TLS Angst Contest Entry

Word Count: 6,951

Pairing: E/B

Title of Story: The Kiss that Changed Everything

Story Summary: I needed someone to put me out of my misery. I cursed Alice for not saving me. I cursed myself as I asked the question I dreaded most. I had to know because I never did anything like this. It was so completely out of character. "Did I do anything stupid?" E/B. Rated M.

I met him casually, with absolutely no indication of the havoc he'd wreak on my life. It was my first day at my new job, and I was nervous and excited. He was a salesman on the team, cocky and boisterous, and I could tell he was successful by the way he carried himself. He was good, and he knew it.

"Edward Cullen." He was cool and professional as he shook my hand.

"Bella Swan." No sooner had the words left my mouth when he ran off to talk to someone seemingly more important.

Every day, I'd see him in the office, too busy to stop and socialize with the new girl. He smiled occasionally at me, but that was the most I got. It got under my skin much more than I liked to admit. Who the hell did he think he was anyway? Was he really so busy he couldn't spare five minutes to talk? He was in sales, for Christ's sake. Talking and socializing is what salespeople do!

Things went on that way for several months, during which I got more and more acclimated. Although I was new, I was very successful and was making a good name for myself at the company. I had quite a few new friends on the team; it was starting to feel like home, comfortable. But where Edward was concerned, I ignored him. Two could play the game.

After only six months, I was one of the top performers, even getting nominated for the Rookie of the Year. Edward, of course, was the best performer in the office, but I wasn't far behind, and I was confident I would surpass him given enough time. The company's annual awards party was coming up, and I had no desire to go. Those things were always torture! If it weren't for my friend Alice, I would have declined and made some polite excuse. Instead, I found myself in a slinky black dress with four inch heels, hair pulled back and sprayed into oblivion, slamming martinis in Alice's living room as a "pre-party". If I was going to make it through the evening, I was going to need a little help from my reliable friend, Mr. Bombay.

"Do you know if Jasper's going to be there?" I asked between sips of my martini. Alice had been not-so-subtly chasing after him for months.

She nodded and flashed a wry smile. "Why do you think I'm wearing this?" She pointed to her very short and very tight red dress. "If he doesn't notice me in this, I'm screwed."

I laughed because she had no shame, and I had to give it to her, she looked amazing. It was true, though, if Jasper didn't notice her in that dress, he never would.

By the time we arrived at the hotel ballroom, I was feeling very happy and a little buzzed. Mr. Bombay had served me well, and I finally felt as if I could tolerate the festivities. It wasn't that I didn't like parties, but aside from my few friends, there really weren't that many people in the company I had any interest in. The idea of spending an entire night with my boss and his strange wife gave me hives.

Jasper arrived, and Alice's eyes were glued to him instantly. He came with Edward, and my stomach sank. I hoped Alice didn't expect me to be her wingwoman on this, because spending an evening with Edward would be torture. Even though I wanted her to be happy, I wasn't sure I could deal with Edward all night.

Watching Jasper walk up to us was comical. He looked like one of those cartoon characters whose eyes bugged out of his head when he saw a pretty girl. I almost burst out laughing. Alice smirked–the dress had worked magically.

"Wow, Alice," Jasper said as he went for a casual hug. "You look amazing!"

The smile on Alice's face said it all. The two of them started an instant conversation, and I knew right then my biggest fear had come true. There was no way Alice was leaving Jasper's side.

"Hi, Bella." Edward's voice was smooth and silky, which was completely unexpected. Every time I'd spoken with him, he'd had the Type A demeanor, brusque and firm.

Oh well, I thought. How bad can it be? At least he's better than my boss and his wife.

"Hi, Edward." I smiled and mustered as much sincerity and enthusiasm as I could. I might as well make the best of it.

We all went to the bar, and when Edward handed me a martini, his hand lingered a little longer than necessary as our fingers touched. His gaze deepened a little, into a smoldering and sexy look, and I suddenly felt butterflies inside. Had he felt it too? Had I imagined it?

I shook it off, but I wasn't quite able to get the come hither look on his face out of my mind. Even as we all talked and laughed and danced, it was burned onto my brain. I was noticing him, really noticing him, for the first time. I hated it. I didn't want to like him, but I was finding it hard not to. He was much more handsome and engaging than I'd previously thought. How had I missed that? I convinced myself with every smile he made and every word that came out of his mouth that the reason I was so inexplicably drawn to him was because of the martinis, but was it really? Or was there more to him than met the eye?

