Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Massage Therapy, Chapter 16 - Confession, part 2

From the Desktop of Bella Swan
Saturday, August 28 (cont’d.)

Kisses along my neck.

Warm, soft. I am dreaming of his lips again.

They part…tongue leaving wet heat behind, only to be cooled by his breath as he works his way down to my shoulder.

It feels real. My dreams of him are always vivid. I’ve even felt him moving inside me, only to wake up alone and empty.

But that was before I knew what it was to truly have him inside me. Those dreams of longing stopped after his love became my reality.

Is this real? He is spooning me, his body curled protectively around mine. His hand is under the sheets, over my breasts…fondling, rubbing my nipples firmly until they respond with a firmness of their own. Soft belly fur presses insistently against my lower back; I arch instinctively toward the silken warmth.

And then I feel it, hard and purposeful, smooth and sleek… like velvet-covered marble sliding between my buttocks. I arch further, lifting my outer leg slightly, parting to take the velvet between my legs. It finds my yearning wetness instantly. I am always this way for him. I couldn’t hide my desire if I wanted to. The evidence of my arousal always gives me away.

“Ready for me so soon….” More velvet, whispering in my ear this time. “You must be feeling better this morning.”

My hand covers his as he caresses my breasts. My leg raises up and back, over his hip; my thigh rests upon his, my foot hooks itself behind his calf.

“I feel amazing,” I sigh, waiting for the velvet marble to push its way inside me. He does not disappoint. One stroke, two, three… and he’s buried to the hilt. I exhale and it ends in a groan; he adds his own at the last thrust.

“You do feel amazing,” he replies, his voice rougher now. He releases my breasts and runs his long fingers down my stomach, over my abdomen, between my legs. He swirls them in circles over the sensitive flesh there as he takes me from behind in slow, deep, strokes. Quiet whimpers escape me already… the sounds of someone crying for more.

I murmur my disappointment as his fingers leave my sex and glide down my thigh, taking the sheet with him, exposing us to the cool air. His hand grips my flesh firmly, then lifts my leg like it weighs nothing. He is opening me up wider for him. He wants to go deeper. Always deeper.

And I love it. I want it. I crave and need it. I need him.

I reach back to wind my fingers in his hair, gripping it tightly as he pushes his velvety shaft all the way in… pulls all the way out … then plunges in again. He’s driving so deep that he hits the opening of my womb and I cry out sharply in a mixture of pleasure and pain. It’s too much. Too intense.

He slows. Plants soft kisses near my ear again. He’s going to speak; perhaps apologize.

I don’t want words. At least not those words.

“Don’t stop,” I order him. It sounds more like begging. My need has outweighed my want.

I know he will need no more assurances; no more encouragement. He loves taking over my body, bending it to his will, making it sing. He played me like a maestro the first day he touched me in his massage room. The symphony has only swelled since then, building to crescendo after crescendo in an endless series of gorgeous movements.

His head bows over me, lips searching for the swell of my breast. It is already erect with tension before he tongues it into an aching knot of pleasure. He’s sucking and fucking me in perfect cadence now, the rhythm building so slowly that my mind scarcely perceives it quickening.

My body is much more attuned to the difference. It knows this pace very well, after only seven days. It knows every inch of this velvet marble; has yielded and molded itself to the rigid contours of his flesh. Each time it grips him and caresses him, pulls and releases him, and finally clutches him in spasms of ecstasy when he pushes it beyond the brink of containment.

He’s pushing my body now. Drilling me from behind in search of treasure. I can feel the engorged tip of him slamming mercilessly into the sensitive flesh of my frontal wall. With every driving thrust, he rakes the velvet marble over that quivering bundle of nerves, sparking the slow burn that will soon burst into a conflagration. My body feels it coming before I do. It responds immediately, coaxing and encouraging the quickening of his rhythm, craving the friction that will create the spark. It relishes the escalation of his thrusts. Harder. Faster. Rougher. Deeper.

We pass the familiar threshold now; the point where love-making becomes fucking. Where animal instincts and appetites overwhelm all other considerations.

Or do they? My love for him does not abate as my lust burgeons. Instead, the two conspire to merge into a force so powerful that it is far beyond my control. My hand twists in his hair, grasping it for dear life as I revel in his merciless assault. He is panting. Whimpering. Grunting. Growling. Emitting sounds of base need that I hear myself matching.

And then, he shifts, pulling out, lifting himself from me. It’s so sudden that I cry out in dismay.


Did I say it out loud? I must have, for he chuckles. He has the audacity to find humor in breaking our bond. But before I can gather my wits to protest, he is kissing me. Kissing me with a maddening blend of tenderness and hunger that astounds me.

Of course, he isn’t done with me. He’s never done with me until he’s filled me with fireworks and I explode all around him. He is only turning me toward him and shifting our bodies so that he is on top of me. He dominates me now, parting my legs, spreading me open to take more punishment from the velvet-tipped rod.

But his sensual, full-body thrusts are anything but a punishment. The sensation of his torso grinding into mine feels far more like a reward. The heat of his skin blankets me in a passion so blistering that I dissolve beneath him. I am joined with him so completely and utterly that there is no part of me that is separate anymore. I cling to him, our limbs melding, my lungs stealing the air from his before giving it back.

