As I watched Edward fidget and shift nervously in my closet, I grew increasingly more uncomfortable. The suspense was killing me but an even darker sense of dread coated my stomach.

What was he going to tell me?

Finally he went still and gave me that expression that I now recognize to be the one he uses when he's trying to put me off – the one he hides behind.

"I find it a little bit odd that you've never asked me why I don't go to Forks High."

I would have called him on his stall tactic, except for the fact that he had successfully captured my attention. Hadn't I asked him that?

"Fine. Why don't you go to Forks?" I rolled my eyes as I played along, trying fervently to distract him from my nervousness.

"Because my junior year, you were there," he deadpanned.

A cold chill ran down my spine as Edward's words settled over me. When I'd first encountered him at that lame group counseling session, I'd already been kicked out of Forks, which meant…

How long had he known about me?

"What do you mean?" I enunciated every syllable very carefully, revealing the question behind each word.

"I told you what happened to me. Do you really think my parents would send me to a school where a girl ran wild doing the football team and letting the baseball team gangbang her?"

Edward was gone and the Son of Satan himself sat before me, looking, for all intents and purposes, like I'd asked to hold a prayer meeting to pray for his soul.

"Gangbang?" I nearly screeched, remembering a little too late that my mother was sleeping just down the hall. "Where the fuck are you getting this shit? Because it certainly isn't true."

"Don't act like there isn't pictorial evidence."

"I wasn't gangbanged by anybody and I didn't do the football team." Not the whole football team, anyway. "And how dare you judge me, motherfucker," I punctuated my anger with a kick to Edward's shin. "At least I don't have a rape charge on my record."

"Neither do I," Edward said indignantly.

I felt my blood start to boil and the hair on the back of my neck prickled with rage, and my chest constricted in…pain?

What the fuck? My fucking feelings were hurt like some lovesick teenybopper? What the hell was this shit?

"What, are you gonna cry now?" Edward goaded me.

I looked up at him sharply, so sharply that he must not have expected it, because for a fleeting second, I saw the unguarded expression on his face that revealed the effort he was putting forth to hurt me, and the lack of enthusiasm that he might be succeeding.

"Don't flatter yourself." I stood up and made a move to exit the closet, and then I looked over my shoulder at Edward and I remembered how he could get sometimes when he didn't want to answer a straight question… It was exactly how he was acting now. "How'd you know my mother?" I asked again.

"I don't know your mother," he expressed as if I'd inquired about his last sexual encounter. "You make it sound like we call each other on the phone everyday and-"

"Edward, I'm putting my ass on the line for you at this very moment and you're honestly giving me shit right now?" I asked him incredulously.

He looked at the floor briefly before leaning back and resting his head against the wall. He looked down his lids at me and it was the most vulnerable I'd ever seen him.

"You have to promise me that you'll hear me out – that you won't get pissed off and kick me out."

I crossed my arms over my chest. "Am I going to want to kick you out?"

Edward shrugged.

"Let's hear it." I was losing patience, but I didn't promise his ass anything even though I was having a hard time conjuring up a scenario that would make me want to kick him out.

"So, I told you about my trial and everything, right?" Edward sighed.

"Mmhm," I encouraged him to go on.

"Well, the prosecution brought in all these expert witnesses," he stated, complete with finger quotes, "to convince everyone that I was a hazard to society."


"Your mom was one."

It took my mind a minute to catch up.

"My mom was a witness for you?"

"Against me," he stressed. "And the whole time she was presenting, my attorney and my parents couldn't figure out why she seemed to hate me so much."

Edward let out an ironic chuckle before continuing. "Then my attorney did some digging and found out that the 'great psychiatrist' knew so much about hypersexuals because she had one living in her very own home…you."

Edward's eyes landed upon mine as he added, "I should thank you. I probably would have done time in a jail in Hong Kong or some shit if it hadn't been for you. My attorney was able to get her tossed off the case because of bias."

"You're the one!" I accused, my voice much louder than it should have been.

