Chapter 60: Communication
"What did you get?"
I hold up my paper. I try not to smile, but fail. He smiles too when he reads.
"A. That's great, Bella. You should be proud."
I look at the food he's cooking. "It's because of you, really. They loved the part where all the doctors used your word."
He licks the spoon and shakes his head. "It was your word." Grace tosses a toy from her highchair. He laughs. "She concurs."
I smile and pick it up. My hands play with it and watch her. Edward puts out his hand, but I shake my head. "I'll wash it."
I walk to the sink and rinse it clean, then dry it. He dumps the pasta next to me, draining off the water. I can't help but to watch him. The way his face cringes a little at the steam hitting it. He is still so ridiculously handsome.
"She was always a fan you doing well in school."
He shakes the colander. "Grace. I still remember the day you passed your GED. She kicked you." He looks over and smiles at me.
And I want to smile, but those memories aren't the same for me. They aren't memories linking to things I am proud of. He sees this. He puts the colander in the sink and wipes his hands on the dishrag. He pauses and then he speaks.
"May I ask something, Bella?"
And I know it's not going to something easy from his tone, but my shrink makes me face this kind of shit, so, I nod.
"Why didn't you call me."
And the way he asks makes my insides burn. "I was scared."
I look at the sauce stain on his shirt. "Of everything. I wasn't sure if you even wanted to talk to me. And I guess….I guess just didn't want the answer to that question."
He's silent and I don't know what that means. When I chance a look at his face to find out, I know that look and I'm not worthy of it yet. I haven't done enough to be deserving of it. I have a lot further to go.
He needs to know that. "I'm never going to be normal, Edward. I'm never going to be…fixed. I could have all the shrinks in the world and that would never happen. I can be…better…but I'll never be perfect."
He shakes his head. "I'm not asking you to be."
At the door
"It's raining pretty bad. Maybe you just should stay." And there is a hopefulness I don't want to deny.
"I have school in the morning." And truth. That is the truth.
He nods. "Just be careful driving, Bella."
"Night." I take a step back and face the rain coming down. I take two more steps.
"Bella?" I turn around. He steps forward. "It wasn't all your fault. What happened. It wasn't all your fault."
"Please do not try and apologize, Edward. You didn't do anything wrong."
He shakes his head and steps out further. "I'm saying it wasn't fair. My perception and my own desire for you to be something, it wasn't fair. I painted you in my mind as a picture that you weren't ready to be in, for my own selfishness. My own need for that. For someone. I expected you to be…perfect…like you said….when I wasn't perfect, or complete myself. All of the things I buried, that I never dealt with in my marriage. With my own biological mother and family…I expected you to do so much, when I had done nothing myself.
"That's not fair. And to ask you to be a part of my world, that wasn't complete, that was anything but perfect, that wasn't fair."
"Edward, regardless…you did what was right, so…it doesn't matter."
"It does," he argues. "It does matter. And those things are easy for me because that is the part of my life that wasn't messed up. What I am good at. Being a doctor. Putting on a face. Doing things for others, when I neglect myself. That is easy for me. We both have masks Bella, but just because mine leans towards trying to prove that I am worth something, and yours, the latter, it still doesn't make it fair. It doesn't make me better. It's the same difference, just with different results and yet the same destructiveness. So who am I to judge."
And my mouth is at a loss. My brain can't comprehend his thoughts. Thank God for his face. Those eyes. His hands hold tightly to the dishrag. The rain falls hard on the ground. The sky protests against something. I step forward and I say what my voice can't seem to. I haven't earned his mouth yet. I settle for the place beside it, somewhere not quite his cheek, but close. And I hold my face to his and just want to die. I want to stay and I want to put my arms around him. I want to never move my face away. I let my nose rub slightly over his skin, then kiss lightly again.
I don't open my eyes until I face the truck. And I don't dare to look at him.
I want the burn on my lips.
I want that.
I am lost inside of my own reflection, until I hear voices that are too familiar. For too many reasons. Wrong and right. Wanted and feared. I pick up Grace and hold on to her like she can keep the hole in my chest from opening. Like the scent of baby powder and slobber could somehow make that voice, those footsteps coming our way, not scary.
