This was my contribution to the 2012 Christmas Wishes for Toys 4 Tots compilation. Many thanks to my wonderful beta, Mel/mcc101180, & my pre-reading goddess, caz12771 The banner for this little diddy will be on my profile page later today. =) Be sure to drop me a line & let me know what y'all think of this Cluelessward outtake.

236 Wishes of You

"Oh, God, Bella baby," I moaned as her mouth moved over my cock. "Yeah, just like that."

Bella was sexy no matter what she was doing – sleeping, eating, reading, scrubbing the grout in the bathroom tile, it didn't matter – but she was never more so than when her sweet lips were wrapped around my dick. Well, maybe she was sexier when she was riding me, and my hands could play with her ample breasts. Or perhaps when she was on her knees, and I was pounding into her pussy from behind. Then again, she was a sex goddess when she was writhing and moaning beneath me, her legs thrown over my shoulders ….

"Ah, shit, baby … right there … fuck yeah … make me come."

I was panting as the speed at which the hot, wet tightness around me increased, egging on my orgasm. It was a miracle I hadn't already blown my load, but there was no holding me back.

"Fuck … Bella!"

Stars exploded behind my closed eyes, and my palm slammed into the cold fiberglass wall of the shower stall to keep me from collapsing as I came harder than I had in a very long time, screaming my love's name. When my body finished twitching and jerking from its release, and the lusty fog cleared from my head, I opened my eyes and glared at my surroundings.

I was alone in the shower, just as I had been for the last six months. Fuck my big-ass-mouthed, ignorant, voluntarily celibate life. Sighing, I cleaned up the wall and my hand and climbed out of the shower, scrubbing a towel over my head before wrapping it around my waist and exiting the bathroom.

"Well, aren't you just a handsome devil?"

"What the fuck?" I screeched, the towel I'd been in the process of knotting dropping from my numb fingers.

"Whoa! Put the horse back in the stall, cowboy," Jasper cried as he slapped his hands over his eyes, crying about being blinded and traumatized for life.

"What the hell are you doing in my apartment, jackass?" I snarled as I snatched my covering off the floor and continued into my bedroom, not even bothering to replace it. "Don't you have a home of your own?"

"Your sister kicked me out."

"Glad she finally wised up, but that doesn't explain why the fuck you're here or how you got in."

"She just kicked me out for a few hours. You know your sister adores me." His voice had grown closer as he spoke, and now he was standing in my doorway, his reflection in the bureau mirror showing that he was watching me pull my boxer briefs up. "And your door was unlocked."

I shot his reflected image a glare and rifled through my drawers for something comfortable to wear. I still had a few hours before I needed to get ready for tonight. "No, it wasn't, fucker, so I'll be taking my key back now." He just grinned and followed my movements with his eyes. "And stop watching me, you creepy-ass bastard. You're supposed to be in love with my sister."

"Just because I only want Alice riding my surf board doesn't mean I can't appreciate another fine looking long board."

Swallowing back the bit of vomit trying to rise up my throat, I pulled on a t-shirt and a pair of basketball shorts. I slammed the dresser drawer closed and stalked out of the room, past a laughing fucking hyena who had his hands in the air in surrender.

"That's just ten kinds of fucked up, Jasper."

"Yeah, but it's funny as shit, and it gets a rise out of you – pun intended if not enacted – each and every time." The creepy bastard had the nerve to waggle his eyebrows at me.

"Whatever, asshole," I grumbled as I went into the kitchen to grab us each a beer.

As long as he was here, I might as well further my campaign to get to know my future brother-in-law. Not that he'd proposed to Alice yet, but she had declared that he was "the one" and that they'd be married before I was. Not if I could help it, they wouldn't be.

They could form their demon union, I didn't care about that, but they wouldn't have a chance to beat me to the altar. No way were Bella and I going to have a long engagement. As soon as she said yes, I was going to start pushing for a trip to the courthouse. Esme would probably be heartbroken, but I wanted Bella by my side as soon as possible, and damn the consequences.

Handing him a beer, I flopped down on the sofa next to him and raised my eyebrow in silent inquiry. He huffed and dug around in his pocket, coming up with a tiny piece of metal which he tossed with a satisfying thunk onto the coffee table. "You know she has other copies, right?" He pointed his bottleneck at the copy in question.

"Guess I'll be changing my locks, then."

