AN: Thank you SO much to everyone who voted on TLS last week. MSB came in the top 5! Huge thank you to evilnat for nominating me. She is fab.
Thanks for my prereaders Chocaholic123, Katie Boberg and Modern Safari, for polishing this chapter, and to jcat5507 and mcc101180 for beta'ing for me, and getting it back super fast.
SM owns Twilight.
My prereaders have told me I have to give you a tissue warning on this chapter….
~o~o~ TipToe Lifts ~o~o~
Edward barely let me walk up the stairs without stopping me with his lips or his hands. We'd hardly slept, snatching an hour or two before he'd woken me, with the sunrise spilling through the small window. He'd let me cry wrapped in his arms when I remembered it was time to leave. I'd never hated a sunrise more, but then he told me he loved me with a hundred different touches and kisses, and he promised that our time apart would be over before we knew it. I was doubtful, but I couldn't argue with his ministrations, and he had me smiling again not long after.
"Edward, stop it. You're crazy." I smacked the hand that was trying to find its way up my top.
"I'm crazy for you." He actually winked at me as he said it, and I rolled my eyes dramatically, though I secretly loved his lines.
We headed into the apartment, unknowingly stepping straight into a scene worthy of one of Esme's more romantic novels, or at least a parody of one.
Emmett was in some kind of half crouch on the floor in the middle of their living room. Ro was standing in front of him with a bemused smile on her face. "What is he doing?" I whispered to Edward.
Ro was clearly having exactly the same thought. "Em, what the hell are you doing?"
All became crystal clear when he clasped Ro's hand is his, bringing it to his broad chest and placing it over his heart.
Edward ignored the starry-eyed proposal taking place in front of us and headed into the kitchen, opening the refrigerator at the same time he wrapped his arm around my waist, pulling me to his side. "You want a drink?"
"Erm. Hello! I'm in the middle of something here." Emmett fumed, turning his attention back to Ro, who was barely containing her laughter.
"Come on, Em. You know I love you to bits, but my answer's still the same. Get up." Ro held out her hand for him.
"I'm gonna keep asking you 'til you say yes, Rosalie Hale. I mean it." He winced as he allowed her to pull him to his feet.
I watched him hobble over to the couch, which he slumped down onto with a defeated sigh. "Are you okay?"
"No, I hurt my back," he grumbled, and Ro giggled, curling up next to him. She kissed his cheek, and he huffed like a grumpy old bear, folding his arms across his chest in annoyance. I felt kind of sorry for the big brute.
"How did you do that? Lifting boxes?" I asked.
"It wasn't boxes he was lifting … or packing, for that matter." Ro winked at me, and in the flash of an eye, Em's unrequited proposal was forgotten, and their lips locked in a kiss that needed a "parental advisory explicit content" sticker.
I snorted and rolled my eyes at Edward, but hardly got the chance to blink before he dragged me into his bedroom, shouting over his shoulder, "We're leaving in twenty."
I was about to comment on what must have been Emmett's fourth proposal, but the observation dissolved on my tongue when I was pushed up against the door with Edward's mouth on mine.
His kiss was desperate, and his breath hot and hurried against my skin. My protestations that we had to get ready to leave were no match for his passion, and I melted into him. Gripping my waist, he lifted me, and I wrapped my legs around his hips. My floaty skirt provided no obstacle as his hands slid under it to grasp onto the soft skin of my thighs. Pressing me up against the door, the friction of his jeans and arousal sparked off a surge of heat right down to my toes. My sandals slipped off my feet and landed on the floor with a thud, one after the other. He overwhelmed me in the best way.
His stubble scraped over my skin, as he left my already bruised lips, to kiss along the length of my jaw, finding the sensitive skin on my throat. The volume of the whimpers pouring out of my mouth were directly correlated to his intensity as he sucked and licked, driving me insane with the slow grind between my thighs. I felt his teeth bite down into the soft muscle above my collarbone, and my head fell back against the door with a dull thud, drowned out by a needy moan.
Edward stilled in his movement, my hips reflexively tilting to find his again, hating the sensation from the loss of his hard warmth. He pressed his hand across my mouth silencing me. "You have to be quiet," he rasped. His own lips were red and parted with harsh breaths. "Can you be quiet?"
I shook my head, and his lips tipped up into a wry grin. "You'll have to try." It was a warning, but one I couldn't find the will to heed.
