Bella felt her heart swell with love and pride as she looked over at her boyfriend welcoming guests to the gallery. Her boyfriend. Five months she'd been dating Edward now and she still got a kick out of calling him that. He glanced over at her with a wink and her stomach became alive with butterflies. She could feel herself blushing at the tips of her goofy grin, but she didn't care. She loved that Edward could do this to her.
"Wow, Bella, with a smile like that Edward should have put a portrait of you up here!" It was Jasper. He'd apparently just arrived at the gallery, his cheeks still rosy from the cool spring air. Bella laughed quietly to herself. While Edward's photo of Bella had taken pride of place in his Happiness portfolio, it hadn't made the cut for the exhibition. Some things were just too personal to share with the world. Not to mention the fact that Bella would have a hard time explaining her post-coital glow to her father, who had made the trip to the city especially to support's Edward's opening night. She looked over now at Charlie, who was proudly explaining the story of one of the pictures to a couple of guests. My dad, the art critic, thought Bella. Who knew? She grinned a littler harder.
Jasper interrupted her thoughts. "Where's Alice?" Bella looked around, trying to spot her friend's black pixie locks. "Sorry Jazz, I have no idea. She's been buzzing around like a little honeybee all day. You'd better go look for her. Everything's running smoothly, she needs to relax and enjoy the evening now." Jasper agreed and headed off to find her. Edward had needed someone to help him plan the exhibition's opening night and Alice had jumped at the chance. Bella was concerned that her friend wouldn't have time – she'd spent every waking minute planning her own wedding since Jasper's romantic New Year's Eve proposal – but Alice hadn't let them down. Everything was perfect.
Bella started to walk across the gallery to catch a moment with Edward - they'd barely had a chance to say two words to each other all evening – when she got side-tracked by Esme and Carlisle. She would never get used to seeing those two together. Aunt Esme was considerably older than Carlisle, and Bella would never forget her close encounter with Mr. March. The whole thing was a little weird. But she couldn't deny they both seemed so happy, and kind of… perfect together.
The pair had gone public with their secret romance shortly after Bella and Edward had started dating. Rosalie had been the one to discover their illicit affair, after walking in on them making out in Esme's office after hours. Of course, Rose hadn't put it quite so politely. "Fucking each other's brains out" was the phrase she'd used, if Bella recalled correctly. Rose had wasted no time telling her best friend the juicy gossip, which put Bella in an uncomfortable position. ("Esme was certainly in an uncomfortable position," Rose had wisecracked when Bella had expressed her concerns.) She didn't want to keep this from Edward, but she was worried he'd be none too happy about one of his old college pals screwing his favourite aunt. In the end, she'd called Carlisle and asked him and Esme to come clean to Edward, which they'd done. Edward had taken the news surprisingly well and seemed genuinely happy for the pair of them – making Bella love him just a little bit more.
"Bella, so lovely to see you!" said Esme, air-kissing Bella on both cheeks. Edward's aunt had become particularly fond of his new girlfriend, mainly because she considered Bella to have 'introduced' her to the man of her dreams. Esme had taken one look at the calendar shots of Carlisle and made some discreet enquiries to arrange a meeting with him in person. "When I saw him covered in all that delicious chocolate and looking at the camera with those come-to-bed eyes, I just knew I had to have him," Esme had confessed the first time she had thanked Bella. Bella wondered if Esme would be so nice to her if she knew about the chili incident – or rather, the steamy antics that had preceded it. After all, those 'come-to-bed' eyes that Esme had been so crazy about had been looking straight through the camera at Bella.
Carlisle greeted Bella with a brief peck on the cheek, being careful not to linger with his touch. They had always been a little uncomfortable around each other since they started dating their respective Cullens, each afraid their actions would betray them, that Esme and Edward would find out about their fleeting moment of passion. They'd never spoken about it openly with each other, but Bella could tell Carlisle was always a little guarded around her when he was with Esme, while she found herself avoiding any lengthy eye contact with Carlisle whenever Edward was in the room. It's not that she didn't trust herself. Sure, Carlisle was still incredibly sexy, but Edward was the only man that could turn her head - which he did right now.