Almost three years ago, my mother had suffered; or rather I had suffered because my mother had undergone what she considered the biggest devastation to her career. She'd been so excited to be declared an expert witness on a case, only to be dismissed right in the middle of the proceedings. Though she'd never told me the details of it, I'd always suspected it had something to do with me because for awhile afterward she seemed more pissed at me than usual.

I was about to go off on a tangent about the hell my life had been those months when I realized that I was missing the most important point.

"You knew about me." There was no use asking. Edward had basically spelled it out for me. "That day in the group session at Forks, when I showed up at Lincoln and the whole time we've been working together you've known…"

I turned my back to him in an attempt to get some semblance of privacy as I came to grips with what I was finding out. A nagging voice in the back of my head reminded me that I'd done the very same thing, but I squelched that voice into quiet submission. This was different.

"You used me," I whispered, "to get revenge against my mother."

"That is shit and you know it," Edward hissed.

"Do I?" I spun around to face him. "Why the secrecy, then? Why didn't you tell me that you knew who I was a long time ago?"

He could ask you the very same thing… taunted the voice in my head. Shut the hell up, I taunted back.

"I didn't expect to meet you, and once I did, I certainly didn't expect to like you. You're not…the kind of girl I usually go for."

"No. I guess not. After all, how many of the psychiatrists that you have a vendetta against have daughters you can use to screw them over?"

"Yeah, that's my plan," Edward said sarcastically, "which explains why I'm in your closet, totally at your mercy at this second."

"Yes, you are, aren't you?" I asked with a sinister intonation.

Edward looked resigned to my tone and he finally shrugged. "So, you want me to leave? Is that it?"

I could have said yes. I should have said yes.

But I didn't. I was too confused about what I was feeling to adequately deal with the situation, so I did the only thing I could do: I put it off 'til morning.

"I'm going to bed. We'll…figure it out tomorrow."

I fully expected not to be able to sleep over the turmoil of realizing that the entire time I'd been keeping this big secret from Edward the joke had actually been on me. However, the next thing I knew, my mother was leaning over me, shaking me awake so that she could say goodbye.

"Wha- what time is it?" I sat up, startled, wondering if Edward was actually in my closet or if it had all been just a dream.

"It's early," my mother assured me as my eyes searched frantically for any signs of Edward. My closet doors were shut tight, but a heap of my clothes lay across my desk, reminding me of why they'd been evicted in the first place.

My mother's eyes followed my gaze and she wrinkled her nose as she looked around. "You really need to clean this room. It's a mess." Then, as if she had a grand idea, "that's what you can do while I'm gone."

"Mom, I have a science project and work. That's what I'll be doing while you're gone." And Edward.

But as that thought entered my mind, I wasn't so sure that it was actually true. I felt betrayed by Edward and suddenly I didn't have the same urge to jump his bones that I usually had.

"I'm so confused."

"About what, honey?"

It wasn't until my mother reached up to smooth down my hair that I realized I'd spoken aloud.

"Nothing." I pushed her hand away and burrowed underneath my blanket. "I don't think I'm even awake yet."

"Well…get some rest. I'll call and check on you when I get to the airport."

"You're leaving now?" I cast a glance at my clock and saw that I'd only been asleep for a few hours.

"In a little bit. I want to make sure to leave myself enough time for any issues at the airport."

Even though I was tired, it didn't escape me that my mother was still doing that thing where she never really, truly, gave me her itinerary. It's her way of denying me any opportunity to "plan" something she wouldn't want me to do. Because, really, three a.m. orgies were all the rage these days.

"I'll call you at lunch," I yawned as I submitted to a hug from my mother – a signal that I was done conversing and ready to go back to sleep.

However, as soon as my mother exited and closed my bedroom door, sleep was the last thing on my mind. I stared at my closet door and willed myself to remember if, indeed, Edward was on the other side of it or if I had simply hallucinated. If my imagination had concocted the fact that I was not a mystery to Edward in the same way that he was not a mystery to me.

