Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cosmopolis Slays Me; The Guitar Revives Me

Today has been verah, verah good to pattinspired!

I woke up to the fan-fucking-tastic COSMOPOLIS teaser trailer--talk about starting my morning with a bang! I am still gobsmacked (Robsmacked!) over its complete and utter awesomeness. This alone got me through a trying morning at work:

I mean holy mackerel (or something way yummier) on a cracker!

I read the book awhile back, so I knew what a potential tour-de-force this would be for Rob. I knew just how depraved and sick and hot it could be. But I was still blown away by the trailer, and even more excited about the tons of positive feedback it's gotten all over the web. Now the rest of the world will get what we Rob fans have known all along: the boy has much more than just good looks and screen charisma; he has TALENT. He has all that stuff that can't be learned or bought. Whatever "it" is, he has it in spades. And I cannot WAIT for the rest of the world to be forced to admit it, too.

                                                    KA-POW! Take that, doubters!

As if that weren't excitement enough for one day, I came home from work to find out that my first-ever one-shot won "Best Romance" out of 96 entries in the Truly Anonymous Twilight Fanfic One-Shot Picture and Prompt Contest. (Say that five times fast! Or just once, for that matter.) I was doing insane-looking Snoopy/Balki Dances of Joy all over my living room. Yeah--I'm that big a dork. No shame.

Big thanks to all the hosts and judges, the readers and voters, who participated. You all ROCK! And special thanks to Famouslyso for this very kick-ass banner!

So, without further ado, my little story. Enjoy!


Edward Cullen’s guitar is almost as long as her legs.

Bella sits atop the mangled covers of her bed, back against the headboard, blue-jean-covered legs stretched out in two long lines before her. The guitar lies next to her, the headstock near her thigh, the body next to her calves. The guitar and her legs are in perfect alignment.

“A perfect fit,” he sighed into her ear as he pushed deeper inside her. The sigh turned into more of a groan, stifling her own noises of pleasure and pain and release as he filled her. It had been too long. But this . . . this was worth waiting for. He reminded her what she’d been waiting for all this time.

A tiny grin pulls at the corners of her mouth at the recollection. Did last night really happen? She reaches out and gingerly strokes the neck of the guitar. It is proof that the events of the evening before were, indeed, real.

Damn. What had she been thinking? Or more to the point, how much had she been drinking? Picking up strangers in bars wasn’t her style. She’d never been that reckless or free. Sure, she always had a weakness for guitar players. But Edward was the first one who’d made her bold enough to do something about it.

She considers why she found him so different from the guys in other local bands. He was more than just a great guitarist on that stage last night. He was an artist, in the truest sense of the word. The way he delivered each song was nothing short of spell-binding. His passion overtook him completely, stiffening his body, roughening his vocal chords as he growled and howled and crooned and whispered the words that distilled the emotions behind them.

He was mesmerizing to her. She was dazzled by his soul, laid bare on that stage.

“Of course you’re drawn to him. He’s hot!”

Leave it to Jess to put it so eloquently, she thinks back with a grimace.

“That’s not it. He’s got a lot more going on than that.”

“Fine, whatever. You should go for it. You look hot tonight. You’ve got your lucky jeans on. How do you get those things on, anyway? With a set of pliers?”

“They’re stretch jeans, idiot.”

She looks at them now, snugly encasing her slender legs. Edward had no problem removing them last night. She’d never felt so free as when his gorgeous hands effortlessly undid the button and zipper, then pulled down, down, down until her legs were bared. They opened for him easily, like they’d been waiting a lifetime for him. They possessed him all night long, tangling with his, wrapping around his torso, cradling his neck when he . . .

She blushes even though there is no one here to pass judgment. Edward’s guitar was the only witness throughout the long, sheet-twisting night.

She speaks to it now.

“Are you jealous?” She smiles and plucks absently at its strings. “He made me sing last night after he was through with you.”

He played her with the same conviction and authority, coaxing the very best from her, of that she is sure. No one had ever made her come alive that way. She felt like a work of art in his skilled hands. A lump of clay made into something more than it had any notion it could be . . . something beautiful.

“So beautiful,” he murmured, letting go of her hand and reaching for her face instead. His thumb stroked her jaw, sending inexplicable currents all the way down to the unlikely destination of her toes. The city lights tinted his face varying shades of red, yellow, blue and violet as the cab drove them toward her studio apartment.

She knew her own face must be some embarrassing shade of scarlet. She wasn’t used to compliments, and certainly not from the likes of him. She wondered again whether or not to believe him. She wanted to. It suited her purposes to believe he was sincere.

His eyes were dead earnest. Wide-set pools stared at her like twin seas, inviting her to dive in. She knew there was no putting one toe in the water. She was teetering on the edge of the board with only one way to go.

She touched her fingers to the masculine hand that cradled her face. She brushed them along the light hairs near Edward’s wrist, then slid them between his fingers. He released her chin and took her hand in his once more, lacing his long fingers through hers and squeezing until the warmth of his palm became her own.

She heard the sound of her address invading the air between them. The cabbie was reciting the street name and number as he pulled up and parked in front of her building. Her eyes met Edward’s again; her toes gripped the edge of the diving board. His grin hovered between bashful and arrogantly expectant.

She took a deep breath and jumped.

“Let’s go in,” she invited him.

Her smile grows as she gazes at the guitar. He played it for her, a private show, after they made love for the first time. She’d plied him with his favorite beer; a happy coincidence - or fate? - that she already had some in the fridge. Her gaze shifts now to the two empty green bottles on her nightstand, their faint sour smell tickling her nose and refreshing her memory.

“Heineken,” she shouted to the bartender over the noisy crowd.

“Make it two.”

She turned to see the owner of the smooth-as-silk baritone behind her, then nearly jumped out of her own skin. There he was, her guitar demigod, in all his sweaty post-gig splendor. A sheen of moisture bathed his face and dewed the bramble of stubble covering his jaw and neck. The patrons swarming the bar jostled him into her and the dampness of his t-shirt pressed against her bare arm.

She should have been grossed out by his sweat. The unwelcome sensation of being coated in second-hand perspiration normally would have sent her shuddering. But as he smiled apologetically down at her, his lips curling into a disarmingly crooked grin, he was instantly absolved. Moreover, he, and his sweat, were welcomed.

He stood a head taller than she did, and when the bartender held their beers aloft, the guitarist easily reached over the packed crowd to retrieve them. He handed her one bottle, then clinked his own briefly against hers.

“Cheers,” he said.

“What are we toasting to?” she asked.

“Anything,” he said with that bewitching half-grin. “Everything.”

“Well, that leaves it wide open,” she replied with the quirk of one brow.

“That’s the idea,” he answered, his smile deepening.

She shook her head and took a swig, then watched him do the same. His lips looked positively delicious wrapped around the mouth of the beer bottle. His grin returned the minute he finished swallowing.

“You want to go sit somewhere?” he asked.

She stared blankly at him for a moment. It was definitely too good to be true that he wanted to spend some time with her. Maybe she wasn’t as sly as she thought and he’d noticed her gaping at him like a beached guppy all night long. Maybe he figured she was an easy target. And tonight, she had to admit, he might be right.

“There’s nowhere to sit,” she lamented. “This place is packed.”

He appeared unfazed. “Follow me.”

She did as he said, and soon found herself winding through the tiny backstage area and out the back door. They emerged onto an enclosed patio that she never even knew existed. Looking around, she saw other members of his band and what appeared to be their crew, occupying most of the tables and chairs.

“Nice,” she said, realizing that this was a little VIP area of sorts. Strings of tree lights decorated the shrub-lined latticework fence and gave off an ambient light, while the moon lent its pale blue rays from above.

He led her to a small bench in one corner and waited until she sat down before he joined her. He reached into the pocket of his well-worn jeans and pulled out a crumpled pack of cigarettes with a lighter shoved under the plastic wrapper.

“Mind if I smoke?” he asked.

Deal-breaker, her mind screamed. Complete and total effing deal-breaker.

“No, go ahead,” she heard herself say.

She peers more closely at the empty Heineken bottles on her nightstand. There is a cigarette butt in the bottom of one. Other butts litter the “I Heart Seattle” collector coaster that doubled as Edward’s ashtray last night. The room stinks of stale smoke, beer, sweat and sex. She leans over and inhales from the pillow he slept on all night. How can it smell so bad and so unbelievably good at the same time? Stupid, smelly, gorgeous guitar player.

She dreads the dissipation of his scent.

“I should shower first,” he mumbled between urgent kisses as he backed her across the room toward her bed.

“I don’t care,” she gasped into his mouth.

“But I was so sweaty from the gig. I must reek.”

“Shut up,” she ordered. Kiss, step backward. Kiss, step backward. “You’re just going to get sweaty again. We’ll shower later.” Kiss, step, kiss, step, stop. The backs of her knees hit the edge of the bed.

