Wednesday, October 28, 2015 | By: Drotuno

A Few Tables Away Chapter 25 & Pics

Chapter 25
BELLA
The library was quiet as I strode down the last aisle at the back of the building. I scanned the shelf, reaching up high for the book I needed. My fingertips barely brushed the spine, and I grunted in frustration. However, I couldn’t stop the smile from creeping up my face when a long, strong arm reached over me to effortlessly pull down the book I’d been struggling to obtain.
Turning around, I leaned back against the bookcase, giggling softly at Edward’s sweet, crooked smile as he held out my book. He was in his contacts today, something that he rotated on a regular basis. I loved the glasses because they made him look so sweet and smart. I loved the contacts, too, because they gave me an uninterrupted view of that gorgeous green and those long eyelashes.
“Better?” he asked, leaning in to kiss my lips as I hugged the book to me.
“Yes, thank you,” I whispered, brushing my mouth across his a few more times. “I wasn’t expecting you for another hour.”
“Dr. Carmen had to reschedule, so I told her I’d see her next Friday,” he answered, shrugging a shoulder. “Which is fine by me; I have to study for finals.” He reached out for my hand, and I laced my fingers with his as he led us back to our table. “I’ll get some done now before work.”
Our time in the library, even if we never said a word to each other, was precious to us, so we’d been determined to find a new meeting time once we returned from Washington. It’d been a new semester, so these last four and a half months had us meeting up in the library at the end of the day, instead of the middle of the day like before Christmas break. Fridays were our favorite. Edward went to see Dr. Carmen, met me in the library for a few hours, and then he went to work. From work, he’d come straight to my house to spend the weekend. Every weekend. It gave him time with his sister, who was coasting through her last few days of high school, and he and I would wrap ourselves around each other at night in my room.
That thought had me glancing up from my books on the table in front of me to stare shamelessly at Edward. He was different yet the same sweet, shy boy I’d first seen in this very library. He was still studious and smart, and he wrote amazing stories for me and for some classes he was taking. He still loved to read together, which was probably my second favorite thing to do with him. The thought of my favorite thing made me lick my lips and rake my gaze from his sharp jaw, furrowed brow, and set mouth, down to his broad shoulders, flexing arm, and those very talented long fingers which were innocently playing with his pen.
When he caught my stare, he raised a deadly eyebrow at me. “Pretty girl, you keep that up and—”
“Don’t you dare finish that sentence at this table, Edward Cullen,” I hissed teasingly, just to watch him laugh. Fuck, he was just stunningly beautiful when he laughed. “I will not be held responsible for my actions.”
His grin flashed bright, and he nodded, reaching for my hand. He pressed long, soft kisses to my fingers, whispering, “I know, baby. I can’t wait, either. I’ve missed you this week.”
“Me, too,” I sighed, smiling at him, because it was impossible not to just want to kiss him stupid.
Some things didn’t change, but the dark, heated gaze he was giving me was something he’d started since our first time in Seattle just before coming home. Most of Edward’s sexual shyness had completely dissipated. Gone. Poof. He was insanely sexy when he wanted to be, but usually, he had no clue he was doing it.
“I’ll make it up to you, Bella. I promise,” he vowed against my skin, grinning again when I narrowed my eyes at him in warning.
I pulled my hand back slowly, mumbling about dangerously good-looking boys and their even more dangerous voices, not to mention the fact that I’d missed every inch of him this last week just due to homework, his shifts at the café, and everything else in between. However, I fought my smile as Edward pressed a chuckling kiss to the side of my head.
To say Edward was busy would be an understatement. The moment we’d returned from Washington, everyone just stayed…busy. A new semester meant new classes and a new routine. We’d had to figure out everything all over again. There was a shit-ton of homework, a new work schedule for him at the café, moving his sister into the guest room across the hall from me, and yes, Edward and Alice had started sessions with Dr. Carmen. Add in the occasional conference call with lawyers and one weekend trip to Seattle for the two of them to testify against their father, and it seemed like we never saw each other. It was that trip which had made Edward decide to ask Aunt Jane about her therapist friend – he and his sister had come back to Florida completely beaten down.
Everything Carlisle Cullen had ever done was now out in the open – and it was some pretty ugly shit. It started with fraud and embezzlement. Carlisle had forged Emmett’s signature in order to gain access to the trust, and his lawyer had filed, not knowing it wasn’t real.
