You and Me, continued.


The ice under my fingers is so cold it hurts. I don't mind—it gives me a reason to hold your hand. I'm cradling it really, holding it in both of mine like it's made of glass. Maybe it's kind of lame, but I've wanted to hold your hand for a long time. I mean, I'd like to do a hell of a lot more than hold your hand, I'm not a total pussy. But holding your hand feels pretty fucking cool right now.

Back against the brick wall of the gym, you're fiddling with your cell phone, tapping away one handed. Texting Brandon, I suspect. I'm wondering what you could possibly have to say to her as I lift the ice away to check your grazed and swollen knuckles. Dark bruises are forming, black and purple against your pretty white skin—they're going to be really painful for a couple of days.

Looking at your injured hands makes me think about stopping you from punching the wall, which makes me think about holding you tight, my arms around your waist, our faces close, your breath on my lips.

At the time, it was just reaction, instinct. I needed you to be calm. But now, when I can see that you're okay, it does things to me, the memory of your body lined up with mine pulsing through my mind in high definition and surround sound. My stomach flip-flops, and I'm starting to think it might be time to start mentally reciting baseball stats or whatever when your voice startles me.

"You wanna get out of here?"

I blink at you, 'cause, yeah, I'm pretty surprised.

"Sure." There's nothing I'd like more than to spend time with you.

I let go of your hand while you get to your feet. I take the chance to shove my hand in my pocket, adjusting myself, hoping like hell you don't notice.

Even though you could tend to your injury yourself, I take your hand again, and you let me, again. "You should keep this on," I say, pushing the ice against your knuckles. You wince, but you try not to let me see it.

"Maybe we should take you to the hosp–"

"No way."

I don't push it, because I can think of better ways to spend our time together than sitting in the ER. Nodding, I throw both our bags over my shoulder, and you lead me to your car. Your eyebrows lift when I open the hand not holding yours, palm out.



"I can drive."

I roll my eyes, stepping closer to you. "No way."

You huff a little, and my lips stretch into a smile, because I know you're conceding. "They're in my bag. Front pocket."

Making sure you're keeping the ice in place, I release your hand. I'm already wondering when I'll get to hold it—or you—again.

Rifling through a girl's bag freaks me out a little, but you don't seem fazed as I dig for your keys among all the shit you keep in there. You've got a ton of coins in there, scraps of paper, hair bands and—shit—tampons. I duck my head in case I'm blushing, a tiny sigh escaping me as my fingers finally close around your keys.

I click the fob-button, and open your door. Even though I kind of like it, holding open the door for you like we're on a date, I make it a joke, sweeping my arm out, over-acting. It makes you giggle, and your giggle makes me smile. You fumble with the seatbelt, and I hurry to buckle you in, enjoying the closeness as I lean over you.

The ends of your hair tickle my cheek as I press closer to you than I really need to. If I turn my head, I could kiss you—or check out your tits. I do neither. Pulling back, I swing your door closed and walk to the driver's side.

"Slow the fuck down, idiot." I have to remind myself that only a few hours ago, you were all torn up over Jasper hooking up with Alice. As much as I want you—want us—I know it's not going to happen today. And maybe not anytime soon, either. But that's okay; I can wait. Something tells me it'll be worth my while.

"You'll need to direct me to your place," I tell you as I pull out of the school lot.

"Take a left at the end of Main," you say. I glance at you, but your gaze is trained out the window.

When I pull up at the curb in front of your house, you don't move. Belt still buckled, eyes on the windshield, you sigh. "How are you gonna get home?"

"Uh." I have no idea, I didn't really think that far ahead. "It's cool, I can walk." Or walk around the corner and call my Dad to come get me, more likely.

Raindrops start to splatter against the windshield. Big fat drops that burst outwards on contact with glass, making the greens and greys beyond it blur until it looks like one of those old French paintings my mom likes so much.

