No words were spoken nor needed. Not yet.
Moving, sure-footed, across the dark room, Bella switched on her bedside lamp, bathing the room in a soft, golden glow. She turned and regarded Edward, where he leaned against the door, his eyes betraying his desire as he gazed at her with an intensity which both thrilled and terrified her. But any lingering insecurities which still remained had ceased to have dominion over her. No, for paramount in her thoughts was an aching, bone-deep yearning to join with this beautiful man in the most basic and primal coupling. She wanted to give herself to him in ways she didn’t yet fully comprehend… and, in the giving, she knew, instinctively, that she would gain far more than she offered in return.
The silence expanded, but never seemed awkward or uncomfortable.
A soft smile lit Bella’s features as, slowly and with deliberation, she ran her hands down across her chest and abdomen, before gripping the hem of her blouse and pulling it unhurriedly over her head. As she tugged it free, her hair cascaded around her face and shoulders in a cloud of silken mahogany, the lamplight glittering off the red and golden strands as it fell.
Never breaking eye contact, Bella undid her jeans and pushed them down her thighs. Bending over, her breasts spilling forward in her demi-cup bra, she eased the tight denim to her ankles, lifting first one leg and then the other as she pulled them over her feet, along with her socks, and discarded them on the floor.
Straightening, she stood for a moment, watching as Edward’s eyes raked up and down her body. Such inspection from Jake had always made her feel uncomfortable, his slight sneer bringing all her insecurities to the fore. No such feelings plagued her now, as she saw only wanton, barely-controlled lust in Edward’s greedy gaze.
Reaching behind her, she unsnapped her bra, bringing her hands to the front as the straps slipped off her shoulders. After barely a moment’s hesitation, she dropped her arms and let the blue, lacy garment fall to the floor.
Opposite her, hands flat against the door, Edward’s eyes widened as he drew in a sharp breath, failing to exhale.
Finally, Bella slipped her thumbs into either side of her blue bikini briefs and, with a small, involuntary wiggle, divested herself of the tiny scrap of material.
Across the room, Edward let out the breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. He had seen her breasts before, but now, here she stood, in all her naked glory. Illuminated from behind by the bedside lamp, she seemed to glow, and once again, the only word that sprang into his mind was ‘angel’. She was incandescent. She was a Botticelli masterpiece, a Michelangelo sculpture. But more than that, she was a living, breathing goddess.
Her beauty, however, was marred by one thing.
His eyes were drawn to the ugly bruise which stained the skin across her ribcage.
Unwilling and unable to stay away from her a moment longer, he pushed himself off the door and moved towards her, like a moth to a flame, a bee to nectar, a male to his mate. He moved with languid grace, yet his long legs quickly closed the distance between them, only stopping when barely centimetres separated them. His nearness meant Bella had to tilt her head to look into his eyes—eyes which communicated all she needed to know.
His hands came up to cup her face, his long fingers sliding into her hair. Leaning his forehead against hers, he was the first to break the long silence.
“You are… Jesus, Bella, I don’t know enough words to tell you how beautiful you are.”
He dropped his hands, letting his fingers trail down her arm and then, very gently, drift across the purple mark on her side.
“Did he do this to you?” he asked, trying hard to contain his anger.
“Yes… but forget it, Edward. It hardly hurts at all anymore, and I don’t want to think about it—or Jake—anymore. This is our time.”
She smiled, slipping her hands round the back of his neck.
“Now, why don’t you just kiss me,” she whispered, her breath mingling with his.
He needed no further invitation. Licking his lips, he pressed them to hers, his tongue demanding entry. They had shared many kisses now, but none so imbued with raw, heated passion, or so heavy with desire. Edward’s hands moved over Bella’s skin, wanting to touch her everywhere. And when their lungs cried out for mercy, he relinquished her mouth, only to trail hot, wet kisses over every part of her he could reach… claiming her, marking her as his.
But Bella’s patience was a tenuous thing, and moments later she was tugging at his t‑shirt, desperate to gain access to what she, too, craved.
