Bathe Me In Your Love
"Would you like a bath?" Edward asked from the bed as I examined myself in the full-length mirror. Set in Breaking Dawn. One-shot. Edward/Bella. Written for a contest at the Lion and Lamb LJ community.
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 2593 Review this Chapter
"Would you like a bath?" Edward asked from the bed as I examined myself in the full-length mirror. My reflection didn't startle me, as Edward had let on it would. In fact, it just proved my theories that I'd gain a few bruises from our first night together. Thick purple marks colored my arms and stomach; some dotted my thighs, others my neck. I turned around so I could see my back. It, too, was decorated in the bruises.
When I didn't reply to his question, he added, "I could join you, if you'd really want me to."
I turned around and smiled gently at him, trying to keep a happy attitude when his was so sour. "Of course I want you to. Come on." I took hold of his hand and tugged him out of bed and into the bathroom, closing the door behind us. As he bent over to fill the bathtub with water—scalding hot—I took the moment to appreciate his godlike form. Firm chest, well-developed muscles, long and lean legs… how I was ever able to marry a man so beautiful, I couldn't be sure. Every single thing about him was absolute perfection. I sighed and leaned against the door.
He heard me and turned back. When he caught me staring, a faint smile flitted over his lips, as much as he tried to prevent it. In playful retaliation, his eyes followed every curve of my own body, his eyebrows raised appreciatively. I flushed spectacularly. But then he walked over to me and his fingers began tracing every bruise, every mark, every purple shadow that was printed on my skin. His smile transformed to a deep frown and his brow furrowed in disgust and self-hate. I succeeded—barely—in not rolling my eyes. I lifted my hand to touch his face.
"Quit worrying," I commanded. His eyes narrowed. "Just bathe me already," I said and smiled, trying to lighten the dim mood. It didn't work; his lips pressed into a hard line.
I brushed by him and stepped into the tub, flinching at the hot temperature. As I sank beneath the water, the surface just reaching the tops of my breasts, I glanced over to Edward. He was watching me, the expression on his face imperceptible.
"Coming?" I asked.
After a moment, he complied and sat behind me, his legs bent at the knees and resting against the side of the bathtub on either side of me. I leaned back against him, the hardness of his chest acting as a wonderful support.
The extreme in temperature—Edward against my back and cool porcelain beneath my bottom, the scalding water everywhere else—was divine, and I took pleasure in the moment as Edward dipped the loofa in the soapy bath water and gently placed it against my upper back. He squeezed it, causing the water to follow the path of my spine. I sighed happily, a smile on my lips until Edward slid the loofa around my neck and it touched a bruise on the underside of my chin.
"I can't believe I did this," he muttered in frustration.
I huffed. "If I don't care about the couple bruises on my body, then why should you?"
"Because," he said, his voice irritated, "you've never been one for self-preservation." From the corner of my eye, I watched as he eyed the third finger on my left hand—which was resting on the edge of the tub—with obvious attention. "Clearly."
"If I've never been one for self-preservation, then, why will you make me change now?"
"Bella," he said authoritatively, "stop. I will keep you safe. That's a promise."
I tossed my hands into the air. "So, what now? You're not going to make love to me until I'm less fragile? That's how you're going to rectify this situation?" I prodded. He didn't speak; I took that as his answer. "That's absurd! When a little boy is learning to skateboard and he falls down and scrapes his elbow, does he give up? No, he keeps trying and trying and trying, until finally he's zooming down the street with ease and confidence." I took in a deep breath, trying to keep my head on straight. Edward was making that thoroughly difficult, though.
For a moment, he looked amused. His hand paused on the front of my neck as he leaned his head forward so our eyes met and glanced at me with a slight smirk on his face. "Did you just compare our lovemaking to learning to ride a skateboard?"
"If that's what it takes for you to understand what I'm trying to say, then yes," I said, my face burning crimson.
