CHAPTER SIXTEEN: BEAUTIFUL

The Country

Before


I am an idiot. Bella doesn't love me. She made that perfectly clear.

I'm not in love with him.

I wake up on the couch, freezing cold, next to an empty liquor bottle. I hold it above my mouth and watch one last drop cling to the rim before it burns my tongue. I should have saved some for the morning. Or afternoon. Or whatever the fuck this is.

My dad disappeared shortly after the fire trucks yesterday. I won't see him for days. Maybe he'll end up in a ditch somewhere.

I take a shower because it's the only thing to do. I try not to think about Bella when I jack off, but I can't help it. I just want to be inside of her. I want to feel her body beneath mine one more time. I want to hold her naked tits and fuck her until she does love me. I hate her. I wish I could hate her.

I'm still naked when the doorbell rings, and I know it's her. It's almost impossible to stay put but somehow I do it.

After five hundred and fifty-seven seconds, she leaves.

I consider jacking off a second time, but don't. Fuck her. Seriously fuck her for making me feel.

She's back an hour later. I turn the TV up. She gives up faster this time. I'm an idiot for thinking that she could ever love me. The world doesn't work that way.

I move to the window to watch her walk away from me. But she is nowhere. There is only black land and a mansion taunting me in the distance.

I cross the room and swing the front door open before I can stop myself. And there she is, sitting on the brick step with her hair hanging down her back.

She startles, accusing me with her eyes despite a smile, before standing. "Hey."

"Hey."

"Didn't you hear me knocking?" Her smile fades. I want to hurt her as much as she hurt me.

"I didn't feel like getting up."

"Oh?" she asks, eyebrows raised.

"Did you want something?"

"Edward are you okay? I came by earlier."

"I'm fine."

She looks at me like I'm a liar. "Well, can I come in?"

"If you want." I walk away, leaving the door open. I don't want her to leave but I can't even look at her.

The TV is on and I pretend to care about it. I lie down on the couch, pulling the green and white knit blanket over me. My mother made it. I think.

It takes Bella longer than it should to come in. I try my absolute best not to look in her direction.

She eventually sits near my feet. I don't move over.

"What are you watching?"

"A movie."

We stare at the TV without speaking. Until she's about to burst. "What's your problem, Edward?"

You are my problem. You are every last one of my fucking problems.

"I don't have one."

I can feel her eyes on me. "You're lying."

"I don't know why you're here." I'm being completely honest.

She still looks at me accusingly, as if I have somehow wronged her in some unforgivable way. As if I was the one to say those words while we were covered in smoke and ash.

She shakes her head. "So, what... you're just done with me, just like that? No explanation, no anything?"

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"Then explain it to me," she nearly begs.

"There's nothing to explain."

"Is it because of dinner? I know my dad is a jerk, but..."

"I don't care about your dad, Bella."

"Then what?"

"Then nothing."

The seconds tick past and I want her to leave, but I'm so afraid that she's going to leave. And never come back.

"I guess I'll see you around then." Her voice sounds strange. Like she's choking or drowning or dying.

She stands to leave, and I have to say something. "For the record, I'm not in love with you either," I spit at her. I don't look at her when I say it. It's easier to lie to the TV.

She's completely silent, and I have to look.

Her eyes are trained on the door. She's chewing on her lip and picking at her fingernails. I'm staring.

And I think she's going to cry.

I want to take it back and lock it up.

She wipes a tear from her cheek. And then another. I made her cry.

I got what I wanted. But it still feels like I'm the one getting clobbered.

I want to cry too but I don't. I'm on my feet. I'm in her face.

"Don't touch me."

But I have to. I hold her hips, my face so close to hers.

"I said don't touch me."

The fire in her eyes is enough to make me listen. I move my hands to the wall behind her, caging her in without touching her.

She turns away from me, refusing to look me in the eye. I wish she knew that even when she does, I have no idea what she's thinking.

"Tell me what to say, Bella."

"I think you've said enough."

"I'm sorry," I say against her cheek. "Please don't cry."

But this only makes her cry more. It makes me want to die.

"Tell me how to fix it," I beg.

She won't talk to me. She is hard as nails and I don't know her.

"Bella, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. Please."

She keeps shaking her head. "I'm just the rich virgin who lived next door, right? You just wanted to get me to fall for you and then fuck me to be able to say you did."

"Bella..."

"Well, congratulations because you got exactly what you wanted."

No.

"That was never what I wanted!" She jumps at my tone, her eyes darting to mine and staying there.

I can't stop staring at her lashes as she blinks the tears away. I need to touch her.

I press my forehead to hers and try to breathe her in. "That was never how I saw you. That was never who you were to me."

You have to believe me.

"Then tell me. Tell me what's wrong," she cries. "Why does it feel like it's over?"