He is pumping so hard now that the expensive bed finally protests noisily beneath us. I reach back and grip the iron headboard to brace myself as he fucks me with relentless fervor. He is all desperate eyes, flaring nostrils, clenched jaw, straining veins and muscles. He is glorious. The intensity of what he is doing to me is overwhelming, unbearable. The only thing more unbearable would be for him to stop.

His eyes beg me to give in; to unleash my most powerful abandon all around him.

With a shuddering cry, I submit.

The ecstasy is astonishing. I sob as if I am in pain, because the pleasure cannot bear anything less. He does the same when he comes. He shakes and shudders and moans as he bathes my core in molten liquid. I want to keep its heat inside me as long as possible; to luxuriate in that part of him that he’s left with me after he has withdrawn.

I wish I could do the same. Leave something of me with him; a reminder of what we’ve shared.

But when I see the look in his eyes as he gazes down at me, I realize I already have.

“Bella--I’m glad you’re here. I need to talk to you.”

Rosalie’s voice abruptly jarred me from my reverie, stealing my momentary calm at the memory of my morning with Edward. A wave of nervousness replaced my post-coital bliss. I had rehearsed what I was going to say to her during the drive from Edward’s place to mine, and again on the trek to work. I had arrived early only to fidget behind my desk, waiting, fuming. I was still furious over her invasion of my privacy, not to mention the cunning way she had cornered Edward. I planned to let her know under no uncertain terms that neither of those actions was acceptable.

But after running out of the office and never returning to work yesterday, I didn’t have much of a leg left to stand on. For all I knew, Rose was as upset with me as I was with her right now.

I had tried to steady my nerves by replaying the morning tryst with Edward in my head. I’d never had a wake-up call that wonderful in my life. After my emotional confessions the day before, sex with him was that much more heightened and meaningful to me. So much more than the physical was shared when we joined together now. I wondered if Edward knew how much strength he gave me just by being with me; being in my corner. He had offered to drive me home, and to work; but I knew very well that I needed to get right back on that bike--or rather, right back in that truck--and keep on going. I don’t think he’ll ever understand how deeply it touched me when he insisted on walking me to my truck this morning, then waited and watched until I had driven safely down his block and around the corner, out of view.

I held on to the memory as I faced Rosalie with uncertainty now. I was surprised when she paused at the chair across from my desk, her eyes asking for my permission to sit. I thought for sure that she would take me into her office rather than let me have the home-turf advantage.

I hesitated, then nodded my consent.

“Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush,” she said as she lowered herself to the chair. “I know I owe you an apology. What I did was sneaky and underhanded. I should have come to you first about my suspicions instead of trying to trick Edward into telling me what was going on. I’m really sorry, Bella.”

I studied her through narrowed eyes. I had to admit, this was the most contrite I’d ever heard Rosalie sound. It didn’t suit her. Her apparent sincerity sucked a bit of the wind out of my sails. I found myself feeling a little irritated that she’d diffused my anger before I even had the chance to vent it.

“You dug in my desk drawers,” I reminded her crossly. “I had that flash drive inside a coin purse. That means you snooped through my personal belongings to find it.”

She looked ashamed, but not ashamed enough. “I know. I shouldn’t have done it. But truthfully, if you didn’t want me to hear Edward, you shouldn’t have left those music files here at work. That desk and everything in it is Java Noise property. This company pays for all your recording equipment,” she argued.

“That flash drive is mine,” I snapped. “Paid for by me, for my own personal use. I didn’t mean to leave it here. Don’t worry, it won’t happen again.”

Rosalie let out a sigh. “I’m not proud of how I handled all of this,” she repeated. “But just imagine, for a minute, how I felt when I heard Edward for the first time last night. When I realized that you knew exactly how gifted he is, but kept it to yourself this whole time. We pay you to find us the best talent this city has to offer; and the fact that you sat on a diamond in the rough like Edward really galls me, quite frankly,” she fumed. “I don’t mind telling you that I felt a little hurt and betrayed. I actually started to question your loyalty, to be honest.”

My eyes bugged in disbelief. I was too flabbergasted to speak for a moment. When I did find my voice, I was practically sputtering.

“I have been nothing but loyal to you for over a year now. I have busted my hump and put in countless hours of overtime going to clubs and working with artists to get them signed. The first night I saw Edward perform, he made it crystal clear that he had absolutely no desire to become a professional musician. He wanted nothing to do with us, or me, at the time. Rosalie, we have hundreds of artists beating down our doors trying to get a deal with Java. Why would I waste my time on a lost cause?”

“Lost cause?!” she exclaimed with incredulity. “If you can’t convince the guy you’re sleeping with to come in here and lay down a few tracks just for fun, then I seriously wonder about your powers of persuasion. Maybe you aren’t cut out for this business after all, Bella. At least not as an A&R rep.” Her mouth set into a rigid line as her icy eyes challenged me.

I was livid, practically quivering with indignation. “I can’t even believe you just suggested that I should use my relationship with Edward to get him on board as a client. Do I look like a prostitute to you? Because I draw the line at whoring myself out for this company. If you’re really going to make me choose between my loyalty to my job and my loyalty to the man I love, I can already tell you, Edward will win.”

Rosalie let out another sarcastic snort. “Love! You think you’re in love with Edward? You barely know the boy. I can’t believe you have it this bad, this fast. That guy is too smooth for his own good. Too good-looking. He could probably talk you into just about anything,” she grumbled.

My jaw nearly hit the desk after that remark. What the hell was she talking about?

