Title: Remember This

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Rating: M

Summary: At work, she was in charge. She was the boss, the go-to person for all decisions. She was ruthless and demanding and utterly in control. At home, she was simply his. Entry for the Dirty Talkin' Edward Contest.

Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.


"Jessica, I needed those files on the Smith account fifteen minutes ago. Where the fuck are they?"

Bella cut off the speaker phone to her assistant, not caring what the answer was. She just needed the goddamn file. It was already two o'clock, and she hadn't had lunch yet. Her stomach was growling, the piles of work on her desk accumulating, and all she wanted was to get home, take off these godforsaken torture devices on her feet and kiss her kids. Maybe settle on the couch with a glass of wine and watch a movie with her husband. Instead, she had to deal with incompetent people who didn't know their head from their ass.

A knock sounded at the door just as her office phone rang. Knowing the knock was Jessica with her file—fucking finally—she snapped out a sharp, "What?" and then picked up her phone. "Bella Swan-Cullen speaking."

"What are you wearing?" The low timbre of her husband's voice seeped over her at the same time her assistant stepped into her office and took a seat at the chair in front of Bella's desk, waiting as she'd been told a thousand times to do.

Bella cleared her throat, willing her blush to stay hidden under her blouse. Into the phone, she said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Smith, I'm working on that right now." She tossed a glare at Jessica just to drive home her lie but had to look away when a chuckle rumbled over the phone line.

"Mr. Smith, huh? Kinky. Who are you gonna be? Mr. Smith's assistant?"

She shouldn't have picked up the phone. She should've waited until after Jessica had come and gone, should've waited until she could close her blinds, lock her door, and get lost in the rumbling, seductive voice of her husband.

She expected calls from him at this point in the day. It was nap-time in his world, both babies down for their afternoon rest, and that meant he was either writing or getting frustrated because he couldn't. When it was the latter, he liked to clear his mind completely and call her. Sometimes he'd talk for ten minutes about nothing. About what Lily and Gracie had done that morning, about a scene he was struggling with, about what was for dinner.

Other times, he'd talk for ten minutes about what he wanted to do to her, for her, with her, and have her coming, her hand shoved in the waistband of her skirt, by the end of it.

"Cat got your tongue, baby? Or maybe you're imagining sucking off Mr. Smith, and that's why you aren't saying anything." Edward's low hum rumbled over the phone, and she imagined him leaning back in the leather armchair, his hand on the straining fly of his jeans. "Are you kneeling in his office right in front of the door where anyone could walk in and see? Or maybe—oh, I know—maybe you're thinking about hiding under his desk, his cock in your mouth while he carries on business with an associate right there in his office."

She choked. He had no idea how close to the truth he was. Her throat parched, she croaked, "Yes, my assistant's in my office now."

"Mmm…such a dirty girl, doing this with Mr. Smith while someone sits right there in the office with you."

And even though he was saying "him" and "Mr. Smith", Bella was picturing Edward in his place, imagining her husband in a suit and tie, his long, thick cock out and in her mouth while he carried on a conversation with an associate as if she wasn't thirty seconds from coaxing an orgasm from him.

His voice had dropped an octave, and if she concentrated, she could hear the sounds of him touching himself, of him stroking over his cock as he said, "Would you finger yourself while you did that? Would you fuck your sweet little pussy until he filled your mouth with come?"

Bella looked over at Jessica and found curious eyes focused on her and remembered she should probably be saying something to the supposedly very important client on the other end of the phone line. Swallowing, she stammered, "Yes, I would. I will."

Edward groaned. "Jesus. You will? I'm going to remember that when you get home tonight, baby. Oh, fuck…"

She listened to the unmistakable sounds of her husband coming and felt herself flush, her clit throbbing. Because of the words he said, because of the tone of his voice, because he'd done it all while Bella's assistant had sat three feet away, her inquisitive eyes focused on her boss.

After a moment and a deep exhale, he said, "Fuck, I needed that. My mind was a complete clusterfuck." He breathed out another sated noise, then chuckled. "Is your assistant seriously sitting on the other side of your desk?"

"Yes." Her voice was tight, strained.

He tsked. "Naughty girl." She made a muffled noise of protest, and he continued, "That's okay. I like you naughty. See you tonight."

And then the line went dead, and Bella's mouth went dry. But her panties…her panties were so wet, she didn't know if she'd be able to stand being in them the rest of the day. And she certainly didn't know how she was going to wait hours before she could see her husband and reenact the little fantasy he'd planted in her head.

.

.

.

Edward had just placed the serving bowl filled with pasta on the dining room table when the back door opened.

"Mommy!" Their three-year-old daughter Lily went running through the kitchen, eighteen-month-old Gracie toddling behind her.

