Friday, May 1, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 19

Chapter 19 – Dear God
There’s nothing here for me, on this barren road
There's no one here while the city sleeps
And all the shops are closed
Can't help but think of the times I've had with you
Pictures and some memories will have to help me through, oh yeah

Dear God, the only thing I ask of you
Is to hold her when I'm not around
When I'm much too far away
We all need that person who can be true to you
I left her when I found her
And now I wish I'd stayed
'Cause I'm lonely and I'm tired
I'm missing you again, oh no...
Once again

Some search, never finding a way
Before long, they waste away
I found you, something told me to stay
I gave in, to selfish ways
And how I miss someone to hold
When hope begins to fade...

“Dear God” – Avenged Sevenfold
I shut the shower off, grabbed a towel, and quickly dried off. Wrapping the towel around my waist, I tried to slow down and give Bella a minute or two with her brother in the next room.
The show had been one of our best since we’d started the tour. I was pretty sure I owed it all to the beautiful girl just outside the bathroom in the dressing room. The very second I set eyes on her, everything that had piled up on me faded away, leaving me free to give my all on the stage. Radiant Eclipse had ended up giving two encores.
Now…the night was free. We’d be in Manhattan for a couple of days before we took off for Columbus, Ohio, finally finishing out the old year in Nashville. I’d have Bella for little over a week. She’d fly home to Seattle from Nashville the first of the year. I wouldn’t see her again until well into February, when we’d come home for our first tour break.
With another towel, I dried my hair roughly, turning when I heard the bathroom door click. Smirking, I said, “Angel, I was trying to give you time with Mike.”
She grinned. “He needs a shower, too. How you guys don’t completely sweat away, I’ll never understand.”
Laughing, I shrugged, my eyes staying on her as she walked to the vanity. “You get used to it, I guess.”
She perched herself up on the counter, holding her hand out. “Towel.”
When I handed it over, she reached out and tugged me closer by my hand. She draped the towel over my head, gently drying my hair the rest of the way. Once she was done with that, she dabbed at the droplets of water still clinging to my chest and stomach. Her fingers raked through my hair, and she smiled up at me when she deemed me dry, finally wrapping herself all around me.
“God, I missed you,” she breathed into the crook of my neck.
I hugged her fiercely, simply giving in and lifting her off the counter. With my face buried in her neck, I whispered, “I never thought we’d get here. Fuck, I…”
“I’m sorry about your dad and that article. I’m sorry I had to rush you off the phone.”
Grinning into her neck, I pulled back, pressing her into the closest wall. “Shut up, Bella,” I said with a chuckle. “You’re here. You didn’t tell dad anything he didn’t need to hear, and that article was just…the norm, baby. I’m used to it. And the phone, well… I survived just knowing you were getting on the plane to me.” I kissed her. Hard. I wanted her so badly that I could barely see straight, but I needed to get her out of Madison Square Garden, and I needed to ask one thing. “Did you…” I licked my lips, taking a deep breath to control my desires and my temper. “Did you give the phone number to Rose?”
“I did,” she replied, reaching up to trail her fingers down my jaw. “Then she called her uncle.”
I nodded. I’d figured Rose would call Jenks. “Okay, then I’ll let her deal with it, because dammit, I wanna know who sent that to you.”
Bella kissed me to shut me up. “Yeah, well…not tonight. I haven’t seen you in weeks, and I’ve missed you, so…Mr. Cullen, you’re gonna have to let me be all sorts of selfish.” She grinned when I pressed a growling kiss to her lips. “In fact, this, right here, is a damn good start.”
I felt my cheeks heat at the fact that she was still wrapped around me, that I was pressing her up against the wall.
Her giggle was mixed with a moan as she cupped my face. “Oh my damn, I missed that blush!”
I found myself being kissed into complete oblivion. My hand slapped hard against the wall by her head, and I melted into her. Tongues reunited, and my hips surged forward. Bella’s hands wandered everywhere – my hair, my shoulders, my back – all while her legs stayed wrapped around me tightly.
“Edward,” she groaned, and I hummed against the skin of her sweet neck. “Baby, please…”
I pulled back, licking my lips, only to bite down hard on my bottom one. “We gotta go.” Her laugh made me grin, but I stopped for a moment, nuzzling her nose with my own. “Okay, okay, okay… I would be an asshole to take you straight back to the hotel, angel. So…we’re in the Big Apple…together…and it’s Christmas. You said selfish, but fuck, Bella, I’ll take anything at this point. We’ll do anything you want.”
