Saturday, October 15, 2011

Massage Therapy, Chapter 18 - Countdown, Day 7

Edward Cullen’s Little Black Notebook
Sunday, September 5

Sundays are becoming my favorite days with Bella. Neither of us was raised going to church regularly, yet we seem to treat this day of the week more reverently than the others.

We sleep in, we make breakfast. We talk, we laugh, we eat, we play. We make music, we make love.

We do nothing out of the ordinary from any other couple lazing on a Sunday afternoon. Yet every moment feels imbued with significance, somehow. It’s the subtle sensation of memories being made.

Today we gave each other massages. We were both aching from the hours we’d slept curled up on the bench seat in the back of Bella’s rust-bucket truck. She hadn’t seen Katrina in two weeks, and I no longer cared about any therapist-client improprieties. I cared about Bella staying healthy and whole.

She was nearly asleep in my bed from relaxation when I sprang my surprise on her.

“So, have you thought about what you’d like to do for your birthday weekend?” I asked as I smoothed the tightness out of her shoulder blades.

“My birthday’s on a Monday,” she mumbled into the pillow beneath her.

“I know. That’s why I thought we could start celebrating early. If you don’t have any other plans, of course.”

She snorted softly. “What plans would I have that didn’t include you?”

“Well, for all I know, you and Angela have some annual ritual that you can’t miss in honor of each other’s big day,“ I guessed. “Or maybe your dad wants to come see you or something.”

“Charlie hates the city. He’ll beg me to come visit Forks before he ever comes here willingly.”

“So it sounds like you might be free next Saturday, then.”

She laughed again. “Of course, I am. What do you have in mind?”

“Have you ever been sailing?” I asked her, moving my hands down to the middle of her back. She sighed appreciatively as I slowly pulled the tension from her tissues.

“No,” she said, her mumbles sounding more excited. “Do you know how to sail?”

“No,” I said with a chuckle. “But I know a guy at the tennis club who’ll take us out on his boat if the weather is decent.”

“Really?” She raised herself up on her elbows and craned her neck around to look at me with shining eyes. “I’ve only been out on crappy little motor boats with Charlie, back when he used to try to teach me to fish. But taking a sailboat out on the Sound . . . that’d be awesome. Oh, he’ll be so jealous.”

“Okay, I’ll make the arrangements, then,” I said, pleased that she liked the idea. I didn’t really have a plan B. Ever since I’d met Bella, I’d imagined taking her to the club for the day. For a nominal fee, an old family friend of Mom’s often took people out for day trips on his sailboat. I’d already checked to see if he was available next weekend, and he sounded happy to take us out. He even offered to do it at no charge, though I insisted on paying.

“Afterward, I thought we could eat at the club. I’ve been wanting to treat you to dinner someplace really nice. Payback for all the cooking you do for me,” I told her. “Just don’t tell Katrina or she’ll have my hide. She’s always giving me crap because I never let her stay for dinner after our tennis matches.”

“Why don‘t you?” Bella mumbled into the pillow again.

“I don’t know.” I had reached her lower back then, and was amazed at how much calmer, more stable her body was than it had been when she first came to me. I knelt my head down to place a gentle kiss on her tailbone. She made a sound of contentment, not unlike that of Lucky’s purring from the other side of the bed where he slept.

“I guess I never asked Kate to dinner there because it’s the kind of place you take someone special,” I said at last. “At least, the restaurant I want to take you to is.”

She looked back over her shoulder at me again, her face worried this time. “I don’t have anything to wear to a place like that. Unless I pull out my ball gown,” she added with a chortle.

“You don’t need anything fancy. It’s a sports club,” I reminded her.

“The most prestigious one in the city. The one with a ten-year waiting list. The kind of place where people can smell cheap, off-the-rack clothes coming before you ever enter the room,” she groaned.

I chuckled at her groundless worries. “Yeah, there are snobs there, for sure. But the majority of ‘em don’t care what you’re wearing. And the richest of the bunch are usually the most poorly dressed. When you have that much money, it ceases to have meaning. They’re not out to impress anyone.”

“Huh,” she said, sounding unconvinced.

“The views are amazing. I think you’ll love it. And I might be able to arrange for us to eat outdoors, someplace secluded, if you’re that worried about what people are going to think of you.”

“I’m not,” she said, relenting a little. “I don’t care where we eat as long as you’re across the table from me.”

“Me neither,” I said softly as I massaged her tailbone. “You know, you’ve made amazing progress here. Do you notice the difference?”

She nodded, her ponytail bobbing up and down her back. “I feel almost normal again. I never even thought it was possible.”

“Neither did I,” I murmured under my breath. But I was talking about myself.

“My turn,” she announced suddenly when my hands stilled on her back. “I’ve been wanting to give you a massage for ages.”

“You have? What the hell’s been stopping you?” I demanded with a grin.

I admired her lithe body as she stretched like a cat and then raised herself up. My eyes raked over curves, clad only in her ubiquitous cotton panties with the lacy trim. I felt the stirrings of lust deep in my groin, and wondered when, or if, those urges would ever fade. I hoped they never would. “Forever” didn’t sound so daunting when I considered spending it with her.

“I have no idea what I’m doing, you know,” she said with a measure of trepidation as I took her place and settled face-down on the mattress.

“I don’t care,” I assured her. “No matter how you touch me, your hands on my body will be the best thing that happens to me all day. Well, except for that swirly thing you did with your tongue in the shower earlier.”

I could almost feel her grin as I watched her hand reach for the massage crème on the bedside table. I heard her rub her hands together, then felt their cool, creamy touch on my shoulders moments later. The deep sigh my lungs expelled was one of total contentment. I knew that her lack of skills or proper technique wouldn’t mean a damned thing to me. It would still be the best massage I’d ever had.

I could feel her mimicking my methods, and I smiled into the pillow. She moved her hands slowly along each muscle group of my back, working the hard spots, smoothing the muscles that were pulled too taut. I relaxed completely under her warm touch, eager for her dainty but firm fingers to probe and explore every inch of my skin. The more her hands stroked and rubbed, the more I felt her sinking into me, becoming a part of me.

I wondered if that’s how she felt when I worked on her. Like the lines between us were blurred, muddied beyond recognition. It was a different kind of oneness than sex. It was a sensuality that calmed and soothed; a joining together that healed.

I surrendered to the sway of her gentle hands and let the healing begin.

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