"Don't be stupid." You look at me, just the start of a smile curving your lips. "I'll drive you home in a couple of hours."

"Oh, it's – I mean, I can–" I glance at your house, wondering if your old man is home. I can't imagine he'd be too excited to see us hanging out. I don't have a history with him. I've kept myself under his radar, but I'm not going to lie, the dude scares the shit out of me. I think it's the moustache—that or the gun on his hip.

You groan. Maybe I look worried, or maybe you're used to people being terrified of your father. "My Dad won't be home 'til much later. Come on. We'll just watch a movie or something, and I'll bring you home once my hand's feeling a bit better."

I want to spend time with you, so I agree. You still haven't moved, your injured hand lying in your lap, the bag of mostly-melted ice resting on top of it. Your hands in your lap remind me of my fingers stretched across your thigh under our lab table, my fingertips itching, burning to crawl a few more inches …

"Edward? I can't – can you help me out, please?"

My cheeks heat and I jump out of the car, hoping the cold wind can either cool or explain away my blush.

We're halfway through Snatch, squashed close on the faded dark green couch, when your cell phone rings. I grin when I hear your ringtone, adding "epic taste in music" to the list of things I really like about you.

You don't seem too pleased to hear The Rubens rockin' out, though. You frown at the screen for a moment, before hanging up on whoever was calling. You tap at your phone a few times and throw it on the coffee table, offering me half a smile before you turn your attention back to the movie.

It's only about three seconds later that it starts buzzing, moving across the wood as it rings. Brandon's smiling face flashes on the screen, but you don't even look at it.

"Are you gonna–"

"Nope." Your lips press tight, and my heart sinks a little bit. I know you're upset with her, of course. But it's why you are that has me fidgeting in my seat. Is it because she's a shitty friend who hooked up with a guy you were crushing on, or because—despite your admission that you don't really know him—you really, really wanted to get with Jasper?

"I'm done with her," you say, surprising the hell out of me. At your next words, I have this weird thought that maybe you can read my mind or something. "I mean, it was just a dumb crush, I guess." You shrug. "But she was supposed to be my best friend."

I nod. "That sucks." I don't really know what else to say.

You look over at me, eyes full of tears that you're trying to hold back. My hand pushes against my chest, rubbing where it feels tight.

"Twelve years. And she just throws it all in my face because her pride is wounded when you turned her down. Fuck that. If I was that easy to throw away, then I don't need her, you know?"

"Uh, sure." I'm nervous. I don't really know how girls think about this kind of stuff, and the last thing I want to do is upset you.

You look at me, lip caught between your teeth. You seem to be weighing up something. "Like, if you knew Jasper liked Alice, you wouldn't hook up with her, right? I mean, you didn't. She offered, and you turned her down."

Because you're the only one I want to kiss, I think. "I, uh, I'd never go after a girl a friend liked." There, that works.

"And Jasper likes Alice, so you turned her down."

"Uh." I push my hand through my hair. "Yes." It comes out sounding like a question. "I mean, he's not like … well, I mean, yeah, I guess he kind of likes her, but I wouldn't have – with her, even if he didn't."

Your cheeks go a bit pink, and I think you're hearing what I'm not saying. I shrug, because I do like you, and I think you figured that out earlier, anyway. You frown then, and my stomach turns over. Does it bother you, knowing that? My knee bounces.

"He kind of likes her? He's not like, really into her?"

I pull the sleeves of my hoodie over my hands. "It's Jazz." I shrug, hoping you know what I mean.

You look at me, waiting for me to say more. Fuck. I push my fingers through my hair—which is totally gross and really needs a wash.

"Jasper. Well, he likes … everyone." If they're putting out.


Shit, Bella. I look at my shoes then back up at you. "Girls, I mean. He likes girls." I fold my arms over my chest, my eyebrows lifting, hoping you won't make me say the words. I'm under no delusion about Jasper's … quirks, but he's still my friend.

