The character's are Stephenie Meyers'. The story is mine all mine.

Beta'd by Ordinary_Vamp – any mistakes are my fault.

Etched in Ink Fest Submission – Inspiration "(Kissed You) Good Night" by Gloriana



"I had a really nice time."

Jesus, my hands were sweating. I couldn't touch her with sweaty hands. I couldn't . . . could I? Would she notice? I couldn't mess this up, this chance to get to know her and take her out on a date. Though it wasn't a date . . . not really. I technically didn't ask her so it wasn't a date, right? Whatever; nomenclature aside, I couldn't ruin it with sweaty hands or . . . fuck, I had pasta at dinner. Was there garlic? Did my breath smell like garlic? I couldn't kiss her with garlic-breath. I wanted to kiss her, had wanted it for almost two years; since the day she first walked into work and smiled at me all confident and beautiful.

And completely out of my league.

"I'm glad we finally did this; you know, alone and all. Not that I don't like hanging out with the rest of the gang, but alone is . . . was . . . nice. Really nice. I think."

Her voice grew quieter, less sure, and I felt like a total ass. I couldn't unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth to talk to her like a normal person so I nodded my head twice. Her smile dimmed, dropped just a bit, but I saw it, and I knew it was because I was staring at her like a creeper. I tried to speak, opened my mouth and breathed, but the only sound that came out was a quiet little almost-whimper-kind-of-moan . . . and I died for the two-hundredth time since I walked this gorgeous, wonderful, intriguing, unique woman to her front door.

"I, uh, guess I'll see you Monday?"

"Ye . . . yeah." I coughed and sputtered a bit, hating myself for not being courageous enough to just grab her, kiss her, press her against the door and tell her how beautiful she was; how long I've wanted her, how much her every smile and word she spoke resonated within me. How she was everything I could ever want and nothing I would ever deserve to have.

But instead of speaking up, I stood, two feet away from the woman of my dreams, not touching . . . completely unable to string the words together to tell her all the things I needed to.

"See you Monday." My ears burned, and I cursed my Irish heritage for my pale skin and my propensity for blushing. I also cursed whatever demon had taken up residence in my brain and blocked my ability to speak full sentences.

"Goodnight, Edward."

I caught a glimpse of her face as she turned away and opened the door – sad, maybe disappointed. And I felt a thousand times worse. That look was my fault. I trudged my way back to my car, head hanging, heart filled with shame, hands fisted in my pockets.

That was my chance – my first real shot in almost two years of being in love with Bella Swan. We'd hung out a thousand times with the rest of the art department, meeting up at a local pub by the office for drinks and food. But tonight we'd been the last two in the office, everyone else having taken off early for the holiday weekend. When it came time for us to pack it in, she'd smiled and asked if I wanted to grab a drink with her . . . which lead to dinner . . . which lead to another bar that had a local band playing . . . which lead to dancing . . . which lead to touching . . . which lead to me finally getting to run my fingers along the ink decorating her shoulders.

Most people didn't notice it, the placement being easily hidden by her clothes, but she wore sleeveless shirts under her stiff blazers and cardigans. She tended to become more comfortable after hours, removing the longer sleeved items and sitting at the drafting tables in those shiny, silky, lacey little tops that bared more of her skin than our conservative dress code allowed. Those tops that I longed to touch, to tug, to see crumpled on my bedroom floor.

And the ink. Over the years that we'd worked together, I'd caught enough glimpses to know it was some kind of full back piece. Shoulder blade to shoulder blade, waist to neck, with delicate tendrils that trailed up and over her shoulders, still high enough to be covered if she wore a simple t-shirt. I had no idea what art decorated her body, but I longed to know. Those naughty little tops were thick enough to block the whole image, but see-through enough to give me an impression of wild color and bold shapes.

Settling into the car, I closed the door and stuck the key in the ignition, but I didn't turn it. I moved my right hand so I could run my thumb across my left forearm, feeling the swoops and swirls of my own ink. Words decorated both my arms, from my shoulders down to my wrists, fading from black to gray and finally to the white ink almost invisible to the eye. I'd needed to hide the art, knowing my life would be in the business world, but I hadn't wanted the sleeves to end at my elbows. Instead, my brother the tattoo artist had continued the words in white ink all the way to my wrists, essentially disguising them against my pale skin.

The words on my left forearm were the most important; the final lesson taught to me by my father before his death when I was just sixteen. He had always pushed me to be less complacent, to break out of my shell, try harder and never give up on any dream or goal I set for myself. I wasn't really a lazy kid, I just didn't feel the need to take any huge risks or get crazy with things like "five year plans." I was happy to float through life, finding a skill I enjoyed, falling into a job that paid me well – never failing, but never pushing myself out of my comfy box, either. My lackadaisical lifestyle drove my dad absolutely off his rocker. A million times I'd heard him say the words now etched into my skin.

You'll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind

I glanced back at Bella's front door as the porch light went out, the sudden darkness making my heart plunge to the floor. I couldn't let my chance pass me by!

