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I stand there for a good thirty seconds, just staring at Edward. I want to speak, but I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around this. The only thing I seem to be able to think is: he's here, he's here.
"You're here," I blurt out. "In Seattle. You're here in Seattle."
The smile he offers doesn't reach his eyes. "I am."
And then I'm staring again because I don't trust myself to speak.
His hair is longer. He looks thinner. His once bright eyes are dulled by the circles under them. There's stubble covering his jaw, chin, and cheeks. More stubble than I've seen him wear before. He looks tired and worn out, yet still so good.
"Bella. Say something," he begs, fisting his hair. "Are you mad I'm here, or—"
"Of course I'm not mad," I tell him in disbelief. "I just don't understand. What are you doing here?"
"I was in the neighborhood..." He trails off when I don't react. "What do you think I'm doing here, Bella?" he asks quietly.
I don't want to answer that question, and maybe he doesn't expect me to, because I know. I know he's here for me, but that doesn't stop me from asking, "How?" I think back to last night, remembering his phone going straight to voicemail. "I mean, did you talk to Alice?"
He shakes his head. "No. I didn't talk to Alice. I listened to your voicemail, saying you saw her while you were on your date, but I was already at the airport at that point."
He was already at the airport. Before I pathetically called him outside the restaurant. My eyes burn at this realization.
"I needed to talk to you, and it's a little difficult to make that happen when you keep blocking me on Gchat. But I mostly just needed to see you," he admits, voice earnest. His words make my heart pound so loud, I swear he can hear it.
Without another word, I'm stumbling toward him, arms wrapping around his neck. Our bodies are pressed against one another, and all I can feel is warm and safe and Edward. He leans down a little, chin resting over my shoulder as he grips my waist, pulling me closer.
Now that he's here, holding me, I can't imagine how I ever stayed away from him for so long. He releases a sigh into my hair, and maybe he's thinking the same thing. I try to hold back my tears, but I can't. I'm completely overwhelmed. I want to tell him so many things, but I won't. Not yet.
"Edward," I start to say, my voice catching.
"Please don't cry," he whispers, holding me tighter.
I take a deep breath, and we pull apart after I've calmed down a bit. I stare up at him, and the way he stares back nearly kills me. It's like his eyes are trying to tell me something, like I'm the only one he'll ever want. And I should've known that, but the distance made it too easy to convince myself otherwise.
"Don't look at me like that," I manage to say through my tears.
He tilts my chin upward, and his smile is gentle as he says, "Why not?"
I shake my head, looking down. The sound of a door shutting catches my attention, and I realize we're still standing in the hallway of my building.
"I swear I'm not usually this big of an emotional wreck," I mumble, feeling embarrassed. "I just wasn't expecting you to be here."
He smiles, his thumbs brushing my tears away. "Can we go inside?"
I nod, my hands shaking as I unlock the door. I walk in, watching as he leans over and grabs the duffel bag that I hadn't noticed until now.
"I can stay in a hotel," he offers after I shut the door behind us. "I wasn't assuming you'd let me stay here, if that's what you're thinking."
"I want you to stay here," I insist. Now that he's here, I can't imagine him leaving.
He nods, looking relieved. "Where should I put this?" he asks, lifting the duffel.
"Doesn't matter." I strip out of my coat as I move past him into the living room. When I turn around, his eyes are on my dress. "I'm going to go change," I mumble, awkwardly motioning toward my room.
I feel less overwhelmed once my face is clean of makeup and tear stains. I change into leggings, a t-shirt, and a zip-up hoodie, one that used to be Edward's. One that I never stopped wearing, even when everything went to shit.
When I walk back into the living room, I find him sitting on the couch, knee bouncing as he stares straight ahead.
"Um... are you thirsty?" I ask.
His knee stops bouncing, and he shakes his head. His eyes roam over my attire, and I suddenly feel very self-conscious under his scrutiny.
"Nice hoodie," he comments, chuckling lightly.
I nervously tie my hair back. "Hungry?"
I cross the living room and before I can over think where I should sit, he pulls me into his lap. My arms instantly wrap around his neck. I breathe him in. I've missed his smell. I've missed the way he feels.
He buries his face against my chest, releasing a quiet groan. His hand snakes across my waist, slipping under the hoodie before resting on my hip. The warmth of his skin on mine calms me. I don't know how long we sit like this, not talking and just holding one another. I don't care. I could sit here with him forever.
"We need to talk," he murmurs to the hoodie. He rubs my hip and lifts his head.
"I know," I reluctantly agree, fingers playing with the back of his hair.
We stare at one another. I'm not sure what to say, or how to even start this conversation. A minute or two pass, and I'm thankful when he speaks first.
