Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and its characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
All original characters, plots, and the storyline contained within this derivative work are the property of Lazykate. This story may not be reproduced or reposted without permission from the author.
This was a one-shot originally posted over at Masterperv Theatre, my and Brits' joint FF account. We've since taken it down, if you'd like a PDF of all the stories, please DM me. This is the only one of my o/s from that account that will be put back up publicly. Enjoy!
I could tell by the tiniest sliver of light under the bathroom door that he was done developing. There was a faint tinge of red from the safelight that he'd yet to turn off, but the harsher light from the vanity bulbs told me it was safe to knock.
It was rare that I visited Carlisle's studio…a space as stark and gritty as the photographs he took. His wife Esme, an amazing photographer in her own right, had embraced the digital revolution years ago, and spent as much time in Photoshop as her husband did in his darkroom. With the money the two of them made, he could have easily afforded a more professional studio, but he flatly refused to consider it.
Miles away from their lovely professionally-decorated suburban home, Carlisle had found this urban apartment, a place that had no trace of Esme in it. It was completely and wholly his own. Two doors nailed down flat across sawhorses made up his worktable, the lightbox was perched on the corner. His loupe and some negatives were scattered across the top. A battered-looking desk sat just beyond that with a laptop and drum scanner on it. Those two items stuck out, obviously expensive against the casual neglect of their surroundings.
I hesitated just inside the front door, the key Esme had given me still in the lock. I'd only visited Carlisle's studio a couple of times before, and that had been with my boss. It was a rare occasion that one of her clients was savvy enough to demand actual T-MAX instead of digital manipulation, but she would always have Carlisle develop it for her when they did. The amateur photographer in me rebelled at her laziness, but I knew better than to voice my opinion. I was her assistant; I got her coffee, picked up her dry-cleaning, replied to customer e-mails, and scheduled appointments.
I didn't offer photographic suggestions, and I certainly didn't say anything when I'd walked into the office one day and seen one of her recent male clients taking her hard up against the wall as she moaned out her pleasure. No, I'd turned around and left as quietly as I'd come, and I'd tried to forget about the whole scene. I was her assistant, not her judge and jury, not her moral compass.
Carlisle was something of a mystery to me. Despite both of them being photographers, he and his wife moved in separate orbits, both personally and professionally. Esme shot portraits, lovely pieces of art involving children, pets, and families. More rarely she would lower herself to shoot a modeling portfolio, or even a wedding, as long as the families involved were old money wanting the prestige of an Esme Cullen album to set on teak coffee tables. She was talented, no one could deny that. Her services were priced accordingly, and her studio was located in a fashionable district of the city, in an old Victorian she'd redecorated herself.
The stark faces of the homeless, by contrast, were what absorbed Carlisle Cullen's time and attention now. He spent endless days and evenings talking to people on the street, offering them food, coffee or cigarettes in return for a raw black-and-white photo along with a brief moment of insight into their lives. The project had gained fame nationwide, and he'd been offered a large sum of money to turn the photographs into a book. He'd flatly refused, much to Esme's ire.
I'd met Carlisle on multiple occasions, of course, in the past year I'd spent working for his wife. He was unfailingly courteous, but aloof. I wasn't sure if it was the overbearing presence of his wife that made him so often silent, but it was probably better that way. When he was polite and quiet, I could force back the thoughts that too often wormed their way into my head.
He was barely more than ten years older than my twenty-seven, but had a shocking air of sensuality around him. Maybe it was his full lips, maybe it was his piercing green eyes. The tiniest touch of gray, no more than a few hairs, at his temples. Hair so dark it could just barely be called blond. The toned body under the jeans-and-tee uniform that I tried not to stare at. The low even voice.
I tried not to let myself think of him that way. He was a married man, married to my boss. Their marriage seemed amicable, if not passionate. I was a grown woman, not some teenager with a crush. I'd had my share of boyfriends before meeting the Cullens, and I'd continued to date even after I'd come to work for Esme.
