Edward Cullen’s Little Black Notebook
Sunday, August 29
I love the sound a tennis ball makes when it hits the sweet spot of the racket. That vibration of felt against nylon, followed by a faint whoosh of air as the racket strings propel the ball back toward its target across the net.
My target was, as always, the green asphalt rectangle approximately ten feet to the left or right of Katrina, depending which side of the court she was protecting. I aimed the ball just far enough to make her run for the volley, then leave her stranded there when I lobbed it back to the opposite side.
I had her running yesterday. I could hear her huffing and puffing, and took great pleasure in each frustrated grunt as she whacked the ball back to me, unable to be as precise in her aim because I had her scrambling to and fro. I was in control. It was my favorite place to be.
She waved a weary arm in defeat after I won the first set. “Break time!” she hollered across the court. Her lip curled sourly at my smug expression as I sprinted down the white tape boundary until we were near the wire fence exit.
“You know, I always used to wish for you to be a happier boy,” she said between panting breaths. “I could always tell when you were feeling down, because you didn’t give a damn whether you won or lost. But these days, you’re annoyingly unstoppable. I should have been careful what I wished for.”
I could only grin in acknowledgement. “I feel kind of unstoppable lately.”
She shook her head amazement and grinned back. “I wonder if Bella has any idea the effect she’s had on you. How much she brought you back to life.”
“I like to think I hid my dysfunction pretty well, but she knew better. She knew all along.” I flashed back to that first night at Billy’s again; her eyes boring into mine after I had inadvertently revealed my deepest pain to her. And then I thought grimly of the fact that she had been able to replay my suffering on her iPod whenever she wanted.
“Maybe that’s why she didn’t give up on you,” Katrina suggested. “Maybe she sensed how much you needed her.”
“We needed each other,” I corrected her. We ordered lemonades from the clubhouse and sat at an umbrella-covered outdoor table in the drowsy late-summer heat. I found myself pouring out the last forty-eight hours’ chain of events: Rosalie’s paranoid accusations, the near-accident it almost caused Bella, and the latter’s guilt-ridden admission of how her mother died. Katrina’s mouth dropped open wider in shock with each revelation.
“Holy shit,” she finally exclaimed when I was finished. “No wonder you two were so drawn to each other. Two souls in need of the same kind of comfort. So she was probably more understanding than you ever dreamed she’d be about Tanya, right?”
My eyes fell sheepishly to my lemonade glass. I stabbed at the ice cubes with my straw in lieu of making a reply.
“Edward,” Katrina admonished, her disappointment almost outweighed by her disapproval. “Haven’t you told her anything?”
I finally met her gaze with a guilty one of my own.
“I don’t believe it,” she huffed. “You have a perfect opportunity to get some of that past guilt off your chest and find some peace. Why aren’t you taking it?”
I shook my head in disagreement. “It’s not the same. Bella lost her mother. I can’t begin to know what that’s like. And she was truly innocent of any wrongdoing--the whole thing was purely an accident. Whereas what I did was….” I trailed off, unable to take another step down that particular path on memory lane. If I couldn’t talk to Kate about it again, how would I ever be able to tell the whole awful tale to the girl I loved?
“What you did was try to save Tanya the best way you knew how,” Kate insisted. “You were not responsible for her actions.”
“I was selfish. I wanted out, so I left. I didn’t give a damn about the aftermath. And guess what? Fate and Karma took care of the rest.”
“Don’t do this,” she warned, giving me that look I knew well. We’d had this discussion before, long ago. “You could not have predicted or controlled what happened. People have free will, and Tanya was no exception. You have got to stop taking the blame for her mistakes. I thought you had. If you don’t put this to rest once and for all… let go of that misplaced guilt instead of carrying it around like a hundred-pound yoke on your back, it’s going to grind you right back into the ground again. For God’s sake, let Bella help you with it.”