"If you really think that'll keep your sister out." His tone indicated his lack of faith in my plan, and his irritating guffaws filled the room. Why did I put up with his annoying ass again?

Because he's your sister's boyfriend.

Nope, not enough. Give me another reason.

Because he's a close friend of Bella's and you don't want to piss her off?

Yup, there it was. I kept the shaggy-haired fucker around because my girl was fond of him and would probably never touch my dick again if I didn't play nice with the dipshit.

We hung out and watched some ESPN for a while. It wasn't really my thing, but Jizzper seemed to get off on it, and it kept him from trying to talk to me. Normally I wouldn't mind his company – the hair ball really was growing on me – but I needed to think. I needed to work out what I was going to say tonight, and his random babbling would distract me from that. It all had to be perfect this time.

About an hour later, he shut off the TV, tossing the remote on the table and rising from the couch. "Whelp," he groaned as he raised his hands over his head and stretched. "My work here is done, so I'm off to reclaim my woman."

"What work? All you did was break into my house, visually assault and objectify me, and drink my fucking beer while watching some stupid sports thing."

He turned he reached the door and smirked back at me. "I fulfilled my brother-in-law and best friend duties by keeping you calm and from panicking slash obsessing over tonight. Now you've got just enough time to gussy yourself up and get on over to my place to retrieve your woman." He winked and sauntered out the door.

It took me a moment to gather my wits, but when I did, I hollered at the closed door, "You're not my best friend." And more quietly, mostly to myself, I said, "And you're from Southern California, asshole, so lose the hick-speak."

But he was right – I did have just enough time to get myself together before I needed to pick Bella up for our date. I made quick work of trimming down my whiskers, not shaving entirely, though. Bella once said she thought I was rugged and sexy when my stubble was more of a shadow, so I used the lowest setting on my electric razor and ran it over my face. A dark blue suit with a white shirt and emerald colored tie – put together and hung on the back of my closet door yesterday by Alice – a splash of cologne, and I was shoving my wallet, keys, and phone in my pocket, ready for the night to begin.


Bella gasped as I put the car in park and removed the blindfold I'd insisted she wear. "Edward, you didn't!" Her voice filled with awe as she craned her neck to look up at the giant edifice towering above the parking lot, a brilliant grin spreading across her face.

What? Did she think when I said "I want to take you out for a special date" that we'd be going to Burger King and the Multiplex? Nope. I remembered how well George's had gone over with her during what I consider our true beginning and decided to make another one of her restaurant dreams come true. Tonight, we would be dining at the Space Needle, and she could outwardly protest all she wanted, but the twinkle in her eye and the cheesy-ass smile plastered to her face said that she loved the idea.

"We're celebrating."

That cheeky response and a shrug was all the explanation she was going to get from me. But it was as good as any, for we did, indeed, have a lot to celebrate. Bella's summer internship had gone so well that they made her a full-time employee, and she was quickly proving to be an asset to the company. I had survived my first semester of medical school. Most importantly, though, we had been dating for six months. Yes, life was pretty damn good right now, and hopefully after tonight, it would be a whole lot better.

I rounded the hood of the car, pleased to see that Bella hadn't even attempted to let herself out. Usually she rebuffed my attempts at chivalry, but lately she'd come to understand that it was something I truly enjoyed doing for her and allowed me to play the gentleman. Opening the door, I reached in and helped her out before nudging the metal wing closed with my hip.

"And just what are we supposed to be celebrating, Mr. Cullen?"

My smiling lips grazed over her knuckles, brushed along the inside of her wrist, and nuzzled into the crook of her elbow. They pulled another gasp from her as they nibbled across her shoulder. A moan accompanied their feathery kisses up her neck. She was panting by the time they nipped at her chin. And her whine of pleasure was smothered as they devoured her lips. Breaths were labored, staggered; lips were shiny, red, swollen; and hearts were beating frantically in our chests when I pulled away.

"Us, baby," I whispered against her lips, pecking one last, chaste, ghost of a kiss to those plump surfaces. "Always us."

Wrapping an arm around her waist, I guided her across the asphalt and to our ultimate destination: the elevator that led up to SkyCity. We were greeted by the host, Carl, who kept casting glances over his shoulder at me as he seated us, his hand brushing against my ass as he turned and walked away. That shit was just not cool, and Bella's tinkling laughter as I slumped into my seat didn't help matters.