“Fuck. I like how you think, Ms. Swan.” He grinned and gave her a push, and down she went.

They did shower, much later. But they were too tired to put clean sheets on the bed, so they shook out the covers, flipped over the pillows and curled together into one clean-skinned, damp-haired entity to go to sleep.

Bella’s memory of their pillow talk is fuzzy, convoluted by the residue of alcohol and hormones. She knows he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be a web designer or a rock star when he grew up. Problem was, he was already grown. She told him she wanted to write novels but wrote bylines instead. They each encouraged the other to go for the big dreams while they kept the small ones simmering on the burner. The small ones paid the bills, for now.

Their conversation was a continuation of the one they’d begun earlier last evening, in their patio corner with its tree lights creating a halo around Edward’s unruly hair. He and Bella had exchanged names, then philosophies. He’d thoughtfully blown his cigarette smoke away from her during their discussions of life and art and self-expression.

She remembers the intense passion emanating from him; she could almost see it, like a palpable aura around him. He’d infused her with it, and she had begun to speak of her own passions. How she wanted to write Great Novels, but was waiting for Great Things to happen in her life so she’d have something to write about.

Edward’s eyes had twinkled like the lights decorating the fence behind him, and he’d given her that delectable lop-sided grin. A knowing look had passed between them.

He would give her Great Things to write about.

“Why me?” she asked during a brief lull in their conversation. It came out almost tentative, a whisper.

He reached out one calloused, nimble guitarist’s hand and touched the side of her face, then fingered a few strands of her dark hair. She was mesmerized by the depth of his blue-green eyes, fathomless under the night sky as he gazed at her for a prolonged moment. He seemed confused by her question.

“You’re the only one I saw tonight,” he said softly, matter-of-factly.

She let out a surprised laugh at his answer. There were dozens of girls in the bar, most of them smitten with his looks and talent. Her brow furrowed in bafflement.

He sighed and frowned, then tried again. “You’re the only one I wanted to bring back here,” he clarified. “The one I wanted to know better.”

She shook her head, still perplexed. “But what made you feel that way?” What is it about me, when you could have had any of those drooling girls out there? she wanted to ask.

His hand continued to work its magic behind her ear, sending tingles to much more private places.

“I could see how the music affected you,” he said, his voice as smooth as a shot of Black Velvet, and giving her the same warm sensation in her belly. “You don’t feel it here,” he asserted, tapping his index finger lightly on her temple. Then he moved the magic fingers lightly over the thin cotton knit of her shirt, bringing them to rest over her heart.

“You feel it here.”

Bella wondered if he could feel her heart betraying her, pounding against the prison of her ribcage, trying to get closer to his magic. She was beginning to feel swallowed in his gaze, and fought to keep her head above the surface. Flailing, she grasped for something familiar to save herself.

“Does that line work on all the other girls?” she said with a sharp, sardonic laugh.

Edward’s eyebrows shot together in what appeared to be wounded surprise, and his hand dropped quickly to his lap. Bella immediately regretted giving in to sarcasm-coated insecurity. But she was more afraid of giving in to him. She needed his honesty too badly not to test it first.

He masked his hurt with a cautious half-smile. “I don’t know. You’re the only one I’ve tried it on. Whether or not it works remains to be seen.”

She looked up at him with repentant eyes. “I think the odds are in your favor. As lines go, that was a pretty good one.”

The crooked grin she was already half in love with reappeared. “Well, I thought so,” he said with a wink before taking a swig of beer.

After that little hiccup, their dialogue went back to the easy flow it had enjoyed before, with very few ebbs. It was the kind of conversation that was oblivious to constraints of time and place, taking its participants on a journey they’d never expected. An engrossed Bella and Edward were surprised when the bouncer invaded their new little world and made them return to the old one.

The bar was closing. Edward’s band-mates had already slipped away, unnoticed, to pack up their gear. He reluctantly told her he needed to join them.

“But I’d rather finish our discussion instead,” he said wistfully, hopefully, as he stood and offered her his hand.

She took it and allowed him to help her up. Her hand felt small and protected in his. She was surprised at how much she liked the feeling. She looked up into the lure of his sea-colored eyes and decided to take the bait.

“We could finish it at my place when you’re done,” she suggested, in a hopeful tone of her own.

He looked like he was trying very hard to keep his smile contained to its ubiquitous half-grin instead of letting it break free across his face. But his eyes crinkled up into happy slits as he quietly said, “I’d like that.”

She can feel her own eyes crinkling now just thinking about it. About him, and how adorable he is. And sexy. And smart and talented and easy to talk to, not to mention amazing in bed. He’s so many irresistible things that he makes her head spin and her heart drop. She hates him a little because she is afraid she might be in love with him. No one should be able to fall in love in twenty-four hours. That’s impossible.

She blames the pheromones. They were raging all night long, every time she rolled over and into his arms. He would smile in his sleep and pull her closer until his skin and hair and heat and breath were indistinguishable from her own.

She slept very little last night. She was too preoccupied with watching him, listening to him, feeling him next to her. He was beautiful. He was by far the most beautiful man she’d ever had in her bed, though there had been admittedly few predecessors. Edward possessed that aching sort of beauty that poets attempt in vain to describe.

She tried counting his freckles and moles to fall asleep, but they were far more interesting than sheep, and not nearly as calming. So she tried counting his eyelashes instead, but there were too many. She finally was forced to close her eyes and try to ignore him, which was the ultimate exercise in futility. She hadn’t been able to take her eyes off of him all evening, and the urge had only grown stronger as the night went on.

She didn’t remember falling asleep. But the next thing she knew, she heard a soft humming close to her. A humming, and a strumming. A luxurious thrill rippled through her sleepy form when she realized what it was. She opened one eye, squinting against the sunlight that had forced its way in around her window shade. And there sat her guitar god, in all his morning glory, playing and singing softly to himself.

No, he’s singing to me, she realized.

“Please don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me as I am - I’m only sleeping,” he sang, before giving her a grin at the end of it.

“The Beatles,” she mumbled, grinning back. “Classic.”

“Always,” he agreed. Then he put the guitar aside and turned his attentions to her instead. He played her softly, gently, sensuously this time. Their melody was tender and sweet on this sunny Sunday morning, but the climax of today’s song was every bit as passionate as the one from last night’s turbulent symphony.

If this is how Edward Cullen treats all his conquests the morning after, she fears she will never tire of being played.

The traffic sounds were muffled under the hum of the taxi’s motor. He must have felt her eyes on him, for he turned to catch her stare and return it.

“I meant what I said earlier,” he told her. His voice was low, hypnotic.

“About what?” She knew what, but she needed to hear him say the words.

“Why you. This.” His head nodded slightly to the kaleidoscope of neon lights refracting through the window as they zoomed toward their destination. His fingers found hers on the car seat between them and staked their claim.

“I know,” she whispered, trying to locate her tongue. “I’m sorry about the crack I made. Nerves, I guess.” She paused and searched his face; she found the bravery she needed there. “I’ve never really done this before. With someone I just met,” she added.

One-night stand, her mind echoed. She winced at the thought. She already knew one night with him would never be enough.

His expression was sober. “I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I said I don’t do this very often, either.” His fingers tightened around hers.

“Should I?” she asked skeptically.

“You should, actually.”

“Hmm.” She considered that for a moment. “I’m sure that can’t be due to a lack of offers.”

His smirk waffled between cocky and embarrassed. “Let’s just say I don’t find many of them as tempting as yours.”

It was her turn for the embarrassed grin. Her fingers squeezed back. She wondered how the scenery could pass in a blur when the cab was moving at such a snail’s pace.

Nervousness soon replaced her impatience when they reached her apartment. Her trembling fingers fumbled for her keys as she braced herself for him to see her tiny two-room studio. It was only a step up from her recent college dorm days, but it was all hers, and that was a first. No roommates to cater to or clean up after; no one to interrupt her evening with the glorious man about to grace the place with his presence.

She looks around the room now, trying to see it through his eyes, the way he seemed to view it when he entered. She was embarrassed by its decidedly shabby-chic appearance, but he appeared enthralled as he studied the music posters and art that camouflaged its dingy walls. He commented on their similar taste in music, which they had discussed at the bar, and was now confirmed by her decor. But when she pointed out the works of art that were her own creations, he looked almost . . . awed.

“These are amazing,” he enthused as he studied her watercolor series of the bay. He told her she should pursue that talent along with her writing. He even suggested that she could illustrate her own books; maybe children’s books, since the market seemed to be ever hungry for new work.

She didn’t know what to say. No one had ever encouraged her the way he did, to think big and go for it. He lived that way himself, it seemed. Fearless.

She felt her own fear melt away when he turned to look at her, a new kind of wonder in his eyes now that he had seen what she was capable of. She felt like maybe she was on even footing with him now - that perhaps she had touched him with her art the way he’d touched her with his.

The connection pulled them toward each other, and her heart began to thud erratically in her chest as he drew closer. This was it . . . the moment she’d been waiting for all night.

