A/N: Not gonna say much here other than I suck and much love to StateofDelusion for putting up with me.
I took the stars from your eyes and then I made a map,
And I knew that somehow I could find my way back.
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too.
So I stayed in the darkness with you.
The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out.
You left me in the dark.
No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight,
In the shadow of your heart.
-Florance and the Machine
The lower we got, the better he began to breath. By the time we got back to the meadow we had been in earlier, he was almost back to normal. He smiled and pulled me into his arms. I wound my arms around his waist and leaned into him. I got lost in his gorgeous, deep eyes, completely enamored with him. He leaned down to kiss me. The sun warmed my skin, the breeze cooled it, and the touch of his fingertips against me was sending goose bumps up my arms.
"Thank you, Bella," he whispered against my lips. "I'm sorry I couldn't stand it up there anymore. It was beautiful, amazing. Thank you so much."
I grinned up at him, thrilled he had enjoyed my surprise. I had been nervous about the ruins, unsure if he would find them interesting or not. "You should really thank Alice. It was her idea to get us out of the Palace, and since Jacob was out of the country this weekend, it was the perfect time to do it."
Edward's face darkened, and I realized my mistake. I did my best not to mention Jacob, because it brought about one of two realities. It either made Edward sad and depressed or it made him mad. This time it was the later. His eyes became sharp blades of jade, and his hands clenched into fists. I sighed. I didn't want or need this argument right now. I preferred when he got sad; it was easier to fix—a hug, a kiss, and some reassurance, and he was fine. When he became angry, it always escalated into an augment, and I hated it.
"Edward, can we please not do this right now?" I sighed, completely exasperated. "Just once can we talk about this without getting angry with each other. Or better yet, can we just forget it?"
"I'm never angry with you, Bella," he muttered under his breath. "Believe me, I understand. We have to have some kind of cover. You can't come out and be with me. I get it. And no, I can't just forget it. He's got you when I don't. Forgive me, but I think I've a little right to be upset."
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. I was the one who had go through all of this. I was the one who had to balance a double life-the public one with Jacob and the private one with Edward-and yet you didn't see me flying off the handle. "Perhaps so, Edward," I answered. "But you should remember that I'm doing this for us, and I don't like it any more than you do."
"You and Jacob were looking pretty cozy at the Court a couple days ago."
I gasped as the words left his mouth. I couldn't believe what he was insinuating. He knew I didn't feel that way about Jacob, that he was the only one allowed in my bed, and yet he'd said it anyway. I felt a sharp spike of pain slice through me. Tears stung my eyes, and I couldn't decide if they were tears of anguish or tears of anger. Maybe they were both. All I did know was that I suddenly didn't want to look at Edward's face. I yanked myself out of his arms, putting distance between us, and bravely meeting his eyes. His face was horror stricken as if he hadn't meant to say that out loud and had just realized that he had. If I had been any less mad at him, I would have taken sympathy on him. As it was, I was too hurt and not in the mood to forgive him yet.
"You know better, Edward, and you know it." He meekly lowered his eyes, but I wasn't about to let him off the hook. "I have told you, and told you, and told you that I don't feel that way about Jacob, but you continue to not listen to me. I don't care about Jacob as anything other than a friend, and when, when not if, he finds out what I'm doing, he won't even want me that way. I don't care about anyone but you, Edward. Now please leave me alone for a little while."
Just before I turned to walk away, his face crumbled with remorse. I marched part way down the slope and sat underneath a tall green tree. I didn't know how it all went downhill so fast. One minute we holding each other kissing, and the next we were yelling at each other. This had become increasingly common lately. Both of our tempers were short, and we both flew off the handle far too easily. Our volatile emotions had us both wound tight. We were either fighting or madly making love. Today was the most peaceful day we had spent together in almost a month, and even that had descended into another fight. I didn't know what to do. We weren't ready to come out yet. The Court would have a field day, and we would be forced apart. Edward would be forced to leave, and I would be held captive in my own home. They wouldn't put up with another stunt like my mothers. We were trapped between a rock and a hard place with no way out in sight.
