SM owns Twilight.
beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep
I groan. My arm snakes out from under the covers and whacks the top of my alarm, realizing as I'm doing so that my alarm is set to radio not obnoxious beeps - and for 6:30 am not the current ungodly 5 am.
I'm disoriented. I stretch and roll, looking for the source of that hideous sound. I roll into warm and solid.
"Sorry. Shhh. Don't wake up."
He silences what must be his phone and groans. In the dim light I see him rub his face and blink a few times.
My brain starts to work and fragments of memory flash through.
The walk home.
Not taking things slow. At all.
We didn't take things slow twice last night.
That accounts for the state of my body. As I'm coming to full consciousness I feel warm twinges and a delicious mild soreness in unusual places.
Edward kisses my shoulder.
"Hey," he whispers.
"Hey," I reply. I want to bask but reality is sneaking in. He's going to leave now... and I'll be in some sort of limbo until I know what he's really thinking.
"Hold on, I'll be right back," Edward gets out of bed, scooping his clothes from the chair and closing the bathroom door behind him.
I wait for him to make his escape. I figure it's better to assume the worst – isn't that how the saying goes? Expect the worse but hope for the best. Something like that. I can't think anymore because Edward is coming back. He sits on the edge of the bed and brushes hair back from my face. He's rumpled and sleepy looking. I want to drag him back under the covers.
"I have to go – early work thing. You feeling okay?" he asks, still whispering. I want to tell him there's no way I'm going back to sleep but he's leaning in when he whispers so I don't.
"Better than okay," I say. Sleepy Bella lacks a filter. I stretch and feel myself heating again at the way Edward is looking at me.
"Bella, I..." he strokes my cheek. "Last night was amazing. You are amazing."
I reach up and touch his face. He's stubbly and I have the strangest desire to watch him shave. Maybe I'll get the chance. He presses a chaste kiss to my lips and we both give a little hum.
"I think we can both take some credit for last night," I say. I want to say so much more but not yet. I want Edward to run the show. I want his sincerity and I suspect too much effort on my part would make things easy for him. Make me easy to manipulate.
Soon, I'll know. Soon, I'll know if I can trust him as much as I love him.
"Have dinner with me again? Tonight?" he asks. I grin like a fool and nod. I realize he has the same goofy look on his face. The idea that we could both really be feeling this way, that this could actually be happening, stuns me. He kisses my forehead and then stands to leave. When he's at my bedroom door, he turns back.
"Lunch too. What are you doing for lunch?"
I go to work early, hoping to get some things done before the office is full.
At nine o'clock there is a delivery.
A single rose. Red. And the exact coffee I'd ordered at the little shop with Edward the day before.
I start to let myself believe. Maybe he means it. Maybe it's real.
Either that or I'm much, much better in bed than I thought.
I knock, before forgetting he hates it when I knock. It's not like I have a key or anything but we've been together for three months. Edward doesn't want me to knock; if he's home – and I know he is – I'm supposed to walk on in. Before I can open the door, Edward is pulling it open, pulling me to him and he's talking so fast I can barely make out the words.
"I got it! Bella! I got it!"
Edward loves his work. He's good at it too and has been in demand for more and more challenging projects. He's amassing a pretty big profile and went after a project that was a bit beyond what he'd done so far. He's been like a caged animal for days, waiting to hear if he got the job.
"It? Oh my God, Edward! That's amazing!"
His green eyes flash with excitement and triumph. I've seen him pumped up about work stuff before but never quite like this. He nods and scoops me up into a hug, my feet are off the floor. He spins us around and then dips me back, kisses me. Passion is passion after all and Edward is full of it. It's infectious.
It's one of the reasons I've let myself fall so deeply in love with him.
We're grinning at each other. I'm so happy for him.
I wonder if I should save my own announcement for another day.
"My mind is kind of a runaway train right now," he says. Edward takes a comically deep breath, makes a show of pulling himself back to cool and collected. "I'm going to work for a couple of hours, okay? Then we'll go out and celebrate?" He looks around his apartment and back to me. "You've got something to do, sweetheart? You're staying over tonight, right?"
I nod. I always stay over on Friday nights. Most Saturdays too. Usually a couple of times during the week and sometimes Edward stays at my place if it gets late and he's tired.
I still have qualms, doubts. Not about how he feels – I know that's real. What I don't know yet is if he's capable of more than a couple of months without getting bored or noticing someone shinier and more intriguing. I had a personal celebration when we passed the two month mark. I'm officially his longest relationship, ever. Which could mean it might be over any day now.
All I can do is wait. And enjoy.
Oh, am I ever enjoying Edward.
"I have a book..." I say. He's sitting at his desk, already absorbed in thoughts and plans for the new project that will put him on the national radar. Edward knows me pretty well though. So, although I'm trying to keep my news to myself for now, let him have this day, he knows. He looks up and a little frown creases his brow.
"What is it?" I love that he knows.
I duck my head, suck in a breath. "I wasn't going to say anything today... but, um... well, I got a new job too." I look up and I'm beaming at him. It was literally the last call I took before leaving work and I'm bouncing inside. This job is perfect. Exactly what I was looking for.