He carried me to the bed, but instead of laying me down, he turned and sat, keeping me on his lap. "What—"
He silenced me with his mouth, stole my words with his tongue. His fingers fluttered over my shoulders and lifted the straps of my camisole, letting them fall down my arms, revealing my bra. Fixing his gaze on my face, he trailed his finger around the edge of the rosy skin of my nipples, visible through the sheer material. A breath whooshed out of me, and I flexed my hips against his lap, finding the connection I was searching for sparking between my legs. Edward pulled my hips harder against him and pushed the material of my bra down until his mouth found my pebbled skin. He was driving me crazy with the push of his hands and the pull of his hips. The rhythm lifting me higher and the sensations radiating through my body. "Edward, please," I whimpered, pulling on his hair so he'd look at me.
"We have to be quiet." He growled, his eyes half closed with lust. I shamelessly ground my hips down onto him, and he silenced his own moan against my flushed chest.
"I want you. I don't care." I pulled at his t-shirt, and he lifted his arms so I could pull it over his head, his hair mussed from its removal. I fell forward onto him, moving back into the rhythm, digging my heels into the bed covers and burying my face in his neck.
"Fuck, Bella." His voice was a whisper against my shoulder. "You feel so good. So good."
We'd made love so many times over the past few days, but this was desperate, pulling and clawing at each other, kissing and nipping skin. I needed him closer. I needed him to know how much I wanted him. "More." My voice croaked. He'd hardly touched me, and I could feel myself tipping over to where I would shatter into a million pieces of pleasure. "I need more, Edward."
I sat back and scrambled to undo his belt and zipper, finding him hard and smooth in my hand. He lifted me up, pulling my panties to the side, and I sank down onto him, feeling every ridge and shudder as he moved inside me. We stilled for a moment, and I found his lips, leaning my forehead against his. "I love you."
"I love you. So much." It only seemed like seconds later that I came apart in his arms, shuddering and throbbing, heat spiralling through me as he came undone too. He held me flush against his body as if his life depended on it, a tangle of limbs and love. We stayed that way until our hearts returned to a steady beat and our breaths were even, reluctant to let go of each other, a second before we had to.
People were milling around the airport, dragging suitcases, trying to locate their tickets and passports, or staring up at the flashing departures boards. They were oblivious to my impending breakdown. They were, however, aware of Ro's. Emmett was trying to comfort her, but her keening cries were making me concerned we might not be allowed on the plane after all.
Edward was subdued, and he hadn't let go of my hand since we left the apartment. Even carrying a suitcase, and dragging another, he managed to wrap my hand in his, and he wrangled them onto the weigh-in desk as we checked them in. I didn't want him to let go. The looming entrance to the departures lounge with huge red lettering above "Only passengers beyond this point" was making me feel panicky.
Edward wrapped his arms around my shoulders, and I leaned back into him, searching for our flight on the boards. For the first time ever, I willed the yellow lettering to change, telling us our plane was delayed. "You're at Gate 35." No such luck.
I spun around and buried my face into his chest, willing the burn behind my eyes to at least wait until I got through passport control. Edward rocked me gently, pressing kisses into my hair as his arms tightened every few seconds.
"You've got your passport?" I nodded. "Your tickets?" Another nod. "Cat got your tongue?" He chuckled, and I felt the vibrations through my cheek, pressed against his chest.
Tilting my head back to meet his eyes, I bit down hard on my lip to stop the quiver. If I allowed it to worsen, it would release a whole host of emotions—the kind probably frowned upon in public.
"Hey, you need to save your tears." Edward's forehead furrowed with concern.
"I'm trying to," I managed to choke out, standing on my tiptoes and pushing my face into his neck. Over the past few days, I'd become fixated with his neck, trying to take in as much of his familiar scent, masculine and perfectly him, as I could. I was desperate to capture it in my memory. He'd joked I was becoming addicted to him. I didn't argue with his observation.
"Save my tears for what?" I mumbled, my lips against the warm skin of his throat. This seemed like the perfect time for tears. I was proud I'd managed to stem them for this long.
"For when you walk back through those doors." He spun us around so I could see the green arrivals gate—the place he'd surprised me what seemed like a lifetime ago. "Then, you're allowed to cry."