He also owed or had paid several people a hell of a lot of money.
A woman in Olympia, who he’d been having an affair with well before Esme had passed away, testified that he’d been paying her to stay silent, which included an apartment and later, Edward’s Volvo. Some of his patients and prescription history was being called into question. And a Dr. King testified that he knew about all of it, and Carlisle had paid him a very large amount money to shut him up. There was even rumor of off-shore accounts, but they were still investigating.
Charge after charge stacked up against Edward’s father, and not one of them from his children. He’d dug his own grave – several graves, actually – and not only did the board of directors at the hospital cut him loose, but he was now facing a few years in prison. The forgery of Emmett’s signature alone was enough to get him three years at the least. The prescriptions, on the other hand, could cause the loss of his license to practice medicine.
Without income, never mind what he’d spent, Carlisle lost everything financially. The Cullen home in Forks now had a lien on it and the last I’d heard, it was up for sale. What was left of the trust – and the accounts that Pastor Liam had overseen – had now been equally distributed amongst Emmett, Edward, and Alice.
All of that bullshit weighed heavily on my Edward, which was why he saw Dr. Carmen on a regular basis. Occasionally I’d go with him, but most of the time he’d go alone. I honestly thought that he preferred it that way, simply because he could rage behind closed doors. As sweet and shy and calm as my handsome boyfriend was, he was completely and utterly pissed off at his father. And I didn’t blame him one fucking bit. My personal hope was that, while in prison, a large man named Bubba treated Carlisle like he’d treated his children, but I never voiced that aloud.
I glanced up at Edward again, this time reaching up to brush his hair from his forehead. There was a small, fine scar left over from the fight with his dad. It was the only thing visible, but it was the scars that I couldn’t see – the quiet, emotional scars – that made me want to wrap Edward up in soft pillows and bubble-wrap to keep him safe and happy.
Edward met my gaze, the deep green calm and soothing and curious, and I smiled, whispering, “Love you, baby. That’s all.”
His smile was warm and sweet, if not slightly teasing. “Love you, pretty girl. And you are the best of distractions today. You all right?”
“I’m sorry,” I said, breaking out into a giggle I couldn’t stop. His grin was beautiful as I shrugged a shoulder. “I dunno. I’m just…” I sighed deeply, taking in his patient face. “I guess I’m ready for summer. We’ve got one more week of classes. Your sister’s graduation is coming up, and then Emmett and Rose will be here for two months.”
Something I didn’t recognize flickered across his face, but he nodded. “Yeah, I’m ready for the break,” he said, tapping his books with his pen to indicate that he meant school, because I knew he’d continue to work and go to his sessions with Dr. Carmen. He studied my face again, and he reached up to drag the backs of his fingers across my cheek, finally pulling me in to press his lips to mine. “I picked a new book, Bella,” he whispered against my lips, smiling crookedly at me.
Pushing away from me, he reached into his backpack and set the book in my hands.
My face heated, but I couldn’t stop the soft laugh that bubbled up out of me. “There’s a sequel?” I asked incredulously. “What more could those two get up to?” I raised an eyebrow, remembering the very first book we’d read together about the sexy, if not slightly asinine, CEO and his very pretty assistant who couldn’t stop from wanting each other. It had led to some serious making out once Edward’s voice had wrapped around the dirty parts.
Edward grinned and shrugged. “I don’t think it’s Jack and Sophia, just the same author.”
The fact that he remembered the characters’ names made me snort into the ugliest of laughs, but I loved him madly. I handed the book back to him, shaking my head.
“Fair enough, Edward,” I told him. “I’ll be kissing you stupid for that later, I’m sure.”
He grinned but didn’t even look up from his homework as he said, “I’m looking forward to it, baby.”
I couldn’t concentrate for shit, so I gazed around the library. Our new schedule brought new sets of eyes, people I’d seen in class and around campus and some I didn’t know at all, but there were new girls that seemed drawn to Edward. As usual, he never even noticed them, or if he did, he didn’t bother to acknowledge it.
Finally forcing myself to work, I lost myself in my English Lit paper. I was broken out of my concentration when Edward’s lips pressed to the side of my head.
“Gotta go to work, pretty girl. You’ll be by later?”