Bella dropped her keys and purse on the counter, then knelt and swept them both into hugs, listening as Lily rattled on about her day and Gracie mimicked her older sister in baby-babble.

He waited for a minute while Gracie told her mom all the highlights, then said, "Come on, girls, it's dinner time."

He watched as the girls pulled their mother into the dining room, Lily climbing up into her seat and Gracie lifting her arms so Bella could place her in her booster. Once both girls were settled with cut up spaghetti in front of them, their sippy cups full of milk, he grabbed Bella's hand and tugged her to stand in front of him, wrapping his arms around her.

"Hey."

"Hi," she said, melting into his chest. By this time of the day, they were both exhausted. Her, because she'd worked a nine hour day and commuted an additional two. Him, because he'd been on that entire time she was gone, tending to both girls, the house, and his writing. There didn't ever seem to be enough hours in the day, and while usually they'd have a mellow night, probably fall asleep on the couch watching reruns before dragging their asses up to bed, he had something else on the agenda for the evening.

He leaned in, pressed his nose to the crook of her neck, breathed her in. Then he replaced his nose with his mouth, dropping kisses against her collarbone, sucking for a moment on the spot that made her nipples hard. When he got to her ear, he nibbled, traced the shell with his tongue, then said, "Don't think I forgot what we talked about earlier."

Bella's breath caught, her fingers tightening in the cotton of his shirt, and he knew if he slid his hand up and under the skirt she wore, dipped his fingers into the sheer panties he'd seen her put on this morning, he'd encounter the sweet evidence of his wife's arousal. He knew it as confidently as he knew he could get her off in three minutes by the flick of his tongue, in five by the pumping rhythm of his fingers. He knew it because he knew her.

After ten years together, you learned to take note of certain tells. For her, it was the flush of her cheeks, the rapid rise of her chest, the twin points of her nipples pressed against the flimsy material of her top.

Glancing to make sure his daughters were still engrossed in their food, he leaned closer, pressed his lips directly against Bella's ear, pitching his voice as low as he could. "You're wet for me, aren't you? How long have you been like that? Did you get to come? Did you sneak into the bathroom and finish what I started?"

She shook her head, a soft noise of frustration echoing out of her throat. And then it was his turn to groan as he thought about how swollen, how hot and wet she must be. How easily his cock would slide into her pussy, how it would look, all flushed and pink, as she took every inch of him.

In whispered words, his lips brushing her ear, he said, "I'm going to have you on your knees for me tonight. And then I'm going to have you spread out on the bed. I'm gonna lick you until you're twitching, suck that little clit until you're so crazed you're riding my face. And then, when you're begging for more, I'm going to fuck you until you come all over my cock."

He held her up as he felt her knees give out, her forehead dropping to his chest as she gave a breathless whimper. With a hand on her back, he led her to her chair, pulled it out for her, and waited until she sat down before he moved over to his. He ate his dinner, watched his girls eat theirs, listening to the banal conversation going on between mother and daughters, but all the while he was counting down the minutes until he could get his wife alone and in their bedroom to finish what he started.

.

.

.

Bella unbuttoned her shirt as she walked into their master suite and straight into the large walk-in closet. It was custom built along with the house, the center island consisting of drawers holding her ridiculous lingerie collection and shelves containing her abundance of heels. She loved it. She loved the dark mahogany finish, the mirrored sides, the polished top. She loved everything about her house, and she loved that she had a job that paid well enough they were able to build it.

The girls were asleep, and Edward was somewhere in the bedroom, probably flipping through channels on the T.V. or writing on his laptop. Untucking the shirt from the waistband of her skirt, she pulled it off and placed it in the hamper. Over her shoulder, she said loudly enough for him to hear, "How'd your writing go today?"

"Not very good." His voice was closer than she expected, the nearness making her jump. He stepped up directly behind her, the warmth of his bare chest pressing against her back, his hands settling on the exposed skin where her waist flared into her hips. "Apparently an incredibly raunchy sex scene doesn't belong in my conspiracy theory novel."

She gave a breathless laugh as he gathered her hair to one side, exposing her neck to his seeking lips. He kissed her while his thumbs traced circles in her skin, moving up to run along the outline of the band of her lace bra.

"I like this one. Let me see…" He spun her around so she faced him. Standing there in nothing but a pair of striped pajama pants, he watched his finger take a slow perusal over the cups of her bra, tracing the swells of her breasts. Raising his eyes to meet hers, he asked, "Did Lily and Gracie go down okay?"

She knew that was his way of asking if they were going to get interrupted—if they needed to wait a bit before he continued with his plans. She'd made sure the girls were both out before she'd made her way back in here, not wanting to stop once she and her husband got started.

She nodded and he stepped closer, palming her breast, lightly rubbing his thumb back and forth over her nipple while the other went to her neck, curling around the nape and bringing her head close to his. His lips met hers, all restrained hunger and need, his muscles tight with barely contained want.

