A/N: Written for the SU4K compilation.
Pre-reader was Born Onhalloween, beta was Songster.
As of today, January 1st 2013, this outtake must be considered a futuretake, but there are no real spoilers... at least nothing that will surprise those of you who are following the main story.
I hope you'll enjoy. More info in my E/N... see you on the other side.
Except for the flashbacks, it's all EPOV.
There you go...
CLOSER (A Little Green & Easybella Outtake)
Benaroya Music Hall, Seattle
The hallway outside my dressing room is buzzing with euphoria. All those people… there's yelling, laughing, cheerful bellows and excited shrieks. Everyone is trying to make themselves heard over the cacophony of voices, stomping feet and banging doors.
I keep my eyes closed and try to shut the noises out. I wish they'd just stop, but of course they won't – not any time soon. The concert was a huge success, and everyone involved is animated by the adrenaline pumping through their systems. Musicians, singers, dancers, even the stage workers and handymen, all high on endorphins and celebrating themselves and the moment.
Not me. I have already arrived where everyone else won't get for a few hours: exhaustion. It's not really bad, but still bad enough to interfere with my mind's usually reliable ability to block unwanted stimuli. And underneath the growing fatigue pulse the remains of my own high.
Because, yes – I like the applause. It's an amazing feeling, when I finally detach my fingers from the keys, and then there are those precious, unfathomably beautiful two or three seconds of breathless silence, before the thundering wave of clapping and cheering washes over me. It's great, actually.
And I can see why everyone outside this room is trying to extend the moment as best as they can. Because when it's over, it's over. For me, it's over already. A memory, carefully filed away, like a moment in time wrapped in tissue paper. I have no desire to make it last until it becomes dull.
Bella squeezes my hand. I don't think she meant to; it was merely a twitch of her fingers. I guess she's getting nervous with me being so quiet. I'm thankful for her presence. If it wasn't for her holding my hand, I might just lose my grip on the physical universe. I feel light-headed, sort of detached from everything… the chair I'm sitting on feels unreal. But Bella is grounding me. And she's been so patient, knowing I needed this time-out.
I open my eyes and squint against the bright lights surrounding the mirror in front of me. Bella leans her head against my shoulder; I can only see her from her nose up in the mirror, even though both our chairs are the same height. Five or six ridiculously big flower bouquets that have been delivered before and during the concert from who-knows-who are blocking my view. I know one is from Esme and Carlisle. What am I supposed to do with all those flowers?
"Better?" Bella asks softly. "How are you feeling?" I can tell by those little lines appearing around her eyes that she is smiling at me.
"Good," I say without thinking, noticing a second later that it is true. I feel good because of her smile, her patience and her love, not questioning or pressing me.
"And tired," I add.
Her brows knit together a little. I turn my head to see her face because talking to her reflection in the mirror just doesn't feel right. It's not… close enough.
"Edward, you have every right and reason to be tired. You were amazing. The concert, seeing you up there, the music – oh my God, you have no idea! It was the most exciting, touching thing I have ever experienced."
Her face is glowing. Her words and the way her eyes shine with sincerity make me shiver. A fresh wave of adrenaline courses through me, and I suddenly know that when I unwrap that mental tissue paper one day, it will be this moment showing up first. Not the music, not the applause, and certainly not what's awaiting me next.
"What is it?" she asks, sensing my impending anxiety.
I sigh. "How many hands do I have to shake?"
"What?" Bella chuckles. "I don't know. Many! They all want to see you, congratulate you and bask in your glow. That's part of being a celebrity." She winks at me, knowing very well that I don't like her to call me that.
"The weird, autistic wunderkind, that's more like it. They want to see how much I will embarrass myself out there." The amount of bitterness in my voice is surprising, even to myself. I'm really worn out.
"No, seriously… how many handshakes? Do you think there's a way to find that out before I have to go out there?" I really want to know; it would be easier for me if I could count them down while meeting all those strangers. I know how these after-show events work. There will be a lot of touching involved before the appropriate time to excuse myself comes. Arm grabs, shoulder pats, even some hugs. And too many handshakes. How many?
Bella straightens herself and cups my face with both hands. "Edward… Little Green, listen to me. You did so great today; you can do this, too. The people out there love you. You won them over in a blink, as soon as you came on stage. And they were completely gone for you when you played. Nobody's going to make fun of you, or judge the way you talk or don't talk. Those people out there adore you!"
"I don't want that." I'm tired.
With a long sigh, she pulls my head down until our foreheads meet. "I know, love," she whispers. We stay like that for a moment. I close my eyes and feel comforted, calmer… just like that. The voices in the hallway are slowly dwindling, as more and more people are leaving to join the after-show reception down in the foyer.
"What do you want?" Bella wants to know.
Silence. Peace. Safety.
"I want to be naked in bed with you."
She pulls back, and I open my eyes. She smiles her Easybella-smile.
"Does this place have a backdoor somewhere?"
I nod my head yes. Backdoors and emergency exits were the first things I checked when the rehearsals began.
She takes my hand again and says, "Let's go."
The Cullen House, Forks
"Bedtime for the underage population!" Esme cheerfully announced as she entered Edward's room where her adopted son and Bella Swan huddled together at his desk.
The eleven-year-old boy instinctively clapped his notebook shut as if caught in the act. Not that there was anything forbidden in it – just poetry, some drawings, ideas, thoughts. In fact, if Esme asked to see it, he would probably let her. But for some reason he hoped she wouldn't ever ask. He'd rather these thoughts stayed between him and his Easybella, as he secretly called his friend.
Esme frowned a little; the boy's swift movement hadn't gone unnoticed. She didn't like the idea that those two were hiding anything from her. But then again, didn't all kids have secrets they wouldn't share with their parents? Maybe this was even a good thing, a sign that Edward was getting closer to being like a normal, healthy child, she placated herself.
She couldn't suppress a smile when Edward turned around, pouting like the epitome of a normal, healthy child, and whined, "Now?"
"Yes, now, sweetheart," Esme confirmed. "You both have school tomorrow, and Bella has been here for too long anyway."
Edward shook his head no, brows furrowed, and grabbed the girl's hand. He wasn't ready to let her leave yet. Was it really that late?