I looked into Kate’s pleading blue eyes and couldn’t help but think that she was woefully naïve. “Bella just now let go of her own guilt, and it took her six years to do it. I am not going to dump all my past bullshit on her and ask her to deal with that instead. I won’t add one more bit of burden to her life. Not now. I won’t be that selfish with her.”
Katrina’s sigh was both exasperated and resigned. She knew by my tone of voice that I would not be swayed. “Fine. But you need to think about something. Bella let you in on her darkest secrets and her own self-blame, because she trusted you not to judge her or turn your back on her. Don’t you think she would welcome the opportunity to do that for you? After she bared her soul to you, imagine how she’ll feel if you don’t trust her enough to do the same.”
“Of course I trust her,” I insisted. “I am going to tell her, when the time is right.”
Kate gave me a skeptical look. “The time is never going to be right, Edward. There will always be a convenient excuse not to get into it. But you’d better make sure you do it before she doubts your trust in her. If you wait too long, she’ll start to ask all kinds of questions why.”
Dread began to gnaw at my gut, and I knew it was because Katrina was right. I knew I was trying to spare myself as much as I was Bella. The truth was, I was afraid. Afraid to re-live the past when I’d spent three years trying to bury it. Afraid of Bella’s reaction, no matter how sympathetic. Afraid that she’d never look at me the same way she did now.
“I’ll tell her after her birthday,” I said at last. I was surprised to hear the words myself. I wasn’t sure where that deadline came from, but I knew it was only a couple of weeks away. “She’ll be twenty-three on September thirteenth. I’ll tell her the next day.”
Kate reached across the table for my hand. I let her give it a reassuring squeeze.
“Even though I’ve only known Bella a short time, I know you won’t be sorry you confided in her. She’s crazy about you. You should see her face when she talks about you… all starry-eyed. It’s so stinking cute,” she grinned.
I managed a smile of my own at the thought. No wonder I was in no hurry to change that look in Bella’s eyes.
“You did a nice job on her, by the way,” I commented, subtly changing the subject. “I checked her out myself last week and again last night. Unofficially, of course.”
“Of course. Well, you did all the groundwork. She’s reached the maintenance stage now, I would say. That’s why I didn’t schedule an appointment with her today. But after that little accident she had Thursday, I’m glad to hear she’s doing okay.” Kate took a sip of lemonade and frowned. “What the hell is Rosalie’s problem, anyway? I still don’t get why she went behind Bella’s back and cornered you that way. What did Emmett have to say about that?”
“I’m not sure how much he knows. I didn’t get a chance to ask him about it yesterday, and I’m trying to figure out how to broach the subject. I kind of want to find out from him how much Rosalie is confiding in him. I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her, and if she’s keeping stuff from my brother, I think he should know about it.”
“Really. So you think they should have full disclosure in their relationship, huh? That’s an interesting double standard you’ve got, there, Edward,” Kate said dryly, taking a long draught of her drink.
“Don’t start with me again unless you want another ass-whooping on that court. I am prepared to beat you down. No mercy.”
“You’ve already shown me no mercy. I lost our first set five-to-one. How much worse can it get?”
“Well, I can always beat you six-all in the next,” I grinned.
“Hell, no. I’m not goin’ out like that.” She shoved her empty glass away, grabbed her racket and motioned to the court. I eagerly followed.
Katrina put up a valiant fight. I quickly found my groove again and she was no match for it. She managed to pull out a narrow win in the third game, but I bested her five out of six once more. I simply refused to let anything stand in my way now. Not Kate’s brutal backhand, not Rosalie’s paranoid accusations, not even the truth about you, Tanya. I’d deal with them all when the time came.
My phone was jangling with guitar riffs when I got out of the men’s shower. I rapidly dug through my gym bag to find it, assuming it was Bella, only to be surprised to see Mom’s number on my caller ID.
“Hey, Mom,” I answered, toweling my hair dry with my free hand.
“How’s my darling boy today?”
“Feeling victorious, actually. I just annihilated Katrina ten games to two.”
