publicly recognizable characters, settings, situations, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended.
Beta'd by SunflowerFran.
Mistakes are my own.
I was never much of a gardener, born with my mother's brown thumb and all. At least, that was what my grandma always used to tell me.
"Gardening's a persnickety business, Bella, either you can or you can't. You, just simply can't," she had said, shrugging the sting off with her shoulders, like she hadn't just broken my spirit. It was the only time she ever told me I couldn't do something, if you didn't count eating in the living room, or coloring on her pristine, white walls. And I believed her. I still believed her to this day, seeing as everything I touched seemed to wither away and die.
But she'd made up for it. She made up for pointing out and putting my flaws into perspective by pulling off her soil-stained gloves to lift my fallen chin. "You have your mother's thumbs child, and her eyes and her hair," she had said, running her curving fingers through it; deforming arthritic joints couldn't even keep that woman down. "I wouldn't change you for the world."
My Grandma, while brutally honest, was the only one that ever talked about my mother, reminisced about who and how she used to be before she died: happy, warm-hearted, and carefree. Apparently I was nothing much like her, except for my looks. I took after my dad in the personality department. I was quiet and withdrawn, not too keen on showing emotion or affection, which was why I was so surprised I'd been so eager to put my hands, my lips, my entire fucking body all over a man that wanted so little to do with them. Well … my lips, at the very least.
I wondered what I had done to make him change his mind. What it was that caused him to snap, turn around and run away from me. I'd figured it out tossing and turning all over the squeaky springs of little, Jacob Blacks bed last night. Emotion, affection; they were different from raw, sexual attraction, something I'd never experienced before that night in Rose's, open hallway. That kiss was better than any kiss I'd ever experienced, more passionate than any sex I'd ever had. And that was just his fingers, the burning look in his eyes and how he wouldn't take them off of me. I'd never thought about kissing before, wanting to or not wanting to do it. It was always decided for me. It was a given, a natural part of consummation; always nice, but never truly needed, not until now, not until I knew what that need actually felt like. And the fact that he didn't seem to feel it made me ache to kiss him that much more.
But wasn't that the way it always worked, we coveted what we couldn't have?
Maybe that was it. Maybe I wanted it so much because I couldn't have it. Maybe it wasn't him, but the idea of him and how he was so mysterious and so standoffish that I had to work for it, that I had to strive just to get the hint of a taste. Only, I knew that wasn't true, not even close. I knew what I felt when my lips barely brushed his. I knew what I felt. It was different. It was more than nice. More than chemistry. It was energy and intensity. The strongest form of static electricity, the kind that makes the tiniest hairs on your skin stand on end.
I could still feel the charge coursing through my deprived body, and couldn't imagine what would have happened if he had kissed me back. The words internally and combust were the first to come to mind, which wasn't exactly pleasant to picture. But, what a way to go.
I wasn't sure when I finally fell asleep, my eyes opening to land on the same spot I'd pondered for the better half the night. But I felt refreshed nonetheless, jumping up from bed and slipping on a bra under my tank, before pulling on my cutoffs; the fringes reminding me of his fingers, and how they felt, calloused and confident, gliding along my skin. I knew I wanted to feel them again. I wanted them on me again. And if that meant nothing above the sensitive hollow of my neck and his wide shoulders, then so be it.
I wanted him.
"Ah, fuck." Craning my neck to look behind me, I found Alice on her knees, tentatively studying the fingers on her left hand.
"I broke a nail," she pouted, leaning back on her Sketchers Shape-Ups with a defeated sigh.
Aw, poor baby.
"See, this is why I hire people to do all the dirty work, by the time the job's finished I would have actually saved money by saving my nails."
Ignoring her reasoning, I turned back to pulling the overgrown weeds that had weaseled their way into the bordering shrubbery. At least, I hoped they were weeds, as I ripped them from their roots a little more forceful than necessary.
I had to keep my mind distracted or else I was going to go crazy, reading too much into why Edward didn't show up to help out Jasper and his crew today.
"So, what did you think about Peter?"
Wiping the sweat from my forehead with the back of my arm, I sat back on my heels, looking around in search of the hand shovel. I needed to stab something.
"He seems nice," I said, instead of what I honestly wanted to, which was that he was boring and bland, blonde with blue eyes and so far from my type that the idea of us together was nauseating to muse. But most of all, I wanted to tell her that he could fuck off, rethink the pink, and buy a real pair of shoes.
Unfortunately, my grandma's gall was just another useful trait I hadn't inherited.
"Yeah, he liked you too," Alice sighed, twisting and contorting those three, simple words into some kind of connection, outdoing herself with that crazy quirk I've come to know and not love. Damn, she had a nerve that gnawed on mine.