"I'm so sorry, Bella," he apologizes, so quietly and so sincere. His palm cups the side of my neck, and his thumb brushes my cheek. "I'm sorry. For everything. You know that, don't you?"
I nod, willing myself not to cry as I wrap my fingers around his wrist. "I'm sorry, too."
His face softens. "Bella, please. You don't have to apologize. I was too pushy. I wanted you with me so fucking bad, and I thought if we put things on pause that it'd make you... fuck. I thought it'd make you move to New York."
Our eyes stay locked, and I wait for him to speak again.
"I shouldn't have done that to you. I should've been patient. I never wanted to be without you, though. That wasn't what I ever wanted."
His forehead presses against mine, and I believe him. I do. It was easy for things to unravel so quickly when we were so far apart.
"I know," I whisper. "I was so angry, and it's like... me not moving was my way of punishing you. Which is awful. And then I blamed you for things that were out of your control. I blamed you for choosing your job over me and not moving here, which was really shitty of me to do. It was like... I don't know."
"I don't know either," he echoes.
"It made sense at the time, but now, none of it makes sense." I swallow the lump in my throat. "And the easiest thing to do was to push you away. I was pissed you didn't try harder, and I was pissed you didn't move here."
"I couldn't, Bella. You know I would've moved here if I had the opportunity."
"I know, I know. And that makes me feel even more shitty because I could have moved, and I didn't, out of spite. And I know we weren't technically together, but then you kissed that girl, and it fucking hurt. I didn't want to think about you with anyone else."
"It's like I was just waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to go wrong. I fucked it all up."
"No, you didn't. We both handled this the wrong way," he murmurs.
I shrug. "It just never made sense, you wanting to be with me."
"I don't know. I have no reason to think that, but I still thought it. I was always so fucking insecure about us, and the distance just made things worse."
"I only ever wanted you, though," he whispers, so close to my mouth.
His confession makes my throat burn as I try to keep myself from crying. "God dammit," I mutter, looking up at the ceiling.
With lips moving against my neck, he says, "I've missed you, Bella. So fucking much."
My eyes close. His mouth moves from my neck, to my cheek, to my forehead.
"I missed you, too," I breathe out.
He carefully presses a small kiss to the corner of my mouth. I turn my head, capturing his lips with mine, because I need him to kiss me. Our mouths meet, moving together slowly. I grip the back of his neck, and he tightens his hold on my hips, keeping me in place. As if I'd ever leave.
"Bella," he says to my lips.
"How are we going to make this work?" I ask, pulling back to look at his face. "Because I want to be with you. I want to try this again."
He presses another kiss to my lips, but doesn't say anything. He's trying not to push, but maybe I need him to.
"We'll make it work," he finally says, and he sounds so sure.
"I'll move to New York." It's weird hearing it out loud, and even weirder catching his expression. Like he wants so badly to believe me.
"That's something you really want to do?" His brows pull together as he searches my face.
I kiss him this time. "Yes. It's something I really want to do."
"I don't want you to feel like you have to."
"I don't," I insist. "But I want to be with you, and long distance won't work. I can't do that again. I want to actually try this time."
The way he smiles makes me feel like I'm the best person in the world. He pulls me so close and hugs me so tight, I can hardly breathe. He kisses me and kisses me, and maybe I don't need to breathe again. The kiss deepens, and I can feel his fingers unzipping my jacket. I let him take it off, and I let him pull my shirt over my head because I need this just as much as he does.
I adjust myself on his lap, straddling him. His hands are on my bare chest, and then his mouth. I moan. His tongue and teeth and stubble are warm and wet and rough around my nipple.
"Make that sound again," he mumbles, and I can feel him growing hard beneath me.
"Then do that again." His teeth nip at my chest, eliciting another moan from me.
"I missed that sound," he rasps, gaze darkening. "I missed fucking you."
"Then fuck me," I say, voice trembling.
He lifts my hips and guides me to sit beside him before standing up. Unbuttoning his jeans, they puddle at his feet and he steps out of them.
"These, too." I tug at his boxer briefs, and he yanks them down after pulling his shirt off.
And then he's naked and standing in front of me. I take him into my mouth. He looks surprised, but he moans and his hand is on the back of my head. I add my hand as my mouth moves back and forth, and he moans again, louder this time.
He pulls back. "Okay, fuck. I need you," he grits out. "Stand up," he instructs, tugging down my leggings. I reach down when they're at my ankles, pulling them off. He takes my hand, leading me to the bedroom.