Don't move, I thought to myself, reaching up to clutch my forehead. Dear God, don't move.

I wasn't sure where the pain came from. It seemed to radiate from everywhere in my body. What the hell happened? I combed my brain for memories, anything that would tell me how I'd gotten from the party to the bed. Then that thought brought another, more distressing one. What bed was I in? I looked around the room. This definitely wasn't my bed, and it wasn't my room. I was dressed in a men's undershirt and underwear. But by far the most shocking discovery was that Edward was lying next to me asleep.

Holy hell! What had I done? Where the hell was Alice? The last thing I remembered was being in his arms on the dance floor. We were dancing and laughing and hanging out. But then what? I cursed Mr. Bombay for causing this. I desperately wanted to remember, because the fleeting memories I did have were pretty incredible. Edward was holding me as we swayed to the music. I felt his fingers move and dig into my skin as they caressed my back. He'd smelled so good and felt so firm and warm against me. Damn, why couldn't I remember more?

I groaned in pain as I sat up. It was apparent I was in much worse shape than I'd previously thought as I swung my legs over the side of the bed and looked around for anything that might resemble a bathroom. A small door in the corner of the room was my salvation, so I grabbed my purse off the chair and tiptoed as quietly as I could over both our discarded clothes to get there. Once in the sanctuary of the bathroom, I took stock of the situation. I looked terrible which, under the circumstances, was somewhat expected. I was clothed, albeit scantily and in his shirt, but that was a good sign as well. Perhaps I hadn't done anything too stupid. I searched my purse for anything that might help me look and feel better and thankfully found some mints. It wouldn't change much, but at least I might feel human. Completing tasks that were urgently required, I sat on the toilet seat and plotted my escape. The embarrassment set in like a thick fog, and suddenly I became terrified of opening the door. How would I face him? And we worked together! It was a nightmare, but my head and body hurt so badly that the pain actually served as a welcome distraction from the reality of what I'd done.

I opened the door as carefully and slowly as I could. Maybe I could sneak out?

"Morning." Edward's voice was rough with sleep, but it brought me back to the dance floor from the previous night. I remembered him whispering in my ear things I never expected him to say, setting my whole body on fire.

The casual tone in his voice worried me, as if we were an old married couple. Maybe I'd done something stupid after all. Seeing my obvious distress, he patted the bed next him. "Come here."

I could feel my cheeks overheating, and my stomach was in knots as I walked over to the bed and sat down. He had no shirt on, and my eyes naturally wandered to his fit physique. I was sufficiently distracted, but he pulled me out of it, as he grabbed my hand. "How are you feeling this morning?"

I hated that comment because it confirmed my worst fears. Even if I hadn't done anything stupid like sleep with him, I'd done enough to where he worried about me. Mr. Bombay and I were going to have words.

I tried to downplay my hangover, hoping I could pretend I wasn't as drunk the night before as I obviously was. "I'm fine. I'll be fine."

Even I wasn't buying it.

He let go of my hand and reached over to brush a piece of hair behind my ear, and my whole body ignited. "You had a little too much to drink last night. I was worried about you."

Oh God.

I needed someone to put me out of my misery. I cursed Alice for not saving me. I cursed myself as I asked the question I dreaded most. I had to know because I never did anything like this. It was so completely out of character. "Did I do anything stupid?"

He smiled and shook his head, and I swear it nearly knocked me over. Wow, he was really good looking.

"No, don't worry. You didn't do anything stupid. Actually, I had a lot of . . . fun. We had a lot of fun."

I smiled because the few memories I did have were of us were indeed a lot of fun. I was enraptured by him and his every move. It seemed to me he felt the same way about me, from what little I could remember.

I glanced down at my lack of clothes and winced. "And . . . uh . . . how did this happen?"

He chuckled. "Alice. She's in the next room with Jasper. We're roommates. I guess it's fair to say they hit it off last night."

"Did we . . . uh . . ." I motioned between us with my hand.

He grabbed my hand again and shook his head. "No. Alice and Jasper were still up when you crashed, and I didn't want you to have to sleep on the couch with them in the same room doing God knows what."

I smiled, trying to hide both my intense attraction to him and my utter embarrassment at the situation. "I'm so sorry. I never drink like that." I rubbed my forehead and looked into my lap at my other hand that was still entwined with his. "I don't know what I was thinking."

