Third Time is a Charm
(Bella pov) Still, his golden eyes grow impossibly wide for now there is no mistaking the direction of my thoughts or the purpose of my indecent attire. I’m positive that if Edward could blush his face would be as red as mine...
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 4767 Review this Chapter
I love you. I want you. Right now.
Edward’s words had scorched me to the core. They had kept at me, prodding my thoughts and undermining my self control long after we had left our meadow. I wanted to do this right - I still want to do this right – but I… I need…
When you love someone, how can wanting to share yourself with that person be wrong? Is it even wrong? A marriage license could not make me love Edward any more than I already do. He is my soul. Compared to that, what is marriage but a slip of paper?
For what seems like the millionth time in the past three weeks I’m debating breaking my rules. It feels naughty to think like this, especially when I’m in the shower. To admit that I want him to touch me in ways and in places that, until now, I’ve only touched myself. And I want to touch him too.
I can feel my face flush in response to the daring images in my mind. I turn off the shower taps and then begin to dry myself taking stock of my body as I do so. My feet are flat. My legs are scrawny. My stomach is soft, not tone like Edward’s… I focus instead on Edward’s chest, the only part of his body that I’ve ever seen bare.
The steam contained in my small bathroom swirls around me like a stifling blanket, hot but comforting. I wonder if Edward can hear my heart racing from my bedroom. With only a thin wall of wood and plaster between us, I wouldn’t be surprised. The audible pounding in my chest increases to a frenzied tempo as I wrap the navy blue towel around me.
Normally this is when I would get dressed for the day. But Charlie has already left for work and according to Alice, our handy weather girl, today is going to be sunny without a trace of clouds. Edward suggested we stay here at my house or go to our meadow. The moment he mentioned our meadow, his heated words from weeks past came back to me and my mind became a deviated thing. And that was when I came up with this ridiculous idea to conveniently forget my clothes in my bedroom so that I would have to go fetch them half naked…
Or I could chicken out and simply ask him to bring them to me.
Each memory of his past rejections intimidates me. Even though he said he wanted me and he has been more receptive to my kisses lately, I still can’t help the sting of embarrassment that lingers. I literally think I would die of mortification if he were to say no again. What’s that old saying, “No guts. No glory.” Dare I try for number three and see if the third time really is a charm?
This would probably work better if I had more experience. If I were worldly then I could take the lead and seduce him good and proper. As if I know the first thing about seduction. With my luck I would try to sashay across the room and end up face first on the floor. I’m just not coordinated enough to walk, shake my hips and take off my towel at the same time. So I’ll have to work within my limitations. How do you make a virginal, drowned waif look sexy?
Okay, so scratch the sex kitten idea. I’m going to have to approach this from a reasonable angle. I’ll simply be blunt and say that I’ve reconsidered and would like to push the boundaries of our relationship a bit further. And when he reprimands me I’ll shrink into a humiliated puddle of self pity knowing I’m the only girl in the universe who has to beg her fiancée- I make my usual face at the F word- for sex.
Well not sex…exactly. I’ll gladly settle for second or third base. Nope, no baseball analogies. Then Edward will think of James and we’ll never get anywhere.
I take a look in the mirror noting my tomato colored face, wet hair and narrow body hidden underneath a too large towel. I look like a half-starved twelve year old. Maybe I should wait until I’m a vampire because then I’ll be beautiful too.
But that’s just it. This can’t wait. Our wedding is only two weeks away. After that it will only be a matter of days until Edward changes me. Then I’ll no longer be me.
There are only three things I want to remember from my human life a century from now. My family, my friends and my human feelings for Edward. I know it sounds stupid, and it probably is, but I want more than one or two nights with Edward as a human. I want enough so that these memories won’t fade, no matter what.
I’ve had a lifetime with Charlie and Renée. Not enough time with Jacob.
I don’t mind squeezing in a life’s worth of memories with Edward in a few weeks. It is hardly sinful to want that.
Mustering up my resolve, I dart from the bathroom to the bedroom. Moving at my slow, human pace Edward’s had plenty of warning to my approach. Still, it is just long enough for the cooler air in the hall to chill my damp skin and consequently I’m shivering when I burst into my bedroom. So much for any hope of appearing sexy.
Edward remains in the same position, sprawled across my bed with a volume of Yeats, exactly as I left him. He’s used to my human moments and his eyes barely shift from the poem he’s reading as he says, “I though we-” but his words choke off abruptly as his gaze jerks back to my towel clad form.
I hold my breath.
Edward stares. Then his Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows hard.
