TITLE: Timed Collision
PAIRING: Edward and Bella
WORD COUNT: 8,039
SUMMARY: People can be as gentle and sweet as a summer breeze, or as mad and destructive as a hurricane's roar. To him, she was both.
Disclaimer: SM owns everything Twilight related.
She was a rebel, but he looked at her as if she hung the moon.
He didn't know why or how.
He didn't know how it got to be the way it was.
He didn't know a damn thing.
The day started like all the others. He got out of bed, took a shower, and got dressed. He wore one of his many dark blue suits.
He walked around his apartment while eating an apple for breakfast.
After searching for his keys for twenty minutes, he left the house.
It was a typical morning.
The sun had been shining.
He reached his office without interruptions.
And there she had been, standing in front of his desk, wearing black leather from head to toe.
"Hi, Edward," she said. "Long time no see."
Her smirk was as sinful as her tight clothes. The glint in her brown eyes was captivating.
"Isabella," he said. He walked around his desk, sat down, and set aside the papers that had been left for him.
They were no longer his priority.
"What are you doing here?" he asked her.
She took a deep breath. "I need your help."
He rolled his eyes. "Obviously."
She snorted, and sat down on the corner of his desk.
He tried to ignore the way she looked sitting there, or the images his libido conjured at the sight. He failed. Blood had been rushing to his cock since he walked in and saw her there. Muscle memory, maybe.
"What did you do now?" he asked. "And please sit on the chair," he said, gesturing with his hand to the visitor's chair on the other side.
She chuckled and shook her head, but did as he asked.
"I may or may not have punched my neighbor the other day, and she may or may not be pressing charges against me," she said.
"What exactly do you want me to do?"
"The same thing you always do, Edward. Get her to drop the charges," she said, twirling a lock of her hair with a finger.
"Why did you punch her?" he asked, turning his laptop on.
"She deserved it."
"According to you, they always do." He ran his hand through his hair and stared at his desk. "What did she do?"
"She accused me of stealing some shit from her backyard," she said.
He looked up at her. "Did you?"
"Of course not. It was that guy from around the block, Peter or something. I saw him," she said, as if he knew her neighborhood. As if he knew anything about her at all.
"Did you tell her that?" he asked, searching her eyes.
She didn't look away.
"No. I ain't no snitch," she said.
"Right." He knew she had a tendency of taking the blame for things and not selling someone out. It could've been honorable if the people she defended deserved it.
Or, if she didn't get into so much trouble because of her reluctance to talk.
Back in high school, the consequences were a trip to the principal's office or some detention. Now, the repercussions could be much greater.
"Just get me out of this, please," she said. Her voice sounded more exasperated than pleading. She was annoyed he hadn't said yes yet.
"Isabella, you need to stop getting into these predicaments," he said.
Some part of him wanted to stop talking.
"You know you don't mean that," she said with a smile. "If I don't get in trouble, how else are we going to see each other?"
As usual, she saw right through him.
No matter how much time they spent apart, she always knew how to read him, while he found himself lost in the twists and turns of her personality.
He didn't have her figured out in high school.
And he certainly didn't now.
He took a deep breath and handed her a piece of paper and a pen.
"Write the name of your neighbor and her phone number, and I'll give her a call," he said.
Her smile vanished.
"Um, that's going to be a tough one, sir."
"I'm not one hundred percent sure what her name is," she said.
He rolled his eyes and stood up, ready to end the conversation.
"I'm not sure a phone call would do it anyway. You need to talk to her face to face. Look at her with those green eyes of yours, use your charm. You know women rarely say no to you," she said.
"Isabella," he said in warning.
"You know I don't."
She was a seductress, and he looked at her like she ruled the world.
She ruled his world for sure.
"I can't show up at this woman's house and flirt your charges away," he said.
She chuckled, and stood up, walking around the desk to stand in front of him.
"Are you still having self-esteem issues?" she asked, looking up at him. "Because I assure you, the way you look in that suit, you could end world war."
Her brown eyes burned him with intensity. She was biting her lower lip, and her high heels made it easier for him to stare at her mouth.
He needed to get away from her. If he were to get anything done today, he needed to get her out of his office.
"Fine, I'll talk to her face to face," he said. He walked to the door and opened it, indicating that she should leave.
"Don't you need the address?" she asked, frowning.
"I'll find it."
