TLS Angst Contest Entry

Word Count: 7,041

Pairing: Bella

Title of Story: Me Without Him

Story Summary: It only took four words for him to shatter my heart and destroy the life I thought I knew.

The call came on a Thursday night when I was packing, getting ready to move to a new city. He had already left a couple of weeks ago to get settled in at his new gig and start scouting apartments for us. I was leaving a city I – we – had adopted as our own. We moved across the country together five years ago, ready to embark on a new adventure after graduation. We had dated freshman and sophomore year, but broke up, eventually settling back into a close friendship. Best friends, each of us knowing the other far better than anyone else could, there for every bump in the road.

In the wake of 9/11, where holding each other was the only way not to fall apart as our adopted city grieved and cried, we got back together, our friendship seamlessly morphing back into a deeper relationship. Then he got this job offer, too good to pass up, and while it pained me to walk away from the city I loved, the city that had embraced me as one of her own, I could never leave him. Sure, we had our problems sometimes. It rankled me that he would make decisions, assuming I'd go along with them, but I pushed that frustration down. He was my rock, my constant, and I was content in our life together, willing to do these things for him. He had been such an important part of my life for so long, I couldn't imagine a "me" without him.

The past few weeks were trying, to say the least. He was starting a new job in a new city, not leaving him much time to talk to me. Our calls at night were short and to the point, not the easy chats we used to have when he was here. When we spoke on the phone, he wasn't all there; his mind obviously on the new job, all warmth slowly leaving his voice over the days.

And so that's how I found myself surrounded by boxes, trying to decide what was necessary and what could be left on the free table out in the lobby of my building while waiting for his nightly call.

That call ripped my life apart in the span of five minutes.

"Hey! How's Chicago?"

"Um, yeah. That's what I'm calling about."

"Honey? You sound… off?" A feeling of dread suddenly gripped my stomach, my hand absentmindedly rubbing it as if a massage could make it go away.

"I don't think you should come."

"What? I mean… what? I don't understand? Should I wait longer? I'm not sure how long I can keep the apartment, but I can ask… and then, of course, there's work, but they'd understand. I think they would, anyway. And what about…"

As I rambled, I heard him trying to interrupt. "Bella… Bella… BELLA!" The edge in the last yell shut me up mid-sentence. "I don't think you should come. I don't want you to come. I don't want to do this any more."

A beat of silence before I stuttered, "Wh-what? You don't want me to come? I don't understand… I just… I know if we just see each other… we've been away from each other for a few weeks, I'm sure if we just see each other…" I hated the desperate tone in my voice, but desperate panic was all I could muster in that moment.

A tired sigh came through the phone. "I'm done, Bella. I'm just done. We're done."

I pushed him more, hearing frustrated sighs as he kept trying to interrupt my begging and pleading. I don't know what he thought would happen, if he thought I would just let him walk away without a fight, but he was getting angry at my insistence that we should stay together and I… I didn't care how much I pissed him off at that point. I just wanted to make him see.

Finally, his frustration at my unwillingness to accept what he was saying turned into anger and over my tearful pleas, I heard him yell, "Bella! I'm fucking done! Why aren't you listening to me?"

I was stunned into silence. His voice got quieter, pleading with me to hear what he was trying to tell me, his calmness at odds with the awful words tumbling out of his mouth. "Nothing you can say will change that, not seeing you in person, not sleeping with you one last time, nothing." I could almost see him sitting there, hunched over, his elbows resting on his knees, one hand grasping the phone, the other fisting his hair and scrubbing over his face.

I tried to interrupt again, but he wouldn't let me. He sounded sad and defeated as he continued on. "I don't know how to say it so that you'll understand. Jesus, Bella, I didn't want to do it like this, I didn't, but you aren't listening! I. Don't. Want. You."