I was going to let it go, take out my frustrations on the hardened soil, but I just couldn't. I couldn't let this situation seed itself and grow, root this delusional idea of hers that Peter and I would end up together. It just wasn't going to happen.
"Oh, yeah?" I asked, glancing over my shoulder to find her smiling widely as she nodded her head.
I smiled back.
"It's just too bad that I don't date, remember?"
Her huff was drowned out by a set of tires barreling down the gravel drive. My stomach flipped, and my heart skipped a beat before I even saw the midnight blue of the fairly new Ford. Bending forward, I kept my head down, lifting my eyes discretely to watch as he pulled up to the far side of the house, jumped out and gathered some supplies.
He'd showered, I could tell, his limp hair fuller, and shining as bright as the copper pipes in the midday sun. The jeans he wore today were light and faded, clinging close in all the right places. I noticed this along with his muscle, as he lifted the equipment from the open bed of the truck, the hem of his oil-stained, white tee shirt rising with his arms. The wrap on his hand almost feigned a fashion statement as he hauled two handfuls across the lawn, giving no indication of any discomfort or pain.
Leaning back on my heels again, I wiped more sweat from my forehead, looking up and meeting his eyes just before he took to the stairs and disappeared inside the house. That one look made my chest go numb. I wanted to follow after him to see what he was up to, or maybe just look at him some more, but I knew Alice wouldn't be too far behind.
Damn my need for running water, and her nice, but unhelpful insistence that she assist me in whatever I was doing today.
She hadn't acknowledged what may or may not have happened up against the wall at Rose's the other night, but I could tell she wanted to. I could see the wheels turning inside her head, bursting at the cogs to tell me what a bad idea this was, and that he was no good for me, that he'd only break my heart and leave me hanging somewhere down the line. But what she hadn't yet come to realize was that my heart was already broken, and there wasn't much that he could or couldn't do that would hinder or even heal it.
"I was thinking that maybe we could go out as a group, ya know, go to dinner or just hang out sometime."
Dropping the shovel to the ground, I turned to gape at her.
"It wouldn't be a date or anything," she defended, showing me the palms of her hands. "You could just get to know one another, be friends … at the very least, Bella."
With a scoff and a stunned smile, I shook my head, turning my back to her and her relentless nagging.
I didn't need any friends. I didn't need her pushing or her input on how I should live my life and who I should let into it. I was grown. I could decide that for myself. All I needed from her was running water, because that's exactly what she was … a goddamn water source.
Thankfully she seemed to get a clue for once, keeping quiet for the remainder of the afternoon, only huffing or sighing when something particularly annoyed her. The day dragged on painfully slow, and I didn't understand why she wouldn't just leave. One thing I prided myself on was my sense of awareness of what was happening around me. I knew when I wasn't wanted. I knew when I'd worn out my welcome. I wasn't oblivious.
The more glances I snuck at the house, the more uneasy I became. I knew Alice was watching me, I could feel it. I could feel her stare shifting from the house to bore into the back of my head. And maybe I gave her less credit than she deserved. Maybe she knew him better than I ever would, or ever could. But she didn't know me. She didn't know what I could handle or what I was willing to put up with when it came to what I wanted. Huge mistake or not, I wanted him, was pretty sure I needed him, whatever he was willing give.
A distraction, remember?
I needed more.
Our goodbyes were strained at best, since I didn't even turn to face her, only acknowledging her not-too-soon departure with one curt wave over my shoulder. I waited until everyone had packed up and gone before throwing all the tools in the wheelbarrow, pulling off my gloves and making my way into the cool house.
Stepping inside, I threw the dirty gloves on the door side table, wiping some more sweat from my forehead and off the back of my neck, the crease of my brow deepening in puzzlement. Something felt different, looked different, I thought, walking further into the room. Turning in a slow, unsure circle, I stood in the center of the foyer, and that's when it hit me.
It was the wallpaper. It was gone. Every last bit of the wallpaper was gone, not a piece seen on the wall, not a strip left on the floor.
Gone - all but the closed off living room.
Heart pounding, I clenched my fists, a sudden blur burning my eyes. He'd come in and did more in one afternoon than I had done in two days. And I didn't know whether to be thankful or furious. This was my house, this was my burden to bare, my walls to strip and clean and prime and paint, if for no other reason than to know that I could. But goddamn had it been a pain in the ass … and arms.
Stopping by the kitchen first, I noticed he'd stripped it along with the spare room and the small bathroom, too, which left Jacob's room, my bedroom. I stood outside the cracked door, listening as he quietly worked, the only sound coming from the steamer as it hissed and hummed. I watched him through the crack of the door, seeing the sheen of sweat rolling from his arms, glistening in the setting sun that glared through the shadeless window. My eyes landed on his hand, the white wrapping that had since been stained with a shadow of blood. And I realized in that moment that I felt thankful, grateful - the way I should have from the start. This man may not have been able to show me affection or emotion with his mouth or his words, but his actions spoke volumes and I heard him loud and clear.