"Okay." I sniffled. Lacing my fingers behind his neck, I stood on top of his sneakers, giving me an inch extra so I could rest my cheek against the scruff of his. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me closer.
"Then there'll be lots of other times you'll need tears, too," he added.
"Umm … that sounds ominous." I leaned back and narrowed my eyes at him, but he kissed me on the tip of my nose, his lips curving into a smile.
"Not at all. Tears can be a good thing."
"Yes. Like when I kiss you senseless, and you can't believe anyone can be so good at it, tears of wonder will pour down your face." He cocked his head to the side and laughed.
"You are exceptionally good at kissing," I agreed, stealing a quick one from him while he was grinning at me.
"Don't forget when my prowess in the bedroom brings you to tears."
I arched my eyebrow at him and pretended to ignore the number of the flight being called over the intercom. Our flight. "You're even better in bed."
He nods with a satisfied smirk. "What about when I make you laugh so hard you can't stop crying?"
"You're pushing it now." I tugged the short hair at the nape of his neck, and he widened his eyes—a picture of innocence. "Okay, okay. You do make me laugh. Just remember sometimes I'm laughing at you and not with you. It might be hard to differentiate."
He gave a throaty growl and kissed me, nipping my lip and tickling my sides. "Lies. All lies."
"I'll agree. I'll agree." I squealed and squirmed until his fingers stilled, and he pulled me back until I was flush against him. I considered his feet might be sore from my weight, but I selfishly didn't say anything. I didn't want the moment to end.
Edward continued, his eyes softened, and he rested his forehead to mine. "And there's the other times when—"
"B, they've called our flight, we need to go through." Ro appeared at our shoulders, and I reluctantly unwrapped myself from Edward. Her eyes were red and puffy. I glanced at Emmett who had a matching pair.
We followed them to the doors of the departures lounge, and I held a finger up to her. "One minute."
I threw myself back into Edward's arms. "I love you."
"I know. I love you, too. More than anything." He cradled my face and kissed me gently, caressing my tongue with his. I twisted and gripped my fingers into his t-shirt, tasting the salt of my tears on our lips. Reaching up to touch his face, my fingers danced over his jaw, stubbled golden brown, and his cheeks as he tangled his fingers into my hair. We said our goodbye this way, without words, until we had to break apart as another announcement rang in my ears.
He brushed away my tears, but it was useless as more spilled down my cheeks, replacing those his thumbs had captured. "Save your tears."
I stood on my tiptoes for one last kiss. "I'll see you soon."
Edward crushed me to his body, whispering his love over and over. "Soon. I love you, and I'll see you soon."
We wound our way around the most ridiculously complex maze of barriers I'd ever seen. I started to feel dizzy from winding back and around and down and back around ourselves just to get to the security—approximately six steps away. If you could just walk in a straight line.
Walking away from Edward was harder than I'd imagined. Even with the knowledge I'd be seeing him soon, it felt so wrong. I'd gotten so used to his presence in my life. I felt hollow the farther from him I went, tears brimming every five minutes which weren't helped by Ro's intermittent sobbing fits. People were giving us strange looks, and I'd loudly made reference to Ro's impending motherhood so we wouldn't freak out anybody. Hopefully they'd put it down to hormones, though I had little excuse.
Unloading our purses and coats into the plastic boxes on the conveyor belts, we queued for the metal detectors. I'd never wanted to be banned from flying before. Maybe I should have smuggled some tweezers in my bra. Would that have had me thrown off? There was a very fine line between being thrown off a flight and ending up in prison, so I decided to stick on the straight and narrow. A jail sentence would throw a wrench in my plans to see Edward again.
Ro's irate voice broke me out of my criminal meanderings. "It says over 100cl. I know this is over, but it's half empty." Her voice was wavering and she pleaded me to help, her blue eyes brimming with tears again.
"Are you okay?" I asked, not daring to make eye contact with the scary border security guard whose thick eyebrows were pulled into a no-nonsense scowl.
"They want to throw Em's cologne away." The tears started again in earnest.
"Excuse me. Is there no way we can—"
"No liquids over 100cl. That's 125." He held his hand out for the offending glass bottle.
I tried to comfort a sobbing Ro and sent a smile back to the irritated passengers in the line behind us. I could feel their annoyance like a laser on the back of my head. My own irritation began to rise.