As if to answer his unspoken question, Bella reached up to lovingly tousle his hair and said, "Your mom is right, I should have been home like two hours ago."
"And we don't want Chief Swan to come and raid the house, now do we?" Esme added in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Judging by the way Edward's brows were knitted together and his shoulders were tightly hunched, she had a feeling that this was going to be one of those evenings. She knew the signs. And if she was right, it meant Bella wouldn't go home tonight any time soon…
The prospect irritated her.
Of course, she would be forever thankful for the day when Bella came into Edward's life and changed it for the better to a level no one had thought was possible. Nobody could explain why and how her son had connected so miraculously to a complete stranger, a skinny, clumsy teenage girl out of all people. But thanks to Bella, he had come along in leaps and bounds during the last year; he communicated much better, and even spoke on occasions.
However, it still bothered Esme that she missed the first time he did. The first word he ever spoke was to Bella, and because of Bella. Esme also suspected that the two kids shared a lot more verbal communication than Edward would grant anyone else, his mother included.
The times when they needed Bella as a babysitter were over now, but she and Edward had become so close, it made Esme uncomfortable. It couldn't be healthy for an eleven-year-old boy to have a seventeen-year-old girl as his only friend, right?
And it wasn't a normal thing for the girl either. Wasn't she supposed to hang out with her high school peers instead of spending every afternoon here? Didn't she have a boyfriend of her own age? What's with that kid from the Quileute reservation anyway… what was his name? Jacob? Esme made a mental note to ask her about it another time.
"Okay, kids… say good-bye to Bella, honey. I'll see her to the door, and when I come back I'm gonna tuck you in, okay?"
When Edward shook his head more vigorously and reached for the lanyard he wore around his neck, it was all the confirmation Esme needed to know that this was one of those evenings indeed. The boy didn't use the laminated communication cards very often these days, but it calmed him to have them at his disposal, just in case. And when he used them, he meant business.
Now he anxiously flipped through them until he found the one that would hopefully save him today, like it had many times before. With trembling fingers, he held it up in front of him, stretching the lanyard to an extent that it cut almost painfully into the nape of his neck.
Esme wasn't surprised to see the much-thumbed photograph of a brown-haired teenage girl with the name 'Isabella' written under it. She could also see that Edward was simply too agitated right now to manage a verbal argument, which was why he sought refuge in his cards.
She wasn't much for an argument herself; it had been a long day and she didn't know if she could deal with another tantrum right now.
"I really don't mind staying a bit longer, Esme," Bella said softly. Edward still held the card up, shakily but determined. He wouldn't waver. On days like this, his Easybella was his lifeline.
Despite having progressed beyond expectations, up to the present day, he still had trouble sleeping. Every now and then, the horrors of his early childhood in the trailer park would haunt him in his slumber… the pain, the fear, his real mom, always shouting, always slurring, her friend and his rusty truck, his huge hands and, of course, the cee-pee-ess lady.
Edward never really remembered any of this. But often he woke up screaming, in the middle of the night, scared to death without knowing why, and he had come to dread falling asleep altogether. Except for…
Esme let go a long, defeated sigh and closed her eyes. She knew the routine; Edward wanted Bella to tuck him in and stay at his bedside until he fell asleep. And as much as she wished it was her that Edward would turn to for comfort, she would never deny him the one thing that helped him keep the nightmares away.
Bella. Always Bella.
"I'll go and call Chief Swan then," Esme eventually offered.
She wasn't looking forward to it – Bella's father didn't approve of the strong attachment between the two kids either; he just resigned himself to the fact that his daughter had become an irreplaceable aid for the Cullen family, and that she apparently loved it.
"But I want you to get ready for bed now anyway, Edward. Do you hear me?"
The boy gasped. Then he nodded his head yes.
It took him a moment to grasp that he had won this battle so easily. When Bella gently pried the card from his hands, which were white-knuckled by now, realization finally sank in. He was safe for another day!
Later that night, after Esme had kissed him good-night and informed Bella that Carlisle would drive her home as usual… when the two kids were alone in Edwards room and he was curled up under the thick comforter, with just his left hand sticking out for Bella to hold it… when she finished the last line of the song she quietly sang to him, he finally found his voice again.
"Easybella," he whispered, smiling at her.
"Little Green," she whispered back, returning his smile.
Following the tender ritual that had become their habit, she bent down to place a kiss on the boy's forehead. "There you go. Close your eyes now. Bad dreams don't come where friends sing each other to sleep; you know that. And I'll be here."
"I know," Edward answered. He didn't close his eyes though, but kept looking at her. His lips parted and he took a hasty breath, as if to say something else.
"What is it?"
"Can you…" he started, but then faltered.
"Just ask; it's all right."
"But I am, Little Green." The girl raised their joined hands for him to see.
"No, I mean… I want…"
Edward didn't know how to say it. It's not that he didn't have the words. There were a lot of words running through his mind in an endless chain. But as usual, he had trouble picking the right one in time. Even with Easybella and with no one else listening, talking was a huge effort that made him anxious.
"Closer?" he tried, his voice barely above a whisper.
"What do you want me to do?" Bella inquired, though she knew quite well what he was asking. She wasn't sure this was a good idea.
Edward slowly lifted the comforter, putting his ridiculous Spiderman pajamas on full display.
Bella cast a wary glance over her shoulder. The door was shut. The Cullens had never interrupted their bedtime ritual as far as she remembered; they always waited patiently for Bella to come downstairs and announce that Edward was asleep.
"Please," Edward breathed.
She couldn't deny him anything. Of course not. It was amazing enough that he actually asked for something, in the first place. He rarely gave voice to his needs or wishes.
"Scoot back," she commanded, sliding out of her slippers.
Edward did as requested, and Bella crawled under the blanket. She didn't really lie down but leaned her shoulders against the headboard in a half-sitting position; this way, it just felt less weird to be in bed together with Edward.
The boy snuggled up to her side and rested his head on her shoulder. He held his arms crossed in front of himself, fists tightly tucked under his chin. Bella turned a little toward him and put her arms around his shoulders.
"Good?" she asked.