Maybe all her life.

His fingers reached her face before his lips did, gently caressing, unleashing shivers that washed over her skin in waves. He said nothing. He let his eyes do the talking instead, sweeping over her features, studying her, asking her, telling her.

His lashes fell, and there were no more unsaid words. Only sensation now. Soft against soft, wet against wet. Warmth turning to heat, craving to hunger, want to need.


She yearns for him now, still, even after the way he awakened her this morning. A melancholy settles in her bones as she gingerly strokes the glossy wood of the vintage guitar.

“I envy you,” she whispers to it. “The special place you’ll always have in his heart. The love and affection he gives you. The emotion he pours into you. I know how good it feels now. I could get used to it.”

She runs the tip of her index finger inside the edge of the sound hole, then strums each string, one at a time. She allows each note to reverberate in the air before sounding the next. She remembers the way he handled the instrument last night, from gentle, almost reverent strokes to relentless, rhythmic pounding.

“God, I can’t hold back with you,” he rasped into her ear as he plunged deep inside her.

“Then don’t,” she gasped, clutching him more tightly to her and lifting her hips to meet his.

He answered with only grunts as he picked up the pace, grinding into her with the full force of his body, pulling out almost completely before filling her again. Over and over, deeper and deeper … harder, faster, ruthless, relentless … ramming, slamming, rutting, fucking. There was nothing but Edward now. Over her, around her, inside her. His eyes, his breath, his body, merging with hers, taking control. Making her cry out in helpless ecstasy.

Making her sing.

He let out a haunting melody of his own when he came inside her, a crescendo of desire leaving his lungs in a stunning release. She was bathed in his breath, his sweat and his passion. She drank every bit of it deep into her pores like a thirsty sponge, yet still craved more. She clutched his damp hair in her fingers and his pumping torso between her thighs; then she hung on for dear life as long as she could.

She wraps her fingers gingerly around the neck of the guitar and lifts it up, bringing the instrument to her lap. She puts her left fingers to the frets and her right fingers to the strings, over the sound hole. She gives it a tentative strum; the discordant jangle makes her wince.

“I wish I knew how to play you,” she says with a sigh. “To make you into something better than you are right now. Your master knows how to do that. With those magic fingers of his . . .”

She tries configuring her own fingertips on the frets in a way that will make a harmonic sound come from the guitar. Instead, more dissonance meets her disappointed ears.

“I guess you need him as much as I do, don’t you?” she muses. She tries again, and this time, something akin to music rings through the air. She smiles at her small triumph and plays the makeshift chord again.

“It’s not hopeless, then, is it?” she says to her new stringed friend. “Anything’s possible. Now, maybe you can tell me how to make him need me as much as he needs you.”

Her fingers take a stab at forming another chord, but fail this time.

“Wrong answer,” she grumbles. “That’s okay, I won’t give up,” she adds with determination, and maybe a little false bravado. She knows how much this instrument means to Edward; how much more it is than just a wooden box with strings. It is infinitely more than the sum of its parts.

She wants to be that to him.

They sat facing each other, wrapped in the sheets on her double bed, their half-drunk beers and one smoldering cigarette nearby on her nightstand.

“So why this guitar? You let the guys take your others in the van,” she commented after he’d played a beautiful song for her. She hadn’t recognized the tune; he told her he wrote it. She was even more impressed than before, which she hadn’t thought possible.

“This old girl?” he answered, running his hand affectionately up and down the neck of the guitar. “She goes everywhere with me. I don’t let her out of my sight for long.”

His expression sobered slightly as he continued. “She was my dad’s. He taught me everything he knew on this beat up old J-45. He always said if it was good enough for Bob Dylan, it was good enough for him.” He let out a laugh at the memory. “It’s still my favorite. I love the tone. I always seem to be able to coax whatever emotion I’m looking for out of her.”

He grinned again and played idly with the strings. Bella tried to take a mental snapshot of how gorgeous he looked, moonlight streaming through the window across his contented face. She never wanted to forget this moment. She was seized with the sudden fear that it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

“I’ll bet it was hard for your dad to give it up,” she said of the guitar, as she watched Edward’s fingers fly over the frets.

His smile faded. “It was hard for him to give up a lot of things. And even harder for me to give him up when the cancer took him.”

Bella cringed at her gaffe. “I’m sorry,” she said, in all sincerity. She reached out a tentative hand to touch his face, wondering why she felt timid after the jaw-dropping sex they had just had. Maybe it was because his sharing something about his family felt just as intimate. She had let him into her home, and then her body; he repaid her by giving her a glimpse into his soul.

Edward’s eyes closed for a moment when her fingers stroked the rough stubble of his jaw. He inclined his head toward her hand, ever so slightly, and the earth moved beneath her just as violently as it had when he had thrust deep inside her moments ago. She marveled at how easily he could affect her.

“Your father would have been so proud of you tonight if he had been there,” she told him.

His eyes opened and he managed a wan smile at her.

“He was there,” he said.

Bella’s fingers drifted back to ruffle the hair over his ear. She must have looked a little puzzled, because he suddenly laughed and said, “Does that sound crazy? I just mean that I felt his presence there. I always do, when I’m onstage. I feel his spirit.”

“That’s not crazy,” she assured him. “It’s sort of beautiful, actually.”

“You’re sort of beautiful,” he replied, giving her that crinkle-eyed grin again.

She blushed. “Now you’re talking crazy.”

“You’re the crazy one if you don’t see it,” he insisted. He drifted closer; she leaned in. Their kiss was slow and soft. Respectful. His hand sought her face and cradled it gently; his eyes enveloped hers. She floated euphorically in the reflection of those warm, blue-green seas.

“I see it now,” she whispered.

“That’s good,” he replied, his thumb tracing her lips before he kissed her lightly again. “Now, Beautiful, how about that shower?” he suggested with a smile.

She had no argument this time, and happily joined him in the water.

The squeak of ancient door hinges signals Edward’s return, jarring her from her reverie. She had given him the keys to her apartment so he could go get them coffee and breakfast. She offered to make him something, but he insisted that he wanted to treat her, so she let him. She didn’t hesitate to trust him with the keys to her place. After all, he was leaving his most cherished possession with her in return.

She shoots him a deer-in-the-headlights look at first, not sure how he’ll feel about her touching his hallowed J-45. But a relieved smile soon spreads across her face to match the happy one he wears as he walks into the room. He’s carrying a take-out tray in one arm while he closes the door behind him with the other. He makes a beeline straight for her.

“Did you take good care of my girl while I was gone?” he asks as he sits down on the bed, balancing the tray loaded with coffee and pastries on his thigh.

“Yeah, of course,” she assures him, setting the guitar carefully back down beside her.

Edward picks up one of the lidded paper cups and hands it to her. Her sheepish gaze meets his amused one.

“Bella,” he chides, flashing his crooked grin. “I was talking to the guitar.”

Her eyes widen in surprise, then crinkle with her own irrepressible grin as she apprehends his meaning.

“Music to my ears,” she murmurs, leaning over the tray and pressing her lips to his. He chuckles softly and kisses her back.

Sorry, old girl, she thinks as she gives the guitar a sidelong glance.

There’s a new girl in town.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The little voices still talk to me sometimes. I wrote them down this time - a fun little Valentine.

Edward = non-italic; Bella = italic

The Diary of Bella and Edward
February 14

6:45 a.m.
I can’t believe you’re making breakfast for me. Granted, it is Valentine’s Day, and I did wake you early again with my amorous urges. I couldn’t help it - must be the day. Or maybe it’s just you.

Did you know your ass shakes in a really sexy way when you whisk eggs?

Yeah, it’s just you. But Valentine’s Day gives me a perfect excuse for fucking you awake today. Again.

God, you look so stinking cute with your hair going in twenty directions. I love doing that to you, of which you’re well aware. But you have to admit, that position is the best. So deep . . . so good. And you’re so surprisingly bendy that I can’t help but push you to your limits. I know you’ll push back if I go too far.

I live for it, in fact.

Wow - am I seeing heart-shaped pancakes on that griddle? You’re amazing. Damn, I’m feeling inspired now.

A Valentine Poem for my Beloved Bella:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
You have frightful bed-head,
But I still love you.

Your pancakes are rockin’,
Your eggs are divine.
But as for the sausage,
I'll just give you mine.

Sheer poetry, that. I’d write more but you’ve just informed me that breakfast is served.
It smells fantastic. If I forget to tell you later, it was delicious.


Oh, that’s it, Cullen. You did this to my hair, so you’d better damned will like it, especially after I made you a nice, hot breakfast. And it was delicious, if I do say so myself; so thanks for the compliment.

Regardless, you’d better prepare yourself. My retaliation may not be swift, but that’s only because I haven’t had enough coffee yet. Rest assured that my phone and I will be sending a poetic rebuttal after I get to work.