"I see how it is, Miss Swan. Frizzy-haired Oompah Loompah's can't look twice at me, but Carl can feel me up?" I huffed and pouted.

"Aw … poor baby," she cooed around more giggles, but her tiny hand reached across our intimate little table to envelope mine. "Besides, I don't have to worry about Carl stealing you away from me."

I scooted my chair so that I was right beside her and took her chin between my thumb and my forefinger, forcing her to look up at me. It gutted me to see that, even after all this time, the echoes of doubt still swirled in her chocolate depths. The knife wielding entity slicing through my innards wasn't that she had been slow to trust me – I'd earned her wariness fair and square – but the fact that I'd made her feel unworthy in the first place. It was something I would spend the rest of eternity making sure never happened again.

"You were never in danger then, either, my love. It's always been you who owned my heart, my soul, and my every breath."

"I love you," she murmured, her lips drawing closer to mine.

"With all that I am," I answered.

Her flavor tickled my tongue as she exhaled, etching a memory of it into every surface of my mouth. I could feel its coolness washing over and caressing my face as millimeter by agonizing millimeter she gravitated toward me.

"Hi, I'm Laine, and I'll be your server this evening. Can I get you folks started with some drinks while you peruse the menu?"

I wanted to chuckle at and delight in the growl rumbling from my girl's throat that the overly cheery interruption had elicited, but my own irritation squashed the amusement, grinding it into the ground until it was dust floating on the breeze. With a barely repressed sneer, I turned to the beaming, raven-haired waitress.

"We'll take a bottle of champagne, please. Château St. Michele, nineteen-ninety-five if you have it."

"Of course, sir." With a rake of her eyes down my body and a wink, she spun on her heel and strutted away, a ridiculous swivel in her hips.

Rolling my eyes, I grumbled, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Bella's laughter filled my ear as her nimble fingers wrapped around the hand I'd shoved in my hair in exasperation, prying my digits loose before I snatched myself bald. When I was no longer in danger of winning the Mr. Clean look-alike contest, she planted three quick kisses on my cheek and leaned back. She kept her one hand linked with mine but used the other to idly flip her menu open, her eyes casually scanning the contents.

"A ninety-five Château, eh? Whatever we're celebrating tonight must be super special."

I wasn't fooled by her nonchalant tone, and a glance in her direction confirmed my suspicions. My girl was highly amused by my predicament. Her lips were quivering with her effort not to smile, the bottom one catching between her teeth when it attempted to break her carefully controlled form.

Well, if she wasn't going to be upset – I was pretty sure her smirking and silently shaking shoulders meant she wasn't bothered – that I was getting hit on by everybody and their brother, then I wasn't going to let it ruin the night. Straightening up, I unfolded my napkin, laying it in my lap with a flourish, and ran through my dining choice, stealing furtive glances at the angel by my side the entire time.


She snickered at my simple, overly enunciated answer but neither looked up from her menu, commented on it, nor let go of my hand. Laine came back shortly thereafter, dramatically uncorking the champagne and pouring us each a flute before taking our orders. Throughout our entire interaction with her, Laine chose to stand so close to me, I could smell her faint perfume, hear the delicate scratchiness of her tongue running over her bottom lip as she looked at me, and practically taste her desperation.

But none of it fazed my beautiful angel. She smiled brilliantly up at the wanton hussy we'd been saddled with as the fingertips of the hand not holding mine danced along my fingers, traced circles around my knuckles, and set fire to every inch of my flesh – even the parts she wasn't touching. By neither word, look, nor deed did Bella give any indication that she found Laine's actions as vomitously revolting as I did. I was proud of the confidence she was displaying, but would it have killed her to maybe mark her territory a little?

Seriously! Jealous Bella is hot as fuck, man.

You think greasy-haired, laying-around-in-her-sweats, bloated, period Bella is hot as fuck.

I hope you're not waiting for me to argue that one. 'Cause, yeah, any situation where Bella is breathing is pretty fucking hot. Not even gonna lie!

"Not that I'm not enjoying this whole romantic seduction thing you've got going on, Cullen, but I can see the wheels in your head cranking away. What're you up to?"

I tore myself away from my horny inner monologue. He and I had become quite the frenemies in the last several months, and our discourses – be they childish banters or put-a-bullet-in-my-brain-to-shut-him-up arguments – were often lengthy, so the disruption was more than welcome.