But there was something…something about green eyes and full lips. No…something about Carlisle. Whatever it was made me think thoughts about thrusting and biting and tensing and arching with ecstasy. I didn't want to steal him away from his wife, or date him, or seduce him with my womanly charms. I was almost afraid to define exactly what I wanted to do with him.
But standing where I was now, I was nervous. I thought about leaving the bagged film Esme had shoved into my hands on his worktable. The message would be clear enough. Just standing here in his sanctuary was enough to make my palms damp and my throat dry. There was something too private about this space…right down to the intimacy of the barely-made bed in the corner where he slept when he stayed too late into the night.
Esme's instructions had been clear, though. "Tell him I need these tomorrow," she'd directed me. "Have him scan the negatives too, and e-mail them to me."
"That's all, Bella, goodnight."
I crumpled the top of the paper bag tight in my fist. Thankfully, the presence of that harsh white light under the bathroom door told me it was safe to knock, though…if he were still developing, he'd have the heavy black-out curtains drawn over the door. Carlisle's darkroom could be the subject of its own urban photojournalistic essay: he'd converted the single bathroom of the apartment, clipping up drying prints on the shower rod, stowing his chemicals in a stacked caddy, washing his film in the chipped sink. I'd seen it just once, this epicenter of Carlisle's world.
The light under the door told me too that he could open it at any moment and come striding out, finding me standing there like a peeping tom or creeper that he would, over coffee the next morning, advise his wife to fire. That thought spurred me into action, and I lifted my fist to announce my presence with a firm but respectful knock.
Either my knock was too brisk, or the latch was barely keeping the door in place, or the lean of an old apartment let the door yawn open. Whatever it was, without even a squeak, the door gaped slowly, and Carlisle turned to face me.
He wasn't nude, although he may as well have been, in the unguarded moment I found him. His left hand was supporting his weight, propped against the wall between the old medicine cabinet and ugly vanity lights. He was shirtless, and the smooth ripple of muscles in his arm, shoulder, and back were starkly highlighted in the red glow of the safelight he'd left on. Black pants were unbuttoned and unzipped, revealing gray boxer briefs that…
My nerveless fingers lost their grip on the paper bag and it thudded to the floor, rattling the film inside. Carlisle continued to stare at me, frozen in the doorway, and I found that I was completely unable to move. The look on his face was completely inscrutable…I couldn't tell if he was angry or not, but there was certainly no shock or embarrassment on his face. No…it was the intense look I'd seen on his face before, a look of complete absorption, concentration…something so serious I felt it almost like a punch to the gut.
"I'm…sorry…" I stammered, barely more than a whisper, thinking that I should stoop and pick up the bag of film, but I couldn't tear myself away from his green eyes. His left hand slid slowly down the wall and he straightened up, still staring at me. "I'll…"
"Why are you here?" A question that could have been ugly or hostile, but there was nothing of that in his tone.
"Film," I gasped out, finally remembering myself, bending my knees to blindly grab at the paper bag. "Esme sent film."
A slight clench of his jaw was his only reaction. "Did she come too?"
"No. She sent me."
His utter stillness was almost unnerving. Surely by now he should have reached out to take the bag from me…or perhaps buttoned his pants which remained, amazingly and unconcernedly open. His boxer briefs were still unabashedly on display, and in my desperate attempt to fix my eyes on something, anything other than what I most wanted to look at, I saw what he held in his right hand.
A print, no larger than a 4x6, still untrimmed on a larger sheet of photo paper. A black-and-white photo that could have been one of the many he shot every day, except that the subject caught my attention and knocked the breath from my lungs.
"That's me," I whispered.
He looked down at the print in his hand. "That's you."