“That’s not very chivalrous,” she clucked.
“Chivalrous? Clearly you’ve never seen her play. She usually hands me my ass and gloats about it the rest of the day. This was divine retribution.”
“Edward,” she said reprovingly of my language. Then her voice softened. “It’s nice to hear you in such good spirits, though. Your father tells me the two of you had a good talk earlier this week.”
“Yeah, we did,” I admitted.
“Well, I’m glad. It was long overdue. I’m proud of you for trying to get past some of those old resentments.”
I sighed, not wanting to get into this discussion. My reply was short. “It was time.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” she said. She must have gotten the hint from my tone because she switched topics. “Your dad also said he mentioned to you that I’d like to have a little Labor Day get-together with the family before Alice goes back to school. I’d love it if you could bring Bella out to the house a week from Monday.”
Uneasiness prickled down my back. “Who else did you invite?”
“Well, I invited your uncle, but the Platts are all going to a reunion on Liz’s side of the family. So it will just be you and Bella, Alice and Jasper, and Emmett and Rosalie.”
That last inclusion justified my uneasiness. I wasn’t anxious to see Rosalie anytime soon, or ever, for that matter. But if my brother insisted on dating her, we’d better try to figure out how to get along.
“Sure, I’ll check with Bella. She has to work at an outdoor music festival next Saturday, but I don’t think she has any other commitments after that.”
“Oh, good. This is the first time all three of my children have had significant others at the same time. I want to take advantage of the fact that all of you seem to be in happy relationships right now. This will be the perfect way to get to know them all better.”
“You mean interrogate them under the guise of harmless party chatter?” I teased.
“I’ll leave that to your father,” she laughed, though that wasn’t too far from the truth. I wasn’t worried. I was fairly certain Bella would be the first girl I’d ever brought home of whom both my parents would fully approve. Rosalie was a different story. I wondered what they’d think of her if they knew how devious she really was.
I promised Mom I’d do my best to bring Bella to the party and she sounded grateful. As I hung up the phone, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been out to the house. The fact that it was across the Sound always seemed to be a convenient excuse not to visit. It still reminded me of the months I’d spent there after I quit school, living in a haze of self-condemnation while my parents gave me pitying looks and hesitantly asked every week if I’d been to counseling like I had agreed. I felt like telling them my psychiatrist was an idiot, and that so far, reliving every shitty and horrific thing that had happened did not seem to be expunging it from my psyche or my soul.
But instead I would avoid their sad, disappointed eyes and bury myself in my room like I did when I was a teenager. Writing songs. Practicing other people’s songs. Writing letters that I could never send, making apologies that would never be heard. Wallowing.
No wonder I hated going home.
I called Bella from the car when I was halfway to her house. The sound of her voice was sweet relief. I asked her what she was doing.
“I just got out of the shower, actually,” she informed me. “Who knew yoga and house-cleaning could work up such a sweat?”
“I’m glad you went to yoga with Alice like I suggested. She’s always on me about monopolizing your time. I just got out of the shower, too, but hearing you talk about yoga makes working up another sweat sound much more appealing.”
She ignored my innuendo. “I’m glad I went with Alice, too, believe it or not. I’m going to miss her when she goes back to school,” she sighed. “I still hate the actual yoga class itself. But on the upside, I feel pretty limber right now. Pretty loose.”
“Shall we put that to the test? I can think of a few positions we haven’t tried yet.”
“You and your one-track mind,” she replied in exasperation. “One morning without sex and it’s the first thing you bring up.”
“You’re the one who brought it up, if you catch my drift.”
“It’s hard to miss,” she replied dryly. “So how did your tennis match with Kate go? Did you win?”
“Oh, I did so much more than win. I mopped the court with her. I smoked her ass ten games to two. The taste of victory is so, so sweet,” I said with satisfaction. “Almost as sweet as your kisses. But not quite.”
