where he had a world of practice behind him. I was plain, where he was surreally beautiful. I didn't have any money, where he had enough to last several lifetimes. I was relatively intelligent for my age, where he was accomplished beyond all sense. The list was continuous. I had nothing that he did. We were not equal. He was everything to my nothing.
But in that one silent moment of observation on Thursday evening, a small part of the puzzle had finally slipped into place. It hit me like a freight train, all at once and in rapid succession.
'I made an offhand comment some months back about only ever attracting gold-diggers…'
'I just want you. Simple. I would like a little companionship. New York can be a very lonely place for a single man in his late thirties, especially one who avoids dating.'
'I cannot think of anything that would make me happier, than to simply come home and find you fast asleep on my sofa. To come home knowing that there is somebody there for me to take care of…'
'I don't much like the notion of coming home to find you not there, having no idea of your whereabouts.'
'If you want me to come and get you, I will. You take priority. I'm only a phone call away…'
Edward was… lonely.
I had not once stopped to really take in his words before, to really consider them. I had simply seen a man with the world at his feet - a beautiful, talented, wealthy man who couldn't possibly feel lonely because of his social status and fortunate charms. I had put Edward Cullen up on a pedestal where loneliness surely never reached him. I mean, how could it? When you seemingly have everything in this world, how could you ever feel all alone in it? He had it all, didn't he?
Except that he didn't and I had realised that as I'd stood there watching him.
He couldn't have relationships. His work commitments took over far too much of his time and his money and success probably led him to question intent constantly. There would be two 'types' of women Edward would date; the 'clinging vines' who ended up resenting his time away from the relationship, or the gold-digger's who stayed because of his wealth.
No wonder he had chosen to opt out, the prospects weren't exactly gleaming with prosperity.
'I've waited a long time for you.'
'I suppose you could say James saw something in your profile that I would find… acceptable.'
Acceptable – I'd very nearly snorted at that. I wasn't acceptable; I was actually perfect for him. I needed his money but I didn't want it. He would never have to worry about me trying to take advantage of his wealth. I didn't want gifts, I didn't want spoiled. I was no pampered little princess. We were bound contractually, both getting exactly what we needed so there would never be cause to cling. Edward could give as much or as little as he wanted and the only complaint he would ever hear from me would be when I thought he was giving too much. It had absolutely nothing to do with my age and everything to do with wanting somebody here for him.
'I want hassle free. And unfortunately, that's just not realistic.'
No, it wasn't realistic. Yet he had found a way to get it nonetheless. He had found me. And whilst I would probably always think the balance unequal, Thursday night had at least revealed something important: Edward was getting something out of all of this. Though the balancing scales had not been weighed in the way I had expected them to be. Edward had not once, not once, broached the subject of sex. He had never demanded anything of that nature from me, Christ; he had given me my own room!
'I am not a scoundrel, Isabella.'
'I would hope for a certain level of natural progression.'
Edward was more than happy to allow things to take a natural course, he was giving me time. There was no rush for a sexual relationship and he had never once tried to push the issue with me.
Edward simply wanted company. He wanted somebody to come home to and I hadn't been there.
My heart had clenched painfully for him. If somebody like Edward felt alone, what hope did the rest of us have?
But what if I could stop it, what if I really did have a purpose here with Edward? What if, despite mine and everybody else's prejudices against the whole 'Sugar Daddy' world, there was something deeper, something far more delicate to grasp a hold of in this one, peculiar instance? I surely couldn't change my past, my feelings towards relationships or my self-criticism, but perhaps I could push it all away to be here for him. I couldn't give him much; I didn't have anything to really offer him, but this, this I definitely could do. I could be the welcoming smile he came home to.
Silently, I'd crept up behind him and placed a bag from The Strand down in front of him. I'd found an old book all about ancient architecture in the store and thought of him immediately. I hadn't spotted anything like it in his workroom and I'd wanted to get him something to say thank you.
His head had snapped up instantly, the look of sheer relief that painted his face had me mentally lashing myself. I'd barely blinked before my feet left the ground, my body being crushed into his.