Edward's smile is cautious. He stands and walks over to the sofa where I'm sitting. He sits and takes my hand.
"Where, I mean, what is it? What's the job?" His expression is indecipherable. I rub his hand, squeeze it and he squeezes mine back.
"Teaching. At this incredible school that I've been obsessed with for years! I've been waiting to see if an opening would come up and my contract at the bank is half done so the timing is perfect..." Edward is still smiling that cautious smile. Waiting. "Where is it?" I echo his first question. "Here. Seattle," I say.
He blows out a breath as if he's been holding it. I'm gathered into a fierce hug. "I thought... Jesus, I thought for a second you were going away again," he says. He kisses the top of my head and leans back to look at me. His smile is the natural one now. All Edward, all warm and blindingly bright.
He thought I'd leave him?
"So, you're staying?" he asks. This gorgeous, talented, passionate man is asking me for reassurance, a promise. The look on his face - hope and desire – slices through me. My heart might burst.
I don't trust myself to speak. I nod and he pulls me into another tight hug. We sit together for a while, breathing. Silent.
I feel safe and cherished.
He's warm... and he smells so good. Being held by him, feeling so wanted, does other things to me. It makes me feel impulsive. I might not be ready to tell him that he's the whole world to me. I don't know if he's ready to hear that I never want to be without him – but I want to show him.
I pull back enough to look at him. My hands find his face, my fingers feel smooth skin and light stubble. I wriggle out of his arms and straddle him. I kiss one of his cheeks, then the other. I put my lips to his ear.
"I'm not going anywhere, Edward. Do you really think I could walk away from this?" I look at him, look for the answer.
His eyes are happy. I made him happy.
I want to make him even happier.
I put my hands on his chest and kiss him. I kiss him solidly, the way I've learned. From him. When I roll my hips lightly – I can't help myself, it's almost a reflex – I can feel him. He's already getting hard.
"I love you," we say at the same time. We laugh under our breath.
We've made a kind of inside joke about 'taking it slow' and sometimes we do. Edward seems to have a thing for bringing me to the edge over and over, torturing me with his hands and lips, until I beg. I may have wept a few times too. It's not always like that though. Sometimes we'll be out and one single look will pass between us. The air leaves the room, sounds become muted. There's nothing but us and what we want to do. So far, luckily, we've managed to make it back to one of our apartments before getting naked. After all, neither of us wants to get arrested.
Right now, I'm the one in control. And all I want is Edward inside me.
I make short work of his belt and button. His hands are under my skirt and I feel silk slide down my legs and know they'll be hanging from my ankle. I can't bring myself to move off of him for the second it would take to kick them away.
I sink onto him, feel him fill me. Hard, hot. Bliss.
His eyes are dark and his hands are in my hair, on my face. We kiss, a claiming kiss. I want him to know how I feel and I want to be able to show him this way. I feel like I can't get close enough. It's a ridiculous thought. I'm draped over him, riding him. He's inside me, his tongue is in and out of my mouth. He's everywhere.
I gasp when he pushes my hair to the side and sucks on the sensitive skin low on my neck. I hope it leaves a mark. I grab his hair, keeping him right where I want him. He pushes his hips up to meet mine and we're panting together. I put my lips to his ear again. Kiss and suck and love that I can do this to him.
"I'm going to come soon, Edward. I want you to come with me. Harder, baby." It took awhile to get used to talking like that – and I don't do it often. Edward's reaction is always worth it.
He groans so loud I think for a second that he did come.
He lifts me and I push down, hard. The room is spinning and I can smell that perfect Edward smell that has always been like a custom made aphrodisiac - spicy warmth, heated male skin. All Edward. Over and over we move and I'm loud, I can't help it when we do it like this. I clutch and cry out. I slump forward over him and groan. Edward is so hard, I can feel every bit of him as he moves in and out of me.
He's chanting. Each word is a hot breath against my chest.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
I feel the words every bit as strongly as I feel him inside. The sex is amazing, Edward is always amazing.
This time though, it's his I love you that makes me come; his I love you that sends me flying.
The big, new job includes a big, new, demanding client. Edward has to go to New York for the first time since we've been together.
I think about it when he tells me about the trip. He used to go to New York or Chicago or LA at least once a month. We've been together four months and he hasn't gone away once.
I ask him about it and he looks sheepish. I wonder for one crazy second if he's making up his job and shake my head at myself. Paranoid much? Of course he isn't making up the job... I meet him there. I've met colleagues. Been to social functions.
"I've been able to set up remote meetings. Skype and stuff," he answers. He's checking his email before we go out for the night.
"But you love New York," I say. He sighs but he's smiling. I walk around to him and he pulls me down into his lap.
"I do. I knew you wouldn't be able to go and I didn't want to leave... I didn't want you to think about, you know? I didn't want you to worry about... anything," he's stumbles over words but I get his meaning.
He doesn't think I completely trust him. I don't know if I do either. It hits me suddenly that I won't know until I need to trust him.
"Can you get some time off? Why don't you come with me?" he offers. It's an intriguing idea.
"Not this time," I say. I'm smiling and cuddling in. I'm sending my boyfriend, he of the epic womanizing reputation, off on his own for three days.