There’s a funny feeling tingling in my skin as his butterscotch gaze starts at my toes and begins to rise in one languid sweep, up over my calves and then my knees to where the towel reaches mid-thigh. His gaze lingers there for a long moment and that tingle turns into something more like a pulse.
I suck in a breath and the sound brings his widened eyes up to mine. Instantly he’s apologetic. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare. That was rude. I’ll just… I’ll wait outside while you dress.”
Edward’s nearly to the door by the time I’ve realized he’s moved. There is no time for me to think so I react. I grasp his hand, clutching it tightly and halting him in his tracks.
He looks curiously at me over his shoulder. “Bella?”
I’m sure my face is the color of a plum now. How do I begin to articulate what I want? Without sounding like an idiot, that is. Because the words are lodged in my throat and my mouth is suddenly as dry as cotton. I grip his hand harder.
Edward turns to me, his expression softening. “Bella, what is it?”
His musical voice drifts over me like a velvet caress. His topaz eyes steal away my logic and I nearly forget to breathe. I really should be used to his dazzling effect by now. When he smirks, careful not look anywhere but my face, I manage to pull myself back from that delicious edge.
“Stay.” I whisper softly, surprised I remember the point I wanted to convey.
His perfect brow wrinkles as he contemplates the meaning of my plea. And it is a plea. The begging quality can not be dismissed. I can almost see the wheels in his mind turning. His heart-stopping smirk becomes a rueful grimace as those gears click into place.
“You greatly overestimate my control, love. I think it is best if I step out until you are ready.”
And he has the nerve to say that I am obtuse? Perhaps I should have entered the room naked. Maybe he would have gotten the correct impression then.
Leveling him with an impatient glare, I swallow what is left of my pride and mumble, “I am ready… for what I have in mind.”
That last part is garbled together and barely louder than a sigh. Still, his golden eyes grow impossibly wide for now there is no mistaking the direction of my thoughts or the purpose of my indecent attire. I’m positive that if Edward could blush his face would be as red as mine.
“Bella…” He says my name wistfully, a look of pure longing stealing across his countenance. “I thought… but… you said…”
I find it so endearing when he struggles for words because it happens so rarely. Usually I am the one left in a daze of incoherency. Feeling a smidgen of my bravado return, I lift my free hand to trace his ruddy lips and halt his stuttering.
My face is still hot as I smile sheepishly. “Forget what I said. Did you mean what you said?”
“Yes.” His eyes never leaving mine, Edward captures my hand in his and begins kissing my fingers one by one. Between kisses he chuckles. “I said… we… could… do this… your… way.” He placed a smacking kiss against my palm and grins, pressing my warm skin to his cold cheek. “Whatever makes you happy.”
But would it make him happy? I don’t want to push things in any direction he’s not comfortable with. So I have to ask. “Is that okay? I mean, I might end up stealing your virtue after all.” I giggle.
He gives me a tolerant look. “Bella, if I were in any conceivable way virtuous I would not have bartered your soul for marital bliss.”
My eyes narrow warningly. “We are not having this discussion. That is not open for negotiation. At all.”
Anytime he referrers to my impending renovations in a negative way- which is pretty much every time- I can not help the spark of terror that lurches in my stomach. I can never be parted from him, not now. Not ever. Just thinking it made the need to be closer to Edward practically overwhelming.
Taking a step backward in the general direction of my bed, I force him to follow me. He does so readily enough and I am enticed to press a little more. “Since you’re the bad guy here,” I say mockingly, “are you up for corrupting me?”
I was only teasing but the corners of his eyes tighten and I realize belatedly that I’ve said the wrong thing. I know what he’s thinking. It’s the same thing that is always lurking in the back of his thoughts. He is labeling himself a monster and trying to convince himself how much better off I am without him. But I will not have it. Not now when we are on the brink of something so wondrous and exciting.
Maybe I’m the only one excited about this.
I take another step back and then another, tugging him with me. I’m losing him to his darkness, I can feel it. So I bring out the heavy guns. Sliding my hand into his hair, I lean up and kiss him with guileless ardor. His breath hitches though he remains tense but at least he kisses me back.
“Let it go. Please.” I beg against his cool lips. “I’m asking you please, please don’t pull away. Not when I need you, please.”
For a moment he deliberates, wavering between his antiquated notions of right and wrong as I cling to him, and then like a broken dam everything he’s holding back rushes forward and I gasp as his arms slink around my waist and crush me to his chest. Who knew marble could feel so good?
