Chapter 9 - Love Song

I pass by the window for what's got to be the twenty-third time, peeking out of the curtains. My eyes are scanning for Emmett, either him or his Jeep, when I hear the retching noise.

"You've got to be kidding me."

In all the scenarios I've dreamed up over the past three days about what would happen when Emmett gets to my house, me on my knees, scrubbing dog vomit out of the carpet ranks pretty damn low. But that's exactly what I'm doing. At least Eric has the decency to look somewhat sorry as I pull the carpet cleaner and towels from the hall closet.

So that's where I am when the doorbell rings, on the floor, spraying cleaner and letting it soak in. Eric is giving the towels a look like he wants to show them who's boss and I know I can't leave him alone with them, otherwise I might come back to an even bigger mess. He often gets in fights with inanimate objects (or my foot), so I scoop him up. He tries to lick my face; I can't tell if it's in gratitude or just to mess with me.

"Um, no, vomit mouth. You can keep that."

Rushing into the foyer, I don't even chance a look at the mirror. I just fling open the door. Emmett's got his finger on the bell, like he's about to press it again, but stops and pulls it away. He takes his baseball hat off his head, shoving it quickly into his back pocket. God, he's gorgeous. The plaid shirt he's wearing looks worn, and not in the hipster, I-bought-this-new-but-it-already-looks-worn look. The dark wash of his jeans are slightly faded, and also authentic. The real deal; just like him.

His frame fills the doorway and he looks down shyly, running a hand against the back of his neck. "Hi. I'm not early, right?"

"Hi," I say, breathlessly. "Um, no, you're not early. I was just..." Oh great, Rosalie. What are you going to say? I was just cleaning up dog vomit? "I just have to clean something real quick. Oh! Come in." I usher him into the foyer and he looks around, his eyes taking in the foyer, moving up to the cathedral ceiling and the chandelier hanging from it. "Do you like dogs?"

He raises a dubious eyebrow as his eyes land on Eric. "Is that even considered a dog?"

Eric growls at his comment and I laugh. "Careful, he speaks English."

I thrust Eric toward him and he takes him into his hands. They look funny together, this tall, broad guy holding my tiny pipsqueak of a dog. "Emmett, meet Eric. Can you hold him while I finish up? It will only take a sec."

"Sure," Emmett says as Eric sniffs his little nose at him, deeming him acceptable to chauffeur him around. "Hey buddy. Paw bump."

"Oh and not that I think you'll have to worry about this because he doesn't give his love freely but... don't let him lick you."

Now he's looking at Eric with concern. "Uh, okay. Why?"

"Just trust me on this."

The speed with which I rush back into the living room and scrub at the floor astonishes even me. I throw the towels into the laundry room, put away the cleaner and wash my hands before making my way back to Emmett and Eric. I can't believe I've left him standing in the foyer with the monster. I mean, he's a little monster, but really? Clearly the fumes of the cleaner have gone to my head.

I expect to find him still there, standing where I left them. Instead, he's sitting on the floor, his long legs stretched out in front of him. Eric is running around manically, grabbing all of his favorite toys and dropping them into Emmett's lap.

Emmett looks down at the collection of toys and then back up at me with a bemused grin. "He wanted to show me something."

"Whoa. I'm surprised he warmed up to you so quickly. Or well, really at all. Usually he barely tolerates people."

"This guy?" Emmett picks him up with one hand, squinting at Eric's face. "Maybe he's just shy until he really knows someone." He gives me a pointed look.

I snort at his assessment and his attempt at paralleling me with Eric. "No, he's just sort of an asshole sometimes. He used to try and bite Roy for no reason."

"Smartest dog ever."

I roll my eyes. The damn thing just puked on the carpet. The smartest dog ever would have realized that I was waiting for the cutest boy ever to come over and headed outside. Or at least aimed for the tile.

Change the subject.

"So, where's your car? I didn't hear you pull up."

Emmett watches Eric traipse away, his dog tags jingling softly. "Bella needed a ride to E's house because her hoopty was acting up, so I just left it there." One corner of his mouth pulls up. "They kicked me out pretty quick."