I brushed stray tears off my checks and looked up at the sky. The weather had darkened with my mood. The fog and mists we had encountered further up the mountain had become full dark clouds, threatening rain. There wasn't enough time to get back down the mountain to shelter, so I remained in my position under the tree as the first few raindrops began to fall.
I wondered if this was how my mother felt before she left my father. I had always blamed her for leaving Charlie, but if this was anything like what she went through, then I couldn't keep blaming her. It would be far too easy to call this off and let it go. I may have loved him, but it may not have been enough. I didn't believe that, but I also knew all too well that love often wasn't enough.
My heart pounded painfully in my chest as I finally gave up and began sobbing. I tried to hold the tears back so that I didn't appear weak as I was certain that Edward was somewhere within eyesight. He would never let me truly be alone out here, but he gave me my space. I was crying because I was hurt, because I was lost, and because I suddenly felt powerless against everything I was up against. As if to prove just how powerless I was, the clouds opened up and the rain came down in sheets. I was soaked within seconds.
Edward gave me a few minutes before he approached me. He didn't touch me, but he did sit down next to me. He didn't say anything, waiting on me to look at him. When I did, I realized that he looked a mess. His hair was dark and plastered to his head, fat rain drops falling into his face. His eyes were red and puffy, but I couldn't tell if he was crying . His eyes were anguished as he watched me. The only sound around us was the steady thud of the raindrops hitting the tree leaves and the ground.
"I'm sorry," he finally said in a low pained voice. "I should never have said that, much less thought it. I don't believe it, really I don't. I was just so angry that he gets to be with you all the time, and I don't. It just sort of slipped out. I wished I had a better excuse, but I don't. I never meant to hurt you, Bella. I'm just scared to lose you. You've become everything to me, and I don't think I know what to do without you. I am so sorry. Can you forgive me?"
Of course I would. The pain was still there, compounded by all the things I had mused over since I had left him. Still I loved him and needed him just as much as it seemed he needed him. I nodded and moved so that I was sitting right next to him. Laying my head against his shoulder, I tried to control my breathing so I could talk to him. He wrapped an arm around my waist and pressed his lips to my face, kissing away the rain drops and tears.
I traced the features of his wet face as I tried to find words to explain what I felt. "Of course, I forgive you. I understand why you feel that way, I really do. It's the same feeling I get every time I see Tanya trying to get your attention."
"Like someone just pulled the rug out from under you feet and punched you in the gut all at the same time?" He asked with a sad smile.
"Something like that," I muttered. "We can't keep doing this though, Edward. This is the exact thing that happened to my parents. I can't let that happen. I know it's hard, but please promise me you won't let this tear us a part. I need you, I really do and…"
Edward cut off my rambling by pressing his lips to mine. I enthusiastically returned his kiss, trying to erase our earlier transgressions. Edward pulled away, keeping my face in his hands. "Bella, calm down." Edward rested his forehead against mine, entrapping me within his. "Relax, Love. It's okay. We'll get through this. I don't know how yet, but we will. I'm not leaving or going anywhere, and I'm not letting you do that either. I need you to, Isabella."
Normally I hated my full name, but from his lips it sounded like music. I threw my arms around his neck and buried my face in his collar. He knotted his fingers into my wet hair while wrapping his arm around my waist and pulling me close. He hummed into my ear having learned this was the easiest way to calm me. "We'll make it through this, My Love. It'll be okay," he whispered into my ear before beginning to hum my lullaby.
"How do you always know what to say?" I mumbled into his neck.
"Obviously, I don't." He laughed. "I'm sorry I ruined our day. I'll try to reign myself in. It's just the thought of him with you makes me go a little crazy."
"I miss you when I'm with him," I told him. "I wish it were you when he holds my hand or when we take walks through the gardens. This sucks on both ends, Edward."
