...ok... I think I can breathe again now. Yes, it works. Oxygen... ok, ok... holy shit! Now to remember how to use my limbs. Or not. It's perfect bliss, being held like this. I feel so safe right now; it's ok to be weak for a few minutes, right? Just a few more minutes... just a moment... just...mmh...
"I missed you too, Bella."
I come back to my senses with a start. Damn, I think I drifted off to sleep for a second here. Not good! I need to stay awake... prepare for the walk of shame. I'm definitely not looking forward to it.
Did he just say something? Something about missing me - what does he mean? He missed me today? Or is he talking about the last eight years? Did he... fuck! Was he thinking of me all those years? The thought makes my heart clench. He never got my letters; I still can't wrap my head around it.
We need to talk. Come on, Bella, get a grip! Also, I should put my clothes back on. Jesus, I can't believe we just did this, in his parents' house! Oh, little Green...
But before I can think of something to say, or even move my pinkie, he takes my breath away once more. I swear, the man is giving me heart palpitations. His voice is firm and clear, his breath hot in my hair...
"I love you, Bella."
Oh God, I love you too.
I do. There's no denying it, no matter how crazy this is. It's been what... 48 hours since he came back? This is madness, but I love him. I've never felt this way before, but it's true I'm in love! It's like he said: you just knowwhen it happens. And I do.
And it's not because he just worshipped my body, no post-orgasmic delusion. I just know I love him. This cannot be explained, nor does it need explanation. It's just the fucking truth - the wonderful, scary, crazy, mind-blowing fucking truth.
I love you, little Green.
Maybe the letters did it for me, I don't know. He never got them. And he missed me. There's a box full of love and truth which Esme, damn her, denied us. Why? And why didn't she just destroy them? Why keep them all those years?
"Are you ok, Bella?"
Why yes, I am. More than ok. I love you!
He shifts a little, and I notice I am clinging to him like a drowning woman. My fingers dig into his upper arms so hard that my fingertips are getting numb. I'm probably hurting him. I need to fucking relax and say something. I need to say... it! Out loud.
I loosen my death-grip and open my eyes for the first time since he, well... tongue-fucked me senseless.
In his parents' house!
I'm still cradled in his arms with my face against his chest. I won't feel comfortable looking him the eye when I say the words, I think. Maybe it is because I'm completely naked while he's still wearing his jeans. Or maybe I just need to be held. Or maybe it just doesn't matter. Whatever... this is it; I will tell him.
"Edward, I... I..."
God, why is it so hard? He already said it twice, and I royally messed it up the first time. Is he ready to hear it?
"You're ok, right? I didn't hurt you or anything?" he asks again. Jesus Christ...
"God yes, I am... I feel amazing... what you just did was... I have no words, Edward."
He nuzzles my hair, and I feel him smile against my scalp. He is ready. And I'm ready to say it. It's now or never!
I open my mouth to speak, but again he cuts in, "You know, I think we need more condoms."
"Ah, yes?" What the fuck?
"Yes. It was very unfortunate that I couldn't be inside you," he elaborates. "I wanted it so badly."
I wiggle myself free and finally straighten up to look at him. "Unfortunate?"
He smiles at me sweetly. "Yes. You wanted it too; it was such a pity. I'm still hard for you. If we had a condom now, we could make love like we did at your place. Be really close, right?"
"Uhm..." I stare at him incredulously, while he starts stroking wayward strands of my hair out of my face with his index finger. He doesn't tuck them behind my ear though; they fall back immediately. He seems to enjoy repeating the gentle gesture over and over.
After a few seconds I have enough. Eventually snapping out of my momentary stupor, I reach up to secure those obstinate locks behind my ears myself. His smile doesn't falter for one second. God, he is so beautiful! Of course, he steals my line before I can say anything.
"You're so, so beautiful, Bella. I can't stop looking at you. Well, I guess I could, but I don't want to. I want to look at you all day. Look at you, feel you, smell you, be close to you. I don't mean to sound... I don't know, weird? Scary? Hells, no! I do not scare you, right?"
I slowly shake my head no. Jesus, did he swallow some prattle pills or something? By Little Green standards, this is a severe episode of word vomit. Amazing!
"Ok, good," he chuckles. "I know about those creepy... persons who... you know, those sneakers. No, that's not the right..."
He closes his eyes in concentration. I know that look; he is word-fishing. I wait a few moments before I offer, "Stalkers?"
He eyes fly open. "Yes, that's it!" And again with the smile. I'm melting a little inside.