The effort I was putting into remembering proved to be a moot point seconds later when my closet door creaked and Edward's long fingers appeared and pushed a one-inch gap between the door and the wall. One green eye focused on me and I stared back as the memory of all that had happened the night before came crashing back to me…

Why do you think I don't go to Forks High?

The prosecution brought in these expert witnesses … your mom was one.

She had one living in her very own home…you.

The anger I thought I'd conjured up became very real as I concentrated on using that emotion to cover up the hurt I didn't want to acknowledge. Without a word, I rolled over and turned my back to Edward.

I heard the closet door slide along its rail behind me, but I wasn't sure if it was opening or closing. I listened through the silence for sounds that Edward might be approaching, but I heard none. Instead, I heard my mother dashing around the house for what seemed like an eternity before the front door opened and shut, signaling her departure.

I was alone. With Edward.

That thought didn't provoke in me the feelings that I expected. Instead of getting excited at the prospect of a before-school quickie, I felt showered in the dread that had taken up residence in my chest as soon as Edward had told me he knew all about me from the start.

I tossed back my covers and headed for the bathroom, hoping a shower of a different kind would wash away the bad feelings.

When I'd finished in the bathroom, I fetched a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from my desk, grabbed underwear and a bra from my dresser, and dashed into the hall to dress. Though I was worried about what I would say to Edward if he confronted me about our previous discussion, I shouldn't have been. He completely left me alone as I got ready for school and it wasn't until I was about to leave that he finally appeared before me.

"I won't be here when you get back, if that's what you want." His tone was flat and unassuming.

"I take it you're not going to school then?" I wasn't quite sure what I wanted. I was mad at Edward, but I didn't want to abandon him in his time of need, either. And wanting to help him pissed me off because I didn't want to want to help him.

"What do you think?" he asked as if I was the stupidest person on the planet. "That's the first place they'll look for me."

"And this is the second."

"Which is perfect since your mom is out of town and you'll be at school." He leveled his gaze to mine. "Unless you tell me to leave, in which case, I will."

"Do whatever you want, Edward," I huffed as I heaved one strap of my backpack over my right arm. "Leave, stay…I don't care."

I looked over my shoulder just as I was walking out of the door and saw the smile that had slid from Edward's mouth and now resided only in his eyes. I slammed the door as I walked away from him, furiously angry but not quite sure if it was because he'd seen through my poorly concealed desire to help him or because I actually housed the desire in the first place.

During the course of the school day, my mood didn't improve all that much. I was a nervous wreck. Every time a door opened, I kept expecting the principal or some social worker to beckon me to the office for an interrogation. I was so jumpy and edgy that by the time lunch rolled around I was exhausted from the effort of trying to look like I had nothing to be jumpy or edgy about.

The only sign of providence the entire day was the fact that Alice was absent. I was beyond thankful that I didn't have to endure her caustic looks or questions about Edward's whereabouts.

After failing an English test, because I simply couldn't concentrate, I made up my mind to skip the rest of the day. I was halfway to my car when I noticed two police cars parked at the front entrance of the school. In a failed attempt to appear inconspicuous, I hastily turned on my heels and retreated to class as fast as I possibly could.

For the rest of the afternoon I couldn't take my mind off Edward and what was going on with him while I was miles away at school. I wondered if he would report to work at the theater and considered driving by there on my way home – but then I thought better of it. The sooner I got home, the better. I needed to make sure that I was in the clear. The last thing I needed was to get in trouble with my mom and get my car taken away…again.

The marathon day was just about to come to an end when that vile excuse for a guidance counselor, Mr. Rinker, walked into my last class and summoned me to follow him, like I was some kind of wayward dog.

"What's this about?" I asked without moving an inch from my seat.

"Come with me, please." He used a patronizing tone to match his patronizing gaze and the only reason I left was because the entire class had tuned in to watch the exchange.

I'm guessing that a guidance counselor's day is only slightly less boring than that of a mortician, and for that reason Mr. Rinker was jumping at the chance to be a part of a real-life police investigation. Because when I walked through the door of his office and saw the two officers who most likely belonged to the police cars in the parking lot, it was only obvious that I was about to be interrogated in some kind of crackpot investigation.