I heard the light cadence of a woman's voice in the background and it all became clear. The move to Chicago wasn't about the job at all. Not wanting me there at the beginning had nothing to do with me 'distracting' him from his new gig. He had been keeping his options open, leaving me to keep the bench warm, as it were.

His voice interrupted my revelation. "I've got to go."

And with a simple press of the end button on his phone, he took away everything I had to count on in my life. Everything I relied on, everything I had wrapped my life around. Everything.

I went through the next few hours in a haze, sitting on the floor between the towers of boxes, and eventually curled up in a ball, desperately trying to convince myself that it hadn't happened. That the call was something I imagined, flipping my phone open to check my call history, hoping against hope that there wasn't a five minute call marked "Honey", my stomach dropping a little more each time. The hole in my heart slowly widening, rending at the seams, until finally it broke in two. Realization suddenly hit hard, leaving me breathless.

I don't want you to come.

And then it started. The pain. Oh god, the pain. I had never felt anything like this before, the pain of my heart breaking leaving me doubled over when I tried to stand. I eventually made it to my bed… our bed. No… my bed. The awful realization hit me anew, shooting another spear of pain through my body.

I don't want to do this anymore.

I curled up on my bed, trying not to think about all of the times he held me here, laughed with me here… fucked me here. And then the tears, the never ending tears and sobbing as I shuddered with the knowledge that I was alone in this world. My anchor, my compass, my best friend deserted me, leaving me by myself for the first time in years. I lay there for hours in pain - my head, my eyes, my throat, my stomach, my heart… it all hurt so much.

I'm done.

I was still curled in a ball hours later, grasping my pillow that was now wet with tears. My brow was cramping as it furrowed, never becoming smooth in the aftermath, and my throat was raw from the sobs that wracked me. All that came now were silent screams that felt like they originated from the very bottom of my soul.

I don't want you.

The effort to get up was just too great to bother with for the most part, so I lay there, staring at the wall, every memory of our relationship and friendship passing behind unseeing eyes. Trying to pinpoint where it went wrong intermingled with more crying, more sobbing, more pain, and terrifying periods of numbness, hours passing by without notice and without thoughts. As scary as it was, the numbness was a welcome repast from feeling so much, but inevitably the pain would return, curling me up tighter as I wrapped my arms around myself.

I don't want you.

Of all the people in the world, how could he… how could he be the one to destroy me so completely? The one who was there for me through it all, whether we were just friends, together, or somewhere in between. The one who understood how scared I was to be alone, to not be loved, to never find that deep connection to someone else. The one person I trusted above all others left me.

I don't want you.

And now… now I had nothing. I had no one. I had me and my sad, pathetic self curled up in a ball on my bed, screaming silently into my pillow while the pain and the memories coursed through me. My brain played on what felt like a never ending loop of everything I might have done wrong.

Monday morning, I stumbled into work, still a zombie and completely on autopilot, not thinking about anything other than putting one foot in front of the other and not bursting into tears. At that point, the prickle behind my eyes was a constant companion that I seemed to have no control over, tears spilling at random moments.

I sighed at the task before me. I had to grovel and ask for my job back, a job I didn't even like although it was in an industry I loved. It was just one more insult added to the ever growing pile of injury he created.

My boss' door was closed, so I let her assistant know that I urgently needed to speak with Jane. Almost as soon as I sat down, I heard her voice across the span of cubicles. "Bella. My office. Now."

I trudged over, girding myself for the humiliating conversation I was about to have. They hadn't hired anyone for my position yet, so I was hopeful I could rescind the notice I had given weeks ago.

"Glad to see you made it in today," Jane said with a hint of disdain in her voice. "I wanted to talk to you on Friday, but today will have to do."

I realized with a shock that I hadn't even called out on Friday. Not exactly the best thing to win my case, but something I was sure could be overlooked. I had been there for four years, after all.