"Oh." Your nose crinkles like something smells bad.


You sigh, your fingers move into your hair, combing through it, pulling it off your face. I watch as you twist it and tie it in a knot on top of your head, like it's a piece of rope. It stays there. "That's pretty cool." I can't believe I said that, or that I'm pointing at your hair. I'm such a tool.

But you smile, and suddenly I don't mind so much. "Useful, right?"

I nod. "For sure."

Your eyes drift back to the movie, and I'm weirdly disappointed. Usually I hate people talking through films, but somehow I don't think it'd even bother me if you wanted to chat while I was watching The Departed—and I love that movie hard.

When you drop me home several hours later, your right wrist resting gingerly on the steering wheel as you drive, I'm pretty disappointed that our time together is going to end. I wonder what tomorrow will look like—if you'll still flash that shy smile my way, and still want to talk to me about all the bands we've just discovered we both like. Will you want to argue with me about the movies I like that you think are total crap, or let me tease you about your surprising love of musical theatre?

I'm fiddling with the strap of my backpack when you pull into my driveway, my fingers rubbing over the worn stitching. I glance at your bruised hand, angry red and deep purple, and it makes my stomach twist a little. "Are you gonna–" I swallow down the rasp in my voice "–be okay to drive back home?"

You tip your head, your knot of hair bobbling around on top of your head. "I got you here, didn't I?" There's a sweet little smile playing on your lips that doesn't quite match your sarcastic words.

I nod, eyes on the backpack in my lap. "True."


I look up, and your smile has stretched wider. Fuck, I want to kiss you. Too soon, way too soon, I tell myself.

You turn in the driver's seat, your uninjured hand reaching across your body to land on my forearm. "Thanks, Edward."

I nod, my eyes on your hand. I push away the nerves that make me feel like an army of ants is marching to war across my skin, and cover your fingers with mine. "Any time." I want to say so much more, but I don't.

You eyes drop to our hands for a beat, and rise back up to mine. You lick your lips, and then I feel your fingers tighten and your weight shifting. You use my arm for leverage, moving close, and then your lips are on my cheek, just for a moment. Then they're gone.

"Uh." I blink. And nod. "Yeah. Thank you." Did I just–? Aww, fuck.

I can see the laugh you're holding in, your lips pressed together, your eyes dancing. I shake my head, my cheeks burning with your kiss and my embarrassment.

"Hey," another squeeze of your fingers, "anytime."

I didn't think you meant it literally.

But you've kissed my cheek eighteen times in the last three weeks. I know how fucking lame it is that I've counted them, collecting them like baseball cards, but I can't really bring myself to care.

We hang out a lot now. Aside for sitting beside each other in Chemistry, we eat lunch together—or more correctly, we skip out on lunch and sit in my car, playing music, talking, teasing each other. Sometimes we smoke, but usually only when you're in a really pissy mood.

Like now.

You startle the hell out of me, pulling open the rear door and throwing your bag onto the back seat. While you're slamming it shut, I lean across and push the passenger door open for you. It doesn't really surprise me when you hurl yourself into the car then, your eyes narrowed and a string of curses falling from your lips.

"Fucking asshole … stupid fucker doesn't even … college-educated and … dumbass …"

I think you're pissed about the grading of that English paper you handed in last week. I watched you write it, pretending to work on my own.

I reach across, groping in the glove box for the pack of cigarettes I keep there. While I'm close, I kiss your cheek. I haven't kissed your cheek as often as you've kissed mine—it took me until number twelve to get the balls to give you one back. I plan on making us even.

You sigh while my lips are against the softness of your cheek, and it makes me feel pretty freaking good.

I'm back in my seat, holding out the smokes to you.

You shake your head and I shrug, setting the pack on the dash.

"You go ahead," you say.

