A/N:

Obligatory Disclaimer That Keeps Us from Getting Sued: We are not the ones who created the phenomenon known as Twilight. Stephanie Meyer is the one who holds the rights to it. We just threatened—ahem—I mean convinced the characters to aide us with this story. They will be given back once the tale ends. Okay, fine, we're not giving Edward back. You'll have to catch us first.

This story was originally written for our beta Dinx to celebrate her birthday back in February. Since it was DivineInspiration and my first attempt at a colab, we felt it would be appropriate on this profile as well. Don't worry, we're not deleting it from our own pages.

A big thanks goes out to nowforruin and jointgifts for being sneaky and doing beta work in secret. We'd never been able to pull off the surprise otherwise.


Part 1

.~.Bella.~.

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It was harsh to suddenly realize that what I had thought was perfect for twenty-five years was actually not perfect at all. It didn't help that this realization came in the middle of Barneys on Madison Avenue. The imperfection was my life, and all it took for the epiphany to appear was a mirror of my own childhood.

I was looking for the perfect, lavender colored dress for my parents' dinner party the following night. My mother had told me lavender would go well with her color scheme. The sound of a raised voice made me look up, and I saw a woman speaking sternly to a teenage girl. I looked away quickly, embarrassed on their behalf. Who argued in public? And in Barneys of all places.

I couldn't help but overhear the words spoken, though. The girl wanted a different dress than the woman – probably her mother – wanted her to get. In a flash I remembered. That had been me ten years ago. My mother had taken me shopping for school dresses, and I had asked for a pair of jeans, the only thing I could remember ever asking for. My mother had been outraged, as if I'd asked for a tattoo or a motorcycle.

I had let it go then and gotten the dresses my mother wanted me to get. But now I wondered. Would it have been so bad if she had let me have a pair of jeans? Heaven knew that being the only child of Charles and Renee Swan, CEO and queen bee in New York's higher society, respectively, offered me a very comfortable life. Gave me advantages. Material possessions. Well-mannered friends. No difficult decisions to make. No decisions to make at all. No free will. No passion…

The woman and the girl left without the dress the girl wanted. I sighed and continued looking for lavender dresses. They were all nice, and several of them would be perfect, but my heart wasn't in it. In the end I just picked a random one.

I pondered my small epiphany for the rest of the day as well as the following day. I didn't know what had been so significant about the mother and daughter arguing about dresses – or my old memory about the elusive jeans. But the fact was that it had made me question myself and the choices I hadn't made in my life. I was so distracted that one of my professors pulled me aside after class and asked if I was alright.

When I got dressed for the dinner party, my thoughts were on everything except what I was doing. When I looked at myself in the mirror afterward, I was not wearing lavender like my mother had told me to. The dress I had put on was dark purple, and I didn't know where I had gotten it from. My mother preferred me to wear pastel colors.

I looked at my reflection again and smiled. It wasn't a pair of jeans, but it would do. By wearing it I would be doing something I had never done before – disappointing my mother. But by changing to the lavender dress, I would be doing something I had been doing my whole life – disappointing myself. It was startling to realize that I was a puppet in my parents' little show, offering matinees at the country club, at charity events, and at a million dinner parties. A lifeless puppet, moving only when someone pulled the strings, and showing no sign of life behind the painted eyes and the ever-smiling mouth.

"I said lavender, Isabella," were my mother's first words when she saw me. She was wearing white, as she had taken to lately, because she was certain it made her look younger. Instead, it just made her look pale and almost ill.

"I felt like wearing dark purple," I replied in a tone that felt new and very strange in my throat. It held a note of rebellion.

"You felt like…! Well, I never!" she sputtered before fixing her face back into a welcoming smile as new guests arrived.

I didn't pay much attention to the people around me that night. My childhood home was filled to the brim with the usual people, but they had never seemed as boring as tonight. My mother and her friends gossiped about people at the country club. The people my age either flirted or tried to outdo each other with accounts of what they had accomplished or how much money they made. My father and his friends talked about the stock market, golf handicaps, and which horse to bet on in the next race. I had listened to all of it my entire life, but it had never made me feel sick before.

As the days passed, I became more and more wrapped up in my own thoughts. My mother left me alone, thankfully, sure that I just needed a few days to "cool off." I was not cooling off, though. I analyzed myself over and over, always drawing the same conclusion. Being someone's puppet was not how I wanted to continue living my life. But apart from wearing a different color dress than the one my mother had told me to wear, I had run out of ideas on how to start changing things – how to go about finding out who I was when my every move was not orchestrated by my parents.