"Sorry about that. I actually wanted to talk to you too. About my job, I mean. I, um…"

"Yes, your job," she interrupted. "Things have been moved up, so I'm going to have to ask you to remove your things from your area and have your last day be today. You'll get paid through the week, less Friday's absence, of course."

"I don't understand. Did you hire someone new?"

"Not exactly. The position is being eliminated, and one of the other groups is moving up to this floor. I need your desk."

I felt the tears begin to fall. Not now, goddamnit, I didn't want to break in front of this woman who cared nothing for me. "But you don't understand! I'm not moving. If you have anything… I need a job, Jane. I want my job."

"Look. I'm going to be honest with you. You didn't fit here. You knew it, I knew it and it was just a matter of time before you were let go anyway. I won't contest your unemployment even though technically I could. I think it might be best if we send the contents of your desk to you rather than have you make a scene. To be completely honest, you're kind of a mess right now and no one wants to see that. Leave your ID with security on your way out." And with that cool dismissal, she turned back to her computer, completely done with me.

I stumbled out of her office and heard the rest of the floor go completely silent; I could feel the questioning and pitying eyes on me. I put my head down, knowing that if I met anyone's gaze, I would crumble where I stood and I wanted to keep the last shred of dignity I had. I walked out to the elevators, tears silently coursing down my cheeks, and when I reached the lobby, one of the guards quietly asked for my ID.

The trip home was a blur, complete numbness overtaking me as I robotically got on the subway to go home, not even caring who saw my tears. I was vaguely aware that I was making some people uncomfortable on the train as I sat there, quietly crying, but it didn't matter. Nothing in that moment mattered other than getting home before I completely fell apart.

I arrived home, shut myself in the bathroom and looked, really looked at myself in the mirror. Jane was right. I did look like shit. Not that it mattered because who the fuck was going to care. I felt the rage welling up inside me as I gazed at my reflection. I saw the hardness in my glare, the tightness around my mouth, the tension in my shoulders and finally I let out a gut-wrenching scream as I launched my hairbrush at the mirror, the glass shattering on impact. I crumpled to the floor, sobs overtaking me yet again.

The weeks that followed were mind numbing in their predictability. I managed to get the bar downstairs to hire me part time to do their bookkeeping. On the days I worked, I would struggle to get out of bed, not really caring, and even though my shoulders were hunched, my body turning in on itself, I would put on a calm exterior with a plastic smile so the world couldn't see me crumbling inside. I felt like one of those old, destroyed ruins in Europe; pieces of detritus surrounding brittle, jagged peaks left from what were once tall, beautiful walls. The rest of the days, I didn't even attempt the struggle and just stayed where I was, occasionally checking the want ads from the blanket of loneliness that surrounded me. The pain no longer new, but a constant companion only staved off by occasional numbness when my emotions couldn't take any more.

The months dragged on, my savings slowly dwindling as panic began to add to the emotional weight that was holding me captive. I finally began looking for a job no matter how much the safety of my bed called to me. I forced myself to send emails to old colleagues, asking for some help, trying to keep my messages upbeat. And after my daily round of emails, I would retreat back to my bed, alone with my thoughts once more.

A former coworker finally had a lead, and sent me a job description that was below my level, but back in the industry. As I walked to my interview, my head down, depression emanating from my very pores, I realized it was time for the armor; it was the only way I could get through this. I pulled my posture up, threw my shoulders back, and put a smile on my face, knowing and not really caring that it didn't reach my dead eyes, still feeling that gaping hole where my heart was, but looking for all appearances like I didn't have a care in the world.

After all of the usual interview bullshit that I could ace in my sleep, my potential new boss looked me in the eyes and said something that shook me. "Look, I'm going to be honest with you. We both know you're over qualified for this job, which quite frankly, makes my job a hell of a lot easier. I do need to tell you one thing. I know who your ex is and we hire him to sub in on shows on occasion. Is that going to be a problem?"