"Because I really don't want to be stalker-ish or something. I don't want to scare you. But I want to be with you as much as possible, now that I have you back. I want to learn everything about you, Bella. I feel like I missed so much. You were married and he wasn't treating you right. It kind of makes me angry. I don't even want to think about it, but I think about it quite a lot."
His hands come to rest on either side of my neck as he is talking. Still somewhat electrified from the sex, as well as from my epiphany moment, I am hyper-aware of his touch. The heels of his hands on my collarbones, his fingertips on my neck and his thumbs caressing the sensitive dents right under my ears... light as feathers, but the feeling is so intense I want to purr.
"Also, I didn't know you wanted to be a teacher. There's so much I don't know. And I'm sorry that I panicked today. But I'm glad Carlisle brought you here. I'm really, really glad. Glad is such a... it's an inappropriate word, but you know what I mean, right? Yes, you know."
He is unstoppable! I wonder if he still has his Chatterbox shirt. He seems to not hear me at all. He doesn't even look me in the eye but watches his thumbs on my jaw instead... which is kind of hot, to be perfectly honest. I feel my love for him increase tenfold, if that's even possible.
"Esme thinks that I'm much too... with you, you know, like I'm suffocating you. But she's wrong, isn't she? Or am I? Suffocating, I mean? Bella, I can step back a little, if you want me to. But... I don't care what Esme is thinking, I only care about what you are thinking. Esme? She doesn't know anything."
"I mean, if she thinks it was for my own good to keep you away from me? How could she even... she doesn't know anything. It all came back to me when we arrived on Saturday and I saw you again and you called me Little Green. Bella, I missed you so much it made me sick. They had to feed me medicine because of that. You didn't get my letters either, so you didn't know. How could missing you that much be for my own good?"
"God, Edward..." He had been sick? And he had written letters, too?
"I know, right? And one day I thought I saw you when I went to my music class. But it wasn't you and I couldn't deal with it any more. I somehow... snapped. And after that it was as if you'd never existed. I remember it all now; it was a trick my mind played on me, a protective... thing. I didn't want to forget you, I swear. I didn't want to forget who I was... and my secret name. But it just happened."
"I love you, Edward." There you go.
"I know, right? It was like a fire-wall, and I didn't even remember what was behind it. All my Easybella data was gone. But now we have our letters back. I do want to read them, but I want to read them together with you. I want to know everything, and I want you to know everything, too. I learned a lot at Glenholme, even though I was sick. In the beginning I was learning for you, did you know that? Probably not. But I did. And even after..."
"Edward!" Listen to me, little Green.
"...I lost you to the dark at the bottom of my mind, the reason why I kept on learning was still you, I think, even though I didn't know it any more then. The girl's name was Jessica. I remember everything now. I touched her because I thought it was you; she was..."
Jesus Motherfucking Christ! Who are you, and what have you done to Edward?
"...freaking out. I never..."
I grab his shoulders. "Edward... little Green - I love you!"
His eyes snap to mine. "... got to... I never... ah..."
He gives a loud gasp, almost like a cry of pain, and his tirade comes to an abrupt halt. Actually, all of Edward comes to a halt. His body goes completely rigid. He even has stopped breathing. I'm getting a little worried here. Maybe I shouldn't have...? But there's no going back now.
"Edward," I say softly, "I am your person, and I love you."
His gaze becomes unfocused - fuck, he is looking right through me. What have I done? This is bad! His lips are moving as if he's saying something, but no sound emerges from them. He blinks a few times and finally, thank God, he resumes breathing. Or rather panting.
I'm not taking chances! "You said I would just know if I loved you, remember? You were right, Edward. I guess I never loved before, not like this. But I know now that I do love you." I guess it's my turn to word-vomit now.
But whatever... it seems to work. His green eyes are focusing again, and my heart beats so loudly, it might burst through my chest any second. Fortunately, it doesn't. Because in a blink, I'm suddenly enveloped in Edward's arms. He's holding me so tightly, he's almost crushing me, moaning and panting against my neck.
I can hardly breathe, not only with the force of his embrace, but also with the onslaught of emotions. I can't even tell happy from sad; it's so overwhelming that I don't know whether to laugh or cry or scream. I just hug him back with all I have.
After a while, his breathing becomes a little less labored. His lips are moving against my skin, alternately kissing my neck and whispering something I don't understand. And at last, when I manage to make out what he's saying, my thoroughly spent body and my almost-bursting heart make a decision for me and settle on option number two. I cry.
It feels good. I just let the tears fall. They run down my face and into Little Green's hair, while I'm sniffling and smiling and listening to the muffled words he's repeating over and over again.
"... yes... yes... a thousand times yes..."
(BELLA, a little later...)