"Oh yeah?"

He stands, eyebrows raised, and then he's looking down at me with those blue eyes that are the color of the sky drifting into twilight. "The house to themselves without any parents around? I'd kick me out, too."

It takes a second for his statement to really sink in. In all of my mania over Eric's puke, I forgot for a moment what we're doing and that this house is empty except for us. Beyond our stolen moments, this is the first time we've been really alone.

But his words remind me. When our eyes lock, everything goes very quiet. I feel the blush I see in his cheeks spread across my own and I swallow heavily. I'm pretty sure it echoes off the walls and the floor; I know he hears it, because his gaze goes to my throat. He can just look at me a certain way and I have goose bumps all over my skin.

"I'm not going to kick you out, don't worry," I say.

He smiles and when his mouth stretches up, his teeth catch his bottom lip almost bashfully. I try to maintain some semblance of calm, even when he reaches out for me. His hand goes around my hip and he reels me in until I'm against his chest with my eyes fixed on the whisper of stubble across his jaw. Whatever awkwardness or nervousness there was between us disappears as soon as he touches me. Even though my heart is hammering and I'm a little shaky, I feel right here, against him.

"I hope not. I just got here."

Oh god, I think that little grin is going to kill me one day. It'll take out my knees first and then maybe my heart. I close my eyes when his lips brush against my cheek.

"A little to the left." He laughs and moves back toward my ear. "Other left. Am I going to have to tutor you on that, too?" His lips drift over mine, settling on my other cheek. "Em..." I whisper, frustrated, and he laughs again, but it's husky and low.

His arms wrap around me for real and he pulls me even closer, resting his forehead against mine. Our mouths are so close. "It sucks seeing you at school, but not talking, you know?"

"I know. God, I know."

I feel the same pang I've been feeling for the past three days. School has been torturous; Jess and Lauren have been creating some kind of fortress of solidarity around me because Roy is parading around with Vera. Even though I told them I don't care, they've gone into mother-hen mode, which means they won't leave me alone at school. Ever.

Because of that, the extent of my and Emmett's interactions have been few and far between. We've snuck in texts; on Tuesday, I got one that just read you look beautiful, but when I looked around, he was already turning the corner. And for the past three days in English, I've angled myself just the right way in my desk so that Emmett can see me tapping my bottom lip. It's become our unspoken sign, and I felt the weight of him watching me every time I did it in class or at my locker.

When he finally stops teasing me and moves his lips from my cheek to my mouth, it's fast but at the same time slow, like we're getting to know each other in that way again.

"I guess we should make up for lost time," I say when we pull away, turning so that my back is to his chest, his body pressed to mine. We start walking, which is really more like shuffling because neither of us wants to give up the physical contact. His short facial hair tickles my neck and I giggle, trying to pull away, but not really. "Do you want a tour? Anything to eat or drink?"

"No." He draws out the word.

Leaning my head back onto his shoulder, I stop our forward motion so that I can look at his face. My eyes fall to his back, where I notice his backpack is not. "Oh, did you forget your books? How am I supposed to tutor you if you don't have those?" I say, teasingly.

"I thought that you'd share with me," he murmurs. His eyes are shining and it's that whole want-need thing again. I wonder what I look like to him, knowing that I constantly feel different when we're together; I feel alive, my nerve-endings on overdrive.

"I'm an only child. I don't do well with sharing. But I think I can make an exception for you."

He raises a brow and leans further into me. "I'm an only child, too, so I think it's best that we stick together."

"Kindred spirits," I say, nodding while navigating us to the stairs. "Come on, my books are upstairs in my room. I'll share with you there."

The double meaning of my words isn't lost on him; his smile tells me as much.

We disengage so we can walk up the stairs without breaking our necks, but our hands stay linked. Once we get to the landing, he's right there again, his body spooning mine as we walk to my room.

"Gram says hi, by the way. And she wanted to know if you want to come to dinner some time next week. Maybe Tuesday? Or sooner even. Monday?"

I smile as he rambles on. Once again, I'm reminded that we're the same, that he feels this as much as I do. "Are those her suggestions or yours?"