His lips move against mine, unyielding and instant. Liquid warmth pools in my stomach dissolving the knot of dread and I can’t hold him close enough. My fingers fist in his copper locks and I tilt my head slightly to the right so I can breathe without pulling away. The sweet scent of his breath sends my head spinning. I’m not sure if I’m standing or if Edward is holding me up.
But it doesn’t matter as I feel the bed bump the back of my legs. I wasn’t aware we were moving backward. It is hard to be aware of anything when the way he kisses me should be illegal.
My thoughts are mush and my heart is about to beat its way out of my chest when Edward begins trailing kisses down to my jaw and then my throat. Tucking his face in the crook of my neck he breathes deeply, shuddering. “I want you so much.” He confesses in a ragged whisper. “So much.”
His chilly breath raises goose bumps along my skin. I arch my neck, flexing my fingers in his hair that is incredibly soft in comparison to the rest of him. I laugh huskily. “Me too. I mean, you know, I want you too.”
The poetry book falls to the floor with a soft thump. My mattress springs creak quietly as he lowers me onto the bed. Only then does he pull back enough to look at me, as we lay facing each other, me in my towel and Edward fully clothed in his jeans and t-shirt.
His eyes are molten caramel, fervent and smoldering. “We’ll try then. We’ll see how far we can go. But I can’t promise…” he pauses and I understand what he can’t say, “I won’t risk hurting you.”
“You won’t hurt me Edward.” I admonish with a smile. “You can’t. You said yourself that you got over my blood.”
“That is not what I’m worried about. What you do to me, what I feel with you, I lose myself in it. That frightens me. You’re so breakable Bella.”
I consider his fears as my heart rate slows. The desire heating my blood remains pulsing and throbbing despite the real warning he’s giving me. I’m not afraid of him or of what is between us.
I land a peck on his nose, smiling as his eyes cross to follow the movement. “Then how about I get you undressed. If you can handle that then we’ll go from there.”
Edward’s mouth curves in my favorite lopsided smile. “I suppose you are at a disadvantage.” He teases, running his index finger along the seam where the towel covers my meager bosom.
I rise up to my knees, carefully to keep the towel from coming undone, and prompt him to sit. Copying him, I trace the skin just above the collar of his shirt. He swallows and I trail my finger higher, lazily over the nifty little hollow at the base of his throat. This is new for me, usually Edward sets the precedent of intimacy. I feel awkward and more than a little inept at how to drive him crazy. I haven’t much comparison when all he has to do is look at me.
I set my hands on his shoulders and slowly slide them down to his ribs and then shift a little to run them down his sides. I grin as his muscles bunch under my light touch. He’s watching me, his breathing slightly uneven. When I reach his waist I slip my hands under the faded grey material taking the moment to feel his hard skin. Grunting, Edward pulls the shirt off and tosses it aside.
Meeting my curious gaze, he smiles guiltily. “You were taking too long.”
I shake my finger at him playfully. “Tsk. So impatient, whatever am I to do with you?”
“Anything you want, I’m all yours.” Despite his naughty smile, the sincerity of his vow touches me.
I love him so much.
“Lay back.” I say, giving his shoulder a gentle nudge. He complies, folding his arms behind his head but whether to appear nonchalant or to resist touching me I’m not sure.
I trace the lines of his chest, something I’ve always wanted to do. The muted glare from my window gives his translucent skin a dim glow, not quite a sparkle but close. I drink my fill of his perfection and admire the sleek curves of his defined abs noticing for the first time the slight dusting of dark auburn hair that starts at his navel and trails down beneath the waist of his jeans. As my fingers walk down that path his stomach muscles contract. I glance up to see him watching me with baited breath.
Inspired, I lean down and drop a quick kiss on his belly button.
Edward gasps, his hips jerking involuntarily.
His reaction makes me feel bold. The hotness in his stare makes me feel beautiful. Feeling the heat tingle in my face, I undo the button of his jeans and then the zipper. I didn’t expect the patch of hair and skin revealed. Edward leans up to watch me and suddenly butterflies fill my stomach as a delicious pang centers at my core.
I am innocent enough to keep my eyes focused on his as I pull the denim down his hips. He lifts them accommodating me. I’m forced to look away when I pull his pants off completely. Almost as an afterthought I take off his socks too. Then there is nothing stopping me from taking Edward in… every beautiful inch of him.
I honestly can not judge if he is well endowed. Edward is the first naked man I’ve ever seen, up close that is. I know the standard physical aspects from sexual education class and I’m vain enough to be thrilled that he’s obviously enjoying this as much as I am. He looks large, I guess. What I do know is that my face isn’t the only thing burning. Now my entire body is.