Edward tilted his head to look at her and smiled. This was heaven.
He loved being close – really close – to Easybella, and he loved the things being close to her did to him. He loved her warmth, her smell and the mesmerizing movement of her belly with her breathing. He loved the tingling in his stomach and the feeling of safety.
Bella, on the other hand, loved his smile. This special smile that seemed to say that things couldn't get any better than this. She looked down at his sleepy but glowing face and chuckled.
"So it's good, I take it?"
Instead of an answer, Edward suddenly craned his neck, puckered his lips and placed a quick peck on her mouth.
"Edward!" Bella gasped in surprise; she hadn't seen that coming at all. Once again, her eyes involuntarily went to the door. "You're not supposed to do that!"
Edward knew very well that he wasn't supposed to kiss Easybella. But it was something he had wanted to do for a while now; every time she bid him good-night with a kiss on his forehead, he thought about it.
He hadn't intended to do it without asking her permission, but he didn't know how. Sure, they were somehow always touching each other anyway – holding hands, hugging, cuddling – ever since the day they met. But she was so grown up, with boobs and everything, and he was just a little boy; maybe she would get mad if he asked. And how do you ask such a thing? The guys in the movies never asked!
But Bella wasn't mad now. He could feel that, despite her scolding.
"Don't do that again. Ever. Okay?"
He couldn't stop smiling.
"I will be so mad at you if you do it again."
Edward shook his head no, and said, "Promise."
"But if you… want to… one day… you can," he mumbled cryptically.
"What? Kiss you?"
"Jesus…" Bella looked into his eyes and saw nothing but innocent sincerity and anticipation. He waited for an answer and he wouldn't let this go before he got one. Also, she knew she wouldn't get away with the when-you-grow-up-you-will-find-another-girl speech.
"If I should ever feel the urge to kiss you, uhm… on the mouth, one day far, far away from now…" She gave him a pointed look, stressing her last words before she continued, "…then I will do so. Promise."
Edward's eyes lit up, and a gleeful little laugh escaped him. Bella's heart jumped for joy, too. He was such a pretty child anyway, but when he laughed… there weren't many things she cherished as much as the rare moments when Edward laughed. Also, he looked positively smug right now, which was cute. She couldn't remember having seen him like that before.
"Okay. Stop grinning now."
"Can't," he declared honestly.
"Then sleep with a grin; I don't care."
And that he did. He buried his face in the crook of Bella's neck and closed his eyes. Her scent and her warmth engulfed him like a soft blanket, as she pulled him close once again, and he felt safe and cared for. When he felt her fingers caress his scalp, he couldn't fight the somnolence any more.
He snuggled even closer, enjoying the feeling of his groin pressed against her leg. His penis hadn't really gotten hard, not like it did in the mornings anyway. But it still felt pleasant the way it was squeezed in between their bodies.
He knew this was as close as it could get, but he still wondered if there was a way to get even closer to Bella. It was like this mind game he recently read about… how an arrow actually never really reaches its aim, because when it has made half of the distance, and then makes half of the remaining distance, and then again the half of the next half and so on, you can assume that it never really hits because there will always be half of the distance left.
Edward thought this was nonsense. But still… no matter how close he got to Easybella, he still felt like he was just halfway there. Forcing this unsettling thought aside and focusing on Bella's steady heartbeat instead, he finally gave himself over to slumber.
When his breathing had evened out and Bella was sure that he was sound asleep, she carefully detached herself from his limp body and slipped out of the bed. She pulled the comforter around his shoulders and also checked his feet, making sure they were covered properly, too.
Then she just stood there for a few minutes, watching the boy sleep. He looked so peaceful.
It felt good being able to help him gain that peace. It felt like she mattered. She knew Edward didn't really need a babysitter any more, but he still needed her as a friend. She could do things for him no one else could, not even Esme. It was a good feeling, being needed.
And she loved him. Like the little brother she never had. Or maybe like the child she would have some day. Or maybe like something totally different. Because he was different. She couldn't quite figure it out, but being with him made her happy.
And she knew she would miss him terribly when he left for that special boarding school in New England in a few weeks.
Edward's place, Port Angeles
I'm dead on my feet. Bella insisted on driving us home and I gladly let the Volvo keys drop into her palm without resistance. Not very boyfriend-ish, but definitely the right decision; I dozed off a few times during the ride to Port Angeles.
When Bella suggested we should just run and ditch all the fuss… as soon as the tension left me, along with my fragile resolve to make it through the after-show reception, all of my body seemed to say, 'Oh great, so we're allowed to collapse now, right?'
In my bedroom, I slump down on the edge of the mattress. With my elbows resting on my knees, I let my head hang down and close my eyes. I'm thinking of Esme, doing her proud-mom dance now without me. She will be freaking out; I should call her to let her know what happened and that I'm home, safe and sound.
But God, I am so tired. I can't find it in me to talk to her now. If I don't, she will call anyway. It's a mom thing. For a moment, I am tempted to just turn my cell off. That would be convenient, but it would scare Esme to death.
Maybe I should just text her?
Maybe I should just let myself fall backwards and sleep.
Maybe I should…
"Care to take a bath with me?"
My eyes fly open to find Bella sitting on her heels between my legs, her hands gently stroking my calves. Her voice and the sight of her immediately clears the fog of my fatigue to a great degree.
"Do I smell?"
"No, I just thought the warm water might help you relax, and…"
I do smell.
She bites her lips to prevent them from curling into a sheepish smile, but to no avail.
"And here I tried to play nice and polite," she says, shaking her head. "But if you give me that look… yes, you do smell. Let's get that rock star sweat off of you, okay?"
I gave her a look?
She lifts herself up on her knees and puts her arms around my neck, hands clasped behind my head.
"It's the look that pulls the naked truth out of me, no matter how ugly… or how smelly," she chuckles. "It's the look that makes me feel like I can totally be myself, that I can just be. It's the look that reminds me that the things I say and do matter because I am someone's person."
I feel a great smile coming on, that special kind of smile that not only tugs at your mouth but at every nerve ending in your body, head to toe. It makes every hair stand up deliciously and warms your insides, like the moment when a huge cloud that has blocked the sun for endless minutes finally drifts by, and the golden rays flood your body with warmth and light. That kind of smile.
