Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight; all respective characters belong to SMeyer.
I'm left at my locker by Edward first and Jess second. First period is only a few doors down so I take my time stashing books in my bag for the first half of my day. I'm in a cheerful cloud of contentment, floating.
The eyes I feel on my back as the hall clears touch my toes to the ground. I close my locker feeling heavier. When I turn and she's there and her face ... I feel like I might fall through the floor with the weight of it.
I've never seen her look so out of sorts. Her perfect polished facade tarnished and thinning. She only stares silently, flockless. I don't think I've ever seen her completely alone while at school. Her arms are taut against her chest, pulling her loose t-shirt pinched to her body. She's in jeans and a t-shirt. Rosalie Hale, jeans and a t-shirt. It looks so out of place my stomach churns anxious, my hands fidget. Rosalie's always been bigger than life, but standing there in clothes that aren't her she looks small.
"Don't." She erupts, my voice setting her off. She takes two forceful steps toward me until her space is mine and the cumbersome air suffocates. "Don't you dare say a word to me," she spits.
My mouth clamps shut, hot tears filling my eyes. Her anger is radiating and I feel ashamed and guilty and furious that she can do that to me.
"It's all your fault." Her angry expression slips, her lip quivers with her words.
My palms burn. Nails break the skin. I know there will be small crescent marks there. I wish in weakness that I could make similar marks all over her face. My fists are the only sign I allow to show my aggitation. "I didn't do anything." I remain firm.
"You've ruined everything. You did it all. He's so broken because of YOU." She looks utterly disgusted as she slices her words right through me.
The bell rings, I don't jump, I don't breathe. I stand and stare and refuse to back down. I did nothing. I. Did. Nothing.
"Get out of my face Rosalie." I say calmly. The tears in my eyes don't spill over. My heart races, I search inside for any strength I may possess. I don't ask her what's happened to Jasper though a part of me, the sympathizing part, desperately wants to know.
She intimidates a beat longer, her eyes threatening. I let it roll off of me, I don't allow it to seep in. She turns away first, I feel a bit better, like I've won. Holding my head high I go to class. I've won, I keep reminding myself, fighting off the guilt that has no place in my mind. I did nothing.
That triumphant feeling bolsters and supports making me feel taller... till lunch time. That's when I find out because my sympathizing side is loud and relentless. Jasper has been admitted to a hospital. A hospital. Jess snorts and says he belongs in a looney bin. I smack her arm and push my full lunch tray away from me. There's no place for food in my knotted stomach.
Rosalie is nowhere to be found, her second in command gladly taking her place at the head of the table. This makes me sad and I hate it. I hate all of it. Jess, Gil and Edward watch me with nervous eyes, like I might fall apart at any moment and I hate that too.
"I'll see you guys after school," I mutter. Edward kisses my cheek before he releases my hand. My chair scrapes against the linoleum floor, they all let me go.
Anger is a motivating emotion. Right now I want to do something. I want a change, a shift in this atmosphere clinging to me. I want to shake this useless guilt. Guilt that fuels my anger and makes me anxious to do something. Like a big, stupid circle. Because I did nothing. The words burn my lungs, I want to scream them so badly. The meaning keeps changing, going back and forth in my mind. It shifts like a slinkng snake left, then right - blame, then defense. I stood by and watched things unfold, allowed it. I did nothing to deserve any of it in the first place.
The softest kiss against my temple brings me out of it a little bit. But I can feel it and I'll get sucked back in, it's just a matter of seconds.
"He's better off," Edward whispers against my cheek. His fingers soothe through my hair.
"I know," I say automatically.
"Bella, he's getting the help that he needs." He sighs, pressing his forehead to my temple. We're stretched out on his bed, though my head is a million miles away. He's been doing his best to wrangle me in since we got here from school. He was worried about me being alone at home so I agreed to come here and do homework. Not that we've actually done any, but I couldn't focus on that now anyway.
I don't really understand the concern, I might seem a little distracted, but I don't get his worry - or Jess' for that matter. My conscience weighs in that I'm prone to depression, and I know that's what Jess whispered to Edward before we left school. But I don't feel anything close to depressed.
Leaning up, Edward's eyes dance across my face, absorbing my worry. His side of the bed dips with his shift in weight, drawing me closer to him. Look at me please. I can feel him think it so I do. The warmth in his face, the care, it calms. "You didn't do anything."
And there it is again. Maybe I want to do something,I itch to shout back. Instead my hands find his hair. Softly at first, until my nails dig into his scalp and I pull his face to mine. Our lips tangle filling me with a different craving.
All I want is this - us. And it's been marred by an insane timeline of bullshit, I can't grasp that any of it's really happened.
"I should have stayed with you," I mumble against his lips. He runs his nose along mine, considering my words, waiting for clarity. "The party. I never should have walked away."
