He is so beautiful.
I don't know how long I've been sitting here, just watching him breathe. There's something soothing about the gentle rise and fall of his chest under the blankets. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't even know he's breathing at all. There's no sound, and he's lying perfectly still. If I squint my eyes though, I can see dust particles dancing in that single sun-beam that falls on his face through a gap in the window curtains, and the turbulence caused each time he exhales.
He looks so peaceful in his slumber. And so, so beautiful...
I am in an altered state of reality right now, I know that. I can't believe it really happened; it sounds kind of surreal: Bella Swan, 25, divorced, finally lost her virginity. My body is still humming, vibrating from the reverberation of the love-making we shared. Like I can still feel him inside of me, or his hands on my skin, or his mouth... the sweep of his soft lips almost too delicate for a man. Those lips have worshipped my body in ways I didn't know were possible. He made me feel loved. I still feel loved now, what with these frissons of pleasure that keep making my tummy flutter again and again.
The coffee I've poured myself has cooled off long since, yet I still clutch the mug as if to warm my hands on it. I don't dare to budge. I don't know if I could put down the pottery mug without making a noise that would snap me out of my state of bliss. My legs that I've pulled up under my chin are numb, and have been for quite some time. But I don't want this old rocking chair to creak and break the spell.
Everything is so quiet. The kitchen window is open, but apart from the occasional tap-tap-tap of an early jogger, there's not much traffic here at this hour on a Sunday morning. The coffee shop in the basement won't open before eleven a.m. All I can hear is the distant rushing of the trees outside, and even the occasional soft sighs I am unable to hold in seem unnaturally loud in my peaceful bubble. And a soap bubble it is... the dancing dust in the sunlight, the butterflies in my stomach, the feeling that for once everything is like it should be. But I want this moment to last as long as possible. It will pass soon enough, right? So I don't move.
It's been quite a feat to get out of bed and into this chair at all. It took me five attempts to escape Edward who clung to me for dear life in his sleep. He didn't wake up though, just tightened his arms around me every time I stirred. He was so very tired. No matter how hard he fought his drowsiness after... after what we had done, his eyes kept falling shut.
Apparently he'd been up all night before he came knocking at my door this morning... practicing saying my name. How awesome that he is speaking! And he is doing so great, I could easily forget about his disorder at all. He is not the boy I used to call 'Little Green' any more; he's grown into a man I hardly recognize. And yet he's not a stranger, rather someone I've known all my life. So familiar, so at home with him, as though he'd never left. I still can read him, and he gets me by the same token. It's unbelievable.
I know he loved me when he was a kid. And I think I loved him, too. Or maybe I just loved the way his conspicuous attachment for me made me feel chosen and special. Maybe it just flattered my teenage vanity. God... maybe what has happened between us this morning hasn't been anything more than just balm for my wounded vanity again. What have I done? Have I taken advantage of him? I don't know. I might even have done damage to his emotional condition. An uncomfortable chain of thoughts, and a lot to process. But not yet... not now...
Because now Edward is peacefully resting in my bed as if he belonged there. As if he belonged with me. Picture-perfect. I know it's an illusion, but I haven't felt this way in years - being with someone, being loved - and I just want to relish this feeling a little longer. I want to believe that he somehow preserved his love for me during the years of his absence, if only because one of the most striking qualities of his extraordinary mind is that stubborn persistence. I smile to myself at this thought.
It's not like the voice of reason has left me along with the loss of my virginity. I know that once he wakes up there won't be a casual 'Good morning, darling' and 'what's for breakfast?' We're not a couple. There's nothing normal about this situation, and it scares me shitless. I just hope he'll be ok when he wakes up. I feel accountable for him. He is so young, and so damn vulnerable. And he is so beautiful it almost hurts. My Little Green.
The sound of an approaching car outside kicks me out of my musings. It stops right in front of the house with the engine running, and when I hear its door slam shut I almost drop the mug. I internally laugh about myself for being so jumpy. Just a sign that there's life outside the confines of my apartment, and I feel like I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar? The thought is quite amusing. Until I recognize the unmistakable laughter of Esme Cullen, that is.