"My person," I whisper reverently.
"Forever," she says.
I pull her into a fierce hug, and I'm glad that Bella is holding me just as tightly. I feel like every single cell in my body is turning and tumbling… little electric somersaults.
"So, what about said bath?" she mumbles into my shoulder.
"You're going to join me?"
"I will probably fall asleep in the tub."
"I'll make sure you don't drown."
I know that. She always does.
"Maybe we can just shower together?" I suggest. Even the few steps to the bathroom seem like too much effort to me. But of course, I don't want to smell bad.
"A shower then," Bella agrees and untangles herself from my embrace.
She takes my hand and pulls a little. Groaning like an old man, I get up from the bed and onto my feet. Bella pulls the jacket from my shoulders and I shrug out of it.
"Let's get you out of this… this…"
"It's a tuxedo," I help her out.
"I was going to say, 'this fuckhot tuxedo,'" she laughs and starts unbuttoning my shirt. "You looked amazing tonight."
I just stand there with my arms hanging limply and let her do all the work. I haven't even told her yet how amazing she looks. I really need to be more considerate with these things.
"Not very boyfriend-ish…" I mumble, repeating my earlier thought.
"What?" She looks at me quizzically, pulling the shirt-tails out of my pants. "Did you say something?"
When she reaches for my waistband, I finally remember how to use my hands and gently grab her shoulders. She stops undressing me and looks up, surprised. I hook my index finger under one of the thin straps of that silky, black dress and pull it down.
"Let's get you out of this…"
"It's a shift dress," she cuts in and her eyes widen.
I tend to the other strap the same way.
"It's new," she whispers a little breathlessly. "So you like it?"
"…sexy shift dress that makes you…"
I gently turn her around until she's standing with her back to me.
"…look like a movie star."
I press my lips on the nape of her neck, and she shivers and breathes a soft, "Oh…"
I slowly pull down the long zipper. As the back of her dress parts in two, exposing more and more of her soft skin, I follow with my mouth, kissing a path right down from her shoulder blades to those pretty dimples where the zipper ends.
I'm on my knees now behind her, and I feel very boyfriend-ish. This feels right.
I graze the backs of her legs with just my fingertips, from her ankles up to the hollows of her knees along the seams of the black nylons she's wearing. Those must be thigh-highs; otherwise the top of the pantyhose should be visible through the gap in her dress, right? Instead, there's a bit of black lace peeking out, a tiny triangle, leading to a thin black string.
Bella never wore such seductive underwear before, and though all I can see is a tiny promise of what must be a lacy thong, it makes my breath hitch. For the first time I get a taste of what this lingerie thing is really about; I'd never thought there could be anything more beautiful or enticing than Bella in the nude, but God… the idea of seeing her in those bits of lace and those stockings without her dress is arousing.
Maybe it's because those things are hidden from everyone except me, meant to be seen only by me? She could have worn anything under her dress, but these… these panties are meant to seduce me, that's it. For my eyes only. For me. It's like a thoughtful gift, and I want to say thank you.
She is still holding the shoulder straps with her arms crossed in front of her, which is the only thing that keeps her dress from falling down, and right now I'm having a hard time waiting for it. She looks back over her shoulder; her cheeks are flushed. When her eyes find mine, she lets go and the silky fabric cascades down on her body just so. I take my hands off of her legs to let it pass, and when the dress pools around her feet, she steps out of it and turns around.
That's when I say it. "Thank you." It just spills out.
"For what?" Bella giggles nervously. And there it is again, this weird, irrational insecurity that gets the better of her from time to time. It's irritating, and I want to make it go away. For good.
"For these," I say, brushing along the lace with my index finger. "For you in these."
She beams at me. "You like? Oh… wait a sec, I'll be right back!"
And with that she turns around and heads for the door. What the…?
I open my mouth to call her name and keep her from leaving, but all that comes out it is a breathless, "Fuck!" The sight of her behind in that thong takes me by surprise. The black straps emphasizing the curves of her hips, her round cheeks moving with every step and the way that thin string disappears between them… I don't even understand what it is that makes this look so amazing, but it goes straight down to my penis.
I can't bear the dress pants on me any longer. I get on my feet and pull them off, along with my boxers. It's good to be naked finally. I'm so hard, it's almost uncomfortable, and I wrap my hand around my erection. I'm not stroking myself, just holding and squeezing a little. It feels better this way.
Bella returns and stops on the threshold. She has put on her shoes again, the black high heels which she took off first thing when we arrived. Her eyes go big when she sees me, and I'm pretty sure my facial expression mirrors hers. We both say, "Oh…" simultaneously.
Then she smiles widely at me. She starts turning around on the spot, presenting herself to me in all her glory, from all sides. Three slow turns; I'm having a hard time taking mental pictures quickly enough. Oh God, I want to take thousand pictures, a thousand times yes, to look at them again and again. Finally she leans against the doorframe and bends one leg playfully.
Now I'm stroking myself; I can't help it. Her legs look infinitely longer, her hips, her back; everything is just… Jesus, what is it about these shoes? How does this work?
Bella looks down to where I'm touching myself. She is blushing, but I know it's not embarrassment; she's just as excited as I am. Even her neck and her chest are covered by sweet shade of pink. She looks beautiful, even more so now that all traces of insecurity are gone. She loves seeing the effect she has on me, the power her beauty has over me. She told me so, and I'm not gonna hide it.
I take my hand away and let her see how hard I am for her. Because of her. Trembling, throbbing, leaking. Because of her.
She doesn't take her eyes away. Neither of us speaks; the only sound in the room is our heavy breathing, thick with anticipation. Then she wets her lips, and I almost moan at the sight of it. She slowly starts walking over to me in those shoes, those fucking shoes and those stockings, and out of nowhere I imagine pulling that lacy little thing off of her with my teeth. I'm no longer tired.
She nods her chin toward my aching cock and says, "Let me help you with that."
Fuck, yes. A thousand times yes…
Glenholme School for Autistic Children, New England
"Hey, hello. Hi! Can I sit here?"