"Mine." He shrugs, though not apologetic. "I like seeing you."

I'm pretty sure my smile is ridiculous. I don't care.

"Um, so this is my room," I say, suddenly shy again. This isn't a big deal, right? But it is. It's sort of surreal to have him here, in my space. Just a few weeks ago, I sat on the floor, trying to research and remember the few things I already knew about him. From then to now, I've learned so much about him; about myself, even. And now Emmett's walking into the place that holds basically all my worldly possessions - at least the ones that matter most to me.

"Whoa. I thought you and Edward had the same model," he breathes under his breath and releases me so he can take it all in, I guess.

"Um, yeah. It actually used to be two rooms. But... well, when my parents found out they weren't able to have any more kids, they decided to take part of the wall out and add the French doors. It's crazy, I know."

"There's a fireplace. You have a fireplace in your room," he mumbles. I don't say anything. He wanders around the room, past my desk with my laptop and a stack of college brochures, the chair that his hoodie is draped over, and to the lines of photographs I have resting on shelves. There's a picture of my parents that he picks up to study. "Did you take this?"

I nod, walking over to stand next to him. "That was at a DAR event last spring that my mom organized."

"It's a good picture, Ro. Alice was smart to ask you to help her out."

I flush at his compliment. Alice must have already told him about the plan we made to take pictures at Edward's house on Sunday. She'd caught me in the hallway yesterday, just before lunch. When I suggested that the boys be there to model her stuff in addition to Bella, she'd just smiled knowingly, because by "boys" I'd obviously meant Emmett.

Emmett's still looking at the picture of my parents with an odd expression. "You look like her."

"When I was little, I really resembled my dad more." Reaching past him, I run my fingers along the shelves until I find the picture I'm looking for, the one of my dad and me on the boat. I was about five or six and sitting on my dad's lap, wearing his captain's hat. "See? I guess things change."

"They do," he says quietly. There's a hint of sadness there and I have to work hard not to make him elaborate. I don't want to push, because he seems so hesitant.

Instead, I grab the books from my desk and motion for him to follow me. I'm trying to give him space, let him talk about things on his own time, if he even wants to. At the same time, I'm hoping that I don't look like a slut by dragging him to my bed. I wish you'd open up to me, but hey, since I'm going to give you the chance to do that on your own, come to my den of sin.

You know, if a den of sin was decorated in hues of turquoise and pink.

"Well, I guess we should..." I smile shyly, flipping through the pages of the textbook. Finding the page with the comprehensive questions, I settle myself on the bed and then awkwardly pat the space next to me.

He sits at the edge and wrestles off his shoes, dropping them with a thud onto the white carpet. I watch him, kind of breathless. He's on my bed. I've thought of him while I lay in this bed, have thought of him being in my bed, and now he's here and I don't even know what to do or say.

"All right, Miss Hale, let's do this," he says, scooting backwards until he's in front of me. His knee brushes against mine, like that first night at Edward's, and his grin mirrors mine. We both know what this means, or what it could, but neither of us are saying it. Maybe we don't even have to; it's in the air between us.

I shift so that both of our knees are pressed together and turn the book to give him access. Despite the fact that I'm distracted by his closeness and the way he smells, how he looks at me and smiles whenever I glance up from the questions or my notebook, we get through the bulk of the comprehensive questions pretty quickly. He stays with me the whole time, sometimes answering ahead of me, but just blinks innocently whenever I raise a suspicious eyebrow.

He doesn't speak up much in English, except when Berty calls on him (which is hardly ever), and we don't have any other classes together, so I'm not very familiar with how he does, school-wise. I'm a little surprised at how quickly the answers come to him, how easily we spar back and forth. It's another little piece of the Emmett puzzle I'm putting together, all of these pieces that make a beautiful picture.

But there's still so much I don't know. So much I want to figure out.

"I don't think you needed me at all," I say accusingly, when all of the questions are done.

He looks up from the notebook I loaned him, pulling his pen cap out from between his teeth, and grins. "I did, too. I never would've gotten through these questions without you."