The rain was beginning to taper off, slowing to just the occasional drop or two. The sun was trying to come out, but it was so far down in the west that it hardly got a chance to really shine. The wind had also picked up. Between the chilly air and our wet state, I was really cold. I shivered in Edward's arms when a particularly strong gust blew by.
"Are you cold?" he asked. "I think it's time to head back to the Palace. I don't want you getting sick"
I allowed him to pull me back to my feet. We started back down the valley, hand in hand.
By the time we managed to stumble through the hidden door into my bedroom, I was distinctly uncomfortable. My hair was still wet and dripping down my back, and my shirt and jeans were water logged, making me feel heavy. It was hard to walk in wet clothes, and I was still cold.
Edward went immediately to the fireplace and began building a fire to provide some much needed warmth, but I had a better idea in mind. "I'm going to take a bath."
Edward looked up at me. I think he was startled by my voice. We hadn't spoken much after we had left the tree. I didn't want to forget everything that happened. I just wanted to move forward, and I wanted Edward back. "Would you like to join me?"
His eyes lit up with warmth rather than the haunted hallow look he had been carrying for almost an hour. I was glad to have him back. "I would love to. Just let me get this started."
I nodded. "Okay, I'll just go get the bath drawn." Alice had promised us privacy all through the night so we weren't taking any risks. Over the last several months my bedroom had become our sanctuary. This was where we met, talked, and slept. It was the one place where we didn't have to hide. The outer sitting room generated some of the same feelings, but they weren't as strong. The sitting room wasn't as private and anymore, including Jacob, could come knocking at any time. It was where I entertained and did business. The bedroom was ours. No one came in here except for occasionally Alice or Rosalie. It was our haven in a storm tossed sea.
As soon as I was in the bathroom, I wiggled out of my jeans. They were sticking to me like Velcro, and I had to peel them off almost like a second skin. When I did I felt much lighter. I filled the tub with water and bubbles. As soon as it was full, I stripped out of the rest of my clothes and sank into the warm water. I sighed in pleasure as the warmth seeped into my chilled body. It felt wonderful. I lay back and closed my eyes with a moan, almost forgetting about Edward.
I didn't hear Edward come in, but I could feel his presence like a tug when he knelt next to tub. He rested his arm on the edge and placed his chin on top of them, watching me. I smiled softly at him. "What's wrong?" I finally asked.
"Nothing." He shrugged and reached out to trace the curve of my cheek and jaw, and I leaned into the touch. "I was just enjoying watching you. You're rarely so content. It's fascinating. I'm really sorry I ruined our outing. I overreacted and ruined our afternoon."
I leaned part way out of the tub and captured his lips with mine. I cut off his self-deprecating rambling, having no intentions of hearing it and allowing him to believe whatever he had convinced himself of. "It's okay, Edward. Nothing about this is perfect, I know that. Besides, you didn't ruin anything. It was still a wonderful afternoon. I needed it, and I'm sure you did to. Now, come join me in this tub. It's lonely without you."
I pretended to pout, and he laughed softly. I could still see the sadness lingering in his eyes, but it was hidden by his adoration for me. He stood up, swiftly stripped, and slid in behind me. I settled between his legs with my back to his chest. He wrapped one arm around my waist, while the other entwined with the fingers of my right hand. I was suddenly fascinated by the sight of his long, musical fingers twisted around my own smaller digits. There was something slightly erotic about it. The way they reached around and grasped, holding my fingers in a gentle hold. Between the feeling of skin and warm water, I found myself aching for his touch. Still, I didn't want to him to think that I did all this for the sex. So I calmed my racing heart and tried to ignore the fire building in my stomach. Of course, his fingers tracing shapes on my belly didn't help, sending a shiver of passion up my spine.
"Are you okay?" he asked, feeling my gasp. "Is the water to cold?"
"No, I'm fine," I lied. I rested the back of my head on his shoulder and tried to control my body a little better. When his fingers resumed their tracing, I knew I needed a distraction. "So, what was your favorite part of the day?"
