Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of the characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: I wrote this little one-shot today in a semi-successful attempt to break free from my current fit of writer's block. This is unbetaed, so all mistakes are mine. Thank you to Zigster for supplying the time and place and to mauralee88/unwantedone and donnersun for supplying the pairing. :)
He is lost in thought, sitting in a relatively secluded spot on the sandy hillside overlooking the bay, his Moleskine open to a clean page. He knows it is a little foolish to buy the imported notebooks, but his childhood friend Ernest told him that Oscar Wilde used them, and it makes Edward feel like a real writer, not just someone who dabbles in fiction while working as a copy editor. He is trying to describe his latest protagonist when Riley finds him.
Riley takes a moment to admire the man. Edward's hair almost glows bronze in the sunlight. The sleeves of his white shirt are rolled up to his elbows, revealing his smooth, ivory skin. His double-breasted vest matches his Oxford Bags, and even though it was Riley himself who convinced Edward to buy a pair of the wide trousers, he misses the narrow, cuffed trousers that cling so nicely to Edward's ass. His shoes and socks abandoned, Edward's toes are digging into the hot sand. It is all Riley can do to not to rush toward him. Instead he approaches slowly, knowing that everything hangs in the balance with this conversation.
"Edward," Riley greets him, unable to hide the reverence with which he speaks his name.
"Riley," Edward replies roughly, as if his voice has not been used recently.
"Are we going to discuss this?" Riley asks, as if their last encounter hadn't ended in a huge argument over a week ago.
Edward closes his notebook and slams it on the ground, making a cloud of sand billow up around it.
"Discuss what?" He is angry enough that Riley's heart starts to sink. "You wouldn't let me explain then. You only listen to me when it's convenient for you. Of course, that shouldn't surprise me, I only exist when it's convenient for you."
Edward pushes himself up from his spot and starts to walk down the dune. Riley follows silently.
He stands behind Edward without saying a word, waiting until the fight relaxes from Edward's shoulders.
"I'm here now."
Edward turns, almost violently, and shoves his fingers into Riley's chest, forcing the taller man a few steps back.
"You know I couldn't even... she's a woman, Riley. Just because you pretend to be a cad doesn't mean I do the same!"
He is close to bellowing. Riley has never seen him this upset. One of Edward's most redeeming qualities is his patience, and it hasn't occurred to Riley until now that he has been taking it for granted all these months.
"You had your arm around her! And your hand on her- her belly! What was I supposed to think?"
"You were jealous! Admit it!" Edward is shouting now. Riley hopes the beach is as secluded as it seems, but seeing the fire in his lover's eyes makes it impossible to remove his gaze in order to look for anyone else enjoying the unseasonably warm April day.
"Fine! I was jealous!" Riley cracks and shouts back. "I hated seeing you with your hands all over her! I hated thinking that you were foolish enough to get a girl in trouble! I hated knowing that you would do the right thing and make an honest woman of her! That- that you would never agree to- to-" his voice breaks and he can't finish.
Edward's eyes soften almost imperceptibly, but the rest of his expression remains firm.
"And if you weren't such a hothead and stuck around for five minutes, you would have learned that Bella, who I've known since I was a kid back in Oak Park, came to me because she was scared and not because I had anything to do with her condition."
Both men stand facing each other with chests heaving, the salty breeze seems to take their ire with it.
"Is she okay?" Riley asks sheepishly.
"Swell of you to ask now. Yes, she's okay. Jacob's a bit of a flat tire, but he just panicked. I knew he'd come around."
Riley, sensing that Edward won't flinch at his touch any longer, places his hands gently on his shoulders, imploring him to look into his brown eyes.
Edward opens his mouth in retaliation, before snapping it shut as if waiting for Riley to say more.
"It was selfish of me. I had never seen you with anyone else before, and I- I didn't like it. I know it's-"
"Hypocritical," Edward supplies, interrupting Riley's confession.
"Yes," Riley's voice is small, but his eyes still dig into Edward's begging him to understand.
Edward steels himself, "Bella and Jacob are moving back to Chicago after they get hitched and Bella has the baby. They're making a clean start. I was thinking about joining them after graduation in August."
"You can't!" Riley screeches. "No! Edward you can't. What about New York City?"
"You'll be fine without me."
But he won't be fine. Riley knows he needs to explain to Edward that he'll never be fine without him, that the only time he ever feels alive is when he is with Edward. He needs to confess that it isn't about the sex, that it's never just been about the sex. No, for the past eleven months he has been too terrified to admit to himself what it means. Even with Jimmie Shields and William Haines open with their relationship, it wasn't so easy when you were from old money. The weight of his obligations to his family strangled him and Edward was the only thing that loosened the noose around his neck.
That's what he needs to say, but the words escape him the way they always do around Edward. With a glance the other man can disarm him, leaving him vulnerable and breathless.
"I won't" is all Riley manages to say, his voice on the verge of a sob.
"What about Victoria?"
The coldness in Edward's voice makes Riley finally realize the extent of the damage. He does the only thing he can in the moment and turns his back to Edward, letting out a scream toward the lapping waters of the bay.
"She doesn't want me! She's a gold digger. She just wants my family's money." Riley shakes with fury just thinking of the woman he is supposed to marry. His hands are balled into fists at his sides, and he only relaxes when he feels the touch of Edward's hand at the small of his back.