Edward winced at the unexpected and almost painfully cheerful voice that interrupted the quiet moment he had hoped to find in his usual retreat, the less-frequented Zen garden between the Center of Arts and the baseball field. Irritated, he lifted his eyes over the rim of the book he was reading, but didn't bother to raise his head.
The annoying voice belonged to a pair of feet in brand-new, white sneakers, shuffling and kicking dirt in front of the wooden bench he was sitting on.
"Can I sit here with you?" she repeated in exactly the same inflection as before. And just as loud! Jesus…
Edward wished nothing more than to tell her to go away, but his good manners prevailed. He nodded his head yes and scooted to the far left end of the bench to make room for his unwelcome guest.
"Can I sit here with you?"
Good Lord, she was like a broken record! There was no escape – giving in to the inevitable, albeit, grudgingly, he raised his head. Fixating on the safe spot above the girl's right shoulder, he forced a fake smile onto his face and said, "Sure."
"Thank you!" she bellowed, and dropped herself onto the bench, much too close for his liking.
He already had reached the end of the bench with his hasty maneuver, so there was nothing he could do about it now. Unless he just left, but that would be rude. And being rude was not in his nature. So he just bent over his book again, hoping she wouldn't really want to disturb his reading.
Of course, there was no such luck.
"You're Edward, right?"
He winced again. If she kept that deafening volume up, she would end his musical career before it had even begun! Without taking his eyes off the book, he nodded his head yes. She was staring at him, so surely she would notice the nod this time, no?
"Are you? Edward? You are Edward, right?"
He briefly closed his eyes in defeat. She would probably repeat her question over and over, just like the first time. Nodding just didn't do it for her. He figured that if he answered a few times, tersely as was his way, maybe she would lose interest. Or at least, he could take his leave after a brief exchange without appearing rude.
So he granted her a mumbled, "Yes."
"Great! I am Jessica Stanley, and I am glad to meet you, Edward," the girl hollered happily, and reached out her hand, almost invading the space between Edward's book and his head.
Startled, he side-eyed the offensive limb. Seriously?
Jessica leaned in, violating his sensitive, personal space even more, and stage-whispered conspiratorially, "You're supposed to shake it."
Surprised that she didn't lack the ability to vary her sound level after all, he did just that.
She beamed at him and shook his hand vigorously, rattling his upper body in the process. "Okay! Take it and shake it, but try not to break it, right?" she recited, in full blast again. "'S not that bad, right? Not that bad!"
Actually, getting jumped that way was pretty bad in Edward's book. But before he could panic, she let go of him and scooted back a little; giving him the much-needed room to breathe.
Edward noticed that her language got sloppier, now that the formalities were over. He wondered briefly if she was hearing impaired. She was hollering everything out as if she had no sense at all how loudly it actually came out.
"Music theory." He clapped the book shut; reading was out of the question now anyway.
"You're the piano wunderkind."
"I suppose so."
"I don't do music. I paint."
Edward didn't know what to say to this, so he said nothing. His persistent companion didn't seem to mind this time. "I'm the painting wunderkind," she blurted, and then, out of nowhere, she began to guffaw like one possessed.
Edward screwed up his eyes as if in pain and waited for her outburst to be over – which happened quite abruptly. One moment she was still snorting and chortling, and the next she wasn't.
"That was a joke," she explained.
"Okay," Edward said, not amused at all.
"Do you remember me now?" she suddenly asked.
Edward didn't. If she took painting classes, they had probably crossed paths one time or another in the Center of Arts where music classes were held as well. But since he never took an interest in watching his fellow students, much less studying their faces, he couldn't tell.
"I often see you in the Center."
"You once attacked me there," she declared, still in that cheerful, high-pitched tone.
This was ridiculous. Edward knew for certain that he had never attacked anyone. Yet he got anxious at her accusation. He started rocking back and forth a bit, as he replied intently, "No, I didn't!"
"Yes, you did. You ran into me from behind and scared the shit outta me. They say you thought I was someone else, that's why you hadn't asked for permission before you hugged me from behind. And then you fell to the ground, like this…"
In a comical presentation of what she remembered, Jessica rolled her eyes back into her head. Her jaw went slack and her upper body performed the indication of a twist as she let herself sink down on the bench, with her head landing right next to Edward's lap. He pulled his hand back as if he'd burned it, just in time to prevent contact.
"I didn't do that," he repeated and started rocking more vehemently.
"Yes, you did," she insisted, getting back up. "You blacked out as if someone hit you on the head, and they carried you away on a stretcher."
"You're mistaking me for somebody else," he said, clutching at any straw, even though he couldn't help the strange feeling something like that did happen... somewhere... with someone.
"No, it was you. The pretty one. Happened like three or four years ago. You were still one of the card kids then. A card kid – yes."
He was. It had taken him a while to part with his communication cards. The things she was telling him sounded oddly familiar, but mostly surreal – even more so since she kept bellowing every sentence as if she needed to make herself heard in a sold-out sports arena.
"And when you came around, you didn't remember anything. They say that's why you never apologized to me. You don't need to apologize to me now either. I just wanted to know whether you maybe remember now. Because you're going to Lamont School of Music after the summer, right?"
Edward wondered how she knew that, and what else she might know.
"You're going to Lamont, right? Because you're gonna be famous, right? Aren't you going to Lamont after the summer?"
"Yes," he answered, just to stop her from repeating the same question over and over.
"But you don't remember me?"
"Don't you remember who you were looking for? I keep thinking I must resemble her, or else you wouldn't have jumped me like that. Was it a friend? Did she look like me? Was she pretty? Did she look like me?"
At this point, Edward could hardly resist the urge to cover his ears with his hands and hum as loudly as possible to shut the noisy girl out and just pretend she didn't exist. Something was stirring deep down inside him, struggling to come up and… break him, yes break him. Of that he was sure. He didn't know if Jessica's story had something to do with it, but he couldn't deny she stroked a chord.
He remembered waking up on the cot in the nurse's office. He remembered being told he had blacked out on the way to his piano class. But he couldn't remember the actual incident, or what had led to it. Who had he been looking for? If he had been looking for someone? Someone who looked like Jessica?