"Look, is there anything we can do? We're on our way home. She's having a baby with someone who couldn't come. That's his cologne. Something to remember him by until he can come out. Is there nothing you can do to help? Please?"
The guard looked mildly shocked at my outburst, and his grim countenance softened slightly. "You can go back and check it in if you've got time, but that's all. I'm sorry."
Ro clasped her hands together, and I was slightly worried she was going to kiss the guard. "Thank you so much. I'll go right now."
The guard stopped her with his arm before she ran back through the scanner. "Miss, you can't. You've already been through." He looked over at me and nodded. "You'll have to go."
Oh, for the love of God. We quickly stuffed everything from my purse into Ro's and arranged to meet at the gate. I ran like a mad woman through the lounge and back out to the check-in desks. My watch gave me twenty minutes before boarding, but I could feel the panic rising when I remembered the long line at security and no doubt longer one at passport control.
By the time I found the desk and managed to check in my bag, Emmett's cologne and all, my chest was heaving, and I was flushed from the exertion and the mild panic. Part of me was a little annoyed I didn't think to take Edward's cologne with me, and I promised myself I was going to buy some when I got home. Then I could get high on him as often as I liked.
I thanked the check-in lady and scurried back to the departures lounge, when out of the corner of my eyes, I spotted a flash of messy hair, in a color I could never mistake. Edward.
I almost tripped over my feet in my haste to get to him. He was seated in a bank of blue chairs with his elbows resting on his knees, his fingers tunnelled in his hair, staring at the floor. He looked so forlorn, it almost broke my heart.
He didn't even look up when I was standing directly in front of him.
Edward lifted his head, his mouth, wide with shock, morphed into the most beautiful smile I think I'd ever seen. "What … Bella. Your flight?"
"I'm still going. I had to check something in."
"Why are you standing over there then? Come here." He reached out and grabbed my hand, pulling me sideways into his lap, wasting no time in kissing me.
"Why are you still here? Are you okay?" I ran my hand along over his jaw, and he leaned his face into my palm.
"Em's gone to sort out the car parking ticket. I think he got lost somewhere." I couldn't see him anywhere around, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was having a moment to compose himself, if the state Ro was in was anything to go by. I was going to miss Edward more than anything, but he was missing out on irreplaceable months with Ro during her pregnancy.
"You looked so sad." I brushed my thumb across his lips.
"I am sad, Bella. I hate this. I really fucking hate it, but you know what? We're gonna be okay." His sea-greens crinkled with a smile as he looked at me. "I never thought anything could make me as happy as just seeing you now did. When you come back, I swear it'll be the best day of my life. I might even let myself cry," he joked, kissing my own tears that were spilling again.
"Happy tears." I nodded, brushing my lips to his.
"Yes, only happy tears, but if you have sad tears that's okay, too. I'll kiss them away until they're happy again," he said, his hand sliding up the back of my t-shirt as his thumb caressed circles into my bare skin.
"What were the other times for happy tears? You were going to tell me before Ro interrupted?" I cringed as I heard the announcement that our flight would be boarding soon.
I slid off Edward's lap, and he stood, wrapping his hand around mine as we walked over to where we would part ways—for the second time that day.
Cupping my face again, he kissed my lips, brushing his thumbs under my eyes to wipe away my tears. "I'm going to make sure you have enough happy tears to last you a lifetime, Bella Swan. When we move in together, when I ask you to marry me, when I see you walking down the aisle, when we have our babies. I want four, just so you know." His crooked smile and words sent my heart soaring, and I doubted our plane could match its height. "Just you wait. Once you get back, I'm never letting you get far away from me again. I want to catch your tears whether they're sad or happy, a drop or a river, I'll be there, okay? … I love you."
I couldn't stop the river of tears, so I buried my face in his chest and drowned his t-shirt with them.
I let myself cry when I saw Ro.
I let myself cry when our plane lifted off from English soil.
I let myself cry when I made the ill-advised decision to watch a romcom mid-flight.
I let myself cry when my mom and dad wrapped me in their arms.
I let myself cry when I climbed into bed on my own.
But, when I turned on my phone and saw the text from Edward, I stopped.
I'm keeping our bed warm for when you get home, beautiful. I miss you. I love you. Save your tears.
AN: I hope that wasn't too sad for you, and if it was, I'm sending a hug. I promise there is a HEA for Muddy and Bella! Thank you for reading. oxoxox
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