Thank goodness for my years with Sheila and the practice she gave me at being evasive.

"Miss Swan, thank you for coming in. We just want to ask you a few questions about one of your classmates."

I sat stiffly and quietly while Officer #1 got to the point. As he was pontificating about this just being routine questioning, I spied my cumulative record on the corner of Mr. Rinker's desk. They'd read it. They knew I was eighteen, which was probably why I was sitting before them now. They'd probably tried to get a hold of my mother, and when they couldn't, realized I was eighteen and they could legally question me anyway.

"Okay." My response was laced with boredom.

"A few students mentioned seeing you around campus with Edward Cullen, and your Physics teacher said the two of you did a project together," Cop #2 offered up.

"Yeah," was all I said.

Cop #1 leaned forward in anticipation of more of an answer from me, and when he didn't get it, he raised his eyebrows.


"Bella," I interjected.

"Yes, well, Bella, we have reason to believe that Edward Cullen contacted you within the last twenty-four hours and that you have an idea of where he might be at the moment."

I shrugged. "Maybe he's at work. We work together, but I think he called out sick or something because we didn't work together yesterday and I'm off today."

"Where do you work?" Cop #2 asked.

I told him about the theater in Port Angeles, even though I'd bet my last dollar that he already knew where Edward and I worked.

"As I said before, a few students mentioned seeing the two of you together – and they didn't hesitate to state that you are the only person they've ever seen him talk to."

I looked Cop #2 in the eye and lied so easily that it scared even me.

"Occasionally I'll go up to Edward and ask him about my shift or whether or not he's going to let me have that day off I asked for, since he's technically my boss, but other than that, we don't talk. Edward hates me and I'm not particularly fond of him."

"Oh?" Cop #1 didn't look like he believed me.

"I'm sure there's a record somewhere of the time he called me a cunt in front of the entire class and how we both got sent to the office-"

"Lover's quarrel?" Cop #2 grinned.

I guess they'd decided it was time to start the 'good cop, bad cop' routine.

I was tempted to tell the guy where he could stick his lover's quarrel, but then I remembered what I'd learned from all those telephone conversations and practice presentations my mom had had over the years.

If I acted like I hated Edward, they'd say I was covering for him or hiding something. Most people fabricated to make themselves appear stronger, but rarely weaker…

"Look, the truth is…Edward and I aren't friends, but it isn't from any lack of trying on my part. I thought that since we work together that maybe we could be friends, help each other out with missed assignments…that sort of thing. But Edward made it pretty clear from the very beginning that he wants nothing to do with me. In fact, he was so mad that his aunt had hired me at the theater that he continually tried to get me fired. It wasn't until I agreed to do our entire Physics project by myself and put his name on it that he stopped giving me such a hard time." I glanced over at my counselor. "Sorry, Mr. Rinker," I apologized for the false collaboration on an assignment, "but it was just easier to let him take credit for something he didn't do than look for another job that worked so well with my school schedule."

Mr. Rinker nodded tersely before looking over at Cop #2. "Edward's a pretty good student, but he does have issues working with others. He's been known to be quite inventive to get out of doing group assignments with his classmates."

Cop #1 and Cop #2 looked at each other – clearly they had bought my story. Sadly, I wasn't as happy about this as I should have been and I knew precisely what the reason for that was.

Because I wasn't exactly lying.

All I had to do was imagine Edward's reaction when and if he found out that my sole purpose in enrolling at Lincoln High was because he was there. And if that wasn't enough, surely imagining his response if he ever found out that I'd read his psychiatric profile gave me the necessary motivation to successfully con a couple of cops.

But later that afternoon, as I traveled back towards my house, I allowed the scenario to play out unabashedly in my mind: Edward finding out the truth and then his anger and wrath exponentially trumping my own.