And, God, she wanted, too. For the last seven hours, she'd done nothing but want. After his phone call, she'd had to make fumbling, awkward conversation with Jessica, unable to give her directive as to what she needed to spend her afternoon doing, which absolutely wasn't Bella's style. At work, she was in charge. She was the boss, the go-to person for all decisions. She was ruthless and demanding and utterly in control.

Here at home, she was simply his.

She got lost in the kiss, lost in the feel of his tongue in her mouth, his hand working the cup of her bra down over her breast, his fingers pinching her nipple. When she was breathless, robbed of coherency, she stepped closer, ready to climb up the length of him and ride him right there in their master closet.

Before she could make a move, before she could hike her skirt up over her hips, lift her leg and grind herself against him, he pulled back. Looked into her eyes. Let a smirk overtake his face.

Because he knew. He knew what she wanted. What she craved. What had been kept from her all day.

And, still, he wanted to play.

With his hand cupping her jaw, he brushed his thumb over her plump lower lip, tugging her mouth open just slightly. "You gonna be a good girl and get on your knees for me?"

He always posed it like that, in a question. Anytime he told her what to do, guided her to what he wanted, he asked.

Like she had the illusion of saying no.

Like she'd want to.

Instead, she went down onto the plush carpet, tugged on the drawstring of his pants, and lowered them until his cock slipped out, thick and hard and wet at the tip. She smiled at that, knowing how worked up he was to already have pre-come leaking from his dick when they'd barely even touched.

He reached down, brushing his fingers over her curved lips. "Yeah, he's happy to see you." With careful strokes, he gathered her hair away from her face, held it all in one of his fists and squeezed. "Now open up."

She didn't pause, didn't hesitate. Didn't play with him. She didn't trace the vein on the underside of his cock with her tongue, didn't flick it against the head and drive him mad. No, she did exactly what he asked. She opened up, and she engulfed him.

"Oh, Christ."

By her second stroke up the length of him, his hips had already started rocking, shifting forward as he fisted her hair in one hand, pulling it in a nearly painful grip. All the while his other hand traced the contours of her face. Along her hair line, over the shell of her ear, the arch of her eyebrows, the slope of her nose. Traced over lips that were open and spread around him, taking all of him inside.

"Fuck, your mouth is so good. Yeah, flick your tongue like that. Shit." His head fell back, eyes closed as she stared up at him from her perch at his feet. When he dropped his head forward, looked down at her, his gaze was pure hunger. "You want me to fuck it? You want me to fuck that hot little mouth and come down your throat just like we talked about?"

Bella hummed around him. She didn't care if he came down her throat or in her pussy or on her breasts. She just wanted him to. Wanted him to lose control, for that split second. Wanted to see the pleasure on his face and know she was the one—the only one—who could put it there. For being in such a subservient position, she always felt the most powerful when she was on her knees in front of him.

"Isn't that what I said I'd do? I'd come down your throat while you fingered your pussy? Lift up your skirt." His voice was hard, demanding, and if it wasn't for the slight rasp of his words, the way his throat bobbed as he swallowed, the tension in his arms, she'd have thought she wasn't affecting him at all.

She dropped her hands from his cock and reached down to do as he'd told her to, bunching up her skirt. Once it was settled above her hips, she placed her hands against his thighs, giving herself leverage as she sucked him harder, deeper into her mouth.

He reached down to where she was gripping his legs and pulled one hand toward his face. Leaning down, he sucked two fingers into his mouth, swirled his tongue around them until they were covered in wetness. "Now slide those into your panties. Get yourself off for me."

Without a moment's hesitation, she slipped her hand into her underwear. God knew she didn't need the wetness of his mouth, because she was already soaked. She swept along her outer lips, swirled her finger around her entrance…did everything but touch her clit, because so much as a brush from her fingertip would have her going off like a bottle rocket, and she wanted to feel her husband come first.

Edward must've read the need in her eyes, in the way she held herself, body rigid and tense, because he gripped the back of her head, started thrusting faster into her mouth. "Do it, baby. Rub your clit. Shit, I'm gonna come… Oh, fuck."

She moved her finger over where she was swollen and needy just as she felt him release down her throat. Moaning around him, she rubbed herself faster, her orgasm taking her up up up until she was thrown over the edge of a cliff, freefalling down into an ocean of bliss.

"Jesus Christ," Edward said between panting breaths, pulling back, his cock slipping from her mouth. With gentle hands, he trailed his fingers along her jaw, her cheekbones, her lips. "C'mere." He pulled her up, lifting her until she was settled on the polished top of the cabinet. Gripping her face with both hands, he leaned in and kissed her, hard and hungry, his tongue twisting with hers. "Did you come, sweet girl? Did you come all over your fingers?"