He chuckled softly, his hand resuming its movements down my collarbone and following the valley between my breasts. I gasped, my eyes falling shut. Even when he was bathing me and rejecting me, he could still cause my body to flare in heat. It was absolutely unfair.
"You've certainly put it into simpler terms, that's for sure," he agreed. Was I imagining that husky tone now in his voice? "I just thought you'd think of a better metaphor, that's all."
"Quit trying to sidetrack me," I accused. "What I'm saying is that practice makes perfect. So, I vote that we just keep on practicing until we're perfect." I turned my head and looked into his eyes, trying to make my face alluring—and probably failing miserably. "What do you say?"
Edward was trying to keep a solemn and serious face, I could tell, but there was mirth deep in his eyes. "I thought I was already perfect," he stated simply. "At least, that's what you told me last night."
I flushed and laughed shakily. I had said that last night just before I'd fallen asleep, hadn't I? "Alright, alright, no need to be so cocky," I admonished. Playfully, unthinkingly, I elbowed him in the ribs.
That was a mistake.
Of course I'd have a bruise there, I thought. It was one of the—many—places on my body that Edward had held onto, trying to stay anchored to reality as we'd…
I sucked in a breath, biting my lip, trying to make the whimper stay in. Already, my eyes were shiny with unshed tears. I blinked furiously, hoping they would blend in with my damp face as sweat rather than proof of pain. My attempts were futile, though; Edward wasn't fooled. He kissed my cheek thoughtfully, and then sighed, as though to tell me, without words, that having sex while I was still human had been a poor idea.
"Are you alright?" he asked after a long moment of silence, and then said, "That was a stupid question," in a voice so low that I don't think he meant for me to hear it.
I lowered my gaze to the bath water. "It was nothing," I muttered. He continued washing me, the loofa dipping into my belly button before barely touching between my thighs. He was being especially careful there, knowing I would be sore and sensitive after last night's events. That was Edward, always thinking of the result of his actions. That particular personality trait of his, while it was doing me good now as he was bathing me, was also preventing us from exploring the depths of our feelings later. I sighed.
"Edward, honestly, I don't mind about the bruises." He sucked in a breath, as if to reason with me, but I reached a hand back blindly to cover his mouth. My fingers fumbled against his chin before reaching my destination. "No, just listen to me for a bit, okay?
"I've always been good at repressing the negative things in life. Ever since I was a little girl, I've always been stubborn and strong-headed. And clumsy, too," I added after a moment of thought. "I'm used to being hurt—injury is almost second nature to me. And it's never really bothered me that I run into things and trip. I'm used to bruises and broken bones and—"
"Not from someone you love, someone who's supposed to take care of you!" His furious, low voice echoed in the large bathroom. My mouth shut in shock. "I was supposed to be gentle, to count each breath and measure your heart rate precisely. I was supposed to keep my own body in check, as well, make sure that I wouldn't touch too hard or press too much, and I failed. As painstakingly slow as I tried to be, using as much caution as I thought necessary, I still managed to mark you—in the only way that I didn't want to." He sighed, and it was a sound of someone with years of knowledge but mere hours of experience. "How can you trust me to not fail again? How can I trust myself?" He rested his forehead against my upper back, his breath expelling onto my warm skin.
"That's just it, though—we don't know for sure that you won't 'hurt me' again." I said the words with nonchalance, proving what a fallacy I thought the idea of him hurting me was. "We can only trust one another, have completely and utter faith in each other, and hope for the best."
His head lifted from my back, and he scoffed. "'Hope for the best'? Honestly, Bella, what are you thinking? What could possibly cause you to put yourself in danger without any concern?" He drew the loofa up from my thighs and traced around my waist, beginning to wash at the dimples above my bottom.