P.S. I’m only bendy in the morning because I’m not awake enough to stop you from turning me into a pretzel. But yeah . . . that thing you do, the way you do it . . . that’s always good.

Better than good. There are no words for it, really. I seem to remember you being speechless as well.

I look forward to your hair-raising rebuttal. I’ll be sure to set my text alert on vibrate. *grin*


8:45 a.m.

Okay, early riser (emphasis on that last word.) I’m armed with a pot of coffee and a light work load. Let the poetic sexting begin.

I have a boyfriend named Ed
Who won’t let me get out of bed.
My hair is a fright
‘Cause he fucks me all night
With zero regard for my head.

8:56 a.m.
You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Dirty limericks, eh? My favorite kind. By all means, do keep them up. *snicker*

I shall endeavor to add another stanza to my poem from this morning. How’s this:

With lips so pink
And skin so fair,
Your face nearly trumps
Your hot derriere.

Sorry, baby. But your ass is slammin’. I’d rhyme on that but Prince already beat me to it.

9:21 a.m.
Prince actually said “Your body’s slammin.’” Not just “ass.” Although, considering his next line about ramming, he was probably thinking it.

My boyfriend is almost as crude
As an animal in the zoo.
He thinks his big trunk
Is the best piece of junk
To ever come near my wazoo.

Yes, he’s impossibly lewd
And sometimes he’s downright rude,
But he does me so right--
Makes me come every night--
That with him, sex is better than food.

Well, hello there, Edward, Junior. I can feel you winking up at me from all the way across town. You’ve got a long day ahead of you. LONG.

9:53 a.m.
Trying to wake the beast at 10 a.m., eh? Nice. Well, two can play that game.

My Bella, you’re sweet
Like nectar and honey.
You give such good head,
I should pay you money.

But that’s not why
I love you so.
You’re so much more
Than an amazing blow.

Your heart is pure,
Your love is strong;
You satisfy more
Than just my schlong.

You challenge me
And make me think,
And only occasionally
Drive me to drink.

I crave you
Morning, noon and night.
Your vanilla skin
Screams “Take a bite.”

You smell so delicious,
Nothing can compare
To the tasty treat
‘Neath your underwear.

Beware, my pretty,
When the workday is done,
I’ll bury my face
‘Twixt your legs ’til you come.

“Wazoo?” Is that the shy little orifice hiding behind your hoo-ha? I’m quite fond of that one, as I am all your orifices.

Damn. This is not helping my situation with Junior whatsoever.

10:15 a.m.
“Beast,” eh? Junior does think highly of himself. And he definitely just proved the point of my last set of limericks.

When it comes to you, Edward Cullen,
It’s hard for me to stay sullen.
You’re sexy and silly
And have such a big willy,
That head over heels I’ve fallen.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet
That you’ve made my panties all wet.
You’d better come find me,
Bend me over and grind me
While I’m as horny as I’ll ever get.


10:52 a.m.
Fuck. Me.

I really must know--
What time do you eat?
I’m dying to give you
A Valentine treat.

I think we both know
What we’re hungry for.
If love be our food,
I’ll always need more.

10:56 a.m.
You say the most beautiful things
To make up for all your teasing.
I forget to be mad,
I just want you bad,
So meet me at noon for a fling.

10:59 a.m.
There’s no privacy there,
So I’ll make the way clear
For you to leave Java Noise
And “come” over here.

11:10 a.m.
If I’d known you wanted a nooner,
I would have texted you sooner.
I just hope my boss
Doesn’t get too cross--
Oh wait, it’s just Rose, so screw her!

11:50 a.m.
Hip-hip, hooray!
I’m on my way
To mount that willy
And hump it silly.
See you in ten
To make you come again.
And again . . .
And . . . yeah.

12:05 p.m.
Fuck. Me.

(I meant that the first time I texted it and I still do.)

I hear the front door--
I’m ready for more.
To hell with this phone,
Now I’ve got you alone . . .

12:59 p.m.
Now that was poetry. Poetry in motion. Wish I had time for a cigarette. Wish you didn’t have to leave so soon. But I love the view while you walk away, as long as I know you’ll be back.

1:20 p.m.
I’ll always be back for more of that motion. I’m all out of rhymes. Or words of any kind, really. I need a ciggie too, and that’s saying something.

1:53 p.m.
Speechless is good. I’ll join you.

It’s a good thing I made dinner reservations at the Club tonight. I have the feeling we’ll be starving by then.

1:55 p.m.
You sure that’s where you want to go? We don’t have to go back to that place.

1:57 p.m.
No, I’m sure. I never let Donnelly keep me out before, so I’m not about to start now. I have some great memories there. Tonight, we’ll make a new one.

1:59 p.m.
Sounds like a plan. See you tonight. Love you. So much.

2:00 p.m.
Back atcha, Beautiful.

The Diary of Bella and Edward
February 14 (cont’d.)

11:37 p.m.
Can’t sleep. Can’t shut off my brain. Thinking . . . Wondering.

You really thought that jewelry box contained a ring, didn’t you?

You’re right, maybe I did that on purpose. Maybe it was a test. But in my defense, you’ve mentioned at least a couple of times that you wished you had real diamonds for your second ear-piercings. And you know how much I love filling your . . . never mind.

Anyway, the fact that the earrings came in that little velvet box with the rounded corners was merely a coincidence.

Okay, it’s true, I wanted to see your reaction. Your real reaction, when I put you on the spot. So I’d know how nervous you really are at the idea of the “M” word.

We dance around the subject constantly, every time we talk about moving in together. I, for one, can’t wait until your lease runs out in May. We’re together most of the time anyway, so I doubt it’ll be much different than the way we’re already living. I already think of everything I own as yours, too.

I’m all in, Bella. All the way. You, me, forever. You know that. But the best part of today is that now, I know you’re all in, too.

Not that I’ve ever doubted what you tell me. I see it in your eyes. I feel it, deep in my bones. I really don't need words, or rings, or blessings from God or our parents or anyone else. But I'd still like them, eventually.

I figured I’d see relief flood your face at the sight of those earrings, and I was right. But then, for just a split second, I saw a flicker of the very emotion I was hoping against hope that I’d see:


Go ahead and deny it, but I know the truth. I saw it. I felt it ripple through you while you mustered that sweet smile and said, “They’re beautiful.”

You wished the gift had been more. You wanted it to be more.

And it is more, Bella. So much more. I know for sure now that it’s only stage fright holding you back - some residual, irrational fear of commitment gone wrong, like it did for your parents. We’re not them - it won’t be like that for us.

But I don’t need to convince you of that. I saw everything I needed to see tonight. So the next time I give you that ubiquitous velvet box with the rounded corners, you won’t have to wonder what’s inside.

You’ll know.

P.S. I’m not sure I thanked you enough for your Valentine gift to me. Those flavored massage oils were a very inspired choice. The cinnamon one made me feel warm in all the right places. Seemed to work just as well on you, too, and it tasted divine . . . as if you weren’t already sugar and spice and everything nice.

I love you. Happy Valentine’s day, Bella.

February 15

7:00 a.m.
Edward. Did you really need to see that flash of disappointment to prove that I want to spend the rest of my life with you? I thought you knew me better than that.

You do know me better. You said so yourself. There’s nothing I want more. Yet I’ll still be nervous whenever that question-popping moment arrives, but not because I’m unsure.

I’ll be nervous because you still give me butterflies.

And goose-bumps, and wobbly knees, and a heart that skips and races and pounds in my chest and my ears. You are still a constant source of excitement for me, every bit as much as you are a source of comfort. I still feel that tremor of anticipation every time I’m about to see you, or when you look at me with hunger in your eyes even though you’ve already had me a hundred times before. I know that look, and I return it, because I recognize the feeling, the urge. I know I will never get enough of you.

I suppose the butterflies will calm down one day, but they’ll never be stilled completely. With you, the thrill will never be gone. I’ll feel it for every important milestone of our lives - the days you ask me all the important questions, and the days I answer them.

So if I’m shaky or sweaty or queasy or downright nauseous, don’t ever let that stop you. That’s just the butterflies going crazy because of how badly I want it - how badly I want you.

I love you, Edward. And I love your Valentine present to me, for everything that it is and everything that it isn’t . . . yet. I’ll probably never take these diamonds out of my ears, you know. They’ll be good practice for any other forever-jewelry that you might wish to bestow upon me. I promise you won’t be disappointed in my reaction, or my answer.

I’m all in, Edward. All the way.

You. Me.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Massage Therapy, Chapter 27 - Images

(Yikes...I forgot to post this little follow-up to Massage Therapy...shame on me! I'll fix that little problem now. Enjoy, everyone. And thanks to any of you who are reading on the blog. You're the best!)

The Diary of Bella and Edward
December 22

EDWARD. ANTHONY. CULLEN. WHAT are those things hanging on the bedroom wall? And who printed those pictures?! If I find out a single soul saw those photographs besides you, I will mark you. You know I can do it. I’ve been growing out my fingernails so I can finger-pick my guitar better. You’d better have some answers for me before I finger-pick YOU.