And he is oblivious. Edward walks to the fridge and pulls out a bottle of water and offers it to him. They are talking and tossing jokes and ideas back and forth while my face is hidden into my daughter's shoulder/neck. She loves my hair and thank God because it helps to conceal my identity.
"I appreciate you stopping by on a Sunday, Mr. Newton. I know it's not the most convenient day for an appointment."
Hand shaking and yeah hands shaking.
"No problem, Dr. Cullen. I'll get those blue prints ready and sent over to you as soon as I can. I look forward to working on the project."
Feet move away and then the door closes. Feet come back. I have to put down Grace before I drop her. I am shaking too much. I sit her in the highchair and walk to the next room. Feet follow me.
He pauses in the doorway. "Something wrong?"
I shake my head and don't look at him.
"Okay, well, is there a reason why is Grace is in the kitchen unattended?"
And any other time I would just take his shit, because that is what I am supposed to do. That is the hole I placed myself in, but I'm sick of him not getting it. I'm tired of clawing my way towards the light and him putting his shoe in my face. His stupid goddamn shiny shoes.
My fists ball. "She wouldn't be unattended if you stayed in the kitchen, Edward."
"Perhaps if you asked me to do that, I would have. Perhaps if you learn to just talk to me and not run away when something is wrong, I would know not to leave the kitchen, Bella. I would know what the fuck is going on."
And we are both so screwed. We are talking about nothing and everything at once.
I spin around and he could be Newton. I don't see a face, I only feel anger. Warranted or not. Right or not. Wrong or not. Whatever. I am gunning for someone's head. I don't care who it belongs to.
"You're a big boy, Edward. You know what to do. You and all your perfect ness. You know everything. You don't need me. You don't need anyone. I'm so sorry I'm not perfect like you. I am so goddamn sorry." And my voice reflects no sorry. No apologies that are real and I grab my shit. I storm for the door, But I am tugged and turned to face him.
"You walk out this time, you just keep going. I'm not doing this shit with you, Tanya." And his eyes close. "Bella."
I tug my arm away. "And maybe he isn't so perfect." I shove him and think I have won, but he grabs me again and I am now tossed on the couch. And he is pissed. He is beyond pissed. He is over me and my wrists are in his hands. His face near mine and if I weren't ready to tell him to get the fuck off me I would tell him to just fuck me. It would hurt and feel just as good.
"You can't even give a full day a week. You can't even do that. Don't you dare fucking judge me, Bella." He shoves me further into the couch, pressing his weight to me and it hurts but I want it. I fucking want it.
"Get off me." Stay. Stay.
He holds tighter to my wrists and I get pissed. I know he likes it. I know he likes me pissed off. I like him pissed off too. Give it to me. Unleash it. I want it.
"You are such a goddamn child, Bella." And the fire in his eyes is in between my legs and my chest heaves. I want to smack him and fuck him and bite him and push him away and grab his damn shirt and rip it off his body and cry and scream and nothing.
"That was Newton."
His irritation grows. "No shit."
And now I cry. "He fucked me."
His hands don't loosen yet. Not yet. It hasn't clicked yet.
"He gave me the boots. He's married. His wife found out. He's the reason why I don't know how RENT ends."
I'm telling the truth and nothing but. His eyes know it. They are watching mine. My wrists don't hurt any longer. He is still over me, but his weight is on his heels. My wrists don't hurt because his hands are now rubbing over his face. I pull my legs from under his body and scoot back until I am sitting up. He says nothing and he won't look at me.
My feet touch the floor. I walk back to the kitchen and my reflection is the only thing that makes me feel like I'm worth something in this moment. I pick her up and try to find more of that safety, where there is none.
"How have you been?"
I'm the one scribbling this time. I still hate looking at his face. "Just peachy."
"Doesn't sound like it."
I huff and place my pen down, but don't lift my eyes. "Well I had a shitty weekend, Doc. What can I say."
Now he's scribbling. "Let's expand on that."
Yes, lets. I am paying you. Might as well. "Edward and I got into a fight."
"About my shitty mothering skills and the fact that he is a prick."