"Wow, I never took you for a liar, McCarty."

He laughs, drops the pen and closes his notebook, and then lies down, propping his head up. "Okay, maybe I would've been able to get through them, but I like doing it with you more."

I don't miss the innuendo or the way he's smirking, all laid out in front of me. My bed is a queen and it's always felt kind of huge to me; sometimes I wake up and I've gone width-wise, like he is now. But Emmett makes it feel so much smaller. He even fills the space he doesn't take up.

I wonder how it will feel to me tonight, remembering how he looked here.

"Why do you like doing it with me?" I ask coyly.

His grin widens - such a boy- and he shrugs. "Because you have a really hot..." His eyes sweep over me, slow, and even though he flushes a little while he does it, his confidence makes my stomach quiver a little. "Brain."

I narrow my eyes at him playfully. "I'm sure that's what you meant."

"It is. That doesn't mean there aren't other things about you that are hot, because trust me, there are and I could name them all right now." It's my turn to blush. His smile goes a little serious. I didn't even know that was possible, but Emmett does it with soft eyes and dimples. "But you're not just a pretty face, Rose. You're insanely smart, which is really sexy and intimidating as hell."

"I think you overestimate me," I say with a small smile.

He shakes his head, so sure. "I think you underestimate yourself."

I shrug, smoothing down the pages of my notebook. "I just work hard. My parents have always pushed me to excel in school. It's really important to them."

"Is it important to you?"

"I like doing well. And I..." I trail off, darting a glance at him to see if he's listening. I tried to talk to Roy about this once, about the weight my parents' expectations put on my shoulders, but his eyes glazed over pretty quickly into the conversation. I've never really talked about this with anyone. It's just something I've kept inside, but something about the way Emmett's looking at me, quiet and waiting, makes me think he'll listen. Maybe even understand. "I don't know. I feel like I'm all they have, so I want to be good for them. They wanted more kids but couldn't have any after me, so all of their dreams and hopes for their other kids are on me now. I don't want to disappoint them."

"What do they think of your photography?" he asks, but I think he already knows. He has to.

I shrug. "They don't really. They want me to focus on academics at school, so classes are out of the question. Alice is kind of the first person to make me feel like I could actually do something with it, like it isn't something unworthy of my time."

I stop talking and look down at my hands, almost shy again about what I've just shared with him. I feel the bed dip, feel him moving beside me, settling so that his head is in my lap and he's able to look right up at me.

"It's great that Alice made you feel like that. And it's obvious that everyone liked the pictures you took for the paper, too. I mean, that much is clear after Angela asked you to help out again yesterday. She'd probably like you to be on the staff full-time, or whatever." He pauses and I can tell he wants to say more.


"You like photography and you're good at it. And I bet your parents want you to succeed with whatever you're doing. They're pushing you for all these things that they want. But this is something youwant." His eyes twinkle as he looks up at me. "You should go for what you want. I'm learning that."

I sit up on my knees, letting his head fall to the bed. He lets out a soft oomph. I pick the books up and deposit them next to my bed in a pile. "How is it you get me to tell you all my secrets?"

"It must be because of my handsome looks and boyish charm," he says, his smile showing off his dimples. He slides his body so that he's resting his head on my pillow. I'll definitely be cuddling with it later tonight. One hand is under his head and the other is expanded across the bed, like he's waiting for me. He raises a brow and nods his chin at the empty space.

For some reason, I'm slightly freaking at the prospect of being horizontal with him. That's just ridiculous, right? But there he is, lying on my bed with his head on my pillow. It's the stuff that my dreams are made of. Literally.

I shrug, trying to be nonchalant. No big deal that I'm going to be in my bed with Emmett McCarty. Nope. Just another day at the office. Or something.

Lying down, I rest my head on his bicep and look up at him. "They aren't secrets," he explains quietly. He's playing with a few strands of my hair, looking at me with this look.

"They're not? I don't tell anyone else this stuff. Not Lauren, not Jess, no one. Just you."

"Nah. They're what make up who you are. And it sounds like you're really just figuring it out yourself, so it's okay that not everyone else know yet." He brings his face close to mine and our noses touch. I close my eyes, just feeling him so close. Right there. "I like that you tell me, though."