He looked at her closely for the first time. She was petite, almost skinny. She had pretty long hair the color of dark mahogany. He couldn't tell if her face was pretty or if it resembled someone he knew… he couldn't look into her face; he just couldn't. His rocking had become so bad; he had a hard time focusing anyway.
"Oh my, Edward, you're stimming something fierce!" Jessica observed, slightly worried. "I'll shut up, okay? I'll shut up. I'll shut up… oh my. You don't remember; I don't mind. I'll shut up now."
And she did, miraculously so. Instead she joined Edward in his rocking for a bit, picking up his rhythm and mirroring his movements in silence until they both slowed down simultaneously. They didn't really come to a halt, but without looking really closely one would hardly notice the miniscule movements that remained.
The buried memory of something (or someone!) painful that had threatened to wash up from a place so dark and deep that Edward's mind fought with claws and teeth to keep it there had finally stopped stirring. But there was no relief; instead he felt hollow and somehow just not right. Incomplete, like he had lost something important. And even though he didn't know what in the world that might be, the feeling was so devastating for a moment that he didn't so much as flinch when Jessica suddenly scooted closer.
"It sucks that you cannot remember anything," she practically bawled at him. "You want a hug? I give real good hugs. Tight hugs. You want one?"
"No, thank you."
She shimmied even closer, and Edward was barely sitting on his left butt cheek by now. One more inch and he would fall off the bench. Her hair tickled his arm, and strangely, even though her advances were creeping him out, he felt the urge to touch the dark locks.
"You sure? I give real good hugs…" She looked quite eager.
And in a brief moment of confusion and indecision, he weakly shrugged his shoulders. That was all Jessica Stanley, who had harbored a secret crush for the pretty but unapproachable boy for quite a while, needed for a cue.
In a second, she was all over him, half straddling his lap, and with her arms wound around his shoulders so tighly that she was effectively trapping his arms. That and the shock over her unexpected move immobilized him to a degree that all he could do was put his hand on her waist… as if to still her or to push her away, he didn't know.
And then her mouth crashed on his, lips pressing on lips so hard it almost hurt. Everything happened so quickly; he could hardly keep up. When she licked his bottom lip, he opened his mouth and gave the lead to her. His penis grew hard under her squirming bottom when her tongue invaded his mouth like an unleashed little animal.
He didn't really kiss her back. It was his first French kiss ever, and he didn't know what to make of it. The growing sexual arousal fought for dominance with his impending anxiety attack caused by the girl's almost-violent assault. She moaned into his mouth, and the volume of it was in no way inferior to the way she'd previously spoken.
That was what tipped the scale towards the second option – Edward panicked. He did enjoy the friction in his nether regions all right, but other than that, nothing was right about this… the way she moved, her smell, her noises, everything was just wrong. He had no idea what she was missing to make it feel right, but he didn't even want to touch her hair anymore. He didn't want to touch her at all. And he didn't want to be touched by her either.
He pulled his head back and out of her hungry mouth's reach and yelled, "Stop!"
She obeyed without blinking, he had to give her that. But then she did the most absurd thing. She beamed at him and boomed, "Happy belated birthday, Edward!"
He froze, panic attacks and erections momentarily forgotten. "What?"
"It was your fourteenth birthday last week, right?"
"Yes," he answered between pants. He still had trouble getting his breathing under control. He let go of her waist and she effortlessly slid off of his thighs, without hesitation. She scrambled to her feet and started to carefully smooth out her skirt.
"My birthday is tomorrow. I'm going to be sixteen."
Edward didn't even try to process that information or to figure out the appropriate retort. He got up from the bench and turned around to collect his belongings. And to discreetly adjust himself in his jeans, too.
"I have to go," he simply said and started to walk away.
"Will you be here again tomorrow?" Jessica called after him, totally unfazed.
He shook his head from side to side, not looking back, just hoping she would get the message this time. No, he wouldn't be here tomorrow. Or ever again. He needed to seek out another refuge; this place was ruined for him. He felt that kissing, or girls in general, were ruined for him too.
It didn't matter. He would leave this place soon anyway. He couldn't wait to go to Lamont and learn how to compose music. Orchestral music. He couldn't wait.
Edward's place, Port Angeles
How we have managed to make it to the bathroom without incident, incessantly kissing and touching on the way, is beyond me. Somehow we were moving like one, unable to let go of each other, and I totally lost any sense of locality or direction. But here we are.
"Bella, I want…"
I don't get to say what I want because there are a thousand kisses that want to be kissed, and we share them, one by one. I don't mind putting my thoughts on hold at all. Anything to feel my Bella, anything to make her feel me. Anything to get closer.
I push my tongue into her mouth and swirl it around, just the way she likes it. Her own tongue answers me sweetly, slower than mine… not passive but compliant, submitting to me and letting me lead, like in a dance. Her taste is exquisite.
We break the kiss, restricting ourselves to little pecks in quick succession for a minute. Between them, I manage to pick up where I left off.
"I want to…" Kiss. "…undress you." Kiss, kiss. "Can I?" Kiss.
Without her saying anything, and between more little kisses, I get a yes. Did she just nod her head? I don't know, but I get a yes. She breathes YES; every pore of her silky skin oozes YES, and she's getting goose bumps all over. It makes me dizzy how right it feels to be with her like this. Always.
Once again I get on my knees in front of her as she leans back against the vanity, and let my hands slide down her body on the way. From the back of her head to her neck… shoulders, collarbones, her supple breasts… I pause there for a moment; the sensation of her taut nipples grazing my palms, right where the lifeline runs along the balls of my hands, is maddening, but maddeningly good.
The small gasp she makes and the way she slightly arches her back tells me that she loves it just as much. Barely making contact, I circle my palms a few more times and am rewarded with a moaned, "Fuck, Edward…" that makes my penis twitch.
My hands resume their descending journey along her ribcage and down to her small waist. I let myself sink down on my heels and, holding her hips, caress the gentle rounding of her belly with my thumbs. My face is on a level with that enticing triangle of almost-see-through fabric, and I lose track of what I was going to do, because her scent… that scent – it gets to me every time.