"You feel he's doubting you?"
"Is that was he said?"
I toss my notebook aside and look at his ugly face. "He doesn't have to. He makes his little jabs and it's that look in his face that is just waiting for me to fuck up."
"Jabs? Let's expand on that."
"You say expand, one more goddamn time, I swear."
"Let's go further into that. Better?"
Little Doctor I am also a Clown. "He makes comments. Little pokes. Faces."
"So, he is passive-aggressive. Is that fair to say?"
"I would have to know what that means. But I guess. You're the professional. You tell me."
"I don't know him other than what you describe, so I'm afraid that won't be possible. However, passive-aggressive behavior is like, someone maintaining a calm demeanor, even a pleasant one, while they say what they really mean, a hidden anger of sorts, but without lashing out. Does that make sense?"
"So, it's like smiling at someone while telling them to go fuck themselves?"
"That would be accurate."
"Then yeah, he's passive-aggressive like a motherfucker."
"Do you let him know? Do you tell him this behavior bothers you?"
"I don't have a right to be 'bothered' by anything Edward does. He is a fucking saint. He needs me on my knees worshipping him. Not telling him how to act."
More scribbles. "Bella, everyone deserves to have their feelings considered. If you and he are to ever have a good, solid working relationship, even if it is just in order to parent Grace, you need to establish good communication."
My head hurts.
"What are you doing?"
I toss my pants aside and look at him, leaning in the doorway.
"Giving my child a bath. What else?" I pick her up and start taking off her clothes.
"Yes, I see that, as the tub is full. But, why are you half-naked?"
I pick her up into my arms and step inside of the water. "Because sitting on the tile floor kills my legs and I had to lift a garbage bag filled with beer bottles yesterday and now my back hurts like a….it hurts. So I am sitting in the tub. Okay?" I don't wait for his reply and I sit down with Grace in my lap.
I hand her over some toys and make faces at her faces. He is still standing there. I look over.
"I'm not gonna let her drown, Cullen."
He says nothing and disappears. After Grace is clean and dry and changed for bed, I lay her down and watch as she begins to drift into her sleep. It only takes a few minutes, but I stay here for an hour. When it's time for me to turn back into a pumpkin, I close her door, quietly. Edward is sitting on the top of the stairs. He doesn't look at me, but I know it's me he's waiting for. I take a seat next to him. His arms hold to his legs/knees. I mimic his position.
"She's a asleep."
He nods. "She's a good sleeper."
I sigh. "Are we really doing this?"
His voice is far away. "Doing what?"
"Talking about Grace's sleeping patterns when obviously there are hundreds of other things we need to talk about."
His hands rub together. "I'm sorry."
He looks over to me. "When I'm wrong I am going to say I am wrong. Stop trying to take that away from me, Bella."
I hold in my irritation. Sort of. "What are you sorry for this time?"
"Pushing you. Losing my temper. Putting my hands on you. The things I said."
I go to speak, but he isn't done.
"Not telling you that you're doing a good job. Not admitting that you are being a good mother. Expecting too much too fast…" And his hands are holding his head.
I scoot over until my side is against his side. "I'm sorry, too."
"Bella!" And this is the first person who has been happy to see me other than my kid. His arms, wrapping around my waist are way too strong for being all of eleven? Twelve?
"Jacob, how old are you?"
He doesn't let go. "Eleven. I turned eleven and you missed it, Jerk."
I laugh at his name calling. Yeah, I don't correct him. How could I?
I mess his hair. "Grab the paint and shut it, Jacob. Make yourself useful." I push him and he laughs and it is good.
"Yo, Bella. Where do want this thing?" Emmett waits by the door with a couch we found at the thrift store. "You know, besides the dumpster."
I put my hand on my hip. "Is everyone going to pick on me, today?"
He smiles. I point to the corner. "Just put it over there and then we'll adjust."
"Yes ma'am." He does what I asked and Jacob sets down the paint. Emmett stops him. He looks at me. "Shouldn't we have painted first?"
"I have plastic. We'll just cover the stuff. It's not like I have all the time in the world. Plus, I can't be lugging this crap up the stairs while the restaurant is open."