I’m going out to get some groceries so I can make those special cookies I told your mom I’d bring to their house for Christmas. I expect full disclosure when I come back.


ISABELLA. MARIE. SWAN. You know exactly what those “things” are. Those are incredibly artful, tasteful, nude photographs of my hauntingly gorgeous girlfriend. I actually planned them as an early Christmas present for you, so that you would finally see how beautiful you are. I think you secretly know, but you’re too modest to admit it. I’m not interested in your false modesty. You are an incredibly sexy woman, and I want you to own it, the way you own me.

My dear, feel free to “mark” me anyway you like. I’m perfectly fine with the fact that my kitten has claws now. Go ahead and use them on me. Your idea of “finger-picking” holds all sorts of intriguing possibilities. I can always blame Lucky if anyone asks questions.

Hmm. Why do I get the feeling that we’re going to have some fun tonight?

Shit, reading that you’re at the grocery store just reminded me that I was supposed to pick up some wine to take to Mom and Dad’s. I told Jazz I’d bring the beer to rehearsal tomorrow night, too. It’s a peace offering for not accepting his offer to officially join The Grade. It’s tempting, but let’s be real. How the hell will I keep up my own grades next semester if I’m working on his?

Besides, I like making music with you better. Take that however you like.

I’m leaving for the liquor store now, and those photos had better still be hanging in the bedroom when I get back. I’m not taking them down. And before you sharpen your claws, no one saw your beautiful body but me. Well, okay, and Kate’s girlfriend, Victoria. She’s a graphic designer so she let me use her computer equipment to make the enlargements, and she helped me tweak the contrast and stuff. (She’s jealous of me, just so you know. She thinks you’re hot. See?) When the photos were printed, I matted and framed them myself.

Think about it, Bella: do you really believe I’d share you with anyone else? Let alone strangers in a photo kiosk?

Love you. See you in a few.


Well, when you put it that way. . . You are a little on the jealous and possessive side. Just a smidge. Which I rather enjoy, by the way. So please don’t change on my account.

But if you expect me to believe that those pictures are a Christmas present for me, then you must think I’d buy swamp land in Florida from you, too. Those are clearly a Christmas present for YOU.

Okay, I’m sitting here in the bedroom now, studying the photographs, trying to view them objectively. The black and white is a nice touch. Sometimes I think those images barely resemble me. But then I see the look in my eyes, and it takes me right back to that night. The way you made me feel. . .so wanted, so desired. Beautiful. I am beautiful, because your love makes me so. And that is the best gift you ever could have given me.

I’ll let the pictures be. For one thing, knowing you, they’ll frequently put you in the mood for all sorts of kinky fuckery, and I’ll be the lucky recipient.

For another, I know where you keep your camera. Maybe I’ll take some pictures of my own, to hang on the opposite wall. Tit for tat, so to speak. I showed you my tits. Now it’s your turn to flex your “tat” for me. *ahem*

There you are now. God, I love the rusty screech of that loft door swinging open -- the sound of you coming home to me. I know, I know -- if I moved in here permanently, I’d get to hear it all the time. Don’t worry. If Ben gives Angela the sparkly little Christmas present that I think he will, then she and I might be giving up our apartment sooner than you hoped.

If -- no, when -- we move in together, then I hope for your sake that Charlie likes you. I still can’t believe he’s actually coming here to visit for Christmas, let alone spending it with us at your parents’ house. He’s obviously accepted that you and I are the real deal, and that’s saying something.

Enough parent talk. You and I are going to have some fun tonight. I’ll try to be careful with my claws, but since they are rather new to me, I can’t make any promises. I suspect you’ll like the feel of me digging in and hanging on for dear life, anyway. I do have a possessive streak of my own.

No more written words tonight. I’m coming to claim you now in person.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Massage Therapy, Chapter 26 - Farewell

This is the end! *sniff* I never imagined what a long, wordy journey I'd ben taking when I started this in July of 2010. It was a labor of love, though, believe me. Thanks to all of you who took it with me. Your support means the world to me.


Saturday, December 11

Dear Tanya,

It feels strange to be writing to you now after all this time. It’s been nearly three months now since I stopped. But Dr. Brennan thinks that I should write you one last time and give you my final farewell. It’s part of my therapy -- symbolic more than anything else at this point, but she thinks it’s important. Maybe it is. She hasn’t steered me wrong so far.

I wish I had known about her when you were still alive. If I had ever gone to Dad for help back then, I might have. But no, I was almost as stubborn as you were. We were both so hell-bent on being independent and doing everything ourselves, the last thing we ever wanted to do was turn to our parents. I can’t help but think that if you had seen the right kind of psychotherapist -- someone as patient and kind and clear-headed as Norma -- you might still be around.

I spent years and reams of paper turning those kind of “what-ifs” over and over in my mind. If only you had done this; if only I hadn’t done that. I addressed all those vain conjectures to you as if you could somehow change what happened, or at least explain it. I knew all along that the dead tell no tales. In truth, many of those “letters” had nothing to do with you, and I’m sure you know that. That was especially true after I met Bella. My journal was just an attempt to make sense of my life after you turned it upside down.

I know now that there are events fate throws at you that you can never make sense of. All you can do is pray for the strength to deal with them, and hope that you have good people around you to help you get through them.

I wish you had felt like you had that in your life. You did, you know. Even though I didn’t love you the way you wanted me too, I did want to help you. I would have been there for you if I had only known how. I can’t tell you how sorry I am for the last words I said to you. You know that if I could take them back, I would. Wherever you are, I hope you can see that I didn’t mean them. I was angry and frustrated and I said things to purposely hurt you. We both did that night, and so many nights before that.

Looking back, I realize how young and immature I was. I was as ill-equipped to handle your mental and emotional issues as you were. I wish I had turned to my father for help, but I was too proud. And when you did turn to your father, he was too proud to admit you had a problem. I wish he could have seen the truth before it was too late. I feel for him, I really do. He’s living in a personal hell of his own making. He blames me because he can’t shoulder his share of the responsibility in what happened to you. And the truth is, we were all culpable. We all made mistakes. Now we have to live with the consequences.

I guess the difference now is that I’ve decided to stop making myself pay for those mistakes. I don’t know if I can fully forgive myself for my part in your death, but I can’t continue to take the sole responsibility for it. I used to think that if I did, the punishment would be enough to finally assuage my guilt. I never wanted to listen to Alice when she reminded me that you had free will, and I couldn’t have stopped you from exercising it. And I never wanted to hear it when my father told me I was throwing my life away along with yours after I quit school. But they were both right. Wishing you had been in a better frame of mind won’t bring you back, and putting my own life on hold won’t, either.

Bella hit the nail on the head when she said that the mental illness took your life. When she uttered those words, I realized that I was finally ready to put the blame squarely where it belonged -- on a disease. Not on me, or your father; not even on you. We were all victims. I’ll never stop wishing we could have gotten you the right kind of help before things got so bad. But wishing won’t make it so, and beating myself up over it won’t accomplish anything except to waste another life. I don’t know how much I have to offer the world, but I’d like to think I can make a difference somewhere, to someone.

You made a difference to me. I want you to know that. I still remember the good times, you know . . . when you were vibrant and full of life and fun and mischief. I wouldn’t change any of what we shared. I’m grateful for all of it, even the bad stuff. I don’t regret you, or us. You mattered to me, and I hope you knew that when you were alive. I hope you know it now.

And even though I couldn’t save your life, I made a difference in Bella’s, of that much I’m sure. When she came to Emmett and me for help, her issues were more severe than I ever imagined. I didn’t know if we would be able to “fix” her, but I wanted more than anything to rise to that challenge. I knew my life had purpose when I worked on her. Of course, I didn’t find out until later why I was so drawn to her, and why she affected me so deeply. But I was filled with the conviction that I was put here on this earth to save her after I failed so miserably with you. What I didn’t know then was that she was meant to save me, too.

I wish I could have done that for you. Or that you had stuck around long enough to find the person who would be to you what Bella is to me, and I to her. All I can do now is to live my life more consciously, and be the kind of man in the present that I wish I could have been in the past. It’s the only way I know how to honor you now that it’s too late to ever truly make amends.

I’m still not sure what I believe of heaven and hell, or whatever lies between. I know that Bella believes her mother is in heaven, keeping watch over her. If there is some kind of afterlife or alternate world we go to after we die, then I hope you can see how I’ve tried to change as of late. I think that would make you happier than me punishing myself over and over for my shortcomings with you. You already know how sorry I am, and how impotent and angry and frustrated I felt for so long. The time finally arrived for me to let it all go. Not to forget -- I’ll never forget. But to forgive -- myself, you, our doomed situation.