Looking up at him, I nodded, “Mmhm. Yep, with Alice most likely. I promised I’d hit the beach with her after school, and then ice cream at O’Malley’s.” Glancing up at the clock, I closed my book. “I should go, too.”
He smiled and nodded, waiting for me to gather my things. We walked to the parking lot together, and I smiled at Edward’s truck parked next to my car. The one thing everyone had encouraged him to do for himself was to buy a means of transportation. Edward, however, didn’t go overboard or lose his mind with something crazy, though he had the money to do it. Jasper and my dad had gone with him to make sure he got something decent, something reliable. He’d bought a simple used pickup truck – nothing humongous, nothing audacious, just a simple truck. It was black, and it seemed to fit him.
“See you later,” I told him, smiling up at him when he walked me to my car.
“Love you, pretty girl,” he said, leaning into my window to kiss me one more time.
~oOo~
Alice and I thanked the kid behind the counter for our ice cream, stepping back out onto the boardwalk. I slowly dragged my spoon through hot fudge, whipped cream, and cold ice cream, bringing it to my mouth.
The beach had been crowded with students from both Glenhaven High and Edgewater College. It was Friday, and most just seemed to need to blow off steam. Summer break was so close, the air seemed to vibrate with the anticipation. Alice had seen a few people she knew, and so had I – one of which had been Alec.
“So…that was the asshole who threw a drink at my brother,” she said, licking her spoon and smiling at my laugh.
“Yeah, he’s…special.” I sneered, shaking my head. “He’s also not allowed at the café anymore. Jasper’s banned him.”
At the mention of my cousin, Alice’s cheeks heated and she focused more on her sundae than anything else around her.
“Hey,” I whispered, nudging her a little. “He really does like you.”
Her sweet blue eyes locked on to my face, silently pleading with me not to fuck with her. I sighed deeply because I understood both sides. My cousin, despite his laid-back personality, was trying to give Alice a chance to settle in, finish high school, and heal a little from all that she’d been through with her brothers and father. He wasn’t leading her on or teasing. He just wanted her happy. Alice, however, was running out of patience.
They flirted and laughed and got along better than I’d ever imagined they would, but my cousin was trying to be a gentleman. And he was Edward’s best friend, which made him wary from the start. And even he had told Jasper time and time again that Alice was quite capable of making up her own mind. My cousin, however, merely wanted to do the right thing because he really liked Alice – almost to the point of overprotectiveness.
“You think it’ll change when I’m out of your house?” she asked hopefully. “Not that I don’t want to be there… I just meant when I start Edgewater in the fall.”
Grinning, I took another bite of my ice cream. “Maybe, but Alice, you need to talk to him. He’s a dumb boy. Trust me, I grew up with him. As awesome and smart and silly as he is, he’s just…Jasper. He’s busy, and he’s trying to make sure you aren’t…”
“I’m fine,” she huffed, rolling her eyes. “I’m almost nineteen.”
“And he’s twenty-two, Ali. He’s had relationships before – one was even serious for a bit – but he just doesn’t want to move too fast or hurt you. You…coming here…that was a big step that came from nowhere. Even Edward worried about you, you know?”
At the mention of her big brother, Alice sighed. “I’m okay. It’s been almost five months.”
“And you’re still dealing with your dad’s shit, Alice. Hell, he hasn’t even been sentenced yet, and he’s still got to face the prescription thing. I’m hoping he’ll plead out like Emmett said, but…”
She nodded, snorting a little, but she looked over at me. “You know, Edward and Emmett… They guarded me, protected me since Mom died, even before that, and I love them for it, but I just want…normal. I want… I want to be treated like a girl, a woman, not someone’s baby sister.”
I laughed softly. “Maybe that’s what my cousin needs to hear. I can’t say I blame you.”
We walked into Sunset Roast, and I smiled at the handsome thing behind the counter. His shyness was set aside when he was at work. He smiled and greeted the regulars, he joked with Tanya, who was currently throwing sugar packets at him, and he worked his ass off in the back unloading the deliveries and keeping the inventory straight. He even continued to maintain the filing that my cousin still wasn’t allowed to touch. He’d turned into Jasper’s right hand.
Edward’s smile was warm, sweet, despite the fact that he was still batting away sugar packets. “How was the beach?” he asked, leaning over the counter to kiss me before I fed him a bite of ice cream.