"Do I have to be 'up to something' to want to show my girl how much I appreciate her?" I hedged and fought the urge to loosen my tie. It was suddenly tight as a noose around my neck, and was it getting hot in here?

"No," she demurred. "But it's you, so I know there is." She winked and took another sip of her champagne, her eyes trained on me from over the rim of her glass, silently urging me to give up my charade.

There was supposed to be a flow to everything tonight. We would drink and toast to each other, enjoy a scrumptious supper while feeding each other morsels from our plates, I would order the most decadent dessert they had on the menu, and when she was delirious from the chocolate coma I had planned for her, I'd propose. She'd say yes, we'd toast again, and then we'd go home and really celebrate. But here she was, demanding I toss all my carefully laid plans out the window and just wing it. Well I wasn't going to give in. I finally had a good plan … a solid, not-fucked-up plan … and I was sticking to it.

"I don't know what you're talking about, Bella. I just wanted to take you to dinner and relax after the stressful couple of months we just had. Is that so wrong?"

Was it the fact that I couldn't stop fidgeting in my seat? Or perhaps my defensive tone? Maybe it was the beads of sweat rising up along my hairline and rolling down my temples. Whatever it was, though, she wasn't fooled, and her narrowing eyes told me she was done playing games.

Faster than a cheetah ripping across the plains of Africa in pursuit of a gazelle, she was over the table, her fingers pawing through my jacket pockets. She frowned and bit her lip when her search proved fruitless. Undeterred by her lack of quarry, Bella attacked my pants pockets next.

"Hey," I yelped in surprise, indignation, and maybe a bit of arousal as her hand brushed my cock through the thin lining of my pocket.

Jumping back with a triumphant "A-ha," she dropped down into her seat, a victorious smirk painted on her lips as she held up and twirled the little black velvet ring box. One brow arched up in challenge as if daring me to continue denying my schemes.

"Fine." I huffed petulantly, my shoulders drooping as I slouched down in my seat and crossed my arms over my chest. "Are you happy now? Congratulations, you were right. I was up to something."

With every childishly pouted and snapped word, her countenance fell. Her eyes shifted from the cube now cradled in her semi-limp hand to my face and back again. Teeth sank into that bottom lip that I loved feasting on. And she hunched in on herself, truly chastised. Instinct told me to reach out and comfort her, but the tantrum-throwing child currently guiding my actions stuck its nose in the air and refused. I mean, damn it. Had it been too much to ask that she have a little faith and patience?

"I didn't mean to spoil your surprise."

"Yeah, well, you did."

Picking up my stemware, I chugged what was left of my bubbly drink, setting it down harder than I had intended once drained. Yeah, it was a dick thing to say, and I was acting like a churlish brat, but fuck it all, I'd wanted tonight to be perfect.

"I'm sorry."

I could barely hear her, but I felt her sadness and contrition like a tourniquet around my heart as I watched her place the trinket in the center of the table and fold her hands in her lap, never once meeting my eye. She fussed with the linen draped over her legs, straightened her silverware, surreptitiously wiped away a single tear, and brought me to my emotional knees.

Cursing myself for being a big, babyish jackass, I sighed and scooted my chair around the table. My palms covered her cheeks, tilting her head back so I could see into her fathomless depths, and I brought my forehead to rest upon hers. One of these days I was going to learn how to not fuck things up with Bella. It would probably kill me, but I was going to figure out how to not hurt her with my callousness.

"I'm so sorry, baby," I whispered.

She sniffled and nodded but didn't say anything – a sure sign that I wasn't done with my amends making yet … see? I can be taught!

You interpreted one silence correctly, dicksmack. I wouldn't be investing in any laudatory bumper stickers or anything if I were you.


Um … yeah, genius, I am one, but you're the dumb-fuck who's talking to me!

Fucker needed to stop distracting me. Where was I? Oh, right ….

"I shouldn't have acted like that. You didn't deserve to be snapped at, and I'm sorry."

She shook her head and nudged at me until I leaned back to face her fully. "No, you shouldn't have." I opened my mouth to apologize again, but she rushed on, forestalling me. "But I shouldn't have acted like a spoiled brat. You probably had this whole evening mapped out."

I nodded.

"You likely had some elaborate speech put together."

Smokey topaz jewels came alive with her returning good humor. Grinning crookedly, I nodded more slowly this time, my tongue coming out to swipe along my bottom lip.