She was half listening to Esme gush about how proud she was of nephew and how beautiful his photographs were, but she couldn't help her eyes being drawn to Edward. She could see his nerves from earlier (evident by his constant readjusting of his glasses) had faded and he was starting to enjoy himself. His crooked smile beamed across the room, his golden eyes sparkling with happiness. She suddenly felt awash with an overwhelming desire to kiss him. Right now.
As if reading her mind, Edward caught her eye and beckoned her with a confident curl of his finger, taking her right back to their heavenly first time at the Mr. December photo shoot. Her urge to kiss him instantly blossomed into something deeper, more intense, the warm fuzzy feeling in her stomach exploding into a fevered hunger between her legs. Fuck, what this man does to me, she thought. As much as she was enjoying the evening, it was going to be torture counting the hours before they could get back to the privacy of her apartment.
Bella politely made her excuses and tried again to get over to Edward. She needed desperately to feel his hand resting on the small of her back, to drink in his delicious smell, to feel his eyes on her as he introduced her to the guests. "My inspiration," as he'd told an art journalist earlier in the evening. As she walked towards him, the people he'd been talking to moved on to look at some more of the pictures. She rejoiced inside – finally, a moment alone.
But as she got closer to Edward, she was disappointed to see Leah run up behind him and grab him in a friendly hug. Damn these high heels! she thought with some annoyance. If I'd had reached Edward thirty seconds earlier I could have stolen him away for a minute. She pushed her frustration to the back of her mind as she joined them, slipping her arm around Edward. He pulled her closely into him and leaned down to kiss the top of her head, deeply inhaling the scent of her shampoo as he did so. Bella knew the smell of freshly washed hair drove him crazy with desire. She sneakily slipped her hand lower down his waist so it was resting on the top of his butt, sensing his body tensing slightly as she did so. She knew he wanted her as badly as she did him.
Apparently, she wasn't the only one who'd noticed. "Oh my god, you guys, would you ever just get a fucking room?" Leah laughed, good-naturedly. Her initial delight at Edward and Bella finally getting together had soon been marred with a touch of jealousy. She'd been used to having Edward at her beck and call for drunken nights out and karaoke, but she'd suddenly found herself having to share him with Bella. Conscious of his need to spend every waking minute with Bella, Edward had made an effort to keep up his friendship with Leah. But while she didn't resent Bella, Leah admitted she was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact she was now second best. All that had changed about a month ago though, when Leah had fallen head over heels – literally – for a girl called Angela. She'd been at a retro roller disco for a friend's birthday party after Edward had forced her to go. (Leah: "It's supposed to be all retro and ironic and stuff, when actually it's just shit." Edward: "This from the girl who loves karaoke.") Determined she was going to have a terrible time, Leah had snuck in a flask of whiskey in her handbag, and soon learnt to her detriment that alcohol and roller skates were not a good combination. Luckily, Angela had been there to break her inevitable fall. As Leah later told Edward and Bella, the girl had been so sweet about the fact that a tipsy Leah had just used her as a crash mat, that Leah immediately invited her for a drink as an apology. The drink had quickly led to a date and the pair were now inseparable. Bella grinned as she looked over at Angela now, smiling shyly and hanging back slightly while her new girlfriend loudly told Edward the story of their disastrous subway journey to the gallery. "I swear to god, this dude was literally sitting in Angela's lap!"
Edward was laughing along, but Bella could feel he was getting antsy. He was shifting slightly from foot to foot and his eyes had a distracted look to them, as if he wanted to be anywhere but here. "Is everything OK, Edward?" she asked him quietly, while Leah and Angela were momentarily distracted by a passing waiter with a tray of canapés. He pulled Bella close and leaned down to whisper, sending shivers down her spine: "I just want you so badly. Would it be wrong to leave early at my own exhibition launch?"
Bella swallowed and inhaled a shaky breath as Edward's hand slid up from her waist and twirled a strand of her hair around his finger, lifting it up to his nose to smell. "That would be pretty bad," she replied in a low voice. "But maybe we don't have to leave…."