“Sandy…beachy,” I said with a grin, but I watched his mouth wrap around my spoon for one more bite, aching to have that mouth everywhere.
“Where’s my ice cream?!” Jasper gasped in shock, coming in from the back.
“Down at O’Malley’s, you mooch,” I snapped back, looking at him like he was crazy. “Get your own sundae…or better yet… Next time, bring your happy ass with us to the beach. Then you can get your own fucking ice cream. How ’bout that?” I smiled innocently his way as he narrowed his eyes at me.
“That’s cold, dude,” he muttered, eyeballing my spoon as I fed Edward another bite. “And you are distracting my employee with chocolate and whipped cream and…”
Edward snorted, shaking his head. “Here we go,” he sang under his breath, wearing an amused smile.
“And you’re seriously hogging my boyfriend, doofus, which means he can’t go to O’Malley’s, so I bring the ice cream to him.” I pointed around the quiet café. “Don’t like it? Then send him on break.”
Tanya and Alice were in silent hysterics as they watched us like a tennis match.
“Meany.”
“Slave driver,” I countered, looking up at Edward. “Ignore him. Can you take a break before I head home?”
Edward’s grin was adorable, but he shook his head no. “I need to tackle the filing from this week.”
“Ah-ha! Excellent. I’ll keep you company,” I said, turning to Alice. “We’ll head home in a few minutes.” As I walked by my cousin, I set the rest of my ice cream into his hand. “Here, you big baby. Maybe next time you’ll man up and go with Alice yourself. Hmm?” I whispered to him, raising an eyebrow his way.
He shoveled a spoonful of ice cream into his face as we walked into the back, only to yell, “Don’t do anything disgusting in my office!”
“Who says we haven’t already?!” I called back, grinning up at Edward. “It’s best to keep him on his toes.”
“Bella,” he said with a laugh, and a slow shake of his head as he shut the office door and clicked the lock closed. “Let’s really make him nervous.” He grinned, and it was deadly and teasing.
My giggle was loud, but I sat down on the edge of the desk as Edward picked up the stack of papers from Jasper’s inbox.
When the last page was tucked away and the drawer closed, Edward turned to walk into my arms, dropping a heavy kiss to my forehead. His lips met mine in a long, deep kiss, but he smiled into it, pulling back and licking his lips. “You taste sweet and chocolaty.”
I smiled up at him, brushing my lips over his again. “What time will you be home?” Again, an expression crossed his face that I couldn’t quite figure out. “What’s wrong?”
He laughed, looking at me like I was crazy. “Not a damn thing, pretty girl. And I won’t be too late. I promise. Tanya’s doing the closing tonight.”
“Okay, good.” I kissed him again, squeaking a little when he wrapped his arms around me and set me down to the floor.
Jasper was on the other side of the door when we opened it, his hand poised, reaching for the knob. His eyes narrowed to me, then Edward, and finally around us to his desk.
“Good thing you got a sturdy chair, Jasper,” I told him, hearing Edward snort into a laugh when I patted my cousin’s shoulder.
Edward walked me back up front, and we both chuckled when Jasper muttered, “You know… I really don’t like either one of you right now. Tanya! Where’s the disinfectant?!”
~oOo~
My shower was hot and long, rinsing away the sea salt and sand from my few hours at the beach with Alice. I pulled on my usual shorts and T-shirt for bed, thinking I’d just work on some homework until Edward arrived, but when I stepped into my bedroom, I grinned at my handsome thing sitting on the edge of my bed.
“You’re early,” I said, shutting the door and locking it.
Edward was still in his work shirt and jeans, and he smiled up at me, pulling me between his legs as he nodded a little. “I was driving Tanya bat-shit crazy. She kicked me out early.”
“Aww,” I crooned through a chuckle as I cupped his face. “Poor baby. Why?”
“I couldn’t stop pacing,” he replied softly, flexing his fingers on my waist, like he was trying to touch as much of me as he could at one time. “Bella… Pretty girl, I… I want to… Dammit, I just need to ask you something, and I’m…”
He was so damned nervous that he reminded me of the shy boy I’d met in my cousin’s office, and suddenly, I was really scared.