Forcing himself to step back a little, Edward reached over his shoulders and pulled off the offending article, tossing it aside, whilst Bella transferred her attention to his jeans. Dropping to her knees she hooked her fingers inside his underwear and pulled both items of clothing down to his bare feet, whereupon he quickly stepped out of them and kicked them away. The action had allowed his engorged cock to spring free, slapping against his stomach, and Bella was quick to take him in hand.
Edward groaned loudly and stared down at her as she leaned forward, as if to take him in her mouth. God knows, he wanted that, but he knew he had to stop her. He prayed that the results of his medical would come back negative, so that he wouldn’t have to wait too long to have her mouth on him.
For now, though, all he could think about was what she would taste like, and he had every intention of finding out before the night got any older.
Bending slightly, he caressed her cheek with his left hand, and pressed his thumb to her lips.
“Not tonight, Bella,” he told her softly. “Tonight, I want to taste you.”
Bella shivered as his words poured petrol on her arousal.
She let go of his rock-hard erection as he took hold of her upper arms and lifted her effortlessly to her feet. Once again, he claimed her mouth, at the same time turning her and backing her up until her legs met the side of the bed. With his hands on her waist, and without breaking the kiss, he lowered Bella to the bed and gently eased her onto her back.
At last, he removed his lips from hers, only to pepper soft kisses along her jaw and down her neck. He revelled in the sound of Bella’s heightened breathing and softly murmured encouragements. Reaching her breasts, he suckled on her dusky pink nipples, first one, then the other, his tongue urging the pebbled flesh to swollen, rigid nubs. With Bella’s fingers massaging his scalp, he allowed himself the luxury of feasting on her perfect tits, before moving down her body.
When he reached her abdomen, he trailed his lips and tongue from one side to the other, until his mouth settled on her bruised ribs. With a gentleness which belied his desperate need, he laid the softest butterfly kisses all across her mottled flesh—and with that single, deeply compassionate gesture, Bella finally felt healed. More significantly, perhaps, she realised that Edward wanted her exactly as she was, flaws and all.
Even as she processed that thought, he was moving on, continuing his exploration of her body with a relish that left her breathless. Pausing only briefly to probe her bellybutton with his tongue, making her moan loudly at the sheer eroticism of it, he wasted no more time in heading to that which he had been longing for this past week.
As his ministrations rendered Bella ever more vocal, Edward teased and tormented her fevered flesh until she could barely stand it. Jake had never gone down on her, but now that Edward was so close, she could do nothing but mewl and plead for his mouth and tongue to go to that one needy spot.
And then… oh, God…he was there.
Nothing in her life prior to this moment had prepared Bella for the exquisite pleasure of a man’s skilfully-wielded tongue, lips and fingers. And as Edward buried his face between her legs, it quickly became evident, despite her inexperience in such matters, that Edward was very skilful indeed.
He had pulled her forward, propping her left leg on his shoulder, and guiding her right foot to rest on the base board of the bed. Spread wide for his delectation, he employed every trick he’d ever learned, feasting on her like a starving man at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
As Bella lurched and undulated above him, he relished every curse and gasp, every plea and shout, as he brought her close, then left her wanting. Each time, her cries grew louder, her language filthier, and her opening wetter. Finally, as she screamed for release, Edward sucked her clit between his lips and rubbed two fingertips hard over the rough skin of Bella’s G-spot. This action caused her to buck against his face and wail his name over and over. She threw both arms over her face, gasping for air, as the most powerful orgasm she’d ever experienced tore through her with the force of a tidal wave.
Edward stood, wiping his face on the back of his hand, and climbed up on the bed. He took hold of Bella’s boneless arms and gently pulled them from her face, dipping his head to kiss her open mouth.
Pulling back slightly, he gazed down at her hooded brown eyes. The taste of herself on his lips and tongue only served to increase her desire tenfold.
“Condoms, Bella… where are they?” he asked, a slightly desperate edge to his voice.
For a moment, she just looked at him in confusion, as though he had spoken in a foreign language.
“Bella? God, I need to be inside you. What did you do with the condoms?” he asked again.
“Uh, drawer… bedside…” she finally responded, lifting one hand briefly to point behind him, before dropping it heavily back to the bed.