I have to remind myself that I’m allowed to do more than gawk at him. So I run my hands up his shins, over his knees and then up his thighs delighting in the way the hair on his legs tickles my palms. As my fingers dip toward his inner thigh his hips jerk again. My eyes flash to his face but his eyes are squeezed shut.
Biting my lip, I know it’s now or never. Gently I touch his erection, starting the base and running my fingertips up to the head. Edward hisses, not a violent sound but more of a whine or a whimper. I close my hand around him and slowly move up and then down giving it the slightest pressure. His fist clench in my sheets as his hips rise off the bed. I look up and this time he’s watching me, nearly panting. I stroke him again and this time he grasps my wrist halting the movement.
“Too much.” He manages to groan before he clamps his jaw shut. Another shudder ripples through his body.
I crawl up to close the distance between us feeling proud of myself. I drop little kisses along his jaw, neck and shoulder while snuggling against his chest. This close, the scent coming off of Edward’s skin is heavenly. It takes him a few minutes to regain control and when he does he relaxes his death grip on my sheets and fists his hands in my hair capturing my lips in a bruising kiss.
Every cell in my body is humming, sparking like a live wire ready to ignite. Places I’ve never paid attention to before are aching with need so desperately it nearly hurts… but in a good way. I think I know how he feels and why it’s too much. But I can’t hold onto that reasoning as the tip of his cold tongue brushes against my lips. An unbidden thought strikes me and I wonder how his icy tongue would feel on other areas of my overheated skin.
I pull back gasping for breath, my head swimming. When I can focus again I realize Edward’s sporting my favorite smile and the glint in his eyes is absolutely ravenous. My racing heart jumps into my throat, but not from fear. At this moment I’m anything but afraid and his eyes are anything but thirsty.
“Edward…” I mouth his name barely able to breathe much less speak.
My angel laughs low and raspy, desire giving his velvet voice a decadent cadence. He runs his nose along my throat breathing deeply. “Now it’s my turn.” He croons into my ear, his cold breath causing me to shiver.
Edward shifts me onto my back and my excitement becomes tempered with a fair amount of nervousness. He moves to kneel between my legs and suddenly I’m feeling extremely vulnerable. All of my insecurities come swelling to the surface because he’s about to see every imperfection of my body. I’m certain that he loves me, but what if… I don’t compare?
Edward notices the hesitation in my expression, only he misinterprets it. “Bella I swear I’m in control. I won’t hurt you.”
I roll my eyes. “I know that silly.”
His brow creases as he frowns in frustration. Leaning over me, desire and confusion play across his perfectly sculpted face. “What are you thinking? Please tell me.”
Edward’s beauty is stunning and drowning in his eyes I can’t help but tell the truth. “I can’t imagine what it is you see in me. I’m not very attractive Edward.” I mutter, my face flushing all over again.
This time he rolls his eyes, the corner of his mouth tilting in exasperation. “Countless times I’ve told how beautiful you are and still you doubt me. Since tell you is insufficient, I suppose I will have to show you instead.”
The mercurial fluctuation of his moods never ceases to amaze me. From lusty to anxious to miffed in less than a minute, I think he’s set a new record. I’m pretty sure he picks up on my amusement because his smiles gently as he leans down to give me a comforting kiss. I gasp against his lips as my towel disappears without warning.
Edward’s careful to balance his weight on his forearms. His marble skin feels like cool silk, smooth and luxurious sliding against mine. But I’m not cold. I slip my arms around his neck and kiss him eagerly to delay his exploration a little longer. But Edward doesn’t pull away. He kisses the corner of my mouth, then my scalding cheeks, my closed eyes and even the tip of my nose. That makes me giggle.
My leg rubs along his and he squirms. Skin to skin that feels… really nice.
“So where do I begin?” He muses aloud. The question is obviously rhetorical.
“Begin what?” I blink, clearly dazed.
Edward laughs. “I must be doing something right if you’ve already forgotten.”
I’m blushing all over again. “Oh.”
Still chuckling he resumes his trial of kisses moving down my jaw and along my throat. “You’re soft and amazingly warm everywhere.” He says this as he kisses my collarbone and I arch into him. “I imagined you would feel incredible. Truly I had no idea.”
I thread my fingers through Edward’s hair as he shifts to lean up on one arm. He looks down at my body for the first time. It’s not nearly as embarrassing as I feared. Not when that ravenous look creeps back into his intent stare. Definitely not when he places his hand on my stomach and it trembles.
