Summary: It's like a switch has been flipped. I don't want this. I don't want to live like this . . . I'll forsake the whole world in exchange for one man.

Prompt used: 49

Disclaimer: We don't own Twilight.

The clicking of my heels down the empty corridor, accompanied by my rapid heartbeat, is all I can hear as I run toward the exit and into the cool night air. The only thought in my head is Edward.

Tonight, I had put on my best smile and accepted the praise from my boss as he recognized me in front of my peers. Their applause was genuine, as was their congratulations, once the presentation was over and the reception began, but my only thought was Edward.

Skipping out early will probably be frowned upon, but since I've already got the promotion, I think I can take the risk. I need to see him. I wish he could be here with me. I wish things were different.

The bellman waves down the next passing taxi and I climb in, taking caution that the bottom of my evening gown isn't caught in the closing door. Pulling the sheer shawl up around my bare shoulders, I feel the illusion of warmth—or maybe it's the knowledge that as the taxi begins moving in traffic, I'm closer to him . . . to Edward.

"Eleventh and Williamsburg," I tell the driver.

The thought crosses my mind that I should text Edward and let him know I'm on my way, but he'll be ready for me. He doesn't need me to call or schedule an appointment. He's always ready for me. Besides, it's Tuesday night and he never has gigs on Tuesdays. Reaching my hand into my small clutch, I feel for the single silver key, just in case he happens to be gone.

As the taxi pulls to a stop, I hand the driver my cash and say, "Keep the change."

Looking up to the sixth floor, I see a small light on in the corner but I don't need that to confirm that he's there. I can feel him; something between us draws me closer.

I ditch the heels and hurry inside. Thankful that they finally fixed the elevator, I push the button and wait. It's slow, but it's better than taking the stairs any day, unless it gets stuck. Even then, it's okay, as long as there's a rain-drenched Edward keeping me company. And by company, I mean pressed up against the wall until the maintenance men interrupt the fun.

Picking up the hem of my dress, I run the length of the hall to Edward's door, desperate to tell him my good news . . . desperate for him.

He opens the door and stands in front of me, bare-chested, with jeans slung low on his hips. His hair is disheveled, but that's not unusual. If I had to guess, he's been sitting in his favorite chair with his guitar, picking out the chords to a new song. Regardless, he's breathtaking.

"Bella? Is everything all right?" he asks, as he pulls me inside and into his warm embrace.

"It is now," I sigh, sinking into him.

He steps back to get a good look, as if he's examining me, making sure everything is in place.

"You look gorgeous," he breathes out. "What are you doing here?"

With another glance out into the empty hallway, he closes the door behind us.

"I have some news and I couldn't wait to tell you in person."

His green eyes light up and sparkle, telling me that he's glad—that he's happy to see me.

"Do you want something to drink first? Wine? Beer?" he asks, leading me into the kitchen area.

"I'm fine, thanks."

He grabs a beer for himself and turns to me. "What's the news?" he asks, his lips smiling around the bottle.

I rub my arms with my hands, remembering that I was freezing on the ride over here.

"Allow me?" Edward says, stepping closer. He presses his body into mine, taking me from freezing to hot in less than a second. "Better?" he asks, wrapping his arms around me.


"So, the news?"

"Oh, right," I say, trying to downplay my excitement. "Welllllllllll," I start, dragging out the last syllable for anticipatory purposes. "I got the promotion!"

His strong arms lift me up and spin me around the tiny kitchen. "So, Banner finally pulled his head out of his ass and gave you what you deserve?" he asks, as he sets me down on the counter in front of him.

"Lead editor," I nod, biting my lip to keep from squealing like a little girl. I can't help it, though. I've worked my ass off for five years and haven't been recognized for any of it—until tonight. This promotion surpassed everything I had hoped for, taking me from assistant editor to lead editor. I won't be working cover any longer. I'll have my own team and my own articles. The freedom and responsibility feel wonderful and liberating.

"I'm so proud of you," he says. I see the sincerity in his expression. I can hear it in his voice. I can feel it in his touch. His lips brush against mine. "So proud."