She nodded. Her face had a serious expression, but it was gone before she reached him.
With a deliberate movement, she kissed his cheek. Her lips lingered for a moment. It made his skin tingle.
He gripped the doorknob harder and didn't say a word. Finally, she was gone.
He breathed a sigh of relief and ran his hands through his face wanting to wash away her presence.
Her perfume lingered in the office, driving him mad.
He walked out and made his way to the exit of the building. He could use the fresh air.
The sound of rain falling down startled him. He didn't hear it in his office, but now the uproar from outside was impossible to ignore.
Walking closer to the crystal doors, he spotted her leaning against the building. There wasn't enough covered space to protect her from the water. The wind was too strong.
She had her arms wrapped around the middle of her body, facing away from him.
He stepped out, and she turned her face and focused her eyes on him.
He called her name, waiting until she made her way back to him. Her clothes and hair were soaking wet. There were brown curls sticking to her cheeks, yet she still looked breathtaking.
She was bright, and he looked at her as if she had set the rain on fire.
After getting her back inside, he sat her down and gave her his jacket. Her body was trembling from the cold.
"It wasn't supposed to rain today," she said, tightening his jacket around her.
He nodded and sat down next to her, on the row of chairs outside his office.
There weren't many people in the building, so they were stuck with each other and the falling rain.
"For some reason, I thought you drove here," he said after a moment.
"I had to take a bus to get here. I was going to walk back home," she said.
Her voice sounded small.
When she allowed him to see her vulnerability, he would be taken back to a simpler time.
He sighed, missing the girl he knew in high school. Even though, it had been that same girl who had broken his heart.
"If you need me to, I can give you a drive home," he said. She had been checking the time on her phone. He didn't know if she was late for something or if his presence was boring her.
She shook her head. "I can't ask you to do that."
Without a word, he stood up and went to his office. He sent some quick emails, and made a phone call before searching for his car keys.
He locked the door behind him, and walked back to her.
"Come on," he said. He made his way along the corridor in the opposite direction of the entrance.
She stood up, confused.
"Where are we going?"
The sound of her high heels on the highly polished floor couldn't be drowned out by the sound of the rain. Her steps were strong and confident. They demanded attention.
"I'm driving you home and talking to this neighbor of yours," he said, as they entered the parking lot.
She didn't argue.
He opened the passenger door for her. She smiled a big smile in thanks.
He took his time settling in the seat before driving into the streets. The rain was coming down strong, but he was used to it. It was Seattle, after all.
She messed with the radio until she found a powerful song. She hummed in sync with the strong guitar chords that blasted around them.
As soon as they were out of the parking lot and onto the street, they hit a line of cars.
She started getting restless about five minutes into the traffic jam: biting her nails, looking out the window, moving her feet.
He took the opportunity to lower the music volume.
"Is this like that time with your other neighbor? The blonde one?" he asked, glancing at her.
She turned to face him. "What do you mean?"
"You came to me claiming innocence, and it turned out you had slept with her husband," he said, pressing lightly on the accelerator to move forward.
"I just don't understand how her husband is the one who goes searching for pussy, and I'm the one who gets her ass kicked. Makes no sense. I had to defend myself," she said.
He slowed the car to a stop once more.
"You didn't have to throw that portrait at her."
"She didn't have to call me a slut, so I'd say that made us even," she said, taking his jacket off her shoulders. Something about the action made him look away. "Plus, it didn't even hit her that hard."
"I just need to be sure you're 100% innocent here," he said.
She smirked. "I swear on your holy sex hair that I am."
He stared at her for a moment, and then shook his head.
"Do you ever stop?" he asked, tightening his hold on the wheel.
"Do you ever want me to?"
She turned the volume back up, not waiting for his answer.
She was an artist, and he looked at her like she had invented rock and roll.
The clouds in the sky hid the sunshine, casting darkness over the city.
He tried not to be drawn by her light, but she was impossible to ignore.
She had always been.
She controlled the radio the entire slow-paced ride to her home. When they got out of the traffic, she started directing him.
He drove into the outskirts of the city, and into a small neighborhood.
"That house on the left," she said. He parked in front of it and killed the engine. He sat there, looking at the pouring rain.
"Come on, pretty boy. You're not made of sugar," she said. Then, she opened her door and got out.
He looked as she ran to the house. She didn't even bother taking his suit jacket to cover herself.