Our foreheads are touching now, too. I anticipate the feel his lips on mine, so I'm surprised when he pulls away from me a bit. My eyes open slowly, and I find myself looking into his. "My parents aren't really in my life. So yeah, the fact that you have yours and they're so supportive, you know? I..." Emmett trails off thoughtfully.

I venture a guess. "You're figuring out things, too?"

He gives a small shrug. "Eh, I pretty much know where I stand. I think we're at opposite ends of the field, though. Whereas people want to see you succeed and are pushing you in that direction, I think they're just waiting for me to fuck up. Not everyone, but the teachers and administrators probably think it's in the cards. The odds aren't good for someone like me."

"Someone like you?" I ask, searching his face.

"I don't have a fireplace in my house, let alone my room, Rosalie. My mom died when I was little and my dad didn't know what to do with me. Literally didn't have a clue as to how he'd survive without her."

My heart drops at his admission. He must see the shock on my face, because he stops suddenly. We're quiet for a minute, but I get the feeling he needs to know I'm here, so I scoot closer. "I'm so sorry, Em. What happened?"

"It was a car accident," he says around a deep breath. "He felt responsible that she wasn't alive somehow, so instead of one parent, I lost two. I think I always resented him subconsciously for it, without really knowing the reason why when I was little."

My mind flashes to the pictures on his Gram's walls. "Gram's your mom's mom, right?"

"Yeah. When this all happened, even though she had lost her daughter, I went to live with her. She's a saint, you know? I mean, I'd always been close with her, had always gone to visit her with my parents but she took on a five-year-old punk when she should have been finally able to relax."

"I bet she doesn't see it that way," I say softly.

"She's never made me feel that way, no. But as I've gotten older, I've thought it. And then when I hit eighth grade, she started getting sick." My hand winds back over my head to find his. We weave our fingers together as he tells me about how it wasn't too bad at first, but he knew that she wasn't feeling well, how little things that seemed so easy before started to wear on her. His father offered to have him come live with him in Port Angeles, to give Gram space now that he had remarried and "had his life together."

"And that's great and all, that he settled and made peace with himself. I guess he finally decided that it was time to know me. But by that point, I was thirteen and pretty pissed off about the whole thing. It was a fucked up time. I wanted to try and get to know my dad, give him a chance or whatever, but I didn't really want to leave Gram."

My mind is racing, trying to process all of the information he's giving me. He keeps talking and I keep listening, take it all in, every word. His fingers move over my knuckles when he tells me how he never felt at home with his dad and his new wife, never really fit in at his new school. He tells me about the trouble he got into there. His eyes cloud with worry when he says it was nothing crazy, just acting out in class and being a smart ass, and maybe a fight or two.

Like that would make me walk away. I don't think anything would.

He stares at the ceiling, this faraway look on his face when he talks about coming back to Forks and Gram. I almost feel his relief talking about it. His body sinks closer to mine and I drift closer to him, too, until my leg is between his and his thigh is heavy over mine.

"I'm glad I came home," he says. Our eyes meet. I've never felt close to someone like this, in every way that counts. "I don't talk about this much, about my mom and my dad and stuff. I mean, E, Swan, Al and Jas know the mechanics of it, but you're the first one to know all of it, Ro. Okay?"

He gives me something with that statement and I don't know if it's his trust or another piece of himself, but whatever it is, it's so much that I don't even know what to say. So I don't say anything at all. His eyes are still open with mine when I put my hand on the back of his neck, but we close them at the same time and breathe out together when our lips touch.

I'm okay with how quiet this house is right now because it means we're alone and I can hear every little sound he makes - that little rolling groan when he feels my tongue, the rustle of his jeans when he scoots closer, the gasp we both make when our hips pull together. I feel like I'm on fire on the inside. I push against him and he moans again, whispers my name. He pushes back and it's this give and take of hips and hands and that fire gets white hot where he's touching me, pushing up my shirt so he can feel skin.

I don't know how many different ways it's possible to want and need someone, but however many there are, I want and need Emmett in all of them.