What I did know was I liked him touching me. A lot.

Just then, his cell phone rang from somewhere across the room. He stood up, letting my hand go, leaving it immediately feeling cold, and walked across the room. I couldn't help but stare as he fumbled through his clothes from the previous night to find the ringing phone. He was wearing sleep pants that hung low on his hips, revealing his muscular torso and a happy trail that disappeared beneath the waistline. I wanted to find out where it ended. I had definitely not noticed before how unbelievably hot he was.

"Hello?" he asked after he finally found and answered his phone. His demeanor changed, and he became fidgety and stiff. His eyes caught mine, but then he glanced away, scratching his head. "Uh . . . hi."


"No . . . yeah . . . I was going to but . . . uh . . . something came up." He wouldn't look at me. In fact, he walked into the hallway. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I could still hear him.

"I know I said . . ."


"Tanya, it's not like that, and you know it. That's totally unfair."


"Can we talk later? I'll come over."


My brief moment of relief evaporated, replaced by scalding shame. It was obvious this Tanya girl was some sort of girlfriend, and he was making excuses. I could see how nervous he was talking to her with me in the room. I'd foolishly thought there was something between us, even if I only had fleeting memories of it. I thought him holding my hand was a sign of affection on his part. It gave me hope there could be more, even though twenty-four hours prior, I despised the guy. I hated that I allowed myself to believe he was different than the typical cocky guy I'd always assumed him to be. But mostly, I hated that I wanted him the way I did, because he obviously had someone else.

His voice coming nearer pulled me from my self-pity. "Okay . . . I'll see you then. Bye."

He ended the call, and walked over to the chair, grabbing a shirt. "Sorry about that."

I gave him a closed-mouth smile, which was as much as I could conjure up and stood to find my clothes. I had to get the hell out of there. Pronto.

I found my dress and bra in a heap on the floor and picked them up, trying to see if I could make them somewhat presentable for the walk of shame I was about to embark on. Edward's eyes focused on my bra, and he stood there looking a little dumbfounded for a second before his manners kicked in.

"Uh . . . I'll just wait out in the living room," he stuttered as he left and closed the door behind him.

The door to what I assumed was Jasper's room was still closed when I came into the living room, so Alice wouldn't be available. I looked around for any signs of familiarity about the place, but there were none. I detested that I couldn't even remember being there. Given that, I had no idea how I was going to get home, or even where home was in relation to Edward's place.

"Where are we? I mean, what part of town?" I asked stupidly.

"First and Laurel."

Thank God for small favors. I just lived a few blocks away.

"Do you want me to call you a cab or I can drive you?" he asked nervously.

"No thanks. I actually just live a few blocks away on Third and Beech."

He nodded and put his hands in his pockets, rocking back and forth on his heels. "Want me to walk you home?"

I winced because the only thing worse than doing the walk of shame was doing it with the guy right next to you. "No, I'll be all right. Thanks, though."

I did a quick check in his room for my things and opened the door to his house with him at my heels. I had to get out of there, and the awkward goodbye was looming large. "So . . . anyway . . . thanks."

He moved even closer to me, and I wanted to stop him, but I couldn't. I loved the way I felt when he was close. Before I knew what was happening, his lips were on mine. They were soft and warm, and he smelled so good that I briefly forgot about my bedraggled appearance and let it happen. His hand came up to my cheek and cupped my face as he deepened the kiss. The way he moved and the gentleness of his touch captivated me. I moaned audibly when I felt his tongue slip smoothly into my mouth. I didn't care, because that kiss was awakening things in me I hadn't felt in a very long time. His confidence at work definitely extended to his kissing, and it made me curious to know what else he was good at. I tangled my fingers in his hair, keeping him as close as I could.

The kiss ended, and I was left wanting more as Edward's lips moved to my forehead, lingering there. "I wanted to do that all last night."

You made up for it now, though, I thought, but nothing came out of my mouth.

"I'll see you later." With that, I walked out and closed the door behind me. The self-loathing briefly overshadowed the sheer giddiness I felt as I thought about the girl on the phone. Was she his girlfriend? He was going to see her later and "explain everything". What would he say about me? How bad had it been that it required explanation?

Thinking about Edward made the walk of shame bearable, despite my guilt and humiliation. I couldn't get the image of his body out of my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about the kiss at the door and how he'd held my hand on the bed. He didn't know it, but he had me hooked.