I think it's time to know.
Edward calls from the airport, the cab and as soon as he gets to the hotel.
He calls between meetings and texts under the lunch table.
Once he's back at the hotel for the night, we start a Skype call. We watch a movie, have a drink. Talk for a long time about not very much. Just to see and hear each other for as long as possible. Two senses fulfilled are better than none.
"Oh baby, you should go to bed," I say. I feel guilty. I forgot the time change and I know he has to be up early. He scrubs his face and nods.
"I'll put my laptop here," he's moving it and the visual jumps around, nauseatingly erratic. When the picture steadies I see the bed.
Oh, boy. I don't know if I'm ready for this sort of thing...
Neither, apparently is Edward. I'm developing quite the dirty mind.
"I'll probably fall asleep pretty fast. We'll leave it on," he says, smiling and yawning again. "Then you can see exactly what's going on. Nothing to worry about." He crawls under the covers.
"What's wrong?" he asks. He gets out of bed and a second later his beautiful face is filling the screen again. "Listen, I don't mind. I kind of like the idea –"
"This is because you think I don't trust you, right?" I ask. My heart is fluttering in my chest. I'm on the verge of an epiphany.
Trust isn't only something that Edward needs to earn. He can only do so much – and he has done every possible thing to prove that he's a changed man. A trustworthy one. I have to give too. It's my turn.
"Watching you all night to make sure you don't sneak a woman in there isn't trust," I'm laughing. So is he.
"I want you to trust me," he says. He shrugs, smiles lightly and my heart gives a little extra thump. He's been very patient with me.
"So do I," I say. He reaches out and touches the screen and I swear I can feel the tenderness through the wires and circuits. The final wall comes down not with a crash but a dissolution. I wish so badly that he was here. "That's why you have to end the call. Say good night, Edward." My heart is in my throat. In a happy way.
"Good night, Edward," he says with a cheeky grin.
"I love you."
"I love you."
I'm in transition.
The six month contract with the bank is almost up, as is the lease on the sublet. I start at the school in six weeks and Edward and I have planned a little get away before I begin my new job.
He asked where I wanted to go. I told him he could choose this time. Now he won't tell me where we're going.
I guess that kind of serves me right.
The apartment hunt is not going well. I'm picky about where in the city I want to live and there isn't much available. Edward has his own concerns. He wants me close and safe.
I'm relieved when he calls. He thinks he might've found a place and picks me up after work so I can go check it out.
We hold hands as we walk through our own familiar neighbourhood.
"Well I like the area," I say. I haven't said out loud that I want to stay close to Edward's apartment but I'm sure he knows. I laugh when we stop in front of his building.
"There's a unit available?" Edward squeezes my hand. I like the idea immensely. I'd essentially be under the same roof as Edward. Good enough... for now. "It would have to be a bachelor one, I don't think I can afford anything else in here..." I go to walk into the building but Edward doesn't move and since we're holding hands I'm jerked lightly back toward him.
I turn and look at him. He's looking down at me with the mischievous smile he uses to hide strong feelings.
Yeah, I know him pretty well.
He pushes his hair off his forehead and then lifts his chin, pointing at the building.
"Well, you're here all the time anyway and you said you like the neighbourhood," he clears his throat and I feel my mouth pop open.
Edward doesn't do this sort of thing.
He does for you.
His little fit of nerves has passed. He smiles that smile, the one that warms me. I bask in it. "What I'm trying to say is... I'd love for you to move in with me. If you want to. I want you to know that's an option," he says. His voice is laced with emotion. I can hear how much he wants this. "I really want to live with you, Bella. Sometimes even the next room feels too far away."
I lean into him. One of Edward's hobbies is making me swoon. He's really good at it.
I need to say something.
"Can I repaint the bathroom?" I love him madly but he's also fun to mess with.
Edward's laugh vibrates through me. "Sure, if you need to."
"And your couch..."
"I ask you to live with me – share my life – and you make jokes?" He knows my answer. Cool metal is pressed into my hand. A key.
I make some inarticulate, happy sound and he hugs me tight.
We're going to live together.
Long ago, Edward said he didn't want white picket fences or official pieces of paper but he's never lived with anyone before either. It took a long time for me to believe in this, in us. Edward Cullen has changed almost as much as I have.
We made each other better.
"Do you have any idea how much I love you?" Edward's voice is husky.
He's always asking me questions. He has been all along.
What do you want?
I don't know.
What are you going to do?
I don't know.
Do you trust me?
I don't know.
I know how to answer them all now.
Now I know.
Thank you so much for reading. Really. Your reactions to this story thrilled me - even the angry ones.
Extra big thanks and hugs to Aussiegirl101 for her beta skills and overall awesomeness.
Big, big thanks to the ladies who read this as an anon witfit story and encouraged me to share it. You should know, if it was up to Rochelle A, the song choice for chapter 15 would have been 'Reunited, and it Feels So Good.' Lol
Ah yes, chapter song. Some of you have guessed it already. I'm nothing if not predictable...
Can you guess?
What else could it be?
'Here Comes the Sun' *tears* Thanks again.