I don't know how much time has passed. It could be minutes. Or an hour. He has stopped chanting those words but hasn't let go of me for one second. I might or might not have fallen in and out of slumber in his arms a few times; I don't know. We are still on the carpet, lying on our sides now... intertwined like a human pretzel.
No words have been spoken yet. We're both fine with that. Right now, words don't matter. There are occasional sighs to ease the tension when the chest threatens to become too tight with emotion. And soft moans too, at fingers grazing skin or raking through hair. There are even quiet chuckles we just cannot keep in when the feeling of joy is coming in waves, rising inside of our bodies like bubbles in a glass of champagne, and just as much intoxicating.
I hear footsteps outside, ascending the stairs. That is Esme - I can tell by the sound of what must be expensive designer shoes on the wooden steps. Is she coming to check on us? We've been inside this room for quite a while. Well, this is going to be interesting, should she decide to come in. I'm still naked.
Edward has noticed her, too. He props himself on one elbow and throws a quick glance over his shoulder. Apparently satisfied to see that the door is still locked and additionally somewhat blocked by the fallen chair, he turns his head back to me and smiles.
"You're so beautiful," he whispers, just as there's a gentle knocking at the door.
"You too," I whisper back.
He lays his palm on my cheek, but I take his hand and bring it to my mouth to kiss his knuckles. His smile widens to its full, dazzling glory. He is breathtaking.
Another knock on the door. And then Esme's voice, shyly, "Eward? Is everything alright?"
His smile disappears. But he doesn't take his eyes off of mine as he answers, his voice loud enough for his mother to hear.
I hold my breath. After a few moments of silence, Esme leaves without saying another word, the clacking of her heels fading as she slowly descends the stairs. I exhale in relief.
Edward still looks at me, unmoving. I think it's time for me to leave this place. Maybe I can get out of here without running into Esme or Carlisle. Since they probably know all too well what has happened in this room, I have no wish whatsoever to face either of them. But if I have to, I will stand my ground. Little Green just sent his mother away without even blinking, for crying out loud! I will not allow myself to be ashamed of what we did.
"I love you, Bella."
"I love you, Edward."
No, I will not be ashamed.
"You want to go home?" he asks. Maybe he can read my mind.
"Yes, I'd like that. Are you coming with me? Please?"
He nods his head yes and gives my hand a little squeeze before he lets go of me and gets on his knees. He turns around and silently starts picking my clothes off of the floor. When he gets to Esme's blouse, he stills for a moment, rubbing the blue silk between his thumb and index finger.
"You... you won't take it back, or will you?" he suddenly asks, staring down at the fabric in his hand.
"What?" Alarmed, I get up and sit back on my heels.
Take back what? That I want him to come home with me? Or...? Oh my God! "What do you mean?"
I can't really see his face; he sitting halfway with his back to me. But I can see his jaw grinding.
"That you love me... you won't take it back, right?"
"Never!" I gasp out.
With his eyes still glued to where his fingers fiddle with the silk, he nods his head. "Good," is all he says. "Good."
Be still, my heart!
I scoot over to him as quickly as I can and wrap my arms around him from behind. He tosses the blouse aside and reaches back around himself, grabbing my hips and pulling me even closer. With a sigh, he closes his eyes and lets his head fall back.
"I'll find you a shirt to wear," he says.
(BELLA, still later)
Just a few more steps, past the door to the dining room and around the corner. My tee shirt and apron are tucked under my arm, along with my purse. Edward is carrying the card-box with our letters. Our free hands are joined between us, as he leads me along the hallway.
No Esme or Carlisle to be seen; we almost made it. I will use my cell to call a taxi when we're outside. Edward said his phone is broken. Just a few more steps...
We both flinch and stop walking at the sound of Carlisle's voice. I squeeze Edward's hand and step closer to him to let him know that I won't leave his side, no matter what. I straighten my shoulders as Carlisle emerges from out of the dining room. Let's get this over with.
"Son," he says softly. "How are you feeling? Are you ok?"
I can feel Edward tensing up next to me. He doesn't look at his father as he answers, "Yes."
"I'm glad to hear that. I take it you two want to leave?"
Edward starts shaking a little. I don't think Carlisle can see it, but for me it's palpable.
"We're going to call a cab," I explain, foreseeing the next question.
"That won't be necessary," Carlisle replies and turns to Edward again. "If you're feeling well enough to drive, I have your car ready. You were supposed to get it today anyway, so..."
A car? Edward owns a car?
Carlisle reaches into his back pocket and gets out keys and something that looks like a business card of sorts. "Can I come a little closer, Edward?"
