Carnelian and Ice
On the Edge of a Knife
12.21.2012. Something is ending today: enjoy the last chapter of this story, and the last one I'm posting in the 2012. I'm working on a new story, and I hope to post the first chapter in January 2013. Would you like to put me on author alert?
This week MyReadingLounge is celebrating its 2nd birthday. A special post is on its way!
Once again, thanks for your extraordinary support. I've posted four stories this year, and I've completed An Italian Winter. Your reviews, your recs, and your kind words are precious to me, and they're the best encouragement ever. I wish you all the very best.
Shaking herself out of her reverie, Bella returns to her house and brings her luggage to the foyer. It isn't long before the taxi arrives and takes her to the airport.
In that same moment, Edward is looking at the sky, counting the hours before Isabella – my precious Carnelian, in his thoughts – will be in his arms again.
Edward has always been fond of his cottage, a place filled with family memories since the time of his childhood. His parents haven't spent their holidays there in years—not since he inherited it from his grandparents–so he's always visited it on his own. Over the years, he's added some personal touches to the furniture: a new couch where he spends his evenings playing the guitar in front of the fireplace, a few sketches by his favorite architects on the walls, and a bookshelf filled with catalogs of photography exhibitions he's visited during his travels.
He's never brought a woman here before, and when he enters the house with Bella, he stops to look at her in his refuge. Over the past few days, he's imagined this scene so many times, afraid that she wouldn't accept his invitation; he's replayed the things he told her in Fairbanks and the ones he's left unsaid, wondering if he would ever get the chance to talk with her again.
Now she's here, he tells himself. She's back in his arms and his life, and for him it's like this retreat has always been waiting for her. He used to think he was complete in himself, and instead, Bella's presence in his home gives new meaning to everything in it—every object, every memory. Hasn't his music been composed for her to listen to? Won't the photographs he's collected give them ideas for new travels together? He looks forward to taking her for walks along the familiar paths in the woods that surround the cottage. He wants to show her all the places where she'll be able to enjoy the sun and the sea without the fear of being exposed for what she is; he knows how much she has missed those things, and he wants to give them back to her.
Bella has kept her hand intertwined with Edward's ever since he came to pick her up at the airport. She recalls how the crowd around her disappeared the moment she spotted him.
Since Alice left, every time Bella came back from a business trip, she envied the people who looked around, searching for someone who'd come to meet them at the arrivals lounge. She used to walk with her head bowed, knowing that she would never see anyone waiting for her, and she tried her best to shut out the cheerful symphony of greetings, laughs, and welcoming words.
This time, Edward's loving gaze was there, inviting her into his embrace. As she further reconnected with his warmth, his scent, and his touch, Bella felt more and more how much she'd missed him.
"Thank you for coming," he whispered in her ear.
Where else should I have gone? she thought as she burrowed herself in his embrace.
She asks herself the same question now that he's welcoming her into his home. Of all the places in the world, this is the one where I finally feel I belong.
The night wears on as they sit in front of the fireplace. They've talked and laughed and daydreamed together, and they haven't managed to complete a single sentence without the interruption of a kiss.
Edward's caresses and the heat radiating from the fireplace have warmed Bella's skin considerably, making her more confident in her touch. When she reaches under his shirt, Edward takes her by the hips and pulls her to straddle his lap. His caresses slide to her waist, then her ribs.
She rests a hand on his chest, focusing on its rhythm as it rises and falls, and she can both hear and feel his strong heartbeat. A lion's heart, she thinks, considering how brave he's been in his life choices, refusing to take the easier way when he knew it wasn't the right one.
She rubs her nose along his neck, following the line of the artery. Her tongue darts out to taste his skin, and the contrast between her cool temperature and his is enhanced by the fire that has warmed him up. A soft growl leaves her chest as she savors his scent; it's salty, reminding her of the sea, and rich like the bouquet of a fine wine.
He buries his fingers in the silky mass of her hair and begins to massage her scalp until she tilts her head back, exposing the white column of her long neck. He peppers the spot behind her ear with light kisses, intermingled with words of love. She brushes her cheek against his jaw and feels some stubble there, probably hardly noticeable to a human. He cradles her head in his hands and moves back to her mouth, nipping at her lips before deepening his kiss. Without breaking their contact, he reaches for her sweater and silently asks her permission to remove it. She nods and lifts her arms over her head, surrendering to him as he quickly takes off her garment.
The peaks of her breasts harden under his hungry scrutiny. He cups them both, squeezing them gently, and his index fingers circle her nipples, teasing them. When his touch intensifies, Bella gasps, rocking her hips against him.
One of his hands leaves her chest, sliding down her stomach, past her navel. He leans in, bringing his mouth to the nipple that is now free. He licks at the smooth skin, closing his eyes to better savor her taste, and then sucks gently.
She holds onto the couch's backrest, chanting to herself that she has to control her strength. She is afraid to touch him, because even her prior experiences with human men have not prepared her for the sensations coursing through her body. Even a gentle graze of her fingers could turn deadly if her control were to waver; his blood is too potent, and her nails pose a risk she isn't willing to take.
So far he'd thought that she couldn't be more beautiful; now he's proven wrong, because she's divine as waves of pleasure begin to spread through her body.