My shirt goes away and his does, too, although we have to wrestle with his a bit. I want to look, but we're too close and his skin feels amazing - hot and soft over hard muscle. I want to climb on top of him. I want to pull him on top of me just to feel his weight. Somehow instead, in all of my pressing and all of his pushing and the kissing and touching, I end up wiggling around, half on my back and half on my other side. The angle is kind of awkward but at the same time amazing because now his free hand, the one I'm not laying on, is wandering.

When his fingers trace the swell of my breast over my lace bra (thank god I wore my nice one) and his palm barely covers it, I think I might explode. And maybe he will, too, because he makes this strangled sound into my mouth and then pulls away. His eyes are dark and kind of glassy and I smile, breathless.

"Rose, I want to touch you more," he murmurs.

"Please." I say it once but I want to say it a million times, so he knows how much I want it. When he does it again, this time with more purpose and pressure, I arch back into him, feel how much he wants this, too.

We kiss, slow and deep and then sometimes faster, sloppy-good. We laugh when our teeth knock together, but there's nothing funny about how he reacts to me. I don't feel like he's racing for the finish line, like he just wants to get off. He's touching me like he's really exploring, taking in every curve and sensitive spot. It's so different from what I'm used to.

His fingers trace the curve of my side until they're at the waistband of my jeans. We both stop, just for a second. I'm already aching. His mouth goes to my ear, his fingers tracing the skin above my jeans, making me shiver.

"Is this okay?" he whispers.

I don't think I can form a word, much less a complete sentence. I just take his hand and we unbutton and then unzip my jeans together. His breath gets short. I know he's watching what we're doing just like I am.

"I think you should just take these off," he says, his heart thumping heavily against my back.

I laugh a little, looking over my shoulder. He's right there, smiling, and I take his bottom lip between mine, just to taste, before shimmying out of my jeans. Emmett helps, skimming one broad palm down the side of my thigh, until I can kick them the rest of the way off.

"Fuck..." he trails off, his voice thick. I feel more naked than I am for a second, completely uncovered. Rain starts to fall, hitting my window softly, and I feel the cool breeze roll in from where it's cracked open. "You're so beautiful."

"You make me feel beautiful," I whisper back.

He looks down at me with this intensity, but his smile is playful. "I want to make you feel good."

I don't know what to say, so I kiss him instead. Roy was always so quiet when we hooked up. We never talked like this. He was fast, too. He touched, but he never teased like Emmett's doing now, with his hand moving back up my thigh, fingers circling my hipbone and then moving down to trace the edge of my underwear. I never made the kind of noises with Roy that come out of my mouth when Emmett touches me right there.

And I never, ever took Roy's hand and guided it to where I needed it to be, but I'm doing that now with Emmett because I need him to touch me or I'm going to die. We watch together, his palm sliding down my stomach, his fingers disappearing beneath black lace until he finds me, so ready for him. I only see his face for a second before my eyes close, but I'll remember it forever. He's looking at me like he's getting as much pleasure out of this as I am, although I don't know how that's possible. He's looking at me like I'm the most beautiful girl, like I'm something he's never seen before, and I feel drunk from it.

"Oh, my god," he whispers, almost to himself, and his fingers slip further down and inside and my knees open to let him touch me more. He's so good at this. I'm sure he's done this before, because my thighs are shaking, tense with how close I am already. "You feel so fucking amazing, Rosalie."

"Don't stop, don't stop." I don't even recognize my own voice. I open my eyes to see him looking down at me, his lips parted and eyes so dark.

And he doesn't. He keeps talking, murmuring how beautiful I am and how good I feel and do I like this? And all I can do is remember to breathe and say his name and when I'm so, so close, I tell him and his mouth crashes against mine. He's rubbing and stroking with his fingers and then I'm panting and crying out into his mouth. And then, then I'm silent because I'm falling apart and it's too intense. My fingers curl into his hair and his fingers curl into me and he holds me close, slows his pace to ride wave after wave with me until I'm nothing but a shaking, gasping mess in his arms. We stay that way for a few minutes while I wait for my breath to get normal again, for my heart to slow down.