“Where is this coming from?” I demanded. “What is it you think Edward’s trying to persuade me to do, exactly? Other than respect his wishes,” I spat, with a disbelieving shake of my head. “It’s enlightening to know what you really think of me--that I’m so weak-willed that I’d turn into nothing but my boyfriend’s puppet. And I’m beyond offended that you think I only love Edward because he’s good-looking. I had no idea you have such a low opinion of me, Rosalie.” My voice was shaking by the time I was finished. I was floored that she thought I was such a pushover.

She sighed again and rested her forehead in her hand for a moment. “I don’t have a low opinion of you, Bella. I’m a realist, that’s all. I’ve seen stronger-minded girls than you let their lives be completely derailed by a guy who pulled them too far off track. I don’t want to see that happen to you. You’ve got a good future in this business and a chance at a great career if you keep your head on straight.

“I’m sorry if I jumped the gun about Edward,” she continued, not sounding particularly penitent. “I hope I’ve misjudged him. He’s not a straight shooter like his brother is, you know? He holds his cards too close to the vest for me to know what kind of deck he’s playing with. I just don’t want you to be the loser here, Bella. Truly.”

I stared darkly at Rose, wondering where her misplaced paranoia was coming from. Mixed metaphors aside, she was clearly sincere about her distrust of Edward. But what, exactly, did she suspect him of doing? Being a negative influence on me, obviously; but in what way? Just because he didn’t want to sign with Java Noise didn’t mean that I was going to stop looking for talented people who did.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Rose,” I said quietly. “Whether you believe it or not, Edward joining our roster was never a possibility. Either you trust my judgment and my abilities, or you don’t.”

“I’ve never questioned your abilities, you know that,” she assured me. “You’ve got that knack, that ear for potential, that can’t be taught. I want you on my team, Bella. I just hope that’s where you want to be.”

She didn’t seem sure of my answer. And because of her lingering doubt, I wasn’t as certain of my reply as I thought I’d be.

“Of course, I do,” I told her. “I thought I’d spent the last year proving that to you. And I’ll continue to prove it to you, as long as you’ll let me.” I hadn’t forgotten that I’d gone AWOL the afternoon before, and that there might be consequences for that.

Rosalie looked relieved. “I’m more than happy to forgive and forget all of this. If you can forgive my suspicious nature, I’ll forget that you disappeared yesterday without so much as a phone call to let us know you were okay. Deal?”

She actually reached her arm across the desk for a handshake. I tentatively took her hand in mine and then grasped it firmly for a moment before releasing it. We smiled at one another, but a vague uneasiness still lingered within me. I knew I’d always question her trust in me from now on.

“So, what do you think about Jasper’s band? As a three-piece, that is,” I asked her. She had seemed enthusiastic about them yesterday morning, but that was before I knew she was plotting to make Edward a permanent member.

“A three-piece is a hard sell, frankly,” she said. “Not as versatile. They’re still pretty rough around the edges, but they have potential. I think they should keep at it. And I think Jasper should try to get Edward to seriously consider being a permanent part of the outfit. Sorry, I’ll never change my mind about that.”

I could feel the beginnings of an impasse form. “Are you going to tell Jasper that?”

Rosalie hedged a moment. “I don’t want to discourage him. I think he realizes the band needs to gel more, get some gigs under their belt, before we can seriously consider them. So I’ll probably keep that particular opinion to myself.”

I nodded. “My lips are sealed,” I agreed. I had no desire to impart that kind of news to Jasper when he’d chosen to make music his life, whether playing it professionally or teaching it.

“I’ll assume Edward won’t discourage his best friend that way, either, right?” she questioned me. We both knew what she was really asking.

“You can trust Edward,” I said through slightly gritted teeth. “I’m not sure why you’d think otherwise.”

Her eyebrow raised, but she said nothing. At least, nothing more about this now-sore subject. Instead, she changed the subject and began going over plans for the next show for Vegan Vamps, the first band I’d ever gotten signed for Java Noise. Their CD was going to be released soon, and next weekend they would be performing at a Labor Day Weekend outdoor festival showcasing Seattle talent. Aside from The Wolf Pack, they were my main work priority for the coming week. I was glad for the distraction, because I had the feeling that if I didn’t keep myself busy, I’d spend most of my time wondering when Rosalie had begun to doubt me; or, more to the point, how and why Edward had caused it to happen.

When I finally got to take a break for lunch, I escaped to the Istanbul Grill for a few minutes to wolf down a falafel pita. I relaxed in a small booth and checked my phone messages, knowing I would have at least one from Edward.

8:55 a.m. How did it go with Rosalie? Have you seen her yet?

9:57 a.m. I haven’t heard from you. Hope everything’s okay.

10:56 a.m. If you don’t text or call me at lunch, I’m coming over there with a shotgun and a shovel. I doubt anyone will miss her, except maybe Emmett.

I laughed at the last message, and wondered if Edward had any idea how much I loved him. Every time I thought I’d reached the pinnacle, he would do something to swell my heart just a little more.

Sorry I couldn’t check my messages sooner. Been keeping myself busy so I don’t stew over this Rosalie business. She apologized, believe it or not. We still got into it, though. I don’t know what her deal is, thinking I’m a doormat and you’re some kind of Svengali walking all over me. I don’t get it. Still irked that she won’t drop the idea of you joining Jasper’s band. I’m so sorry I got you into this, Edward. Oh, and do you have any idea how much I love you? xoxoxo

I had only eaten a couple more bites of falafel before my phone buzzed in reply.