“Oh brother,” she groaned. “So now you’re trying to butter me up? Subtle.”
“I am not trying to butter you up. Unless you like that sort of thing. I could switch to massage oil tonight and grease you up like a Slip-n-Slide. That could be fun. But a little hard on your bed sheets.”
“Edward, please stop talking about sex. It’s the middle of the afternoon.”
“And this is a problem why, exactly?”
Her answering sigh sounded annoyed.
“Well? I’m waiting.”
“I’m thinking!” she replied with a frustrated laugh.
“Exactly. There is no good reason not to have sex in the middle of the afternoon. I can see what I’m doing better.”
“Oh my God.” I could see her shaking her head in my mind’s eye, cheeks reddening, wet hair brushing back and forth across her shoulder blades. I imagined winding it around my fingers… grasping and tugging at it while I fucked her from behind.
“Do you know what I’m thinking about right now?” The words came out low and throaty.
“I can guess,” she answered. Her voice was lower, quieter, too. I wondered exactly what kinds of images were flashing through her mind.
“Do you remember that first night at your place? When you opened the refrigerator door to get me a drink… the way the light spilled out around you… the way those little boy shorts of yours were riding up your ass… I couldn’t even think after that. I wanted you so badly, I thought I would lose my mind.”
Her laugh was small, somewhat disbelieving. “If I’d known you were that easy, I would have worn boy shorts to all my massage appointments.”
“No, I like those lace-edged panties. They always made me wonder about you… let me know that you were all woman underneath those concert t-shirts.”
She let out an embarrassed-sounding laugh. “You were no better that night, you know. Standing there in nothing but your underwear when I turned around… geezus. I couldn’t stop staring. I was so ready for you just take me on the countertop or bend me over the kitchen table. I wanted you just as much as you wanted me.”
The sound of her voice was making me crazy. Whisper-light, tense with want.
“I think we deserve a do-over after what happened to me that night,” I told her. “I’m almost at your place. Why don’t you put on that outfit and wait for me in the kitchen.”
She was quiet a moment. “Okay,” she said at last.
My dick was already throbbing by the time I bounded up the stairs to Bella’s duplex. I couldn’t believe she had thought about me taking her from behind over the table. It was about time I made good on my promise to make her fantasies come true. The fact that I’d be fulfilling a few of my own in the process was icing on the cake.
She had left the front door unlocked. I bolted it behind me after entering, then tossed my gym bag on the floor and kicked off my shoes by the front door. I peeled off my t-shirt and shorts and tossed them next to my backpack on the couch. I crept toward the kitchen doorway, my heart beginning to pound, wondering what I would see.
My sweet, naughty girl did not disappoint. I arrived in the kitchen just in time to see her unfurl a clean cotton tablecloth over the round wooden table. She bent over to straighten and smooth it over the tabletop; the equivalent of shaking her tail feathers in my face, taunting me. Her underwear cut across her cheeks in the most maddening way possible. She wore the same pair as before, decorated with thin multi-colored stripes, and the same matching solid blue camisole on top.
I closed the space between us and my arms were wrapped around her before she could even stand upright all the way. She gasped as if she hadn’t known I was there, but her hands were quick to grip my arms, holding me to her.
“Please, sir, I don’t have any money, if that‘s what you’re after,” she trilled in a sing-song voice. “You’re welcome to anything in the house. Just don’t hurt me,” was her mock plea.
I chortled softly in her ear at her little game. “I have no intention of hurting you. But I’m glad I have your permission to take whatever I want,” I whispered, my lips brushing her earlobe. Goosebumps traveled down her neck and arms in response, and unadulterated lust surged through my veins at the proof of what I did to her. “I want you, and I intend to take you. You’re what I came here for.”
She whimpered softly as my lips traveled down her neck and I pulled her closer to me. I slid my hands underneath her shirt and slowly worked them upward, stroking every rib, then rubbing each breast until her nipples were hard against my fingers. She moaned, reached back and threaded her fingers through my hair as my mouth followed the crook of her neck to her shoulder. When I pulled up on the hem of her shirt, she let go so that I could remove it and toss it to a nearby kitchen chair.