Despite his need, Edward couldn’t help grinning at her, before turning to open the indicated drawer. Grabbing the box he found there, he quickly opened it and tore off the first condom from the strip inside. Ripping it open, he wasted no time rolling it onto his aching cock, as Bella managed to find the strength to pull herself up the bed so that her legs were no longer dangling over the edge. Propped up on her elbows she watched as he smoothed the prophylactic over his large, blood-infused dick.
She thought it was beautiful.
She thought he was beautiful.
And, unlike any man before him, he made her feel beautiful.
Now she watched, as he dropped to all fours on the bed and moved towards her, almost feline in his grace, his eyes like deep green marbles. Automatically, she opened her legs, her own eyes now drawn to his engorged penis as it bobbed and twitched. Hell’s teeth, but she wanted it.
Hovering above her, Edward felt almost overwhelmed by his feelings for Bella.
She had saved his life. Got him a job. Given him a home.
And now she was giving herself to him in every way that counted.
He sank down on top of her so that they were face to face, skin to skin, heart to heart.
“I love… making you come,” he rasped, kissing her to forestall any further possibility he might fuck this up before he even got inside her body.
Bella wrapped her arms around his shoulders, stroking the smooth skin there. She arched her back slightly, inviting him in.
“Make love to me, Edward,” she murmured against his ear.
He put his weight on one elbow, reaching between them with his free hand to align himself with her.
She sighed as she felt him at her entrance, her sigh turning to a gasp as he pushed slowly into her.
“Oh, fuck,” he groaned, as he felt her envelop him, her slick, tight passage hugging every inch of his thick cock.
Bella jerked up, and he slid all the way in, their cries overlapping at the intense pleasure of his welcome invasion.
“Jesus Christ, Bella… oh, God, you feel… fucking amazing,” he gasped, pulling almost all the way out, and then back again, over and over, each time going deeper.
As they found their rhythm, Bella wrapped her long legs around him, holding him tighter… closer to her. She didn’t care whether she came again—this, right here… his body moving inside hers, was so good, so unbelievably pleasurable, that another orgasm became almost surplus to requirement. She had never climaxed through penetration alone, so it had long since stopped being something she expected or chased.
However, it seemed her expectations were about to be well and truly exceeded.
As Edward continued to move, she felt the tell-tale tingling begin in her abdomen, spurred on by his whispered words. He described how good she felt, how incredible she was, how beautiful. He made her feel precious, cherished, special… loved.
She pulled his face down, capturing his lips in a frantic kiss. No one had ever made her feel this way, and her pleasure radiated through her body as her orgasm built, slowly but, oh, so surely.
His name fell from her lips, on and on, like a litany. There was nothing else, just him… his name the only coherent word in her head, as she came around him, her muscles contracting and flexing, pulling him with her.
In the grip of his own orgasm, he cried out, her name a gasped entreaty, a prayer, a promise, and then he buried his face in her neck, lest he tell her he loved her. But he knew, in that moment of supreme bliss—the like of which he’d never known before—that he did love her. What’s more, he had no doubt that, regardless of what the future held, he would love this woman until the day he died.
Collapsing on top of Bella, Edward could feel the sting of tears, his heart full to bursting. He wrapped his arms around her and rolled onto his back, taking her with him. He held on tightly, panting hard as he planted wet, breathless kisses on her neck and shoulder. To say he was gratified that Bella’s grip seemed equally unyielding, would have been a massive understatement.
Lying in one another’s arms, bathed in a post-coital glow which utterly negated the dropping temperature of the room, the two lovers reflected silently on what had just passed between them. Their thoughts were remarkably in sync, although neither of them was quite ready yet to vocalise the depth of their feelings.
Edward knew he had found not just salvation, but a place where he belonged. Not since Marcus and Molly had briefly entered his life, had he ever felt so at peace with his lot in life. He had never had to question Marcus’s love, because he had shown it in his every utterance and action, almost from the first moment they’d met. But it was gone all too soon. The situation with Bella was different, of course, but from the time she had stopped to pick him up on that freezing roadside, she had shown him such kindness and affection, that he could hardly doubt her regard for him. Their lovemaking of moments ago only confirmed that this was more than a passing phase.