I don’t know where her paranoia comes from, but she obviously thinks that you not telling her about my occasional open mic nights was some kind of conspiracy against her. Just keep doing the great job for her you always do and prove her wrong. You have nothing to feel bad about. Hold your head high and remember how much I love you, which must be more than you love me, because you are far more deserving.

I made an exasperated clucking noise at his warped logic before typing my return message.

Stop trying to one-up me in the who-loves-whom-more department. After the wake-up “O” you gave me this morning, you are more than deserving. I am the most satisfied, grateful, crazy-in-love girl on the planet. You cannot top that.

Oh, yes I can. You let me fuck you awake at six a.m. That gives me dibs on grateful AND satisfied, though I might have to give you the crazy part, since you’re not a morning person but you let me do it anyway. Just thinking about it makes me want to fuck you again, right now. What are you wearing today?

Why did his crass language always make me hot? It was disturbing.

Gray pin-striped slacks, blue shirt. Very non-descript. I’m not looking particularly fuckable.

Ridiculous. I’m going to pretend I never saw that last sentence. Maybe it has escaped your notice, but I always want to fuck you. There really is no instance in which I wouldn’t want to, so you might as well rid your mind of such notions now. What shade of blue?

Navy. And you are…what’s the word? Incorrigible. That’s putting it mildly. Never mind the fact that there is no instance in which I would not want you to fuck me. So I’d say we are equal in that department.

Oh, that’s not true. I can think of two times already when you’ve asked me not to.

Yes, but if you had wheedled and begged and cajoled, I would have given in.

Damn, woman. You tell me this now? You’ll be sorry you revealed that little nugget to me. There will be no rest for you from now on.

Bring it, fucker. *literally*

GAH. Why do you do this to me at lunch? I’m sitting in a public place with a stiffy now.

Can you save it for about five or six hours until we see each other?

Funny. *sarcasm font* I could, but it might be a bit off-putting to my clients.

Doubtful. Have you looked in a mirror lately? Or ever? They probably all fantasize about you bending them over the massage table and giving them a good working-over.

Oh Christ. Thanks for the visual. My next appointment is with a woman in her seventies.

You’re welcome. Now your stiffy will be short-lived.

I’ll let you resurrect it from the grave tonight, after I give you a massage.

I wished he could see the huge smile that spread across my face at his words.

I’m getting another freebie? *happy dance of joy*

I want to check you out myself after what happened yesterday. I should have done it last night.

I’m fine, worrywart. But if you want to feel for yourself, I am more than willing to comply.

I love it when you surrender to me.

Desire crackled through me, and again I wondered why Edward’s occasional dominance was such a turn-on. It went against every feminist principle I’d ever adhered to. I refused to give in that easily.

I love it when you surrender to me, too.

I have no problem with that. I have a pair of handcuffs, you know. We can take turns having our way with each other.

Another wave of lust barreled down my spine and seeped through my groin. While I deliberated how to reply, my phone buzzed again.

Cat got your tongue, Bella?

No. Just feeling relieved that my genitals are on the inside so no one has to know what I’m thinking.

There, that ought to silence him for a minute.

Almost a minute, anyway.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m going to make your fantasies come true, Bella. Even the ones you didn’t know you had.

I nearly broke out in a sweat then. Was he serious? I didn’t doubt that he had a few sexual toys hiding in the loft somewhere. I wondered what sorts of games he’d played with past conquests… what kinky fetishes he might be harboring. I wondered what kind of sex she had liked.

Tanya. I forced myself to think the name, when I hadn’t for awhile. I wanted to forget she ever existed. But the fact that Edward’s past with her was so mysterious only made me more worried that it was a past I couldn’t live up to. A past that might somehow rear its ugly head in ways I could not foresee.

My phone buzzed once more. I hesitated before reading the message.

I didn’t scare you, did I? You know I never want to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. If I ever do, you have to promise to tell me right away.

I sighed and wondered what my problem was. I trusted him implicitly. I suspected what was really bothering me was that I wanted him to do things to push me out of my comfort zone, even more than he already had. To make me go a step further…to connect with him in ways I had never connected with another human being before. Or maybe what I really wanted was for him to connect with me like he’d never connected with anyone before.

The phone vibrated again in my hand.

Promise me, Bella.

A wry smile pulled at my lips. Even when he was repentant, he was insistent about it. Was this what Rosalie perceived about Edward that made her wary of him? His controlling nature? Maybe she was afraid that that tendency would turn into outright manipulation. If she thought he was capable of that, she was way off base.

I promise, Edward. You just got my mind wandering, that’s all. Thinking…wondering.

What I wouldn’t give to see inside your mind right now.

That works both ways.

I’m an open book. Ask me anything.

I let out a rueful laugh. If only that were true. If I asked him about Tanya now, would he finally tell me everything? But a better question was, did I really want to know?

Okay. What are you doing this weekend? I couldn’t handle the intense turn our text conversation had taken anymore.

LOL That’s easy. Just the usual. I have three clients scheduled tomorrow morning, then a tennis match with Katrina. I can cancel that if you’d like, though.

No, I wouldn’t ask you to do that. I’m a rotten tennis player. That will give me a chance to get a few things done around the apartment while Angela’s away.

She won’t be there this weekend?

No, she’ll be at Ben’s. You want to spend some time at my place?