She was soon captive in my arms again, my lips seeking hers and staking their claim. My tongue was quick to push its way into her mouth, but she was just as quick to grant me access. Her kisses were as hungry as mine and her hand clutched the side of my face, holding me in place as she leaned back against me, pressing her delectable ass against my straining boxer briefs. I was certain I would not be able to keep my hands off it for much longer.
“Do you welcome all intruders into your home this way?” I murmured between kisses.
“Only the really handsome, sexy ones,” she replied with a grin, her play-façade beginning to crack.
“I don’t know whether to be flattered that you find me sexy…” kiss… “or appalled at your carelessness.” Kiss, kiss. “After all, I could be a lunatic for all you know. Some freak with God knows what kind of fetishes.” My kisses traced the blush of her cheek before I concluded in her ear, “Maybe I should teach you a lesson about judging books by their covers.” I let go of her and slid my hands down between us, grasping one buttock in each hand and giving them a squeeze.
“And how will you do that?” she whispered, her breath catching as I kneaded her flesh between my fingers.
She gasped loudly at the speed of my response. I yanked the cute little boy shorts down to her knees with my left hand and gave her ass a resounding slap across both cheeks with my right. She shrieked and her hands went down on the table in front of her at the impact, which only pushed her backside toward me. I stroked its pale, firm flesh and watched the pink rise to the surface. I prayed to God that she was as turned on by this as I was, because I knew I wasn’t ready to stop.
“Does that answer your question?” I murmured as I leaned over her, placing both hands next to hers on the table. I loved the feel of her body under mine; the soft heat of her skin over the solid muscle and bone. “Have you learned your lesson? Or do I need to reinforce it further?”
Her only answer was the quickening of her breath and the tensing of her body beneath me. She pushed back against me, ever so subtly; and I knew she was bracing herself for more. She wanted more. I needed more.
And so I began Bella’s slow, methodical spanking. I was careful not to really hurt her; to strike only hard enough to make her skin tingle and smart and ache for more. I smacked one cheek while gently massaging the other, then switched sides, back and forth, with rhythmic precision. I monitored the cries she emitted with each slap, making sure they were only of pleasure, not pain. That threshold was a fine line, and I was determined to not to cross it.
But as I struck and then smoothed each of her pink buttocks in turn, my cock ached at the glimpse I caught of the openings that lay between. I longed to possess her in every way possible; to invade every orifice of her body and make it mine. I could feel desperation beginning to creep into me as I gazed down at her prone form spread over the table before me, so sexy and vulnerable at once that I didn’t know which I wanted more: to fuck her mercilessly, front and back, exactly as I pleased; or to protect her from the lust that was on the brink of surging out of my control.
My own breathing was labored by the time I stopped the spanking. I massaged her flushed cheeks gently under my fingers until I could no longer resist the sight of her glistening sex. I slid one hand between her buttocks until they met that sweet, wet spot. She groaned and her back arched, opening herself up to take my greedy fingers deep inside.
“It’s shameful how wet you are for me,” I reprimanded her gruffly, unwilling to end our little “intruder” game just yet. I worked my two middle fingers in and out of her at the same steady pace I’d used to spank her, and she whimpered in time with their thrusts. “Look how turned on you are when you don’t even know what kind of kinky fuckery I might have planned for you. Did you look in my backpack, Miss Swan? Did you look to see what kinds of toys I brought with me this weekend?”
Her breath had quickened with every word, every invasion of my fingers; then sucked in sharply at my question.
“No, I didn’t,” she answered, her voice faltering. I could tell she wasn’t sure this was a game anymore. Neither was I. It was beginning to feel more like a test.
“Why didn’t you? I was away for hours.”
She swallowed and looked over her shoulder, piercing my fevered gaze with a hard stare. The motion of my hand inside her stopped cold.