The problem was, he probably had the other girl hooked too.

He didn't call me. I told myself I didn't expect him to call, but in my heart I knew I did. I wanted him to care enough to talk to me.

Being true to form whenever I felt rejected, and given the fact that he hadn't reached out to me, I set out to avoid Edward at work.

It was easy, given we were in sales, because people were always in and out of the office. I knew what kind of car he drove, and if I saw it in the parking lot, I left and came back later. It was immature, I knew, but I wasn't ready to face him. I knew it was only a kiss we'd shared, but it was enough to have me spinning, and I didn't think I could be professional until I got him out of my system, especially if there was another girl involved. All of it was just salt in the wound.

Since the party, Alice and Jasper had spent every waking moment together. Given how often she was over at his house, I imagined she'd seen Edward quite a bit. I didn't want to put Alice in the middle of my messed up obsession, but I had to probe a little. I asked if he'd asked about me, but sadly, he hadn't. I asked her if she'd seen any girls at his house, but she said no, although he hadn't been home several of the nights she stayed over.

He'd probably stayed at her house. The thought made me cringe.

I was becoming pathetic, and I hated it.

Alice thought I was being totally unreasonable, telling me I should talk to Edward about what had happened. I would have loved to have had her courage, but the rejection was still too fresh.

My careful avoidance came to an end several weeks after the disaster at the awards party. I'd searched the parking lot, and his car was nowhere to be found. I assumed it was safe, so I was completely unprepared to see him in the staff lounge. He was serenely eating lunch at one of the tables with a very pretty blonde. She was tall, leggy, and all smiles, which annoyed me to no end. Basically, she was the anti-me. So, I obviously wasn't his type.

I angrily made my way to my desk. What was wrong with me? I had no right to be angry. But I was just mortified, and I couldn't hide it. I had to leave because I could feel my face heating up and the tears coming. It was so unreasonable of me, but I couldn't help it. I wanted him so badly, and I just wanted these feelings to go away, but they weren't. Damn him.

I was muttering obscenities to myself as I furiously walked through the halls to get to the door. As I turned the corner by the front lobby, I ran smack into someone, dropping my things in a loud clamor onto the floor. I looked up and was horrified to see Edward smirking down at me, standing there with Ms. Legs.

"Let me get this for you," he said, kneeling to help me pick up my things.

I shrugged him off. "No, it's fine. I've got it." I didn't want his help. What I wanted was to leave and hide under a rock until I could forget him and the amazing kiss.

He offered to help me up, but all it did was make me angrier.

"Are you okay?" He had the same smirk as before on his face, which I interpreted as him laughing at me and my clumsiness.

I couldn't stand there another minute. The sting of rejection was making me see red. The look on his face was apologetic, but it made no difference to me. He hadn't called me. He'd made no attempt to see me at all. Instead, he was here in front of me with Ms. Legs. I couldn't take it.

"I'm sorry," I said, putting up my hand to stop him from talking. "I'm in a huge hurry. I'm trying to get to a meeting."

I scurried out of the office, feeling like a tornado had just bowled me over as I ran to my car. I fell into the driver's seat with a huff and the tears started to fall. Thank God he hadn't seen me cry. I was frustrated that I was crying at all. There was absolutely no reason for me to be so upset over someone I'd kissed once. I'd kissed guys before and had never had this type of fallout. What was the matter with me? But, I couldn't apply logic to it. I only knew that he was making me miserable, whether or not I even saw him. That stupid kiss. It wasn't fair.

I finally decided I wouldn't try to avoid him anymore. We had to work together, and I just needed to get the hell over it. He didn't seem the slightest bit bothered by anything that had happened, so why should I be? Since staying away from him wasn't working, maybe being around him would help. I longed for the days when I didn't care what he thought and wondered how it had turned around so quickly.

The next day when I saw him, he approached me right away. I was dying inside, but I managed to appear relatively calm.

He ran his fingers through his hair. "How have you been?"

Small talk? Really? He really wanted to have small talk? Why couldn't we go back to avoiding each other?

I could play along, though. "I've been fine. You?"

"Okay. Things have been . . . hectic. I would have called but . . ."

Hectic? I bet, I thought.

I smiled cautiously, almost saying something sarcastic, but deciding against it. "It's okay. I didn't expect you to call. It was no big deal, and honestly I'm really embarrassed about everything."