"Isabella Swan, what are you suggesting?" asked Edward in mock outrage, betrayed by the wicked glint in his eyes. She could see his chest rising and falling beneath his crisp blue shirt, his breaths deepened with lust.
"All I'm saying is, this is a pretty big place. I'm sure we can find somewhere where we can have a…. moment alone." She looked up at him through lowered lashes, a naughty smile playing around her lips.
What Edward did next sent a jolt of desire through her body. Without pausing to make an excuse to Leah and Angela, he grabbed Bella's hand and led her purposefully to the back of the gallery and through a door into a dark corridor. "Edward," she panted, trying to catch her breath. He stopped her mouth with a kiss, pushing her forcefully back against the wall. "What if someone comes?" she asked, a flash of panic breaking through the haze of passion.
"That's the plan," he murmured into her neck, as he pushed his hands up her dress and tugged at her panties. Within seconds they had dropped to her ankles and Bella was slipping off her shoes (with some relief!) and stepping out of her underwear. Edward reached down to pick up the silky black panties, and slipped them into his trouser pocket. "I'll be keeping these," he said with a smirk, standing up to lock lips with Bella once again. She groaned into his mouth. The initial shyness of their early lovemaking had soon disappeared, with Edward proving himself a skilled and fearless lover in the bedroom. He might be awkward and sweet in public, but behind closed doors Edward exuded a sexy confidence – bordering on arrogance – that drove Bella wild. She pulled away from his kiss and whispered into his ear: "I guess I'll be going commando for the rest of the night then…" Her words had the desired effect. Edward pushed his body harder against hers and bit lightly on her neck in the way he knew left Bella weak at the knees.
His hands expertly explored the naked skin underneath her dress, sending Bella into ecstasies. She buried her face into Edward's shirt to muffle the sound of her crying out as he brought her to climax with his fingers, reaching as she did so for his belt buckle. She couldn't wait a second longer to feel him inside her. Unzipping his fly, she roughly pulled down his pants and boxers, feeling the hot silky hardness beneath and drawing it towards her. Edward let out a feral sound, somewhere between a sigh and a grunt, and hitched his hands under Bella's butt, lifting her up against the wall. She raised her legs and wrapped them tightly around his waist as he slid into her effortlessly. For the millionth time she marvelled at how they seemed to be made for each other, so perfectly did they fit together. She looked at the delirious grin on Edward's face and knew he was thinking the same thing.
He kissed her again, tenderly, in keeping with his slow and gentle movements below, teasing her tongue with hers. Bella loved it when he did this, holding back at first, leaving her hungry for more. She knew he liked to wait until she begged him for more; harder, faster, deeper. But even Edward was too desperate tonight to wait for that. He quickly picked up the pace, thrusting more forcefully as if nothing could quench his insatiable need for her. As she was rhythmically pushed up against the cold wall, for a split second Bella worried her weight might be too much to bear. But his lust seemed to have given him inhuman strength. She could feel his arm muscles bulging through the thin cotton of his shirt and they were showing no sign of tiring. She could tell by Edward's quickening breaths and stifled moans that he was close to coming, and seconds later she felt his fingernails gripping the flesh of her bare butt as he climaxed loudly.
They propped each other up against the wall, panting and dishevelled, laughing conspiratorially at their boldness. Edward brushed a stray tendril of Bella's hair back from her face and looked deep into her eyes. "I love you, Bella Swan." She kissed him gently, nipping at his bottom lip in a remnant of lingering lust.
"I love you too, Edward. So are you pleased with how the evening's going?"
"Bella, right now, it couldn't be more perfect." Bella smiled. She knew Edward was talking about the exhibition launch. But he'd just described how she was feeling about her entire life.
A/N: Well, I hope that was worth the wait! A massive, massive thank you to each and every reader for all your support, follows, favourites and reviews throughout the writing of this story. I'm so glad to see as many of you seem to have enjoyed reading Calendar Guys as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'm not sure what will come next (or when!) but if you would like to follow me here or on Twitter ( popsicle99) you will be the first to find out. Thanks again and happy adventures in FanFic-land!
UPDATE: I have now started extending my Bella/Carlisle one-shot, Breathless. Please check it out and let me know what you think! :)