Disclaimer: We still don't own Twilight, but we do have a couple of plane tickets to Chicago! If you're going to be at the TFMU and you see a tall blonde and a short redhead with glasses, please say "what's up" or just "hi"...that works, too. We can't wait to meet everyone!
"If you're not willing to give me anything more, then I see no point in staying."
Walking down the alley and away from Edward, my heart clenches. The words that left my mouth make me ache inside. The last thing I want to do is leave, but I feel as if I have no choice.
He says that I'm not a whore, but he just made me feel like one. I'm so confused by everything that's happened over the last few days. I need to clear my head and that's nearly impossible when I'm around Edward. There's also a job to be done and I can't nail James sitting in a penthouse all day. I've got to get back to real life and stop living this fantasy.
Tomorrow will be the end of our week-long agreement. I wondered how this would end - how we would agree on when I should leave - and this just made it easier.
Edward catches up to me, falling in step beside me and pulling out his phone. He calls McCarty and requests that the car be brought around.
When McCarty pulls up to the curb, Edward opens the door for me and places his hand at the small of my back, guiding me into the backseat. The gesture brings tears to my eyes for some reason. It's so simple and innocent, but it makes me feel cared for and protected.
Once again, he's giving me whiplash; his words and his actions saying two different things.
The ride back to the hotel is silent. I'm afraid to talk, due to my surge of emotions; and Edward's sitting as still as a statue. I glance at him out of the corner of my eye, just to make sure he's still breathing. His eyes are focused straight ahead and his jaw is set in a tight line. The tension inside the car is thick, unspoken words lingering in the air.
McCarty must know that something's up because he keeps looking back at us in his rearview mirror. When we make eye contact, he quickly looks away, and never says a word the entire drive back to the hotel. Over these last couple of weeks that I've known him, I've learned a few things: he knows when to keep his mouth shut, but he's not afraid to speak up when it's needed. He's a good balance to Edward's irrational side. I really like him as a person but I'm not sure what the hell he sees in Rose. Maybe it's that whole 'opposites attract thing', because they are definitely polar opposites.
When we walk into the hotel room, Edward's actions are mechanical. He walks over to the desk and opens up a safe. Pulling out a large stack of bills, he begins counting them out, placing them in piles on the desk. He never says a word and never looks up. The silence is killing me. I'd rather have the angry Edward than this one who's completely void of emotion. At least when he's angry, I know what he's feeling. I have no idea what's going through his head right now.
"We should talk," I say, standing across the room from him.
"There's nothing to talk about, Bella. You want something that I can't give you," he says solemnly. Walking closer, he continues. "But for tonight, you're still mine."
His words are like fire and ice - sending chills down my spine, yet igniting me from within.
Even though I'm upset with Edward for not giving me just a little bit more of himself, just enough to make me stay, I could never refuse him what he wants from me. I would give it to him free of charge.
With that thought, I realize I'm in completely over my head, feeling things I've never felt before.
I expect Edward to take me roughly, claiming what is his; but instead, his movements are fluid and soft. He gently takes my hand and leads me into the bedroom. Without a word, he slowly begins removing my dress, laying it across the chair. When I'm completely bare, he stands back and his eyes trace my body, as if they're memorizing each peak and curve and valley.
His hand comes up to cup my cheek as he steps in closer, pressing his clothed body against me. I want to kiss him so badly. I want to give him something of myself to keep after I've gone. I can't give him money or possessions, but I can give him myself, and I do. With every touch and caress, I give him everything.
Instead of kissing him, I quietly undress him. I don't want to ruin our last night together. I want to memorize his body the way he did mine. I want to take as much of him with me as I can. My hands run down his body, feeling each tightly coiled muscle. I trace down the lines that lead to his waistband, methodically unbuckling his pants and letting them fall to the floor.
His cock springs up, slapping his toned stomach and I lick my lips, as even more desire burns through my body. I want to taste him. I want to lick him from base to shaft, and savor every drop that he gives me. As if he can read my mind, he wraps an arm around my back and guides me down to the bed. Quickly he sheathes himself and lines up at my entrance, before slowly pushing in.
There's something different this time. Edward's eyes are locked on mine and I feel as though he can see into the deepest darkest parts of my soul. With every thrust, it feels as if I'm becoming more transparent, laying myself bare and feeling more naked than I have in my entire life. The expression on Edward's face is one of desperation. His eye brows are furrowed, the unspoken words on the tip of his tongue. His curved lips are half open, allowing his sweet breath to blow over me with each push.