Would it? Yes, probably, considering I could feel my stomach churning and the tears prickling at the very idea. I needed this job though. I took a deep breath, swallowed everything down, and replied through gritted teeth, "No problem. I can make it work."

"Good. You're hired." Her gaze softened slightly as she seemed to know the internal struggle I had just moments earlier. "And for the record? Between you and me, I always thought he was a douchebag." She smirked at me and for the first time in months, I felt a small, genuine smile cross my face.

A few months later, the job was going well, the very act of going to work a welcome respite from the pain and loneliness that accompanied me at home. As long as I could keep my mind occupied, I couldn't think about how hurt and angry I still was. And oh was I angry. I had gone through several mirrors since destroying the first, thinking that it was a better alternative than indiscriminately punching someone in the face. So now, in addition to the dull, throbbing ache in my heart that was my constant companion, I now had a jaw clenched in anger.

The routine of my still fairly mediocre life had lulled me into a sense of complacency, where even if I ached, I didn't think about him and how he destroyed me twenty-four hours a day. Rose had warned me that they had to contract him in, but she tried to keep me as far away from the negotiations as possible. And it worked. Until he swung by the office to pick up his contract, that is. Unaware of what he was planning, she was out at a lunch, leaving me to do the hand off.

"Hey," I said nervously. He looked up from his phone, and as soon as we locked eyes, I knew I was fucked.

"Bella," he whispered. I walked towards him and became surrounded by the spicy scent of the cologne I always bought for him, and reveled in all of the memories it brought forward, all but forgetting the months of pain I had suffered. The connection we had - that playful spark that was always there, the tension of two bodies that knew how to please each other crackled between us. I handed over his contract, his fingers grazing my knuckles, making me jump back with a gasp at the feeling.

"I can't stay. Maybe we could get drinks tonight? Catch up?"

Fuck. I was so fucking fucked. Even as the little voice in the back of my head was screaming "NO!" I found myself unable to focus on anything but the powerful attraction I still felt towards this man. And the way he was looking at me - I felt wanted again, beautiful and sexy and I hadn't felt that way since before he left. Even so, the next words out of my mouth shocked the hell out of me.

"Yeah, I mean, yes, that would be great." Suddenly aware of the prying eyes of the receptionist, I ushered him towards the door. "I'll, um, walk you out."

We walked out of the office, and as we turned the corner towards the elevator, he backed me up against the wall, his gaze burning into me, his hand moving under my hair to hold the back of my neck. "Do you feel it? Stop me if you don't."

"Yes," I whimpered.

As soon as I answered, his lips crashed into mine, the heat that always accompanied us rearing up until I was moaning and grasping at the back of his shirt, quickly moving down to his ass, pulling him towards me so I could grind against him. His lips made a trail down my neck, finding the spots he knew so well. And even as I could feel myself getting more and more turned on, a voice in the back of my head started getting louder.

I don't want to do this anymore... I'm done... I don't want you.

And then the memory of his harsh words changed into something different. Something that came directly from the deepest part of me and woke me from my lust induced stupor.

You don't want this. You don't want this. YOU DON'T WANT THIS.

"Stop," I finally let out breathlessly.

He kept up his ministrations on my neck, not realizing I had gone still. "You're right, baby. We should go somewhere else."

"No. Stop!" I said forcefully as I pushed him away from me. Both of us were still breathing heavily, and he looked at me in shock.

"What the fuck?"

"I don't want this." At the look of incredulity on his face, I repeated myself, realizing how much I really meant it. "I. DON'T. WANT. THIS."

"Oh sure you do, baby. We were always so good together. Come back over here," he murmured as he reached for me.

"Let me guess, I sleep with you and then you'll ask me to move to Chicago? Is that the grand plan here?" I asked, knowing full well what his answer would be. I just wanted him to say it. Wanted to force him to say it to my face.

I saw him drop his gaze, unable to meet mine as he uttered, "No."