Emmett nods. "This place could be pretty cool. Once we get rid of the crack-den features."
"Stop making fun of my house Emmett."
He laughs. "Seriously, Bella…this place is pretty cool." His voice becomes more serious. "I'm glad for you."
Thank God for Jacob. "I think we should paint it red."
"No red. I hate red."
We get to work on my apartment. Emmett helps me trim the walls up high and Jacob uses his shortness as his strength, edging the baseboards. I love watching their interaction. I love knowing that Jacob was able to find strength in Emmett and vice versa. I love that Jacob looks happy. I love that Emmett is able to be my friend and it is okay with Rosalie. I'm glad that I didn't fuck up this part. That this part is good.
"So, did Edward tell you?"
I look up to him as I roll the paint along the wall. He is on the ladder.
"Tell me what?"
"I'm gonna do the install on his addition."
"Can I have more paint?" He wiggles his brush and I refill the tray on his ladder. He dips the brush and continues. "He's adding an addition onto his house. A place for a gym and a pool."
And my brain is confused. "I thought…I thought he hired someone else to do that."
Emmett gives me a knowing eye. "Yeah. I believe that's why he changed his mind and asked me, Bella."
And my heart feels stupid. So, so stupid. Warm, but stupid. Emmett dips the paintbrush again.
"If you can find some free time, maybe you should put helping me out into your schedule. You know, like returning the favor I'm giving you today," he smiles. His voice drops. "Plus, I'm sure Edward would like to see more of you."
"I'm trying to see Grace more. I talked to my boss and I'm moving some of my classes to be online. I'm trying, Emmett."
He shakes his head. "I'm not talking about your kid. I'm talking about Edward and his perpetual lost puppy look when your not around. It makes me uncomfortable. Fix that shit, please."
"Yeah, fix that shit, Bella."
Emmett looks down to Jacob. "What did we discuss about not repeating things I say? You owe me fifty push-ups next time we have class."
And I smile as Jacob rolls his eyes and mumbles under his breath.
I poke at his arm as he cleans Grace's face. "I know something you don't know."
He smiles. He glances at me. "And what is that, Bella?"
"Jacob is madly in love with Bree."
His face is not happy, just as I knew it would not be. I smile wider. "She's too young to hang out with Jacob."
I shake my head. "Actually, I think she's older than him. Plus, we just had this whole section in class about how the male mind and maturity level develops much slower than the females, so, technically, she is much older than Jacob, even if she is younger in years of age."
He wants to smile. I can see it. He hands Grace over. "I think it's bath time."
I take her. "Don't change the topic just because you can't argue with that, Edward."
"Oh, can't I?"
My eyes challenge him.
"She's my niece and I will kill any male figure who comes near her."
I laugh. He bounces his brows like he won. I shake my head. "She's going to date someday and really…Jacob is turning out to be a good kid."
I start off towards the steps. Edward follows me. "How do you know he likes her anyhow?"
We climb. "He told me when he was at my place. He even has a present for her, waiting patiently until he sees her next…which he prays is soon."
I open the bathroom door. Edward leans against it. "Note to self, Bree is never visiting me again."
I laugh and sit on the edge of the tub. "Are you gonna be like this when Grace is Bree's age too?"
He shakes his head. "Nope. No need to be. As she is never going out into public once she hits puberty. Problem solved."
I roll my eyes and find his smile adorable. I start to strip off her clothes and then sit her on the bathmat while I unbutton my pants. He is still standing there.
"I'm beginning to think you come here just you can use my tub, Bella."
I shimmy my pants down my legs. "I'm beginning to think you get a sick, perverted joy out of watching me take off my pants, Edward." I toss them at him and he catches them.
He shrugs. "Maybe…I do."
And my eyes lock with his. He is shitty at hiding the truth. He knows it and he looks down to his hands, playing with my jeans. "Take your time." He backs out of the doorway and leaves us to our bath time.
When all is soft and warm and contently sleeping with a kiss on her cheek, I make my way downstairs. The sound of water tells me where he is. I walk into the kitchen and he is rinsing out her sippy-cups.
"I can help." I put out my hands.