Bella's eyes followed the tiny movement, her own tongue coming out to mimic mine. Her breaths quickened, and her voice held a slight tremble. "I'll bet it was really romantic, too."

"You would have melted," I murmured just before seizing her lips.

My tongue delved deep into her mouth, and her fingers sank into my hair, anchoring me to her. We tasted, teased, and tortured each other with stabbing thrusts, seductive nibbles, and tantalizing slides of lips, tongues, and fingertips.

This whole communication thing was still relatively new to us, so we rewarded ourselves for any accomplishment in that department. I didn't mind. Kissing and touching Bella were among my favorite past-times. I could happily stay just like this twenty-four-seven, because when we were wrapped up in each other, consuming one another, nothing else existed.

A throat clearing loudly off to the side shattered that fantastic illusion, and I reluctantly abandoned the blissful Heaven that was Bella's mouth. Laine's smile was brittle at best as she slid my plate in front of where my chair ought to have been and plunked Bella's down before her, a bit of Bella's bordelaise sauce splashing onto the pristine table cloth. With a final glare for the velveteen elephant in the middle of our table, Laine left to fetch the glasses of ice and bottle of Pellegrino I'd requested.

"She is so not getting a tip," Bella snarkily quipped, her fork halfway to her lips.

I reached out and grabbed her wrist, staying her hand. "Wait, Bella, switch plates with me."

"Why ever for?"

"She may have spit in your food."

Her eyes traveled back and forth between my plate and hers, a contemplative furrow forming between her brows, but then she waved it all aside with a little chuckle.

"Oh, for Heaven's sake, Edward. Even if she did, you're not getting my beef tips. Now eat your trout …" she leaned over and grabbed my plate, pulling it to where I sat "… and quit overreacting."

She pecked my cheek, shook her hand loose, and shoved her fork in her mouth, moaning around the tines as she pulled them out. My slacks grew tight, my mouth went dry, and the last thing I wanted to do was eat food. Another bite vanished between Bella's plump lips, and I suddenly found it very difficult to swallow.

Fortunately, Laine chose that moment to reappear – the only time tonight I was grateful for her presence – with our mineral water. I waved her off, indicating that I would open the bottle and pour our drinks myself. I filled Bella's glass first then filled and drained my own, much to her amusement, but she didn't say anything. She just raised her eyebrows at me, grinned sweetly, and continued eating. I just wanted to go home and continue our little party, but since that wasn't possible right now, I tucked into my supper.

Throughout the meal, we chatted casually about inconsequential things like what we should wear to her office holiday party. What should we get Carlisle and Esme for Christmas, and should we do a joint gift since we were officially a couple? And did I think a weekend getaway to Leavenworth was a good present for us to get for Alice and the hippie. That would be an emphatic no on the last one. If I was going to shell out money for a romantic weekend at a snow lodge, it was going to be for Bella and me, not my sister and the board monkey she was shacking up with.

When we were about halfway finished, I could no longer ignore the one topic we hadn't touched in the past twenty or so minutes. It was eating at me, and I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking. Swinging my fork, sprig of broccolini and all, toward the center of the table, I let my curiosity have free rein.

"So, do you plan on putting that on?"

Bella paused, her bite of caramelized carrot hovering just outside of her lips, and her eyes flashed with panic before a mask lowered over them, her features smoothed into a practiced aloofness, and she shrugged.

"No." And then her mouth was busy chewing, her expressive, umber orbs hidden behind sooty black lashes and smoky lids.

She continued to eat, albeit in smaller portions, but she wasn't enjoying her food as much as she had prior to ripping my heart out … again. Was she unaware that she'd just killed me? Or did she simply not care?

There was no longer any doubt in my mind that my proposing back in March had been the most asinine thing in the world, but I thought we were ready now. Hadn't we learned who Bella and Edward, the couple, were? Weren't we doing that whole talking to each other instead of making assumptions thing? What the fuck more did she want from me before she'd agree that we should spend the rest of our lives together? Married.

Does this mean you're going to continue to abuse me on a regular basis?

I don't know what this means, buddy, but we'll figure it out later.

I just wanted to finish eating and get the fuck out of here so I could think. And maybe cry, but in a manly, totally not girly, sobby sort of way. Swiping the box that was now the bane of my existence off the table, I shoved it in my jacket pocket and went back to my food. I stabbed angrily at my plate, bitterness turning the vegetables and fish to ash and sawdust on my tongue.