Months of anger began to simmer beneath my skin, bolstering me and giving me the strength to stay away from him. I remembered that phone call and the pain at hearing another woman's voice. I remembered every time I let him change my mind, every time I agreed to something I didn't want to do just for him. I realized in that moment just how much of myself I had given to him and that he had tossed it away without even a second glance. And I was shocked to realize he was willing to do it to me again with no care for what it would do, how it would shatter the pieces of me I had just started to put back together. Suddenly, my hand was stinging and he was holding his cheek, redness blossoming beneath his fingers, his mouth agape.

"You hit me," he said in wonder.

"I, um, guess I did," I said, completely shocked at what I had done.

"You fucking bitch!"

And this time… this time I was fully aware of what my hand was doing as it balled into a fist and swung towards his midsection. He doubled over, gasping for breath, and I realized how pitiful he really was. He had dropped his contract at some point in the altercation, and I picked it up and threw it at his head.

"Yeah, I'm a fucking bitch, go with that if it makes you feel better about yourself. You almost destroyed me, asshole, but I'm still here and I don't want YOU. Here's your damn contract. Get the fuck out."

I stalked away from him and threw the bathroom door open, barely making it into a stall before I sobbed and gagged and lost everything I had eaten that day, beating myself up for what I had almost done, cursing myself for not seeing him for who he had really turned into. I sunk to the floor, new awareness flooding me. Without even realizing it, I had been clinging to one last kernel of hope; hope that deep down he still loved me, hope that he'd come back to me, hope that he'd make me whole again. My breath whooshed out of me as if I was the one who had been punched in the gut, and I began to grieve the final piece of our relationship as every last piece of hope burned to ash, floating away, never to return.

But as I sat on that floor, disgusted with myself, it slowly dawned on me that no matter what I did, I hadn't let it get to the point of no return. I had yanked myself out of his orbit and that… THAT was something to be proud of. That no matter how much my heart still hurt, how disappointed I was in myself, I was able to walk away.

I stood up shakily and washed my face, rinsed my mouth out, and inspected myself in the mirror. My shoulders were a little straighter, my stance a little prouder, and a gleam had returned to my eye. OK, so the eyes were a little puffy, the skin a little blotchy, but I could finally see me again after months of seeing a stranger dully looking back at me.

I took a deep breath and walked back to my office, trying to ignore Rose's scrutinizing gaze. "So, I heard he dropped by for his contract."


"Everything ok? He looked a little worse for wear when I saw him at the elevator."

"Yep." I absentmindedly rubbed my now bruising knuckles with the memory.

She cocked one eyebrow and looked pointedly at my hand and then back up at me.

"Are you sure?"

"Yep," I said with a huge grin, almost giddy with the realization of what I'd done and that I was finally on my way to being free.

She took in my newly found confidence, smirked, nodded once, and said, "Good." And I swore I heard her mutter under her breath, "Fucker deserved it."

In the ensuing weeks, the pain in my heart intensified, and many nights I found myself sobbing and screaming into my pillow once again, the final vestiges of grief twisting themselves in my gut and making themselves known. But slowly, ever so slowly, the pain began to recede, becoming a pang every now and then rather than an ever constant presence. Before I knew it, his contract ended and the fear of bumping into him dissipated, leaving me lighter somehow. I hadn't realized I had been carrying that fear with me and having it suddenly gone lifted a weight from my shoulders.

That day, I was waiting for the elevator to head home, parsing this new revelation in my mind. Completely distracted by my musings, I wasn't aware of my surroundings at all, jumping a little when someone cleared his throat behind me. "Bella? Bella Swan?"

I snapped my head up, spun around, and looked up in shock at a pair of eyes I hadn't seen since high school. "Holy shit! What are you doing here? I haven't seen you since graduation! I never thought I'd see you again!" Without even thinking I launched myself at him, grabbing him in a huge hug, shocked at how bold I was. My embarrassment quickly shifted, however, as I felt his defined muscles through his shirt, and became aware of the warmth surrounding me, sending twinges of excitement through me as I felt electrified by his touch. This was no longer about joy in seeing a boy from home; no, this was now about the surprising attraction to the man standing in front of me.