With frantic hands, he removed her panties but didn't bother with her skirt or bra, and before Bella could utter a word, before she could even catch her breath, he dropped down and took a long swipe with his tongue up the length of her pussy.

She collapsed back on the wood with a breathless moan, all the air leaving her as her husband's tongue drove her absolutely mad.

"God, I love the way you taste after you've come. Pure, one-hundred percent Bella." He pulled back, opened her thighs with his hands, his thumbs spreading her lips wide, exposing her clit, and then he leaned forward again. He was always the most crazed when he went down on her after he'd already come. It was almost like he felt guilty that he'd had as many orgasms as she had and wanted to get her off again as quickly as possible. He didn't waste time with teasing, with fluttering kisses against the seam of her thigh or the top of her mound. No, he dove straight in, licking up the length of her slit, sucking her lips, then her clit until he fixed his whole mouth over the length of her and devoured her whole.

He slid two fingers into her waiting pussy, pumped them into her while his tongue sought out her clit, his thumb barely brushing against her back entrance, and that was all she needed before she was gripping his head in her hands, her hips rocking against his face. His answering groan spurred her on, and when she looked down the length of her body at him, she found bright green eyes connected with hers, and then she was flying again.

"Oh, God, yes," she panted, her head tipped back as the orgasm took her. "Edward…"

He moaned against her, and she crashed, throbbing against his mouth as she came. With soft laps of his tongue, he coaxed her down until she was a boneless pile of limbs. He kissed his way up her body, nuzzling against her neck, and she could feel the evidence of his excitement against her inner thigh.

"Already?" she asked, amusement in her tone.

"Always."

#

Edward carried her to their bed, unhooked her bra, then removed her skirt until she was lying completely bare, all pale skin and long, dark hair against pristine white sheets. He kissed her neck, her collarbone, brushed his lips down the center of her chest between her breasts. Took a nipple into his mouth, rubbed his thumb over the other, then moved up until his lips hovered above hers.

"How do you want it tonight, baby? You want it slow and sweet? Or fast and hard?" Bella hummed into his mouth, practically purring, and he knew that was all he was going to get out of her. "I bet you want both, don't you? Flip over."

He tapped her lightly on her hip, then moved back so she could do as he asked, turning until she lay on her stomach. She propped herself up on her elbows, her head twisted back to watch him. Her mouth curved up on the side as he stroked himself, watching her as she lifted her ass in invitation.

"Look at how wet you are for me…" He reached out and ran his fingers over her pussy, brushing against her, all over her, before moving up to circle her clit.

"Always," she said, repeating his earlier sentiment.

And he loved that. Loved how pliant she was, how receptive to his touch, his words. How much of a dichotomy she was—so demanding at work, a force to be reckoned with, but here, in their bed, she was utterly docile. For him.

He moved up to straddle her legs, pressing her thighs together as he slid his cock along her slit. Aligning himself with her entrance, he pushed forward until only his head was engulfed in her heat, then sat back to watch as she opened around his cock, watch as she lifted her ass as best she could to take more of him.

"You want it?"

"Yes."

"Tell me."

"I want it, Edward, please…"

"You want what?"

Her arms gave out and she dropped down to the bed, her head turned to the side, and made a frustrated noise in her throat as her hands clenched the sheets. "Your cock. Give it to me."

He brought his hand down sharp on her ass. She yelped, bucking against him, her pussy contracting around his cock, and he couldn't help but smile.

"I'll give it to you when I'm ready." He wanted to hold out longer, just to make it all the sweeter when he finally sank inside, but seeing his wife, strung out and panting, nearly begging for him to fuck her did him in. With deliberate slowness, he pushed forward, watching her pussy spread open around him, her arousal coating every inch of him as he pulled out, pushed back inside, inch by inch until she was panting and moaning and he couldn't take it anymore. With a final thrust, he seated himself fully inside her, and Bella gave a satisfied mewl.

"God, yes," she moaned, arching back against him.

"Fuck, you feel good." He leaned over her, kissed her shoulder, her neck, her ear as he pumped into her. "Is this what you wanted? Is this what you thought about all day, baby? Me fucking you so good?" He nipped at her neck, laved the sting with his tongue, then reached under her and gripped her breast, pinching her nipple between his thumb and forefinger. "Goddamn I love your pussy."

Bella's eyes were closed, her bottom lip trapped between her teeth, and he could see the effort she put in to stifling her moans. With his hand against her chest, he pulled her toward him, her back arching as he slid his hand up and wrapped it loosely around her throat, his thumb brushing along the column of her neck. With his lips against her ear, he said, "Don't. I want to hear you. Let me hear how much you love it when I fuck you."