I glance at you but don't reach for a cigarette. Your eyes are closed, your head tipped back against the headrest. My eyes on your neck, I shift in my seat. I want to press my lips to that spot just below your ear, trail them down to your collarbone. Fuck. You're so damned sexy, and I don't think you have any idea. No, it's more that you do know, but you just don't care. You don't shy away from it, but you don't seem to flaunt it either.

You open one eye, turning your head towards me. Your lips curl. "Go ahead."

Something in my brain malfunctions. With my thoughts so focused on feeling your skin beneath my lips, my fingertips, I stupidly think you're reading my mind and giving me permission.

My nose is in your hair, my lips pressing kiss after kiss to your neck, my tongue tasting your skin before my mind catches up with me and I freeze. Oh shit.

But you—you tilt your head, like you're asking for more, and then you sigh, and the sound is like a spark, and I'm a tank of gasoline.

My hand is in your hair, pulling you closer, my mouth moving down your neck. Tugging your t-shirt out of the way, I kiss across your shoulder. I breathe deep through my nose, and then I'm kissing my way across your collarbone, and my scalp is stinging.

"Fuck. Edward."

My nose is so close, so close to your cleavage, when I realize the sting is your fingers twisting in my hair, and you're trying to pull me up, away from your boobs.

I look up at you, my heart thumping somewhere in my stomach.

"I'm s–"

You cut me off, slamming your mouth against mine. I swallow your groan, and then all I'm aware of is your lips, your tongue, and the little grunts that punctuate the best fucking kiss I've ever had. They could be coming from you, or me, but I can't focus enough to figure that out.

Your hands slide around out of my hair, across my shoulders, and you're tugging at me, until I'm leaning halfway across the car with the gearshift jammed against my hip and my hand on your thigh, and you're still trying to pull me closer.



Fuck it. The discomfort is totally worth it.

I kiss you harder, deeper, sliding the hand that's on your thigh up to your hip, my fingers curling around its curve. You pry it off, and you're moving it towards your breast, and my fingers are twitching, and I'm so close to feeling you –

"Wooooo! Yeah, man!"

We freeze, but don't leap apart like we would if we were in a movie. We just pull back a little, just a whisper, like there's just one word between us. I don't know who's carrying on outside, or if it was even us they were yelling at. Our noses inches apart, I'm looking at you, and you're looking at me, and we're smiling and nothing outside this car even seems real.

"We should –"

My breath kind of stops halfway up my throat as I wait for you to finish.

"–get out of here."

I nod, my nose rubs against yours with the movement. You kiss me once more, just quickly, our lips barely brushing, and then you're back in your seat, and I'm already reaching for the ignition.

Making out with you is immediately addictive. And the more we do it, the more I want, well, more.

But after four months of doing this, I still don't know what we're doing, and that makes me hesitate, hold back a little.

I know what your kisses taste like. I know what your hands feel like creeping under my shirt. I know what your nipples feel like against my palms, and as of yesterday afternoon, I know what it feels like to have your hands on me, there.

I want more. I want my hands on you, there. I want to know what you look like, coming apart, and the way we're going, I'll get my wish soon. We're tumbling headfirst towards naked skin and tangled bed sheets and I want it as much as I don't.

Not until I know what this all means to you, anyway. Maybe it's super lame on my part, but we're getting closer and closer, and I want to know what this means to you—what we mean to you.

Because I want you, all of you. But not if it means nothing to you.

We're eating in the cafeteria for a change. I get there before you and claim a table.


Your hand on my shoulder, I tilt my face up for a kiss, and you oblige—maybe a little more so than is entirely appropriate in the cafeteria, which makes me smirk as you slide into the chair beside mine.

"How was Physics?"

I shrug. "Easy." I wink at you. "But my lab partner in Chem is way hotter."

"Hotter than Eric?" You giggle. "Is that even possible?"

Under the table, I pinch your thigh, laughing when you squeal. "Brat."

