AN: Thank you for all the reviews, follows and rec's.
Love to Chocaholic123, cutestkidsmom, and Katie Boberg for prereading and to jcat5507 and mcc101180 for beta'ing.
SM owns Twilight
~o~o~o~o~o~ Hang Cleans ~o~o~o~o~o~
I tried not to flinch every time the pedicurist ran her thumb over the arch of my foot, but I'm way too ticklish. Ro rolled her eyes at me. She's used to being pampered—by Emmett, apparently.
"So what did he say after he spoke to them?" I asked, trying to ignore the uncomfortable pressure on my foot as the woman grips it harder, tired of my wriggling. Emmett had a call early this morning; he'd been given the green light to move to America. And, that was why we were in a spa while the boys were traipsing across London to visit the British Embassy, setting the wheels in motion for Em's visa.
"He asked me to marry him," Ro replied, flicking the page of a glossy gossip magazine over.
"What?" I yanked my foot out of the woman's hand to turn to Ro, only realizing what I'd done when she cleared her throat. I was going to end up with the shittiest pedicure known to mankind if I wasn't careful. "Oops, I'm sorry."
Ro still hadn't answered, so I raised my voice instead of using body language. "Again, Ro, what?!"
"I said, he asked me to marry him when he heard the news."
"I got that the first time. What did you say?"
"I threw a hash brown at his head." She closed the magazine and folded her hands on her lap, turning to face me.
"What? Why did you have a hash brown?"
"But we all had breakfast together downstairs at the hotel." I'd definitely not seen any flying fried food, never mind a marriage proposal.
"Well I was hungry, and I'm eating for two you know." She patted her little bump.
"I feel like I've eaten for two." My jeans were digging in around my waist. I knew that extra portion of sausage, eggs and bacon was a bad idea.
"Maybe it's like a sympathy pregnancy. I've heard of that. You have symptoms too because you feel so sorry for your poor friend who's having a baby." She pouted a little, and I had a feeling she wanted me to have this condition.
"I'm sure Em will love to do that for you. He already eats enough for a family with quadruplets." I took the magazine out of her lap, turning my attention to the quiz titled "How to tell what your man wants in bed."
I only got to question two before I heard a sniffle and looked over to see her blue eyes brimming with tears. "What's the matter? I'm sure Em won't really eat that much." I panicked, trying to backtrack on whatever I'd said to cause them.
"It's not that. I-I'm just being silly." She brushed the tears away from her cheeks and sat up straighter. Pushing her blond curls over her shoulder, she plastered a smile on her face that was so fake it made her look a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
I took her hand, careful not to smudge the "London Bus" red polish she'd just had applied. "Tell me, Ro."
Her forehead creased into a worried frown. "Emmett doesn't think his visa will come through for a few months, and he has to serve out notice on his job before he can leave. He's not going to be coming over for a while, but I think I have to go back sooner, and I'm … worried."
"But you can still fly up to about eight months, right?" I didn't really know, but I hazarded a guess that was right as Ro nodded her head.
"Yep, but when I spoke to our tutor about transferring … I have to go between modules to keep my credits and start the new modules back at UW." She started to chew on the brand new nails on her other hand, but I pulled it away before she ruined them.
"So you're going to have to go soon?" I asked, trying to remember when our module finished. My head had been so full of Edward and Lauren and then lots and lots more Edward that studying had gone out of the window.
"Three weeks." She barely whispered it, and though she hadn't asked, the hesitant look in her eyes told me enough. She wanted me to go with her. I'd already explained to Edward that I would be there for Ro whatever happened; I just hadn't expected to have to cash in my loyalty checks quite so soon.
"Ro, I will be there with you." As soon as the words were out of my mouth, her face lit up, and she was glowing like all pregnant women should. The last thing I wanted was for her to be stressing about anything. I loved Ro's mom dearly. but she was a bigger worrier than her daughter, and Ro would need a calming influence in her life. If Emmett couldn't be there, I would be until he could.