"Hmm," he mused and buried his nose into my hair. "Kissing you on the remains of an ancient wall is certainly a highlight."
Damn, he wasn't helping. I wondered if he knew what he was doing to me? It certainly wouldn't surprise me. As it was, it was one of the best parts of my day as well. I smiled and glanced up to his face. "Yeah, that was probably one of my favorites as well. Did you like anything else?"
I felt him shrug underneath me. "To be honest, apart for the obvious part, I loved everything about today. Thank you and please remind me to thank Alice as well."
"You and me both." I snorted.
Silence descended over us. It wasn't tense nor was there any agitation. We were simply together, locked in an embrace and content with that. When Edward began humming again, I was lulled almost to sleep. Then I realize that I had the perfect example to explain the difference between what I had with him and what I had with Jacob.
I pulled our intertwined hands out of the water so that we could both see them. My thumb made circles around his palm, soothing the pair of us so that I could bring up Jacob without starting another fight. "You know why you never have to worry about me and Jacob?" I asked softly.
Edward tensed just slightly, but he didn't say anything, just shook his head stiffly. I squeezed his hands to reassure him that I was with him and no one else. I felt his lips smile into my neck. "No, I don't, Bella."
"Because Jacob and I would never do this." I waved our interlocked hands vaguely in front of us. "Anything we would ever have would be purely physical. We would never sit in a tub and do nothing, or hike up a trail just to explore some old ruins. Why would I give up this for that?" I smiled up at him, begging him to understand what I was saying.
To my surprise he smiled down at me. "You think I'm better than all that?"
"Much better," I muttered just before his lips pressed into mine. Our tongues tangled in sweet passion, both of us moaning. Edward's hands trailed along my waist and stomach causing me to shudder in his arms. My skin felt like it was on fire, and I was no longer cold. I tangled my hand in his hair and tried to press myself closer to him. I whimpered when he pulled away from me and rested his forehead against mine.
"Breathe, Bella." He grinned as I pouted. I was surrounded by him—his body, his smell—and I wanted to be with him. I was already aching for his touch. "We have all night, my love. Be patient."
I sighed but settled back into his arms. We remained there in the tub, talking softly and sharing the briefest of touches. When the water began to cool Edward helped me climb out without tripping on the tile. He then left me to check on the fire in the other room. I dried off with a towel and pulled on a deep blue silk dressing grown. It only came to the top of my thighs, but it hadn't failed yet to get a reaction out of Edward. He loved the color against my skin. He said it made my pale skin look luminescent. I didn't know if that was true, but he liked it, and I was horny, so I wasn't going to complain. I grabbed my brush off the sink and made my way back to the bedroom and Edward.
The curtain was thrown open revealing the mountains, illuminated by the moon and the inky black sky. There was a strong fire going in the fireplace, and it was the only light in the room. Edward had pulled one of my heavy wingback chairs in front of the fireplace where it was warmest. He was already sitting there, staring into the yellow and red flames. When he heard me coming, he turned to look at me. His eyes went wide and dark, and I knew my plan had worked. His Adam's apple bobbed as he gulped. I bit my lip and tired not to grin.
"I need to brush my hair," I said coyly, waving the brush in my hand. "I'll be right back."
Edward swallowed and tried to take his eyes off my legs. "Come here. I'll do it." He looked a little nervous, and his eyes were still dark.
"Do you know how to brush hair?" I asked suspiciously. "You never brush yours after all."
"I try to brush mine. It just doesn't ever stay that way." He tugged on my waist and placed me between his legs with my back to his chest. "And yes, I have brushed hair before. I used to brush Victoria's all the time."
I stiffened at the mention of Edward's ex-fiancé. If I ever got the pleasure to meet her, I would kill her. She had broken his heart by cheating on him. Although, I supposed I should have been happy. She had given him up which had allowed me to have him. Still, I hated her for hurting him.
Edward brushed my hair over my shoulder and placed his chin there. "See, not so nice now is it?"
He began kissing up the column of my neck as I put together what he had said. He had brought up Victoria to show me how he reacted to Jacob. It was a bit underhanded, but he had a point.