I stopped writing to you when I realized I was ready to move on. I have moved on. I hope you don’t begrudge me that. I lived in my self-imposed prison for so long that I hardly know what to do with my freedom now. I’ve tried to put it to good use. I’ve registered for the spring semester at U-Dub, still majoring in pre-med. I’ll be working part-time as a massage therapist, then taking afternoon and evening classes. I know it’s going to be hard work, but I’m ready for it. I’m ready for my next challenge.

I won’t be alone at UW next year. Alice decided that being closer to Jasper was as important to her as her career, so she’s transferring next semester and completing grad school here in Seattle. She had considered doing that anyway because of their pediatrics program, so her decision didn’t come as much of a surprise to me. I know how she feels about Jazz, so this is a win-win for her. For Jasper, too. He’s a man of few words, but I could see how much he missed my sister while she was away. Can’t say I blame him. I would never be able to withstand any lengthy separation from Bella.

She and I are pretty inseparable these days. She still has her own career, of course, and it’s thriving. The Wolf Pack just finished recording and are playing bigger venues around Seattle; their CD is due out in the new year. And Vegan Vamps are in the middle of a nationwide tour, promoting their first CD. Bella and Rosalie have managed to iron things out, for the most part. We all have to co-exist peacefully since Emmett is so gone on Rose. To be fair, she’s pretty enamored of my brother, too. Sometimes opposites attract. One thing I’ve learned is that love is unpredictable, and it usually hits you when and where you least expect it.

I certainly wasn’t looking for Bella when she walked into my massage room that day six months ago. I fought her with every fiber of my being at first. I wasn’t ready to change; wasn’t willing to let go of the past and welcome someone new into my life. Someone who actually mattered -- someone I’d want to invest in again.

But now I can’t imagine my life without her. I miss her when she’s not around, and I know she misses me, too. She tells me so all the time, in our diary. Weird, I know -- the two of us keeping a shared journal like that. But it’s been a surprisingly good thing. We write mostly when the other isn’t around, but then we’re free to read each other’s entries later. Sometimes it’s easier to put things in writing than to say them to each other’s faces.

You’d think that would be a great way to start fights, wouldn’t you? That we’d carelessly put something down in print in the heat of the moment and then regret it later. But it’s actually had the opposite effect. We feel better when we get things off our chest, and later we often laugh about our grievances after we’ve had time to cool off. We don’t fight much, anyway. And when we do, it’s always about little things. Bella’s constantly rearranging my kitchen and then I never know where anything is, on the rare occasions I actually want to fix myself some food. And she always acts annoyed when I want to have sex in the morning, because she says I make her late to work. Granted, she does have a little further to drive to the office than I do. But I don’t really believe her protests because she’s as turned on by wake-up sex as I am, despite her claims that she’s not a morning person.

I guess I shouldn’t be telling you these things, should I? I’ve strayed far from the point of this letter. Or maybe I haven’t, really. Because one of the things I wanted you to know is that I’m happy now. Bella and I make each other happy in a way that you and I never did, and never could have.

I’m not saying this to hurt you. I’m just stating that what you wanted from me was something I never could have given you, regardless of your bipolar disorder. I truly wish you could have seen that there was so much left for you here in this world -- a whole life beyond me, beyond us. I’d give anything for you to have lived long enough to discover that like I have. I wish you hadn’t sold yourself short. But I’ve learned that selling myself short in penance is no solution; no way to live.

And that’s what I want to do now. Live. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and be happy for me. Even when I was furious with you, I wished you only the best. I still do. I pray that you’ve found the peace that always eluded you when you were alive. If Bella’s right, and there is a heaven, then maybe you’ve found it and you’re in a much better place now. I hope that’s true.

Maybe you can meet up with Bella’s mom and watch over us tonight. Bella’s going to perform for the first time ever, at an open mic night at Billy’s. She’s not doing it alone, though -- we’re going to do a duet together, the song that I wrote for her. Alice just got back home yesterday, so the whole gang is going to be there to support us. I’m really excited about it, because I know Bella will do great.

She’s mildly terrified, of course, even though I reassure her at least once an hour that she’s going to be fine. We’ve rehearsed so much that I think we could perform this thing in our sleep. But I know all too well about pre-performance jitters, so I’m trying to be the strong, calm one this time for her sake. I like it when she relies on me. Responsibility doesn’t freak me out like it used to. Guess I really am growing up.

Maybe it’s too much to ask you to witness my life finally moving forward without you. I suppose it is. But I like to think that if you had gotten the help you needed, you and I could have been friends eventually. Or at least not enemies. I never wished you ill, and deep down I know you never did me, either. So now that the moment has arrived for us to part ways for good, and I’d like to make it an amicable split. I hope your spirit is as willing as mine is.

My mom’s friend Tom is taking me out on the Sound tomorrow for a short trip on his boat. You and I both know what tomorrow is -- the blackest anniversary I’ll ever know. It’ll be three years to the day since I found you in that bathtub. But I hope to lessen its stain by taking this letter with me, reading it to you, and then casting it out over the water. Norma suggested that I do something symbolic -- a “cleansing ritual,” I think she called it -- to end our chapter once and for all so that I’m fully free to commit to the next.

I’m ready now. I’ve been ready for awhile. Bella told me she never said good-bye to her mom; just farewell until it was time for them to meet again. And so I’ll simply say “farewell” to you, Tanya, because I truly do wish you well. Wherever you are, I hope you can find it in your heart to do the same for me.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Massage Therapy, Chapter 25 - Reunion

The Diary of Bella and Edward
Monday, September 20

Aw, that’s sweet that you put my name before yours, Edward.

Ladies first, always. You know I’m a gentleman.

But only when necessary, thank God.

I thought you liked gentlemen.

I do. But I happen to be very fond of your un-gentlemanly behavior, when you choose to unleash it. It does decadent things to my girly bits.

Mm . . . so I’ve noticed. Stop distracting me -- I have very important events to record here. I’ll do things to your girly bits later.

Is that a promise? Okay, okay. So exactly how does this shared journal thing work, anyway? Do we take turns writing entries? Or do we divide each page down the middle so we can make comments on what the other has written?

That sounds equitable. Let’s divide it down the middle. Or how about I take the left-hand pages and you take the right?

Okay, sure. But what happened to “ladies first?”

I’m calling dibs this time because I want to write about your surprise for me today. That’s the kind of thing I need to describe in detail for posterity. Although I’m certain I’ll never forget how I felt when I walked into that room and saw you there.

It was a good surprise, wasn’t it?

The best. But before we get ahead of ourselves, I need to backtrack a bit. Are you hungry? You’re welcome to anything in my kitchen while I write. This could take awhile.

Is that your way of asking me to make us some dinner? You know, this would go a lot faster if we kept a cyber diary instead. Typing is a lot quicker than writing long-hand. Join me in the twenty-first century, Edward.

I like the physicality of writing the old-fashioned way -- the feel of the notebook on my lap, the paper under my hands, the pen between my fingers. You should be happy that I’m such a tactile person. It has served you well, if I’m not mistaken.

Indeed it has. And I must admit, you look very poetic and dashing scribbling away next to me while I look over your shoulder. But I’ll leave you here on the couch for now and go make dinner with whatever you have in the kitchen that passes for food.

Hey, I went shopping when I knew you were coming home. You might be surprised.

You always surprise me. In a really good way. So, you write about today, and I’ll read it later and add my own comments. This could be fun.

It will be fun. That was a nice kiss you just gave me, by the way. I almost didn’t let you off of the couch, except that I really am kind of hungry, for food this time. I wonder if you can feel my eyes on your ass while you walk away? Probably, since they’re pretty much fixed there whenever you have your back to me.

God, I missed you here in the loft. I never minded the emptiness before you filled it. It’s so cold when you’re not here . . . vacant. Kind of like my soul was before you resurrected it. When you read the rest of the letters in here, you’ll know. I don’t care anymore that you’ll see how needy I am. I know you need me, too. If I’d realized how much freedom there was in surrender, I would have given in to you completely long ago.

I have to hand it to you -- I really didn’t see your surprise coming today. I believed your texts, and I believed Emmett’s ruse. Even Jessica was amazingly convincing as she lied right to my face. Should I be a little worried at how duplicitous all of you are capable of being? Of course, look at how I kept things from you for so long. Turnabout is fair play. And considering how much that turnabout was to my benefit, I’m pretty undeserving, no matter how much you’d probably like to argue that point.

In any case, I readily believed Emmett when he begged me to squeeze in a session with a new patient of his, even though he knew how anxious I was to leave work as soon as possible to meet you at your place. Jessica even went so far as to reschedule my last appointment of the day so that I could take off early. You should have seen the repentant look on her face when I sullenly asked her about my unexpected new client.

“Sorry, Edward. Emmett says this new girl has some major issues going on -- muscles tight as a drum, pulling her spine all out of whack. Maybe you can just give her a quick relaxation massage today and then reschedule her some other time.” Her last phrase sounded like a question, her sheepish grin looking more like a grimace.