I don't know if I can say it out loud. I don't know if I can. But I think I have to.

I hold her face in my hands.

You have to know that I've loved you since you were a stranger. You have to know that much.

"You said... you said you didn't love me." I look away. I have no choice. When I look back, she's shaking her head. But I know what I heard.

"You think I don't love you, Edward? You think I don't think about you every second of every day? You think that doesn't scare me half to death?"

"But you said..."

"I know what I said!"

I don't understand.

"We've never said those words to each other. And my father... did you hear him? Did you hear the way he was talking to me? Like you were somehow beneath me?"

"I heard him."

"He took something that was supposed to be ours. He stomped on it with his malevolence."

"I don't know what that means." I don't.

"Well, he doesn't know what kind of man you are, Edward."

All I can focus on is that she thinks I'm a man.

"He doesn't care to know because he's already decided. And he's wrong."

I need her closer. "What kind of man am I?" I ask, running my hands down her sides, letting them rest on her waist.

She looks up at me through watery eyes. "You're honest and you're brave. You're beautiful."

"I'm not beautiful."

"I don't care what you think. You're all of those things and that's why I love you, even when I don't want to."

I shake my head.

"Edward, I love you."

"You can't." She can't.

"Why not?"

There are a thousand reasons. "I don't know."

"You don't get to decide." She puts her hand over her chest. "This is mine."

"I never wanted to fuck you to say I did." You were always so much more than that. Don't you know? "I never..."

"Then what? Tell me, Edward."

"I need to kiss you." It's all that I know. "Is that allowed?"

She doesn't answer. And if she leaves right now I will die. My heart will stop beating forever.

I close my eyes. Please let me kiss you. Please.

I count the seconds, until I can feel the warmth of her breath on my face.

She said she loves me. She can't walk away now.

And then I can feel her lips. Her sweet, gentle lips as she kisses my eyes and my cheeks and the scruff on my chin.

"I love you," she whispers. I don't dare say it back.

I let her kiss me on every inch of my face until I can't stand it any longer and my mouth crashes into hers. We are lips and teeth and tongue.

My hands are no longer my own. They are all over her. I can't stop and I don't want to.

She loves me. I don't even care that her reasons aren't real.

"I need you so much," she tells me. And that's all it takes for me to begin stripping her naked. To throw her shirt to the floor followed by my own.

Her skin is so hot and perfect and soft. How is she so fucking soft?

I kiss her like she's my only reason to live. She kisses me back and if I were her only reason, we'd live forever.

I push her up against the pink wallpaper, pinning her to the wall with my hips. Her fingers trace along the edge of my jeans. I feel like a runaway train.

My pants are around my ankles. I think I put them there.

"Edward, slow down."

Slow down.

"You don't want to?"

"Just... slow down."

"Okay."

Maybe she doesn't need me the same way that I need her.

I look her in the eye as I pull my jeans back up. Slowly. As I button them. Slowly.

When I reach for my shirt, she grabs it before tossing it away.

And we just stare at each other. Shirtless. Surrounded by the pink walls and carpet and ugly furniture.

She places her hand on my chest. Her fingers against my skin are the only reassurance I need right now.

Her hands are replaced by her lips as she starts kissing me. I want her to kiss me forever. I want her to kiss me until everything around us burns to the ground.

And when she stops, I think I die a little. Until I see what she's doing. I stare while she takes off her bra. And this is nothing like the first time. This isn't in the dark, under the covers, three beers deep.

Her tits are pale and perfect. I want to feel them in my palms and against my cheek and in my mouth.

She fidgets with her hair and tries to cover herself. It's strange to realize that she's nervous. She doesn't know how beautiful she is. She doesn't know how much I want every piece of her.

One day she'll know. One day.

I brush her hair away from her chest, resting my lips on her perfect shoulder. I can hear and feel and taste her heartbeat. She kisses my face, soft and gentle. Like she did in the star thistle.

And then she's kissing my lips. And we've never kissed like this before. Her tongue is so slow and deliberate. She loves me. Her hands stroke up and down my back and I almost want to cry. Like a fucking pussy.

I want to fuck her and have her know that she is so much more than the girl I kiss. The girl I fuck. The girl I love.

I feel very naked.

It's like drowning in the open air.

At some point she leads me over to the couch. It's all in slow motion. She lies on top of me, between my legs and I'm so fucking hard. She knows. She has to know.

I feel too much. I might explode.

I need these jeans to be off. Hers and mine.

She brushes the hair from my forehead. I wish she'd always look at me this way. Like I'm more important than anyone else could ever be.

"You love me?" I ask, barely loud enough for her to hear.

"Yeah," she blushes.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah," she says against my lips.

You shouldn't love someone who is going to ruin you.

"I loved you first." It's the closest I can get to saying it out loud.