Bella smirked, but her eyes were dark as she slipped a hand between us. “Can’t exactly go out in public with this problem you’re having, Edward.”
I huffed a laugh, and my eyes rolled back as warm, light touches teased the edge of the towel around my waist, only to drift down to where I was fucking aching for her.
“Bella…angel…” I moaned, pulling her from the wall and placing her sweet ass back on the vanity. “I wasn’t…this isn’t…” My forehead fell to hers when my towel fell to the bathroom tile in a puddle at my feet. Despite how much I’d missed her, how I was still pumping with adrenaline from the show, I hadn’t wanted to attack her the second we were alone, but damn it all, she felt too good, just perfect. “I can wait. I just…”
Warm, wet kisses met the skin of my neck, leaving a trail of fire, until her lips were at my ear. “Selfish, baby,” she reminded me in a sexy-as-hell whisper. “I love that you want me this much, Edward, so let me help you.”
Her hand wrapped around my cock, and a hiss escaped me as I nodded against her forehead without thought. There wasn’t a chance in hell I could tell her no at this point.
“This okay?” she asked with her lips barely leaving my ear. “Or more?”
“No, no…it’s okay… It’s fucking awesome, actually,” I panted, my eyes squeezing closed.
Her words, her touch, just the fact that she was right there after so damn long, was skyrocketing me toward the abyss. I wouldn’t last, which might have been the method to her madness. She was taking the edge off. She knew me better than I even knew myself. And it was that thought that had me at the point of no return.
“I love you, I love you… So close, Bella… I…”
My breathing faltered as my forehead fell to the crook of her neck. Bella dropped kisses to my shoulder, my jaw, smiling against my skin when a shudder racked my entire frame as she cleaned me up with towel next to her.
“Better?” she whispered.
Nodding vehemently, I kissed her neck, cheek, and then her mouth. “Yeah,” I sighed, a lazy smile curling up on my face. “I’m not anywhere close being done with you, angel, but at least I can think.”
She laughed softly. “Let’s get you dressed, and we’ll go from there. Tony said he’s ours to use tonight, so…”
Smiling, I nodded and let out a deep breath of relief that I could at least see straight. “All right. Let me get dressed, and I’ll get us out of here.” I pulled on my jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and a hoodie, knowing it was freezing outside. “You’ll have to bear with us, angel,” I told her, grabbing my leather jacket. “We still have to see the fans with the backstage passes.”
Bella shrugged a little and smiled. “Whatever…”
Once I was dressed, I helped Bella down from the vanity, and we stepped back into the dressing room. The guys were all cleaned up, but Rose was waiting for us.
“I sent that number to Uncle Jay,” she said, her brow furrowing. “And Senna said to tell you she’s sorry. She didn’t know.”
“I know.” I waved off Senna’s apology. “What’d Jenks say?”
“He’s checking the number now…said he’d know something by morning.” When I nodded, she turned to face all of us. “Boys, you’ve got the backstage pass holders still to see, but try to behave. You have one out there…he’s probably fourteen, fifteen? Anyway, he’s in a wheelchair, and he’s super-excited. This show is a part of his Make-A-Wish, so…”
My eyebrows shot up at that, but I turned to Tanya. “We got anything?”
“Yeah, we can come up with something.” She dove into a box by the door. She came up with one of Radiant Eclipse’s posters, a couple T-shirts, and a handful of little stuff – keychains, stickers, and CDs.
The poster was the key, so I took it from her, pulled it out of the plastic sleeve, and unrolled it on the closest table. “Guys, get over here. Come sign this thing.”
We passed around the Sharpie, each of us scrawling our autograph by our image on the poster. Tanya set a bag down, and a pair of drumsticks appeared in front of me. Smiling, I took them from Mike, putting them in the bag.
“All right, c’mon,” I told them, but I looked to Bella, who stepped back to stand next to Rose.
“I’m okay. Go on,” she said, smirking my way.
Nodding, I followed Emmett out of the dressing room door to the waiting area for the backstage pass holders. It was the normal meet-and-greet, with autographs and pictures. The kid in the wheelchair seemed to wait patiently, and I was almost certain he was sick with cancer. He was wearing a bandana and baseball cap like I did on stage occasionally, but his face and arms were vacant of a single hair, so I could guess his head was, as well. There was a breathing tube underneath his nose attached to a tank on the back of his wheelchair.