He pursed his lips. "You don't have to be embarrassed."

"I really just want to forget the whole thing. It was a colossal mistake."

"Yeah, mistake."

He walked off and left me standing there in a funk.

Great, so we'd moved past it. The only problem was I didn't really believe it was a colossal mistake, and I certainly couldn't forget the whole thing. I had no idea how I was going to see him every day and pretend not to want him.

The next few weeks were torture, as I saw Edward almost every day. It seemed he always had a woman with him, too. They'd meet for lunch in the lounge, or I'd see them out at a restaurant near the office. Sometimes the women were dressed in suits, and other times in jeans. They ranged from too young to too old. It was always someone new, though. How many women did he need anyway?

Each time I saw him was like a dagger to my chest. Plus, as if seeing him in my professional life wasn't hard enough, with Alice and Jasper joined at the hip, I had to see Edward everywhere while away from work as well. He became the newest member of our group of friends and was always around whenever we went out. Watching girls throw themselves at him became my newest pastime, and it was a constant source of suffering.

I couldn't escape being around him, and if I were being honest, I loved seeing him. I loved his company. I just wished his affections were toward me and not others. My perpetual funk and I were less than thrilled with the futility of the situation—I wanted desperately to be close to him, but being with him only made me feel worse.

On New Year's Eve, Alice was having a party at her house. Of course Edward would be there, but I almost died when he showed up with a date. I knew there were women in his life, but seeing it made me want to curl up and die, and I was finding it hard to keep my spirits up.

I secretly glared at his date all night. I watched their every move. Each time she laughed at something he said, I wanted to scream. At midnight, she grabbed his face and planted a kiss on him that made me so jealous I thought I would implode. I wanted to walk away, but I couldn't stop watching. It was like a train wreck that I just couldn't turn away from. I analyzed everything about her to see what she had that I didn't. What made him like her and not me?

Because I was a glutton for punishment, when I ran into Edward in the line for the bathroom, I asked him about his date. Honestly, I didn't know why I tortured myself like I did, but I guess I wanted to hear it from his mouth. He said they were just friends, but the looks she was giving him all night and the passionate kiss at midnight told me otherwise. My funk and I knew better.

Edward was even invited to our annual ski weekend, where I spent the entire time staring at him and wishing things were different. He seemed totally content, being his cocky, flirty self. There was no indication whatsoever we'd ever had anything happen between us. We were friends, but I still wanted more. I justified never telling him my true feelings because he'd had every opportunity to tell me if his feelings were different, but he never did. He'd completely forgotten it had ever happened. If he wanted me to be anything other than one of his group of buddies, he was doing an excellent job of hiding it. At least the cabin we all stayed in had three stories and plenty of room, which I was thankful for. So was my ever-faithful funk.

The last night of the ski trip, everyone was settling in after a tough day on the slopes. I poured myself a glass of wine, put on my bathing suit, secured my hair up in a bun, and went outside to slip into the hot tub. There was nothing quite like going in the hot tub after a long day of skiing, and I needed a little fresh air. Edward and I had skied together all day, and there were moments when I almost grabbed his hand on the chair lift or begged him to kiss me. I would sit and stare at his lips, wishing they were on mine, only to be disappointed when they weren't. Why wasn't this obsession with him going away? Why couldn't I be content being his friend?

The heat burned the funk right out of me as I slid into the hot tub. I felt my muscles relax and let the jets work their magic. My head fell back, and I closed my eyes. Finally, I was able to have a respite from the chaos.

"Mind if I join you?" It was the silky voice that haunted me.

I sighed. No respite after all. "Sure, no problem."

The hot tub was big enough for six people, so there was plenty of room, but I felt drawn to him. It suddenly felt very confined. I felt every ripple on the water with heightened awareness as he moved. I heard his breath and listened to the soothing noise of the jets. I was anything but relaxed.

"Where is everyone else?" I asked, trying to break the silence.

"Alice and Jasper ran up to the store, and the others are getting showered."

"Ah." I bit my lip nervously, because the situation seemed intimate, and it was more than I could handle.

Edward moved closer to me, and my heart began to beat out of my chest. "You're a good skier, you know that?"

I nodded meekly. "Yeah, I've been skiing since I was a kid."

"I couldn't take my eyes off you." The sexy come hither look I'd seen at his place on that fateful morning was back, and he kept moving ever closer.