"Jesus, Bella! I was so worried!" He'd said, burying his nose into my hair.
I'd felt awful. I had been so caught up enjoying my day that I'd never thought to check my phone. I hadn't even left him a note.
I lost count of how many times I said sorry to him. I hated being the cause of his worry. I didn't like that my absent-mindedness had made him that way.
"It doesn't matter, you're home now." He'd sighed happily. "It was Chinese you wanted, right?"
Yes, some things in life become routine. But at times, if you're very lucky, something or someone comes along and challenges everything that you think you see or know.
I applied to a Sugar Daddy website and expected a slug.
What I actually got - was incredible.
My sleep filled eyes began to flutter open just as a light touching breeze danced across them. The room was bright and filled with a fresh morning scent. I smiled when I saw that my curtains had been opened and my blinds rolled up half way, all three windows had been cracked open just a little to entice some cool air inside. The contrast between the feel of the soft-as-silk cotton sheets and the delicate whisper of the wind had me stretching out in a state of utter bliss.
This was the life.
New York had been suffering from a building late summer heat wave this past week. It had started off as simply warm t-shirt weather, but had fast turned into the baking heat I'd once known from my days back in Phoenix. I had revelled in it. Three years of perpetual rain had me basking in the city's sunrays. I couldn't get enough of being outdoors, much to Edward's amusement.
I flickered my eyes upwards knowingly to check my nightstand, and there it was, my steaming hot cup of vanilla flavoured coffee, in my mug. Just like every other morning, always waiting for me. I turned my head sideways to check the opposite pillow and again, I was faced with the secondary part of what had become our morning routine these last seven days. The box was plain black today, no Tiffany turquoise in sight. It was also bigger than the others had been. This was no ring box.
Edward had done this for me every morning. The curtains were always drawn, the windows were always open, my coffee was always waiting for me and a new charm was always eagerly awaiting its introduction to my bracelet.
The strange thing about our morning ritual was how in sync my body seemed to be with Edward's presence. At first it had puzzled me the way I would wake up to find the coffee still fresh and piping hot, the second day it happened I was convinced it was merely a fluke. Day four however, I sensed him. I had not heard him enter, or open the windows. I had not seen him approaching my bed. I had not smelled the aroma of my coffee as it was silently situated onto my side table. I had not felt the touch of his fingers running through my hair or the kiss he placed upon my temple. I had not heard the shuffle of the pillow as he placed my new box down besides my sleeping form. And I had certainly not heard his whispered, 'Good morning, Bella'.
No, I had not experienced any of those things. But I knew - I knew that he was there, doing all of them. And my unconscious mind would ready itself to awaken just as he left through the door.
I sat up slowly, letting out a happy sigh of complete contentment. I had never felt so at peace with the world. This past week had been nothing short of incredible, Edward had made it so.
I reached out for my coffee and began to take small sips, smiling stupidly into the mug as the Vanilla vapour assaulted my senses. He even managed to get my coffee absolutely perfect every morning, black with half a sugar.
I set the cup back down as the liquid sloshed around the halfway point and instead of reaching for the new box straight away, I bent over the side of my bed and hauled up my New York photo album. This was something that I had promised to myself as I'd gotten into bed for the first time last week. I had promised myself lots of memories. The album was large with sepia coloured New York landmarks on the front of it and it was very nearly filled already. I'd bought it specifically to document my first week here and thanks to Edward, I had a brand new digital camera and photo printer mysteriously appear in my room last Sunday morning.
I flipped the album open.
Sunday 29th August.
I had woken up to find a Tiffany box lying next me, inside it was an odd shaped platinum silver charm with the letters 'NY' engraved onto it. I am still avoiding any thoughts regarding its cost, because I know that the little round sparkles set within it are not Cubic Zirconias. But the charm had marked the beginning of my adventures here.