“Did I… Is there…”
“Oh God, baby,” he breathed, pressing his lips to mine as he cupped my face in his hands. “It’s not bad, pretty girl. I just… I want to ask you something.”
“O-Okay.”
“I wrote this shit down, and still I’m nervous,” he said through a humorless laugh, but he met my gaze and swallowed thickly. “Bella, I… I don’t want to live in the dorms next year. I want… I want us to find a place…together.”
I gaped at him, not because I didn’t want it – I did, badly – but because he thought I’d say no. “Seriously?” I squeaked, unable to stop the smile from spreading across my face.
“Yes, seriously.” He grinned, but it fell quickly. “Listen, Bella… I’ve talked to your dad, and I’ve weighed out dorms versus an apartment, but I miss you during the week, which sounds ridiculous since we see each other after school. I don’t want just weekends. Pretty girl, I want those things you said when we were in Forks – our own couch and bed and library…a small one. I want to come home to you, not my roommate, Ben, and not just here on the weekends. I want to hold you every night.
“I’ve wanted it more and more since you said it, and I thought… I’ve talked to Dr. Carmen about it, because I don’t want you or anyone else to think it’s got anything to do with… I’m OCD and aquaphobic, baby, not co-dependent.” He laughed a little when I giggled softly.
“Edward…stop. I know you love me and you want to be together because of that, not for any other reason.” I trailed my fingers across his handsome face. “Yes…just yes. Like when? And how soon?”
He laughed, pulling me to his lap, and I locked my legs around his waist. “Well, I talked to Aunt Jane, too, Bella. She’s actually got an idea. You know that empty store next to the café?” he asked, and I nodded. “She’s thinking of expanding, but… But upstairs is a living space, and she’s… Well, she thought it was kinda, sorta…”
“Perfect,” I finished for him in a whisper, and he nodded, raking his fingers through my damp hair.
“For us. Yes.” He nodded again, smiling up at me. “In fact, you and I were her first thought. She hasn’t bought it yet, but she’s working on it. It isn’t big or fancy or…”
My lips met his roughly. He was too cute and too nervous, and I wanted it. Honestly, I wanted it all with him. Anything. Everything. There was never, ever going to be a single thing I’d deny him. He’d been denied enough in his life, and I wanted to be the one to spoil him, love him, keep him.
“I love you, and I love the whole plan. You just tell me when,” I whispered against his lips, squealing into a giggle when he rolled us on my bed to loom over me.
His happy face morphed into something serious as he settled between my legs. Reaching up, I ran my fingers through his hair.
“I’ve missed you. This. I’m sorry I’m so busy and this semester has been crazy. It’s why I want to live with you. I never want to be without this. I need this, Bella. I need you. Always,” he vowed, pressing his lips to mine as I pulled him closer with everything I had.
“Always.”
Our kiss became more – more heated, more frenzied, just more. Edward’s hands roamed over me, beneath my shirt, along my legs. I pulled and tugged at his T-shirt, and he finally relented, pushing up on one hand as the other reached back to grab a fistful of fabric in order to tug it off. My pajamas were next and then his jeans, and when we were finally skin to skin, I moaned at the feel of him.
Since our first time, I wanted more of him. We couldn’t get enough of each other, and we quickly learned how to drive each other completely crazy. He was beautiful, with heat in his eyes and his mouth on me – everywhere, just like I’d wanted when he’d taken the ice cream I’d fed him. And oh my God, and he was so damned good at it. My head fell back as he kissed my sex like he kissed my mouth – warm, wet, deep, and with hums that made my eyes roll back.
Our bodies melted together as one as he slipped inside of me. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get over how amazing it felt, how perfect it felt to be one single entity. It was emotional and healing, it made me feel owned and loved, but it also made me feel powerful, because to watch Edward lose himself to me, to us, was absolutely stunning.
Pressing his forehead to mine, he reached between us to touch me in just the right spot to make me completely unravel. Between his fingers and his smooth, sexy voice begging me to let go, I shattered beneath him, pleading that he come with me, and he did, beautifully.
His eyes were closed as I trailed fingers down his back, rubbing my legs up and down his, my other hand finding his scars.
“Edward?” I said softly, smiling when deep, sweet green met my gaze. “I don’t want to read tonight. I just want…this.”
He smiled, kissing me with the lightest of kisses. “Me too, pretty girl.”





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