Taking a deep breath, he got out.
The water was cold and relentless, seeping into his clothes in seconds.
As soon as he got into the house, he regretted it.
She stood before him, already halfway out of her clothes, devouring him with her eyes.
He looked away from her.
She went around the house, dropping her things around, before disappearing through a small hallway.
He took the time to look around. The living room and the kitchen were separated by the breakfast bar. There didn't seem to be enough space for a dining room.
The couch was cluttered with clothes, and the coffee table was filled with books, magazines, and dirty mugs.
The walls were covered with paintings, photographs, and papers glued to it.
Everything looked as chaotic and as inexplicable as she was.
He remembered the day he first went to her house, when she lived with her mother back in high school.
He had gone to pick her up for the date she invited him on.
She hadn't been ready, so he had to go inside to wait for her.
Her mother—Renee—questioned him during the entire thirty minutes she took to get ready. Before they left for what he thought would be a quiet night, Renee deemed him a good kid.
He didn't know if she ever found out about how he snuck into her daughter's room later that night.
He could still taste her kisses and listen to her sounds of pleasure. But everything had been so different that night. So innocent. Nothing like the sinful times they've shared throughout the years.
The contrast of the memories made him shiver a bit.
"You need to get out of those wet clothes," she said, appearing in front of him. She wore black shorts and a long sleeved, pink sweater that was too big on her.
"The bathroom's over there," she said, gesturing to the left with her hand. She found sweatpants and a t-shirt for him to change into and locked him inside the bathroom.
When he got back to the living room, she was sitting on the couch with her legs crossed. She had moved some of the mess around to make room for him.
"Here." She handed him a cup of coffee.
It was exactly as he always had it.
They sat in silence for a while until she got up to go to the kitchen. He could hear her talking on her cell phone in hushed whispers.
He took the time to look out the window.
He focused on the biggest house of the block. Its backyard was filled with stuff: furniture, an old car, and some things he couldn't make out from the distance.
He figured that was the house of the neighbor.
"Who are we stalking?" she said, standing next to him.
He turned around and sat back on the couch, leaving her standing alone.
"I was trying to guess which backyard got stolen," he said.
"Did you have any luck?" she asked, staring at him.
"I'm guessing the big one at the end of the street," he said.
She smiled. "Wrong."
"Which one is it?" he asked.
She sat down next to him with her back to the arm of the couch and her legs closed.
"Keep guessing," she said. "Each time you get it wrong, I get to ask you something."
That surprised him. She usually wasn't the type to work under conditions. He nodded, and got up to look out the window again.
He took a moment, trying to distinguish each house amidst the rain.
"Well?" she asked, walking toward him.
"The one with the red bins in the backyard," he said.
She shook her head, starting a detailed description of the old lesbian couple who lived there and how nice they were.
After ending her tale, she sat back down on the couch.
He spotted a wooden chair and sat down in it.
She stared at him, as he tried to get comfortable in the hard surface.
"Why are you running away from me?" she asked after a minute.
"You're constantly putting space between us," she said. "Why?"
"I don't know what you mean."
Of course, he knew.
She got out of the couch and stood in front of him. He looked up at her.
There was a fierce look of determination on her face. Before he could react, she straddled his lap.
"Do you think it'll make a difference?" she asked, taking hold of his hair. "Do you think you won't end up inside me before the day is over?"
"I'm trying," he said, placing his hands on her hips. "You're not helping." He stilled her movements.
"We're working on different teams, Edward," she said, kissing his neck.
He closed his eyes.
Her lips on his skin were driving him mad.
He wanted to kiss her.
He wanted to taste her.
But she was like addictive poison.
He wasn't sure he could ever recover from the intoxication. He was still burning from the last time.
"Is this about someone else?" she asked, looking at him. "Do you have a girlfriend?"
He shook his head.
As if he could keep one with her ghost haunting him all the time.
She lowered her face to his chest and breathed in.
He frowned, before moving her away and standing up. He tried to hide the effect she had on him, but she had already noticed. She had already felt it.
"Are you okay?" he asked, surprising himself. He hadn't meant to say it out loud.
She stayed on the chair, looking up at him.
Something about her behavior felt off to him, but he couldn't be sure.
When she smiled and nodded, he had to believe her. He had no reason to think otherwise.
High school had been a long time ago. He couldn't pretend he knew her anymore.