And while I was at it, I allowed my subconscious to speak the truth. The only reason I was so angry with Edward was because it was easier than being angry with myself. How could I have been so stupid? I mean, for crying out loud, this is Edward! Edward. It was never supposed to happen this way. I was never supposed to…care…

…so much.

And just as I came to accept the realization of how I felt about Edward, I also had to accept the fact that he probably didn't care for me at all , and certainly not enough to overlook the fact that I'd mislead him.

Damn Edward! Damn him for being so…for being someone I wasn't ready to let go of just yet.

I was still cursing Edward, myself and all living creatures on God's green earth when I walked through the front door of my house.

I was met with a quiet stillness that made me wonder if Edward had decided to take off, in search of a new hideout. The house smelled of a vacant loneliness and there was no hint of any presence.

Okay, how melodramatic am I?

My backpack made a soft thud on the floor as I let it slide down my arm while I looked around my immediate surroundings. The living room furniture looked undisturbed and a glance toward the kitchen showed no signs of use. I tilted my ear for any signs of life besides my own.


"Well fuck you too, Edward," I called to the emptiness.

As I leaned over to pick up my backpack, I noticed its checkerboard pattern began to swirl and shift.

Then I really got mad because that fucker was about to make me cry. No. It had to be something else. There had to be some other reason. I was tired. I was maybe a little scared that the cops would show up at my house at any second. I was-

A shuffling sound from the hallway stopped my internal discourse immediately (and not a moment too soon because I was beginning to get on my own nerves).

I stared straight ahead until I spied the dark contours of Edward's jacket seconds before he came into view.

"Oh, you are still here," I casually mentioned. "I thought you'd left."

"Yeah, I heard." He looked beyond me, as if he expected to find someone else behind me. After a few moments his eyes settled on me. "So, you still pissed at me?"

I looked away from him in indignation, not really wanting to talk about how I felt about him at the moment.

"Are you crying? He asked, stepping closer.

"No!" I yelled and moved away. "God, Edward just…fucking get the fuck away from me!"

I tore down the hall and went into my bedroom. Anguish exuded from me as I threw my backpack on my bed and slumped down beside it. I looked over at the calendar on my desk, as if a monthly cycle could be blamed for my attitude. Never mind that I didn't have a monthly cycle.

That's when I noticed all of the yearbooks open atop my desk and the drawer that was slightly ajar. At that exact moment, Edward stalked into my bedroom.

"Look, if you want me to leave, then just fucking say the word but don't pull this wishy-washy, girly crap with me, Bella. You're acting like you're some kind of victim and you're not."

He leaned against my desk and leveled me with a stare. I turned away, knowing that I really had no defense for the attitude I was giving him. However, I wasn't ready to play nice, either. I narrowed my eyes at him and pointed at the evidence behind him.

"Were you going through my shit?"

"Oh, that reminds me," Edward said lightly. "You're a total hypocrite."

It might have been because I was expecting it. Maybe I was just so tired of carrying the weight of my deception around. Possibly I just wanted to allow Edward to verbally throttle me for my penance so I could stop mentally doing it myself.

And so for those reasons, and possibly others I'm too dim-witted to articulate, I erupted in a massive case of verbal diarrhea and spewed the truth out onto Edward.

"You're fucking wrong. I'm not a hypocrite. And do you know why I'm not a hypocrite?" I paused only a second as I pointed toward Edward's face. "Because I only sought you out because I wanted to know you. You sought me out because you wanted to fuck over my mom. It's not the same thing." I let out a rueful laugh. "And you want to know the irony of it all, Edward? It wasn't even you I was looking for. I mean, sure, it was your file I was looking at, but the picture – someone completely different. So color me shocked when I show up to Lincoln on my first day to find out that my blonde-haired, blue-eyed football hunk had turned into Severus Snape!"

Edward's brow puckered in confusion and the bemused expression he wore quickly darkened into one of defense.

"You read my file?"

"Not all of it," I let out. "Just the part about you being…you know…like me."

"How'd you get it?"

"I have my ways."