You poke your tongue out at me as you pull your lunch out of your bag, and it takes a whole lot of effort for me not to groan when I see what you set on the table. But I bite my tongue—literally—because I know that shit is your favorite, and I don't want to make you feel bad again. Making out with you is probably my favorite thing to do, but when you've eaten that stuff … well, it's less enjoyable, anyway.

But then, you unwrap the greaseproof paper.

"You put raspberries in it?" I don't think they'll cover the foul taste of banana.

You giggle, breaking off a piece and holding it out to me with a mischievous smile.

"Uh, thanks, but ..." I hold my hands up, like I'm trying to ward off evil—and let's face it, I am. "I don't think they'll help."

You roll your eyes and sigh. "Edward, just smell it. Does it smell like Satan's death fruit to you?"

I smile at you using my name for bananas, and because I don't think you'd lie to me, I sniff the piece of loaf in your hand. "What is it?"

"Pear and raspberry bread."



"Why did you – I mean, I'm not complaining, but you love the banana stuff. Isn't it your favorite?"

You shrug, taking a bite of the dense-looking loaf. You swallow and smile at me, and my stomach is doing that funny thing that has nothing to do with the fact I'm hungry, and everything to do with the way your eyes seem to shine when you smile at me like that. "Maybe I like you more than I like banana bread."

When I see you talking to Alice, your back against a row of lockers, my spine stiffens. It feels like icy fingers are creepy-crawling their way from my tailbone to the base of my skull.

It's not that it's Alice, not exactly. It's the way your shoulders are curled in and you're hunched around the books you're carrying. The way you're looking at your shoes, tapping the toe of one against the other. It's the way you're letting your hair fall forward over your eyes, and you're not even trying to push it out your face.

I jog up the hall, telling myself I have to find out what's going on first, before I say something rude to Alice.

As soon as I'm close enough, my arm is around your waist, sliding it between your back and the lockers. With my other hand I'm tucking your hair behind your ear. My lips by your ear, I ask if you're okay. You nod, and I kiss your cheek.

I look at Brandon then. Her eyes are narrowed, her lips pressed thin—until she catches me watching her. It's kind of bizarre actually, how quickly her shoulders jerk back and her boobs push out, and the way the sour expression on her face morphs into the sweetest smile.

"Hey, Edward." Her left hand rubs the top of her thigh.

I don't answer Alice, because all my attention is back on you, feeling you stiffen in my arms. Your knuckles are white around the books you're holding to your chest like a shield.

"What's going on?" I murmur the question against your neck.

"I mean, I guess you haven't fucked him yet? 'cause you know–" she waves her hand around, pointing at her leg again.

I ignore Alice because it's obvious she's trying to get a reaction, and I'm not into that kind of bullshit. But when I see your face has gone as white as the ceiling, and I feel you shaking a little, my stomach drops to somewhere near my knees.


Her eyes dart to mine, her smirk widening into another one of her too-big smiles. "Yes, Edward?" Her voice is fucking annoying, too. I think she's trying for sexy, but she sounds more like she's got something caught in her throat.

"Get lost."

She blinks. I laugh, and I can feel you relax into me just a little.

"Excuse me?"

I ignore her, pulling you with me as I turn away from her. "Come on, you."

Alice is flinging words at us as we walk away, but I don't even hear her. I'm used to tuning out Dora the Explorer—even Alice Brandon isn't that annoying. I'm the map, I'm the ma– fuck.

You don't speak until we're at the car. "Bitch."

"You wanna tell me about it?"

You sigh, dumping your books on the roof and tugging your sweater over your sleeves. "Jasper dumped her, again."

"Right." I've lost count of how many times they've hooked up and broken up now. My hands on your waist, I turn you until your back is pressed against the car. "So she's taking it out on you, again."

You nod, your teeth scraping over your bottom lip. "She's got twelve years of ammunition."

"Babe?" You look up at me, and I can see the tears you're trying not to cry. "It sucks. And it's complete bullshit that she seeks you out every time she's feeling like crap. But one day she'll learn that she can't – I don't know, she'll figure out that making you feel bad isn't going to make her feel any better about herself."