He sits on the edge of the bed, pulling me to stand between his knees. His eyes stay on my face as his hand moves between my legs, parting my thighs. My chest heaves and I can't keep myself from moaning when his fingers are inside of me.
"I want you to feel good."
"I do," I breathe. "You always make me feel good."
I'm on the verge of coming when his hand stops moving and he pulls me to straddle him.
His mouth covers mine and I kiss him back. It's rough and needy and we were always so good like this. He makes me feel wanted and I love him. I was so stupid for ever thinking I wasn't so in love with him.
He says my name over and over again as I rub myself on him. He's good at being patient this way, and I'm so ready. I lift myself up and grip his dick, sliding down onto him.
I don't move yet, and he just stares at me. So serious. Like he wants to say so many things. It makes my chest hurt because no one has ever, or will ever, look at me like that. But I don't want just anyone to. I only want him.
"I need you," he tells me, fingers lightly grazing along my back.
I move then. Up and down. I lean forward and grip his neck for leverage. His face is against my throat, and he's breathing hard, whispering things to my skin. He says that he loves me, and that he never stopped thinking about me; about this. My name comes out as a breath on his lips, and it's all too much.
I bite down on his shoulder to keep from crying out. "Fuck, I missed this. I missed this," I pant.
"Fuck me," he grits out. His hands are on my hips, moving me lazily against him, too slow. "Love me."
"I do. I do love you," I confess. "Too much."
He groans, and I move faster. His hands are on me, helping push me closer to the edge. And this time, I'm the one saying his name over and over again.
"Look at me," he says. "Bella, look at me."
I try to slow my breathing, but I can't. I look at him, and he kisses me. His mouth doesn't leave mine then, and I cling to him. We're so close, so close. It's never been like this with anyone else, and I have to keep myself from crying because it's never been like this with anyone else.
I come, and only then does he pull his lips from mine so he can hear me. I cry out and I collapse against him.
"You're so beautiful," he confesses. I kiss his chest, because he's the beautiful one here.
He pulls my head back so he can stare at me. And then I'm moving again, for him; needing him to feel as good as I did. He moans, grabbing my breast as we move together. But then he slows my hips and he lifts me off of him, laying me down against the pillows.
He kisses his way up my body then slowly pushes into me. I wrap my legs around his waist, needing him deeper.
He's losing his breath and staring down at me as his pace quickens.
"We have to make it work this time," he says, burying his face in the crook of my neck.
"I know," I whisper, clinging to him. "I know. I love you."
His head drops against my shoulder, and he's grunts and groans and I want you to be with me, Bella just before he comes.
We lie there afterward, spending our time kissing and touching and laughing and talking. I just missed being together like this, and when I tell him so, he kisses my temple.
When he moves between my legs again, it's slower this time. I want this feeling forever, and I'm not sure how I ever thought I could live without it.
Later on, when the light has faded from the sky and we're in bed again, he pulls me against his side.
"You really want to move to New York?"
"Even more so now," I say as honest as I can. "We'll have to figure it all out, and I'll have to put in my two weeks at work. But yeah."
"I have to fly back on Tuesday for work," he tells me. I frown at this, realizing he's leaving again in two days. He kisses me, then says, "But I'll be back. And I can help you move."
I push the hair away from his forehead, searching for his eyes in the dark. "Yeah?"
He grins. "Yeah. And then we can fly to New York together, just like the first time we met."
We both laugh at this before growing quiet as nostalgia takes over.
"Thanks for letting me steal your seat that day," I say just before drifting off to sleep.
He moves closer, mouth moving against my neck as he asks, "Would it be cheesy if I said thanks for letting me steal your heart?"
"Yes. That would be extremely cheesy."
"Okay, then. I won't say it," he says through a yawn. "Do you still make it a habit of stealing people's seats on planes, though?"
"Shut up," I laugh.
"I'm being serious," he mumbles sleepily, pressing a kiss to my throat.
"No," I tell him. "You were the last one."
It's the truth, in more ways than one.
"Good," he whispers, pulling me closer. "Let's keep it that way."
The companion song to this chapter is On The Wings Of Love by Jeffrey Osbourne. In case anyone was wondering. Okay, I'm lying. BUT I WASN'T LYING WHEN I SAID I WAS GOING TO UPDATE ON SATURDAY. I might be more shocked than y'all, to be honest.
Anyway. This story is done. Finito. I'm about to go hit that 'complete' button after I upload this. Yay!
Thanks to everyone who read, reviewed, rec'd, and just... said nice things about this story. I really, really, REALLY appreciate it. I love y'all.
Love and awkward hugs to Kim and Vic, who looked over this with me, listened to me whine, and told me not to scrap this chapter. Thanks for talking me off the ledge countless times.