"Your mom! She let you read my fucking file?" Edward's hand swiped at his mouth in anguish. "That whole thing about wanting me to tell you what was going on with me…what the fuck was that for, when you already knew?"

"I didn't," I shook my head. "I just meant…wait, when you called me a hypocrite…what were you talking about?"

"I just meant about you giving me shit about the porn site when you have a ton on your computer. But don't change the subject. Tell me how much you knew about me."

"I knew how old you were, what school you went to and that you had some issues with the law. Of course all of this appealed to me when I thought you were the blonde, blue-eyes super hunk that was in that group session…"

"Fitch? You thought I was Fitch?" Edward asked incredulous.

The way he'd let the name fall off his lips, as if it wasn't even worthy of enunciation, had me wondering what the heck was wrong with this Fitch person. Other than his name, of course.

"What kind of a name is Fitch?"

"Carey Fitch. And I would have thought you'd have been smarter than that."

I could have been imagining it, but Edward almost seemed…hurt?

"Smarter than what?"

"I guess it's not just the airheads that fall for his bullshit."

When I didn't seem to understand what he was implying, Edward spelled it out for me. "The guy's a compulsive liar, and not on a small scale. He's been locked up twice for swindling companies out of their money. The last time he came so close to being tried as an adult that his parents tried to have him declared insane just to avoid it."

"So he lies to get money. That makes just about every business owner on this planet?" I asked.

Edward rolled his eyes at my naiveté. "He doesn't just lie to get money. He lies about everything. He can't seem to help it. Like, he says he's going to get some football scholarship. He doesn't even play football. Or he'll talk about all these awards he's won and how he's the most popular kid at school; he's fuckin' homeschooled."

"That's not that…bad." But my voice defied my words.

"Not that bad? Maybe not, if he didn't actually believe the shit that he says, but he actually can't tell the difference between the truth and his fucked up fantasies. He actually got an entire first grade class lost on a field trip down at the mines because when the teacher asked him if he was the guide, he lied and said yes. He got pretty far until he got caught letting the kids into a restricted area. He's an idiot."

Edward glared over at me. "You thought I was him?"

"His picture was in your file. How was I supposed to know?"

"He's not even good looking."

"He is good looking." Liar or not, I know fine when I see it.

But still, if I was being honest with myself – despite public opinion it is something I am able to do on occasion – Edward had become much more appealing to me than "Fitch". And now that I knew the liar's name, he was even more unappealing!

I leaned against the wall and looked up through my lashes at Edward. "So are you pissed at me?"

"I should be," he said as he joined me on my bed. "You've been acting like a total bitch and you've basically been lying to me the entire time I've known you."

"Edward, I haven't. I just told you that I thought you were somebody else."


The expression on his face…it kind of reminded me of the one I wore at that party when Edward had spent the entire night talking to that dumpy bitch. Not that I was jealous…I mean…not really.

"I'm gonna call Craig and ask him if I can crash at his place, but he has a 509 area code and I didn't want to call long distance from your phone without asking." Edward looked everywhere but at me as he spoke.

Now that everything was all out in the open, I had no problem deciphering what I was feeling for him, and I definitely didn't want him to go.


"What?" he answered as if he had no choice.

"I don't want you to go."

I thought he was going to try to humiliate me into begging him to stay, but he didn't. He simply stared at me.

And then his stomach growled.

"Hungry?" I asked.

"Hell yeah. There's nothing to fucking eat but diet food in this house."

"There's a ton of food. You just have to know where to look."

I led Edward toward my secret stash of junk food and settled him down with a bag of chips while I made spaghetti. It appeared as though the awkwardness that had just ensued was a thing of the past. We made it through our meal without its ugly head reappearing.

But afterwards, while we sat side-by-side on the couch with ice cream sundaes, not far enough away from one another to hint at a problem, but definitely not close, Edward revealed how much something I'd said was still bothering him.

"This guy's a total douche." I pointed to the television screen with my spoon.

"Well maybe he should dye his hair blonde and get some blue contacts. That seems to be all it takes with you," Edward quipped.

