This is the third and final installment. Thanks again to amymorgan for donating to Alex's Lemonade Stand, and for requesting this story.
"Twilight" belongs to Stephenie Meyers. I'm just borrowing two characters for a bit.
The Third Movement
January, 2011 – Philadelphia
It was early evening and Edward was alone in his townhouse on Delancey Street. Outside, it was a blustery winter evening. The wind rattled the old windows as Edward sat at his piano, absent-mindedly eating a sandwich while he picked at the keys.
He heard a knocking sound, more distinct than the rattling, and dismissed it as another facet of living in an old home. Then he heard it again, persistent and louder. Someone was at his front door.
Cautiously, he looked out the peephole, but he could see no one there. He was just about to walk away when he heard it again. Curiosity got the better of him, and he swung open the door.
Bella stood there on his doorstep, swaddled in a long down coat, with only her eyes visible between the top of a scarf and the bottom of a hat. She held up a mittened hand and mumbled, "Hi."
Shocked, Edward stared at her until he knew she wasn't a mirage. He was pretty certain that mirages only happened in extreme heat, and not in frigid urban environments, so he finally snapped out of it and cried out, "Bella!"
"Yes, it's me." He could see her eyes crinkle in a smile of relief.
"My God, what are you doing here? No, I mean - come in! Please!" he said.
She stepped inside and began to unravel her scarf, then looked at him shyly. "I hoped you wouldn't mind. I just got in, and I had your address from the company records." Edward noticed an enormous cello case propped against the railing, with a small wheeled suitcase in front of it.
Confused, he asked, "Are you here on business?"
"Not exactly," she replied, a small smile still playing around her lips.
He carefully brought the cello into his house and then ushered her into the kitchen. She sat at the table and rubbed her hands together.
Unaccustomed to having guests, Edward took a few moments before coming to his senses and offering Bella some tea. They remained silent for a few moments, with Edward setting the kettle on the stove and Bella watching his movements.
Finally, she spoke. "I left DigiClassic."
He whirled around and looked at her in surprise. "You left the company? When?"
"I gave my notice to Carlisle a couple of weeks ago."
Edward pulled a chair over so it was very close to her. "Why?"
Bella raised her chin and looked past him, over his shoulder, as if gathering some courage. "I've applied to Curtis. I came here to meet with professors in the strings department," she said, finally looking him in the eye.
He sat back in his chair and stared. Bella waited, her stomach knotting, for some kind of reaction.
A huge grin broke out on Edward's face. He clasped her hands and said, "You decided to go back to school!"
She couldn't help but smile back at how happy he looked. This was the expression she hoped would greet her when she found him in this city.
"Yes," she said, nodding. "And since it's a top tier school...and I'm a top tier student..." she said, her voice trailing off.
Edward looked at her sideways. "You'll never let me forget that, will you?"
"Probably not." Bella grinned, still buoyed by his reaction.
The kettle whistled, and Edward carried her tea over. "What made you decide to do this now?"
"I thought about what you said that night after the party. And I realized you were right. I was just kind of treading water. I was good at my job," she said almost defensively, "but it wasn't good for me."
"You're going to study?" Edward asked. He took in her lovely eyes, which sparkled as she talked about returning to school, and the rest of her face, which still had faint red spots on her cheeks from the cold.
She nodded. "As long as I'm accepted there. They seemed very accommodating about my audition. I'm keeping my fingers crossed."
"Well," he said teasingly, "I think there's someone on the faculty who can probably write you a good recommendation."
She drew back in mock surprise. "Really. Who in Philadelphia knows anything about how I play?"
"There is one person. Someone who heard you at Christmastime. Someone who happened across you as you were playing, and that one time made all the difference." Without thinking, Edward leaned in toward Bella.
She tipped her head down toward him, and Edward kissed a spot above her brow. He closed his eyes against the feel of her skin, now warming from their time in his kitchen.
"Where are you staying?" he asked her.
Embarrassed, she glanced down. "I, um, haven't exactly worked that out. I came here first." Uncertain again, she lifted her eyes to meet his.