"I'm about done. They can just dry in the rack. Besides, Esme will just rewash them again tomorrow anyhow," he smiles.
"Does she like being here full time, now?"
"I think she loves it. Too much." He makes a face.
I smile. "Getting on your nerves?"
He smiles and because Edward is Edward, "Beggars can't be choosers and I suppose it's better than leaving with her with a stranger, no matter what their background checks might say."
"Sorry about Angela." Sort of.
He shrugs. "It's just stuff. I don't care about that part." He shakes his head. "You know, I think she actually stole one of Grace's baby blankets. Talk about being low."
And my face feels hot. "Uhh…that wasn't her."
He turns off the water and grabs a towel for his hands. "What do you mean?"
I swallow and breathe. "I um…I took one with me. Before I left for school."
His face scrunches. "Why?"
I shrug. I look at my fingers. "I just wanted to." That's not good enough. "I was scared that I would miss her." Try a little harder, Bella. "I did. I did miss her."
When my heart slows a little, I look up. His eyes are full of questions, but he only asks one as he leans in a little, trying to find something in mine.
"Who are you Bella Swan?"
Breathe. Breathe. "I often ask myself that question, Edward."
My legs will wobble and give out if he doesn't move away. His eyes trail down my face, to my lips and then back up to my eyes.
"Will you have dinner with me on Sunday?"
Breathe. "We always have dinner on Sundays."
He shakes his head. He licks his lower lip. Jesus, where are you to save me?
"Friday. Will you have dinner with me on Friday," he amends.
I breathe and I chance looking at his eyes. There is so much scared there and I want to slap him for being so ridiculous. My lips twitch in amusement.
"Are you asking me out….like on a date?"
"I could meet you after school or something. We could do something by where you live."
Now I am in full-on smile, having figured it out. "You want to spy on where I live, don't you?"
And finally, he smiles too and Jesus. Wobbly knees. "Maybe."
I lean my face closer. "And if I so no?"
He leans closer. "Then I guess I'm having dinner with a much smaller version of you."
And teasing Edward is the best game ever.
"You mean you won't cry?"
"Won't be sad?"
"Not even a little bit?"
I smile. "Meet me at six."
"Five fifty-nine," he counters.
I push my forehead to his. "I'll be sure to wear a watch on Friday."
"How are we today, Miss Swan?"
"You look like you mean that today."
I lay back against the pillows. "Maybe I do." And just those words alone make my insides stupidly happy.
Wise Doc. I look at the ceiling. "Edward asked me out on a date."
"Yeah. This Friday."
"What brought this on?"
I shrug. "I don't know…but he did…so…it's a good thing, right?"
"You tell me, Bella."
"But?" Too wise.
"But…we still aren't like we were. And…I don't know…I'm scared I guess."
"Of?" What's with the one word questions?
"Of…messing up. I don't know. Everything. Hurting him. Not being good enough. Not being able to be a good…girlfriend. His stupid eyes. The way he looks at me."
"So, he's still making you feel inadequate as a parent?"
I sit up. "No…he actually apologized for that shit. I'm talking about…he makes me nervous."
"How he looks at me. Like my insides are going to melt or burst and like I could just throw his ass down and…" I stop myself. "I think you get the picture."
"You're attracted to him physically."
"That would be understatement of the goddamn year, Doc."
"And you think this Friday, perhaps something might happen along those lines? Between you and Edward?"
"Maybe. I don't know. But…but what if it did? Would that be wrong?"
He adjusts his glasses. "No, not wrong."
My turn for one word questions. "But?"
"But perhaps you should focus on rebuilding your relationship and the communication issues before you go and add another layer on top of an already wobbly situation. Yes?"
I nod. I huff. "I can't believe I pay for this shit."
"You look very nice." He offers his hand and I take it as I stand up from the bench.
"Thanks. You too." Goddamn walking sex god on two legs Jesus mother fucking Christ the things I would do to this man.
"Ready to eat?"
I nod and he escorts me to his car. We pick a place not too far from campus. I know some of the people here, but just in passing. I don't know their names. Just their faces. I stare at his tie while he looks over the menu. It is not perfect. Not by far. I want to reach over and fix it. I want to tug on it. I want to fucking…
"Esme said she got Grace to eat pureed carrots today without spitting them out," he smiles.