He wasn’t a fool. He knew that they had only known each other for a very short time, and if his life before had taught him nothing else, it had made him aware that there were no guarantees. He was pragmatic enough to understand that shit happens, and no one could know their future, but he was determined to grab on to this chance and do everything in his power to make it last.
Beside him, held securely in the crook of his arm, with her head on his chest, Bella slid her fingers up and down the line of dark copper hair which trailed from his chest to his bellybutton, and beyond, to that part of his anatomy with which she had recently become intimately—and deliciously—acquainted.
There hadn’t been a lot of men in Bella’s past. At college, the constraints of her studies, along with having to work long hours to pay for her tuition, tended to preclude too many romantic entanglements. Also, then as later, the fact that she lived with her aunt and uncle in a very small house, meant that it was difficult to pursue any meaningful relationships. Thus, sex had not formed a large part of her life, and when it did, it was far from awe-inspiring.
No, the earth had never moved for Bella, and even when she’d met Jake, she had never really experienced that kind of toe-curling, all-encompassing… oneness that she’d read about. Sex with Jake was okay—she had even got close to coming a couple of times, but he had never seemed to be able to take her over the edge. Now, when she thought back on it, she realised that Jake was a selfish lover. He had never gone down on her, although he frequently wanted her mouth on him. His idea of foreplay was a quick boob-grope, followed by an even quicker fingering, before he was climbing on top and pushing in, often before she was really ready. He was, she supposed, pretty average-sized—certainly, he wasn’t as big as Edward, she thought, with an inward sigh—which turned out to be a blessing. But what he lacked in skills, he made up for in stamina—which was much less of a blessing. He would bang away for what seemed like hours, until she felt the need to flex her vaginal muscles and make the requisite noises to indicate her satisfaction, which would then generally trigger Jake’s more than welcome release.
With the benefit of hindsight, Bella now understood that a big part of the reason she stayed with Jake for so long was her gratitude to him. He had opened the door for her to flourish as an artist and a writer, and had introduced her to a life of plenty. She had struggled for so long to make ends meet, that it was easy for her to be seduced by his money and lifestyle. Worse, she had confused his possessiveness for devotion, and her own gratitude for love.
She had been weak and foolish, vowing to herself that she would never again enter into such a one-sided relationship. Yet, here she was, just days after walking out on Jake, in the arms of another man. She forced herself to question her motives, to consider objectively what was going on with Edward. Was she a fool for starting something so quickly with him? Perhaps she was, but regardless of the speed with which she had fallen into bed with him, she couldn’t bring herself to regret it, no matter what happened in the future.
Was it just the phenomenal sex? She really didn’t think so. Yes, it had been everything and more she could ever have hoped for, but she suspected that it wouldn’t have been half so good without the remarkable connection the two of them had already made.
In the final analysis, Bella truly believed she was right where she was supposed to be, and, whatever happened going forward, she prayed that Edward would be a major part of it. The thought made her smile and she turned her head to kiss the skin beneath her, loving the feel of his soft chest hair against her lips.
“Hey, what are you thinking so hard about?” he murmured from above her.
She rolled further against him, slipping her leg between his and resting both hands on his chest. Propping her chin on her entwined fingers, she looked up at him and smiled.
“I was just thinking about how much I want to do that again.”
Edward couldn’t contain the grin which practically split his face.
“Well, you’re in luck, because I was just thinking the exact same thing.”
He reached down and pulled her up to him so that he could kiss her beautiful mouth, allowing her to straddle him.
As their tongues began their slow dance, and Edward’s cock instantly stiffened beneath her, Bella found herself ruminating on the advantages of having a nineteen-year-old lover.
Come morning, Bella woke to a disappointingly empty bed. She could hear Edward downstairs and a look at the clock told her that, at gone nine o’clock, he was unlikely to be coming back to warm the sheets, or, indeed, her.
She got up and decided to take a shower, finding herself wishing Edward was here to share it—something she had never even considered with previous boyfriends.
Climbing slowly out of bed, she couldn’t suppress a shiver of pleasure when she realised she could still feel him inside her. The memory of him filling her again and again made her tingle and throb, as an involuntary moan escaped her. With a sigh, she went into the bathroom and turned on the shower.