I had no idea when he could have taken it, and although Carlisle was well-known for his unobtrusive style of photography, I was still stunned that I couldn't have known. It was taken from a distance; my hair was down and hung casually around my shoulders, a very hesitant smile was on my lips. I never knew what to do with my hands in any situation, so my fingers were laced nervously together, and I could tell even at the three-quarters-length shot that I must have been scuffing one toe over the ground.
Carlisle had taken a picture of me.
He looked back down at the image, rubbing his thumb over the edge of the print. "I thought if I asked, you would have said no."
"I wouldn't have said no."
"Would you have said yes?" He handed the print to me, and I took it automatically. Upon closer inspection, I recognized the setting, the day. Esme had wanted to try a new Photoshop effect and shot a test series of me against a peeling-paint fence behind her studio. She hadn't been happy with how any of the photos had turned out, and at the time I'd assumed it was me, my lack of ease in front of the camera.
I certainly had never known that Carlisle had been somewhere behind her, taking pictures of the face that Esme hadn't caught…that unguarded relaxed face that I couldn't produce on demand. It was a face I didn't even know I possessed.
Was it conceited to say a picture of oneself was beautiful? Because the picture, regardless of the subject, was beautiful. The moment he'd photographed was so unique, I barely recognized myself. "Carlisle…I…"
"Esme couldn't bring that down herself?" He finally turned to me, pointing to the bag, and I forced myself to keep my eyes steady with his.
"I think she had plans."
He snorted faintly. "I'm sure she did." His hand came out slowly and took the bag from me before carelessly tossing it into the sink.
"She wanted them…"
"I don't give a fuck what she wanted."
Hearing the word fuck come from Carlisle's lips sent a shocking thrill through me, almost like hearing it said aloud in public for the first time. "Okay."
I still held his print, and he gestured to it. "Do you like your picture, Bella?"
I swallowed hard. "You do beautiful work."
"Would you let me photograph you?"
"If you wanted." The words had tumbled from my mouth before I'd even realized they were coming out. "There's nothing special to shoot, though."
A small amused smile twisted his lips. "I'd want to shoot you just as you are now…eyes wide, flushed, maybe just the tiniest bit unsure."
I suddenly needed the support of the doorframe against my body.
"I'd shoot you nude, Bella…but nothing tawdry or lewd, no shots of you in heels and nothing else. I want to shoot you sleeping, with just a sheet pulled up as far as you needed it for comfort, with your hair tangled, your fingers curled beside your face just so…"
With those words, he reached out and ran his knuckles along my cheekbone. A small moan puffed from between my lips before I realized it.
"You have a boyfriend, don't you?"
From some far part of my dazed mind, I pulled forth his face, his name. I wasn't sure if three weeks of dating made him my boyfriend, but he was nevertheless there. "Edward."
"Edward." Carlisle's tone wasn't as dismissive as it was unconcerned. "I doubt he would approve, but under the circumstances…"
He never did clarify what the circumstances were, but the bare sensuality crackling between the two of us made the point quite moot. The fingers that had brushed my face dragged back into the hair at the nape of my neck, tightening there, tugging my face forward to meet his own.
Heat, the heat off his bare chest burned through my simple cotton shirt when he pulled my body flush against his. Hotter still was his tongue as it tangled with my own, pushing between my lips. He didn't ask, he simply took, and in the end I found that I preferred it that way.
I somehow found myself perched on the solid vanity with the cool porcelain of the sink under my ass as he kissed and kissed me, moving from my lips, to my jaw, to my neck, teeth and lips and tongue all working me into a frenzy of need. I'd stopped thinking and just allowed my body to feel, following the responses he forced from me. I didn't know why he was doing this, but I honestly didn't care either. At that moment, I didn't care about Esme, or Edward, or anything else. All I cared about were the strong sure fingers that reached up to cup my breast even as his tongue lapped at the corner of my mouth.