Hours passed, and the rain didn't stop. The wind kept picking up, rattling the windows and the door. It looked like they were in the middle of a tropical storm.
He tried to search the news about the weather on his cell phone but his signal sucked.
Some of his coworkers called him wondering where he was, but he couldn't hear them too well.
He tried to turn the television on, but she stopped him, urging him to go back to the guessing game.
He sighed, but walked to the window, while she looked at him from the couch. She had put on knee-length socks that had little blue ribbons on the top. The sight made him smile.
He guessed three more houses wrong, and each time he was regarded with a weird story about the people who lived there.
He kept waiting for her to ask the questions she had mentioned, but she never did.
He didn't bother reminding her.
"Is it the house with the yellow fence?" he asked, with his back to her.
He heard her move on the couch.
"Nope," she said.
Before he could respond, the lights flickered twice before going completely out.
"Oh fuck," they both whispered.
It wasn't as dark as it would've been if it was later in the day, but it was still too dark. The sun had disappeared hours ago.
"I have some candles somewhere," she said, but he wasn't listening.
She was standing up in the middle of the cluttered living room. Her too-big-for-her sweater had fallen down over her shoulder, baring freckles he knew and missed.
The semi-darkness around them seemed to make her glow even more.
He had been distracting himself with stupid games, watching the rain fall, listening to the wind blow. It all fell away as she paced around the room, crouching down to search for the candles.
He stared at her, unable to do anything but.
"Here you are motherfuckers," she said from the kitchen.
She made her way back to the living room with a lighted candle in her hand.
He stared at her until she came to a stop a couple of steps away from him.
She set the candle down slowly, not taking her eyes away from his.
The rain outside was freezing, he knew. But at the moment, the flame from that single candle seemed to ignite him on fire.
She took a step closer to him and reached for his hand.
He allowed her to intertwine their fingers together.
Without her high heels, their height difference was much greater. He had to look down to see into her eyes.
She stood on her tiptoes, squeezing his hand to balance herself, and kissed him softly on the lips.
She tugged on his lower lip, coaxing him to respond.
He turned his head to the side, breathing in shaky breaths.
"Do you really not want me anymore?" she asked, standing flat on her feet once more. The sound of her voice was weaker than he was used to. He faced her again. The usual spark on her eyes seemed dimmed.
She looked vulnerable, but she still found a way to rub him over his sweatpants.
"Isabella," he said. He didn't move. She didn't stop.
"I can see that you do," she said, letting go of his hand in order to grab onto his hip. "Why are you fighting me so hard?" Her movements sped up, and so did his breath.
He was about to come on his pants like the teenager she made him feel like.
He shook his head and pushed her away. "Do we really have to go over that?"
He sat down on the couch, trying to regain his composure. The flame of the candle threatened to burn out every few seconds.
She stood in front of him with a disappointed look on her face.
It made him angry.
She had no right.
"Should I remind you that the last time we saw each other was months ago?" he asked. "That you've been doing this for years, getting in trouble, getting me to help you, and then leaving until the mood strikes you again? I can't do this every time." He gripped fistfuls of his hair in frustration. He felt like such a pussy, but he couldn't do anything about it. She managed to touch something inside him, to strip him bare. It was as addicting as it was annoying.
"Each time you come to see me, I vow I won't get caught up in your game, but I've never been a good player, have I? That's you, it's your game."
For a moment, his words hung in the air between them. Their breaths and the falling rain were the only thing he could hear.
"It's been a year," she said after a while.
She lowered herself to the floor in front of him, and hugged her knees as she spoke.
"The last time we saw each other was a year ago. It's always the same day, Edward. I thought you knew that," she said. The pain in her voice scared him.
It was too much emotion from her.
"October 19th," he said in awe.
How hadn't he realized that?
"Our anniversary," she whispered.
He was taken back to high school once more. He couldn't help it. As bad as they had ended things, his best memories of her, belonged to that time.
They had gone out on a few dates by that time. When he got to Forks High, she didn't waste any time in asking him out. And he couldn't refuse her.
Not when she looked at him the way she did.
Not when he found her so goddamned interesting.
Finally, after their third date, he asked her if they were a couple. She had said yes.
It had been so easy and uncomplicated.
He couldn't believe what he was hearing now.
"I didn't—I mean, you…" he trailed off, searching for ways to organize his thoughts.