Pushing the door open, I stepped inside, knocking on the frame in hopes of not startling him, if that were at all possible.
"Hey," I said, watching all the muscles in his back go rigid.
"I was gonna make some dinner," I started, hesitating before opening my mouth again and just taking a damn chance. What was the worst that could happen? He'd say no?
Well, that would be the worst.
"Would you want some?" He leaned against the ladder for the longest time, just staring at a spot on the wall, before finally nodding his head. I watched him work for a moment longer before leaving him to finish, and making my way back to the kitchen, where I pulled out two cans of vegetable soup to heat up in the microwave.
Edward came out just as I was setting the bowls, along with two bottles of water down on the table. He took the seat I pointed to, digging right in like he'd been starving. Slowly spooning mine, I watched as he ate, his slurps no less of a turn on than the sweat still rolling off of his bronzed skin.
If he noticed my ogling, he gave no indication, leaning back and letting out a loud belch in the opposite direction. I took it as a compliment, remembering one of my father's old sayings, "Not bad manners, just good food."
This was the most relaxed I'd ever seen him, lifting his wounded hand and thoughtlessly scratching the edge of his beard. I smiled at his profile before pushing out my chair, and reminding him of where he was and who he was with. The legs of his chair scraped across the wood floor, and he quickly stood to help me, grabbing his dish and then taking mine to place them both in the sink. I followed closely behind, stopping him as he started to clean them off.
"Just leave it," I ordered, grabbing his hand and pulling it towards me. "Let me see." Un-wrapping the bandage, I inspected his hand, happy that there were no signs of infection, just some healthy bleeding. My eyes flitted up to his momentarily before I pulled the first-aid kit from the drawer to repeat the process, same as yesterday; only this time he kept his fingers to himself, clenching them into a tight fist at his side.
Once he was rewrapped, I glanced down where his jean buckle laid hidden under his oil-stained shirt, wondering if I went for it if he would stop me, wondering if I told him I understood that he would let me. Would he take the reins and put my hands and my mouth where he wanted them?
Because I would let him.
I wanted him to.
Looking back up, I tried to convey my thoughts with my eyes. When that didn't seem to work, I licked my lips, opening and closing my mouth, trying to work up the courage to tell him that he could use me however he saw fit. But what came out was something entirely different.
"Do you think I could use your shower?"
His eyes slightly widened, before narrowing and lowering toward the sink, a small smirk forming under the camouflage of his thick beard. My heart fluttered at the first show of amusement to flash across his hollow eyes, and I smirked back at him, even though he couldn't see it.
I waited for an answer, staring at him as he stared at the dirty dishes, my heart fluttering when he cleared his throat. For sure, I thought he was going to speak, say something more to me than the grunts, and the one, clipped sentence he'd spoken the first night he ran. But he only nodded, jerking his head for me to follow, before walking off and out the door.
The sun set quickly, as I drove closely behind him, completely setting by the time we pulled into a hidden drive, just passed Rose and Emmett's place. I didn't realize he lived so close or else I probably wouldn't have asked. The last thing I needed was for Rose to see my car and call Alice and have her show up on his doorstep.
I pushed those thoughts and worries aside while I focused on the narrow road ahead, the large trees looming above, forming a whimsically eerie archway, their branches billowing with the blowing wind to let the bright light of the moon shine through. The cabin was dark and gloomy in the moonlight, its stairs even squeakier than mine, as I followed him up, waiting until he flipped the light on before stepping inside.
The decorum was what I would have expected – nonexistent – a plain, brown couch pressed up against the bare, wood wall, a boxed out TV sitting on a makeshift stand on the opposite wall, a set of rabbit ears on top. There were no curtains or throw pillows. No rugs, no runner on the tiny, dining room table. But it was clean, and it was cool, and it smelled nice: rustic and woody, exactly like him. My eyes fluttered closed as I breathed him in, the scent so overwhelming I felt myself sway. When I opened them, he was gone.
Glancing from side to side, I stepped further inside and peeked down the hallway, finding a bright light shining from an open door and hesitantly started for it. I was even more hesitant when I saw that it was the bathroom, and a towel and washcloth had been folded and left out on the counter by the sink. It seemed rude to just walk in, strip and jump into his shower without some type of verbal confirmation that this towel and washcloth were even for me. Maybe he wanted to take I a shower, too. I didn't know. But it wasn't as if I was going to go snooping through his place and track him down to find out. I asked, and he had said yes, so stepping inside the bathroom, I closed the door, feeling around and then reaching up to find no lock.
"Okay…" I mumbled to myself, turning back to the tub and twisting the handles until the temperature was perfect.