I am on my feet in a split-second, not giving a second thought neither to the outraged squeaking of the now empty and vehemently swinging rocking chair, nor to the painful protest of my numb legs almost giving way under me as I dart to the kitchen window. I make it just in time to see Esme pick up a picnic basket of sorts and walk up the steps to the front door.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
Oh God, this is bad. I am in trouble. I haven't thought of the Cullens at all. If Esme finds Edward's apartment deserted, what will she think? She'll probably freak out, send out a search party. What if she comes here? Should I wake him? Oh God... she'll hate me! I won't ever be able to explain... this!
Breathe, Bella! And think, dammit!
How much time? A few minutes, at least. She needs to go upstairs, and she will ring the door-bell a few times. Or does she have a key? In each case, I should put some clothes on, right? Damage control!
I hurry back into my bedroom where Edward is still sound asleep. In a snap decision I snatch my jeans and t-shirt, leave the room and close the door behind me. I will deal with Esme alone. Though I don't know what to say to her if she comes here. IFshe comes! Oh God, she will pull the landlord card and kick me out of here. No, she will kill me!
I am close to a panic attack as I hastily dress myself. At least, I won't die naked. With shaking hands, I lamely smooth down my hair. When I hear footsteps descending in the stairway, I tip-toe to the door and spy through the spy hole. Esme has made it back down to my floor; now she's standing there, apparently typing a text message into her cell phone, a concerned look on her face. Maybe she will just leave? Please, let her just leave! I hold my breath...
It seems like an eternity until she finally snaps her phone shut and tucks it away. After a few more seconds of pondering, she straightens her shoulders and, to my utmost relief, eventually walks out of sight. I close my eyes, lean my forehead against the door and exhale heavily. Got away with it!
I feel a little dizzy with the adrenaline wearing off; my heart is still pounding like crazy. But I know I have to move if I don't want to take any more chances... make Edward get up, talk to him... Esme could still come back. What were we thinking? Christ, this is a mess!
I take a few more deep breaths to steady myself and open my eyes. In a twinge of paranoia I cast one last glance through the spy hole, and it's as much as I can do to not squeal when I see Esme's face right in front of me. I stagger backwards on pure instinct before I can remind myself that there's no way she can see me.
Then she rings the bell.
No use procrastinating. Let's get this over with. With my hands shaking, I open the door.
"Esme." I can't find it in me to smile.
"Good morning, Bella. I hate to bother you on a Sunday morning, but I was hoping... you know, Edward and I arranged to have breakfast together, but he is not home, and I was wondering if maybe he... maybe you saw him leave or... did you by any chance talk to him? I am a bit worried; he didn't even leave a note or anything."
She looks at me expectantly while the seconds are ticking by. She's probably started to wonder whether I am suffering a stroke or something when I finally manage to say, "Actually, yes uhm... why don't you come in?"
"Sure, thanks," she says, her face registering bewilderment now. I step aside to give her some space. She maneuvers herself past me and deposits her basket on the floor. With its content covered by a red-checkered cloth, it makes me irritatingly think of Little Red Riding Hood, thus wasting the few precious seconds I have to figure out what to say next. That and the further distraction caused by the delicious smell of warm bread emerging from it. The moment passes, and when Esme asks incredulously whether Edward is here, I just answer yes.
Cue entrance Edward Cullen, clad in his jeans. Clad in nothing but his jeans, hanging low on his hips. Bare feet, bare chest, bed hair of the year. And adopted or not, by the way he and Esme are staring at each other wide-eyed you might say there's a family likeness of sorts.
"Edward, darling, what...?"
"Esme." He gives his mother a polite nod.
"I was looking for you," she responds slowly, giving his scarcely covered appearance a once-over. "Have you been here all night?"
Edward shakes his head no, and I wish the ground would open under my feet and swallow me. "It's not what it looks like," I hear myself say. Oh, that's classy! "He just came this morning, and we... (did what?) we... renewed our friendship, and then he fell asleep a while ago." It's not a lie, right?
But Esme's eyes are still glued to Edward as if she didn't hear me at all. Clearly her son is her only concern right now. She tilts her head, and her flawlessly shaped brows knit together ever so slightly. There's some non-verbal conversation going on, and it makes me even more uncomfortable if that's possible. Just when I think I can't stand the awkward silence anymore, Edward finally decides to contribute to this morning's revelations by filling Esme in on what I so carefully have left out.
"We made love," he declares, and my heart almost stops.
Esme's eyes dart to mine, then back to Edward, and when she opens her mouth to speak I prepare for the worst.
"So..." she says, "have you two had breakfast yet?"