"Bella," he almost whimpers, begging me to leave the past where it belongs. Join me here, his hands cradling my neck solicit earnestly.
"Things would be so different." I can't stop the tear that slips past my lashes.
He pulls back, wiping away the liquid anger and smiles at my face. I frown at him. He smooths away the tension between my eyebrows with his thumb.
"Maybe," he says finally. "Or maybe things happen for a reason. Maybe I would have said something completely repulsive and you would have never talked to me again."
His shirt balls in my hand, unconsiously pulling him closer. I doubt that would have happened, not with his track record, so I roll my eyes and consider shimmying under his shirt and sticking my arms through the arm holes.
"It doesn't really matter Bella. All that matters is you and me and now. This is more than I could have ever hoped for." His face goes soft, leaning closer, our lips just heartbeats apart. "The fact that I can do this..." his mouth brushes mine. "...means the world. It's everything I care about now."
I taste my sorrow on his lips, dissolving into him. My tongue glides against his, a request for distraction. I need this. I need something that feels pure and honest. My heart bleeds for it, spilling into my lungs, making it hard to breathe.
His mouth is warm against mine, tinged with a hint of garlic from dinner but I don't care. It's Edward. At my fingertips. He'd let me do anything. I feel it in my bones. It's a soul shaking, mind shattering revelation that makes me want to cry to the heavens. He's my cocoon and I'm the silk worm. The changes I feel already are life-making. What would this boy be to me had this catastrophe not happened? I can't imagine anything good having come from it. But maybe this. Maybe one thing. The best thing. And if that is the case, if this was our only way, I'd do it again every time given the choice. Every second, every tear, every gut-wrenching moment. I'd soak it all in and think, Edward is the result.
He is worth it.
His nose presses into my cheek when he turns his head pulling me impossibly closer. It's cold, chilling me there while the rest of my body feels on the verge of combustion. I smile, tasting him, feeling him. Teeth graze his bottom lip teasingly. I look at him, breaking away just so I can. His expression is bliss and his lips are love-swollen. He is beautiful. I can feel my pulse beating in my teeth. Blood zooms through my veins like a freed bird, fluttering hungrily at my heart.
I need to see if his heart beats as rich and as loud as mine so I press my hand against his chest. His heart punches alive metered fast and healthy. I want to crawl inside of him and see if he's filled with the same longing to be connected entirely.
"Feel that beautiful?" He's out of breath and ridiculous for calling me that but I grin so high I think my face might split. "You drive me crazy."
His words warm down my neck in a heavy whisper, my hand pinned between us. He trails gentle pecks down my throat. I move my hand slowly, finding his against my hip. I grip his fingers gingerly and tug them away as he adores with his lips. I allow myself to remember for only a brief moment, a flash of a second really, the chilling numbness panic struck through me the last time he touched me. Edward is worth it.
He tenses when I press his hand over my left breast. My heart thrums against ribs and flesh, a hummingbird now demading to be heard. I know he can feel it.
I swallow back the seizing anxiety that claws its way from my gut, telling myself I'm better, I'm stronger. I won't let this beat me. Won't let others' painful mistakes stunt my life any longer.
My name falls from his lips in the sweetest cadence. I release his hand encouraging him with my eyes to leave it there and touch his face. Swim my fingertips across his cheek, focus on his expression. Mesmerize every line, every dimple, every fleck of golden lime against his mossy green. I want to live here in this moment. I feel etched into his skin. I allow this because it is what feels natural, that we be tied so tightly.
These are the thoughts that carry me away and eviscerate my angst. These are the eyes that anchor me and release me all in one.
"Okay?" he asks with hushed concern. I nod, biting my lip just barely when his fingers stretch and cover and feel. Lightly. Gently. Lovingly.
It's reverence that plays in his eyes and on his lips with his quiet smile. This feeling is nothing like before, that was nothing - this is everything. This is my purest feelings for Edward on fire burning everything in its path to ash. The need for him simmering in my deepest parts begging to be acknowledged. It balls in nerves beneath his tips, snapping in bursts of current. My eyes fall heavy lidded with anything but sleep.
My head lulls back a moan rumbling against my larynx. He sucks in a sharp breath through his nose and applies just a little more pressure. I can feel his need for me and how much he is holding back and I want to rip his clothes and bare myself to him. Skin to skin I want to feel every piece of him.
I want to fade into him.
My mouth finds his neck, ear, cheek. I tug against his collar hating the fabric that could never been anywhere close to his softness. "I need you." I divulge to his jaw.
He groans, giving in a little more. Feeling more. Taking. Please take. You can have everything.He slips between my legs, holding his weight above me, lips kissing along my collar. It makes me angry that he's still being so careful. It's an irrational anger so I impress it upon my own shirt. I hate this shirt.