The answer came after classes the following Friday. My friends in law school – children of my parents' friends who, like me, were being molded into taking over family businesses - knew about my little controversy with my mother. They probably didn't know the details, but gossip traveled fast, and no one was going to stick their nose in something that might be messy. It wasn't how things worked in the social circles I usually moved in.

That led to me finding myself among classmates I had hardly ever spoken to for a small group project. They were students on scholarships or who worked their way through school. People I had never interacted with because I wasn't supposed to – people who were a lot more interesting than my so-called friends.

"Chica, you look sad," a small girl named Alice said to me after we had finished our project and were gathering up our things to leave. She was bright, which she had demonstrated again and

again while we had worked together. She also had a bubbly personality, short, spiky hair, and wore a million different colors, none of them pastel. I decided that I liked her. "It's Friday. No one should be sad on Fridays."

I smiled. Her logic probably fit herself, but Friday for me meant the start of a weekend filled with social interactions with people I had recently discovered were incredibly boring.

"I just have a lot on my mind," I replied and put my laptop in my bag.

"Wanna go grab a cup of coffee?" she asked, placing a white, knitted hat on top of her spiky hair. "I'm an awful listener because I talk too much, but I might be able to get your mind off whatever is bothering you for a bit. Plus, who doesn't crave java constantly?"

Caught off guard by her amusing candor, I found myself agreeing.

Fifteen minutes later Alice and I were seated across from each other at a little café. She moaned loudly when she took the first sip of her coffee. Her eyes were closed and there was a blissful expression on her face. She was completely oblivious to the people who had heard her and were now staring. I fought my embarrassment.

"Coffee is one of the few reasons I might believe in God," she confessed when she opened her eyes again. "It would have taken divine powers to create coffee beans. I'm not sure if God would be male or female, though. Have you ever thought about it?"

"No," I admitted truthfully. Nothing had ever made me question God's sex before, for which I was grateful because it made me feel slightly uncomfortable.

"On the one hand there is PMS and giving birth which makes me think that God is a man. But on the other hand there is…well, men. Just look at them. Save for a few exceptions, they're dumber than snot. Surely a woman created those suckers, thus making us the stronger sex. Am I right?"

"I suppose you do have a point," I allowed, not used to conversation topics as strange as this one. Though, it was certainly more interesting than discussing the weather, the latest gossip, or fashion. Alice was full of interesting, if not even a little strange, conversation topics. She spoke like she was about to be late for something and had to cram everything into the remaining seconds left to her.

"I'm going to a tattoo party tonight. Wanna come along?" she asked after finishing venting about how her old roommate had burned all her Jamie Oliver cooking books because she had thought they contained messages from the devil.

I tried to catch up. "Um…a tattoo party?"

She nodded. "This guy I know is having it. He's one of God's exceptions and a completely divine dreamboat. I just have to figure out how to make him notice me."

I had a hard time comprehending how anyone could fail to notice Alice. She was small, but her personality was bigger than a house, and the way she dressed made her very noticeable.

"Anyway, it's all very laid back," she continued. "Just a bunch of people having a good time."

"And the tattoo part?" I asked with enough curiosity to move past being polite – at least polite according to my mother's standards.

"Just a tattoo artist coming to do his thing and showing off his work in the hope that people will show up where he works to get something done. I had one done a couple of months ago at a party. The artist was this chick who was covered in tattoos and piercings. Totally awesome and she did brilliant work. See?" She pulled down the front of her shirt and revealed a small, but elaborate clock above her right breast. "Clock's ticking for everyone, including my boobs."

I didn't know what to say. "It's beautiful," I managed. And it was.

Alice sent me a satisfied smile and pulled her shirt back up, once again oblivious to people's stares. "So will you come? I promise you'll have a great time, meet some cool people, and whatever it is that's on your mind and that you haven't thought about since entering this café, won't make an appearance tonight, either."

I laughed. There was no way I could refuse an offer like that. The fact that my mother would hate the idea made it even better. "Thanks, Alice. I'd love to come."