"But, Edward and …"
"I love Edward, and I want to be with him more than anything, but I want to be there for you, too. He's a big boy. He can handle himself until I come back." She threw her arms around my neck and squeezed the ever-loving shit out of me. Now, I just had to tell him I was going home and soon. My chest felt tight when I thought of leaving him, but I focused on the plan. We'd be together at the end of it, and it would be worth the wait.
We met back up with Edward and Emmett with a spectacle of PDA that usually I would be horrified by, but there wasn't a bone in my body that wanted to stop the way his lips felt on mine or the way his hands held my body close to his. I did, however, stop it when they found their way into my jeans, cupping my bottom in the middle of Trafalgar Square.
A whistle-stop tour around a few more sights, a sleepy train ride back home, and we all piled through the door to their apartment, dead on our feet.
I flopped onto the couch, pulling my Chucks off. The soles of my feet felt like they'd been sanded down, and I had a huge blister on my heel. I picked at it until Edward told me off and warned me about the risk of infection in his authoritative army voice that made me crazy for him.
He made me get showered, and I crawled into his bed, waiting for him to return from his own shower. A sigh of satisfaction escaped my lips when he climbed in and wrapped his slightly damp body around mine.
"I've been dying to do this all day." He nuzzled into my neck, pulling me even closer to him. My eyes closed automatically in pleasure. There is no better feeling than lying in the arms of someone you love in a warm bed, a jigsaw of contentment.
"Edward, did Emmett tell you their plans?" I shuffled over to face him, tangling my legs through his.
He brushed my hair back from my face, leaving his hand resting on my neck; its weight was comforting as he caressed the skin where my pulse beat out its rhythm. "He did."
"Ro needs to go home in about three week, and I …"
"You're going with her. I know, beautiful." He brushed his lips across mine and buried his face into my neck. I could feel his hot breath in my hair, soothing in its warmth and realness.
We didn't speak for a minute, but I wanted time to stand still, to stay like this with him.
"Bella, I love you like I've never loved anyone before, and I don't want you to leave me, so much it hurts, but it's self-inflicted. It's my fault that we're in this position." I really didn't want him to start feeling guilty for staying with his family, even if it did include Lauren.
"Hey, how come you get all the blame, huh?" I joked, tickling his side, but he didn't so much as move. "You know that I'm coming back?"
"I know, but I can't help but feel you're giving up everything for me, and I should be the one doing that."
"Really? I thought relationships were supposed to be about equals and a lot of give and take." I twisted my fingers into his hair, playing with the soft strands.
"I don't want to take from you, Bella. I want to give you everything." He moved back and watched me. His face was pained, and I hated it. I wanted to see his smile light up his eyes and curl his lips in the way I'd fallen in love with.
"How about this? I'm going to do this thing for Ro. Then I will come live with you, and you can spend the rest of your life giving me everything?"
"Why are you so amazing?"
"I was born this way," I joked, and his fingers found my sensitive sides as he tickled and kissed me senseless.
Once I'd got my breath back and I lay with my head on his chest, lulled into a doze by his steady breathing, he spoke, "Bella, I want to show you something. It might help you to understand things with Riley a little more."
I twisted my head around, and finding his jaw with my lips, I pressed a lingering kiss. A twinge of worry bubbled low in my stomach at what he was going to reveal. "Okay."
I sat up and put the pillow between my back and the cool wall, pulling my knees up and the sheets around me, watching as Edward pick a book off his bookshelf. The muscles in his back flexed under his skin in the dim light, and it made my fingers itch with the need to touch him.
He handed me a dog-eared copy of Catch-22 and got back under the covers, positioning himself next to me so that his arms brushed against mine.
"You wanted to show me this?" I held it up.
He found my thigh under the covers and curled his hand around until his fingers were tucked underneath. "No, what I keep in it."