"That can't be true." She's smiles, her eyes shining. "You were walking down the middle of the street with your back to me. There's no way that you could have seen me coming."

I will let her believe that she was first. She can have that much.

"I want to kiss you naked," I tell her, biting her lower lip.

She laughs a little, but I'm serious.

Her hands reach between us as she kisses me, unbuttoning her jeans and then mine.

We peel them off slowly, our mouths pushing and pulling against each other the whole time.

I want to show her in a hundred ways how much I love her. I want her to feel it and remember forever.

And when I'm finally naked, and she's in nothing but her underwear, her warm body rubbing up against mine, there is nothing more important than the two of us.

"I need you too," I tell her, my hands running up and down her smooth, smooth legs.

I will always need you.

It's so undeniably true.

And then the whole world comes crashing down when I remember her speech from the last time. "Bella, I don't have anything."

"It's okay." She doesn't even think about it.

"Are you sure?" Please be sure.

She reaches down, taking me in her hand and please be sure. I want to be inside of her. More than I've ever wanted anything.

She teases me against the fabric of her underwear.

And then she's somehow naked. And it's a different kind of teasing. It's only now that I notice everything about her. Like I'm seeing her for the first time.

I can't get enough of her shoulder. And the way it's covered in freckles.

I trace along her collarbone and down her arm. I kiss her elbow and keep going until I reach her hand. I kiss every last one of her knuckles.

She runs her hands through my hair as her body begins to move against me again. Her fingers find my scar before she grabs the back of my neck.

"Fuck, you feel good," I moan, trying to keep my eyes open. Don't stop touching me.

I can feel how much she wants me.

With her tongue tangled up in mine, I let her take control. She continues to writhe above me until I'm starting to slip inside of her.

We hold eye contact as she moves just enough to lose the connection, and it's almost cruel. When it happens a second time, I can't be responsible for the sounds that leave my mouth.

I watch her face and she knows exactly what she's doing to me. Because I think she feels what I feel.

I watch her face. And I love that face.

The third time, she lets it happen. I push into her slowly. So goddamn slowly. I watch her mouth go wide and it's almost enough to kill me.

And when I'm buried inside of her, she starts kissing me again like before. Kissing me like she loves me. And I don't think this is fucking.

I start to move without meaning to. And then she's moving with me, her hips straddling mine.

"I don't know how to do this," she admits, her cheeks all flushed and pretty. She's so fucking pretty and she doesn't even know.

"Does it feel good?"

She nods, her mouth parted, and it takes everything I have not to pound into her.

"Just be with me, Bella. Just be with me."

I run my thumb over her bottom lip and she starts to move again. Slowly. So torturously slowly.

Her tits are so fucking sexy, I have to feel them in my mouth. And the sounds she makes when my tongue is against her nipple, I almost come undone.

We find a rhythm, moving together effortlessly. Like the ocean. What I imagine it to be like.

She's quiet when I want to hear her.

I keep saying her name. Until she's saying mine too. And the sound of her moaning my name makes me feel so alive.

I'm sorry. I am so, so sorry.

We rock together on that couch, her body above mine, for what seems like an eternity.

She starts moving faster and I swear I can feel her losing control. I can feel her.

Her hooded eyes stay on mine and it's almost like I can see in her eyes what she sees in me. And for a split second I feel like that man.

I can feel it and see it and breathe it.

She sounds like she can't get enough air. And maybe we're drowning.

With my hands on her ass, I watch her lose control. She's more beautiful and more mine than she's ever been.

She stills before collapsing onto my chest with the full weight of her body.

And this time, I don't have to wonder if it was good for her.

She kisses along my neck as she starts to move again and I'm so close it's almost torture.

My hips move with her and I want to fuck her until the day I die. I want to fuck, fuck, fuck her.

I want it to last forever.

I can't ever live without her.

"You fuck so good," I grunt against her tits. "So, so good."

I try to be gentle with her, my fingers grasping at the flesh along her spine. I want to live in her skin, shatter her bones and feel her heart beating from the inside.

I can't think. I just move. Until we're upright against the couch cushions. And I'm pressing her to them.

With her hair sticking to her skin and her hands clinging to my ribs, I stare into her eyes and I'm begging. "Don't ever leave me," I pant just before I lose myself inside of her.

Fuck me. Love me. Fuck me. Love me.

Love me. Love me. Love me. Don't ever, ever leave me.

She whispers against my mouth. "I'll love you forever, Edward Cullen." And I'm almost certain she means it.


-HL-


A/N:

I posted a little early because I plan on being all about the Golden Globes on Sunday. I haven't even planned my snacks yet. I'm so behind.

Susan and Kim made this a thousand times better. Honestly, a thousand times. They're really good to me and I love them.

CC gave me freckles and other ~things. And Peri reminded me to slow down.

Hopefully I'll see you in a little over a week with 17 :)