After admitting that the majority of my closet content was made up of pastel dresses and pant suits, Alice declared it necessary to take me shopping. We ventured into stores and boutiques I had never even known existed. Alice made me laugh at her bouts of word vomit and different views of everything while she picked out clothes she thought would be perfect for the party. I could have just nodded like I always did with my mother, but I decided to argue. Not because I didn't like the clothes Alice found for me, but because I could. And because I decided never to let anyone dictate what I wore again. Instead I compromised.

When I got home, I showered and got dressed in a new short jean skirt, a very revealing red top, and brown, knee high boots. I curled my hair a little and let out the oppressed woman inside of me as I applied my make-up. If I had owned a bright red lipstick, I would have put it on, but since red was not pastel, I did not own one. I had to make do with clear lip gloss. Looking at myself in the mirror, I hardly recognized myself. The woman who looked back at me was not someone who favored pastels. The jean skirt was the jeans I hadn't been allowed to get ten years ago. The rest was just icing on the rebellion cake.

A little over an hour later, a cab dropped off Alice and me outside a nondescript townhouse where her divine dreamboat lived. It wasn't a part of the city I was familiar with, but Alice seemed to know where she was going. She twirled around on the sidewalk as we walked up to the door. Her short plaid skirt flared slightly, and she looked so free and so happy that I felt jealousy flare up inside of me for a second.

Music could be heard from inside, and I grew slightly nervous as I had no idea what to expect of this party. It was bound to be very different from anything I was used to. Alice walked right in like she owned the place, nodding her head to the beat of the music. I followed her, squaring my shoulders and reminding myself that I was supposed to be rebelling.

Music and laughter floated around us as soon as we came inside, and I looked around with wide eyes, taking it all in as I knew perfectly well that this rebellion thing was going to be difficult to do alone, and I couldn't count on Alice to drag me out all the time. So I soaked it all up while I could.

Alice grabbed my hand and dragged me through a sea of people, throwing out hellos as she went. She introduced me to some of her friends – Rose, a tall, scary blonde with tattooed thorn branches crawling up her neck and down her arms, and who laughed in my face when I reached out my hand to shake hers. Laurent, seemingly mute, but he had the most fascinating dreadlocks. Mike, a very loud, blond man with more facial piercings than I could ever have imagined was possible, and who flirted with both Alice and me.

I was also introduced to the divine dreamboat and host of the party, who went by the name of Jasper. He was very nice and welcomed me as if he was happy I was there. Alice played it cool, but followed him with her eyes when left us to say hello to some new arrivals.

"How is it even possible to be that gorgeous?" she said with a sigh when someone blocked him from her view. She turned to me as if expecting an answer, but laughed at my bewildered look. "I'll find us something to drink. See if you can find somewhere we can sit down."

She skipped off, leaving me to unsuccessfully find us some seats. People were sitting in the windows, on top of each other, and on the floor. I walked through the rooms anyway, dutifully looking for the seats Alice had asked for. That was when I saw him. I heard myself gasp and quickly looked around, conscious that anyone could have heard me and question my reason. No one even glanced in my direction, though.

I was granted the opportunity to study him as his face was turned half away from me. He was bent over someone sitting on a coffee table, and I realized that he was the tattoo artist Alice had told me would be here, thus making the party a tattoo party. His hair was a mess of bronze locks, and his profile showed nothing but sheer beauty. There was no other word for it. He was wearing a white t-shirt that was stretched tightly across his chest, ripped with well-defined muscles. His left arm, the only one I could see clearly, was almost covered in tattoos, an unrecognizable clutter of patterns and text that I surprisingly longed to take a closer look at. His jeans were dark, ripped in places, with even darker splotches of what was probably ink.

He suddenly stood up fully, stretched, which did wonders for my view, and turned his head to look in my direction as if he could feel my gaze. I ducked my head and felt my cheeks heat up. How embarrassing to be caught staring at the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. I slowly looked back up, only to find him still looking at me with a pair of what were probably the greenest eyes in the entire world. Even across the room, they reminded me of the emeralds on the necklace my parents gave me when I graduated college. My favorite necklace. He sent me a dazzling, crooked smile, and my cheeks heated even more.

We played the looking-blushing-flirting game for a couple of hours. I couldn't keep my eyes off him, even when I was talking to Alice and meeting all her highly interesting friends, and he'd often catch me looking. Each time I was rewarded with a crooked smile that made me blush. Alice kept fetching us drinks from somewhere, and between the alcohol, the blushing, and the hot and bothered state the green-eyed tattoo artist had me succumbing to, I was pretty flushed. At one point Jasper, who Alice seemed to have on a leash by now, noticed me staring.