That small gesture is enough, and the tension he had been carrying in his body dissipates all at once as he turns and collapses into Edward's embrace.
"It's you I love, Edward," he whispers into the crook of his neck.
Something in Edward breaks.
As he holds onto Riley while he lets go of his frustration, Edward remembers the first time he saw him. One of the most looked forward to events at Harvard was The Pudding's burlesque show. Riley had been dressed up like a Can-Can dancer. On all of the other men, it looked comical as intended, but Riley Biers looked breathtaking. Instead of coarse, dark leg hair crawling from behind his fishnets, his fine blond hair wasn't visible from the auditorium. His legs were long and toned like a colt's and Edward couldn't help but think that the blond could kick higher and more gracefully than any man rightfully should. His skin was pale but flushed in all the right places, emphasized with rouge. The wig of blond curls seemed to fit his features, despite the fact that there was nothing particularly delicate about his face.
Edward had known for years that he was keen on men, and although he never wore it on his sleeve, he wasn't ashamed of it. Nevertheless, being attracted to a man dressed up as a woman was something new, and it was some force greater than anything he had ever experienced that made him seek out Riley after the show.
They had been inseparable almost from the start, falling into bed with each other that first night, but presenting nothing other than a close friendship to the outside world. Even though he could see it in Riley's eyes, feel it in his touch, the blond had never used the word before. He had never before confessed to feeling anything other than sexual attraction to Edward.
Suddenly Edward is frantic in his need to not lose that man that he loves back. He pulls away enough to see Riley's face once more.
"They don't have to know about us. I don't want them to. I know you'd be disinherited. I just don't understand why it has to be her."
Riley is silent, his red-rimmed eyes full of unshed tears.
"What aren't you telling me?" Edward demands, his elated heart starting to sink once more.
"She- she had a brother, well, has a brother, James."
Edward nods, imploring Riley to continue.
"He was the fall guy in one of my father's more unsavory projects. If we don't appease her, well, the whole operation will be exposed."
Edward is furious, breaking apart from his lover and going back to his original spot, sinking down into the soft sand. To some extent, he gets the problem Riley is facing, but he has never truly understood high society and the fine line the Biers family walks between legality and illegality. Sure, Edward opposes Prohibition and he enjoys the benefits of those willing to circumvent the law, but he doesn't understand why Riley is so devoted to a family he doesn't get along with, that doesn't support him, that doesn't really know him. Riley could easily walk away from them and their dirty money, but he is too attached to the materialism that wealth provides. In the abstract, Riley is just as much a critic as Edward, but in the way he lives his day to day life, he is still ensconced in all things upper class.
Riley knows very well the wheels turning in Edward's head, it's a conversation they have had many times, and one of the things he loves most about Edward is his rebellious spirit fitfully ruled by his ethical compass. But not everything is as black and white as Edward tends to make them.
"They're still my family, Edward."
"They're not good enough for you."
Riley can bear it no longer. He pushes Edward onto his back into the sand and lowers his head so their lips meet. Despite the reluctance in his words, Edward's groan of approval is all the indication that Riley needs to continue.
He plunders into Edward's mouth with his tongue, seeking the taste he has been dreaming of for the past week. It is the longest they have ever been apart and Riley needs it like air. Edward's hands come up to pull the ridiculous fedora off Riley's head. He laces his fingers through his lover's thick blond hair, tugging and moaning, reacquainting himself with something so vital to his existence that he cannot stop the tears from forming in his eyes from the sheer overwhelming ache.
Their bodies mold to each other in familiarity, and when Riley presses his hips into Edward's the guttural cries of both men give voice to their primal connection in need of reestablishment. They fumble with their own belts, both too consumed with selfish lust to go for the other's. Riley succeeds first and then he is pushing his trousers and shorts down to his thighs until he is free. He helps tug at Edward's clothes, imploring him to raise his hips so the garments will be out of the way. He is like a man on fire, and the only thing that will put it out is the feel of Edward's flesh on his.
When finally, finally, their arousals meet the earth stops and there is nothing but their hard bodies moving together. Riley coats his hand with saliva and brings it between them, allowing them to move slickly against each other. They rut against each other frantically, while their hands and lips and teeth are busy pinching and licking and biting all the bits of skin they can manage to expose. Their desperation is replaced with an intense desire to mold into one another, to be as close as humanly possible.
The feeling starts building in Riley. There is no choice of stopping it or harnessing it, but he knows that Edward is there with him, clutching his head and pulling him down into a kiss so rough their teeth clack together.
Riley explodes and Edward follows. Their hips don't stop until long after they've stopped coming. They are panting into each other's mouths, but they can't find it in themselves to break the connection. Riley collapses, nuzzling Edward's neck as his mind tries to reenter his body.
Riley knows that Edward won't go back to Chicago, and he knows that Edward knows he won't go to New York without him. He will find a way around his family's problems, distance himself from the army of gangsters that his father associates with under the guise of legitimate business. Edward only knows a small extent of the pressure on him, and Riley intends to keep it that way. He just needs to make sure that Edward's faith in him is restored. He knows somehow that if he has Edward, then everything else will fall into place.
There are obstacles ahead he isn't ready to face, but for a brief moment, when they lay tangled with each other on the sand, hidden by the fragrant spring grasses, he can pretend.