If you’ll have me.

Of course I’ll have you. But it’s so cramped and shabby chic compared to the loft.

I like your place. It’s warm and cozy and it smells like you. Besides, I have a personal challenge that I need to conquer, and it can only be done at your place.

I’m intrigued. …?

I have yet to sustain an erection and fuck you properly in your bed. Your bed taunts me with memories of drunken impotence and sore hoo-has. It’s time I taught it a lesson.

My nether regions burned anew. Damn him, anyway.

Typical man. Always turning the conversation back to sex.

;) The little head has a mind of its own. The big head is thinking that maybe we should just take it easy tonight. I know a great burger joint that we can relax at for awhile; then I can take you home and give you a proper massage. How does that sound?

I turned my phone around and took a quick snapshot of the smile on my face, then sent it to Edward with the caption, Does this answer your question?

It does that and so much more. Why don’t I pick you up after work? Six-thirty or so?

Perfect. You are perfect. It would be annoying if I didn’t love you so much.

I am far from perfect, but your love definitely makes me a better man.

I shook my head as I read his last message. He really didn’t get it, did he? That those were the sentiments that made him perfect in my eyes; the things that tied my heartstrings in knots all around him.

The thought of my upcoming weekend with him kept me going through my busy afternoon. Rosalie and I deftly avoided any mention of Edward or Jasper and focused on the projects at hand. We were perfectly pleasant toward one another on the surface, but I could feel the foundation of what I had thought was a solid working relationship crumbling beneath the façade. By the time I left work, I was emotionally drained from keeping up the charade.

After trudging up the myriad steps to my apartment, I wanted nothing more than to take a nap. Angela had already vacated the house, so I took advantage of the alone time to stretch out on the couch and relax for a minute. The next thing I heard was the front doorbell, jolting me awake.

“Oh, shit,” I sighed. Edward was already here and I hadn’t even changed out of my work clothes yet. I groggily made my way to the front door, smiling sheepishly up at his gorgeous face as I opened it.

“Hey beautiful,” he smiled down at me, then leaned in for a kiss. “Did I wake you?”

“Yeah, sorry. I just wanted to rest my eyes for a minute and I guess I fell asleep. Just let me change clothes and I’ll be ready in no time.”

“We don’t have to go out now,” he said as he followed me through the living room. “You can sleep some more and we can just order dinner in if you want.”

“No, I want to go out, really,” I insisted, giving his arm a squeeze. “I think getting out for a bit would do me good.”

He caught my hand in his and squeezed back. “The place I’m taking you to is really laid back, and they make the best burgers in the city. I think you’ll like it.”

I assured him I would, then turned toward my bedroom. He pulled at my hand to stop me, then leaned in close, his breath hot in my ear.

“I love you in blue. You lied to me earlier--you look insanely fuckable.”

I almost didn’t blush anymore when he said things like that to me. Almost.

“You have such an elegant way with words, Mr. Cullen,” I sighed up at him.

His grin was irrepressible. “All the better to seduce you with, Miss Swan.”

I shook my head and mouthed the word, “Later,” before pulling away from his grasp and making a quick dash for my bedroom door. I closed it behind me, knowing that if he wandered in to watch me undress, we’d never make it out of the house.

One comfy pair of jeans and faded periwinkle t-shirt later, I was ensconced safely in the Volvo, admiring Edward’s chiseled profile as he drove.

“I notice you’re still wearing blue,” he commented with a sly sideways glance.

“I figured it would increase my odds later on.”

He chuckled; a toasty, irresistible sound. “I don’t think you quite grasped the gist of the text messages I sent you today. It doesn‘t matter what you’re wearing--I’m a sure thing.”

I relished the tingles that danced through me at his words. I said nothing; just smiled and basked in the warm, safe feeling of Edward behind the wheel as we traversed the city in search of dinner. He had the advantage of having grown up here, and consequently knew the out-of-the-way dives that always seemed to have the best food.

Mo’s Diner was literally a hole in the wall, sandwiched between a real estate office and a hair salon on the south side. The place would have been virtually undetectable from the street were it not for the anemic fluorescent sign in the window proclaiming it open for business.

The inside was a different story. The room was narrow but long, lined with dark wood booths, a fully stocked bar, and walls full of old Seattle memorabilia. Apparently “Mo” couldn’t decide whether the place should be a diner or a pub, so he split the difference. The result was a hodge-podge of neon and chrome flourishes set against a backdrop of exposed brick and ambient light.

“I like this place,” I smiled as we settled into a cozy booth. I was grateful for the tiny table for two that Edward had spotted toward the back. I relaxed immediately in its cushy faux leather seats, my legs intertwining with his under the table, eyes feasting on his perpetually disheveled hair and lazy grin.

“Did you have a beer or something before you came to pick me up?” I accused as I studied his languid green gaze. His eyes had that watery look about them; less intense than when he was stone-cold sober.

“Just one,” he answered defensively. “Just enough to take the edge off. I was worried about you all morning, you know.”

“Sure, blame me,” I retorted as the waiter approached to take our drink orders. “I’ll have a large draw of the house special. I have some catching up to do,” I told him, with a teasing glare at Edward. He went and ordered the same, giving me an ornery smirk in return.

“Well, I’m glad you made it through the afternoon without incident,” he said, obviously referring to my situation with Rosalie.