Confused, I flicked through the book. The musty smell from the yellowed pages surrounded us as I spotted a folded piece of paper nestled inside. I pulled it out and saw Edward's name scrawled on the front in distinctively masculine writing.
My pulse stumbled over itself as I realized what he was showing me. "I can't read this, Edward. It's private."
"Open it. Please. I want you too." He rested his chin on my shoulder, his bristles scratching my bare skin when he moved.
I painstakingly unfolded the piece of paper, terrified to rip such a treasured possession. Hot tingles edged my eyes, but I blinked away the impending tears, not wanting my emotions to affect Edward, and focused on the words that filled the single page—Riley's words to Edward.
I guess you know if you've gotten this letter that I'm not here anymore, but if you're reading it, then it means that YOU are still here, and for that I cannot be more grateful.
I'm not sure when exactly you will receive this, straight away or after all the drama has died down, but I hope like hell that you're not crying while you're reading it. I want to see that smile when I'm looking down on you from heaven, (cause we all know I'm there sitting on a fluffy cloud and eating barbeque ribs with a cold beer, the good shit, not that cheap stuff) and if you're not smiling, well, I'm gonna haunt you, and I know you sure as shit don't want that.
I've known you pretty much all my life, and I want you to know that you are my best friend. I couldn't have asked for a better one. From putting up with ant farms and jars of worms, my obsession with Jessica "Big Tits" Stanley (yeah, yeah I know you're rolling your eyes right about now. I definitely dodged a bullet there—probably not the best metaphor to use here, but whatever), then you've been my wingman out here in the desert. You are loyal down to your muddy boots, and I wouldn't want anyone else by my side.
I suppose I should be telling you which bits of my stuff you can keep, but you know what Laurie's like. I'll leave it down to her, but if I do get a choice in the matter, I want you to have my cameras. Maybe one day you'll learn how to use them.
I did think about leaving you loads of ridiculous last wishes like: I want my ashes scattered, mid bungee jump, over the Grand Canyon, but there's only really one thing that I worry about. I know you'll be all right, and my parents will struggle, but they have each other, but Laurie, I can't bear the thought of leaving her behind, E. Will you keep an eye on her? Make sure she gets good grades, kick any no good boyfriends into shape, and wind her up—all standard, big brother stuff. I know you do all that anyway, but I just wanted to make sure.
Please don't be sad for me, E. I had a fuck-awesome life while it lasted, even if it was over too early. You know what they say—Life is short—but love isn't, and I will always love you.
Take care of yourself, my friend.
I couldn't stop the tears that streamed down my cheeks as I read, realizing the poignant words of Riley's letter were forever etched into Edward's skin. My heart broke over and over at every sentence for what they'd lost, and I knew, from that moment, that my decision to move to England to be with Edward was the right one.
I folded it up and gently tucked it back into his book, placing it on the bedside table before I turned and got onto my knees facing Edward, who was watching me with a nervous sadness dancing across his downcast eyes as he chewed on his lip.
Taking his face in my hands, I lifted it until he looked at me, wanting him to see my love for him when I spoke.
"Edward, you are everything to me already. I love you with every single cell in my body, so much that I think sometimes I might explode." I smiled at him, and his arms snaked around my waist, effortlessly lifting me onto his lap. "I wish I could change your past, because I'd give anything to be able to meet Riley and to mend you here." I covered his bare chest with my hand, feeling his heart beating underneath. "But I can't, so I want to learn about him, so I can love him as much as you do."
"He would have loved you." He laughed, fanning his hands across my ribs. "I might have had some competition."
"No, you wouldn't have." I held his gaze, and the air heated between us as it always did. "It's you. It's always just been you."
Edward let out a gust of breath and crashed his lips to mine. He tangled his fingers into my hair, tracing his tongue around my lips until I opened to taste him, tilting until I could press harder and deeper, wanting to pour everything I was feeling into my kiss. I raked my fingers through his hair, tensing them until his moan vibrated though our mouths, tongues hot and caressing, dancing up a heat that set my whole body on fire.