Now, normally, I'm the last person on the planet that would invite myself to someone else's pity party. I mean, if you want to feel sorry for yourself, then by all means, go for it. Just leave me the fuck out of it.

Again I say, that's normally, how I feel. But something about Edward's vulnerability…it has an effect on me. Which is why, instead of making fun of him, I found myself scooting closer to him and placing my hand on his knee.

"Edward, you know that I'd never choose that guy over you now, right?" When he simply shrugged and looked away from me, I knew he was as uncomfortable as I was with all the touchy feely stuff, but he needed to hear it. And somehow, I needed to say it.

"Edward I…I c-care…about you."

"You c-care about me?"

That fucker had no problem making fun of me. So I stuck my fingers in my bowl of ice cream and wiped them across his face. It was totally childish, but it felt good.

Edward wasted no time reciprocating and in a flash we were engaged in a full on ice-cream-slathering contest. The weight of worry that had highlighted his features for the past twenty-four hours momentarily lightened and it was nice to hear his laughter even though I didn't appreciate him dumping his bowl of ice cream down the front of my shirt.

"Eeww! I'm all sticky," I moaned, totally sounding like those college-aged bimbos down at the docks when they flirted with the seamen.

Edward placed his hand on the side of my neck in a gesture much too gentle to prolong our play.

"I'm sticking to you," was his following reply.

But when I looked up and saw the intense way he was gazing down at me, it was clear that his words had little to do with the effect his skin was having on mine.

"I'm sticking to you, too," I whispered back.

And just like that, his lips were on mine and finally, after days and hours of no physical contact, I was once again burning under the desire that only Edward had been able to induce in me. Consumed with a voracious appetite for his kiss, I sucked his tongue into my mouth and entwined my fingers into his hair. He responded by wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me close. When his hands lifted my shirt and rested on the small of my back I shivered in anticipation of skin to skin contact. There was no denying what we were both craving.

Suddenly Edward moved his hand along my back and I let out a tiny yelp as the ice cream residue caused a tugging friction against my skin.

Edward peppered my lips with a final kiss before stating, "I think we need a shower."

My eyes reflected back the smoldering gaze in his as we both considered the ecstasy that awaited us on the other side of the bathroom door.

Faster than my mind could capture, I made it to the bathroom with Edward quick on my heels. As Edward turned on and tested the water, I disrobed completely. He followed suit while I retrieved my shampoo and conditioner from underneath the sink.

"Love the view," Edward said as he stepped over to me and cupped my ass in his hands.

"Likewise," I said in between kisses as I lightly fondled his erection.

Maybe we should take a shower later…

However, I wasn't able to give voice to my thoughts before Edward stepped into the shower and pulled me in after him. Together we stood underneath the spray of hot water and indulged in a heat all our own.

Without putting much distance between our bodies, I poured a palm-full of soap into my hands before lathering up Edward's body. I made great care of lavishing attention to Edward's chest, his balls, his ass and his enormous cock. I was just about to drop to my knees and worship at the altar of The Hard One when Edward grabbed the bottle of soap and squirted it onto my chest. Dropping the soap, his hands wasted no time rubbing, caressing and kneading their way over my skin.

And then I was turned away from Edward, facing the rear tile wall as Edward massaged shampoo into my hair. I trembled under the strength of his fingers swirling through the tendrils of my damp locks, yet by the time he'd rinsed out the suds and grabbed for the conditioner, I was beyond impatient for a more satisfying touch. But Edward continued to coat my hair in the silky cream as if he had all the time in the world. I was just about to warn him that I might be open to rethinking my position on his heterosexuality when I felt the long downward pulls of his hands straining the conditioner out of my hair…onto my back…down my back…onto my ass…between my ass…

Silently Edward worked as he layered the thick cream on my sensitive flesh.

"Edward," I whispered, a protest ready on my lips.

"Ssshh," he comforted as his body neared mine. I felt the urgent probing of his thick head against my ass as he leaned down and captured the flesh at the side of my neck in a loving bite.