You say nothing for so long I'm starting to shift my weight from foot to foot, worrying that I've said something really stupid. But then you shake your head. "That's one of the most insightful things I've ever heard."

"Surprised?" I chuckle and duck my head, wanting my lips on yours.

You stop me though, pressing your fingertips against my mouth. "Edward?"


"I have a really big birthmark. On my thigh."

Alice's not-so-subtle gestures suddenly make sense. I pull your hand away from my mouth, tangling my fingers with yours. "'Kay."

"It's really big—like the size of my hand. And it's really dark. Red, I mean."

I let go of your hand and pull my shirt up, twisting around so you can see my side. "I have this mole here. It grows hairs out of it. Really long, thick ones that almost look like pubes. Totally gross, so I cut them off."

You look at me for a few moments, eyebrows up high, lips twitching as they fight a smile. They lose. "Okay."

I kiss the corner of your smile. I'm about to ask if you want to cut Calculus when a familiar voice calls our names.

I look over the roof of the car at Jasper, jerking my head in greeting.

"S'up, Jazz?"

"Party. My place. Tomorrow."

Who parties on a Thursday? "Can't, man. Rosie's got ballet."

"Come after that."

I shake my head. He knows that's not going to happen—Monday and Thursday Rosie has dance classes, and we eat dinner and hang out as a family afterwards. Jasper knows this.

"Loser. You're gonna come, right?" He winks at you, an all too familiar smirk on his face. I want to punch it right off. "Isabella?"

Pink sweeps across your cheeks, and the anger in my gut twists into nervousness. You shake your head. "No, probably not."

Are you saying no because you think that's what I want you to say, or because you don't want to go?

"Aww, come on. It'll be fun." He's almost, like, crooning at you.

And the anger's back—I'm giving myself fucking whiplash.

You shake your head, still not meeting his eyes. "I don't think so."

He shrugs. "Whatever."

Your face still pink, you watch him walk away, then look up at me. Your voice is soft. "I'll see you tomorrow, then?"

I mean to tell you yes, but for some reason I say, "Do you wanna come?" And then, even though I didn't mean to ask you, I'm really hoping you'll say yes.

You frown. "To ballet?"

"Yeah." I scratch my top lip. "And, uh, to dinner, too."

You tip your head, and your hair slides out of its knot. You're gathering it back up, not looking at me. "Are you sure – I mean, is your mom gonna be okay with that?"

I laugh, because my mom is going to be over the damn moon. "Yeah, she'll be cool with it." I hope. She might scare you away with her enthusiasm. I'm going to have to call her, tell her to keep a lid on it. "You better check with your dad, though."

Ballet's a whole lot more interesting when you're sitting next to me, your thigh pressed against mine, our fingers twisted together.

We talk shit for a while. You're giving me hell for admitting I enjoyed watching Phantom of the Opera, and I'm giving it back because I know you loved Stand By Me but you won't admit it.

"Are little kids normally that coordinated?"

Your question seems to come out of nowhere. "Huh?"

"Your sister. She's really graceful. Is that normal?" I realize you're watching Rosie at the barre, doing some leg-bendy, arm-wavy thing.

I run a hand through my hair. "I think she's pretty unusual. They wanted her to take more classes but Mom said two a week was more than enough for her. She's not even six yet."

You nod. "I'm kinda jealous."

"You are pretty uncoordinated." I smile, and you swat at me like you would a mosquito.

"No." You shake your head, giggling a little, but then your smile becomes suddenly sad. "Well, the coordination, too. But I meant of the little sister. I always wanted one." You chew your lip for a minute. "I feel bad for that, though. Wanting a sibling, I mean. My mom couldn't have any more kids after me. They tried. But after three miscarriages, she said she couldn't bear to keep trying and failing."