I shrugged. “I had to. She’s my boss. I mean, I get that she feels like I was keeping her in the dark about you, I guess. But it’s like she’s irritated with you just because you have no interest in a music career. I just don’t get her problem with you. And anyone who has a problem with you has a problem with me now.” I squeezed his ankle between mine under the table.

He looked like he was trying to fight the satisfied grin that turned the corners of his mouth. “While I appreciate your moral outrage on my behalf, I don’t want to be the cause of any problems for you at work. Don’t worry about me in all of this. Just watch out for yourself.”

“I can’t believe I actually have to. I never thought trust would be an issue between Rose and me. Now it’s been broken on both sides.” I shook my head, still perturbed at how things had gone down earlier. Edward looked ready to say something when the waiter brought our beers and took our burger orders. By the time he left, I thought of one more thing my boss had done that incensed me.

“You won’t believe what she said about Jasper’s band. She’s not sold on them as-is. She still wants him to try to convince you to join them, since I obviously won’t,” I ranted. “And then she actually had the nerve to ask me to make sure you don’t say anything to him about her criticism. She said she doesn’t want to discourage him. I guess I should be glad that she was actually thinking about someone other than herself for a minute,” I grumbled.

“I would never repeat anything like that, especially from her,” he said gruffly. “Jasper’s fully aware that the band needs a bit more polish. I don’t think she’s giving him enough credit.” He frowned at his beer, then seemed to force his lips into a lopsided grin.

“You know what? I really don’t want to talk about Rosalie anymore. Why don’t you tell me what else you’re working on right now?” he asked.

I was only too happy to change the subject to Vegan Vamps, whose name amused Edward greatly when I first uttered it. He was less amused when I filled him in on the Wolf Pack’s progress, though he appeared relieved to hear that they’d soon be spending most of their time at a recording studio across town.

“You do realize it’s ridiculous for you to even give Jake a second thought anymore, right?” I asked him. I couldn’t believe he’d be jealous of any other guy, let alone Jake.

“Like I told you, I trust you completely. Jacob Black, not so much. I keep hoping he’ll take Jessica up on her date offer, but so far he hasn’t taken the bait. Apparently he’s holding out for a tastier morsel.” One eyebrow raised as he narrowed his eyes at me.

I rolled my own back at him and took a swig of my beer. “I can’t believe Jessica asked Jake out. She’s a braver soul than I am. But did you ever consider that maybe she’s just not his type?”

Edward’s lip raised in a slight sneer. “I would say the thought has crossed my mind, but that would be a lie. I don’t spend much time giving a damn what Jacob likes, unless that happens to be you.”

As I looked at Edward’s scowling countenance, I couldn’t help but grin.

“What?” he demanded crossly as my smile grew.

“You’re cute when you’re jealous. A little scary, but cute.”

He gave me a sour smile. “I’m glad I amuse you.”

“Hey, it’s not very often that I get to turn the tables on you. Everywhere we go, I have to endure women eying you up and down like a juicy steak. I’m pretty sure I even saw our waiter wink at you earlier.”

Edward gave me a look of mock horror. “A, that is patently untrue, so take it back. And B, you have no idea how many guys check you out. You’re completely oblivious to your effect on the opposite sex.”

I took a quick look around the diner. Not one single person was paying a lick of attention to either of us.

“Yep, you’re right,” I intoned gravely. “I might have to go outside and get a stick to beat off all this unwanted attention.”

Edward’s eyes narrowed at me further. “You’re making me want to take you over my knee and paddle some sense into you instead.”

I squirmed in my seat with discomfiting pleasure at the thought of him slapping my bare backside again. Why the hell did I like it so much? I could feel my face beginning to burn as pink as my ass cheeks probably did when he was through with me. I tried to smother my embarrassment in false bravado.

“I wonder, speaking of turning the tables… what if I did that to you? How would you like it?” I posed the question rhetorically, yet I was actually curious to hear the answer.

That wicked slow grin of his nearly did me in. “Why don’t you try me sometime this weekend and find out?”

It was then that I noticed our legs moving in tandem under the table, slowly sliding together and pressing against each other’s. I slipped off one flip-flop and raked my bare toes over the soft hair of Edward’s shin under his pant leg. He inhaled sharply and his nostrils flared. The sight of it turned me on further, emboldening me.

“Maybe I’ll try that and more,” I taunted. I removed my foot from Edward’s shin and slid it up between his blue-jean covered legs until it rested over the growing bulge in his crotch. My eyes never left his as I gripped the denim tent under my toes and gave him a firm squeeze. His nostrils flared even more as he stared hungrily back at me.

Before I could remove my foot in triumph, he grabbed it in both hands, rubbing it along the length of his hardening dick. “Thinking of adding a foot job to that list, are you?” he said in the Sex Voice. He began massaging my foot, his fingers kneading and tickling the tender flesh along the sole and between my toes. “Do you realize how many nerve endings are in the bottoms of your feet? I think you’d get almost as much pleasure out of jacking me off with them as I would.”

I took a gulp of beer and let my false bravado do the talking again. “Why wait? Unzip your fly and let’s find out right now.”

Edward’s piercing gaze looked dead serious for a moment, as if he were ready to do it. Then the inexorable half-grin claimed his lips and he shook his head, relenting.

“If the waiter weren’t headed our way right now, I’d give your foot a shower you’d never forget,” he murmured, one eyebrow cocked in a wicked arch.