Emerging some twenty minutes later, wrapped in a towel, Bella was taken aback when the door of her room swung open and a grinning Edward appeared holding a tray laden with food and drinks, dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt.
The smile dropped from his face when he saw that Bella was not only awake, but apparently showered and preparing to dress.
“Oh, I was hoping we could have breakfast in bed,” he announced, his voice laced with disappointment.
Bella’s response was to drop her towel and grab her robe from the end of the bed. Then, as Edward watched, she climbed back into bed, plumped her pillows up behind her, and sat back with an expectant look on her face. Immediately, Edward’s smile returned. He walked across the room and set the tray on the end of the bed. Quickly stripping down to his boxers, he climbed in beside Bella and pulled the tray over.
“I made loads, ‘cause I didn’t know what you’d fancy,” he told her, glancing from her face to the tray full of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, cereal, toast, marmalade, orange juice and tea.
Bella laughed, picking up a piece of buttered toast and taking a bite.
“Well, what I fancy is you, but this will do for starters,” she smirked.
Edward grinned and leaned in to steal a quick kiss, before pouring the tea.
An hour later, replete with food, and sated from another round of lovemaking, they got started again in the spare room. Working with renewed enthusiasm, they made good progress on preparing the surfaces for decorating, despite frequent pauses to kiss and make out.
Edward had to go to the restaurant to meet Esme Cullen at three o’clock, so they called it a day at noon, so they could shower and eat lunch. Clearing up, they had a little time before they needed to leave, and Bella asked Edward to sit down for a chat. Settling themselves down at the kitchen table, cups of hot tea in front of them, she decided now was as good a time as any to discuss some things she had been thinking about.
“There’s a couple of things I wanted to talk about, Edward—and don’t look so worried, it’s nothing bad.” She smiled at the momentary concern she saw in his eyes.
“First, we need to figure out how you’re going to get to and from work, and I was thinking maybe I should buy a small run-around car that you could use—”
She stopped when she saw his face fall and his hands fly to his hair.
“Fuck, Bella, that’s ridiculous.” He sighed when he saw her bristle, dropping his hands to the table and grabbing both of hers. “I’m sorry, that came out all wrong. Look, I appreciate what you’re saying, really I do, but it’s too much. And besides, I can’t drive.”
“Oh. Shit, I never thought of that. Well, we’re going to have to sort out getting you lessons so you can pass your test.”
He chuckled, shaking his head. “Lessons are expensive, Bella. Let me worry about that when I start earning.”
Bella frowned, but didn’t argue—for the moment.
“Well, how are you going to get to work? I won’t be able to drive you all the time.”
“I’ll walk, it’s only about a mile into the village. And then, when I get paid, I could probably look into buying a second-hand push-bike.”
“I’m not sure I like the idea of you riding a bike on these country roads in the dark. Even when the clocks change, you’ll still be coming home in the dark, and there are hardly any street lights.”
“I’ll make sure to get good lights on the bike, and I’ll wear a helmet and some kind of reflective clothing—will that satisfy you?”
Bella sighed. “I don’t know, you hear such awful stories of people being knocked off their bikes in the dark,” she said, pursing her lips and frowning.
“I’ll be fine, really. Please, let me worry about all that.”
Bella wasn’t happy about it, but once again decided to let it go for now.
“Okay, but please promise me you’ll think about the driving lessons. You have to forget about the money, Edward, it means nothing to me. I’ve told you before, I have plenty, and very little to spend it on.”
Edward let go of her hands and sat back, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I know that, Bella, but you have to understand, I’ve been looking after myself for a long time, and I don’t want to be a… a kept man.”
Bella realised her mistake immediately. She left her seat and came round to his side of the table, dropping to her knees beside him. Putting her hands on his thigh, she looked up at him, her face full of contrition.
“Oh, Edward, I’m so sorry. I’m such an idiot. Please forgive me, I didn’t mean to imply… I don’t ever want you to think that I see you that way. Please, Edward?”
He turned in his chair and pulled her up from the floor so that she was sitting on his lap, his arms around her waist.
“I know you don’t, Bella, and there’s nothing to forgive. I know it comes from a good place, and that if it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t even be talking about this. It’s just… God, how do I say this?”