My shirt was pulled over my head, and I faintly heard it scratch against the thick photostock of the prints he'd hung over us. When I dared to slit my eyes open, all I could see was his smooth skin and dark blond hair tinted in the red of the safelight, the movement of his arms as he reached up to unclasp my bra, to slide the straps over my shoulders, to bend his head to take a peaked nipple between his teeth.
I clamped my thighs around his hips, lifting myself up enough to allow him to pull my jeans down, the pants he'd unfastened before I'd knocked on the door having long since dropped to the floor. Now the cotton of his boxer briefs and that of my thin panties were the only things between where I was aching and wet, and where he was unrelentingly thick and rigid. Our kisses grew increasingly frantic although no words passed between us. He ground against me hard, and when the sweet friction made me gasp, he only pressed harder.
At some point he made a decision and wrapped both arms around my waist, prompting me to cling tighter to his hips and shoulders. Quick steady footsteps brought us to his bed, and although I half-expected to be dropped onto the simple bedding, he was surprisingly gentle, laying me down carefully before drawing his fingers down my sides, coming to rest on my hips. He wasn't asking permission, but rather serving notice, and I felt cool air hit me as he slid my panties down my legs.
Still no words between us as he began moving over me, pressing hungry hot kisses over every inch of skin. His hands moved constantly, exploring me, learning me, discovering new places he hadn't been able to see through his camera lens. I writhed under him when he found a particularly pleasurable spot, and I could feel his hums of satisfaction throughout my entire body.
His shoulders pressed my knees apart when his tongue slipped between my legs, and I cried out, threading my fingers through his hair. I was no timid virgin, but never before had I felt this ache, a feeling that I was going to burst from my skin, that all my nerves were vibrating at the same sweet frequency just below the surface. Carlisle slipped in one, then two fingers as he continued to lick and suck at me.
I could feel my orgasm start, almost the way water shivers with a million tiny bubbles before swelling into a full roiling boil. The dual sensations of his fingers inside and his tongue against me became too much, and I came, hard.
He didn't pull away from me until I lay still, panting, and even then he stretched out over me, propped up on his elbows.
"I can see your eyes shining." There was a quiet reverence in his voice that I'd never heard before.
"Please, let me…" He was off the bed in one fluid movement, but was back within seconds. In the bright rays of moonlight filtering through the window, and the red and white lights still on in the darkroom, I could see he held his Leica. His most treasured possession, Esme had once told me sarcastically.
Still clad in his boxer-briefs, he straddled my thighs and looked through the lens down at me. Even in my post-orgasmic haze I vaguely remembered that I always protested having my picture taken, let alone in the state I was in. All that was forgotten when he steadied an elbow against the window ledge and carefully snapped the first shot. His expression when he lowered the camera was almost one of worship.
"Oh God," he breathed.
The way he looked at me then was like a drug speeding through my veins. I felt any wisps of hesitation leave me as I watched him watching me through the lens, feeling my breathing finally slow, unclenching the fists my fingers had curled into.
He snapped a few more shots, the last few with his own hand reaching out to curl around my breast. At his touch I felt my urgency rise again, and I wondered if he could see it in my eyes when he took the last shot. He set the camera on the window ledge and stood, peeling off his boxer briefs and fishing a single condom packet from the low boxy table that sat beside his bed.
As I watched his strong hands confidently moving over his thick length, sheathing it in the condom, I that wished I had a camera. Watching him roll it to the base, two firm strokes over his shaft…every move he made was a work of art.
I didn't hesitate when he settled between my legs and his lips met mine again in a blistering kiss. I had a moment of delightful disorientation, like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole: I was falling all around him as he rubbed the head over me gently, then in deeper, wetter strokes. When he finally pushed into me, I whimpered and he groaned.
Thickness, oh the wonderful stretching breadth as he filled me up for what seemed like forever. I'd never felt anything like this before, and it made my heart beat triple-time. Every single inch inside of me was giving way to him, and I was ready to climax again by the time he'd stopped, hips resting against my thighs. I was almost afraid for him to move.