"Bella," he sighed as he squeezed me back. The elevator doors opened and we pulled apart, both suddenly embarrassed. "Um, did you want to grab a drink? I have a little time before I have to head to the airport."

All of the flutters of anticipation that I had moments ago dampened with the disappointment that he didn't live here. "Sure. There's a place I go below my apartment. It's small, but quiet and comfortable, if that's ok."

"Lead on, Macduff!"

"You know that's wrong, right?"

"Yep, just seeing if you were paying attention, Swan. I never could best you in English class."

"Yeah, well, you always kicked my ass in History, so call it even."

We continued our banter as we walked to the bar, slipping easily back into how we were in high school, but this time with the undercurrent of something else… something exciting… something nerve wracking… something spine tingling.

As we settled in at the bar, I asked him again what he was doing in New York.

"I, uh, had a job interview. Do you remember Paul? Yeah, he knew I was looking to move and brought me in when a position opened up with his firm."

I took a deep breath, trying my best to be calm when I asked, "And do you think you'll take it?"

He gazed back at me, seemingly searching for something before responding. "I wasn't sure earlier, but I think I'm interested now."

We talked about everything and nothing, catching each other up on our lives since high school. I told him stories about Emmett's bar, including the little fact that the mirror behind it was tilted a little so the bartenders could see down the girls' shirts, he told me about the ridiculous pranks he pulled in college. I found myself laughing... really, truly, throw my head back, wipe the tears away guffawing for the first time since the breakup. As we sat and talked, little touches that lingered a bit too long ignited skin, and the air between us grew thick with anticipation.

Suddenly, with a start, he jumped up. "Shit fuck fuck! I have to go. I'm going to miss my plane. Fuck! Bella, give me your phone." He quickly entered his number and then called his own. "Fuck. I have to go. I'm so sorry." He leaned in and placed a soft kiss by the side of my mouth, leaving my skin tingling. He lingered there for just a moment before whispering, "Fuck." He ducked out of the door, hailing a taxi and miraculously caught one just as he reached the curb.

I sat there, mouth wide open, not knowing what just happened or what to think. "Um, Emmett? What was that?"

He just laughed. "That? That was awesome, Bella. I haven't seen you smile like that since I've known you."

He called me from the airport, and we talked until they closed the cabin door. Once he got back home, we quickly went from talking a couple of times a week, to once a day, to talking and texting throughout the day and night. Nothing was said, but the kiss on my cheek lingered in my mind, and our conversations often had a flirty edge to them. Finally, he was offered and accepted the job and was moving to New York.

"So, when are you flying in? Did you decide?"

"I get in on the twentieth and then start at the beginning of July."

"Can I be honest? I can't wait to see you."

I heard a deep exhale from him. "Really? Me too."

"You can't honestly doubt that, can you?" I braced myself and decided to just put it all out there. "I want you in my life. I'd like it as something other than as a friend, but if it is just as friends, I'll take it. All I know is that I want you here. With me."

Silence. Interminable silence.

"Are you serious?" he asked, uncertainty coloring his tone.



And then I heard the phone go dead. What the everloving fuck? Good? What the hell was that supposed to mean? I hoped it meant he wanted it too, but good? I had no idea what to even do with that.

I tossed and turned all night, the word good bouncing around my brain like a damn pinball. I was useless at work, trying to focus on contracts and negotiations, and all I kept hearing was 'good'. It was finally time to head home and I stopped at the bar, hoping for some respite from what I had started calling "The Good". Yes, capitalized and everything. I was the only one in there, which wasn't shocking on a weeknight, and was chatting with Emmett about how confused I was. In the middle of my diatribe about men and their communication skills, his eyes flicked to the door behind me. He smirked and said, "I think I'm going to close early. Stay as late as you want, just lock up when you're done."