He nods. "Yup."
He keeps the smile on his face while he continues to look at the menu.
I ignore mine. "So…um, how was your day?"
He looks over. "It was good. That little girl Emily, she finally stopped calling me Voctor Shullen."
I laugh a little. "I kind of liked her calling you Voctor Shullen."
He smiles back. "Yeah, I guess it was kind of cute."
I try to keep it going. "So, what else happened today?"
He shrugs. "Not too much. Same old - same old. How was your day?"
I sweep my hair away from my face. "It was alright. But this kid kept kicking my chair in class, which sort of sucked. I had to move to another spot and I couldn't see the overhead as good."
And I must be the most boring date ever. I look at my menu. I can still feel his eyes on me. Thankfully, the waitress stops by and breaks up the weirdness. Most of dinner after that is about Grace. It seems to be the only thing we have to talk about and as much as the topic of her makes me happy, it also depresses me that we are pretty much wasting tonight.
"Do you want dessert?" He asks.
I shake my head. "I'm full."
He looks a little disappointed, but nods. "Me too."
I let him pay the bill, because I am supposed to be on a date. He helps me put on my coat and we are out the door, standing on the sidewalk. It's awkward, to say the least.
"So, I guess this is the part you are looking forward to, tonight?" I try to tease.
He finds his keys and we head towards the car. He doesn't say anything, but gives a smile as he opens my door. I show him where to drive. I feel like my insides are experiencing a tornado as we pull up to where I live. It's Family Night and it's loud.
"Um, we can go up the back steps." I get out and he follows. I look in my purse for my keys. As I turn the lock, I pray that I will keep my dinner down. I push the door open and put my back to it as I let him by. He steps in and I find the light. Close the door. I watch him from behind as he looks around.
"I told you it was small."
He looks back to me, but I am looking at my hands. I am trying not to cry and I don't even understand why I would.
"It's actually…a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It's different." He turns around again. I lift my head and watch.
"What did you think it would look like?" Stupid question. We know what he thought. Same as Emmett. Crack-den.
He shrugs. "I'm not sure. I guess I just didn't think it would be…you?"
He glances over his shoulder. My face crinkles. "Me?"
"Like…this is you. The other place…it was just…generic. But this is you."
I have to laugh a little. "Second-hand and used?"
He smiles. "Warm. Inviting. Comfortable."
And there are those feeling I feared. "Tonight hasn't been very comfortable." And why did I say that?
"No, it hasn't."
My shoulders feel lighter. "I don't know how to be like this, Edward."
He takes a step forward. "Be like what?"
"Like this. Like normal people who just go out and date and talk about their day and plans and…I don't know how to be one of those people."
Another step. "Then we'd be even."
I shake my head. "We're far from even."
"What does that mean?"
"It means…" Do not cry. "It means I owe you a lot. It means I owe you everything. My gratitude. My apologies. My…" and he is too close. "My um…"
And he's touching me. He's touching my face. His thumb. My cheeks. "You're what?"
Breathe. Breathe. Sounds like I didn't. "My heart….if you still want it."
My mouth get crushed to his without warning. And tears and need and sex and hurt and happiness and pain and anger and longing and everything, just fucking everything is crumpled into this nice little ball, in the pit of my stomach.
There is no carefulness. There is no easy. There is no gentle. There is just hands and fingers and tugging and tongues that licks and tease and beg and my lips between his teeth and feet moving towards the closest place closed eyes can find.
Lips on my lips and lips on my face and lips under my chin and lips on my neck and lips on my ear and lips back on my lips.
I twist and tug and grab his hair and wrap my legs around his waist as his weight comes down on me, on the couch. I pant and suffocate and pull his hair to move his mouth when I need more air and then pull his hair and bring him back to my mouth when I need more of that mouth.
His hands are more disciplined and stay where they started. I feel him where I want him and fuck it feels so good and it would be just so easy to slide my hands down and undo his pants and if I asked him to fuck me he probably would. I feel his hardness and I feel his need and I feel the man under the calm and restrained doctor and calm restrained doctor always comes out to play when I call him.