"Bella," I breathe. Before I know it I have pressed my nose against her lace-covered mound and draw in a deep breath. She bends forward and grabs my shoulders, which is good because gravity fails me for a second. I feel powerless and empowered at the same time, just by Bella's scent filling my nostrils, flooding my system like a magic potion.
It's the scent that says I am the one she wants. It's the scent that says, now, and more, the scent that calls my name. It's the scent that says I'm doing this right… a thousand times yes, and a thousand times right.
When my lungs finally scream at me to release the air, I exhale lengthily through my mouth that is pressed against the lace right above where I know her clitoris is. My breath gets caught in the lace, hot and damp, captured between her sex and my face, and she likes it. Her fingers dig into my shoulders and her breathing picks up speed.
I do it again, blowing moist heat into her panties, right on her most sensitive spot. "Jesus Christ," she whispers, and just so, her scent calls out to me even louder. Nothing in the world smells this right. The throbbing in my erection has gotten really bad; I reach down and give it a few purposeful tugs to prevent it from bursting.
I detach my mouth from her and lift my head. She's looking at me with pleading eyes, almost desperately. Her eye make-up has started to melt a bit, leaving black traces around the outer corners of her eyes. It makes her look… adventurous? God, she's beautiful…
"Edward, are you trying to kill me?"
"No," I reply mindlessly, still in a haze.
"Then please, for Christ's sake, get these things off of me, or I will do it myself!"
Oh, right. "Sorry, I…"
She giggles, very breathlessly, and lifts her right foot. "Just do it, Little Green. I want to make love to you."
"In the shower?"
"Yes, in the shower."
"Off with these," she commands, wiggling her foot.
Yes, off with… fuck, those shoes!
I grab the heel of her pump, and she slips out of it. My hands are shaking at this point; I'm incredibly excited. But I'm back on my mission to get my Bella naked and make love to her – in the shower! – and things go surprisingly smoothly. I put the shoe aside and repeat the process with her other foot. I make quick work of her stockings, rolling them down her legs and off her feet.
Then I'm face-to-face with her panties again. I look up and into Bella's eyes, and following my earlier fantasy, I take one of the side straps between my teeth and pull, never taking my eyes off of hers.
She gapes at me incredulously. "Edward, you are so…" Then she hides her face behind her hands and laughs. It is contagious, as always, and I chuckle, too – still with that strap between my teeth.
Suddenly her hands are on my face, pulling at my jaw. "Let go, you goofball of a… sexy, crazy…" She giggles madly. I open my mouth, and she quickly shoves down her panties and steps out of them. She grabs my hand and pulls me upright and towards the tub.
We're both still grinning and snorting. I like that, laughing so carelessly with my Bella while we're having sex. Because this is sex right now, right? What we're doing? Laughing feels good. It's so different from the frenzy that gets the better of me so easily with our lovemaking. So much joy, so much beauty… I'm still excited, still aching for her, but my heart and mind both feel light as a feather.
The water is running. We step under the fine, warm spray and just stand there for a moment, facing each other, coming down from our giggle-fest.
I love wet Bella. I have no words to tell her how glorious she is, with those glistening rivulets zig-zagging down her body, and with those little beads of water trembling in her lashes before they drop down onto her cheeks and her mouth where she absently licks them away, again and again.
Even now that the remains of her mascara are dying a quite spectacular and smudgy death, of which she is totally oblivious. I cannot imagine anything more beautiful than her, and I feel love-drenched all over again, to the very core of me. I'm soaked with my love for her, and it bubbles up inside of me, deliciously warm and tingling, and then it spills over.
"I love you, Bella. I… oh God, so much!"
With a sharp intake of breath, she suddenly puts the flats of her hands on my chest and pushes me against the wall of the shower stall. I flinch at the cold tiles on my back, but forget about them as soon as I feel her fingers wrap around my penis… finally! Oh God, yes…
My eyes threaten to roll back into my head, and my mind gets as foggy as the vapor-filled cubicle we're in, as she starts working me with her small hand, stroking, twisting, rubbing just around the tip. But I force my gaze back to her eyes that look at me so intensely.
"You like that, yes?"
Is she even serious? I'm so wound up at this point that my legs started shaking almost as soon as she laid a hand on me. I'm gasping and grunting and it sounds as if I'm in pain. Which I am, kind of. But it's such a sweet pain, such a torturous pleasure.
"Fuck, yes," I moan. "I like this. I like that you look at me like this while you're touching me."
She adds her other hand to fondle my balls, eliciting one of these ridiculous cussing fits of mine I will never understand but cannot hold in. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuuuuuck…" I chant like a moron.
"I like looking at you, too, when you're carried away like this. So, so much," she says and starts stroking me in earnest now, from base to tip. I'm shaking all over, unable to answer her or even think coherently. I can only stare into her eyes, helplessly, as I feel my insides tense up.
"Oh God, Edward, your face… so beautiful! You're coming, right? Keep looking at me, fuck yes… gorgeous… do you want to come like this?"
I couldn't answer her if my life depended on it. Not only because the spoken word eludes me completely right now, but also because I just don't fucking know. I'm getting closer and closer to my release and there's no way I can tell her to stop. Yet I keep thinking, inside of her, please I want inside…
And then the decision is out of my hand when a sharp pain tears at my foreskin. It's over as soon as it started, but it's still enough to pull me out of my ecstasy and makes me hiss and wince. Even though I was positively leaking when we stepped into the shower, it was obviously not enough natural lubrication to defy the water. Thankfully, Bella immediately stopped.
"Sorry, love. Sensitive, yes? Too much?"
"No, just a little… dry," I say and laugh, because it sounds so silly, given that we're in the shower.
We both look down on my tortured penis. I'm still rock-hard, still throbbing like mad. My foreskin has retreated completely, exposing the swollen head that has taken on a dark purple color. It almost looks circumcised.
Neither of us stirs or says a word.
Experimentally I flex my muscles down there, and my penis twitches and slaps against my belly. It looks like a grouchy demonstration of impatience that makes us both giggle, and the awkwardness is gone.
"I think I can help you with that," Bella whispers and steps closer to me. We're not really under the spray of water anymore. She reaches between her legs, and I almost lose it when she collects some of her own wetness and coats my glans with her sweet juices.