Each picture depicted every aspect of my first day; the train ride down to South Ferry to board the Staten Island Ferry, the mind blowing, majestic views of New York harbor and lower Manhattan. I saw and documented it all, the towering skyscrapers, the sheer vastness of the city, the impressive bridges, Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. There was a photo of Edward and I at the railings of the ferry, he'd had his arms wrapped around me as a passenger snapped us looking out at the water. Then came Times Square.
It had scared the crap out of me.
The people, oh the people. So many people! Sunday afternoon in Times Square, I feared for my life. I did, I won't lie.
Edward had booked us a tour, where our guide 'Anya' proceeded to spend an hour showing the group of quivering visitors around. There aren't even enough words in the dictionary to describe the place. It was huge. Everything about it screamed, 'I'm big and you're small!'
Anya had called it, 'The Crossroads of The World'. I had labelled it, 'Here Lies Isabella. Massacred by Yellow Cabs'.
After that were the photos of me grinning moronically outside of The New York Public Library, then some pictures of us both on Park Avenue and then there we were on East 43rd Street, outside of Edward's office building. My favourite photo of all was the one of him looking sweetly bashful as I made him stand in front of the 'Cullen Architecture' plaque.
Monday 30th August.
My box had been dark blue with the word 'Swarovski' written on it. I'd smiled when I saw the delicate image of a white swan placed above the letters. Inside had been a tiny clip-on silver fish charm, studded with blue crystals.
He had given me a little fish.
We had taken the subway up to 81st Street and spent all morning and a good part of the afternoon wandering around the American Museum of Natural History. I had pictures of Edward and I standing in front of the goliath 94-foot-long blue whale, the gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex and in the pretty butterfly conservatory. It was five floors of jaw dropping exhibits and mindboggling information. Edward had dropped $140 on a 'Venus' paperweight for me after I'd made a comment about not being able to see the stars anymore because of the city's glare. I'd kept my mouth shut after that, I'd seen a 6 foot cuddly lion in the children's section and there was no way in hell I was walking around Manhattan with it all because I had made a flippant, 'oh, isn't that cute!' remark.
We'd spent the remainder of the afternoon walking around Central Park and when I say walking, I mean we collapsed at the first sign of greenery and talked as Edward played with my hair.
Tuesday 31st August.
Another Swarovski box. There was a silver whale dotted with blue crystals inside. I didn't know if it symbolised our trip to the museum and my fascination over the large model or if it was in reference to my, 'That's you. I'm the little fish, you're the big, all-knowing whale' comment. Perhaps both. I didn't care. I had happily placed my whale next to my little fish. I thought they made an unusual pair.
Tuesday was spent getting to know the West Village. I had picture after picture of hidden away alleys and picturesque townhouses. The place was absolutely filled with fashionable little boutiques and Edward had treated me to a beautiful blue and white patterned vintage one shouldered dress. It was at his insistence that we spent the following hour and a half looking for shoes that would match. We'd eventually came across a pair of turquoise suede sling back death-traps.
That night he took me out for the first time. We went to a jazz club called Blue Note that was in Greenwich Village, I wore my new dress. The place was amazing. Front row seats where the saxophone blew loud, the drinks were flowing and the coconut fried shrimp followed by a juicy steak were too damn delicious for words. Edward knew the owners. We had pictures with both them and the acts that had played.
Wednesday 1st September.
A small black velvet box. There was a tiny silver clip-on saxophone inside.
Edward had driven us to Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. We did a painting workshop. Edward's masterpiece was just that, a freakin' masterpiece. My own work looked like a dog had dipped its ass into the paint and proceeded to rub it all over the small canvas. Regardless, Edward had insisted that I let him keep it. Strange man.
He took me to Prospect Park Zoo after that, I'd never been to a zoo before. Renee's general response to school fieldtrip requests had always been an all out 'no' and Charlie always used to say he couldn't afford them. I'd liked the owls the best, though I think my child-like fascination with the animals and birds there had dampened Edward's mood a little. I think he struggled to understand how I was so lacking in so many experiences.
Thursday 2nd September.
I'd had two boxes. The first was from 'Links of London' and had a tiny silver paint pallet and paint brush charm inside. The second box was plain red and when I opened it, a silver owl studded with diamonds sparkled up at me.