I'm not really sure what to say, so I wrap an arm around your shoulders and pull you close. I like the way the stiffness goes out of you. "You know, babe," I swallow and clear my throat, "I'm sure you parents don't feel deprived. Not when they have you."

You pull back a little, and I can't read your expression as you look up at me.

You lean towards me and kiss under my jaw. "Thank you."

I kiss your temple, and we sit in easy silence, watching Rosie's class.

When they're finishing up, I remember something. "Why, um – how come you didn't want to go to Jasper's party?"

You shrug. "Why would I want to?"

I don't really know what to say to that.

You sigh, pulling my other hand into your lap. "It wouldn't be much fun without you there, you know? It'll just be a bunch of people getting drunk or high or both; girls throwing themselves at the football team; and Alice and Jasper either hooking up or having a full-on screaming match, and I have no interest in watching that."

Because you're still jealous or because they annoy the shit out of you, too?

Rosie comes bouncing out of class, still dancing around on her tiptoes, and demanding your attention before I can answer you.

As I suspected, my mom's absolutely crazy about you.

You help her with dinner, and I smile as I lean against the kitchen counter, watching you chop vegetables and answer the dozens of questions my mom just can't help but ask you. I don't think you notice, but my mom shoots these pointed nods and winks my way while you're occupied with slicing an onion or peeling a carrot.

My dad's working late tonight, so it's just the four of us at the dinner table. Rosie and my mom ask you so many questions—everything from your plans for college, to your favorite Yo Gabba Gabba character—that eventually I have to point out that your dinner's going to be cold before you get to take a bite.

"It's okay." You smile at me, and then I feel your hand on my knee. You squeeze it softly and give me a nod, before picking up your fork and turning your attention back to your plate.

When you offer to wash up after dessert, Mom shoos us out of the kitchen. She gives me a look, and I think she's going to tell me to leave my bedroom door open, but instead she just smiles and mouths "Be careful." My face hot, I roll my eyes at her at her—she seriously thinks I'd have sex with you while she's downstairs?—and follow you up the stairs to my bedroom.

Come Saturday, though, my mom's taken Rosie into town for the day, and my dad's at work.

We're on my bed, and I'm between your legs, my lips hard against yours. My chest is bare, and my hands are under your shirt, my fingers on your nipples, and I'm trying to coax that sound from you again. I use a little more pressure, pinch harder, and you're arching and there it is, slipping from your lips, that gaspy little noise that makes me even harder, knowing I'm making you feel good.

I grind down against you, and I can feel the pressure building, can feel myself getting close, overwhelmed by the feel of your skin under my fingertips, your hands in my hair and your tongue in my mouth.

I break the kiss, pull back to look at you. Your eyes are closed, your chest rising and falling, your hips rocking as much as they can when they're pinned under mine.

My stomach twists a little with familiar worry. When your eyes are closed like that, I still sometimes worry that you're thinking about Jasper. That you're imagining him above you, that you're imagining that it's him that makes you feel like this.

I stop moving against you, and your eyes open. There's this softness I don't understand in them. I think it's the same thing that's there in the way the corners of your lips turn up, and the way your hand rests against my cheek, and I hope like hell it means what I want it to.

"You okay?" You're a little out of breath still.

Your eyes narrow when I don't answer straight away. I mean to, but I'm watching at the way the afternoon light slides into the room and bounces copper and red sparks off your hair, the way your eyes seem to glow almost golden.

"Your eyes look gold," I say. I realize how stupid I sound as soon as the words are hanging over us, but your smile grows.

"Why did you stop?" You rock your pelvis.

I look away from you, to the floor, where my shirt is puddled with your hoodie. "I, uh …" I shake my head. My arms shake a little as I continue to hold myself over you. I decide it's just easier to go with the truth. Hoping you don't get mad at me, I say, "When your eyes are closed, are you thinking about me?"