"That's a silly question, Edward. How could you not know? You've given me the greatest pleasure I've ever known," I said, my face flushing with both the brazenness and the sincerity of my words. "Last night was… so… I can't even put it into words, attempt to describe it. It was everything I thought it would be, and so much more. The things you made me feel, the thoughts you made me think, were life-fulfilling and utterly incomprehensible. It was, by far, the best night of my life. So if getting a little bruised and banged up is my only consequence for having blissful lovemaking with you, then so be it." I shrugged and rubbed his knees with the palms of my hands, trying to be reassuring. "Making love to you has no punishments—only rewards." I tilted my head to the side so that my lips could touch his, and lightly kissed him.
Shuddering, he let out a sigh. His cool breath touched the nape of my warm and clammy neck and I shivered against him.
"Bella," he said, his voice quiet and pained and rough. I felt his lips press softly against a blossoming bruise on my left shoulder, and drew a quick breath in surprise. He placed the loofa on the edge of the tub and his hands settled low on my hips. As his thumbs began kneading my lower back, I grabbed onto his calves for support. Surely his ministrations would cause me to pass out—or perhaps that was his plan. Make me unconscious, so this conversation, as one-sided as it seemed to be, would be brought to an end.
He kissed the side of my neck, touching another purplish mark just under my jawline. "Bella," he murmured again, his lips brushing against my skin as he spoke. My head fell back against his shoulder, my chest quickly rising and falling as I attempted to maintain my breath.
"Bella." His lips found purchase on the opposite shoulder, making a trail down my arm, finding each separate finger-shaped bruise and healing it with a kiss. I could feel nothing but the chill of his lips as he bent my arm and turn my palm upright, laying open-mouthed kisses on my fingertips, murmuring my name like a prayer between each touch of his lips to my skin.
"Edward," I whispered, my voice hoarse. The sound surprised me. "Please."
"No," he said, his voice sounding sure even as his slowly swiveled me around so that I was facing him. He continued sprinkling kisses across my collarbone, favoring the hollow of my throat, occasionally dipping lower. I weaved my fingers in his hair and pressed my lips to his forehead and temples, trying to stay grounded as my head began to swim. My mind could only identify him: his touch, his scent, the low growling that seemed to emanate from deep within his chest.
"Please?" I was being unfair, and I knew it; I knew that was his weakness. "Please?" I asked again.
"Bella, I can't." His voice was weaker than before. His cool fingers were gliding over my torso, fiddling against my skin as if I was a piano. I breathed.
"I need you," I murmured forlornly.
He groaned against the column of my neck, and the feeling sent vibrations from the crown of my head to the tips of my toes. "I can't risk it, I just can't!" he whispered forcefully. It sounded as though he'd given up on convincing me; he was just convincing himself now. The thought made me hopeful. I tugged on his hair and drew his head up so his eyes met mine. They were darker than before; a deep amber.
"Yes, you can," I told him. "Just have confidence in yourself. Have a little faith." I pressed my lips to his and he responded immediately. He sat up straight and tugged me gently against his chest. My legs found the comfortable position of being wrapped around his waist, and my hands cupped around his neck, pulling him closer to me. The entirety of our bodies met, torso to torso, bare skin upon bare skin, and we both exhaled sharply from the contact. His tongue traced along my lower lip, and my hands ran frantically over his sculpted chest.
He parted his lips from mine and said, "I love you." The deep quality of his voice made me tremble.
"I love you," I gasped, desperately attempting to catch my breath.
He looked as though he was going to say something else, but before a rejection could stumble from between his lips, my mouth found his once more. "Please," I mumbled against his lips. His groan was surrendering; mine was euphoric. He reached behind me and there was a quiet squelch as he pulled out the stop. The water, now lukewarm from Edward's cold body having been submerged in it, began draining from the tub. His lips left mine and followed my jaw to the soft spot under my ear; he sucked on it lightly. My head fell back as my arm wrapped around his neck for support. He laid me down on the bottom of the bathtub and hovered over me, his chest barely touching my own. His legs tangled with mine, and my back moved smoothly against the wet porcelain as I stretched my neck to reach his lips.
We didn't make it to the bed.