“You would not,” I whispered as I caught sight of our waiter and his serving tray out of the corner of my eye.

Edward chuckled and let go of my foot, which fell limply to the floor in rejection. We both smiled innocently up at our server as he set our burger platters on the table.

“Saved by the bell,” Edward smirked as the waiter retreated.

“Like you’d let me jerk you off under the table in here,” I retorted, reaching for the squeeze-bottle of catsup and shaking it briefly.

“’Let you?‘ More like, beg you. Nice visual, by the way,” Edward commented as I squirted the catsup onto my plate in rhythmic spurts.

“You are really too perverted to live.”

“Methinks thou doth protest too much,” he said smugly. “You get off on it. And I’d let you suck me off under this table right now if you wanted to.” He took a hefty bite of his burger and chewed it thoughtfully while I gave him a baleful glare. “I wonder if that would get you off, too. Sex in public.” His eyebrow raised provocatively again, and moisture seeped unbidden into my panties. I wanted to point the catsup bottle at his face and douse him with it for being such a prick. I also wanted to crawl under the table and do exactly what he now had me fantasizing about.

“Unless you want to wear this catsup out of here, I’d suggest you stop that train of thought right now,” I threatened. I didn’t put the bottle back on the table until his face broke into a devilish grin and he held up his hands in surrender.

“You really make it way too much fun to tease you, Bella,” he said with an unrepentant chuckle.

“I don’t know why I let you get away with it,” I grumbled. “You’re too charming for your own good.” Too smooth for his own good…. Rosalie’s words replayed in my head, making me frown.

“You give as good as you get, most of the time,” Edward pointed out with a smile. The smile faded when he noticed my tense expression. “What is it? I was just kidding around. You know that, right?”

“I know. Forget it. It’s just been a long day, that’s all.”

“I’m sorry,” he said softly.

“It’s not your fault,” I insisted.

We ate our cheeseburgers in silence for a moment, speaking only to comment on how good the food was. I began to get a little annoyed with myself for letting one of Rosalie’s errant comments get to me.

“Let’s talk about you,” I suggested to Edward, putting on a bright smile. “How was your day, dear?”

He let out a relieved-sounding laugh. “Nowhere near as eventful as yours, thankfully. I treated a high school football player with a stress injury, a senior citizen with gout, and a slew of middle-aged women with too much time on their hands.“

I made a harrumphing noise. “I can guess what they were there for.”

He gave me an amused look. “I love that you find me so irresistible, but I have news for you, Bella. Not every woman in the world wants to sleep with me. Honestly.”

“That you know of, “ I joked, though I wasn’t sure how off the mark it was.

“Well, the seventy-year-old was eying me funny, but I think that was just her cataracts acting up.”

“Along with her libido,” I snorted.

Edward was still rolling his eyes when a question that had been nagging me popped into my head. “What about on your end, though? Haven’t you ever had a hard time resisting temptation? I mean, surely you had other clients before me that you were attracted to.”

He shrugged noncommittally. “One or two. But not so much that I ever seriously considered crossing the line, until you.”

“Huh. Really?” I asked skeptically.

“Scout’s honor.”

I puzzled over that tidbit but couldn’t make sense of it. “How is that possible?”

His expression was resolute. “The practice of massage therapy has struggled for years to rise above the old massage parlor connotations and be taken seriously. When I went into this line of work, I vowed to be completely professional at all times, and never let my personal life interfere. I wanted to be above reproach. No exceptions.”

“But you did make an exception,” I said quietly. I searched his eyes, trying to find the answer to the question I’d been asking myself since Day One. I mustered the bravery to finally put it into words. “Why me, Edward? What made you break the rules for me?”

His green gaze was serious as he looked up at me from under slightly knitted brows. “Because you needed me to.” His brows furrowed further, as if in thought. “No, that’s not right. I’m the one who needed to. I don’t know why, exactly. I just knew the minute I touched you that there was a reason you came to me. At first I thought it was so that I could fix you. But now….” He faltered for a moment, nervously fingering his hair before he continued. “I’m realizing that maybe it was so you could fix me.”

I fought the lump that formed in my throat, but I couldn’t stop the film of tears that bathed my eyes.

“I didn’t know you were broken,” I managed to say.

His eyes were pained as he shook his head in disagreement. “Yes, you did.”

The time had passed for footsy under the table. I reached my hand across the tabletop toward his; he met me halfway and laced his fingers through mine. We didn’t let go.

Except for smatterings of small talk, we were quiet as we finished our meal and our beers. The silence was golden this time, though. Reverent, almost, despite our locale. We held hands all the way from the restaurant to my apartment, only parting long enough to get in and out of the car. The energy humming between us through that constant physical connection seemed to speak volumes more than any of the verbal exchanges we’d had that day.

When we entered the house, the unspoken conversation switched from our hands to our mouths as they joined together in a tender, soul-searching kiss. The kiss led to another and another as we inched our way to my bedroom. Edward began undressing me slowly; first pulling my t-shirt carefully over my head, then unbuttoning and unzipping my jeans before tugging them gently to the floor. I reached for the ragged hem of his distressed cotton tee, pushing it up so that my fingers could caress the ripples of his stomach up to the swell of his chest. He let me push the shirt as high as I could before he helped me by lifting it over his head.