I can hardly breathe as he touches me. Never has Edward been so bold and the pulsing point in my abdomen aches unbearably. But he takes his time splaying his long fingers over my flat middle and then up between my breasts. My skin is puckered and that seems to fascinate him as he covers my right breast with his palm. He squeezes gently. My back arches as I moan.
Then his lips start to create their own path down between my small breasts and mouthing along the lower curve of my ribs. When his cold tongue lashes against my nipple I nearly come off the bed. And it’s even more overwhelming when he sucks it gently. I whimper and gasp, my hips wriggling restlessly. I completely forget that I’m gripping his hair roughly enough to be painful. He doesn’t notice either.
I’m burning, my blood is on fire and my skin is covered in a fine sheen of sweat. Every beat of my heart is echoed in that throbbing place between my legs and that’s where I need Edward to touch me. If he doesn’t I think I just may spontaneously combust.
I let go of his hair take his hand. He lifts his head enough to look at me. I can’t say what I want so instead I guide his hand down my stomach. His cool fingers are heaven as I press them into my hot center. My eyes close and my hips buck as I cry out softly.
It doesn’t take him long get the rhythm. It feels so good, better than anything I’ve ever done to myself. I want Edward to feel this good too. His arousal is pressed against my thigh so I slip my hand between us and stroke him. He hisses, tucking his face against my throat but doesn’t pull away. I do it again, not sure how hard I should go. I guess I’m doing it right because he rubs that spot a little faster which starts my entire body quivering
All I can think of is Edward. All I can feel is Edward.
Our bodies are rocking as he thrusts against my hand and I writhe into his. There’s pressure building deep inside me that tingles with every move he makes. Every breath I draw in is labored and I know he’s focused on every tiny sound I make because he’s only breathing every so often. And I can’t get close enough to him, even though we’re pressed together, I want more.
I need more.
Until everything building inside me finally erupts and then my head is filled with the sweetness of his skin and the pleasure coursing through me. That sense of fulfillment is only heightened when Edward groans my name and goes completely still.
It takes a few moments of concentration before I can breathe again. But I don’t mind because I’m still marveling at the feel of Edward’s bare skin against mine. I nuzzle my face against his shoulder and there’s no stopping my satisfied smile. “Wow.”
Edward’s melodious laughter makes my personal heaven complete. “Yeah. Wow.”
“Not bad for our first try.” I say, kissing his shoulder.
His smirk widens. “You’re right. I expected it be difficult to remain careful but it was rather easy. Of course we didn’t actually go all the way. We will have to be extra cautious if we try that. I’m still not sure it’s possible for us.”
“That’s okay. Soon enough it won’t matter because I’ll be stronger than you.” I purposely joke. I won’t be this delicate much longer. We need to acknowledge it, not skirt the issue.
“Very funny.” He snaps, but the heated tone doesn’t reflect in his eyes. They remain clear and untroubled.
“I thought so.” I shrug, striving for nonchalance but the effect is ruined when I shiver.
Edward’s skin is getting colder by the minute but I have no intention of leaving his side to cover up. I know he hears my teeth beginning to chatter.
Naturally, Edward is far too noble to allow me to catch a chill. So despite my protest he tucks my blanket securely around my body and leaves the bed just long enough to slip his jeans back on. “Another perk of your impending doom, I won’t freeze you to death anymore.” He remarks dryly as he settles back down beside me. “That will be a welcome change.”
“Indeed. We’ll never have to wear clothes again.” I snicker. “That will be very convenient.”
His right brow lifts as Edward tries to suppress his smile. “Sex really is the first thing you think about, isn’t it?”
“No. You are the first thing I think about. Sex is second.” I amend with a laugh.
He smiles but I can tell his mood has changed again. “Bella…” His tone is measured now, almost solemn despite the sparkle in his eyes. His arms tighten around me holding me impossibly close. Closer than ever. “Thank you.” He whispers, kissing my forehead.
“For what?” I ask curiously.
“For trusting me. For loving me … For everything.” He says softly, his eyes glowing.
Just when I don’t think it is possible to love him any more than I already do, I am proven wrong. My cheeks are scarlet again, I’m sure, and my eyes are suspiciously wet. I’m too choked up to speak so I do the next best thing, I kiss him. And I don’t stop until he’s as flustered as I am.
Words can never really convey what he means to me. But if I had to try…
Edward is my soul, my heart and my own little piece of heaven. He’s the very best part of me. He’s the only part of me that could never live without.