As I stared into the night, determination flooded my body. I'd wanted to kiss this woman for nearly two years but never took the chance, too afraid of simple rejection to reach for what could be the greatest thing I'd ever found. I'd never pushed the issue because I didn't want to upset the balance of friendship we'd created. But I wanted it. I wanted my lips on hers, wanted to feel her, taste her, hold her, love her with every ounce of my heart and know she loved me back. I wanted her to be mine . . .

And I was finally going to risk everything to tell her.

I was out of the car and striding across the grass before I could change my mind. I kept my eyes locked on the front door, the only thing standing in the way of me finally telling her how much she meant to me, how much I wanted her, how much I longed for her. I pushed back any doubt I had by remembering how much Bella smiled at me earlier this evening, how she held my hand as we walked from the restaurant to the bar, how she clung to me as we danced, how she shivered as I ran my fingers along the ink on her shoulders, and how she paused at the door, smile on her face, chin tilted up as if in invitation.

She'd wanted me to kiss her, and I'd failed.

I wouldn't fail her again.

I was on the second step when the door opened, a look of confusion marring the beautiful face staring back at me.

"Edward? Did you forget something?"

I stopped two feet away and stared at her, letting the words of my father give me strength, letting the memory of her soft smiles and light touches give me hope that she wanted me as much as I wanted her.

Letting the words string themselves together in my mind.

But those words failed me once again when I opened my mouth. I had no grand speech to give her, no long list of every reason why she should give me a chance to make her happy. I had nothing but the simple knowledge that I might never be happy again if she were to disappear from my life.

And that knowledge was both terrifying and energizing.

My heart raced in my chest and I took one last deep breath before I said the only thing that mattered. "You . . . you are my every wish, my every dream come true. You are all I could ever want and never be good enough to have. You . . . are . . . everything."

A small gasp, a pause, and then I was surrounded by soft skin and silk. Wrapping my arms around Bella's waist as she tightened her hold on me, I tilted my head down.

"Everything," I whispered before brushing her lips with mine. Tentatively - terrified she'd pull away - I pressed our mouths together. She responded immediately, her arms sliding up around my neck, her fingers fisting into my hair, her lips opening on a sigh. Warm and wet, our tongues slid together with no awkwardness or hesitation. I pulled her closer, squeezed her tighter, until we were pressed together from knees to nose. Every inch, every curve and dip, met in the middle as we kissed and hummed, groaned and grunted.

"Wanted this," she murmured, pulling me through the door only to press my body against the wall and fall into me once again. "Wanted you . . . so long."

I groaned and dragged my lips away from her mouth, down her jaw, nibbling my way along the side of her neck until I could reach the vines that had been taunting me all night, licking every inch of the exposed ink.

"So beautiful," I mumbled against her skin. "Want to see. Damn ink drives me absolutely insane." I dragged my hands up from her waist, sliding them under the cream colored silk, knowing my fingertips were pressing against something more than skin, something more like art.

"Mine?" she asked, breathing out a laugh. "I have fantasies about these forearms. The way the ink left ridges in your skin, how they would feel on my fingertips. Wondering how far up the words go and what they say."

Bella pulled back a little, looking up at me with dark eyes and a smile that made me glad I was already propped up against a wall. "I want to read you, Edward."

I stared at her as she took a step back, her hands gripping the bottom of her shirt for just a second before she pulled it over her head and threw it behind her. I stared at the picture before me, ink running around her ribs from the back, vines with little flowers dancing a delicate path under her breasts, down around her waist, disappearing somewhere near her hip.

A slow smile spread across my face, matching Bella's. We came together softly, fingers and tongue and teeth tracing words and vines, flowers and quotes. I learned every color on her back piece, memorized every flower, relished every sigh and giggle as I absorbed the beauty of a new-school meadow scene designed to move with her flesh. Perfectly designed, wonderfully detailed, the bright colors blended and shaded to a surreal portrait of the beauty of the outdoors.

Eventually she got her wish, reading the words on my arms while I leaned against the wall, her thighs on either side of mine, her pussy rocking slowly over my cock, my hands gripping her hips. We didn't have sex that night. We spent the time before the sun came up touching, kissing, learning, teasing . . . being intimate and affectionate with one another. Making promises and admitting secrets.

As the tangerine light of dawn filtered through the glass of the sidelights, our lips met again, our hips moving at a frenzied pace. Almost six hours of foreplay had left us both desperate for some form of release. Whispered words of encouragement and affirmation had us moving completely in sync in short order, hard against soft, hot and wet and needful as we gyrated against one another. She came with a moan and full body tremor, her forehead against mine, her lace-covered breasts pressed to my collar bone. I followed right after her, grunting and groaning through the longest and hardest orgasm of my life, my lips against the vines on her shoulder, my eyes locked on the fabric in the corner.

Because damn, that silky, creamy, lacey, feminine little shirt that had taunted my dreams and starred in my fantasies for all those months looked absolutely fabulous crumpled on the dark wood floors of Bella's foyer.