My fingers work fast to unbutton the soft flannel that until two seconds ago had been my favorite. Now it's just an obstacle. I'm clumsy in my hast. Taking two and three tries to push the small round plastic through its hole. Edward's hands close around mine, stilling me.
He's warning, trying to slow me down. But that's the opposite of what I need right now. I close my eyes and count to five. When I open them his crinkled expression judges in worry, dipping into mine, finding my certainty. His eyes, less crinkled now, question for only a moment. He let's go of my hands and unbottons the remaining buttons.
His hands shift to grip the edges of the fabric lightly. The tip of a finger grazes against my hidden-flesh soft rib. His eyes wash over me with tenderness, settling on my own watchful gaze. I smile from my deepest parts. A smile shinning from my eyes but originating from my soul, thanking him for trusting me.
His hand, under my shirt, spreads wide against my side. It's warm, evoking a bubbling energy deep within. I press needy lips to his throat. They don't kiss, just linger. His head dips, kissing his own path of want along my clavicle. His hair smells like sunshine and I can't breathe deep enough.
He folds us into one another, pulling me onto my side. My leg slips over his hips and I sink into him like quick sand. He pulls me under until our breaths match, until I can't tell the difference. My fingers press over his heart loving the music his body makes. His hands stay above my bra, teasing through cotton.
It's when I consider for the briefest moment that I wished that barrier didn't exist that I realize the enormity of the moment. I take a silent inventory of my faculties. My teeth press against his lips with the grin that breaks our kiss. I laugh and breathe through my nose the freshest, purest pull of oxygen I've ever experienced. I fill my lungs until it burns and release it into a impassioned burst of exertion. Warms lips to crazy, happy lips dance in a chaotic hungry tango.
It's perfect, for now. All we need is this. Lips and air.
I add hands to the list because Edward spreads his torturously soft against my breast, cherishing. It drives my insides crazy, making me squirm though I try and stay as still as possible.
My skin is a map of excitement, canvased in bumps that heighten the feel of every touch. Edward rolls us again, moving above me so he can kiss more skin. My head tips back as I arch my chest firmer into his palm. He grunts a primal sound that pulls sharply at something deep inside me, making me tremble.
Somewhere along the line I lost my shirt completely. Somewhere along the line I lost myself just as completely. Edward isn't far behind. He allows his weight to settle, resting his hips against me just so. The sensation is overwhelming so I wrap my legs tight around his waist and do all I can to rid the space between us. We become the churning waves of the ocean, a storm at bay rolling us deeper with each passing moment. I can feel the clouds of lust forming thick around my brain, eclipsing judgement.
My mouth hangs open, dry with want. My eyes clamped shut, begging to hold in every synapse of euphoric energy biting at my nerves. Every lick of pleasure snapping through me singes and I want it. More, I think singularly, all I'm capable of. More. More. More.
Edward's hands grip my waist, his tide calms. His lips first, then his hips. He breathes heavy against me placing a relaxed kiss to my temple. I pout against shut eyes, clamping my legs tighter and rolling my hips. He grips me harder, shuddering when I do.
"We have to stop."
"We don't have to do anything," I counter, trying my hips again, nibbling his ear.
He stills me with a grunt, his hands are strong - his resolve is stronger.
"Bella, if we don't stop now I won't be able to stop at all."
I open my eyes finally, frowning at the dimly lit surroundings. The colors seem all wrong. I should be seeing in technicolor after the sensations I was just feeling. Then I consider his words. His face is serious concern and I think, for that moment, I'm sure I would be fine. It would be okay. "Well-" I begin but he cuts me off before I can even fully process my own thoughts.
"No, we can't."
I'm momentarily wounded but he reads me quickly and recovers with an endearing smile and tilt of his brow. "Babe, I'm all for progress and yours is amazing. But I think we'd be pushing it."
"And I don't want to rush it. I want it to all it can be."
I know my expression, it's the same I give Jess when she says something ridiculous and doesn't even realize it. "G.I. Joe. Really?"
"No!" He smiles with his teeth and his whole face and my hearts hurts in my chest it's such a remarkable sight. "I just mean the potential, it's - I don't even know. You and I have something I can't begin describe, so that ... that will be ... that will be the thing that love songs are made for."
I giggle and grin, loosening my legs so I can tickle his ribs. He rolls us to our sides and grabs my fingers. I remember being jealous when he did the same thing to Jess. That he touched her. And now here I am, and here he is. So I kiss him squarely on the lips. I kiss him so I can feel the pattern his lips make, so individual, like a thumbprint. I kiss him so we can connect in a way I've never felt with anyone else. I kiss him because I can.
A/N: I wanna keep this short, so two quick things - thanks again to those of you sticking with my sporadic updates. Secondly, I've had reviewers asking if this is over. It's not, there's still more to go. Trust me, you'll know when it's done! :)