Her whimpers grew to pants, and soon she was moaning in his mouth as he pounded into her.

"Can you come again, sweet girl? Can you come all over my cock?" He didn't wait for an answer before he said, "Rub your clit for me."

She reached a hand down, sliding it between her body and the mattress. Her fingers brushed against his cock as he slid in and out of her until she moved it away. The moan pulled from her mouth told him she'd settled her hand against her clit, and when she started tightening around him, it was too much for him to take.

"Jesus Christ, I'm close. Come on, baby, come on me." He moved his hand from her throat down to where she was touching herself and added his fingers, rubbing against her clit. As soon as he felt the first fluttering of her pussy around him, he let himself go, pushing into her as far as he could go. "Fuck. Yes."

Bella's groan echoed in his mouth as she came around him, her pussy squeezing his cock, pulling the last of his release from him.

When panting breaths mellowed into something smoother, Edward rolled off her, then pulled her to his chest, rubbing his fingers down the length of her back.

"Goddamn, that was good."

She hummed, her lips reverberating on his skin, and soon she was boneless, her breathing even as she slept curled against his side.

.

.

.

"Jessica, we need the final head count for the gala on Saturday. I just got my ass reamed—for the second time—from the caterer because we haven't given them numbers yet. Why the fuck haven't they been sent?"

Her assistant's mousy voice carried over the speaker into Bella's office, "I, um, I was waiting for a handful of the higher-ups to RSVP yet…"

"The higher-ups? Like whom, exactly?"

"Ah, the V.P., the C.O.O. and the C.F.O."

Bella didn't speak for a minute. She couldn't. If she did, she'd fire her assistant on the spot, and God knew she didn't have time to train anyone halfway decent before this fucking party. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and counted to ten.

That didn't help.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Jessica," she snapped. "You think any of those three people are going to take the time to email you to let you know they'll be at the yearly party for their fucking company? I think you can safely put them down as yeses. Give me the numbers you have so far, and I'll call the caterer myself."

After getting the headcount, Bella cut off the call, mumbling to herself about incompetent people and having to do everything herself if she wanted it done correctly. Her job was exhausting, having to be at her best all the time. She expected near perfection from the people who worked for her, but that was exactly what was expected of her from her boss, so she didn't think it should be that big of an issue.

Except for the fact that her boss was a man, and thus was considered confident and head-strong. She, however, with the same leadership style, had been labeled a bitch, a dictator, and a harpy to work for. She heard the way some of the employees—not her employees, but some of them—talked about her, about how they'd quit before they were ever forced to work under her. And she didn't care. She didn't.

And she certainly didn't care when she heard them give their rumbled regrets for her husband, for what life must be like for a man to be married to such a bitch of a woman. How emasculated he must feel.

She did her job, and she did it well. She couldn't help if people didn't understand. And they didn't understand. Not her job or her life, and most certainly not her marriage.

.

.

.

Edward watched as Bella got ready for the gala, pacing between the main room of their hotel suite and the bathroom in nothing but tiny scraps of lingerie. The black lace bra and panties would've been enough to send him to his knees, but add in the little lace garter belt thingy and those lace-topped thigh high stockings, and she was lucky he hadn't bent her over five times already.

He lay back on the bed in his tux, minus his jacket so it wouldn't get wrinkled, his arm behind his head. He'd dropped the girls off with his parents on his way into the city, meeting Bella at the hotel where the gala was taking place. They'd decided to book a room since they had the whole night to themselves anyhow. And after these events, Bella was always so exhausted, he didn't want her to have to drive an hour home on top of it.

Glancing at the clock, he saw it was nearing eight, and if they didn't want to show up ridiculously late, they needed to get a move on. "Baby, we gotta go. You almost done?"

She made an affirmative noise, then she was scurrying back from the bathroom, her hair done up in some kind of fancy twist thing, her neck fully exposed, and sweet Christ, he didn't know how he was going to last all fucking night before he got to be inside her.

Five minutes later, she came back from the closet area in a black dress that one might mistake for being conservative. The neckline was modest, held up by twin beaded straps, the fit of the dress tight but not too tight. It was simple. Safe. But he knew when she spun around, the back would plunge straight to her tailbone, exposing the twin dimples at the base of her spine, and he'd want to press his thumbs into them, pull up the skirt and slide her panties to the side, then bury himself inside her.

Reaching down, he adjusted his ever-growing cock and said, "Are you trying to kill me tonight?"

She gave him a distracted smile as she attempted to attach a necklace, and he got up from the bed to stand behind her. He took the black beads from her fingers and hooked the clasp, then dropped a kissed at the base of her neck. Instead of hum and press against him like she normally would have, given a contented sigh, her shoulders were tense, her back rigid.

"You okay?"

"Hmm? Oh, yeah, I'm fine."