"Are you looking to get some work done?" he asked me, motioning toward the coffee table on the other side of the room where a girl was propped up with her head in another girl's lap while she had her ankle tattooed. A small crowd had gathered to watch. "Edward is really good, one of the best I've seen. He did this amazing one with some Springsteen lyrics on my back."

Jasper probably didn't notice my lack of reply as he was busy showing his tattoo to Alice, who nearly crawled up under his shirt in her eagerness to see his skin. But the thought festered in my mind. Did I want a tattoo? I had never thought about it before. Except for Alice, I didn't know any girls who had tattoos. And the only man I knew with a tattoo was my grandfather, who had served in the Navy when he was younger and commemorated it with an anchor on his forearm. My grandmother hated it.

Even if I did decide that having something inked onto my body permanently was what I wanted, what could I possibly stand to look at for the rest of my life? And where on my body? If I was being honest, the only reason I was even thinking about a tattoo was the artist. There was nothing I could possible want tattooed anywhere on me. What did Jasper say? Springsteen lyrics?

"Why do you have Springsteen lyrics on your body?" I blurted, interrupting Alice's inspection of his skin.

Jasper smiled and turned his back to me so I could see the tattoo. It said "I've been working real hard, trying to get my hands clean." The letters were perfectly engraved onto his skin, and it was easy to see that there was skill behind them. I had never thought about it before, but it really was a form of art.

"The way I see it, you don't get something inked onto your body unless it means something," Jasper said and shrugged. "I've always loved Springsteen, and I liked the idea of a permanent reminder of how hard I've worked to kick some nasty habits in the past. If I remember my hard work, I won't throw it all away for a quick thrill."

I nodded thoughtfully. It made a lot of sense. I could use a few permanent reminders myself. Like maybe a tattoo of a pair of jeans reminding me to walk my own road in life instead of the one my GPS parents told me to take. My eyes drifted toward the inked piece of heaven I now knew was called Edward, and as if he could feel my gaze on him, he looked up after two seconds. Cue crooked smile and blush.

I wanted to roll my eyes at myself. I was usually very good with people – it was something my mother had taught me very early. So there was no logical reason why I didn't just go over and say hello to a person who managed to capture my attention so thoroughly. God knew that it didn't happen often.

"Carpe diem," I muttered to myself. How was that for a reminder? I had taken the first step away from Alice and Jasper who were in their own little world, when I froze. That was it. My reminder. Before the thought festered in my mind fully, I strode across the floor and didn't stop until I stood right in front of Edward, the Sexy Tattoo Artist…who looked even sexier up close. And had an eyebrow piercing that I found myself strangely attracted to. He turned away from the guy he was talking to and looked at me.

"And we finally meet," he said with a grin. "Been looking forward to that all night."

"No one stopped you from coming over to say hello," I pointed out, unable to hold back my smile.

"I was busy. What's your excuse?"

"I was busy too."

"Is that so? Busy doing what, if you don't mind me asking?" he asked, smirking and crossing his arms over his chest. "Because I gotta say, every time I looked, you did not look that busy."

"I guess you looked at the wrong times then," I told him, wondering where all this sass came from. Maybe it was the alcohol. Alice had poured delicious, green drinks for me all night, and I had no idea what was in them.

"I guess I did," he allowed with a grin. "I'm Edward."

"I know," I said, smiling. "Jasper sung your praises earlier. I'm Isabella."

"You don't look like an Isabella," he told me, studying me with the hint of a smile on his lips. "You look more like a Bella."

I laughed. "Is that so?"

"That is so," he said, nodding.

I bit my lip and smiled. No one had ever called me Bella before except my alcoholic uncle once. My father had chewed him out for calling me something that sounded like the name of a dog. But the way it rolled off Edward's tongue did dangerous and delicious things to my body. He could call me anything he wanted.

"So what does a girl have to do to get a tattoo around here?" I asked calmly, using acting skills I didn't know I possessed. I did not like needles of any kind, but my mind was made up.

His eyebrows rose. "You want a tat?"

I nodded.

He leaned back against the wall. "Would this be your first?"

"Yes." No reason to elaborate, he was probably already judging me.

"I'm not going to insult you by asking you if you're sure," he said, surprising me. "Do you know what you want? I've got some pictures you could look at."