I sighed and rested my head back against his shoulder. "Okay, okay I get the point. I'm sorry."
He placed one last kiss on my throat before pulling away and taking the brush from my hand. "It's all right, I forgive you. Just trust me okay?"
"Okay." He gave me a quick kiss and began brushing through my thick hair. He parted it into individual sections and then brushed through each section. He took more care than I usually did. It felt wonderful. I didn't usually like someone else brushing my hair. I didn't even like Renee, Alice, or Rose doing it. With Edward, it was very different. It was very relaxing. I settled against him and watched the flames. Edward was silent as he worked, and when he was done, my hair was thick and glossy.
"Wow, you weren't kidding when you said you knew how to do this." I ran my hand through my hair and marveled at the texture. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, my love." He wrapped his arms around my waist and held me back against his chest. "Now what is this about your outfit?"
I shrugged, unwilling to expose my secret. "It's comfortable. What other reason do I need?"
Edward laughed and traced the edge of my gown along my upper thighs. "Bella, to you comfortable is a ratty t-shirt and sweat pants. This, although I do like it, is something else. What are you doing?"
"Is it hard to figure out, Edward?" I smirked and he grinned.
"You've come a long way from the shy girl I first met. Now you're trying to seduce me."
"I am so past trying." I turned around so that I could straddle his waist. His hands found my waist and held me up as he rubbed the silk. "I've wanted this all day, Edward. I need you."
His lips found mine in a sweet, searing kiss. I pressed myself into him, knotting my fingers into the hair at the base off his neck. Edward's hands trailed up my back while his tongue fought with mine for dominance. I needed a breath and threw my head back, gasping. Edward attacked my throat, being careful not to suck or bite to hard. His hand moved to my hips, which he pulled down flush with his thighs. I could feel him through the material of his boxers. I moaned as he guided my hips to grind against him. There was so little separating us, and I could feel it. The silk of my gown wasn't long enough to come between us. I could feel him, long and hard beneath me. I shook against him and sighed.
Edward's hands remained firmly planted at my hips, guiding the way my body ran against him. His eyes were deep green and burning with passion. I began gasping for breath as my clit brushed against him. I moaned his name, lost in the feeling of us.
"Is this what you wanted?" he panted, pulling my ear lobe into his mouth. I tried to shake my head. "Say it, Bella," he rasped into my ear.
"No," I moaned.
"Do you want me to stop," he asked, smirking. He thrust his hips up to meet mine. "Answer, Bella."
"No," I shrieked. He couldn't stop. I was too close. It may not have been what I wanted to begin with, but the night was young. I had plenty of time. I ground myself harder down on him but just couldn't seem to get that extra little push.
Finally, Edward took pity on me and trailed his fingers down to my curls. He took my clit in a slippery hold and began teasing me. I moaned and rocked against his fingers. I gripped his shoulders for support, while he wound an arm around to the small of my back, holding me steady as I reached my climax.
I came with his name on my lips. I shook as the pleasure coursed through my limbs. Edward kept a hold of my clit, prolonging the experience. When I was spent, I collapsed against his chest. I tried to catch my breath though my limbs felt like jelly. "That may not have been what I wanted, but I'll take it."
Edward laughed and kept me tucked against his chest. "I didn't think you would complain. To be honest, it was really was rather fun teasing you like that." He sounded almost as breathless as I was. I could still feel him beneath me, hard and solid. A new spike of desire shot through me.
"I can tell," I said, squirming in his lap. His cock twitched, and I grinned. We kissed again. Edward knotted his hand in my thick hair. My hands trailed down his chest, brushing against the soft hair. When my fingertips ran over his nipples, he gasped into my mouth and one of his hands left my hair to knead my backside. I was slowly rocking against him again. I wasn't going to let him take over this time.