"Then you'll stay here," he said.
"No, I couldn't. I mean, I can't impose on you." Bella shook her head, though her heart wasn't in her refusal.
"It's no imposition," he said, squeezing her hands gently. "I'm the only person you know in Philadelphia, right? It makes sense. And besides," he said, his voice softening, "I'd really like it if you were here."
"If you're sure it's okay…"
"I'm sure," he said, and his smile grew bigger again. "Come on. Bring your tea with you, and I'll get you settled." He grabbed her suitcase, then led her to the second floor.
Edward entered the first doorway on the right, a small bedroom minimally furnished with a double bed and nightstand, and a small oak dresser. The walls were bare except for one framed poster from Glenn Gould's debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1957.
"I haven't gotten around to furnishing all of the house," he said apologetically.
"Looks like you've got the important things down," she said, nodding toward the Gould poster.
"Priorities. Are you hungry? I don't have a lot of food in the house, but I could make you a sandwich."
"I am hungry," she said shyly. "I would love to take a shower first, though. It was a very long flight."
"Of course," Edward said. "The bathroom is this way." He led her to the end of the hall, his steps light with happiness, and stopped at a narrow linen closet to grab a towel.
Bella held back for a moment, a little stunned at how quickly this was all moving. Or maybe, she was simply astonished at her continued impulsiveness. She'd applied to Curtis, quit her job, and then hopped a plane in the span of several weeks.
Perhaps what really shocked her was how well it all seemed to be working out. Her biggest fear – that Edward would reject her despite their evident connection – appeared to be unfounded.
Bella went back to the spare bedroom for her toiletries. She stopped as she unzipped her suitcase, wondering if she should unpack. She realized she had no idea how long she'd actually be at Edward's home. Maybe the best thing would be to leave her clothes in the suitcase. For all she knew, she'd be going to a hotel the next day, although she hoped not.
The house was a late colonial brick, in a vernacular style common throughout Philadelphia. Bella estimated it had to be at least 200 years old, judging by the pine floors and thick plaster walls. The bathroom, however, was pleasantly modern, and Bella found the tension from the cramped airplane ride slowly easing away under the welcome pressure of the showerhead.
Edward had gone downstairs to prepare food for Bella. He thought that after she'd eaten, he could show her the syllabus for his composition class this semester so she might have an idea of what to expect. Of course, different professors handled their course material in different ways, but Edward also wanted Bella to know what was important to him as a teacher. And honestly, he was looking forward to showing off his knowledge of the school.
He returned to his room to get the information from his messenger bag. As he was going through his papers, Bella walked past. Edward called out to her, and without thinking, Bella stepped into his room.
She was clad only in a robe, her body fragrant from lavender soap and shampoo. Once she realized she was less than optimally dressed, she clutched her dirty laundry tightly against her middle and did her best to smile through her embarrassment.
"I had some information from Curtis I wanted to show you. You know – just some material from my classes," Edward said awkwardly.
"Oh. Okay." Bella looked around for a moment and noticed the large walnut-frame bed which dominated the room. A tall dresser made from matching wood stood opposite, with a rectangular mirror hung above. Music flowed from a stereo set up on top.
She also noticed, with an appreciative eye, that Edward didn't make it his bed. The sheets and comforter were thrown around haphazardly, and Bella liked the lack of organization. It seemed so different from the precise musician she'd come to know. Something about the contrast warmed her, as if she was seeing something of him that wasn't visible to very many people. And she almost never made her bed at home. Finding someone else with the same sloppy habit tickled her.
Edward took in the mess and grew embarrassed at his own carelessness. "Sorry. I always seem to forget to take care of this," he said, gesturing to his unmade bed.
"Oh, no – really, it's okay," Bella replied distractedly. She was wondering how it felt to be enfolded in Edward's bed - ideally, with Edward.
She forced herself to snap back and saw the photographs at the top of his dresser. One of them was a framed picture of Edward with his parents.
