Entry #31 - AH

Truly Anonymous Twilight O/S PP Contest

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Title: Zipless

Picture Prompt Number: Nbr. 36

Pairing: Bella x Edward

Rating: M-Mature for adult themes

Word Count (minus A/N and Header): 3670

Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation):

She thought she deserved more; he made it clear she did. She only needed a little push to realize the truth. AH ExB

Warnings and Disclaimer:

Warning: Characters in adult situation involving consensual sex.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Copyright 2012 - Do not copy for translation, republication, or re-transmission/transfer without express permission of author except for personal consumption as a downloaded mobile product on a mobile device.

Zipless

The pub was hot and close, steamy with the body heat of so many people standing cheek by jowl within its confines. There was standing-room only, every cranny filled from the seats in front of the windows at the entrance, to the booths along the wall across from the bar, to the fireplace area inside the inglenook next to the band's dais. A haze of human-generated moisture hung in the air above the crowd, reeking of perfume, aftershave, and alcohol. The air vibrated with the energy of live music pulsing through the low hum of many voices.

She stood at the far end of the bar, her right thigh resting on the edge of a stool where the counter met the wall. Her friends had paired off and left her behind already. They'd offered politely to escort her home, but she knew they really didn't want to do that. She'd have been cooped up in a cab with two people doing everything possible not to fuck each other under her nose. She didn't want to deal with another reminder of her status-a much-neglected girlfriend relegated to third wheel.

As packed as it was, Bella didn't have the drive or the strength to push against the crowd pressing into the pub to listen to the band. She opted to stay put, wait out the last set, let the crowd ease, and then make her way home. She had nothing else to do that warm summer's evening; why not simply stay put here at her usual watering hole? She liked the band anyway. This would be her treat to herself: a night out, lost in anonymity, listening to music.

The second set ended, the band taking a break; chattering voices grew louder over the tinny canned music switched on through the pub's sound system. Fortunately, Bella ordered a drink just before the set ended; her cocktail arrived before the next wave of drink orders began. She sipped her vodka-rocks with a twist, savoring the bite of the alcohol and the tang of the lemon peel mixing on her tongue as she purged her mind of all thoughts.

People watching-she loved to pick out individuals in the crowd, especially from her nearly covert perch at the interior end of the bar against the wall, obscured by the pub's inglenook behind her. She watched their interactions with others and the subsequent reactions of those around them. It kept her mind occupied when she wasn't actively purging her mind of other more personal thoughts.

No, don't think about the asshole boyfriend.

Watch and think about that nice-looking man leaning towards his mates across the table in the booth at the other end of the pub. Watch his friends laugh, white teeth flashing, heads tipped back, eyes squinting, beer bottles hoisted and clinked together after sharing what appeared to be a greatly appreciated joke.

She'd looked like that earlier, when Rosalie and Alice were still in the bar, before their boyfriends had pulled them away. They'd laughed hard and loud, slopping ice over the edge of their glasses as they toasted one another for making it through another week.

She missed them but she couldn't begrudge them. If she could have, she would have left with her boyfriend, too.

Stop-don't think of that asshole.

It was like trying not to think of an elephant. It was bad enough he occupied too much of her life over the last two years with too little reward; detritus like his shoes, t-shirts and toothbrush accumulated in her apartment, but there was little of him. He shouldn't own her thoughts this evening after leaving her alone yet again. She was going to have to talk with him about their relationship and soon.

Ugh, not again, her mind was wending down that rabbit-y dark warren-don't think of that asshole, she scolded herself.

Think of something else, anything else.

Her eyes continued to roam across the far end of the pub, watching as new people drifted in, each paying their cover fee, working their way up to the bar to order a drink.

Her eyes focused on a young man and woman who'd just entered the pub. These two are a couple, she observed. They gave themselves away in their body language, turned ever so slightly toward each other as if dancing into the pub together. Even their smiles appeared to draw up at the corners of their mouths closest to each other.

She felt envy, want.

No, don't go there...

A girl trailed behind the couple; was she their third wheel? She looked around as if lost or reluctant.

A guy entering behind them was alone, but trolling-his eyes roamed quickly around the bar, lighting on a girl here, another girl there.

He made eye contact with the girl ahead of him, drifting behind the couple.

Bingo; that didn't take long at all. It was a match-the trolling loner sidled up and began to talk with third-wheel girl. She smiled, side-eyeing him through her lashes.

Bella felt even more alone now, even though she wasn't thinking about him.