Five minutes. That's how long she let me stew. Her silverware clattering against her china startled me.

"Do you intend to pout all night?"

My own utensils made impact with the table. "No," I sneered. "At some point I intend to move onto angry self-recrimination, followed shortly thereafter by getting completely shit-faced and attempting to convince myself this whole fucking fiasco of a night never happened."

Everything about her fell: her face, her eyes, even her body folded in on itself, her arms crossing over her torso tightly. She was so small, it was no wonder her voice matched her outsides. "You're mad."

"Oh, you fucking think so? I don't know why! I mean, I've only asked you to marry me and been turned down … twice. But why–"


"Excuse me?"

She cleared her throat, her spine straightening as she sat up taller, meeting me in the eye. "You've only asked me the one time."

I flopped back in my chair, poleaxed and stupefied, my jaw hanging open, eyes painfully stretched open. What … the … fuck? My mind scanned back over the events of the evening, the past hour playing like a movie in reverse in my head. Forward, backward, sped up in some parts, slowed down in others, the scenes flashed before me in stunning, unfettered clarity. Hysterical laughter bubbled up from within, and I doubled over, my forehead rolling from side to side on the tabletop as my arms hung limply beside me.

"I … am such a dumbass," I squeakily moaned out as my demented chortles had begun to subside, the sound quickly morphing into low, keening cries. "I just wanted tonight to be perfect." I rolled my head to look at Bella, the sadness reflected in her watery gaze gutting me. "You deserve nothing short of your every romantic dream coming true."

Wooden chair legs scratched across the carpeting as she shifted closer, draping an arm over my shoulder and laying her head down to mirror my position. Her fingers began idly playing with the short hairs at my nape.

"Edward," she whispered, "Do you know what my ultimate romantic fantasy is?"

"No," I mouthed. I had no strength left to give voice to the word.

She smiled widely, her voice thick and heavy but low and comforting, like warm honey drizzled over a buttery biscuit. "It's you, Edward Cullen. Just you. No fancy dinners filled with carefully worded proposals designed to turn me to goo." She giggled, deep and feminine. "You do that to me with just a simple smile." Her hand dragged over my skin from neck to cheek and up to my temple where her fingers threaded into my hair to pull and align me so our foreheads touched, and her voice dropped down to a husky murmur. "I don't need any of that, baby. I just need you, and me, and us … forever."

My palms found her face, and my body came alive, surging upward, pulling her with me as I rose. I groaned out an echoing refrain of "Forever" just as my lips covered hers, tattooing the emotions my feeble voice would never be able to do justice to deep into her flesh. My tongue stole into her mouth, curling around her insistence, lapping at her surrender, and tasting her sincerity. She mewled, and I swallowed it whole. I whimpered, and she devoured it voraciously.

"I love you, Bella," I panted out between labored breaths.

"I love you, too, Edward." Mischief danced on her earthy canvases. "Now give me my ring so we can go home and really celebrate."

The shiny tip of her little pink tongue flitted across her rosy bottom lip, one of her hands slowly inched up my thigh to rest dangerously close to my straining zipper, and I couldn't tell you where the satin-lined ring box landed as I ripped the white gold band out and slid the diamond on Bella's finger.


"You still …" her tongue delved deep inside my mouth, swirling around and tangling with my own as we crashed against the wall just inside my front door "… haven't asked me …" she moaned thickly, her fingers wrapping in my hair to hold me to her, as my lips attacked the pulse point at the base "… to marry you." She ended on an airy purr as my knee slid between her legs, and I dragged her core up my thigh so that she was practically sitting on my hip.

A muffled "Hm" was all I could manage as I stepped away from the wall I'd had her pressed against, one hand banding around her waist, the other snaking up the back of her thigh that was laying siege to my cock with tiny rubs, bumps, and slides. It felt wonderful, but I didn't want to come in my pants. It had been well over a year since I'd been buried deep inside Bella's snug heat, and if I was going to come anywhere, it was going to be in that tight passage, not my trousers.

I palmed her bare ass cheek for a moment before my fingers quested higher, seeking the elastic waist of the thong she was wearing, but their journey ended in nothing. I probed and felt around again, abso-fucking-lutely shocked at what I wasn't finding. But, again, my fingertips met only smooth, bare skin, as they dipped, unfettered, into the contours of her dimples, lower back, and crested mounds of her gloriously firm ass.