I nervously reached for my wine and took a sip to calm myself. "Well, everyone here is a good skier. There's nothing unique about me."

He chuckled and looked down at the water. He was now standing right in front of me. "You're wrong about that."

He spread his legs wide enough for my legs to fit in between them and moved forward, essentially trapping me in. "Were you really embarrassed about what happened at the awards party?"

What was he doing? Was he really trying to hook up with me? He obviously had no idea that this type of game would make me feel like shit. "Edward, don't."

"I'm serious. Were you?"

I so didn't want to talk about this, but I decided honesty was the best policy. Or at least the wine decided that for me. "Yes and no."

His hands moved to the outside of my arms, and my mind swirled. "What does that mean?"

"Yes, because I was embarrassed that I drank too much. Yes, because you had a girlfriend. And no, because I liked being there with you."

I couldn't look at him, even though he was right in front of me.

"I didn't have a girlfriend. What made you think that?"

I hated being lied to. It put me right back in full funk. "The call in your room, remember? Tanya? You were obviously nervous talking to her with me there. And then I saw you with her at the office. It's okay, Edward, you don't have to lie about it. I'm a big girl."

He laughed incredulously. "Tanya? She was not my girlfriend. I promise."

I wasn't biting. "Yeah, right."

He didn't back down. "Seriously, she's my dad's caretaker. He's recovering from cancer treatment, and she watches him."

I was indignant. "And what about all the other girls? I've seen you with them at the office. You always have girls around."

He shook his head and sighed. "Bella, you really don't have a clear picture of what's happening. I've had a hard time finding someone to help with my dad. Tanya was all right for a while, but she's become flaky and pretty demanding. I've been interviewing caretakers to take her place, but it's been a challenge. It's my dad, you know? I don't want to leave him with just anyone."

I suddenly felt like crap as I thought back to all the women I'd seen him with. I'd assumed the worst about him and had spent months being angry and jealous. Was it really possible they were simply interviewing for a job?

"I'm sorry about your dad," I stammered, as if it would make up for my bad behavior. I had no idea he was going through something so difficult. "Is he going to be okay?"

He nodded. "Yeah, eventually, but it's been a long road to recovery."

His hands were still gently caressing my arms. "Is that why you didn't want to be with me? You thought I was sleeping with all those women?"

I suddenly felt childish. "Well, it was a big part of it. You seemed . . . unavailable. What was I supposed to think if you never even asked me out? Besides, you never acted like us being together was an option."

"I wanted it to be." He moved a little closer.

I let him into my space. "You never asked."

A little closer. "You said it was a mistake."

His breath was on my face. "I thought it would be easier for everyone."

"And has it been easier?"

"No." Why not be honest now?

His lips hovered above mine. "I've never stopped wanting you, you know."

My heart was racing. This was what I'd wanted, but my mind was having a hard time processing the fact that it might actually happen. Bye, bye, funk.

He moved his body even closer, and the fabric of his swim trunks tickled my legs. My head was tilted back since he was still standing, and I almost lifted my lips to meet his. It wouldn't have taken much, but I wanted him to do it.

He teased me, hovering right above me as his fingers caressed my face, eventually coming to rest at the base of my neck. I wanted to scream "Kiss me!" but the anticipation was equally satisfying.

When his lips finally did touch mine, I let myself get lost in him. The kiss quickly deepened, and unlike before, we had no place to go. There was no shame, no hurry. I could let myself go.

He flipped us so I was straddling him, and our hands were everywhere. I clutched his back and the hair at the base of his neck. He grabbed my hips and pulled me against him. It was furious and needy-all the time spent pining for him coming to an unbelievable climax.

"I want to take you up to my room," Edward breathed in between kisses, "and do what I should have done when you were in my bed before."

There was no way I was going to turn him down. I'd wanted this for months. I pulled back and cupped his face with my hands. "Let's go." Then I kissed him and climbed out of the spa, grabbing my towel and making a run for the house.

Edward caught up to me and grabbed my hand, pulling me up the stairs to his room. He shut the door behind us, and immediately pushed me up against it. I dropped my towel and wrapped my leg around him. His body was warm and steamy, still wet from the hot tub. His hands grabbed my ass and lifted me off the ground as he held me against the wall with his body.

"You feel so amazing." His words echoed my feelings. He was amazing.