She sighed into her drink, stabbing at the bitter citrus twist with a stir stick.

Warmer air drifted over her left shoulder; someone very tall just outside of her peripheral vision exhaled over her.

"Relax. Just stay as you are. Don't turn around," a deep voice rasped softly near her ear.

Bella jumped a little, tensing suddenly. She was torn; should she ignore the voice and look to see if this disembodied voice was talking to her? Was he even talking to her or someone next to her? It was horribly crowded; she was jostled and elbowed several times where she stood during the band's last set.

"Your hair smells so good, like something to eat," the voice whispered into her ear. "It smells like vanilla and sex," he said.

He was talking to her, whoever it was, and not to any one else nearby. She'd used her favorite vanilla-scented shampoo that day.

She was still fighting the urge to turn around and look up at him when warm lips lightly caressed the top of her left shoulder, above the shoulder blade and below her neckline. Wait...did he flick his tongue out at her skin, or did she imagine it?

"You taste like vanilla and sex, too." Her question was answered; he'd enjoyed her vanilla body wash with the quick daub of his tongue.

"I've seen you here before with your friends. I've watched you and wished I could talk with you," said the mystery man. "I see they left you behind by yourself. I hope you're enjoying the band."

There was something about his voice that put her at ease. Her mind raced, conjuring warnings, rebelling against her gut which told her she was safe.

She went with her gut. Thinking and not trusting her gut had failed her too many times; she'd thought she was in a relationship, after all.

Bella nodded slightly in affirmation.

"Good. I like to think we're playing for you," he said softly in her left ear. She could feel his breath along her ear and neck; goosebumps played along the skin of her neck and shoulder.

He must have stepped closer to her. She could feel his body heat now radiating against the length of her back. She felt a magnetic pull, wanting to draw closer to the source of the heat. Would he be merely warm, or would he be hot to the touch?

"You're with the band?" she asked quietly, trying to focus on something other than the sensation of his proximity to her flesh.

"Yes," he whispered, not offering any more information as he waved at the bartender. She could see his right hand and tautly muscled arm extended above and over her right shoulder; he leaned momentarily with his right hand against the brass rail along the edge of the bar. His hand was large, his fingers long and slim like an artist's, and his well-defined forearm was sparsely covered in auburn hair. He must have leaned back, pulling away from the bar; she felt his body heat recede and then return again.

Ah. She realized he must be the guitarist who also played keyboard. He was the only one of the three band members who had reddish hair. Bella remembered catching his eye a few times during the two sets tonight, as well as previous visits when this band was playing. She'd never noticed him watching her in particular, though.

"You've been in here with a guy before, though, yeah?" The words ghosted along the shell of her ear. Her stomach knotted in response.

"Y-yeah. It's been a while, and only a couple of times. I think I have to break it off with him," she said, turning her head ever so slightly to the left towards him.

"You're not sure you're going to break it off? I don't recall seeing him with you in a long time."

And snap, like that-she realized she not only had to talk with him, but tell him they were done. They'd been done for a while now; she simply hadn't accepted it, hanging on to the emptiness of her frustration instead of reaching for something better, something real.

"I'm sure. I'm done with him. I just need closure," she said.

"You've looked alone and lonely for too long. I've seen it in your eyes. No one as beautiful as you should look that way." His low murmur set a new wave of goosebumps rippling across her flesh; a tingling pressure began deep and low in her belly.

She sighed, her shoulders slumped slightly, feeling the weight of her disappointment in him, in herself for having such low expectations for so long. Yes, she was entitled to something more; she deserved to feel urgency, passion, and longing rather than hollow discontent. She deserved to be wanted, needed, and desired rather than ignored; she would no longer be an afterthought.

The bartender set a cold bottle of lager on the bar in front of Bella, looking above and behind her, then at her, and then again just above her shoulder at whomever was behind her. He didn't appear to expect payment, turning heel and stepping away to serve another of the many customers clamoring along the bar.

"I don't want to pressure you into anything you're not ready for. I don't want to draw attention to you, in case he should walk in. But I want to let you know I'm interested. Very interested in you."

He reached over her right shoulder for the beer; she could hear him swallow twice next to her ear before he set the bottle back on the bar in front of her. Bella closed her eyes for a moment, imagining a lean, masculine throat, Adam's apple bobbing with each swallow. The pressure in her belly spread lower, warmth flushing along and between her thighs. She pictured a head of messy auburn hair hovering above her softest flesh.