"I know what I want," I replied, not bothering to hide my smirk.

Edward winked and grinned. "Well then. Do share with the class."

"Alis aquilae. In gothic letters," I said. "It's Latin. I can write it down if y-"

"On an eagle's wings," he interrupted. "Book of Isaiah. I don't remember the chapter, but it says something about those who wait shall find their strength renewed, mount up on wings like eagles, run without growing weary, and walk without growing faint. Am I right?"

I nodded dumbfounded. He knew Latin and the Bible?

He smirked, no doubt guessing my thoughts, and lifted up his shirt while he turned around. What was with the males in this place, showing skin left and right? I appreciated the view, of course – and what a view it was. I was so transfixed by the beauty of his pale skin that it took me a moment to realize that I needed to move my gaze north. "Freedom lies in being bold" was written in cursive letters between his shoulder blades. I recognized it as Robert Frost, which did nothing to make me less curious.

"I try to live by those words, so I understand why you'd want something similar," he explained and unfortunately pulled his shirt back down. "I just prefer Frost to the Bible.

"So where am I inking you, Bella?" he asked, the shortened version once again rolling deliciously off his tongue.

I hadn't thought that far. In my determination to get my own mark on my life after having my parents orchestra almost everything I did, that small detail had slipped my mind. I was not ashamed of what I was about to have done, but I also liked the idea of it being just for me. I would have to make the change, not the tattoo. I just liked the idea of having a reminder as Jasper had said. So somewhere hidden from view – most of the time hidden from view, anyway. I felt the blush rise in my cheeks. Edward would have to see that hidden spot. Touch it. Mark it. In a way it would not just be my mark, but also his since he would be doing the writing.

"Bella?" he interrupted my thoughts.

"Yes? Oh, um. I don't know. On my hip maybe?"

He laughed and held up his palms. "Don't ask me. It's your decision. I just do what you tell me."

I had a long list of things I'd like to tell him to do and none of them involved ink. At least not ink on my body, but on his. I cleared my throat. "On the side of my hip. Definitely."

Sexy, flirty Edward turned professional in the blink of an eye. It was fascinating to watch, really. He asked me questions about how exactly I wanted the tattoo, told me what he was going to do, and something about aftercare. Though, at that point I was only listening to his voice, not the actual words. I could Google it tomorrow. He made me lie down on the coffee table while I mused about how I was not afraid of the pain. The needle and possibly my reaction to Edward's touch, yes. But not the pain. Although I probably should have asked Alice how bad it was going to be. Crying would be embarrassing.

I blushed when I pulled down my skirt to reveal my left hip. It intensified when Edward barked at someone who came over to watch like people had earlier. Apparently he no longer wanted an audience. He wiped my skin with something cool and put on a pair of latex gloves.

"Ready?" he asked, looking at me.

I nodded. "Yes." My voice sounded a little funny, but I didn't know whether to blame the man with the needle or the prospect of the needle meeting my skin.

"Okay, just relax," he told me.

Easy for him to say.

The first prick was the worst. I was sure I was going to have to call the whole thing off, but then the pain turned dull and completely manageable. And after a minute the dull pain was overshadowed by the feel of his hand against my skin. I felt a burning sensation even though he was wearing gloves. He would continuously wipe away blood, and while red stuff oozing out of me would normally have freaked me out, I was too busy being fascinated with the way the tip of his tongue peeked out of the corner of his mouth to care.

Just before Edward finished, Alice came bouncing over, still with Jasper on his invisible leash.

"Oh my gosh, Isabella! You're getting a tattoo!" she squealed.

I heard Edward mutter "no shit," and I had to bite the inside of my cheek not to laugh.

"Aw, you spelled my name wrong, though," she said, giggling as she sat down on the couch and leaned in to take a closer look. Jasper sat down next to her and started chatting with Edward while he finished up. I felt like a meal laid out on the table while the dinner guests conversed. Alice interrupted and introduced herself to Edward, telling him that she would look him up next time she wanted a tattoo done. She then proceeded to tell him about all her ideas of what she might like to get done. The girl had a lot of tattoo ideas. One included a bicycle and a sliced tomato. I don't think anyone but her got the meaning of that one.

"All right, all done," Edward announced, cutting off Alice's stream of ideas. He cleaned up the small tattoo and rubbed some ointment on it before dressing it like a wound. He laughed at my question about payment and repeated what I had tuned out earlier about aftercare.