"I haven't even asked you how your mother is. I'm so sorry," Bella said sincerely.
"It's okay. I talk to her a few times a week. She's so strong," he murmured.
"She's beautiful." Bella traced an outline around Edward's mother, but avoided mentioning his father. "Is this you?" She pointed at the child who stood between them.
"You've grown up," she teased him gently.
"Yes, I have," he said, his eyes searching her face.
Nervously, she placed the photo back on his dresser. Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" floated through the room and filled the space around them.
Finally, she looked at him. "I love this song," she said.
"Bella." It sounded almost like a question.
He stepped closer to her and tentatively slipped his right hand up her forearm, under the sleeve of her robe.
"Bella," he said again, this time almost in a whisper. "You came all the way across the country…to go to school."
She nodded, waiting for him – waiting to see where this was going.
"The same school where I teach."
A sigh. "Yes."
"There are other music schools."
"Few as good as Curtis," she whispered in response.
His hand came up to the side of her face, his thumb caressing her cheek. "Were you planning to take any of my classes?" He leaned down and kissed first the spot where his thumb had been, then her lips, brushing them softly with his own.
"I don't know. What instrument do you play again?" She closed her eyes as Edward's mouth moved up her cheek and along her temple. He brushed the side of his face along her hair, inhaling deeply.
"Then you'd probably make a crappy cello instructor." She turned her face up, a small smile on her lips. Edward grinned back, then kissed her deeply, thoroughly, as he had before Christmas.
This time, there were no business concerns to restrict them. They were only two people who wanted something in each other, achingly, powerfully, and the moment had arrived to take it.
Edward looked at her questioningly, and she nodded slightly, just enough for him to catch it. He leaned down and kissed her again, their tongues exploring, gently at first, then becoming more daring.
Her robe had come loose, and Edward slowly untied it. He eased his hands inside and placed them at her hips before following the delicate curve of her waist. His fingertips danced lightly along her skin until his hands reached her breasts, cupping them gently, rubbing his thumbs against her nipples.
Bella moaned at the sensation. Just this slight amount of his skin on hers was enough to set her nerves on fire. She knew now that she'd wanted this for a very long time. The admission was like giving herself permission to finally have all that she wanted – not just the music, but the musician. She tugged on his shirt, impatient to feel more of him.
Edward stepped back and pulled the Henley clear over his head, wrenching his arms out of the sleeves and tossing it aside. He slid his arms around Bella's waist and pulled her against him, his mouth searching for hers, still hungry, still wanting.
She touched the front of his jeans, and he watched as her fingers deftly undid the button, then eased the zipper open as if they were gliding down the strings of her beloved cello. Bella pushed the denim past his hips, and the pants fell to the floor.
Smoothly, he removed the robe that had slipped past her shoulders. Though they were only a few steps from the bed, Edward picked her up and carried her, laying her down on the mattress before sliding in next to her.
The bed smelled like Edward, and Bella closed her eyes and smiled as she rubbed her face against the pillow. She was lying on her side, and when he brought his body flush with hers, she tugged at his underwear.
Suddenly, Edward pulled back and left the bed. Bella almost fell over into the emptiness. He whispered, "Just a minute," and left the room. She heard him rooting around in the medicine cabinet, and then her confused expression cleared when she saw the condom he carried back with him.
"You keep them in the bathroom?" she said, looking at the nightstand.
"I, um, haven't used them much lately. In fact…" he said, holding the foil packet to the light, "I think I should check the date on this."
She giggled. "You do know how to make a girl feel special."
Edward looked at her tenderly. "You are special, Bella. I know it's only been a short time…but you mean so much to me."
Bella left the bed to stand next to him again. "I hoped you would want to see me. I didn't know what would happen when I came here…" He brushed some strands of hair off her forehead, watching as she spoke her refrain to his own admission. "I just had to be near you again." She looked at him almost nervously. The uncertainty she rarely felt professionally was powerful now that she'd taken such huge chances in her personal life.
