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not beta'd

storyline - Sultry

prompt - stem, hem

"Okay." My voice is quiet. I'm slightly shaking, high off of both my orgasm and what he's just said to me. I'm not sure if his words were meant to speed things up or slow them down, but there's been a shift. Fingering the hem of my shirt, he leans down to kiss my belly. We pull my shirt off and then I help him with his.

We kiss as the rest of our clothing comes off, like we don't want to be physically apart, not even to get naked.

I want this moment to happen.

I don't want it to happen.

I want the satisfaction of knowing his body.

I want this sharp shiver of anticipation indefinitely.

He slows his kiss. It's luxurious and deep and my jaws ache so good from being open this way. Like a flower turning toward the sun, I angle myself to face him with every part of me. The way he moves is so thorough and complete; he leaves no proverbial stone unturned.

He's beautiful, he is. I realize with an ache that he is exactly who I need, that he is no one but himself. I think a part of me, in the cobwebbiest recesses of my heart, worried that when the time came to do the deed the reality of who he was would end my charade. But it isn't that way at all. I'm one hundred percent clear on what I'm doing, and on who this man is.

He's Edward. And I'm falling in love with him.

Maybe I already have.

He puts on protection and then rolls on to his back, taking me with him. I straddle him, leaning over him so that we can kiss some more. I rub myself up and down his body, loving how he tenses beneath me. After a time he stills my movements and guides my hips directly. I take him in one go, exhaling when he's inside.

"I can't," he groans, like he's having an argument with himself. He rolls us over again so he's once more on top. "Maybe later. Right now I need…" He thrusts deep, his eyes never leaving mine. "I need to control this."

I scratch at him softly, spurring him on.

We make love for a long time. He's a dedicated lover, like with everything in his life and our relationship. He looks at me like I'm something rare and precious, but he takes me hard when I ask him to.

"What are you thinking about?" Edward asks.

"What we just did." His answering silence tells me he wonders if I regret the sex, so I roll to face him. "And how much I want to do it again."

He smiles, and it's breathtaking. "Give me at least an hour. I'm not seventeen."

I pinch him playfully and he nips my neck; I wouldn't be surprised to find little smudges all over my body. He sucks and then soothes…marking me, maybe.

"Does it ever surprise you?" I wonder. "How fast this happened?"

"It only happened fast on the surface. Things have been rumbling beneath for months. Nearly a year."

"Like a volcano."

He smirks. "Just like."

"Nearly a year? Really?"

He nods.

"But didn't you have a girlfriend?"

"For part of that time, yeah."

I consider this.

"I couldn't help being attracted to your picture. You're a beautiful woman. I moved on, though, right up until…"

"The funeral."

He nods once, his eyes taking on that lack luster look of far-away. I let him go there, understanding the importance of remembering, feeling and processing. I've come a long way. Though Masen left an impression on me, I have moved on. I've accepted it- all of it. After all, I wouldn't have Edward had it not been for Masen's love and subsequent betrayal. But it's different for Edward. He has another, older brother, and parents who love him, but he will always be one half of a no-longer-whole, even years from now. I don't doubt that he will know happiness, and that he knows it now with me, but I can't imagine what it's like to lose someone that close. I can tell on the days it's especially hurting him, by his broken voice on the phone or the way he clings to me when we meet.

There's little I can do. I just want to be here for him, and to love him enough. I want him to feel safe with me, even when he's contending with the most negative emotions. If I can stem the tide of his sadness, even if for only a minute, I will – in any way I can.

"Thank you for reaching out," I say after awhile, remembering my hopelessness the day of the funeral. "I feel like you…saved me."

"No, thank you." He smiles wryly. "You took a chance. I wouldn't have trusted me if I were you, but you did and I'm glad. I'm glad he didn't jade you."

Snuggled beneath his comforter, we're facing one another, on our sides. My hands are tucked under my chin but he keeps his hand on my hip, his thumb swishing absently back and forth across my skin. I wasn't joking when I said I wanted him again.

I scoot closer and kiss his cheeks, his nose, and his mouth.