All of my pictures of Union Square Park and the outside of The Strand bookstore stared back at me. It really had been loveliest afternoon. Edward had booked us tickets that night to go to see Wicked on Broadway. After we had eaten he'd presented me with a great white box and after peeling my way through the layers of tissue paper, my hands had made contact with a green silk dress. I'd mentally thanked Angela for forcing me into buying a pair of black heels, because on Thursday night, I had walked into that theatre on Edward's arm and actually felt… pretty. Well, despite the silly black witch's hat Edward had placed on my head. Theatre vendors were no friends of mine.
Edward had kept a close hold on me all night; I think it was a reaction to my disappearance that day and it had made him visibly a little edgy. In fact, I think it was only his sense of propriety that had kept him from pulling me down onto his lap for the entire show.
Friday 3rd September.
It had been a circular white and black striped box with a flowing black signature yesterday morning. Thomas Sabo. I gave myself another ten mental lashes when I saw the detailed clip-on cell phone charm. The message was subtle, but it was received loud and clear – please answer your phone and let me know that you're alright.
We'd spent the day in Central Park. Edward had packed us up, picnic in tow and whisked us off to soak up the sun on Sheep Meadow. It was a hard place to try to describe. It was so unbelievably green and lush and yet floating above the tree tops was a hovering mass of buildings. It was an urban oasis, right in the centre of a frenetic city. I had fallen asleep reading at some point, only to wake up sprawled across Edward's chest. It felt nice. I'd become a little greedy with my hugs, I may not have actively initiated one since the airport, but there was a part of me that collapsed into Edward's arms now whenever I felt them around me. I liked that he never pulled away from me; he let me stay there as long as I wanted. I'd never had that before.
We went to a place called Aldea for dinner. It had meant another new dress, which Mr. Money Bags just so happened to have all ready for me. Throughout my entire entrée I'd had a fork fight with the man-child as he continually tried to make a beeline for my paella. I think we both fell asleep last night with aching jaws; there had been much laughing done.
And that had been my week so far, all stuffed into a photo album and ready for revisiting any time that I wanted. I could honestly say that I'd had the time of my life; I'd never had so much raw fun before. There was something very uplifting about being young and carefree; I hadn't felt that way in a long time. Edward had said last Sunday that I was 'wise beyond me years', but that I had 'forgotten how to just be young."
Well, this week I had certainly remembered. Ironic how I'd managed that with a man nearly twenty-one years my senior, huh?
I set the album down on the bed, took another sip of my coffee and reached for the new box. I was eager to see what he'd conjured up this time. I had no idea how he was able to get the charms so quickly or how his choices were so accurate. But one thing was clear; he put a hell of a lot of thought into them.
I nearly choked when I lifted the lid.
Here we go! Inner rolled her eyes.
He hadn't. Please tell me he hadn't!
I'd given myself several pep talks over the last few days about learning to accept Edward's generosity. Giving me things seemed to make him happy and that's why I was here, right? To make him happy? It didn't mean that I was inwardly thrilled about it, sometimes it made me feel cheap and sometimes it made me feel like I was no better than those money-hungry tarts floating about on that vile website, but I was beginning to perfect the art of strained acceptance.
This was, without a doubt, absolutely one thing too much!
I couldn't, no – I wouldn't ever be able to accept this.
Throwing back the covers, I snatched the charm from its box and went in search. We needed to talk. There was just no way...
I ignored the fact that I was in nothing but my 'NOT a morning person' pyjama shorts and tank top set as I padded down the thickly carpeted stairs. My fitness levels had soared ten points since arriving here, it was no wonder he hadn't put in a home gym. Who needed one with four staircases in their house? That was fifty-two bloody steps, by the way.
I found him in his workroom, bent over his desk, meticulously going over some plans. I don't think the man ever slept.
He was casual today, no suit pants or shirt in sight. He obviously wasn't expecting to get called into the office at any point. He was in a green and white striped polo shirt and light wash jeans, barefoot. The hair was a complete mess, which meant he'd been running his fingers through it more than usual. Something had stressed him out. I didn't want to make things worse for him if that was the case, but I also knew that I had to address this. I refused to lose myself to a man's money. I couldn't just roll over with this one, I had to say something.