She shuddered and opened her eyes, looking into her vodka-rocks as if it contained something more than melting ice and alcohol.

He leaned into her, making contact along the length of her back. Her curiosity was partially satisfied-he wasn't merely warm, he was hot.

And he was hottest along his hardness, now pressed firmly into her backside near her left hip.

Bella looked up and around the pub's crowd. Everyone appeared to be engrossed in eager chatter with other bar patrons; the crowd after the band's second set was young, energized, slightly tipsy, and preoccupied.

She might as well have been in a different world, alone with this mystery man. No one was paying any attention to her; even the bartender had written her off after delivering the beer since her glass was still more than half full.

Warm fingertips pressed ever so lightly along the front of her left thigh, just below the hem of her short denim skirt. They paused as if waiting for permission, then drifted higher beneath the skirt and toward the inside of her thigh, hesitating again.

"Your skin is so soft, like swan's down. If you were free, unattached, I'd run my tongue along here," he whispered into her ear, his lips grazing the finest hairs on her left earlobe as his fingertips resumed their trip north.

"I want to know if you taste as good here," his fingers pausing at the edge of her panties at the nexus of her inner thigh and the swell of her lower lips, "as you do here." His lips gently pressed on her shoulder, between the spaghetti strap of her top and the cascade of dark brown waves flowing over her shoulder and down her back.

A faint flush broke out across her body, heat rising to the surface of her skin, bringing with it a veil of sweat. She was sure he could feel this reaction on his fingertips, halted at the crease between her thigh and crotch. Self-conscious embarrassment flickered momentarily, but the vodka she'd been drinking this evening beat it back. Her neck felt floppy, her eyelids suddenly heavier, fluttering.

He's taking my silence for approval, she thought; his fingertips trailed delicately across the crotch of her underwear once from front to back and again, as if petting her, then stopped. The pressure from his fingers eased ever so slightly, as if he was pulling away.

Why am I doing this? she thought, but then she quickly pushed her misgivings aside. Why the hell not?

She glanced to the left, nodding her head slightly, in case there was any doubt. He must have understood her faint consent, as he leaned into her body more closely.

"You are so warm here," he said, pressing again more firmly on the crotch of her panties. "I would love to see you open to cool evening air like night blooming jasmine, then sample your sweetness."

Bella felt a new rush of pressure and dampening heat, localized and concentrated near his touch. He must have detected it beneath his fingertips. She was burning-how could he not but feel it? Her breathing changed, now shallower and faster; could he feel that, too?

"A soft, warm peach...that's what I feel underneath this bit of cotton." His fingertips dipped underneath the edge of her panties, touching the increasing wetness of her inside lips.

"You are juicy, dripping like ripe summer fruit." His voice was now gravelly, dusty, on the verge of breaking. His fingertips moved deeper, trailing upward to the tender knur of nerves, back down to the font of moisture seeping from her body. His own heat pressed more firmly into her left hip, insistent and assertive.

Bella trembled, feeling as if she might give way were she not precariously balanced against the bar stool. She clutched her vodka-rocks more tightly, leaning her forearms against the bar to bear her failing weight. She couldn't believe she was allowing this to happen; was she in shock? She should run or shout, something, anything...

And yet she felt as if she'd been jolted alive, jarred out of months' long somnambulent torpor by this stranger's voice and touch. There was something true here, something real; she couldn't grasp it any more than she could rely on her hold on her drink to support her, but it was more than she'd had with him for a very long time.

"If you were mine, I'd be right here, worshipping at your little shrine," he growled softly. His index and middle fingers slid into her wetness to punctuate his point; his lips skimmed her left ear as he continued, his breathing matched hers in tempo.

Tiny beads of sweat broke out on her upper lip, matching those emerging along her lower spine, along the inside of her thighs and behind her knees. Bella fought to keep her eyes from rolling back into her head, scanning the pub's clientele for any sign of detection. In the crush of crowd, no one appeared to take notice of her struggle to maintain an appearance of ennui and disinterest in spite of her increased heart rate and her rapid shallow breaths bordering on pants. His hand was well below the bar, out of sight of the crush around them, safeguarded by their location next to the wall, cloaked by the low level of lighting.

His fingers dipped in and out, tracing along the delicate nerves running from the little crest at the top of her inner lips to her drowning depths; the movement of his hand mimicked strumming, bending at the wrist to flex up and down as he played along the path between her nether lips. His movements were unseen below the level of the bar.