These were the tough parts, the things that made me feel like the shit I did made a difference, but then they also broke my heart. To think that this kid’s last fucking wish was to see us, meet us…that was tough to wrap my head around. It also made me want to do shit the right way, make this last wish count for something.
“Masen,” he said, his voice soft, but his eyes were bright.
I shook his hand, kneeling next to the chair. “What’s your name?” I asked him.
“Well, it’s good to meet you, Denis. You enjoy the show?”
“Aw, yeah,” he gushed, smiling. “I had awesome seats! Being in this thing,” he said, tapping the arm of his chair, “put me almost in the front row!”
Grinning, I handed him the bag with all the stuff in it, showing him the poster. And I gave a sharp whistle to get the guys’ attention. We spent the next few minutes taking pictures and talking with his parents. Apprently, Denis had leukemia, which had been in remission for two years, only to come back with a fucking vengeance. They weren’t sure if the chemo would kick it again, but they all seemed hopeful.
When we were done, I turned to Rose. “Find out his hospital and then send a donation toward his bills. Do it from all of us,” I told her, gesturing to my bandmates, and Jasper nodded in agreement.
“Already did it,” she admitted with a smile. “The bus is ready for you guys, and Tony’s pulled the private car out back for you two.”
I nodded in thanks. I’d wanted time with Bella to myself. There would be plenty of time to spend on the bus once we left New York, but our first night, I wanted to spoil her, even though she probably would’ve been just as comfortable in a damn cab.
Emmett led us out toward the bus, and Tony was waiting for Bella and me with the back door of the black car open. Rose reminded us of schedules – when we were leaving, when the next interview was, and the fact that we had two days of downtime – but she also reminded us to keep our phones close, just in case we were needed anywhere. I was pretty sure she was still hoping for Saturday Night Live, but I wasn’t holding my breath. It would have to be that very week or not at all, simply due to scheduling conflicts.
I waited until Bella was seated before following her in, and Tony shut the door behind us. Once he was in the driver’s seat, he turned to us.
“Masen…where to?”
“Do you have bags?” I asked Bella.
“I’ve already deposited them in your room,” Tony answered for her.
“Damn, busy much, Tone?” I teased him, smiling at his deep chuckle, but I turned back to Bella. “Where you wanna go, angel? The best food on the planet is right here – hotdogs, pizza, Chinese…”
Bella laughed but shrugged. “I don’t care.”
I turned back to Tony. “How ’bout that pizza place you took us to the last time?”
“It’s in Brooklyn,” he warned.
“I’m pretty sure we don’t have anywhere to be, man. Go for it.”
“Yes, sir,” he said, and I smirked when he raised the barrier between us.
I sat back as soon as the car started to move, only to grunt when a petite brunette planted herself on my lap.
“Hungry?” she asked in a whisper, but her eyes were dark, fiery, and filling with an emotion I could totally understand.
“Fucking starving,” I whispered, my hands gripping her ass and pulling her closer. Unfortunately, that action caused the most delicious friction as our jeans rubbed together, and I moaned against her lips. “And not for food, angel.”
I grinned at her sweet laugh. God, I’d missed that sound in person.
Bella’s hips shifted, grinding down onto me, and my eyes rolled back. That sweet pussy was obviously needy, seeking more and more. Without thinking, I rolled us, laying her out on the leather seat.
She looked like every damn dream, every rock video, or every damn movie about someone famous in the backseat of a fucking car. Part of me wanted to fuck her stupid back there, only to see if she could keep quiet. Another part of me knew it was cliché and stupid. But she was so fucking hard to resist, especially as her hands pushed my jacket off my shoulders at the same time she was dragging those amazing lips up my neck.
Pinning her hands playfully above her head, I dropped my forehead to hers. “You want selfish, Bella? I can give you selfish… I believe it’s my turn, anyway.”
I could tell she didn’t know whether to laugh or beg, but I didn’t really give her a choice. Keeping her hands in one of mine, I slipped the other down her body, between her breasts, until I finally reached the button of her jeans. I deftly popped open the button and slid down the zipper. I was going to give Bella selfish.
“Let’s see just how much you’ve missed me,” I taunted, lifting her shirt just enough that I could see her ink, her stomach, and a new bellybutton piercing. “Cute,” I said with a chuckle, toying with what looked to be a little music note.