I approached him without making a sound, momentarily surprised by my own stealth. I didn't trip once or break any toes. Edward hadn't heard me, so when I 'drove' the little charm across his plans, I watched his entire body stiffen.
He slowly looked to the side and… oh my.
Hussy bolted in; seemingly back from her prolonged visit to the Isle of Swoon. I hadn't heard from her all week, she'd jumped ship on Sunday evening. Watching Edward bend down repeatedly whilst moving my boxes around had just been too much for her.
Emerald pools blinked up at me, framed by the glasses.
I could already feel my resolve slipping. The glasses were bad. Very bad. Bad for Bella.
He dropped his pencil slowly; the movement measured, and pulled himself up to full height.
Don't do the creepy up and down 'checking him out' stare thing! Don't do it! DO NOT!
Jeez, even his feet were nice.
God dammit Swan!
I gulped as my eyes met his. My, he was pretty. And what was it about those glasses?
Edward cocked his head to the side and raised his eyebrows.
Oh right, the charm…
"Edward," I began, my voice small. "I can- OH!"
I was lifted off my feet.
Before I had time to catch my breath or even blink he had put me down on his desk. His legs gently nudged mine apart and he came to stand between them. Oh he was close. He placed his hands on either side of me, elbows bent slightly. When he brought his face down towards my own, his eyes flickered from mine to my mouth. And then there were lips on my lips.
Coffee in bed, glasses, lips…
The Charm, Bella. THE CHARM!
The lips felt nice.
And then he was gone, not removed in body, just in lips.
He picked up his pencil and a stray ruler, looked down at the plans and started to do… something.
It took me a moment or three longer than it should have to register what was happening.
He'd continued on, as if I wasn't there - as if I wasn't sat in the middle of his desk, directly on top of his plans, my backside no doubt eclipsing every major detail. He just… worked around me.
His head remained bent, his eyes were concentrated and Hussy was squealing her approval of his 'sexy man glasses'. The sound of his pencil scratching into the paper resonated loudly within my ears and the continuous flicks of his ruler were well exercised, precise and swift.
When his left arm snaked around me to hold the ruler in place, his head tipped down further, causing his hair to brush against my bare shoulder.
I gasped inaudibly, holding my breath.
He was so close.
When his right hand swept over the paper to remove the tiny, unused graphite specks, his left arm closed in towards me.
Seemingly satisfied after what felt like an age, he began to pull away. I was about ready to pass out from a lack of oxygen when I felt his lips press lightly against my arm.
"Good Morning, Isabella." He said smoothly, not pausing the movements of his hands for a second. "Did you sleep well?"
Was he talking?
The fitness points may have rocketed, but the IQ was steadily declining.
I blamed the glasses.
The back of his hand brushed lightly against the top of my bare thigh as he aligned his ruler and started making a succession of detailed lines. He worked quickly, pausing only to adjust positioning. His ruler clad hand soon bunched into a fist and moved to the space between my legs, his knuckles pressed firmly against the edge of the wooden table as his right hand began scrawling rapid, numbered measurements.
"Was there something you wished to discuss?" He blew over the paper, driving the graphite shavings away.
I swallowed and made and extended, 'Hmmmm' noise.
His lips twitched.
"Hmmmm," he countered, a little dryly.
He stood up, studying his work.
And then he was leaning in towards me – right in. I felt my back arch as I moved with him, away from him. He dropped the ruler in between my parted legs and reached behind me.
He was right over me, hovering, eyes boring straight into mine.
There was a metallic clanging. Our bodies slowly righted themselves as we moved back into position and he broke eye contact to concentrate on the strange looking tool that was now in his hands.
He resumed working.
"Did you need help attaching the charm?" He asked causally. Too casually.
Oh… the charm.
Yes, the charm. We were going to discuss the charm.
"Edward, you know that I can't accept it." I said breathlessly.