"When you found me in that jail cell four years ago," she started, "it felt like too much of a coincidence that it had been on that date. We hadn't seen each other in over five years, and then you showed up when I needed someone the most, just like it used to be."
He stared at her with a perplexed look on his face. He remembered that day as if it was yesterday. He had been helping a friend with a case—investigating the whereabouts of a person of interest. Maybe it was fate that led him to that particular police department, on that particular day, who knows?
Seeing her locked in that cell was both as surprising as it was expected. She had the tendency to be a troublemaker.
"Why are you telling me this now?"
"Because you're here, wearing baggy clothes after driving me home during what seems to be a tropical storm. Because you said yes, even though each year I'm waiting for you to say no," she said, smiling a sad smile.
He shook his head.
He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out.
She talked again.
"Because you're such a gentleman that you still do things like open the car door for me, or give me your jacket to keep me warm. Because you're so intelligent, and yet, you haven't realized that you won't guess the right house, because there is no neighbor, there was no disagreement."
She took deep breaths before standing up and walking away.
She came back with another candle.
"Is everything a game to you?" he asked, shaking his head.
She stayed on her feet, looking down on him. "If it is, it's clear that I lost."
She was a player, and he looked at her as if she had invented the sport.
He walked around the house, tired of being there.
Resisting her took too much energy. In the past years, when she came to him with a problem, he worked it all out in minutes.
Then, they usually ended up tangled in each other in the nearest flat surface they could find.
He tried to put up a fight, but he had been fighting all day to keep her at arm's length.
It was taking a toll on him.
Her familiar scent was suffocating him. Maybe it was the smell of the rain outside or the dim light of the candles that made it more difficult for him to stay focused on being strong.
It felt like everything was against him.
"Edward," she said, facing him. She had been staring out the window for a while now.
"I didn't know about the storm. I swear."
He nodded, not bothering to look at her in the eyes.
She walked closer to him. "I just don't want you to think this is some kind of plan or anything."
"It's okay," he said, glancing at her. "I believe you."
The storm had come out of nowhere, it seemed. He was used to the constant raining. It wasn't really a surprise. What he didn't expect was to be stuck in her house as the heavy rain tried to drown the city.
She sat on the couch next to him. He froze, fighting the conflicting feelings inside him.
"Why?" she asked.
"Why do you believe me?" she said, frowning. "You have every reason not to."
As the storm went on, and they were trapped inside, everything about her was telling him to run. Not only did he have to fight the magnetic pull of her body, but her entire demeanor was calling to him.
There was a crack in her armor, and he was too tempted to peek inside.
He looked around, trying to focus his eyes anywhere but hers.
"I discovered it was easier to go along with whatever you said than to try to figure you out," he said.
Her sharp intake of breath made him face her. Her face wore a pained expression.
He tried to look away, but he couldn't.
"You gave up on me?" she said. The soft sound of her voice mingled with the rain, creating a moment he knew he wouldn't be able to forget.
The candle flickered around them, threatening to cast the whole house in complete darkness.
She looked at him.
"You gave up on us," he said. He tried not to let the bitterness he felt show. He wasn't sure he succeeded.
It was pathetic to admit it, but he wasn't over her actions back in high school. She had been a shitty girlfriend: lying to him, always keeping him at arm's length, using him. In the end, none of those things hurt as much as her dismissive attitude toward his feelings. She treated him as if he was insane for being in love with her.
A lot of times he thought he was.
But he saw the girl who breathed out his name in ecstasy—like a prayer, even when he wasn't sure what he was doing. He saw the girl who hung onto his every word when he spoke, as if what he said was actually important.
It was the memory of that girl that kept him coming back to her.
It was the vulnerability she had shared with him that he couldn't shake off.
It was because of those glimpses of her true self that he couldn't quite let go.
It was that girl, who spoke now. "I wasn't good enough for you. I'll never be."
Her voice cut him open. She had never said those words before.
"Bella," he said, staring at her. The name came out as easy as breathing, even though he hadn't said it in years.
She broke down in tears before he could wrap her in his arms.
"It wasn't supposed to rain today," she said, clutching his sweater. But the rain outside kept on falling, picking up intensity.
Thunders had joined a while ago, filling the silence between them.
Now, they seemed like a melody compared to the sound of her gut-wrenching sobs.
She was a fighter, and he looked at her like she had lost the war.