She laughed breathlessly, her head falling back a little, and she struggled to pull her hands free. “Edward…”
I let go of her wrists at the same time I slipped my hand inside her jeans, beneath what felt like something silky and lacy. Biting down on my bottom lip, my eyes flickered between her stunning face and the place where my hand disappeared. She was wet and hot and swollen, not to mention clenching a little at my touch.
“You did miss me.”
“Oh God, so much…”
Brushing light kisses across her lips, I whispered, “Then let me make you come, angel. Take it. All of it.” Despite the tight jeans, my fingers slid easily inside her, and the sexiest moan erupted from her. I used the heel of my hand to rub against her clit, curling my fingers. “I love you, baby. Let me do this for you. Let go. Just take.”
Fuck me, I’d missed her sounds, the feel of her, the smell of her. I’d missed how she reacted to everything I said and did to her, but mostly, I missed how she made me feel like a damned hero, especially when my name hissed out of her against my lips.
Grinning at her orgasm-bleary eyes, I nipped at her lips, but I couldn’t resist the taste of her as I licked my fingers clean. My goal was to drink from the source before the night was over, which apparently I said out loud, because Bella smirked as she straightened her clothes.
“Like I said, lucky landlady,” she teased, and we both slipped down in the seat face to face as Tony drove through the city.
I slipped out of bed when there was a knock on the door. Bella barely stirred, but I knew her well enough to know that she’d be starved when she finally woke up. I pulled on a pair of athletic shorts, grabbing my wallet.
The girl standing on the other side of the door gaped up at me, her eyes raking over my ink, then my face. Holding my hand out to sign for the food, I waited patiently. Once she snapped out of her shock, I scrawled my name across the line and then tipped her.
When I turned around to roll the cart inside, Bella was standing there, wearing nothing but my shirt from the night before.
“You kill me dead, angel. I swear,” I sighed, shaking my head.
She smiled a little, pulling her hair from her face, but then she pointed toward the door. “She’ll be ruined now.”
Grinning, I rolled my eyes. “She’ll get over it.” I smiled at her chuckle and guided her back to bed. “C’mere, baby. This won’t be as good as your cookin’, but we’ll have to suffer.”
I placed the cart next to the bed and crawled up to the headboard, patting the space between my legs. Bella joined me, her back to my chest, and we ate quietly.
The night before had turned out better than I could’ve hoped, simply because the stress leading up to Bella’s arrival had been utterly ridiculous. Now that she was here, I wanted every moment to count.
After I’d made her come silly in the back of the private car, we never stopped talking or kissing. It was catching up, it was my come-down from the show, and it was just…everything. Tony had found us a pizza place open late, and he’d watched over us as we gorged ourselves huge slices. I told Bella what she’d missed concerning my dad, which seemed to make her sad, until I told her he hadn’t actually taken a drink. And her eyes darkened at my mother’s timing of serving separation papers.
By the time we made it back to my hotel, it was late and we were tired but unable to keep our hands off each other. I’d started kissing her in the backseat, then the elevator, barely making it inside my room before my need for her became overwhelming. I wasn’t sure the door had fully closed before clothes started to come off and demands were blurted out against lips. We’d been selfish, indeed. And neither of us had a complaint.
The only thing not discussed was the text to Bella’s phone and the upcoming week when she’d travel with us. Though, leave it to my girl to approach it first thing.
She turned in my arms, a bowl of fruit in hand, spearing a piece of melon in order to feed it to me, and I cradled her in my arms. “Okay, rock star... How’s this touring thing work?”
Chuckling, I chewed and swallowed, only to press a kiss to her forehead. “If Rose can’t get us on SNL, then we’ll be leaving New York as planned day after tomorrow. If she does, then everything moves back a day.”
She nodded, taking a strawberry and then offering me one.
“Either way, we’ll spend Christmas Day here tomorrow. We have an early TV show that morning.”
Bella smiled. “Then what?”
Grinning, I raised an eyebrow at her. “Then, you get to board the magic bus, baby.”
Her giggle was adorable.
“It’s long hours in the damn thing, especially since we’re heading to Ohio next, but we stop for gas and food…and sometimes both, depending on what we eat,” I teased her, shrugging a shoulder when she scowled. “Oh, angel… It’s a bunch of guys, and the only things that keeps us civilized are Rose, Alice, Tanya, and Kate. Otherwise, it would be this…rolling man-cave.”