I pull her close, feeling like I'm losing my mind. "Oh God, Bella, so wet for me. I cannot wait, please… condoms."
"We don't need them," she whispers against my temple, while she slowly pumps me into rapture. I don't get what she is saying.
"We don't? What…"
"Remember I told you I want to get on the pill? Well, I did. And it's in full effect now. No more condoms."
"Bella…" I moan. "Jesus… fuck…"
"Make love to me, Edward."
I can't believe I can just be with her, now, just like we are, without anything between us. But my body doesn't wait for my mind to catch up. With something close to a growl I pull her even closer and turn us around. Now she's the one with her back against the tiles.
"Up!" I hiss, and grab her butt. I lift her up and she puts her legs around me. I have no idea how my shaking legs are able to carry us both, but they do. They're probably screaming at me, but I can't hear them over the rushing of my blood and the low-frequency hum of my desire that drowns out almost everything.
This is perfect. We are perfect! I don't even need to use my hands, I slip inside of her just so and we fit together like a hand in a glove.
She cries out, "Oh God, yes!"
I have no cries anymore; I just grind my teeth and thrust. I won't last, not at all. I feel it building right away, because this is just too good, too right.
Finally I'm there with her, closer than ever before.
"I cannot…" I grunt, unable to form sentences.
But I want her to know, that…
"…I will take care of you."
Then the pleasure consumes me whole, burning me, healing me, tearing me apart and putting me back together in a searing flash of light, as I spill myself inside of my love, again and again, pulsating, convulsing, impossibly close.
Light. Heat. Zero Gravity. Bella.
My legs finally give out under me, and we both slide down until I sit on my heels. Bella's legs around my waist have gone limp; her head leans back against the wall and she's panting through parted lips.
I promised her… I'll take care of her.
With what little strength is left in my arms, I lift her up and hook her legs over my shoulders. Steadying her against the tiles with my hands cupping her butt cheeks, I bury my face between her legs. I hum against her swollen clitoris as I start licking in small circles.
I don't know yet if I really like the taste of the two of us together. Definitely not as much as her pure essence, but it's fine.
I'm taking care of her. I promised. And I love it so much.
Her little hands clutch at my hair, and I know she's close already. I can taste it. She's almost there, and I lick and suck and nibble with fervor.
"Yes," she says. "Oh God, yes." And then it turns into a frenzied chanting. "Yesyesyesyes, oh yes… fuck, yes… don't stop, don't stop, don't stop…"
And I don't.
And then she comes all over my tongue, and her taste is stronger than mine, stronger than anything; it's divine and I drink as much as I can get before I pull her down and release her quivering legs and cradle her in my lap.
I reach up and turn the water off. Holding Bella close to me with one arm, I bend to the side, and with a little effort, I get a hold of a corner of the big bath towel hanging over the nearby heater and pull it over. I wrap it around us both.
The insides of our hands and feet are white and wrinkled from all the water. We cannot stay in here forever, but I don't trust my legs right now, and Bella is out of it, too.
"I love you," she mumbles.
"I love you more."
She giggles. Then we stay silent for a few minutes, enjoying the quiet and the warmth.
"I should call Esme."
"Not necessary, I texted Carlisle when we arrived here. I hope you don't mind that I used your cell?"
"Of course not." She is so amazing. "Thank you."
Slowly, I feel the fatigue kicking back in.
"Little Green," she suddenly whispers.
"Easybella," I reply, and kiss her forehead.
I feel her smile against my chest. Pulling her tight, I start rocking us back and forth a little. I know we can't stay here forever. But right now I don't want to change a thing.
For the backstory of SU4K (Stand Up 4 Katalina) - in case you aren't familiar with it - please go the main Story and check its LAST CHAPTER. /s/6412470/33/Little-Green-and-Easybella
Also, the main SU4K blog has been re-activated.
katalina . fandomcause . info / about (remove spaces)
I'm overjoyed that Katalina is still with us, blessing and inspiring us with her amazing, strong and lovely self. If you like, step by that blog and drop her a line. She'll love it... even if you don't know her personally :o)
"Oh my, Edward, you're stimming something fierce!" – Jessica said this to Edward when he was rocking back and forth on that bench.
I didn't make that word up. To be on the safe side, I asked my friend Alec Frazier – an astonishing young man, true fan of Little Green, autistic himself and active member of ASAN (Autism Self Advocacy Network) – to help me with a definition I could put in my A/N.
This is an excerpt:
"Stimming is a repetitive body movement that self-stimulates one or more senses in a regulated manner. Stimming is known in psychiatry as a "stereotypy", a continuous, purposeless movement.
Stimming is one of the symptoms listed by the DSM IV for autism, although it is observed in about 10 percent of young children without autism. Many children with autism have no stims. Common forms of stimming among people with autism include hand flapping, body spinning or rocking, lining up or spinning toys or other objects, echolalia, perseveration, and repeating rote phrases."
See also (remove spaces) autism . wikia wiki / Autism_Wiki
For those who are not familiar with the main story and maybe wondered…
LITTLE GREEN: Bella's nickname for Edward has its origin in the song she used to sing to him. It's 'Little Green' by Joni Mitchell. One line says, 'Just a little green, like the nights when the Northern lights perform…" Bella also often speaks of his 'Northern light eyes'.
EASYBELLA: When Bella was introduced to ten-year-old Edward as 'Isabella', he simply got her name wrong. But to him it sounded right, because it was so easy for him to be with her.
Stand Up 2 Cancer/SU4K
I wrote and recorded a Song for Katalina (yes, I am a musician) which is available for download, with proceeds going 100% to SU2C. There is no time limit or deadline; I will forward every cent to the cause as long as people buy the song and I am able to operate a computer keyboard.
It's called "Keep On Dancing". Check it out, maybe you'll like it…
(remove spaces) bettis-art-house . blogspot . com
My heartfelt thanks to my amazing new friend bornonhalloween.
For making this possible, in the first place. If it wasn't for her, this compilation and SU4K wouldn't exist.
For helping me when I was too heartbroken to even ask for help – although she didn't really know me at that time.
We keep on dancing!