His hands caress my neck, as he pulls me into him. His lips claim mine as his own, taking my breath. As I open my mouth to deepen the kiss, he consumes me—all of me. And I let him. It's like this every time. Every time we've been apart and finally are together again. It starts off sweet and gentle, but quickly turns to desperate and consuming, as if we're both struggling under a deep expanse of water, reaching for the surface and the other is our very own lifeline. Our hands are searching, grabbing, pulling, needing.

I'm not sure how, but I find myself sitting on the cold metal counter, my dress is pulled up to my waist and Edward is wedged between my thighs. My ankles are locked behind his back, refusing to let him go. I never want to let him go. Even though I have to, it's not because I want to. I want him. I want us. I want this.

But I don't always get what I want.

I settle.

I do what's expected of me.

I play the role.

But not when I'm with him—not here.

Edward lifts me off the counter, holding me securely, and walks the few steps over to his bed. Lowering me down, my feet touch the cold wood floor, and I feel his hands struggling to find the opening to my dress. Soon, it loosens and falls to my feet.

Here, I get to be me. Here, with him, all my walls are down. He expects nothing of me and graciously accepts whatever I'm willing to give him. Although he wants more, he also settles.

A hard lump causes me to swallow hard, willing the tears that often threaten when I'm with him to vanish. It's not that I'm sad to be with him, it's the realization that it can't be all the time. That's where the desperation comes from, wanting as much of him as I can cram into our short time together.

As his hands and lips make hot trails over my body, my mind goes back to earlier tonight. When Mr. Banner announced my name and called me to the front, my first thought was of Edward. I didn't want to tell anyone else—not my dad, not Alice, especially not Seth . . . just Edward.

Through the dim light, I get a glimpse of his deep green eyes as he begins peppering my stomach with soft kisses.

"What are you thinking about?" he asks, moving up and towering over me. His arms and legs act like a cage, but it feels so freeing.

"Just thinking about tonight, and you . . ." I trail off, not wanting to say any more. Disappointing Edward is the worst feeling in the world. Every time I have to leave, it causes the tear in my heart to rip a little further. Sometimes, when I'm on the elevator going back out into the night, I literally have to hold myself together for fear that I'll completely fall apart. I could never let him see how much it kills me. I'm more than certain he would tell me that we can't do this any longer . . . that it's not good for us . . . that we're only hurting ourselves.

I just can't let that happen. I need him too much.

The first time I ran into Edward at the coffee shop down the street, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was as if the dreams I'd been having the last ten years had manifested in front of me. The hair was the same, the eyes hadn't changed . . . he was still wearing the black leather jacket I always remembered him in. As I got closer, I could smell the faint hint of smoke mixed with what could only be described as Edward. We both stared at each other for entirely too long, until we said an awkward hello. In that moment, nothing had changed—except my last name.

Standing in the coffee shop that day, we were just Bella and Edward, two high school kids who had their whole lives in front of them; both planning on following their dreams and seeing where the road led them. When we broke up, it wasn't for typical reasons. There wasn't anyone else. No one had cheated. We just knew that for each of us to achieve our dreams, we wouldn't be able to stay together. I was going to Cornell and he was going on a six-month tour with his band. Our paths were diverging, so we said goodbye.

That was the hardest goodbye of my life. It took me years to get over Edward, always wondering where he was . . . worrying about him out on the road, hoping that he didn't get mixed up in the normal rock and roll scene. I knew that it would kill me if I found out he had turned to drugs or something like that. I cared about him so much and only wanted the best for him. When I saw him standing before me, relatively unchanged, it did something to me. I wanted him. I wanted to be with him. The crazy voice in the back of my mind told me that if I just allowed myself one more time with him . . . one more time to reminisce . . . one more time to feel like my old self—the Bella who went away the day I took Seth's last name. One more time to remember what it felt like to be held in his arms, and then we could go our separate ways.

But that one more time led to many more times. And here we are, doing what only the two of us know we do: escaping into our private place.

"Where did you go?" Edward asks, his hands moving slowly over my stomach. With each stroke, I feel the tightening coil of desire.

"I'm here," I answer, turning my head to face him.

As he leans forward, his lips close to mine, he says, "This is where you belong."

"I'm always here," I whisper. It's the truth. Even when I'm not physically here, my heart is here.