“Oh,” she groaned. “Maybe I should go home.”
Grinning, I nipped at her neck. “I wouldn’t blame you.” Pulling back, I smiled down at her. “Not one bit.” She laughed and shook her head, and I added, “But we make the best of it. We try to leave each other alone. There are games and TVs, and occasionally Jasper and I will write music.” I shrugged a shoulder. “Anyway, we’ll head out early the day after Christmas. It’s not your normal bus; there are big seats and tables. It’s more like a stupid-expensive RV. You can sleep or kick back if you want. I’m so used to it, baby…” I shrugged again, taking the bowl from her and setting it back on the cart so I could hold her closer. “As fantastic as I just made all that sound, I’m glad you’re here.”
Giggling, she kissed me, her fingers raking through my hair that I was sure looked crazy. “It’s Christmas, Edward…you should check on your parents, especially since you’ll be busy tomorrow.”
My forehead thumped to hers and I nodded. “I know. I just don’t know which one to start with: my mother, whose timing with her papers sent Dad into a downward spiral, or my dad, who checked himself back into Serenity?”
She grimaced, cupping my face. “Maybe find out Esme’s side before you talk to Carlisle?” she suggested, and I sighed deeply, not moving a muscle, because it wasn’t exactly a secret I wanted her again. Just having her in my arms, in my hotel bed, made me want her again.
Her laugh was ridiculously cute as she sat up straight. “You call, and then you can do anything you want.”
I hummed, licking my lips and narrowing my eyes at the gorgeously dissheveled thing in my lap. “Anything?”
That word sat between us for a moment. “Alrighty then,” I sang, reaching for my phone on the nightstand as Bella’s laugh shook us both. I unplugged my cell, calling my mother first, wincing a little at the time back in Seattle, but she was usually up early.
“Are you calling to yell at me, too, Edward?” she answered.
“Uh, no, Mom… Merry Christmas?” I said, though it came out like a question because she sounded pretty pissed off.
“Oh, sorry, champ.”
“Who’s yelled at you?”
“Who hasn’t?” she countered but then sighed deeply. “I fired my damn lawyer.”
“It was piss-poor timing, Mom. What the hell?”
I know!” Her sniffle over the line broke my heart, and I wrapped an arm around Bella, who had shifted so that her back was to my chest again. “That wasn’t how it was supposed to happen, Edward. I swear. Someone at my lawyer’s office messed up. They weren’t supposed to send those papers. They were written up as a possible…thing, but they sent them to your father by mistake. I would never have done that…especially when they did.”
Frowning, I pressed my lips into the back of Bella’s head. “You… You’re leaving him.” It came out sounding like an accusation more than a question, and I sighed.
“Son, I only had those drawn up as a precaution. I swear. I’d asked your father for time, and he’s been ever so gratious about it, so the papers were unnecessary.”
“Have you even seen him?” I asked, my voice raising, and Bella turned in my lap, giving me a kiss to the cheek. She got up, pushing the cart back out the hotel room door.
“No, I haven’t,” she answered. “I can’t. Not right now.”
I rubbed my face in frustration and sadness because I honestly couldn’t take sides and I could see where she was coming from, but I didn’t have to like it.
“You should at least hear him out,” I said tentatively. “I’m not saying you have to, but you should hear his side. At least then, it would be…an informed decision.”
My head fell back to the pillows behind me when my mother was quiet on the other end.
“Maybe. I just…I can’t understand how he could’ve done that to you, Edward. To our boys.”
Nodding, I sat up. “Your ‘boys’ are grown men, Mom. Big enough to take care of themselves. And had we wanted to, we could’ve told him no. Be angry at us, too. Be angry at Rose for bearing witness to it all. Hell, be mad that dad got behind the wheel, but fair is fair. We all f—messed up.”
I knew I’d hit the nail on the head when she changed the subject. My mother and I were alike in a lot of ways.
“Where are you? New York, right?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I answered her.
“Bella’s with you?”
“Yes, for the next week, actually.”
“Good. I’m glad. You could be worse places for Christmas, Edward,” she said with a chuckle. “There’s the tree in Rockefeller, ice skating, shows at Radio City…”
Laughing, I sighed. “I know. We’re planning on getting out and about today.”
“Good. I want you to have a good time. And be safe, sweetheart. Merry Christmas.”
We ended the call, and I dropped the phone to the bed as Bella walked in from the bathroom. She’d given me a few minutes of unnecessary privacy, but I opened my arms for her.