She cried in his arms for a long time, and it broke him.
He held her, running his hand through her hair, trying to calm her down.
He heard her mutter some things, but he couldn't make them out.
Her body felt soft and pliant on his lap, despite the deep emotions that were coursing through her.
The two candles gave out after a while. She didn't notice.
He didn't mention it.
They hugged in the dark, until her crying stopped.
"The candle's out," she said, looking around. She started to get up to see if she had more, but he stopped her.
He hugged her back to his chest and synchronized their breathing.
The darkness around them heightened his senses. Her skin felt warmer and softer than he remembered. Her scent clouded his head.
He was aware of the way her body pressed against his groin. He had managed to keep his lust at bay while she cried, but she had stopped a while ago now.
She looked up at him.
They stared at each other for a moment, barely making out the details of their faces in the dark room.
She touched his face with her index finger, taking inventory of his features. He closed his eyes, letting the sensation wash over him.
"I miss you," she whispered.
He grabbed her wrist and kissed the inside of her palm.
He felt her stiffened. He lowered her hand to his lap, and reached back up to touch her cheek.
He traced the contours of her face, like she had done him.
When he reached her lips, she parted them slightly. He kept his thumb there, running it from side to side while applying pressure on her lower lip.
He felt her shiver.
His other hand had been making its way up her spine, until he reached the back of her neck. He moved her hair to the side, before gripping it in a tight fist.
She took hold of the hand he had pressed against her lips, and moved it down until he was gripping her hips.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing him closer. He moved slowly, lowering his face to hers. When he could breathe the air she exhaled, he stopped.
She tried to close the short distance between them, but he pulled her back, tightening his hold on her hair. She moaned.
He licked her upper lip, and nipped at her lower one, until his teasing turned into proper kissing.
She tasted as divine as he knew she would. It was intoxicating. He couldn't stop.
Each time she tried to pull back to take a breath, he chased after her, groaning at the way the movement felt.
They went from soft and slow, to hard and frantic. Between groans of protests and pleasure, she managed to take his t-shirt off. Her hands on his skin felt like the sun that had been missing all day.
She set every inch of him on fire.
He took off her sweater and threw it across the room. He touched her ribcage and made his way toward her breasts, caressing each nipple with his fingers.
She arched her back, and tugged on his hair until he lowered his mouth to her chest. He took his time, alternating between playful licks and meaningful bites that made her breath falter.
He kissed his way up and down her ribs, guided by instinct. He couldn't deny how much he wanted to see her, knowing she was probably flushed with lust.
But there was something so powerful about being in the dark. The fact that he noticed the effect his touch had on her based on her sounds and her breathing alone gave him a rush he wasn't used to feeling.
It was a confirmation.
He might not know her heart and mind—not as much as he wanted—but he knew her body.
"Edward," she said when he reached her hips. He took off her shorts and her underwear without trouble.
He knelt in front of her, hitting his back with the table. He cursed when he heard some of the books fall to the floor.
She laughed a little nervous laugh that he hadn't heard in a long time.
He smiled against the inside of her thigh.
"I can't find your hands," she said, touching his hair. She made her way to the side of his face. He bit her fingers when she stopped at his mouth.
Then, he took both of her hands in his and placed them on the couch. He gripped them and kissed the bone of her right hip where she had a pair of high heels tattooed. He traced the contours of it with his tongue, knowing the pattern of it by heart.
She lifted her hips off the couch. He held her back down with their intertwined hands.
She started to make a sound of protest but it died on her throat when he finally dived in.
He had been slow and gentle for the most part. He wasn't anymore. He knew that wouldn't be enough to make her climax.
The onslaught of intense and quick sensation, made her come in minutes. She gripped his fingers so hard that he knew he would feel it tomorrow. Her back arched, and the small sound that escaped her made him harder than he already was.
He stood up, letting go of her hands as he took off his pants. He stroked himself while he listened to her quick breathing as she came down.
"Shit," he said.
"What?" Her voice was breathy and thick with lust.
"I don't have a condom," he said.
He couldn't see the expression on her face, but the silence that followed felt heavy around him.
"Do we need one?" she asked.
He didn't answer right away. He knew he was a responsible lover, and it wasn't like he slept around much.
Even though he didn't say it, she must've known his doubts were solely based on her and the little trust between them.
"Don't answer that," she said. "I must have one around here."
She stood up.