“Because I know what it feels like to have someone violate your privacy,” she said quietly. “I wouldn’t do that to you.”
And just like that, my raging lust was put in check; my own urge to violate, quelled. I knew she was reminding me about the way Rosalie had rummaged through her belongings, and what the ramifications had been. I had secretly been hoping that she would rifle through my things, because I needed to find out what she would do when confronted with things like handcuffs, vibrators and anal lubricant. I needed to know what her boundaries were.
I knew I’d been testing them now. Pushing her to see how far was too far. To discover what it would take for her to be disgusted with me and walk away. Sexual boundaries were just the tip of the iceberg; a litmus test for real trust. I needed to know that she would trust me no matter what I said or did; not just now, but in the past. A past I could not seem to outrun. A past that sought me out wherever I tried to hide, breathing down my neck, waiting to thwart all my progress and bleed its ugly stain over the both of us.
I couldn’t let it win. I would do whatever it took to earn Bella’s unconditional trust. The hard part would be surrendering mine to her.
My sigh caught in my throat, sounding almost like a sob. I looked down at the beautiful woman in front of me, exposed and utterly open to me, and the emotions that assailed me were nearly more than I could endure. I placed trembling hands on the small of her back, her most tender spot. The troubled part of her that had brought her to me in the first place. I gently traced the valley there, the swell at the top of her buttocks, and then the slope of her back up to her shoulders. I knelt over her and kissed her between the shoulder blades, then placed soft, reverent kisses up each vertebrae to the nape of her neck. She sighed, her head still turned toward me, her cheek resting on her forearm. My hand twisted in her damp hair, just like in my earlier fantasy. I marveled at the thick rope it made in my fist. But unlike in my fantasy, I didn’t grab or pull. I was in awe of its luxurious feel between my fingers. I was so Goddamned grateful for the girl it was attached to that I nearly wept.
I swallowed back my emotion and kissed her gently on the cheek before whispering my pledge.
“This isn’t a game to me. It never was. I want you to understand that you can trust me, no matter what. I am going to do everything in my power to earn it.”
Her chocolate eyes glimmered in the overcast midday light that illuminated her through the kitchen window. In their depths, I saw every ounce of trust I could ever hope to have, already given freely regardless of whether or not I deserved it.
“You can’t earn what’s already yours,” she said, an echo of a text she’d once sent me. Her eyes gave me permission; her words confirmed it. “Do what you want with me. I’ll take my turn later.”
I knew in that moment that she meant what she said. She had done far more than pass my test--she had rendered it null and void. I groaned and tightened my grip in her hair, kissing her beautiful face again, pressing the length of my body against hers. My cock was already where it wanted to be; it picked right up where my fingers had left off. I relished her moan as I filled her, and thrilled to the feel of her pushing back against me to take me in as deeply as possible. I raised myself on my hands for leverage as I pumped in and out of her, reveling in the exquisite sensation of being swallowed inside her, over and over. Once again I discovered that magical fusion of love and lust, making love to her with every sensual skill I possessed, fucking her with a single-minded fury of purpose. The table shook beneath us from the pounding I gave her. Her groans were as animalistic as mine, and when she came, her body quaked all around me with an intensity I knew I would live and die for, come again and again for.
I covered her back with kisses again, then smoothed my hands over her damp ivory skin before raising myself up. I gazed down at the vision of my cock still buried to the hilt inside her. I was sure she could never understand how beautiful the sight of us joined together was to me, nor the discontent I felt when I had to withdraw from her sweet warmth. Neither could she possibly comprehend my irresistible urge to fill her right back up again, as soon as I was physically able. I wasn’t even sure I understood it myself. Did I need to possess her that much, that completely? Or did I simply want to lose myself inside her once more, in that blinding euphoria that momentarily eclipsed every dark shadow that plagued me?
I didn’t know the answer. The only thing I knew for sure was that my own test was just beginning.