And while his mouth does this amazing shit to my neck, my mouth rambles without taking my desire with it. "My shrinks says we shouldn't have sex."
He drags his lips back to mine. His breath hot. His voice so goddamn sex. Not sexy. Sex. "We're not having sex. I just want to kiss the shit out of you."
And Edward is fucking brilliant. His tongue is hot and wet and delicious and I have to block out how it used to feel between my legs. He thrusts his hips and I hold him with my legs. I move against him and push until he is on his back and my hair is covering his face. I am on top and I move my hips like my life depends on it. I grind against him and I kiss him and I keep my hands in that wonderful fucking hair that smells and feels like Heaven.
I move faster when he palms my ass and keeps my rhythm. When he whispers sexy shit against my face and tells me how good I feel. When my clit thanks every inch of how hard and long and swollen with lust he is with every slide we make over it. When his hands hold me firm to him and I feel my insides tighten and both of our breaths stop at the same time. When he groans and curls his fingers into my hair.
The air goes still. Loud noises from below and our panting. That is all. I fall to the side, against the back of the couch and relish the throbbing between my legs that is more than satisfied.
I open my eyes. I see his fingers tap to his chest, calling me back. I rest my head there. It's still quiet. I listen to his heart beat rapidly and slowly slow. He lazily strums his fingers through my hair.
A sigh. His. "Goddamn that was good."
I smile against his shirt. It's quiet again, until he breaks it.
"So, you talk to your therapist about having sex with me, do you?"
I roll my eyes, but he can't see it. "I talk to him about a lot of things."
"Like, having sex with me," he teases.
I look at him, resting my chin on his chest. "He thinks we need to talk more."
"And what do you think?"
"I think that question sounds just like him. Must be a doctor thing."
He smiles, but his tone is serious. "Bella."
"I think we use Grace as a distraction."
He nods. "Probably."
"If she wasn't here…would you still…after what happened….would you still…" but that's not the right question, because I don't know that he does. "Do you still love me?"
He is quiet and I feel my chest connect with my eyes. And it's not that I didn't think it was possible, but when something stares you in the face, it's like a rusty knife to your soul. And maybe I am just desperate. Maybe I am just pathetic, but regardless, he deserves to know.
"I still love you, Edward. I always have. I lied you know. I was never with anyone…not that night I said it…and not when we were apart. I'm sorry I hurt you." I place my lips over the fabric of his clothes. Where his heart is still beating quickly. I rest my cheek there and close my eyes. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
No, just let me have this. Just for a moment more. Please.
"Baby, look at me." His fingers make me. "You really think I don't love you?"
Stupid fucking eyes. "Do you?"
His face can't believe my words. "Don't I?" He sighs. "Why else would I put up with your shit? Love you? I think I passed that level of how I feel for you a long time ago. It's somewhere in between being insane and…I don't know, whatever the hell would be worse than insane."
I sniffle. "That doesn't sound very healthy."
His fingers wipe down my cheek. "It feels healthy. It feels right. I can't even explain it to myself half the time…but there's not a single part of me that doesn't want you. That doesn't love you completely and insanely."
"We should have just come here and told dinner to screw off." I'm trying to be funny, but my eyes are still stupid. "I really do love you. But it hurts."
Soft and green. "What hurts?"
"Loving you. It hurts. You make me feel shit I don't want to feel and then you add Grace to it and…I don't want to be a bad person. It just hurts." I close my eyes and feel his fingers wipe away what they produce.
"You want to know something. Bella?" I nod. "I think this is the most significant, serious conversation I have ever had…while having cum in my pants."
My eyes open and I can't help the laughter that burst from my lips. I roll my face into his chest. "Edward." I shake my head.
His hands pull me up, higher on his chest, until my face is under his chin.
"Sorry, but I just really hate seeing you cry."
I allow myself to enjoy how he feels. I allow my eyes to close. I allow his hands to rub over my back and to hold me close to him.
It's soft. "Bella?"
His arms squeeze a little tighter.
"This is the part I was looking forward to, tonight."REVIEW THIS CHAPTER