"Use plain soap with no fragrance or dye to clean it, put some unscented lotion on it to keep it from cracking, and be careful to not bump it so it gets all messed up," he rattled off.

"And show it off, Chica!" Alice offered her input, making us all laugh.

I sat up and fixed my clothes. Alice went to get us some beers, and then disappeared with Jasper in tow. If I ever had a dog, I was going to name it Jasper. I had never met a guy who resembled a dog so much – loyal, adorable, on a leash, and occasionally drooling. Edward and I talked while he packed away his things in a bag. He was really good at making me laugh with his sarcastic comments about everyone and everything.

"Why don't we go back to your place and get to know each other a little better?" The words were mine, but I was as surprised as Edward clearly was that I had uttered them. I was still wondering how to back-track gracefully when he grabbed my hand, smiled impishly at me, and dragged me through the house to the front door. I barely even had time to wave to Alice, who grinned at me from Jasper's lap. The thoughts of back-tracking vanished from my mind the second my skin touched Edward's. Holding hands had never set my body on fire before.

I was by no means a virgin. I had diligently dated the men my parents had deemed fit for me, and I had allowed two of them into my bed. My relationship with Emmett had been fun – perhaps too much fun, as he hadn't been as career-orientated as my father would have preferred. Royce was my second serious boyfriend, but he had been a little too busy with other women. But what I had experienced with Emmett and Royce had in no way prepared me for what was in store with Edward. He awakened my body for the first time, pure and simple.

I barely had time to feel the cool night air before Edward's kisses heated me up like I was on fire. Somehow he managed to flag down a cab, and his mouth's delicious assault continued in the back seat. And I was no innocent bystander as I did my fair share of assaulting. His hands touched me like he knew my body, and the texture of his skin felt perfect under my fingertips. It wasn't until we had left the cab in front of his apartment building that I realized that the cab driver had just heard me moan. Seen me touch Edward. Seen Edward touch me. I felt dirty for all of two seconds. Then I was pulled inside where we managed to trip on the stairs. I thankfully landed on my right hip. Giggling into a delicious kiss, I swooned a little when he cradled my head in a semi-late attempt to save it from bumping into the stairs.

"What the hell are you doing to me?" he mumbled against my skin as he picked me up and practically carried me to his door. He swiftly unlocked the door, and I slid down his hard body to stand on the floor. I didn't look at the way his apartment was decorated, at his furniture, or if he was tidy or sloppy. There was an intensity about him that made my gaze stay locked on him. When he touched me, stumbling through the apartment while clothes started disappearing, everything else ceased to exist.

Edward stared at me for a moment once the last piece of clothing had left my body. I reveled in the fact that he seemed to like what he saw, and when the look in his eyes only intensified as he took in the small bandage he had placed over my tattoo, I knew that I also had a permanent reminder of him.

He was glorious. A part of me wanted to take the time to explore the ink on his body, but the dominant part of me had other plans. He closed the distance between us and put one hand on my hip and the other at the small of my back. He leaned in to kiss me, and I welcomed it. It was like we were in the eye of the storm, not as frantic as we had been before, but everything still heated and intense. He pulled my lip into his mouth with his teeth while walking us backwards toward the bed. I couldn't help but moan.

Then suddenly we tripped again, and I got pinned to the bed. In the fall his teeth grazed my bottom lip, and I let out a yelp. Edward pulled back and looked at me.

"Shit! You're bleeding. I'm sorry. Dammit. I'll go get a cloth f-"

The eye of the storm passed, and I pulled him back down when he attempted to get up. It didn't even hurt, and I could think of a lot of things I wanted more than a cloth. Mainly the gorgeous man above me. Luckily he was not only gorgeous, but also smart because he got the message and kissed me again. He tasted divine, but his lips were not enough. Pushing him back fully on the bed, I straddled him and worshipped his body with my mouth. Seemed like the only thing worthy of such an amazing body. He was hard beneath me, and his hands were deliciously adventurous. I nibbled on his throat and even bit down on his nipple, making him arch off the bed. It wasn't payback for when he nicked my lip, I just couldn't help myself. He made me stop thinking and just feel.