Your smile falls off your face, and creases line your forehead. You push my arm and my elbow buckles. "Off."

My lungs feel like they're lined with lead as I roll off you, onto my side. But you turn to face me, instead of climbing off the bed like I expect. And that's a good thing, I think.

You give me a small smile, and your fingers comb through my hair, pushing it out of my eyes. I copy you, tucking the hair that's fallen over your face behind your ear.

"Edward?" You ask, "Am I really not being obvious enough?"

I smile, remembering the last time you used that line on me.

I know you a lot better now. I know how smart you are, how hard you work in school because you want to go to UW on a full scholarship so you won't be a burden on your folks. I know you're sarcastic but sweet, and that you can somehow be confident and shy in the same breath. I know all your favorite books, movies and bands, and even though we don't have identical tastes, we can talk and argue about them for hours. I know exactly how to avoid your sharp tongue when it's that time of the month—first rule, never ever ask if it's that time of the month—and I know that it will take very little effort to convince you to cut class on a Tuesday afternoon because you really hate gym.

You know a lot more about me, too. You know there's no point talking to me before eight o'clock in the morning, so you always have a cup of coffee waiting for me when I pick you up. And you know that I like driving you to and from school, so you don't even fight me on that anymore.

"Oh." I say it out loud and you laugh at me, the lines on your forehead smoothing away and gathering instead at the corners of your eyes.

"Do you think you could be a little more obvious? Just so I don't misunderstand?"

You roll your eyes, but you're still smiling. "Obviously … I love you."

My heart thinks it's at a rave, dancing and pounding in my chest. "I love you, too."

Your eyes are all sparkly. "Obviously."

My hand on your cheek, I kiss you, and then it's like we can't get close enough fast enough, and then your shirt is gone and I'm fumbling with your bra. You giggle and reach around to undo it, and my mouth goes really dry because I'm looking at your breasts and I can't decide if I want to touch them or kiss them. I end up doing both, and I think I probably thank you a few too many times, because you're laughing and that makes your boobs shake which only turns me on even more and if you keep moving your hips against mine like that I'm going to end up coming in my jeans.

I have to lift off you, and you make this little whiny sound, which makes me smile. I undo the button on your jeans, and you let me pull them down, even though I can see the tension that's creeping over you. You lie still as I pull them over your hips, your lip between your teeth.

The birthmark on your thigh is dark red, like someone spilled red wine on your lap or something. I trace my fingers over it, smiling at you, wanting you to know that you are not your perceived imperfections. I think about kissing it, but then I think maybe it's better if I don't make a big deal out of it, so instead, I walk my fingers up to your hips, then slide one under the elastic of your panties.

I raise an eyebrow and you nod, and the tightness in your eyes eases as my hand slides into your underwear. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing, but you bring your hand to cover mine over the top of your panties and you show me where to touch and how hard and how fast and I'm feeling pretty fucking fantastic when your back arches and it's my name you're gasping as you come.

When you catch your breath, I slip my hand out of your panties and kiss you, slow and gentle, until I feel your hands working the buttons of my jeans.

You hand slides into my boxers, closing around me, tugging gently at first, then harder, faster, and – "Fuck … Bella."

With my hands on your breasts, your mouth on my neck, and your hand in my pants, I don't last long. It feels so good, too good, like I'm drowning in naked skin and hot kisses.

Breathing heavy, it's an effort to open my eyes. It's worth it though, to see you smiling at me. Wiping your hands on a tissue, you press a kiss to my nose, then to my lips.


My smile is lazy, post-orgasm endorphins or whatever they are making me dopey. "Mmm."

"I love you."


A/N: Hi! My thanks to everyone who encouraged me to write a second chapter to this. I hope you enjoyed it!

And thanks, as ever to my Tam, who pushed me to make this better, and is just the loveliest friend ever.

She also has a brand new story with an Edward I just adore, called "Two Weeks." It's in my favourites - Go read it!

Shell x