"OK?" I answered, somewhat confused. But then I felt arms encircle me from behind and lips brush my ear.

"Good," they whispered.

I spun around in surprise and discovered what had quickly become my favorite set of eyes gazing down at me. As the shock wore off, I smiled and sighed happily at the man who had so confused me on the phone the night before. "Edward."

I was vaguely aware of the sound of window shutters being closed, the shade being pulled down on the door, and the door opening and closing with a resounding click of the lock.

Without a word, he leaned down and kissed me, cupping my face, his hands tender, his lips anything but. I drowned in that kiss, weeks of anticipation finally becoming reality, and what a spectacular reality it was.

As we pulled apart to catch our breath, he leaned his forehead against mine. "Oh God, Bella. I want you."

I giggled softly. "Good."

His eyes sparkled with amusement as he gently laughed. "C'mere." He pulled me over to one of the couches, falling down on it when he misjudged the distance. "Um, not quite the smooth move I had in mind."

"Oh really?" I asked as I straddled his lap. "I think it worked out just fine." I threaded my fingers through the back of his hair, leaning down to kiss him some more. As our kisses grew more heated, his hands began roaming, first up and down my back and then finally up my sides to my breasts, squeezing them gently and pinching my nipples through the fabric. His touch warm and caring where I had gotten so used to cold and detached.

"Oh fuck," I muttered. I quickly yanked my shirt over my head, feeling his mouth working across the lace still in his way while I unbuttoned his shirt.

"Off," he growled and reached around my back, flipping the clasp easily and sliding my bra down my arms and throwing it out of the way. As soon as I was bare to him, he was there, nipping and tugging and squeezing and licking and just everywhere. His hand and mouth were shooting electric tingles down my body and making me grind against him, my skirt riding up as I tried desperately to get some friction.

Suddenly I felt myself lifted up and I wrapped my legs around him, nipping at his neck, his ear, anywhere I could get to. I felt him place me on the bar, and I looked at him curiously only to be met by a wicked gleam in his eye. I reached down and started unbuttoning his pants, pulling down the zipper and nudging them down his hips as I stroked him through his boxers and nibbled on his neck.

He groaned and then growled, "Lay back."

I did, if for no other reason than to see what he had in mind.

I felt his lips move ever so slowly up the inside of my leg, stopping to swirl his tongue whenever he found a sensitive spot. As his mouth traveled closer to where I wanted him, his hands slowly started to push my skirt up so he could access everything. As he stroked his hands back down, he hooked his fingers into my g-string, pulling it down so I was lying there, spread out, ready for him.

While he kept kissing and nipping and swirling his way up my legs, I began moving my hips in anticipation. Just as his mouth arrived at the apex, he looked at me, smirked and said, "Look in the mirror."

As I turned my head, I could see him out of the corner of my eye duck down between my legs and could finally feel his tongue licking me, stroking me, doing magical things to me. My eyes finally found the mirror and I stared, transfixed by the sight of his head moving between my legs, his fingers dancing up and down my sides, leaving goosebumps in their wake, my skin flushing pink, my nipples hardening, my back arching, my breath coming in gasps as I became more aroused. Watching what he was doing to me was utterly spellbinding – it was hot, it was dirty, and it was quickly helping hurtle me towards a powerful orgasm. I could feel the tension coiling, tighter and tighter, knowing I was almost there. And then he simultaneously slid two fingers into me and pinched my nipple with his other hand. "Oh God… Edward," I moaned as I came, shuddering and shaking. Eventually he slowed his tongue, gently easing me back down from my intense orgasm.

He slowly kissed his way up my body until he was hovering over top of me, placing soft kisses on my mouth, letting me enjoy the languid, liquid feeling in my limbs.