“Yeah, Emmett already gave me that hangdog expression. It’s fine. I’ve already waited a week -- what’s another hour?” I said with a resigned shrug.

“Well, just think how much sweeter your reunion will be the longer you have to wait for it. Right?” I should have questioned the giddy tone of her voice right then.

“Sure,” I answered with a quick, forced smile. “So, do you have her patient file?”

“Emmett put it inside the door,” Jessica replied smoothly.

“Okay.” I began to walk down the hall toward the massage room when I caught her smug grin out of the corner of my eye.

“You look pleased with yourself,” I noted, stopping briefly at the side of the counter. “Did you have a nice weekend? Did you see Jake, perhaps?” I added hopefully.

“I did, actually,” she said, her face brightening. “He took me to this cool Mexican restaurant before he had a gig with the Pack. They’re sounding fantastic, by the way. He says the recording is going great. And on the plus side, he didn’t mention Bella once the entire evening.” -- That’s probably the same place he took me. He really needs to up his game and get more creative.

My grin matched her own. “I’d say that’s a very big plus.” Of course, you’ve been gone all week, but like Jessica, I choose to believe that maybe he’s finally accepting reality and moving on from his fixation with you. If not, I’ll help move him along forcibly, if necessary. -- I love it when you start in with the macho posturing and threats. That does things to my girly bits, too.

It always takes me a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the ambient lighting in my massage room. I pushed my glasses up my nose, then reached for the patient file folder Jessica had deposited in its usual plastic holder on the wall inside the door. I wish I had a picture of the huge smile that engulfed my face when I opened the file and saw the name on the top of that patient information page. I knew what I would find when I looked over at the massage table, but I still felt a surge of emotion barrel through me at the sight.

There you were, lying face down on the mattress, your pale skin gleaming like amber-tinted alabaster in the glow of my desk lamp. I felt exactly the same as the day I first saw you there . . . strangely, inexplicably moved; and inexorably drawn to you.

Except now, there’s nothing inexplicable about it. And I welcome your inexorable pull instead of fearing it. I relish the sway you have over me now. I live for it. I happily gave into its insistence as I slowly walked toward you and gazed down at your beautiful back.

I’m sure you heard my voice crack with emotion when I spoke. “What seems to be the trouble, Miss Swan?”

You spoke through the towel-wrapped donut hole, just as before. “Well, I’ve been having some issues that go way back to a car accident I was in six years ago. I thought that maybe you could help me. I hear you’re the best.”

I smiled and came to stand at the head of the table, looking down at those cascades of chestnut hair just like I did that day. When I touched your neck, it felt almost like the first time. Your skin prickled in goose bumps again and desire stirred deep within me. It was the same desire that’s always been there, yet so much richer now, infused with love and respect and understanding.

“I don’t know if I’m the best,” I said dubiously. “But I promise to do my best for you. If I can make you feel whole again, that will be the best thing I’ll ever accomplish.”

My hands were on autopilot as I spoke, examining every inch of your ivory skin in search of any deficiency. I found few. And the ones I did find acquiesced to my touch in a way that made my satisfaction -- for both you and me -- soar. You are living proof of my worth.

“My entire life, I’ve never felt as whole as I have with you.” Your words were mumbled through the donut hole, but they still sounded like angels singing to me. “Maybe if I’m lucky, I can return the favor someday.”

I couldn’t take any more after that. I’m sure you could hear how choked up I was. “You already have. You know that. In a way I thought would never be possible for me.”

I pulled the flannel sheet over you and gently lifted you into a sitting position. You easily helped me along, which you never would have been able to do that first day without wincing from your lower back injury. And then you fixed those chocolate eyes on me for the first time in a week, and I felt the melancholy of those days disappear in an instant.

“Edward, that letter . . .” You were shaking your head; I tried to still the motion by placing my hands on either side of your face. “I don’t even know where to begin. How to tell you what those words meant to me. How I wish I hadn’t left you here to go through all that alone.”

“But I had to do it alone,” I interrupted you. “You knew that. You knew that taking a step back would make me take a step forward. I needed the push. Or the pull. Whatever it is between us that forces me to be a better man.”

Your hands were on my face then, too; warm and cradling and possessing. “You were already a good man without me. I wish you’d acknowledge that.”

“But I like who I am with you so much better. You freed me from that cage, in so many ways . . .” I trailed off, remembering how you brought me out of myself without even trying. Without me even realizing it. “Here I am, the therapist, being healed by his patient.” My smile felt both wry and grateful.

“We healed each other.” I drank in your smile, swam in the film of tears that gathered in your eyes. “I came to you for massage therapy and got so much more.”

“A hell of lot more than you ever bargained for, I’m sure,” I replied with a laugh, determined to make this a happy reunion for us.

Your laugh was short but genuine. “More than I ever hoped for.”

“I know the feeling. I’d still be stuck in a hell of my own making if it weren’t for you. Thank you for not giving up on me. For not letting me give up on myself.”

“You know you don’t need to thank me for that.” Your fingers were in my hair then; my scalp tingled and begged for more. “I’d do anything for you.”

I saw the truth in your eyes; felt it in your touch. “And you know I’d do the same for you.”

A smile broke through your tears then. “You’re going back to school!” I smiled and nodded a little sheepishly at your exclamation. “The fact that you’re doing something for yourself means more to me than anything else you could do for me.”

“Yeah, well, it feels like a way to finally complete that chapter of my life and be done with it. I mean, I have no idea if I’ll end up even using that degree. You never know, I just might chuck the whole health care profession and join Jasper’s band instead.”

I saw your eyes light up a little at the idea, but your reply was diplomatic. “You know I’ll support whatever decision you make.”

I nodded and felt my grin spread. “There’s a certain appeal in joining The Grade, you know. Just making music all day and night. There’d be a lot of satisfaction in that -- reaching people in a different way. You always said music could save people. That it saved you.”

“You know how much I believe that,” you enthused. “And I could get you signed to Java and oversee your recording and marketing and distribution….”

I cut you off before you got carried away. “And then we could crash and burn like Rosalie and her first boyfriend when they tried to work together like that. Remember what I’ve always said about business and pleasure?”

Your expression was scoffing as your hands moved down my neck, thumbs over my collarbone, fingers under the collar of my lab coat. I watched my own hands stray over you the same way.

“Your insistence on not mixing business and pleasure is what caused us so much trouble in the first place,” you reminded me. “If you had just allowed the two to co-exist peacefully, we never would have had all those misunderstandings.”

“Maybe,” I admitted. The sheet had begun to slip down, exposing your breasts, and the dusky pink protrusion of your nipples distracted me. “But back then I was unconsciously looking for excuses to fuck things up between us. If one method didn’t do the trick, I would have found another.”

“Or maybe you would have just given in to me.” I watched as your fingers unbuttoned my shirt, one by one; felt the warm air and your even warmer touch ignite my skin with desire.

“I wanted to.” My voice was growing huskier, my hands bolder. Your sigh was soft and maddening when I traced the tips of my fingers over your hardening nipples.

“Just think what could have happened the day that we both got ourselves off, a room away from each other, instead of giving in to what we both wanted.”

It was my turn to sigh as I trailed my fingers down your taut stomach, taking the sheet down with them. I stopped only when you reached up to push the lab coat off of me. I let my arms go limp until you had succeeded in making my jacket and shirt drop to the floor with a muffled thud.

“God, the thought of you lying here, touching yourself . . .” I stared down at you and imagined your fingers working yourself into a frenzy while you fantasized about me. I caught your eyes with mine and voiced my desire out loud.

“Show me. Right now. Show me what you did.”

Even in the dim light, I could see the blood rush to your cheeks in my favorite cocktail of self-consciousness and lust. You bit your lip in that way that drives me crazy, then you lay back on the table and kicked the sheet down with your feet, your eyes locked with mine the entire time. But I soon felt my eyes stray down your body, and your hand followed, fingers smoothing over your belly, heading south. I think I stopped breathing for a minute as you pushed your fingers under the lace edge of your panties -- tiny floral print today -- and down, down, down until they forced a pleasurable sigh from your mouth.

“I’m sure I started like this,” you said, moving your hand up and down rhythmically beneath the cotton panel, legs spreading and hips tilting upward. I glanced at the sultry gaze in your eyes before my attention was arrested by the movement of your body, undulating into the pressure of your fingers. “I’m sure I was imagining you doing this to me, touching me this way. And then, when I was good and wet, my fingers slid inside . . . deeper, and then deeper still . . . while I pretended they were your fingers. . . and then your cock.”

Your voice was almost as hypnotic as the motion of your hand pushing the fabric of your panties down while you pleasured yourself. My dick was throbbing, but my eyes were frustrated. My hands obeyed their demands and I reached for the edge of your underwear, pulling the offending cotton down over your hips. I loved when you lifted your body so that I could pull the panties down and remove them altogether. I loved even more that you would let me watch you do this to yourself -- shove the fingers of your right hand deep into your vagina while your left hand joined in and massaged your clit in perfect time.