He doesn't wait for an answer. Or maybe Edward has just nodded or something; I don't know. Carlisle approaches him slowly and holds out the items. Edward's hand in mine twitches, reluctant to let go of it. After a few moments of pondering, he bends his knees and carefully drops the card-box instead. Then he picks the keys and the card off of his father's palm.
Carlisle takes a step back immediately and shoves his hands into his pockets. "You'll want to deposit the spare key somewhere, in case you lose one. I could take it, if you'd like. Or you can give it to Isabella. And I got you this autism ID card, just in case. You won't likely need it, but if you get pulled over it will spare you a lot of trouble. Just put it in the glove compartment, ok?"
Edward turns the card around a few times and says, "Ok."
When I crane my neck to see what it looks like, he wordlessly hands it to me. With my stuff still safely tucked under my arms, I take the bright yellow plastic card and skim through the short text.
There's a title in red lettering, saying 'I Have Autism', followed by an explanation in smaller print: 'My medical condition impairs my ability to communicate with others. As a result I may have difficulty understanding your directions, and I may not be able to respond to your questions. I may also become physically agitated if you touch me or move too close to me. Please do not interprete this behavior as a refusal to cooperate. I am not intentionally defying your instructions.'
I am a bit taken aback by how clinical this sounds. Also, I don't really think this is how the Edward I have gotten to know in the last two days really is. But I figure, this little card could come in handy, if he got pulled over by one of those cops who think behaving like a cave man is part of their job description.
The back of the card offers some blank lines for one's personal data. The usual 'My name is...', with the phrase 'and I have autism' added to it, plus enough space to insert the names and phone numbers of people that should be contacted in case of an emergency.
I want my name and number to be put there. If anything should happen to Edward, I want to be there to help. I want to be there for him.
I raise my head to find Carlisle watching me intensely. "I remember that shirt," he says and smiles. "I remember the reason why you made it. It was a great day."
"I remember, too. I remember when you drove me home that day," I say, feeling proud. I straighten my shoulders a little more, glad that I decided on wearing a padded bra today. Even though I'm pretty small, Edward's tee shirt is a very tight fit. We don't want our nipples to poke through the 'a' and the 'b' in the word 'Chatterbox', now do we.
"Looks good on you, Isabella."
"Thanks." I can't help but smile back at Carlisle. He's such a kind man. And still very handsome, just saying. It's hard to believe that he could have had any part in Esme's betrayal.
"Ok, drive carefully, son. Give yourself some time to get used to the Volvo. I know it's not quite the fanciest ride in the world, but it's a good vehicle. And it's silver, just like you wanted."
Edward mutters a quiet 'thank you' and bends down to pick up the card-box.
"I hope to see you soon, so we can talk about... this," Carlisle says softly, nodding his chin towards the box. "I'm really sorry about what happened, for the both of you. And your mother is inconsolable, Edward; she's completely taking the blame. I really hope you can forgive her one day."
Edward starts shaking visibly now; the keys in his hand jingle. For a moment, I'm afraid that he's freaking out, maybe getting angry again. But when I see him raise his head, I know it's just the effort to look Carlisle in the eye.
He does it, even though it almost seems to kill him. I'm sure he isn't even aware of how hard he is clutching at my hand right now. It actually hurts, but I bite my tongue. This is important for him.
"Did you know?" he asks, holding his father's gaze like a champ.
"No. Not until just recently. She never meant to hurt you, Edward. I hope you know that."
The silence that followes seems to last ages. His grip is fucking painful, and whatever it is that he is doing in his mind right now, I really wish he'd do it faster! I breathe a sigh of relief when he finally relaxes.
"Good night, Carlisle," he says and turns to leave, dragging me along behind.
"Good night, son. Isabella? Good night. Get home safe."
"Good night, Carlisle," I manage to say over my shoulder, and then we're outside.
As soon as the door closes behind us, Edward lets go of my tortured hand and pulls me close with one arm around my waiste. He rests his forehead on the top of my head and takes a few deep breaths.
"We're going home, right?" he asks, and his voice breaks a little.
I sling my arm around him, too. Still holding the yellow emergency card, I rub his back with the heel of my hand. "Yes," I confirm.
"I'm hungry. I didn't eat much."
"Me either. I still have the remainders of Esme's breakfast in the freezer. Sounds good?"
He sighs into my hair. "Yes."
His arm around me tightens until our hips come flush to each other. And what I'm feeling there makes me wonder if I should mention that I have a few condoms left in the drawer, too. I'm already tingling all over again. Is this normal?
"I'm hard for you."
I lean back in his arm to look at him. In the dim light of the street lamp, his eyes are almost black.
"Come on, little Green, let's go home."