Releasing my hold on her, I stepped back quickly, astonished by my discovery. Bella stumbled, falling against the wall rather unceremoniously, incredulity and surprise joining the flush of lust coloring her features.

"You have no panties on," I cried lamely.

Slowly, as I watched in various degrees of torturous Heaven, the dismay melted away from her eyes, a gamin grin curled her lips, and her fingers traveled wantonly down her body.

I watched with rapt attention as the pads of Bella's thumbs brushed the peaks of her breasts, drawing a moan from her that she stifled by sucking her bottom lip into her mouth.

I dragged burning lungfuls of air into my constricted chest as her palms slid down her torso, the tips of her elegant digits teasing lower and lower until they wrapped around one of the ties holding her wrap-around dress together.

I died a thousand pleasurable deaths when the pretty little bow that had adorned her hip was loosened, one hand slid under the flap of dress no longer anchored to the rest, and she whispered huskily, "That's not the only thing I'm not wearing," as she parted the two halves and shrugged out of the garment.

Standing before me was an alabaster goddess, a dangerous vixen, a cunning predator languidly licking its chops as it eyed its prey. I fell to my knees, stunned by the glory of Bella naked, open, and confident in front of me. Her fingers threaded into my hair, kneading and lightly scratching my scalp, as I nuzzled my nose into her soft lower abdomen. My own fingertips reverently trailed up the outsides of her thighs, over and around her hips, and gained purchase on her ass once more.

"Now that you're in the proper position, don't you have unfinished business to attend to?"

Glancing up, I laughed at her cheeky grin. "That I do, baby."

Without preamble, I grabbed one of her thighs, spreading her legs and flinging one of them up so that her knee hooked over my shoulder. Bella squealed in fright at the sudden imbalance to her stance, her body stiffening into a defensive posture, and she clutched at my shoulders, but as soon as my tongue flattened out on her exposed clit, she went slack, melding herself into me and groaning out, "Oh fuck."

The heels of my palms rested on the bottom curves of her ass cheeks, my thumbs held her lips open, and my tongue set a furious pace of dragging licks, teasing flicks, and deep, penetrating stops. Bella whimpered and writhed above me, her heel running up and down the length of my spine as her leg quaked and held me to her. As if I had any plans to abandon my post until she was no longer coherent enough to utter even that much.

Her cries turned to wails and jumbled, nonsensical pleadings, and I plunged two fingers into her hot center, curling them forward. The flats of my fingertips finding that spot deep inside guaranteed to shatter her, and I began rubbing tight circles in the opposite direction my tongue was rounding her clit. The combination sent a flood of liquid gushing over my hand, her inner walls clamped down, and Bella's nails dug painfully into my head as her body bowed, driving her core more forcefully into my eager mouth.

She screamed what was probably supposed to be my name over and over, spasms of pleasure racking her body. Not wanting to overwhelm her, I tapered off my movements, bringing her down from her intense orgasm in measured increments. When her internal quivering had turned to soft flutterings, and she was no longer panting hard, I withdrew my fingers, licking them clean and then gently removing her leg from my shoulder.

Even when back on two feet, she wasn't steady and wobbled against the wall. I kissed my way up her stomach, licking the undersides of her generous breasts and flicking my tongue over her nipples on my way up, earning a gasping, whining, groan from her. Dragging my tongue up the center of her chest, along the graceful column of her throat, I nipped at her chin and settled my mouth over hers, my tongue diving in to share her flavor and essence it still carried.

Without disengaging our lips, I picked her up by the backs of her legs, those long limbs caging my hips in their grasp, and carried her to my bedroom. Placing her gently on the end of my bed, I stepped back and watched as she scooted to the center and lay down on the pillows as I shed my clothes. Finally as naked as she was, I climbed up and covered her with my weight, our lips once again fusing in a scorching kiss that scrambled my brains and left me aching more than I already was.

Bella's legs separated, creating a perfect cradle for my hips to rock into. One of her legs came up and wound around me so high that her knee bumped the back of my shoulder as she once again traced my spine with her foot. Her other leg coiled around the back of my thigh, a shiver of excited trepidation rippling through me as her heel grazed down the center of my ass.