Except she wasn't, and he knew it. After a decade with someone, you knew when they were hiding something. He just didn't know what it was. And as late as they were running, now wasn't the time to pry it from her.

Instead, he spun her to face him, lowered his head to place a kiss against her lips. "You are stunning. Ready to go?"

She hummed, but otherwise didn't say a word. He grabbed his jacket as she slipped into shoes he was definitely going to have her leave on tonight, and then they were in the hallway, his hand pressed to the small of Bella's back as he led her into the elevator car and down to the ballroom, her body still holding every ounce of tension from earlier. He didn't know what was wrong, but he was going to find out before the night was over.

.

.

.

Bella was exhausted. All day, she'd run around the office fixing last minute details, making sure everything tonight went off without a hitch. And because her assistant was about as useful as a gummy bear, she did it all on her own. She'd been up since 6 a.m. and hadn't even stopped to grab something quick for lunch. She didn't leave the office until seven and then went straight to the hotel to meet Edward so she could hurry and get ready.

And then the real test had started.

In her day to day life, it was easy to get lost in her work. To close her office door and block out all the distractions of gossiping employees, of the looks and sneers. And, sure, she was aware of them. Of course she was, but she'd never let it affect her. Not like this. Not like it had tonight.

She'd been stressed and strung tight, and then standing there in the bathroom stall this evening while the party went on in full swing outside the door, she'd listened to two nameless women. She hadn't wanted to, wished she'd had an office door to shut out the whispered words, but she didn't, so she'd listened as they discussed how gorgeous her husband was and how either of them would gladly help keep him busy while he was lonely at home.

That combined with the hushed rumblings she'd heard in the office hallway earlier—how they'd discussed her marriage and how they didn't know why her husband even stayed with her—had this fissure of uncertainty creeping in. The worst part was…she could see it. She could see how her marriage looked to an outsider. How her husband might get sick of being home, day in and day out with no one but the girls to keep him company. How she was distant while at work, how her job ruled so much of her day. How, because of that, he might seek…outside affections.

All night, through the hors d'oeuvres and the drinks, the thought sat like a brick in her stomach. The situation in the ladies' room had only amped everything up. She could still hear them, the taunts about what kind of woman did that to her husband, what kind of wife emasculated her spouse and expected him to cook and clean and take care of the kids while she was out being a complete dictator at work—and probably at home, too—and, God, how could he live like that?

And there was something in the tone of their voices, something in the way they posed the question that had Bella asking herself those same questions. And, worst of all, had her questioning if Edward himself had wondered those very things.

.

.

.

She didn't melt into his arms. Not like she usually did. Whatever had been bothering her before they came to the ballroom had increased since they'd arrived at the gala. She'd had her obligatory plate of appetizers and a glass of wine, but neither had been touched, left forgotten on a random table somewhere. She'd painted a smile on, talked with her peers and her superiors, but she wasn't herself.

As the soft beat of the music played in the room and couples swayed on the dance floor, he slid his hand up the line of her spine, pulling her closer to him, his other hand encasing hers, holding it against his chest. With a finger, he reached up and traced her jaw, tipped her head back until she met his eyes.

"What's going on, baby?"

She shook her head even before all the words were out, denial on her tongue. "Nothing's wrong."

"Don't do that. I can tell something's bothering you. What is it?" He pitched his voice low, so the conversation stayed between just the two of them.

Instead of feeding him a lie again, she stared at him. And she looked so…lost. Something he wasn't used to seeing from his wife.

"Bella…"

She swallowed, looked over his shoulder and said, "Do you ever wish our lives—your life—was different?"

With a furrowed brow, he asked, "How so?"

"That you, you know, that you'd maybe married someone more…passive?"

"As opposed to the kick-ass wife I've got? No, can't say I have." He pressed his finger to her chin again, turning her head until she met his eyes. "Where's this coming from?"

"Nowhere."

"Don't bullshit me. Where's it coming from?"

"There's just…there's been a lot of talk lately in the office. About you…about us. I usually just ignore it, but between the stress of this event and my assistant fucking everything up, I guess it's just been getting to me. And then tonight…some women said something that got under my skin."

"What'd they say? And don't say nothing."

She looked between his eyes, then took a deep breath. "That I emasculated you by having you stay home with the girls, and how you probably have someone on the side that doesn't make you feel so powerless."

There was a split second where he froze, where no sound came out at all, and then he laughed. He couldn't help it. He laughed loudly and unrestrained causing his wife to startle in his arms, her eyes wide.

He'd known when he'd chosen to be a stay-at-home dad that not everyone would get it. He knew people would talk about his decision, dismiss it and even ridicule it, but he'd never once thought his wife would question his choice.