Just as I was getting ready to bite his other nipple, as he seemed to enjoy it, I was flipped over, quickly realizing that those who claimed that payback was a bitch were wrong. Payback was divine. And Edward had a magic tongue that was very thorough and made me omit sounds I had never even heard before, much less produced. He even made me scream when the magic tongue pushed me over the edge, leaving me boneless, stupidly happy, and wanting much more of him than just his tongue.

Apparently he wasn't the only one who was a little out of it, because he completely missed the first time he tried to enter me. I covered my giggle with a hiss, and the adorable man actually apologized. If I wasn't boneless already, I would have melted.

The second time it went much better, and my eyes rolled back into my head at the feeling of him inside me. Sweet merciful… His face rested in the crook of my neck, and he sucked the skin there while he thrust into me hard and fast. I wove my fingers into his hair and gave up trying to hold my embarrassing, loud moans in.

He slowed his pace, which was a good thing because the feeling of him…shit. I could feel him – all of him. Nothing between us, not even a condom. Oh shit! I put a hand on his shoulder, but that just made him pick up his pace again. What was a girl to do? I smacked him.

"Edward," I got out. "Condom."

He flew off the bed, looking as if he'd just seen a monster. He landed comically on his ass, and I kept my giggles in until he started rubbing it. For a moment he looked like he didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but then he smiled. The man was giving me serious whiplash by going from gorgeous to adorable in no time at all, and I didn't know which part of him I liked better.

He did know how to handle a condom, though, because it didn't take him many seconds to find one and roll it on. I giggled again when he very enthusiastically nearly jumped onto the bed and landed on top of me. He quite literally took my breath away. Again and again and again…

Every single one of my nerve endings felt him. Inside and out. I went into sensation overload when he reached down between us, never once faltering from his pace, and sped up my orgasm, catapulting me over the edge again with a loud cry. His teeth were on my nipple and I was still shaking when he came forcefully. I heard him, but I didn't understand him. I felt him, but didn't have the strength to lift my arms to hold him when he collapsed on top of me, sweaty skin meeting sweaty skin.

He had officially spoiled me for life.

Edward had more strength than me. He eventually rolled off me and put his arms around me, and before I could even start to consider whether or not I was spending the night, I drifted off to sleep feeling more content than I probably ever had.

~.~.~.~

I woke up with a headache. The bright morning light irritated my eyes when I opened them, and it took a few seconds to realize why my curtains weren't drawn like they usually were. I was not in my own home. Clutching the sheet around me, I sat up in bed, too late considering what such harsh movements might do to the other occupant of the bed. Wait. Other occupant of the bed? I turned my head sharply, wincing a little at the pain it brought to the inside of my skull. My eyes settled on a glorious specimen of a sleeping male, and my cheeks heated as memories from last night assaulted my mind. Edward was unlike anyone I had ever met, and even asleep I felt the power he had over my body.

Sweet merciful…

I suppressed the urge to moan. It wasn't that I regretted last night, not at all in fact, as I had undoubtedly had the best sex ever, but I had no idea how to deal with the morning after. What was I supposed to say? And if whatever I was supposed to say took longer than fifteen minutes, I would be late and have no time to get home to shower and change before going to my weekly brunch with my mother and grandmother. And showing up at brunch looking like this would not do at all. My courage had been used up last night, and with nothing left, there was no way I could stay and no way I could face Edward.

Carefully, trying not to wake him, I slid out of bed, stumbling a little when I stepped on one of his shoes. My clothes were strewn all over the room, and I hurriedly dressed after finding them all. I struggled a bit with my boots, but finally managed to zip them up. Once again checking to make sure that Edward was still asleep, I crept out of the room and took a deep breath when I had managed to close to the door without making any loud noises.

I took the elevator down to the main floor and quickly walked outside. The neighborhood was not familiar to me, but I would remember it fondly. At least if I could avoid making eye contact with anyone who might mistake me for a prostitute. God only knew what my hair and whatever makeup I still had on looked like. I saw nothing I recognized, so I started walking in the hope of being able to flag down a cab. I needed an address if I had to call one, and I couldn't spot any street names.

Although I decided to, I was not able to forget Edward on the cab ride home. Every thought was of how his lips felt against mine, how his hands felt against my skin, and how he made me feel things I hadn't even known existed. My rebellion had turned out very different from what I had expected, and although last night had been beyond amazing, I was undecided on whether or not that was a good thing. At least before I hadn't known what I was missing. Now I did. And a reminder of it had been tattooed onto my skin by Edward himself.