"I missed you. I'm so glad you came," he murmured. "Glad for you because you'll be in music the way you should be. And glad for me – for us – because you're here...where you should be."
Bella almost cried at the relief his words brought to her. She palmed the planes of his chest, exploring and touching, moving down past his navel and the narrow trail of hair below it.
Finally, she slipped her fingers underneath the elastic band of his underwear and slid them off, caressing him, teasing him, making him ache in the best way possible.
He took her hand and they returned to the bed, kissing first, their mouths united once again. Edward worked his way down her neck as Bella arched and moaned her encouragement. When he reached her breasts, she sank into the pillow, trembling.
Edward loved the feel of her skin, the taste of it – clean and fragrant from the shower, warm and receptive. He glided his nose in the valley between her breasts, then kissed them again, sucking and tugging at her nipples. With a long exhale, Bella dragged her nails back and forth across his shoulders, scratching him just enough.
Moving slowly down her body, Edward placed kisses along her stomach, humming his own contentment. It was like discovering a new and exquisite piece of music, then learning how to bring out the best notes. He settled himself in between her legs as her hands moved to his hair, softly fingering the strands
Still he kissed her, now in this place that was so different and secret from the rest of her body. He opened his mouth and lingered, his tongue warm and firm, drawing up then down. More kisses, then steady circles, a lick, then a swirl, enough to tease, then giving more. And finally, it was all giving, his mouth so generous as he found what moved her the most. Bella tensed and rose, and Edward placed his hand on her abdomen – to steady her, and to feel the deep cries that came up from her belly as her orgasm shook her.
As she came down, he kissed her gently along her thighs, then moved up to take the condom off his nightstand. Bella watched him as her breathing grew normal, then she clasped his hand in a silent request to put the condom on for him. She marveled at the unspoken ease of their communication. Here in this intimate setting, she felt both known and knowing.
Edward slipped his arms underneath her shoulder blades, looking her in the eyes. "You're beautiful…so responsive," he breathed. "So much more than I could have imagined." He dipped his head down to trace her collarbone with his nose.
Bella grasped his arms as he laid himself against her hips. He moved to position himself at her entrance, but she stopped him so she could take him in her hand, wanting to do it herself. She never took her eyes off of him. Her own satisfaction thrummed greater when she saw and felt his moans once he was inside her.
He went slowly at first, their eyes locked into each other. She loved his rhythm, his movements which gradually became stronger, maybe even more assured. Involuntarily, Bella's legs went up and around his hips. The shift brought him deeper, and she cried out "Oh, oh, oh," a cadence that escalated with every vibration that coursed through her. When she quieted, he brushed his lips near her ear, whispering her name again and again as he continued moving within her.
Edward's eyes closed and his face took on the same intense concentration she'd seen whenever he was at the piano. Bella loved the feel of his hands pressing against her, those strong fingers that usually caressed the keys now working rhythmically against the skin of her hips. He was holding on to her as he let go.
She felt him stiffen as his own cries echoed through the room. Bella held him, her arms and legs around his torso almost protectively.
With a sigh, he sank back down toward her, his elbows keeping his entire weight off of her.
As she closed her eyes, she felt gentle pecks and nuzzles along her neck. Bella combed through his hair once more with her fingers, finally finding his mouth again and giving him lush, lingering kisses. They were silent for awhile, their kisses slowing, and then Bella gave a contented sigh.
Edward moved them so her back was to his chest, and he put his arms around Bella's waist.
"Will you play for me again?" he murmured.
"Maybe later?" she responded, chuckling.
"Yes, later. Or tomorrow. Or even the next day," he said.
"Can I leave my cello here? I know it'll be safe," she said, still tentative.
He stretched his neck so he could see her face. "I was hoping you'd stay here with it. The cello isn't much good to me without you." Edward pulled her closer. "You'll both be safe here."
Downstairs, the forgotten sandwich grew stale as the two new lovers fell comfortably asleep.
Thank you for reading!
And thanks again to piperann_25, for helping me so much with this story. Thanks also to writingbabe and Isabeausink for their time and editing talents.