"And why is that?" He bit his lip as he concentrated on a particularly complicated set of manoeuvres.
I watched him work in awe. I'd never seen anything like this before. The way his fingers moved, the way things just suddenly came together, it was incredible. He was so confident here, doing his 'thing'.
I began tilting my head in time to his pencil's movements.
"It's too much." I responded absently.
He dropped the metal contraption and picked up another pencil, scribbling down more numbers. He dropped the pencil.
A moment passed before he looked up at me, triumphant grin in place.
"Why Miss Swan, who would have thought it?"
Who would have… what?
"You my beauty," he cupped my face in his hands. "Must be my good luck charm. I've spent two hours trying to get that right."
His fingers began tucking my hair behind my ears. My eyes closed on their own accord.
"Edward, the car?" I pressed, absolutely no fight in my voice at all.
"Mmm…" He kissed one side of my mouth and then the other, and then fully…
It felt as though my blood was pumping furiously through my lips, hot, pulsing, alive. I was out of breath, out of mind, out of anything rational. There was only the feel of him, the feel of his lips on mine, feeling right. They fit together, they synchronised, they became a mould.
I went into autopilot. My mind could never have done it; I couldn't have made this up myself. But my body, my body snatched up its flight of fancy and discarded the manual book. It just knew what to do.
My hands snaked slowly up his chest, feeling the hard, toned muscled beneath them. They reached his shoulders, they squeezed, they found his neck, up and up and up they went. His jaw, the tickle of the slight stubble there, the softness of his cheeks, his ears. Oh his hair… I tugged gently. Edward moaned.
His hands glided down my sides and came to rest on my naked legs. He gave his own squeeze, harder than mine had been.
I felt his smile as he captured my top lip between both of his, running his tongue all the way along…
I was nothing but a pile of jellied glop.
"The car stays."
"It's warm in the sun." He smiled over at me.
Madman, that's what he was. Completely and utterly batcrap crazy.
Of course it was warm in the sun, we were so high up we were probably only a few miles away from it!
The Empire State building. It was very tall. And we were right at the top. I'd been clinging onto the wall for dear life since we arrived up here – twenty minutes ago.
"Bella, it's perfectly safe sweetheart."
"But how do you know that?" I shot at him, fingers digging into the side desperately.
He gave me a, 'seriously?' look.
"I realise that this is probably a little late in coming, but I'm not so good with heights like this."
He gave me a sympathetic smile and strolled over to me, taking my sweaty, shaking hands into his.
"Bella," he bent his head to look me in the eyes. "Do you really think that I would have brought you up here if it wasn't safe?"
"Well… no. But, well… it's very high." I jabbered. "Very high."
I didn't dare look round. My stomach felt as though it was freefalling.
It took another ten minutes of persuasion, but he got me to the side. I had to keep my eyes closed and he had to continually kiss me, but he got me there long enough to hand the camera to a random person, and for them to take the shot.
The minute I heard my digital camera beep, I bolted back to safety.
"Thank God it came out alright. You weren't getting me back over there for another!" I laughed as Edward unlocked the front door.
He shook his head, the amusement clear on his face.
"Why didn't you tell me? I never would have taken you up in the first place if I'd known."
I smiled shyly. "I wanted the picture."
He pushed the door open, allowing me to enter first.
He hadn't even shut the door closed before a towering, unknown blonde came darting angrily out of the music room.
"Edward, where the hell have you been?"
She stopped short when she saw me and I watched as her eyes narrowed into slits.
"And who the fuck are you?"
I'm on Facebook under 'Positively Fourth Street', feel free to add me and come say hi. I post up weekly teasers/pictures.
Thank you to everybody who has donated to the FandomFightsTsunami fundraiser, it's doing really well and there are lots of amazing writers who are contributing. I'm doing an Edward outtake for anybody who may be interested. The links to the blog/author sign up list are both on my profile.
Massive thanks to everybody who offered to help with the French trans – bear with me, FF has been playing up loads and I am struggling to get out responses out to everyone!
Update – probably a week.