When the time had come, after Lily was born, for them to decide things, they'd talked about it, and it had just made sense for her to keep working and him to stay at home with the kids. Bella was climbing the ladder faster than either of them had expected, and her paycheck was nearly triple his anyway. Being a high school English teacher didn't exactly bring home loads of money, and his dream had always been to write. This way, they got the best of both worlds.

He loved it, loved being home with his girls and being able to write in the downtime, and he loved that Bella got to keep her sense of self, as well. That she was able to do what she loved. That they both were.

She was staring at him, her mouth parted, and this was definitely a discussion they needed to have in the privacy of their room, because it was clear he needed to set a few things straight.

"Say your goodbyes. We're leaving."

"But—"

"I'll meet you at the door in ten minutes. Don't be late."

.

.

.

She wasn't late. She feigned a headache and said her goodbyes, then grabbed her purse and met her husband at the door to the ballroom. He didn't say a word as he guided her to the elevator, up to their floor, and then down the hall to their suite. Not a peep as he opened the door and ushered her inside, then locked it behind them. Not a sound as he removed his jacket, untied his bowtie and slipped it off, unbuttoned the top of his shirt, then moved over to the chair at the far end of the room, directly in front of the huge picture window. He sat in it, facing her, and just stared.

She didn't know what to do, what to say…if she'd offended him with what she'd repeated. She wanted to tell him that wasn't what she thought, that she'd never thought that. She could only hope he didn't, as well. It wasn't easy being a woman in the corporate world, even less so when you were a mother. Add in a husband who stayed at home, and that was fuel for hours, days, weeks of taunts and whispered words that hung all over the office.

And somehow, today had finally been when they'd gotten through her carefully constructed armor.

"Come here. Stand in front of the bed." His voice was low, controlled, not an ounce of anger anywhere to be found. And his body language—he was just…sitting there, his ankle resting on his opposite knee, one arm stretched against the back of the chair, the other elbow resting on the arm, his thumb brushing along his stubbled chin.

When she didn't move, couldn't move, he said, "Bella." His tone was enough to have her legs working, moving her forward until she was where he'd told her to go. He was still too far away, though, the eight feet yet separating them feeling like an ocean.

"Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to talk, and you're going to undress. Necklace first, then let your hair down. Then I want the dress gone." When she didn't move, didn't reach back to unclasp the beads around her neck, he simply raised a brow.

And then she was moving, fumbling with the clasp of her necklace before she plucked out every pin holding her hair up. Once the dark waves tumbled around her shoulders, to the middle of her back, she reached down, her fingers brushing cool silk, pulling up until the slip of fabric was off and in a pool at her feet.

"Good. Now, do you know what I think about those brainless women who said those things tonight? Or any asshole, really, who thinks they know what our lives are like? What works for our family?"

Bella shook her head.

Instead of telling her, he said simply, "Bra," and she complied, reaching back to unhook the band and tossing it to the side.

"That's my girl." He offered her a smile, his eyes slowly tracking down the exposed parts of her, and she felt beautiful. And wanted. Just like she always did when she was with him. "I think they're a bunch of fucking idiots who are trying to either get your job or get your husband. Neither of which are going to happen." He moved his attention away from her face, focusing somewhere lower on her body. "Unhook your garters and then take that off."

She did as he asked, her breathing growing labored, because despite it all, despite the cold wash of uncertainty that had settled over her all day, she knew this. She reveled in this.

When that scrap of lace joined the rest of her clothing at her feet, he smiled. "Do you know why neither of those things will happen?"

Bella had to think back to what he'd said last, beg her brain to work for a few more minutes because it was about this time that she always turned off. When she let go, when she was free and she was his and he was hers and they just were. Without thought, without expectation, without uncertainty. And why did she ever question that?

"Because you are the best they have, and everyone there knows it. And because I'm already very much taken." His voice, warm as honey, poured over her, seeped into her very bones, and she wanted to drown in it, drown in him. She wanted to walk to him, to climb into his lap, to feel his hands on her and his mouth on her lips. To tell him without words how much she loved him, how much she needed him.

Instead of beckoning her closer, he said, "Now, panties."

She hooked her thumbs in the sides and slid them down her legs, over her thigh highs, carefully stepped out of them while still wearing her heels. And then she was exposed, standing in front of him in only a pair of black, lace-topped thigh highs and heels her feet were begging her to get out of.

"Spread your legs for me, baby. Let me see that pretty pussy."

Without hesitation, without shame, she did as he asked. And she relished the look on his face, the pure, undiluted hunger shown plainly there as his eyes swept over every inch of her body, settling on the apex of her thighs.

He hummed in appreciation, then crooked a finger at her. "C'mere."

She walked toward him until she stood directly in front of him. He extended his hand, traced his finger down the curve of her waist, over her hip until it came to rest on the top of her thigh high. He traced the top to the inside of her thigh, then back out again, and Bella thought she'd go crazy from that simple touch.