"That was incredible," he says finally, his voice soft. I'm pretty sure that's what I should be saying to him, but I'm still coming down off of my high, and somewhere along the way, I lost my voice. So instead I climb on top of him, straddling his body with my legs, kissing him until it finds its way back.

"Thank you." The words are on my lips, on his lips, as I whisper them between kisses, in the middle of them.

He presses his head back into the pillow, looking at me through half-closed lids. "Anytime," he replies, trying to sound jokingly nonchalant, but his voice is strained. I can tell he'd be okay ending things right here. He doesn't expect more, doesn't push. I'm not used to being with someone who isn't after his own agenda.

This is the first time in a situation like this that I want to give more. I want to make him happy, want to make him feel as good as he's made me feel. This is how it's supposed to be. And I can feel his want, his need as he's pressed up against me. Every time I move, his hips involuntarily seek to follow that movement.

Scooting backwards, I make my way down his body. The muscles in his abdomen contract as he braces himself on his arms and my hands trace the lines of those muscles. Dear god. "Hey, where are you going?" he asks.

I lean back so that my ass rests on his thighs. My fingers move to the waistband of his jeans and my voice doesn't sound like my own when I ask, "Is this okay?" It's deep and husky and... sexy, even.

"That's more than okay." His eyes are dark. I can hear the rain growing more intense as I undo the buttons. He raises his hips off the bed, assisting me as I pull them and his boxers down and off his legs. They fall to the floor at the foot of my bed and all I can hear is the sound of his breath and mine and the thud of my heart that's surely expanded in my chest after he's made me feel so good, made me want him even more than I ever thought possible.

He's watching me, still, his arms propping him up. I glance at him one more time before I lower my lips to kiss his inner thigh. "Wait. Are you-"

I don't wait, because I know he doesn't really mean that. My hand finds him and then my lips do and I hear him utter a string of words that sound like prayers and curses one after the other. The noises he's making mirror the ones that I made not long ago and I know I'm making him happy, I'm making him feel good. The corners of my lips pull upward with that knowledge.

If there's anything I've learned from being with Emmett, it's a good give and take. Reciprocity. With him, the giving is just as rewarding as the taking, and every once in a while I look up to find him watching me, his jaw tight and teeth clamped down on his bottom lip. His hands stay gripped on the sheets next to him, but he says my name again and again and it feels like he's touching me all over. I love that I make him feel this way.

Afterward we stay in bed, wrapped up and tangled and mostly quiet, as the room gets darker and darker. It's nice just being with him like this, not feeling like we need to go any further or fill the comfortable silence between us.

By the time my parents get home later that night, Emmett is long gone and I'm sprawled out on the bed in my pajamas. Mom pokes her head in, her face flushed from too much wine and laughter. She and Esme turn into schoolgirls when they get together.

"Hey, honey, how are you doing in here?" She's smiling, leaning up against the doorjamb.

"Fine, just finishing up my homework."

"Quiet afternoon?"

I look down at my notebook, letting a curtain of hair fall over my face so she doesn't see how it blooms with color. Apparently I got that trait from her.

"Yep," I say, as if nothing is different.

I can smell Emmett on the pillow jammed underneath my chest, though. I can still feel his breath on my skin and his touch and what he said to me and I know the truth.

Everything is different now.

Thanks to JD and V for being our cheerleaders every chapter. AccioBourbon patched us up this chapter, as she always does. In addition to being our red pen-er-er and hand-holder, she's also a wonderful writer who's got a killer Peter/Bella (you read that right) going called First Person, Present. It's nearly complete and wonderful. Coincidentally enough, it's also listed in our favorites. Give it a read!

Another non-canon story to check out is Letting Go of Maybe by Weebble. It's Emmett/Bella. It's great. It's in our favorites!

We're dying to know what you guys thought of this chapter. To be fair, we are every chapter, but particularly this one. Thanks for giving us so much love thus far. You're all so rad and we can't get enough of you. And will stalk you on Twitter given the opportunity.

Same time, same place next chapter. See you then!