He pulled back, finding the hem of my camisole and peeling it over my head, his mouth landing between the valley of my breasts, his breath hot as he sucked the soft skin into his mouth, and I arched into him.
"Fuck, I've missed this." His words were muffled by the curve of my breast as he traced a hot, wet trail to my nipple that tightened in anticipation of his mouth. As soon as he covered it with warmth, swirling his tongue around the edge, I forgot all the reasons I'd wanted to take it slowly. The slick heat pooled between my legs, zapping everything other than the feel of his mouth, his hands, him.
His attention turned to my neglected breast, but he covered the other with his palm, circling and pinching until I could barely breathe. I ground my hips down onto him, feeling his hardness beneath me. Too far away.
He got the message and flipped me over so fast that I was confused for a moment, until his weight between my legs set off another round of whimpers. Only my cotton shorts and his boxers the barrier between us.
Edward ran his hand down the side of my thigh, curling his fingers around the back on my knee and pulling it up and around him, rolling his hips right where I was desperate for him. I moaned out his name and started wriggling to get us naked—there were way too many clothes for my liking, but he pinned me down. His breath fanned across my face as he looked down at me.
"Edward," I whined, desperate for him to move.
"Hush." He leaned down and peppered kisses from my cheek, down to my ear. He ran his tongue around the edge and sucked on my earlobe for a second before he returned to looking at me.
"I'm never going to let you go, Isabella Swan." His voice was low and husky with lust, but his words settled into my body and into my bones.
"I wont let you. You're stuck with me now." I tightened my legs around his hips, pushing my pelvis into him, eliciting a groan that increased my desperation for him tenfold.
"I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be stuck with."
"Good. Now, shut the fuck up and kiss me."
He did and, within moments, ripped my shorts and his boxers down, settling back where he belonged.
Delirious with lust, I bucked against him as he held my hips and lined himself up at my entrance; a mew escaped my lips, matching his groan as he slowly pushed into my slick heat. "Fuck, you feel too good. Too fucking good. I can't …"
I didn't ask what he couldn't do, because I lost the ability to speak as he pulled out and thrust back in, building up a rhythm that stoked the fire low in my stomach. I clawed onto his back, wanting to bring him nearer, wanting more.
He pulled out of my grasp, and I cried out at the loss of his warmth. A strangled sound left my mouth as he lifted my hips, deepening his thrusts as I balanced my legs on his shoulders. His hands were rough on my pebbled nipples, sensations building everywhere he touched, desire bubbling up, and I felt the coil beginning to tighten.
His mouth fell back onto my chest, biting my skin and sucking as he kept up his rhythm. He wrapped his arms under my back and lifted me up to him so we were face to face.
Sweat beaded on his forehead, and his eyes were heavy and lust-lidded as I clung around his hard body, rolling my hips against him, hitting every single explosive nerve in my body. He pressed his brow to mine, and I breathed in his utterly masculine smell. Sweat, cologne, and sex invaded my senses as his fingers dug into my skin. The pleasure grew, and the waves rose up and over. I moaned the ecstasy of my release onto his lips, shuddering and clenching all around him until he followed. Cries of my name were lost into our harsh breaths.
Wrapped up in each other, our bodies slick with sweat and heat, his tongue slowly danced with mine. His taste indescribably good. His touch on my body, exquisite. Everything about him was irreplaceable.
"I love you," I murmured against his lips, tracing my fingers along the black ink that trailed up his side. Life is short. Love is forever.
"Always, Bella, fuck, I'll always love you. Every single moment for the rest of my life, I'll love you."
AN: Thank you for reading. oxox
Some of you may already know I'm writing a collab with Chocaholic123 – The Art of Getting Fluffed by ChocolateSparrow (Adventures of Pornward & Fluffella)
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