The shrill ring of a telephone interrupts our quiet oasis. I know that ring and looking at the clock on Edward's wall, I realize what time it is. I also know that if I don't answer, the next place he'll call is our apartment, and he won't stop there. He's relentless, especially when I don't do what he expects me to do.

The look of disappointment is written all over Edward's face. He knows what this call means, too. This call is what usually takes me away from him and sends me back to my penthouse apartment. Even though it's empty and there isn't anyone to go home to, it's where I should be right now. It's where he expects me to be.

"Please don't go."

After a few moments, the ringing stops. Like a stopwatch, I can count down the seconds to the ding, which indicates he's left a voicemail. I can imagine the irritation in his voice and his complete and utter disgust that I'm not home at this hour of night.

If he only knew.

As I guessed, the phone begins ringing again, but this time there isn't a follow-up voicemail.

"Do you need to answer that?" Edward asks. His hands stay steady, refusing to let me go, but his words and actions contradict themselves.

I don't answer. I can't for fear that my emotions will get the better of me. What's done is done.

I silently shake my head and roll over on top of him, straddling him with my legs, framing him with my body like he was doing to me earlier. Leaning forward, I reclaim Edward's mouth. My teeth graze his bottom lip, eliciting a hiss. I work my way down his strong jaw line to his neck, sucking gently along the way.

"Fuck, Bella! You feel so good," he moans, as I grind against him. His hands grasp my hips and pull me down harder, making me so wet. I want him—all of him.

"Take your panties off. Now!" he instructs, as he rolls me off him.

I do as I'm told, nearly shaking with anticipation. Edward plays my body like a piano, knowing every button to push and exactly how to push them. He rubs his knuckles softly down my slick center, stopping briefly at my clit—teasing me. Without notice, he plunges two fingers deep inside, curling them upward. The motion almost sends me into an immediate orgasm. His hot mouth descends on me. His tongue darts out quickly and then he sucks hard, bringing my clit into his mouth. I clutch the sheets at my side, using them as anchors to keep me from falling over the edge.

My body has a mind of its own and begins writhing—as in pain—but so far from it. The coiling in my stomach is getting stronger and the proverbial edge is inches away. Edward switches positions, using his tongue at my opening with his thumb putting the perfect amount of pressure on my clit. I push up into him, moving my hips to his rhythm, until I completely come undone. All my stress, disappointment, and regret flies out the window—all that's left is me and Edward.

My head is swimming in the fog and I can't find the strength to move a muscle, so I plead for what I want. "I need you . . . please," I whisper, my voice sounding so desperate.

"Tell me what you want, baby. Anything. It's yours," Edward replies, his voice husky and thick.

"I want you inside me. Please."

"You don't have to beg," he whispers into my ear. I can feel his smirk against my cheek. I love cocky Edward.

He pulls back and begins to position himself at my opening. My eyes follow to where he's looking and I watch as he runs two fingers against me, collecting my wetness before rubbing it up and down his cock. Seeing him touch himself sends me into a frenzy. I can't wait any longer.

Fortunately, Edward doesn't waste any more time. He leans back onto his calves and pulls my hips up to meet him. Thrusting deeply, he forces the air from my body. A loud cry escapes my lips, followed by a mixture of religious expletives.

With one hand, Edward holds my hips up against his, while the other is splayed out across my stomach, occasionally coming up to squeeze my tits. When he pinches down hard on one of my nipples I cry out, as I feel my second orgasm approaching.

"You feel so fucking good . . . so good!" he gasps, watching where his cock disappears inside me.

I feel my body clenching, tightening up, as he hits a place deep within. Reaching down, I rub and press two fingers over my clit, pressing down. My walls tighten and I cry out, this one almost bringing me to tears.

"Fuck, Bella!"

I open my eyes just in time to see Edward orgasm, his mouth in a perfect "o" shape, his head thrown back. He continues to move inside me with sporadic and uncontrolled motions. After a few seconds, his hands grip my hips tightly and holds me to him as he slowly comes down.

The words that are always right on the tip of my tongue after we have sex are back. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue to keep from crying them out when we're in the act. I want to say it so badly, because it's true. I love him. But saying those words and walking out the door would crush him, so I don't say it. I can't say it.

Instead, I hold him closely, refusing to let go.