The self-conscious girl I once knew never would have done this so freely; never would have trusted me enough to truly let go of her inhibitions. I thought I had banished her for good until I saw her lurking in your eyes last weekend when you found my journal. But watching you now, unashamed and free, I knew that I would not see her again. And that is one loss I will not lament.

I couldn’t decide which I wanted more -- to continue watching you do the all the work, or to jump in and do it myself. I compromised by unzipping my own pants and pushing them down, releasing my hard-on into my own waiting hands.

I’m not sure why it felt so intimate to do this together -- watch each other revel in our own auto-erotica without even touching each other. Yet our eyes were transfixed on each other’s sex while our frantic hands brought moans to our hungry mouths. We hadn’t even kissed yet, and at last I realized that my mouth was watering for yours, begging for the feel of your tongue tangling with mine.

I think I murmured something like “So fucking sexy” before I gave up and leaned over the head of the massage table, grabbing your face in my hands and covering your lips with mine. God, the taste of you after so long . . . Indescribable. I couldn’t stop devouring your mouth with hungry kisses, and your desperation matched mine, which only made my crazier. My hands were all over you, one in your hair, the other caressing every part of your body I could reach, like a blind man finally granted permission to “see” his lover for the first time.

Your hands were just as hot and greedy on my skin, searing me and making me groan into your mouth. By the time you grasped my dick and began stroking it up and down, I was a panting mess, barely able to even kiss you. I felt like a teenager again, floored by the first touch of a girl’s hand. I could feel you grinning into my mouth; relishing your power over me, using it to your advantage and mine as you pumped my shaft hard and fast. You showed my dick no mercy, knowing that it wanted none.

You know me so well -- what I need, what I want; but most of all, what I don’t even realize that I need and want. I always prided myself on having figured that out about you. I never stopped to consider that you’d figured out the same about me.

As our kiss disintegrated, you scooted around slightly so that your head was hanging slightly over the edge of the mattress. You looked up at me and I could see that your expression was provocative, even upside down. Your hand never stilled on my dick, gently yanking and pulling me in the direction of your mouth.

“Give me your cock. I want to taste you.”

I vaguely hoped that Emmett and Jessica had vacated the building, because the groan I emitted was definitely loud enough to be heard in the next two rooms. My lust barely outweighed my awe as you tilted your head back and took me in your mouth. You were unable to really move your head in this position, so I withdrew, let you take a breath, and gently pushed into your mouth again, down your open and waiting throat. I felt it constrict around the tip of my cock, and I pulled out before you choked; but then the irresistible urge to gently push into that hot, wet entrance overtook me again.

“Fuck,” I groaned, unable to produce any other coherent speech as I filled your mouth and watched your throat expand in the shape of my cock before I withdrew again. I’m still a little stunned that you took me in that way, over and over . . . Let me bury myself so deep that your lips sucked the base of my cock before I pulled back again.

If it bothered you, you never let it show. Your hands gripped my hips and thighs; your tongue tickled my shaft with every thrust. If you choked, I pulled out. But I can’t deny that the sensation of fucking your beautiful mouth was one of the most intense highs I’ve ever experienced. Not just the feel of it, but the trust you had in me not to hurt you. I was overwhelmed at the fact that you wanted to give me pleasure so much that you were willing to do something that might have been completely uncomfortable for you. --Just so you know, it wasn’t that bad. I felt kind of fierce, like a sword swallower in the circus. Getting you off gets me off. Surely you’ve figured that out along with all your other insights, right?

Once I got into the careful rhythm of it, I couldn’t keep my hands off of your body before me, naked and wanting. My fingers soon picked up where yours had left off, stroking and rubbing and then sliding inside you. I can’t believe how much I missed that sweet pussy after only a week. I felt like the luckiest bastard in the world that you would let me invade you so completely, fingers plunging deep in one end while my dick plundered the other. But you seemed to welcome the invasion, your moans vibrating my cock until I thought I would lose it and ejaculate right down your throat.

But I didn’t want it to end like that, so premature, in such a coarse way. Today deserved better than that.

I withdrew from you completely and eased your head back up on the flannel-covered mattress, turning you slightly so that I could drown in that Hershey’s syrup looking up at me.

“God, you’re incredible,” I said before I leaned down and kissed you, not giving a damn about where your mouth had just been.

“So are you,” you replied, shaking your head a little. “Do you have any sexual hang-ups at all?”

I thought for a moment. “I’m not really into pain, yours or mine. I guess that’s my only boundary.”

I loved that little Mona Lisa smile you gave me. “Works for me.”

My lips found your throat and I nuzzled there a moment, but my imagination was restless.

“Do you remember that text message you sent me when you were drunk?” I whispered in her ear.

Your giggles stirred the hair at my temple and sent a hot shiver down my spine. “Vaguely.”

“Allow me to refresh your memory, then. I believe you said you wanted me to fuck you from behind . . .” I stopped to plant several kisses along your neck. “. . . deep and hard, like you like it.”

Your feigned shock was adorable. “That must have been the whiskey talking.”

“I don’t think so,” I argued, letting my lips trail down your chest. “I think you were telling me exactly what you like. You said you wanted my cock aalll the way in.” My thumb toyed with your left nipple while my tongue tickled your right, and I relished how it made you squirm and squeal a little. “I love it when we’re on the same page.”

I stood abruptly so that you’d scowl up at me until you saw that I was merely removing my clothes entirely, including shoes and socks. I climbed up on the mattress and lowered myself onto you, groaning at the feel of your body beneath mine, warm and soft and responsive. My mouth captured yours and I didn’t want to let it go; my fingers entwined in your hair and held on for dear life. The feel of your skin, your lips, pressed to mine is the closest I’ll ever get to heaven on earth, of that I’m sure.

I couldn’t wait to enter you. Your legs were instantly open to me, your limbs already wrapping around me and holding me there. Our moans mingled into one when I slid my cock into that sweet heat, and I knew I wouldn’t stop until we both came undone.

“What about the fucking from behind?” you murmured in my ear. You didn’t seem eager to turn over any time soon, your hands gripping my shoulders and my back, your hips bucking forcefully upward with every thrust of my cock.

“Later,” I managed to grunt hoarsely. “We have all night.”

Your groan was guttural as I ground my hips into yours. “Thank God we do,” you replied in between moans as our rhythm intensified.

I’m going to admit something to you right now, Bella. No matter how many gymnastic positions we attempt, or silly toys we play with to keep things interesting, I will never love anything as much as I love looking you right in the eyes, every inch of our bodies fused into one, when we come. Nothing will ever surpass that connection I feel with you when we’re face to face, body to body, soul to soul; when you tighten all around me and possess me, and I surrender and explode inside you.

There is nothing I will ever need or want more than that. And I think I sensed it from the very beginning with us. It just took me awhile to stop playing by the rules -- not just the ones imposed upon me, but the ones I made for myself. So today, when I finally ignored them and followed my heart instead, I felt another barrier fall away. Coming inside you on that massage table was one of the most oddly freeing things I’ve ever done. It was like acknowledging, once and for all, what is most important to me. Or whom, I should say.

It will always be you. You are my life now.

And speak of the angel, you’re walking toward me right now. Something smells delicious in this loft, and I’m about to go see what it is. You can read this and add your own comments, or fill in the things I left out.

I love you, Bella. I’ll say it every day, and I’ll write it every day, so you never forget it.

Wow. There’s not much to add. (Although I couldn’t resist a little peanut-gallery comment here and there, which you’ll see when you look back at your entry.)

As always, your words astonish me, Edward. I don’t know why I’m surprised, though. From the very beginning, I saw that depth in your eyes; that anguish and desperation; and that hope for something more. Something better. I wanted to really know you, like no one ever has before. I wanted to be the one to set you free. And now that I’ve actually helped you accomplish that, I know my own worth, too.

I’m watching you in the kitchen, sniffing under pot lids and peeking into the oven, and I’m absurdly, insanely attracted to you right now. It’s like your mere existence makes me so high that I’d be happy to simply observe you from afar for the rest of my life. But trust me, I’m much happier when you let me share in your existence.

You are my life now, too.

And I’ll tell you I love you, in words written and spoken, every day. That can be our troth to one another.

Until we make an official one, that is. And make no mistake, regardless of what I’ve said in the past about marriage, I will require some sort of formal commitment if you hope to ever have the slightest chance of keeping me barefoot and pregnant.

With that, I’m off to check on dinner. You look happy enough with it, and that’s enough for me. Here, you take the journal while I go stir. Love you.

I knew it! I knew you wanted to have my babies. *picture my smug, self-satisfied mug here*

That can wait awhile, though. We have a lot of living to do before then. That’s why I bought such a big diary for us. I know we’ll fill these pages in the blink of an eye.

This is just the beginning for us, Bella. And I intend to savor every minute of it.