Under his touch, she feels weak. She's given Edward so much of herself already – her secrets, her art, her desire to be loved by someone with whom she doesn't have to pretend to be what she isn't. Now she has entrusted her body to his hands, and Edward knows how his touch can bring her heady pleasure, just as his rejection could destroy her.
As if he can read her thoughts, he takes her in his arms. "I love you," he tells her, and the sincerity of his voice seals the words in her heart.
With his palm, he goes along her ribs, the line of her waist, the soft curve of her hips.
A spark of mischief dances in his eyes as he rises up on his knees, easing her backward on the couch until he is kneeling above her. He shuffles backwards, carefully disentangling himself from her legs, and ends up standing at the end of the couch. She props herself up on her elbows, her eyes locked on his chest as he shrugs out of his shirt. His jeans hang loosely on his hips, still buttoned.
A grin spreads across his face, and he raises an eyebrow at her. "Take me," he breathes.
A strangled moan erupts from her throat. Does he know what that means to me? He's awakening the predator in her, as if he's aware that it will increase her pleasure...but at what cost? He's putting his life at risk, once again putting himself at her mercy. She recalls the night he spent at her house, when he abandoned himself to slumber, knowing that she was beside him when he was at his most vulnerable.
How can you trust me so much? she asks herself. He makes her want to be worthy of his trust, of his love, of his desire.
She smiles at him, signaling that she's ready to play. It would take her the blink of an eye to reach him, but she chooses another strategy. Moving gracefully, she leaps from the couch to land on the opposite side of the room. She cocks her head, still smiling.
He purses his lips, pleased that she's accepting the game. He takes a step back, and she moves forward. Another step back, and their dance continues until he's up against the wall. She comes to a halt and sinks into a crouch, locking her gaze with his. With a swift movement, she jumps and lands in front of him, her cool breath grazing his chest, her long, slender fingers clawing the hem of his jeans.
"Careful," he protests as she tears the garment off his legs, shredding it as if it were paper.
"You shouldn't have provoked me," she counters, her voice hoarse, with the hint of a growl.
He straightens to his full height, towering over her. He swallows hard, and his heartbeat quickens. She roams his body with her gaze, noticing how ready he is. He tilts up her chin until she's looking in his eyes again.
"Let me have you." The game is over, and his words hold the entreaty of a man who's only asking her to trust him like he already trusts her. "Be mine."
He's showed her in every way how he will accept all of her. She knows that if she gives herself to him, it won't be for just one wild night. He's asking her for much more. In the moment when they become one, there won't be any way back, and they both seem aware of that.
"Yes," she murmurs. She puts her hands on his hips and gently tugs at him, leading him back to the couch. "Yes," she repeats with more force.
She lies back on the soft cushions, and he follows, hovering over her. She brings her legs up to encircle his waist, and he covers her belly with kisses, then lifts his head and blows warm air over her skin, starting at her navel and moving further down. She tilts her head back, aching for more.
His head ducks down, and he kisses her again.
Anticipation curls in her gut, and with every breath he makes her shiver.
His fingertips trace along the inside of her thigh, his touch light and teasing. At last, he finds her most intimate spot, sliding one finger inside. "I love you so much," he murmurs, before his mouth captures her lips.
He removes the hand from between her legs and brushes his hardness against her sex. She tries to regain control of her body, reminding herself to be careful not to harm him. They're balanced on the edge of a knife. They have the chance to celebrate the love they feel for each other, which has severed the ties to their past fears. Or they could slip – she could slip – and the knife would turn into a weapon to destroy her mate, and herself with him.
He gently nudges her thighs farther apart, then eases forward; she gasps at his penetration. At his first thrust, she feels like she's gone underwater after throwing herself off a cliff. A myriad of feelings overwhelms her, and a moan is all she manages to utter.
Her hips move on their own, seeking more friction, eager for more pressure.
Edward's rhythm quickly increases, perfectly matching Bella's deepest desires. The tension doesn't allow her to keep her eyes open, every fiber of her focusing on maintaining control while the pleasure invades her.
When she finally lets go, his name becomes a moan, a call, a yell claiming how she wants all of him, all for her.
With a few more thrusts his pleasure arrives as well, her name escaping his lips. Spent, he lowers himself over her, and she embraces him as tightly as she dares, letting his warm body cover her like a shield. He's the knight who destroyed the monster within her. He's the only one who can make her feel protected and safe.
He turns himself until he's resting on his back, and tucks her into his left side. Her fingertips lazily caress his chest, ghosting over his heart. She smiles as she listens to it; it's as if he's lulling her with the sound.
"I love you," she whispers to him.
He turns his face toward her, covering her forehead with delicate pecks. She notices that he's struggling to keep his eyes open. "Sleep, my love," she invites him, using the tone that she knows can affect humans, making them surrender to her will. "Take me with you in your dreams."
Their future stretches before them, full of possibilities. There is still much to discuss about what form that future will take, but there are plenty of days ahead of them for those decisions to be made. All that is certain is that they will be together.
"Good night, my Carnelian," he murmurs, and she smiles. She closes her eyes, although sleep will never come, and doesn't leave his side, savoring every moment of the most beautiful night of her life.
- The End -
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