He felt her body coming closer to his as she tried to walk passed him. He managed to take hold of her arm before she walked away. His grip made her lose her balance, so she placed her hand on his chest to recover it.
She took a deep breath.
He kissed her.
His kiss was slow and apologetic.
She sighed, throwing herself into the kiss eagerly.
He let them back down to the couch, moving his kisses from her mouth to her chin. He sat down first and helped her straddle him by gripping her waist.
She let him accommodate her without complaint, following his lead. For all the game she talked, she was a very docile lover, allowing him to take control over her.
It excited him more than she could ever know.
With a careful movement, he positioned himself at her entrance. When he entered her, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and stilled for a moment.
They were pressed chest to chest, breathing the same air while joined in the most intimate embrace.
That's when the lights came back on. Every light seemed to be on around the house, blinding them for a second.
They looked into each other's eyes, each one searching for something in the other.
He noticed a few tears had escaped her, making her brown eyes look lighter in color.
He hadn't realized it, but they hadn't looked at each other like this before. Her eyes were hooded with lust and bright with love. She didn't bother hiding her feelings now.
He didn't either.
Slowly, he thrust up and held her down.
She didn't look away from him.
Together, they built a rhythm based on a slow grind that made her bite her lip in ecstasy.
She kept her arms wrapped around his neck, tightening her hold on his hair each time he hit a spot inside her.
He enjoyed watching her lose herself with him, as they accelerated their pace.
Their breath started to come out in pants.
"Edward," she said, not taking her eyes away from his. The way she looked at him made his heart race.
"Don't say it if you don't mean it," he said, slowing back down to a sensual dance.
He hid his face between her neck and her shoulder, biting her freckled-skin.
She gripped his hair and pushed him away to search his eyes.
"I mean it," she said, trembling in his arms. "I always have."
He looked at her and nodded, unable to deny the honesty that was written on her face. He kissed her lips, matching the rhythm of the kiss with his thrusts.
"I love you," she whispered against his mouth.
He tasted salt on her lips.
She was human, and he looked at her for the woman she was.
The rain was falling in a drizzle and the wind had stopped blowing as strongly. If he wanted to, he was sure he could leave and get to his house without any problem. But they were lying down on her small couch, sweaty and spent after two rounds of intense lovemaking.
Their limbs were intertwined, her back to his chest, his nose on her hair.
He couldn't move.
He didn't want to.
Her naked body was warm and soft. She smelled like honey and sex.
She was holding his hands and had them resting on her waist as he held her.
How could he leave?
"I know you need to go," she said after his third deep breath.
"I do." She tried to get out of his arms, but he held her back. "I don't want to, though."
She turned her head and kissed his lips.
"This has been different," she said, hiding her own pleased smile.
He nodded, understanding what she meant. Everything about the day had felt unusual. They hadn't spent so much time together since high school.
Their sex had felt pure.
It was all surreal for him. Especially because there was a spark of hope beginning to take form inside him. It frightened him.
With a deep breath, he untangled his body from hers and sat up. He found the discarded pants and put them on.
"Does it change anything?" he asked, eyeing her as she put on the sweater and nothing else.
"It could, if we wanted to," she said, surprising him.
They stayed silent for a minute. He wanted to be practical. He wanted to appear smart.
He didn't want to be played again.
"I can't teach you how to love me," he said, looking at her.
She stood up, leaving him staring at the empty space she left on the couch. He almost hauled her back to him. The sofa was already marked by their previous actions. It was all he could see.
The fact that she was still half naked and preaching about change wasn't helping him.
He shut his eyes and shook his head in frustration.
"Loving you isn't the hard part. It's never been," she said.
He felt her fingers on his face, tracing patterns under his eyes. He opened them to see her kneeling on the floor between his legs.
"What has?" he asked. His voice was low and hoarse.
"It's knowing that no matter how much I love you, there's always going to be someone better suited for you than me," she said. The look in her eyes was fierce. She stood up and paced around the living room. "Look at me. Look at where I live. My job changes every five months and it's never more than a joke. You have a life, a career, a good relationship with your family. Where do I fit in?"
She stopped pacing and faced him, her breath labored.
He stood up and walked toward her, eager to take her hand in his.
"I thought I was the one with insecurities," he said, looking down on her.
"You are insecure about the wrong things," she said, shaking her head. He tilted his head, frowning. She saw the confusion on his face and talked again. "You think you can't do better than me, and you can."