Her hands smoothed over my straining biceps, her fingers massaged my shoulder blades, and her sweet mouth explored every crevice of my own. Our bodies molded together, friction being sought and given, but it was never enough to send either of us over the edge, only to heighten our longing. We slid, ground, swiveled, and taunted one another, driving our partner insane with lust but denying ourselves the euphoria of release as well. I wanted to frame this moment and live in it forever, but it was ephemeral, fleeting, not meant to last.

"Tell me what you need, baby," I murmured in her ear between sucking and nibbling on her lobe. "Anything. Tell me, and it's yours."

"I need …" she bucked her hips up and held them there "… for you to …" she began undulating her pelvis so that her dripping folds enveloped and caressed my throbbing length "… ask me to marry you." She dragged her teeth over my throat, sinking them into the junction of my neck and shoulder as she sped up her movements.

With one strong thrust of my hips, I had her lower half pinned, motionless but vibrating with its need to continue its onslaught of my senses and willpower. Her eyes snapped up to mine, the moonlight streaming in reflecting the confusion and challenge dancing in those onyx mirrors.

I plumbed her depths, seeking entrance to the garden of tangled weeds in her mind. Was she just toying with me, lightheartedly chastising me for asking a question with such an obvious answer? Or was she being serious in her demands? She was already wearing the ring and had been since she demanded I give it to her at the restaurant. It was a fait accompli. Wasn't it? We were engaged! Weren't we? That kernel of doubt was more than enough. Was too much, really.

"Isabella Marie, you are my best friend, the better half of my soul, and the key to my survival." I captured her lips, stealing her gasped breath. "You hold my heart." I bent and placed an open-mouthed kiss over her frantically beating heart. "You own my soul." My lips absorbed the tear that escaped one of her clenched lids before ghosting over those thin layers of skin. "Will you bear my name, claim me as yours, and make me your husband?"

Her kiss-swollen and pouty lips popped open into a perfect little "o," and her eyes grew to twice their normal size as she lay stiffly beneath me, staring but not seeming to actually see. Gradually, I felt the tension ooze out of her, and her dilated pupils began flickering all over my face, searching my gaze, to what end I didn't know, but it was starting to freak me out.

Growling, she shoved on my shoulder with more force than I thought her capable of, flipping me onto my back and rapidly springing up to straddle me. No longer did Bella look frightened, stymied, and or timid. Now she was feral, strong, and assertive. She reached between us, wrapping her hand snugly around my cock, rubbing the head up and down her slit before lining me up with her entrance, all without breaking the stare we were locked in or saying a single word.

In an instant I was engulfed in her fiery sheath, a groan of agonizing pleasure ripping from my throat, and my hands instinctively came up to grip and guide her hips. Bella's hands found purchase on my chest, and she leaned forward until our noses were centimeters apart as her hips began to roll and swivel.

"You are mine," she snarled. She began bouncing her hips, the walls echoing back the sound of our slapping skin. "You will wear my ring, and everyone will know you belong to me." She accented each word with a downward thrust, panting roughly.

I could only grunt and nod as my fingers dug into her waist and my pelvis rose to meet her. We were both breathing quick and heavy. Sweat dripped off of her to mingle with the beads forming on my chest. Her tongue invaded and possessed my mouth, mimicking the joining of our lower bodies and pushing me closer to that edge.

She tore away first, a keening, whistling, cry of a breath accompanying her silent scream as she slammed down on me once more, a hot gush of liquid spilling out of her as her inner walls went into spasm around me. I couldn't hold on any longer, and I thrust up into her erratically several more times, chasing my release. My balls tightened, my gut coiled, and I exploded inside of her as I bellowed her name and held fast to the only anchor I had in the swirling, chaotic waves that washed over me.

We both collapsed, limp, spent, satisfied, and I twined my arms around her back as she lay her head upon my chest. Our hearts beat in tandem, calling out to and answering its mate, and I drew lazy patterns up and down her spine.

"So … um … was that a yes?" I asked, chuckling, after we'd spent several minutes just soaking in the pool of post-coital bliss.

Bella levered up, folding her hands on my chest and resting her chin on them, a languid smile spreading across her face. She brought a finger up to trace over my jaw, down to my chin, along the slope of my nose, and her thumb swiped across my bottom lip before she leaned up and sucked it into her mouth. When she released it and settled back onto my chest, she grinned brightly and whispered so low that if I hadn't been watching the movement of her mouth, I never would have known she spoke.