“Oh, no…mister, you’ve got another call to make,” she sang, grinning at me. “Plus, I need to call my mother anyway.”
Smirking at her, I picked my phone back up. Calling Serenity was a pain in the ass. I was usually on hold for a bit, and he could only talk for so long once they got him for me. Although, the view while I waited was absolutely fucking stunning.
Bella paced, still wearing nothing but my shirt from last night. Bare, smooth legs, messy hair, and those dead-sexy nipple rings I could see through the fabric of my shirt. My eyes raked over and over from her feet to her head as she talked to her mother.
“No, no…I made it okay. My flight was delayed a little, but I’m good. They got me there for the rest of their show. I missed the beginning, but the end is always better anyway.” She caught my stare, grinning and rolling her eyes at me. “Mike is amazing on stage. I’ll have to get Rose to send you some of their video footage.” She paused, shaking her head. “No, he looks great. Happy. Tired, but happy.”
Her mention of video footage reminded me that I needed to give her something. Reaching for my tablet, I found what I was looking for and then set it aside.
“No, he’s good, too, Mom,” Bella said, still pacing.
My hand was about to reach out and touch the bare skin of the back of her leg when my dad finally came on the line.
“Merry Christmas, Dad,” I told him, smiling at his chuckle.
“Hey, champ. Where are you?”
“New York.”
“You could be in worse places.” He chuckled, and I shook my head at how alike my parents were…and how stubborn. “I didn’t drink…”
My brow furrowed at how he felt he needed to clarify, but I said, “Oh, I heard. I’m… Good job, actually. I’m proud of you.”
“Thanks, Edward. I just… I wasn’t ready.”
“If you aren’t, you aren’t.” I shrugged a shoulder, simply because I’d been in Serenity with people who never felt “ready” to face the world. It was scary as a completely sober person, so I couldn’t imagine having to relearn everything. “I talked to Mom.”
“Yeah? She’s okay?”
“She’s pretty pissed at her lawyer. You weren’t supposed to be served,” I explained. “It was a great big fuck-up. But…I dunno, Dad. She’s…”
“She’s your mother, son. So just…give her time.” He sighed deeply, sounding tired. “And don’t get in the middle of it. Not one of you. This is my mess. You’ve been put in the middle enough. Got me, champ?”
“Yeah, Dad. I hear you. I just… Where were you staying? I mean…you could’ve…”
“Remember Dr. Webster?”
“Yeah, the orthepedic doc, right?”
“Exactly. He was Emmett’s doctor when he was hurt wrestling. Well, he had an apartment come up and offered it to me.” Dad groaned a little. “Though, now I told him to rent it. I don’t know when I’m…”
“My offer still stands, Dad. Guilt-free. You’d actually be doing me the favor.” My eyes drifted to Bella, who was still talking quietly with her mother.
“How’s that?”
“You promised me you’d check on Bella…”
“The bar’s so close, though, son.”
“I sincerely doubt the bartender would serve you, at least not without handing you your ass first.”
Dad laughed. “She told you, huh?” I grinned and hummed yes, but he went on. “That’s one tough cookie you got there, Edward. Boy, I thought for sure she was gonna punch me.” When I laughed, he did, too. “She’s um… She really cares about you, son. Don’t mess that up.”
“No, never,” I sighed over the phone, but my eyes drifted to Bella again. Her sweet smile, her obliviousness to my stare, and her happy face… It made my chest hurt with how much I loved her, never mind how much I wanted her right at that moment. And I knew the next week, despite the long hours in the bus, would fly by. “Just…think about it, Dad.”
“I will, Edward. I’ll let you know. My time’s up, though, son. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas, Dad.”
I set the phone back down on the nightstand, glancing up when Bella ended her own call. She sounded content with her mother, something that surprised me, but Bella had told me how her mother had been there for her almost the second I’d left on tour. I was glad. I could tell my girl had been barely holding it together in that room before I got on the plane. Though, I hadn’t been much better.
Her eyes were dark as she walked back toward the bed.
“You said…anything.” I smirked, opening my arms for her.
She crawled up the bed, laughing at me. “I did. Didn’t I?”
“Mmhm,” I hummed, spinning her back to my chest and picking up my tablet. “So…first things first. Your Christmas present.” Bella looked over her shoulder at me, and I teasingly placed my hand on her face to turn her back around, my lips at her ear. “Remember that song I was writing? The one I wouldn’t let you hear or read the words to, angel?” I whispered, closing my eyes and nuzzling the soft spot behind her ear when she nodded. “I believe you called me… What was that?”