He lowered his face and kissed the outside of her mouth.
She licked her lower lip.
He took her chin in his hand and fixed his eyes on hers, trying to make her see what he wanted to say.
"I don't want anyone else."
They stared at each other for a few seconds.
When he tried to close the distance between them, she pushed him away.
"You're so fucking naïve, Edward," she said.
The tone of her voice drove him mad. He couldn't believe that after what had happened earlier, she was still trying to hide behind a mask. As if he could believe her now.
He didn't know if it had been or purpose or by accident, but she had bared herself to him. There was no way that she could hide her feelings from him after everything she had shared.
"And you're so fucking exasperating," he said, shaking his head.
She chuckled, but her laughter turned into a sad sigh.
He took her hand and placed it on his chest, lowering his knees until their eyes met.
"Do you want to know where you fit in?" he asked, pushing her hair out of her face. His finger lingered on her cheek. "My heart has run out of space because you take up all of it."
She tightened her hold on his chest and looked down, hiding the tears that threatened to escape her.
"Edward," she whispered, shaking her head.
He knew she didn't want to believe him.
He knew she was looking for another argument to keep them apart.
But he didn't let her speak. He kissed her until the only thing she could ask for was more—of his touch, of his body, of his love.
He took her against the wall in a fiery combination of unforgiving thrusts and gentle caresses.
At some point, it started raining again. Her moans got lost in the sound of the thunder and the falling water.
He smiled against her skin, thankful for the weather for the first time in all the years he had lived in Seattle.
She was a hurricane, and he looked at her like she was his safe haven.
He left with the promise to meet with her later that week.
It was the first time he knew where to find her if he needed to. Her past visits to him were always as vague as possible.
Now he had her address.
He'd seen where she lived.
He could drive to her in the middle of the night if he wanted to. And he wanted to. But he didn't.
He went through the motions of his work, catching up on the things he left behind to be with her. He distracted himself while he counted the days to see her again.
The grey clouds he spotted on the sky, made him smile, lifting his mood instead of making him feel gloomy.
She had changed his entire system.
He wished the sun would never shine if it meant being locked up with her for hours. If it meant having her back.
On Friday, wearing jeans and a shirt instead of a suit, he drove all the way outside the city. He arrived to her neighborhood as if he had been driving there all his life.
The houses on the street felt familiar to him. He had stories to match each one, and the memory of her voice to go along.
Smiling, he got out of the car and walked to her door.
No one answered.
He knocked again.
It was fifteen minutes after six. She knew he would be there.
"Bella?" he called, knocking again. He went around the house, trying to look in through the windows.
He fished his cell phone out of his pocket. He tried the different numbers he had listed with her name on it, knowing that they were likely old numbers.
As expected, no one answered.
He looked around, unwilling to believe what he already knew.
Next door, a woman was just arriving, and had trouble opening the door. He walked toward her.
"Excuse me," he said. "Do you know if Isabella's home?" The woman gave him a skeptical look. He corrected her name to Bella, thinking it might make a difference.
"Who?" she asked.
"The young girl: brown eyes, brown hair, short and skinny," he said.
He wanted to add.
"I'm sorry, young man," the woman said, giving him a sad look. "I can't help you. I've never even talked to the girl you mention. I'm only finding out her name is Bella."
"Do you think there's anyone around here who might know something?" he asked.
She shook her head. "I don't think so."
He went back to her door, and knocked again.
Without thinking, he tried the knob.
He entered the house that held his most recent and precious memories, only to find it empty. Just like he knew he would.
There was no sign of her.
The walls were bare.
The rooms were empty.
She was gone.
Years of heartache and frustration made their way back in, choking him with despair.
He sat down on the floor, where mere days ago, the couch had been.
He was back in high school, hugging his knees after she had left for a week, to go on a road trip with some guys. His heart was breaking all over again, the same way it did the first time he said he loved her, when she smiled and kissed him, but said nothing in return.
He stood up and punched the wall, willing his heart to keep on beating, willing his eyes not to cry.
He had no one to blame but himself.
It was his mistake.
Her words had said it best.
He was so fucking naïve.
She was the smart one.
She was a rebel, and a seductress.
She was bright, and an artist.
She was a player, and a fighter.
She was human.
She was a hurricane.
And she had only left debris in her wake.