He spoke more slowly, saying, "If you were mine, I wouldn't leave this lovely hallow until you begged me to go." His fingers slipped rhythmically into her with each word, her wetness increasing with each slide.

"No, perhaps not even then would I leave," he rumbled at her earlobe, slipping, sliding more.

Bella felt the pressure inside her begin to vibrate and sing, the muscles in her thighs increasingly taut. She could barely think straight, concentrating only on not losing her grasp on the bar to dissolve at this stranger's feet. It had been far too long since her body had received this much of a man's attention.

He must have felt her growing need; he reached for the beer bottle on the bar with his right hand, grasping it so firmly the tendons in his hand stood out. Leaning on his right forearm, he pressed his denim-covered heated length more firmly into Bella's hip, pulling her against him with his left hand as he continued to strum her femininity.

Her capitulation was at hand, quite literally, her innermost self clutching wetly at his fingers. He left them deep inside as he pressed his thumb gently but firmly on the most sensitive bundle of nerves. He pivoted his hand, pressing his fingers in and then pulling out as he pressed on his thumb, alternating pressure fingers-to-thumb as if playing two notes repeatedly.

Bella gasped, hunching forward ever so slightly over her drink, her dark hair draping down around her face as she fought against the urge to snap her head back and scream. The guitarist froze in place, pressing evenly fingers-thumb as if holding a final note, Bella's softly grasping inner muscle wracked with spasms around his fingers and then slowly relaxed and released. He pulled his fingers out gently, pulling her panties back over her peach-like mound; he sighed, his warm breath in her ear, her hair as he slowly pulled his hand from under her skirt and along her thigh.

She'd shut her eyes reflexively against the bright internal light of release; she opened them now, slowly, and then looked around as casually as possible to see if anyone in the still-crowded bar had noticed her surrender.

Nothing, no sign of disruption-it was as if a highly localized cloudburst had come and gone without notice by the neighbors.

Yet she was shaken to her core by this all-too-brief late summer storm.

He leaned in again, as if to whisper in her ear; instead he drew his left hand across her left thigh, from under her skirt up to his mouth then licked his fingers next to ear.

"Luscious. You do taste and smell as good there as here," he said quietly, before leaning in to kiss her left shoulder a third time.

He gently swept a wayward lock of hair back from her face where it had fallen, teasing it back behind her ear. The scent of her arousal mingled with his saliva, beer, and vanilla drifted fleetingly; it smelled like more.

"I'm Edward. I'll be here next Friday and Saturday, playing for you. I'll be waiting," he whispered, nosing her hair to inhale her again. He leaned a bit against her, pressing his arousal into her hip one more time.

She couldn't resist any longer. She turned just enough to left to look up and into his face. Mossy green eyes dark with desire looked back into her own brown eyes, plumbing for an answer to an unasked question his soft lips and tight square jaw would not form.

Bella nodded her head yes, still unable to form words. He smiled, then kissed her forehead softly, running his left hand in a gentle caress along her ribs and waist.

The drums rumbled a bit from the back of the bar; the bassist plucked two notes. "My next set is starting," he said. Bursting their little bubble of intimate tension, he leaned down to kiss her shoulder, grabbed his beer off the bar and turned to walk through the crowd toward the dais where the rest of the trio waited. She turned to watch him; he raised the bottle and finished the beer in two long pulls, setting the bottle aside as he reached for his guitar.

He looked at her, met and held her gaze for a moment, then looked away to speak to his band mates as they warmed up.

When he looked up again, she was gone, lost in the crowd. He didn't see her the rest of the night.

~ o ~ O ~ o ~ O ~ o ~ O ~ o ~

The following Friday night was cooler, crisper. A change was in the air; autumn was just around the corner, thought Bella.

The pub was not as busy as last weekend since many of the young people had now returned to college. Only the year-round regulars were there before the band began their first set.

And he was there, plinking on a keyboard, checking the tuning of his guitar before the set began. Bella strode past the length of the bar and up to the dais, a bottle of lager in one hand and a vodka-rocks in the other.

"Bella," she said to Edward. "My name is Bella."

She handed him the lager, his long fingers brushing hers as he took the bottle.

He grinned and nodded his head in greeting and thanks. She smiled back and then took a seat at a table in front of the band. She looked lighter, as if relieved, a faint smirk toying at the corners of her mouth, her eyes bright and lively.

Her mind was clear, no unbidden thoughts tonight to be chased away.

She didn't look alone or lonely any longer.

~ o ~ O ~ o ~ O ~ o ~ O ~ o ~