"I liked the mirror." I smiled up at him.

He smirked down at me. "Oh yeah? I've been thinking about that mirror since we hung out here. You have no idea the things I've pictured."

"Tell me."

"Later. We should go upstairs."

"Tell me."

He climbed off of me, ears pink with embarrassment, and I sat up and trapped him so he was standing between my legs. "Tell me. I want to know. I want to know everything that you fantasize about, everything you dream of us doing. I want to do them all with you."

His eyes widened and he gaped at me.

"How about I guess?"

He nodded. "So, I'm assuming it involves the mirror." Slow nod. "And me." Another slow nod. "And perhaps some fucking?" I raised an eyebrow and got a nod and a grin in return. "And it can't be you on top of me because then you couldn't see anything." His grin turned into a smirk. And then I remembered telling him about how the mirror was tilted and I was pretty sure I knew what he was thinking. I slid off of the bar, slowly turned around and ground myself on his still covered cock. "Am I getting warmer?" Nod and a gulp with a hand running through his hair nervously. I stepped up on to the bar rail, and bent over the bar so that my nipples barely grazed the top as I gazed at him in the mirror. The awed and hungry look on his face was all I needed to know. He looked questioningly into my eyes and I gave him a slight nod. I knew he probably thought our first time together should be sweet and romantic, but when would we ever have a chance like this again? I could hear the whisper of fabric as his boxers fell to the floor and saw him move behind me, his eyes focused solely on my ass as he slid his fingers around front to rub my clit with feather light touches. Enough to turn me on, but not enough to push me over.

"Edward. Please," I groaned, his teasing driving me crazy. I looked in the mirror and saw him look down as he entered me, filling me completely with one steady thrust.

"Oh fuck," he groaned as he laid his forehead on my back.

"Edward. Look up."

His gaze burned into mine as we stared at each other in the mirror and he started thrusting slowly, my nipples rubbing on the cool bar top with each move he made. He kept looking down and then back up at the mirror almost unable to decide which view was better. And even though what we were doing was hot and more than a little dirty while fulfilling one of his fantasies, his focus was on me, attentive in a way I had never experienced before.

I shifted slightly and put my knee up on one of the barstools, opening myself to him more and giving him another angle. And without even realizing it, that one adjustment gave us both more than we were expecting. The view in the mirror was amazing, his glistening cock sliding in and out of me as I arched slightly, my breasts lifting off of the bar and moving with each of his thrusts, his thumbs digging into my hips holding me tightly in place as he pounded into me. I felt the coil again and could see my eyes dilate in the mirror, could see the flush start to spread across my chest. Our eyes locked, and he smirked, knowing what was happening from the look and the feel of me, and he let go of one of my hips to reach around and start rubbing my clit. I didn't have to say a word, didn't have to guide him, didn't have to do it myself... he somehow knew just what I needed.

The wonder I felt in that moment, the fact that he was new to my body but was able to read me in a way my partner of many years never could pushed me over the edge. My muscles contracted and shuddered around him as he continued to drive into me.

I opened my eyes just in time to see him throw his head back and thrust erratically before groaning, "Bella," as he came. He slumped over my back, kissing my spine and after a moment gently helped me down from the bar rail. His hands were tender, making me feel cherished and adored, not something I ever associated with sex before. He turned me and held me in his arms, gently brushing my hair back, blissful smiles on both of our faces.

Not wanting to break the moment, but suddenly feeling exhausted after not getting any sleep the night before, I whispered, "We should go upstairs."

We threw on enough clothes to be presentable, grabbed the rest, and locked up, holding hands as we went up to my apartment. We quickly stripped and climbed into my bed… no, our bed, I thought with a smile. And as we whispered and cuddled and kissed and licked, our bodies twined together, I felt sated, safe, and loved. As I dozed off, I realized I had never felt this way before, not with Jake and not with anyone else. I was blissfully, completely happy.