I've never cried during sex. I've cried after sex for many reasons, but never during; the sting that hits my eyes is unexpected, making my breath hitch in my throat.
Edward leans forward, slowing his movements, and placing his cheek next to mine. He whispers in my ear, but it's so faint that I can't make out the words over my pants and heavy heart-beat. We stay lost in that moment for what feels like forever. Every inch of our bodies is pressed together, moving in perfect cadence, and holding on for dear life as we fall apart.
Lying here, in the stillness of the night, I think Edward has actually fallen asleep, which would be a first. His arm is still lightly draped over my stomach, but I haven't felt him move in a while. Slowly turning my head to the side, I see that his eyes are closed, but his face still looks somewhat tense. His eyebrows are slightly drawn together, as if he's in deep thought instead of a deep sleep.
I reach up and softly run my thumb over his brow, attempting to soothe him, willing him to relax. "You can trust me," I whisper into the dark. "I wish you would trust me."
Sleep must have taken over, because the next thing I know, daylight is peeking through the window as I try to open my eyes. I roll over into the empty spot beside me where Edward was before I went to sleep and I deeply inhale, trying to suck in as much of his scent as I can. The thought of leaving takes over my mind and sadness seeps into every crevice.
Why can't things be easier?
Why can't they work out the way they do in fairy tales?
Why can't I stay?
Why can't he just tell me who he is...just give me something?
All of the whys are overwhelming. If I let myself, I could lay here all day wondering "why this" and "why that". My life is filled with "whys" and "what ifs". I guess that some questions were never meant to be answered. I mean, if we had all the answers, we'd be God or something.
"Good morning," Edward says, interrupting my thoughts and causing a lump to form in my throat.
I'm going to miss him. How pathetic is that? This was never supposed to happen. I came here to do a job, not fall in love.
What the fuck? Just the word "love" creeping into my vocabulary is enough to throw me into a panic attack. Get your shit together, Bella, and get the fuck out of here!
"Good morning," I finally reply, rolling over to face him.
He's standing in the doorway, freshly showered and nearly dressed, his tie hanging loosely around his neck.
"I ordered you breakfast."
"You didn't have to do that."
"You need to eat."
Walking across the room, he opens the closet door and steps inside. When he walks back out, he's holding Blondie, my wig that I left here the first night we were together.
I sit up and tuck the sheet under my arms to cover myself as he sits on the edge of the bed.
"I had almost forgotten about that," I say with a tad bit more excitement in my voice than is necessary, but I can't help it. I love that wig.
"Bella, I need you to promise me a few things."
I sit there silently, wanting to spout off something about not owing him anything, like he did to me last night; but I don't.
"I realize that I can't talk you out of going back to your job or tracking down James," he sighs. "But, please, promise me that you'll be careful."
"I promise," I tell him. I'm not sure how true that statement is, but he doesn't need to know that.
"And, I know this is a little much to ask, but wear this," he instructs, holding my wig out to me. "I'm pretty sure that James was oblivious the night we met with him over dinner, but just in case he remembers anything from that night, I wouldn't want him connecting you to me in any way," he pauses and then continues, "for your protection, not mine."
I nod in agreement.
"This may be naive of me, but I'd also like to think that I'm the only one who's seen the real Bella," he says, quietly. A look of vulnerability that I've never seen him have crosses his face, and it breaks my heart. For a brief moment, Edward could be any teenage boy in love, hoping that the girl he loves will reciprocate.
I know that what I'm thinking of doing may be a deal breaker, but since our deal is technically over, I do it anyway. I want to give him something to remember me by...I want to have something of him that he doesn't give to anyone else, too.
As I crawl to the end of the bed, I see the look on his face. His expression changes and he swallows deeply, his Adam's apple moving up and down.
Kneeling beside him, I lean in, first brushing my nose along the edge of his jaw, breathing deeply. Quickly before I change my mind or he changes it for me, I touch my lips to his, kissing him. He doesn't pull away or lean in, he just sits very still, so I let the kiss linger. Our lips are pressed together for the first time and even though it's not intense or passionate, it's everything. It's like electricity is flowing from his body to mine. I slightly open my lips, allowing my tongue to lightly brush his, tasting him.
At that moment, Edward kisses me back. His hand comes up and grips the side of my face, fingers tangling in my hair. I tilt my head to the side to gain better access and he does the same, deepening the connection. My eyes close shut of their own accord and I lose myself in Edward...in the feel of his lips finally on mine.