Without saying a word, his hands traveled down my arms, and when they reached my hands, he lifted them and pressed my palms against the cold wet tile wall.

"I can't," I said quietly, unsure if I was or wasn't ready for what I knew Edward was suggesting. "I've never…"

"Let me make you feel good, Bella," Edward whispered against my ear.

"But it hurts…"

"I won't hurt you," he promised in a low tone as his tongue slipped past his lips to tease the edge of mine. "Trust me?"

It was a question that he waited expectantly for me to answer. And just like he had put his trust in me – to let him stay at my house, to keep his secrets from the authorities and everyone else we collectively knew – it was now my turn to trust him with more than my desire and my body and my comfort. It was my turn to trust him with the unknown.

"Yes." The murmured word was barely uttered before Edward's mouth was on mine, devouring me with a kiss that took my breath away. His hands once again covered mine as he held them to the wall and pressed my chest up beside them. The dichotomy of the cold stone, the warm water and Edward's hot flesh against mine piqued my senses.

One hand disappeared seconds before I felt the rasp of Edward's knuckles as he positioned himself to enter me as I'd never been entered before.

"Relax." His words drifted over the baby fine hair at my nape and his hand, no longer required as a guide, wafted across my belly, down my pelvis and between my legs.

"Mmm," I encouraged him as fingers opened me and ghosted over my clit. I leaned into his hand as I sought more direct contact, but Edward kept his touch light…in the front.

In the rear, I felt him.

The pressure as he pressed into me, painstakingly slow, inch by inch, was like nothing I'd ever experienced. Just when I thought I'd arrived, Edward's fingers would tease my nub and my body would contract from the exertion of the release that was attempting to build up.

Suddenly Edward began to rock into me and the push and pull of my body – the need to expel him, while at the same time draw him in – became overwhelming. I clenched my teeth against the force of his delicious intrusion and fought to retain control.

"Just let it go," Edward murmured against my lips. "I've got you."

"But it's…I can't…I'll…it feels like I'm going to…"

"You won't."

And then Edward brought both hands between my legs. Three fingers entered my pussy while the thumb and forefinger of his right hand rolled and pulled at my clit until I was openly begging for anything and everything he could give me.

And so he obliged.

"Aaah!" I cried out (though whether in pain or pleasure I'm not sure) when Edward's hips lay flush against my backside, his penis fully immersed in my ass.

He held still for a moment as he waited for my comfort level to catch up with my level of pleasure. Slowly he began to pump…in and out…in and out…

An appreciative groan erupted from Edward and I knew he had to be close. My body was practically levitating under the feelings he was provoking and I had to completely surrender my body to his as the ability to stand up under what he was doing completely left me.

"Uuhhh," I managed as I leaned back so that Edward could reach my lips. I wanted to kiss. I wanted to bite. I wanted to devour, to be devoured. I wanted to fuck.

"Fuck me, Edward!" I begged.

"You want get fucked?" Edward growled as he switched hands, lifting my left thigh over his left forearm and burying three fingers of his right hand deep inside me. Quickly and fiercely he pummeled me with his fingers. "You like that?"

My only answer was to attach my lips to his neck, licking and sucking as he ravished me with his hands.

And his dick.


"You fuckin' love it. You fuckin' love it, don't you?" Edward insisted as he moved faster against me, thrusting into my ass.

And he was right. I did fucking love it. And as I had that realization, a raging orgasm gripped me from the inside out and my entire body constricted in euphoria.

The tensing of muscles pushed Edward over the edge and in a guttural moan of pleasure he pulled out moments before bathing my back in the essence of his climax.

We stayed in the shower long after we were sated, holding one another and kissing until the water ran cold.

Later we lay underneath the sheet on my bed in companionable silence. There was so much I wanted to say, but at the same time, I felt compelled to say nothing at all.

And so we just lay there with the unspoken words between us…

…until Edward reached down and threaded his fingers through mine.

And in his silence, I heard him loud and clear.

Yes. I'm sticking to you, too.