Our hungry mouths joined again, tongues seeking warm, wet reassurance from one another. I felt my bra hooks spring apart on my back, then Edward’s fingers glide up my shoulders to the straps. He pulled the bra down my arms and tossed it in the direction of my dresser. His hands quickly found my breasts, palming them and stroking them until a soft sigh escaped from my lips into his.

“Massage time,” he whispered, running his hands down my stomach and around to my back, leaving a trail of goose bumps wherever his hands roamed. I attempted to do the same to him as I let my fingers explore the muscles of his arms before reaching up to stroke the tactile scruff of his neck. I traced the line of his jaw with my thumb, my fingers reaching up to cradle the side of his face. His eyes closed and his head inclined toward my touch. He was so beautiful, so sexy, that I wanted to cry. How could this amazing creature have chosen me, above all others?

His eyes opened and gave me the answer I craved, though I could never hope to understand it. He led me toward the bed, pulled back the covers and told me to lie face down. I silently obeyed, clutching my pillow under my arms and resting my cheek upon it; then I lay in wait for his healing touch.

He turned on the small bedside lamp before leaving the room. I remembered he had brought a back-pack with him for his weekend stay, and it was still on the living room sofa. I soon heard his feet again, noisy with shoes, then muffled and bare on the rug. I smiled up at him as he came and sat next to me, opening a jar of faintly herbal-smelling massage gel.

“I can’t believe you brought that with you,” I said as he worked the gel between his gorgeous hands.

“I came prepared for all sorts of eventualities,” he said mysteriously, making me wonder what other goodies he had packed for the weekend. But for now, I closed my eyes and gave myself over to the utter bliss of Edward’s hands upon me.

He began slowly, in the usual manner; methodically moving down my back and checking each muscle group, stretching and smoothing my body’s twists and turns as he went. He left no part of me untouched. He released the tension in my back, unknotted the muscles of my arms and hands, and kneaded the length of my legs into limp, pliant noodles.

But just when I was as relaxed as I could ever remember being, he changed his methodology. He coated his hands with more gel and began rubbing them firmly up and down my back in broad, rhythmic strokes. Gone were the gentle, meticulous explorations of each specific muscle group. In their place were sweeping, full-body gestures, the pressure of his hands building as he pushed them ruthlessly up and down my limbs, squeezing and stroking my muscles with increasing force.

“Oh, my God,” I moaned into my pillow as the pleasurable sensations grew with the intensity of his massage. In all the times I’d given myself over to his touch, never had I felt so completely at his mercy; so utterly helpless under his total possession of me. His masterful hands seemed to be everywhere at once. I could no longer distinguish where my body ended and they began. His touch was inside me now, imbuing me with his strength, his passion, his will, his desire. There was no difference between mine and his. They were one and the same now.

I don’t know when he removed my panties. I only knew I was exposed, and his hands were giving my hips and buttocks the same achingly delicious treatment he had given the rest of me. I moaned softly when his rhythmic assault of my gluteal muscles sent tremors through my entire groin. The sensual now fused with the sexual as his magic fingers came closer and closer to moving inside me. I longed for their forceful invasion of my deepest recesses, and the sweet release that would follow.

“God, you’re beautiful,” he said, his velvet voice ragged with want. “Turn over for me, Bella.”

A thrill of desire traversed my spine and I obeyed him once more, turning my naked body upward, facing his gaze. His eyes were a dark, turbulent sea as they washed over me, curling around my curves and settling in my valleys. His hands soon followed, and I was overwhelmed again. Fingers following the line of my neck, then splaying across my chest… palms pressing, sliding down my belly… thumbs digging into the twitching nerves at the crease of my thighs. My breaths became sobs as he worked me up and down again, hands squeezing my breasts into quivering peaks and melting my thighs with hard caresses. My lungs expanded and pushed against him, rising into his warm touch. My legs parted like the sea, waiting for his advance.

And finally, his fingers took their prize, sliding into the wet, feeding into the heat. In and out, over and over, as rhythmic and purposeful as the rest of his touches had been. I moaned his name and shamelessly begged for more. I writhed and lifted to meet him, welcoming his possession, reveling in my own surrender.

He was right. I did always get it backwards. I loved it when I surrendered to him. To myself. To us.

I sought his eyes, that wild sea. His stare was glassy when I reached out for him. I grabbed at the waistband of his jeans, fumbling, silently pleading. He answered by standing and removing the last barrier between us, and his desire sprang forth with full intent. I opened myself again and took him in my arms, my legs, my sex. He succumbed with a sigh, and massaged me with his body then, his fingers taking respite in my hair. My hands were finally free to take their turn now, clutching and stroking and caressing every inch of his flesh that they could reach as he thrust himself into me. He gave, I took, and there was no difference between the two. We merged, consumed, erupted… together, united, one.

I ended my day with Edward exactly as it began, and everything in between faded away. my dears who leave comments here...Blogger or my privacy settings or some such shiz is keeping me from replying to my own blog comments unless I sign in anonymously! So just know that I love and appreciate your comments, so thanks and big hugs to you!


  1. Beautifully written lemons and witty romantic dialog. This was a real treat. Thanks, bb!

  2. Don't worry about not replying to my reviews, I don't mind! I just want to leave you a comment so you know I'm reading and very grateful for this wonderful fic! :)

    It's seriously a joy to see Bella and Edward develop their relationship and become to know each other so intimately. I may have said this before, but your writing is so well-balanced! I've read few fics that are as well written as yours, really. And I'm loving the lemons! ;) Thank you, dear! *hugs*