I reach up to touch him and he's gone. He was here and now he's gone. I quickly open my eyes and Edward is no longer sitting on the edge of the bed, he's clear across the room standing in the doorway where he was when I first woke up.
If I didn't know any better, I would say that I was dreaming, but the tingling of my lips tells me different.
"I'm sorry," I say, even though I am anything but sorry.
The stern expression that I'm used to seeing on his face returns and he begins to tighten the tie around his neck, before turning around to walk out of the bedroom. I didn't expect that. I'm not sure what I expected, but not that.
Quickly, I climb off the bed and grab my robe, following Edward into the other room. I watch as he puts his suit coat on and closes his briefcase.
"I've left a business card on the desk. Please take it. It has my cell number, as well as McCarty's. Call if you need anything," he says, walking to the door. "Even a ride."
"Thank you for staying the week with me, Bella. It's been..." he pauses, as if he's thinking about what he wants to say. "It's been the best week of my existence," he continues before walking out the door.
The best week of his existence? Who says shit like that? And, an even better question, who says shit like that and just walks the hell out? I should be thrilled at his words, but instead, I'm just pissed. Pissed and hurt, even though it's my own damned fault. I knew what I was getting into when this started, but I let my guard down and, in the process, let him into my heart.
For the second time in twenty-four hours, I'm crying, and I don't even know exactly why. The tears flow freely as I sit down on the couch, and I let out all my emotions, sobbing into the fancy pillow.
When I pull away, there are stains on the silk fabric, so I turn it around to the other side before putting it back where it goes. Wiping my nose on the sleeve of my robe, I give myself a pep talk and remind myself what needs to be done.
I have a job to do.
This is not real life.
I need to call Jake and Garrett.
I need to check on Alice.
I need to find James and get this fucking over with.
After I get dressed and put my bags by the door, I grab a bagel from the breakfast tray Edward had ordered, tucking it inside my purse. Looking back over the room, it's as if I'd never been there.
The money sitting on the edge of the desk is the elephant in the room right now. I know that I need it, but a part of me wants to leave it where it sits. This week has turned into so much more than a long-term job and I want Edward to know that I was here for more than a paycheck - he means more to me than the money. But, on the other hand, I need that money. Without it, I'll be forced to turn tricks. I would have to go back to work as soon as I leave here. There's rent to be paid and food doesn't come free.
My stomach hurts from the indecision and from not knowing what to do. I sit down in Edward's chair to think it over for a few more minutes. Grabbing the stack of money, I run my fingers over it, thumbing through the bills. With this kind of money, I could keep myself and Alice off the streets for quite awhile - long enough to finish tracking down James and to figure out what I'm going to do next.
A piece of paper tucked in between the bills catches my eye. As I pull it out, I notice that it's hotel stationery with a note written on it.
If you're thinking about not taking the money, don't. You need it and I want you to have it. I would give it to you for nothing in return. Please take it and, if it keeps you off of the streets for even a day, it's worth every penny. I meant what I said; call me if you need anything.
Swallowing the lump that's forming in my throat again, I fold the money up and stuff it into my purse. Without another thought about the money or leaving, I gather my bags and walk out the door.
Jenny Kate: *runs with open arms* JIFF! I'm so happy you're here to do A/Ns! I've missed you so!
Jiff: *picks you up and twirls you around because I'm the tall blonde* I'm so happy to be back! I've missed doing A/Ns! Most of all, I've missed replying to reviews! I read and loved every one, I promise!
Jenny Kate: We will get caught up one of these days. We swear! So, what do we think about the chapter? The kiss? Edward's response, or lack thereof?
Jiff: Oh, I think he responded, alright! I, personally, loved the kiss. I hope it lived up to everyone's expectations!
Jenny Kate: Me, too! I know we've held out on that for a while, so there are probably a lot of people who had it planned out in their minds how they wanted it to happen.
Jiff: Yep! Usually, we make readers wait for lemons. This time, we made them wait for the kiss and gave the lemons early!
Jenny Kate: As always, we can't wait to hear what you guys think! Please let us know in the reviews! Also, if you're going to be in Chicago, let us know that, too...and maybe a real name? LOL. We don't want to miss meeting anybody!
Jiff: Also, Bella Donna is on The Lemonade Stand's Fic of the Week poll! We'd really appreciate your vote!
www dot tehlemonadestand dot net - you know what to do! Voting ends Wednesday night (June 26). You can also find the link on our Facebook page and we'll tweet it again tonight for those on Twitter.
A HUGE thank you to our awesome beta, Mauigirl60! Thank you for taking the time to work on our stories and make our words better!