I pulled away from his lips and sat up. Edward's eyes were dark as he watched me, his chest heaving from the breaths he was taking. Keeping his gaze, I untied the ribbon that held my robe together and let it fall. I was completely bare before him. His dark eyes widened, and I felt my nipples respond to both the chilly air and his gaze.
Gently he reached up and began kneading my breast. I sighed and laid my head back. Edward leaned forward and captured my nipple in his mouth, suckling me into him. He continued his motions on my other breast, and I moaned. He pulled me back down on top of him, and I could feel every ridge of his hard cock. When he twitched, I shook and groaned against him. I wanted him inside me and over me. I wanted him to be one with me.
I pushed him away from my breast and kissed him. One of his hands traveled down my stomach. It stopped just above my curls, making me gasp with his almost touch. The room was filled with our sighs and moans. My hands were on the waistband of his boxers, and his hips were flexing up, trying to find my entrance. His fingers slipped through my curls and rubbed sweet circles around my clit.
I pulled away from his lips and planted a trail of kisses from his jaw to his ear. Edward began working on my neck and collarbone while continuing his pressure on my clit. I sighed into his ear and said, "Make love to me, Edward."
For a moment all motion stopped. It was the first time either of us had used the word love to describe what we were doing. It was the first time we had used that word at all. I had stayed away from it, knowing Edward needed space and time to adjust. However, I was tired of hiding. It wasn't like we weren't doing it anyway. We had never simply fucked. There was too much emotion behind it to call it that. It was time to rock the boat a little and see where it got us.
I went back to kiss his still lips. Slowly he began to respond. Out tongues met and an ancient dance began. Swiftly, he picked me up and carried me to the bed where he laid me out on my back before climbing on top of me. His mouth and fingers found my nipples, and I sighed. My hand trailed down his back to push at his boxers. He pulled away from me long enough to discard them and then returned to my breast.
I moaned as his tongue flicked over my nipples, every touch sending shock waves to my core. His fingers brushed against my folds, and I almost cried out in relief. It still wasn't what I wanted though, and I was getting inpatient. I used his hair to pull him back up to my lips. Our lips met hungrily as he ground his cock against me. I spread my legs wider and tried to get him closer to my entrance. Our sighs made our kisses harder, but I didn't mind in the least. The only thing I could think about was the feeling of his body against mine.
When he began pushing into me, I broke apart with a moan. Edward propped himself up on his arms and stared down at me, his eyes dark and mouth open and gasping for breath. I met his fiery, passionate gaze and flexed my hips, drawing him farther into me. I wrapped my legs around his waist and rocked, encouraging him to move.
"Edward," I cried when he did. I dug my nails into his back and pulled them back up. Edward hissed and pulled away from my neck. I had learned by accident that he liked the scratching. His dark eyes were full of lust and, if I was reading it right, love.
His thrusts changed, becoming deeper and harder. His finger moved down my body and began rolling my clit with his thumb. I came with his name on my lips, though it sounded more like a cry to the heavens. I shook against him and could feel him struggling to hold on to his rhythm to prolong my pleasure. He finally gave up, just as I beginning to come down.
Edward collapsed on top of me. I was completely surrounded by him and his unique smell. We were both gasping for breath. Edward had his face buried in my neck and hair. I wanted to run my fingers through his hair, but I couldn't make myself move.
Edward rose up on his forearms with a grunt and kissed me gently. In some ways this kiss was better than the sex had just been. Not that the sex had been bad, it had been wonderful, but it was just this kiss was soft, slow, and adoring. More than anything else, it was reassuring. Edward was telling me without words that he loved me and understood that I would never do anything to hurt him, but some things in the past are hard to forget. I told him that I loved him, would wait for him, and forgave him.
When he pulled away from me, he rolled over and pulled me into his arms so that he was spooning me. I used his arm as a pillow and closed my eyes. His other arm circled my waist and pulled me close. I could feel his lips press several quick kisses to the back of my head.
"Was that what you wanted?" he asked, sounding almost asleep.
"Everything and more," I told him. I could almost feel him grin as I mumbled, "Good night, Edward" just before the darkness over took me.
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