She giggled, her head falling back to my shoulder, and I hugged her closer with one arm. “Temperamental artist.”
“Ah, yes. That. Well, that may be true, baby, but… Really, I was writing it for you,” I admitted, dropping a kiss to her cheek. “Jasper wrote the melody, but the words are mine. We sort of…cleaned it up, and then we put something together for you. Tanya made the video.”
I tapped the screen to play it and smiled against Bella’s shoulder when it started. Occasionally Jasper and I would record ourselves to test a song, so it wasn’t anything new, but Tanya had taken some backstage videos of us fooling around, piecing together a pretty damn good video. It was fun, but the words meant everything to me.
It was technically a prayer, and it had started the night Bella and I had had our first date. It was me, begging God to hold her when I couldn’t. It was the weight of my impending tour, the distance that would be between us, and the guilt for finally finding someone like her, only to have to pick up and leave her. It was all those things with my love added in for good measure. It spoke of how tired and lonely I was without her, how selfish I felt, and at the time, I hadn’t even left yet, but as we’d recorded it, it couldn’t have been more honest. Fuck, I’d missed her the second I’d left her. And without shame, it would be going on our next album – the one that Aro would never touch.
Bella giggled at our silly antics – playing football in empty parking lots, getting ink, getting ready for shows, and even some live stuff. But the words caused tears to flow down her face. When it was over, she spun in my arms, wrapping me up in an almost choking hug.
“That was… I loved it! You really wrote that for me?” she rambled against the skin of my neck.
I pulled her back, smiling up at her as I wiped away her tears. “I really did. You’re quite the inspiration, angel,” I whispered honestly, brushing my lips over hers. They were soft and a bit salty from her tears. “It’s going on our next album.”
Bella’s mouth fell open. “No!”
“Yes,” I said with a laugh. “It absolutely is, Bella. Jasper liked the slow ballad, I liked the acoustic sound, and we made the girls cry. We’ll probably boost it up a bit with a heavier sound when we finally record it, but…” I shrugged a shoulder. “It’s a sure thing.”
Her lips pressed to mine roughly and more tears spilled out of those beautiful eyes, but she whispered, “You’re not selfish for doing your job, Edward.” She pulled back, swiping at her face. “How many times do I need to show you exactly what ‘selfish’ means?”
Grinning, I felt my face heat, and I tilted my head up at her. “Every-damn-day.”
She smiled, looming over me. “Selfish is wanting to hear that song again…only live.”
Chuckling at her, I shook my head as my hands slid softly up the outside of her bare legs as she straddled my thighs. My moan was shameless when I found more smooth skin and that gorgeous ass of hers. I cupped it, kneaded it, watching in fascination as her eyes darkened, her breathing faltered, and her tongue snaked out to drag slowly across her bottom lip. Gathering my T-shirt she was wearing, I pulled it off over her head, revealing pure, unadulterated bare Bella.
“Turn around, angel,” I whispered against her lips. “Face the other way.”
Before doing what I asked, she reached down to pull my shorts off, tossing them off the side of the bed. She moved to straddle me, take me inside, but I stopped her.
“Just wait, baby,” I chided against the smooth skin of her shoulder, only to stop long enough to trail my tongue along the inked swan on her shoulder blade. “You want it live… I’ll give you live.”
I pulled her back to my chest, thinking this was the best audience I’d ever had – or ever would have in the damn future. This sweet, sexy, strong thing on my lap who was practically vibrating with every word whispered, every kiss pressed, or every touch that met her skin. My hard cock was trapped between the small of her back and my stomach as I did exactly as she asked. I breathed the words of her song into her flesh, imprinted them with my hands along her ink, and willed them to be true as my fingers toyed with steel rings and the swollen, achey part of her that had her breathing my name as her head fell back to my shoulder.
I continued to sing the song only for her, directly into her ear as she fell apart in my arms. My song, my voice faltered, finally just meshing into a long, slow, pitiful moan when I lifted her just enough to guide myself inside her from behind. She was wet and warm and everything I wanted and some things I didn’t know I needed. And somewhere in the back of my head, I knew I wanted to show her off to New York at some point, but right then…I was perfectly content to spend the rest of the day showing her how much I’d missed her.


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