"I wish I could have been with you tonight," Edward says, as we lay tangled around each other. His hand smoothes my hair back and I listen to the quiet cadence of his heartbeat.

"I wish you would have been, too."

"What do you think would have happened to us, if we'd have stayed together all those years ago?"

This is the million dollar question. The one that's played over and over in my mind since the first day I ran into him at the coffee shop. What if?

"I don't know," I whisper against his skin, because I don't. All the time I've spent thinking about it, I've come up with several scenarios. There's the one where Edward and I found a way to make it work. He followed his music career, I got a degree and we were happy. Then, there's the one where I end up pregnant and we both have to give up our dreams, because that could have indeed happened. And the worst case scenario: we tried to stick it out, but one of us fucked it up . . . and we ended up hating each other.

Edwards arms wrap around me tightly and I glance at the clock to see it's now almost one o'clock in the morning. Usually, he asks me to stay, and every time, I disappoint him by leaving. The worst part is that I can't stand to see him hurt, so I stay long enough for him to fall asleep. As soon as his breathing evens out and his tight grasp loosens, I gently lift his arm off me and quietly escape his apartment. It's not an easy task. The old wood floors squeak and creak, especially when you don't want them to. If he's ever woken up during my departure, he's never said anything, which actually breaks my heart a little more. Edward has always been one of those 'suffer in silence' types and it kills me to hurt him by leaving.

I should get up and get dressed. I should go home, but I don't want to. My home is empty and lonely, the exact opposite of where I am now.

What I want is to stay wrapped up in Edward's arms forever.

So, for once, instead of doing what's expected of me, I do what I want. I sink further into Edward and allow my eyelids to close, drifting off to sleep.

I'm not sure how long I'm asleep, but when I awake, Edward is gone. I reach across the bed and it's empty . . . and cold, letting me know he hasn't been there in a while. As I start to get up and look for him, my hand lands on my phone that's by my side. He must have put it there when he got out of bed, which can only mean one thing.

Swiping my finger across the screen, I bring it to life, squinting from the brightness. There's a notification on my text messages and I know who it is without even looking.

Where are you? You're not at home where you SHOULD be. It's very late and I have an important meeting in the morning. This is very inconsiderate of you, Bella.

I can feel the tone in Seth's words. A flood of emotions go through my body, starting with anger. It pisses me off that he's so selfish, never showing any sign of concern.

No "where are you Bella? I'm so worried."

No "how was your banquet?"

No "did you get the promotion?"

No "please call me as soon as you get this."

Just "where are you?"

If he was standing here, his voice would be cold and disconnected. His eyes, once loving and kind, would only reflect back inconvenience and annoyance.

It's like a switch has been flipped. I don't want this. I don't want to live like this. I don't want him.

I want Edward.

Career, be damned!

My reputation can go fuck itself.

I'll forsake the whole world in exchange for one man.

All along, I've known this deep down, I just haven't had enough courage to do anything about it. Tonight, in this moment—sitting in this bed, staring at the shittiest text message I've ever received—I know exactly what I'm going to do.

A soft melody floats across the room. As I quietly get out of bed, my eyes begin adjusting to the darkness and I can make out Edward's frame sitting on the bench in front of the piano. I can't recall the song he's playing, but it feels sad . . . it feels downtrodden and defeated, like someone who's lost all hope.

Without hesitation, I go to him, scooting in behind him on the bench. My arms wrap around his bare chest as I press mine into his back. If I could crawl into his skin right now, I would. I can't get close enough. I need more. The tears I'd been fighting back begin to fall, dripping down my chin and onto Edward's skin. I kiss the trail, tasting the salt on my lips. Closing my eyes, I squeeze him tightly, as one of his hands leaves the piano keys and grasps mine.

"Stay," he whispers into the darkness.

"Ok," I whisper back, a quiet sob ripping through the tightness in my throat. Edward turns his body to face me and pulls me into his lap. His lips are on mine and I know this is where I'm supposed to be.


This was our entry for the Dior Rob Contest. For the prompt pics you can Google "Dior Rob Contest" or check out their FFN profile for the link to their blog.

We'd like to thank Mauigirl60 for beta'ing for us and always being so accommodating to our crazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants ways. Due to any last minute changes, all mistakes are our own.