Bella looped her hands round his neck, burying her fingers in his hair. “Just say it, Edward, I won’t take offense.”
He smiled at her and leaned in to kiss her softly.
Pulling back, he closed his eyes for a moment.
“It’s just that, having been given this opportunity, I want to… I don’t know… prove myself? I want to show that I can do this, that I’m not, well, a complete fuck-up—”
“Oh, Edward, I know you’re not.”
“No, Bella, you don’t. I know things between us have moved unbelievably quickly, and that we’re maybe at a place that other couples might take weeks, even months to get to. But we still don’t know each other that well. A week ago I was living in a squat; my only friends were in the same position. If they could see me now, they’d think I’d fallen on my feet big-time—and there’s no doubt I have. I’ve used drugs and… well, let’s just say, I haven’t always stayed on the right side of the law—but I still want to prove that, whatever good fortune has come my way, I can be more than just a guy who got lucky… that I’m not just going to sit back on my arse and let you—or anyone—take care of me. I have to do this for myself. Do you get what I mean?”
Bella nodded slowly, and then leaned in to capture his mouth. She parted her lips and he reciprocated immediately, his tongue finding hers as they both willingly deepened the kiss.
When they parted, he smiled at her, bringing one hand up to sweep several strands of hair away from her face.
“That doesn’t mean I don’t need you, or your support. I do. Without it… without you… well, right now I don’t even want to think about that. But if I succeed, I want it to be because I worked fucking hard for it, and if I fail, I need to know that the only person I can blame for that is me.”
“You won’t fail. Of that, I have absolutely no doubt,” she told him sincerely.
He smiled, but didn’t respond, choosing, instead, to change the subject.
“So, that was one thing. What else did you want to talk about?”
“Oh, yeah. Um, well, I kind of mentioned it last night over dinner. I have to go to London next week for a book signing. I’ll have to stay overnight, and I just wanted to let you know.”
“Yeah, I remember. At the time, I thought you meant…”
Bella frowned. “Meant what?”
Edward shook his head and smiled ruefully at her.
“Well, I kind of thought that you were going back for good, that you were… leaving me.”
Bella’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. The next moment she pulled him close, tightening her arms around his shoulders and burying her head in his neck.
After a moment, she pulled back, only to drop a tender kiss on his mouth.
“Oh, sweetheart, how could you think that I would leave you?”
“Ignore me, I was just being stupid, I know that now.”
She nodded, recognising her own insecurities in his.
“If you hadn’t got a job, I would have suggested you come with me, but it’s only one night and then I’ll be back. I’ve got some other stuff coming up in December, but we can worry about that later. In the meantime, we should probably get going. After you’ve met Mrs Cullen, we can get some hair dye and I’ll get another key cut for you. Then we’ll come back and sort out this mop and have a nice dinner.” She ruffled his hair, making him smile.
“Sounds good to me. Come on, let’s go before I haul you upstairs to have my wicked way with you again.”
She giggled and slid off his knee, aware that he was only half-joking.
“Oh, there’s one more thing,” she said, taking his hand and leading the way to the sitting room. He watched curiously as she went over to her desk and pulled out the top drawer. Turning around he could see she had a small white box in her hands, and as she drew closer he realised it was a mobile phone.
He frowned. “What’s this, Bella?”
“Now, don’t start. You’re going to need a phone. I bought it last week when I got one for myself. Carlisle will need to be able to get hold of you, and if I’m going to be travelling, I definitely will want to be able to call you. So don’t argue with me—this is just as much a necessity as decent clothes and shoes. And once you start earning, you can start paying for it yourself. Okay?”
She looked up at him, hoping against hope he wouldn’t make a fuss or try to refuse it.
Edward sighed, taking the box from her hands and looking at it.
“You’re too good to me, Bella.” He stared at it for a long minute, and then finally raised his eyes to hers.
“Thank you,” he said softly. “I’ll pay you back, I promise.”
Bella shook her head, a little surprised at how easy it had been to persuade him, but delighted that he hadn’t argued with her impeccable logic.
“You pay me back every single day, Edward.”
She reached up, putting her hands on his shoulders, and kissed him.
“Come on, let’s go. You don’t want to be late.”