Glancing back at the door, I quickly stripped out of my clothes, pulled up on the shower nozzle and jumped inside, shutting the curtain behind me.
The water was searing in the best sort of way, steaming up the room, loosening my sore muscles from a day of angry, weed pulling. I could have stood under the hot spray all night, just basking in the forceful water pressure. This shower was so much better than Alice's.
Dipping my head back, I closed my eyes to wet my hair, hurriedly wiping the water from my face when I felt a brush of cool air.
The steam was suddenly stifling, causing my throat to close up as I watched Edward step inside the shower and move closer to place both hands on my hips. The rough pads of his thumbs swept over the bones before slowly sliding up my sides, digging lightly into my skin. He was undeniably naked, pressing himself into my lower stomach, sending me into near convulsions as it fluttered and flipped against his hardness. Pushing himself up against my heaving chest, he kept one hand firmly on my waist as the other reached behind us to grab a nearly empty bottle of shampoo. I almost whimpered when he pulled his lingering hand away, squeezing out a small palm full of the clear liquid, before setting the bottle down and lathering it in his hands.
Assuming it was for him, I turned around to reach for the bottle, freezing when I felt his hands run through my hair, his fingers working small, concentric circles into the back of my scalp. My eyes fluttered shut at the sensation, sending the tingle of goose bumps sprouting all over my skin. I suddenly felt weak in the knees, leaning back to brace myself against his solid form. I sucked in a short breath as the rigid underside of his cock came into contact with my lower back. He was so hard, pulsating against the base of my spine, as my hands splayed out over his thighs. I wanted to take care of it, take away the ache I could tell he was suffering because I was suffering too. If his pain was anywhere near as bad as mine was, then I knew what he needed, wanted. I was desperate to give it to him once he pushed into me gently, grabbing my hips to turn me back around to face him.
Fingers firm against my skin, he was gentle, just like he always was, keeping the water from my eyes while he rinsed the fresh, Spring bubbles from my hair. Following the suds down my neck and over my shoulders, he rested his hand on the swell of my breasts. His thumbs swept over my hardened nipples, causing me to suck in a sharp breath as he leaned down, taking one in his mouth. I watched as his tongue swirled and his lips sucked, parting the water that ran down my chest, before he moved to the other, his beard scratching the sensitive skin in between.
My nipples loved the attention, but my mouth felt needy. I had to fist my hands and bite my lip to keep from going after his mouth when he raised his head, lifting my leg to prop my foot on the ledge. His fingers slick with soap, they slipped slowly down my stomach, lightly over my mound and right into me. I rocked into his hand, still biting my lip to keep some sliver of sanity. It felt unnatural, not kissing, just moaning as my jaw went slack and my mouth fell open.
I came a lot quicker than the first go around, since constantly thinking about it had me on the verge at all times. And with a few blunt thrusts, I was clenching around his fingers, pressing myself hard into his steady hand. He let me ride it out this time, keeping his fingers deep inside of me until I stopped moving. If those fingers had insisted, I could have probably come again and just as quickly, but I didn't want to be greedy. I wanted to be giving, and appreciative by dropping to my knees on the hard porcelain of the tub.
Looking up at him, I held his eyes, as the spray ran off the back of his bent head, dripping drops of water all around me. I waited until he slightly bucked forward, letting him press the head of his cock against my mouth before parting my lips and licking the tip. I grabbed the base of his cock, as it jumped up and away from my mouth, wrapping my lips around his thick girth. I took him in as far as I could while jacking the rest of his length with my hand. With his grunt of approval, I moaned. My heart skipped a beat, quickening as he took control, fisting the back of my hair to hold me still, and pushing himself further down my throat.
"Fuck," he mumbled, and I moaned again, swallowing around him. He groaned, "Oh, fuck."
Pulling away, he let me breathe, but I didn't need to breathe. Lunging forward I took him back in my mouth. He seemed to get the hint as he cursed, letting me bob up and down on his stiff cock, before holding me in place to push it down my throat again. Moaning, I fought a gag, as I swallowed, relaxing my mouth as he started to fuck my face. His curses grew louder as his grunts ran deeper, alternating between forcing my mouth up and down his slippery shaft to pushing his whole cock down my throat. I knew he was close when his grip on my hair tightened, his hips bucked erratically and I tasted the salty hint of precum. With one final push, he growled out, holding me against him as his cock twitched. Hot spurts of cum coated the back of my tongue and I swallowed it all, sucking him clean as he softened inside my mouth.
Euphoric, I kissed what he would let me, his thighs, his hips, the trail leading up the center of his rippled abdomen. Crawling up his slippery body, his hands explored mine as I kissed all the way up, stopping in the center of his chest.
Pushing me back against the cool tiles, he brought his fingers to my mouth. I kissed them before he parted my lips, wetting the digits with my own tongue and trailing them down my body, sliding them back inside.