But of course he did, and my breathing stopped as he pulled almost all the way out before pushing immediately back in. The heat I'd felt coming off him earlier was nothing compared to this, and I felt a bead of sweat roll down between my breasts even as I shivered under him. I wasn't cold, though, just electrified to the point to where feeling was almost the only thing I was capable of registering.
It felt as though he slipped even deeper when he changed positions, sitting back on his heels and pulling me along by the hips so that I tilted up at an angle to meet him, my upper back and shoulders still on the mattress. I moaned as his thrusts dragged more firmly against my front wall, unleashing a whole new set of sensations. They were almost too much, though, and I finally tried to wiggle away. His firm hands prevented that and he pushed harder.
"Ohh…" I was fairly sure it was almost a scream this time, as my body pulsed in repeated spasms around him. I clenched over and over again, gripping him so tightly that he stopped moving for a moment, just letting the tightening of my walls bring him closer to his own inevitable climax. My eyes were wide open and I saw him above me; the cords in his neck standing out as he fought his own desire, the straining of his jaw, the rapid rise and fall of his chest.
When the tensing of my body began to slowly relax into an allover hazy glow, he moved me yet again, pulling my calves up over his shoulders. His strokes now were slower, more purposeful, and I could feel his eyes moving over my skin. When I blinked, I could see green that was almost silver in the moonlight, burning into my face, memorizing whatever it was he saw there.
I knew he was close when his moans came closer and closer together, when his thrusting became more fierce. He turned his head and sank his teeth into my leg, and with one last hard plunge, I felt him come.
His body was remarkably under control although his face told a different story. A few more strokes into me before withdrawing, then a brief kiss on my lips before he moved off the bed to the bathroom.
I blinked slowly in confusion, but the heat of his body leaving my sweat-slick one was of more immediate concern. Goosebumps erupted over my skin as I tugged at the soft blanket that had been shoved to the side as we'd…
Despite my lethargy, I felt myself wanting to blush. What had we done? Made love? Fucked?
The blanket I wanted was irreparably twisted into a rope, and I settled for dragging an edge up over me, covering the parts that needed its warmth the most: thighs, stomach, breasts. I pulled the corner up under my chin and waited for Carlisle to come back.
He came on quiet bare feet; his fingers were what startled my eyes back open. Careful but hot against my cheek, he moved aside a strand of hair that had stuck there. Never once taking his eyes from mine, he reached over to the window ledge for his Leica. I heard the quiet click of the shutter and let my eyes droop.
Sometimes the click sounded further away and I vaguely wondered what he was taking pictures of. I know I dozed, and awoke to him curled behind me, his lips sucking languidly on my shoulder.
I'd always admired Carlisle Cullen's control, his acumen behind the lens, but never more than tonight. How he held a camera steady and pressed the shutter through some of those moments…it was super-human.
As he straddled my waist on his knees, my hands wrapped around his cock. Click.
While I rode him slowly, lost on waves of bliss. Click.
When I stroked myself, showing him exactly how I made myself come. Click.
When I lay exhausted, his release spattered across my midsection, shining in the moonlight. Click.
The roll of film reached the last frame and he set the camera aside instead of reloading it. Thoughts and questions swam through my mind, but I was simply too tired to express them aloud, so instead I lay blinking heavily in the first faint light of dawn.
…'til the sun comes, it's all ours…
The thread of a song lyric drifted through my mind, and I knew I should gather my things and go…what happened after last night…well, what would be, would be. I wondered what Carlisle would see when he developed the film he'd shot. I wondered if I'd ever see it. I wondered if Esme or Edward would ever see the truth in my face…and I wondered if I really cared.
He watched me as I dressed and found my purse. I retrieved the crumpled paper bag of film from the bathroom sink and set it on his worktable as an unspoken reminder. And then I bent over the bed, kissed his cheek, and said goodbye.