He raised his eyes, looked into hers and said, "Undress me."

With quick, efficient movements, she unbuttoned his shirt, removing it from his body until he was bare-chested in front of her. She wanted to lean forward, to lick up a path from the dusting of hair disappearing into the waistband of his pants all the way up to the middle of his chest. Instead, she fumbled with the buckle of his belt, then undid the button of his pants and slid the zipper down. His cock was thick, pressing against his fitted boxer briefs, and she wanted to lick that, too.

Before she could peel his boxers back, before she could get his cock in her mouth, he stood, forcing her back. He walked over to the bed, shedding his pants and underwear as he went, then lay in the middle of the huge mattress. His cock was hard and flushed, resting against his stomach, and her knees nearly gave out when he reached down and took it in his hand, stroked up the length of it, his fist twisting over the top before he slid down and gripped it at the base.

"Straddle me."

She climbed on the bed, and moved to sit astride his hips. Before she could even settle against him, feel the length of him where she was wet and aching, he stopped her with a quick tap of his fingers against her thigh.

"Uh uh. Up here. Put that pussy over my face. I want to taste you."

Slowly, she inched her way up his torso until her knees were on either side of his head, her center poised directly over his mouth, and it took every ounce of restraint she had not to grind herself down against his lips, not to reach down and hold his hair, guide him to where she wanted him.

Turned out he was as eager as she was. He hooked his hands over her thighs and pulled her to him, his tongue seeking her out immediately. "Jesus, you're wet. Did you like stripping for me, baby?"

"Yes…" It was an answer and a plea and a moan as his tongue lapped at her clit, flicking it incessantly. She reached up, cupped her breasts, twisted and pulled her nipples, but it wasn't the same as when he did it. Didn't shoot tingles down her spine, didn't settle warmly in her pussy. Giving a frustrated cry, she dropped her hands, and he didn't wait a second before one of his replaced hers, his fingers doing exactly what she wanted.

She rocked against his face, seeking the pleasure of his tongue, and he gave it to her. Her legs clenched on either side of his head, her hand seeking his hair for purchase, and then she was tightening and pulsing and coming against his mouth.

She didn't have time to come down from her orgasm before she was on her back, her knees pushed up to her chest, the spiky heels of her shoes clutched in his hands as he drove into her.

"Fuck, yes," he said, his teeth clenched as he watched where they were joined. "Look down, baby, look at how pretty your pussy looks, taking all of me. Look at you wrapped around my cock."

Bella glanced between them, seeing him thrusting in and out of her, and it was nearly her undoing. "Oh, God," she said, arching her back as Edward pumped feverishly into her.

"Jesus, you were made for me. Do you feel that? How perfect we fit together? How hard you make me? How much I love fucking you?" He propped her calves against his shoulders and sat back on his feet. Turning his head, he pressed an open mouthed kiss to her ankle while he pumped into her, each thrust deeper than the last. "You remember this the next time some asshole says something. You remember how good I'm fucking you, how good we are together, how much I love you, and you forget everything they've said." He gripped her legs tighter, pushed into her harder. "You only remember this."

"I will, I will, I love you…" Bella's head thrashed against the pillow, her lip clenched between her teeth as he pushed her pleasure as far as he could.

"Give it up to me, pretty girl. I want it."

Edward leaned forward, letting her legs drop to rest in the crook of his arms, and kissed her, his cock pistoning in and out of her until she was strung so tight, she thought she'd break.

And she did.

With her mouth attached to his, their mingled breaths shared in the space between them, she broke. Crying out his name and God's, she came on him, her back arched, her breasts pressed into his chest.

"Fucking hell, baby. Christ." Edward buried his face into her neck and pushed all the way inside her as he pulsed through his release.

His full weight settled on top of her as he caught his breath, and she brought a hand up to run through his hair, reveling in the feel of him against her.

Rolling to the side, he brought her with him, smoothing a hand over her hair and down her back. With reverence, he kissed her, his tongue brushing lightly against hers before he pulled back and looked in her eyes.

"You okay?"

She nodded. "It was stupid. And it's nothing new. I just don't know why I let it get to me this time."

"It wasn't stupid. And you're stressed, so everything seemed worse than it was. But all you had to do was talk to me. Anytime. I don't want you to feel like that alone, okay?"

"Okay." She leaned forward to capture his lips. He reached up, brushed the hair back from her face, trailing a single finger down the line of her jaw. His eyes were so clear, so open and honest, and she knew, without a doubt, what they had was as close to perfection as two people could get.

"You don't have to doubt me—us. Ever." He leaned in, kissed her, then pulled her as close to him as he could. "I'm exactly where I want to be."


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Public voting: August 13 2013 to 27 August 2013.