His fingers moved stealthily along my ass, to the top of my thighs, grazing me and making me squirm.

Before I got too lost, he turned us both around and moved us to the edge of the bed. "We're wet," I muttered as we kissed.

"Then take this off." His hands tugged on my bathing suit, and I happily stepped out of my bottoms. I reached around and unclasped my top, while Edward watched with rapt attention, his hands waiting patiently at my hips. I liked teasing him like this. Once I was free of my suit, I reached up and took my hair out of the bun, shaking it so it loosely fell over my shoulders.

I lay back on the bed, completely naked. Normally, this would have made me self-conscious, but it seemed natural with him.

He untied his trunks and let them slide to the ground. I'd had many fantasies about seeing him naked, but the reality of it was so much better than I could have imagined.

He climbed onto the bed agonizingly slow, kissing various places on my leg as he came closer. Apparently, he liked to tease as well. The anticipation was killing me, and I couldn't remember when I'd ever wanted anyone as much as I wanted him.

"Come kiss me, please . . ." My voice sounded much more desperate than I wanted, but I couldn't help it. I needed him closer. I needed to feel him against me.

He slid up my body, until his lips were right above mine, finally leaning in to kiss me. As soon as I felt him, I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him closer. I couldn't get close enough. His chest was flush with mine, and he nudged my knees apart, positioning himself between them. I could feel his erection, hovering, teasing. I wanted him with every fiber of my being.

I threw my head back and clutched his back. "God, I want you."

"Then put me inside you." His voice was husky and deep, filled with the same desire I had.

I reached between us and grabbed him, lining him up at my entrance. Our eyes were locked as he pushed inside me.

Both of us moaned loudly as he stilled for a moment, gathering his control. He reached around and grabbed my ass, lifting me slightly as he pulled out and pushed back in, this time deeper and harder than the first.

"So good . . ." I was already so far gone.

He smiled through gritted teeth and began a deliciously steady rhythm. Each time he moved, I rocked with him, driving him deeper with every thrust.

He rolled over onto his back and pulled me on top of him. I sat up, the angle allowing him to penetrate me deeply. He moaned as he grabbed my breasts, and I enjoyed the feeling of power I had-the power to control the pace and drive him over the edge. I wanted that.

I began to move, his hands guiding my movements, until I could feel my orgasm coming. I knew it was going to be strong, and each time I moved, it came on stronger. His fingers gripped me tightly, telling me he was right there with me.

"That's it, Bella." Edward thrust up to meet me.

My orgasm ripped through me, and I couldn't contain myself. Every inch of my body was ignited and on edge. I rode it as long as I could until I collapsed onto Edward's chest. I looked into his eyes, and he smiled at me with the most adoring look I'd ever seen.

He flipped us once again so he was on top and began to move in me again. I wanted him to have the same elation I experienced. I wanted to show him with my body what this meant to me.

Our eyes never strayed as he thrust into me, over and over. I began to feel the familiar stirrings-another orgasm was coming. He kept his movements going, knowing they were driving me.

I didn't want him to worry about me. I wanted him to just feel everything that was happening between us. "Let go," I whispered into his ear.

That was all he needed to pick up the pace and intensity of his movements. I could see the strain on his face and wanted to see it go away. My own orgasm took over, and I fell over the edge once more.

"Oh God, Bella . . ." His voice trailed off as he exploded in his orgasm. I pulled him into me and continued to rock until I was sure he was finished.

He collapsed in a heap on top of me. I could feel his rapid heartbeat and his labored breath.

At that moment, I realized, in our frenzy, I'd forgotten to address something. "I suppose it's a little late for this, but just so you know, I'm on the pill."

He laughed lightly. "I know."

"You know? How?"

"You told me. That night at the party. You told me."

I'd told him I was on the pill? Oh my God! How in the world had that come up? What was wrong with me? Why would I blurt that out?

I covered my eyes with my hand. "Don't tell me any more. It's too embarrassing."

He just laughed and tickled me lightly, and I quickly forgot.

After a few moments, he began to kiss my shoulder, then my neck, then my face. His thumbs gently stroked my cheek, and he looked at me with such passion and gratitude in his eyes.

"You're not going to be embarrassed this time, are you?" He smiled as he leaned in and gave me a tender kiss.

I laughed, because after everything I'd been through to get to this moment, embarrassment was the furthest thing from my mind. "Not a chance."