The Lovers


And so we began again.

And again.

And again.

We didn’t sleep, and we barely came up for air. Edward insisted that my body had changed in the eighteen months were we apart, and he could no longer consider himself an expert without performing extensive research.

I understood his feelings. Being with Edward intimately again was a unique study in contrasts. Though his physique differed very little from what I recalled, nothing about being with him was the same. We’d made love several times before I verbally acknowledged this change.

“I don’t remember it being like this.” I rested my head against his chest.

“How so?” he asked.

I traced the perimeter of his nipple with my index finger, trying to put my thoughts into words.

“If you’d asked me yesterday what I remembered about being intimate with you, I would have answered pleasure. Intense physical pleasure.”

I felt him laugh beneath me.

“As opposed to now, where you’re hardly aroused and can’t get off? I don’t consider myself an expert on female orgasms, but you seemed to be enjoying yourself. Of course, if there’s anything you’d like that I’m not doing, I’ll take direction. As always, I am your diligent pupil.” His hand moved down my back and lazily stroked my backside. “So, Ms. Swan…is there anything stimulating in your lesson plan? Have you planned any exercises to help me improve my skills? I’m more than willing to be schooled.”

“There’s nothing wrong with your skills.” I folded my hands on his chest and rested my chin on top of them. “The pleasure I experience from being intimate with you is still every bit as intense as it was in our previous incarnation. That being said, I still can’t help but feel as though the past few hours have had nothing whatsoever to do with physical release.”

“Just so you know, you released plenty. You’re lucky this is a king sized bed, and we have room to spread out. Otherwise, one of us would be sleeping in the wet spot.”

I lightly smacked his shoulder. “I’m serious. Speaking of the sheets, why were they even on the bed? I thought you said no one had been down here in months.”

He smiled sheepishly. “I might have called ahead to make some arrangements.”

“My, aren’t we presumptuous? Am I that much of a sure thing?”

“Listen to you. You’d think there was nothing else for us to do here but boink.”

“It’s off season. There pretty much isn’t anything else to do.”

“That’s what you think,” he scoffed. “I had a few things set up for us. In addition to bed linens, which would have been necessary whether or not we were intimate, there’s also food and wine…” He trailed his hand down the side of my body.

“Wine dulls the senses.” I rolled off him onto my side, and his hand cupped my newly accessible breast. His thumb made an upward stroke across my nipple, and I closed my eyes and reveled in his touch. “Tonight, I want to feel everything.”

Edward laughed. “I hate to be the one to break this to you, but I think you already have.”

“I’m serious, so please don’t make fun of me. I cherish every second I have with you. It wasn’t all that long ago when your touch topped the list of things I thought I’d never again experience.”

He stroked my cheek, and I pressed my face into his hand.

“I don’t ever want to be without you. It’s such a clich√© to say that life is too short, but if losing my father has taught me anything…” He shook his head. “It’s no longer possible for me to ignore that there are no guarantees, even with the best intentions, even living each day as if it were your last. One morning you’ll wake up, and though you won’t realize it, every opportunity that arises will be your very last chance. I’m no longer laboring under the false assumption that we have all the time in the world. Everything ends, one way or another. As much as I’d like to postpone having this conversation with you and enjoy the moment, I know I really can’t. It’s not fair to either of us.”

I took mental inventory of the uncomfortable conversations we’d had over the past few days.

His updated sexual history…check.

How I pushed him into Kate’s arms by being an asshole at David’s bris…check.

That I needed to love myself before I could ever love him the way he deserved…check.

Despite his insistence to the contrary, he really does hate my hair this short…check.

I couldn’t imagine what we could have possibly missed.

“Exactly what conversation are you talking about?” I asked finally.

“Your expectations of our relationship.”

“That’s easy.” I punctuated each of my words with a kiss on his chest. “Love. Affection. Companionship. Lots and lots of sex.”

“Fair enough.” He smiled. “But what do you want to happen when we go home?”

A lump formed in my throat. “Excuse me?”

“I have two years left of school…” he began.

“I’m aware of this.” I sighed. “I imagine in time you’ll want to move back to campus.”

“I have no intention of moving back to campus. I’m not going to leave my mother.”

“Your mother doesn’t want you putting your life on hold for her. It’s important to her that you enjoy the rest of your time at Princeton. She’s told me as much. Just so you know, she’s planning on paying for you to have a dorm room next year whether you occupy it or not.”

“I suspected she would do that. Still, that’s just geography. Whether I live there or at home has little bearing on this discussion. The majority of the issues we had when we dated the first time still exist. From day one, our ideas of what it means to be in a relationship differed greatly.”

“I admitted to myself that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you in rare moments of complete honesty. I was not reluctant to verbalize this to you because I had doubts regarding your integrity. Telling you that I loved you and that I wanted you forever made me feel so vulnerable. It still does, to some extent, but I’m learning to cope with it. Though I feel completely exposed around you, I know you would never hurt me intentionally.”

In a gesture that could only be described as sweet, Edward lifted my hand off the bed and placed a kiss on my knuckles.

He continued to hold my hand as he spoke. “You once said you didn’t believe in marriage.”

“I said I never saw myself as ever getting married. I know you interpreted that statement as disparaging to you, when really it wasn’t. At that point in my life, I was unable to wrap my mind around the idea that anyone would choose to stay with me, especially in the presence of other options.”

“Has this changed?”

“No. Yes. Kind of.” I closed my eyes and exhaled slowly in a futile attempt to release some of the mounting tension. “I’m still in therapy. I’m working on it. I hope that if the circumstances were right, I would be able to make that leap. I know though that if the situation presented itself tomorrow, I’d panic and withdraw into myself. I guess it’s progress that I’m now self-actualized enough to recognize my behavior for what it is. I’m sorry. I know that’s not the answer you wanted. Our first relationship ended with a lie. I can’t allow our current incarnation to begin with one.”

He gently squeezed my hand. “I appreciate your honesty. I have one other question.”

“Okay.” I nodded nervously.

“Are you willing to be seen in public with me?”

I laughed. “I already have been. Though I haven’t sent a mass email to the school district notifying them of our relationship, I haven’t denied we are close friends when it has come up in conversation. I didn’t feel compelled to elaborate, because I would never discuss my personal life at work. It had nothing to do with you. You graduated two years ago. I seriously doubt it would be an issue.”

Mischief lit his face. I suddenly realized I had unwittingly played right into his hand.

“I’m glad to hear you say that. I have a formal next weekend, and I would love for you to attend it with me. Before you ask, yes, there will be underage drinking and illegal substances present at this event.”

He nailed me.

“Will this function be held on private property?”

“Yes.”

As a twenty-six year old attending an under-graduate function, I knew I would feel only slightly less dirty than a flasher on Rittenhouse Square. Still, I couldn’t deny him.

I sighed in defeat. “Yes. I would love to escort you.”

“Thank you.” He pulled me against his chest. “I know this makes you uncomfortable, but it won’t be forever. We only have two more years before I’ll be legal.”

“By then you’ll also be finished college and heading off to medical school.”

He sharply inhaled. “I’m not sure I can go through with that.”

I closed my eyes and snuggled closer against his chest. “I’ll follow you anywhere. You know that, right? ”

He stroked my hair. “I know you would, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m just not sure I want to pursue medicine.”

I propped myself up on my elbow so I could see his face. “Really? What changed?”

He sighed. “I’m not even sure I can describe it. It’s not like I had any illusions about what practicing medicine actually entails. I’ve watched both my parents come home after losing patients. It starts to be…almost normal after a while. My dad never seemed any more put out by it than you are when you have a bad day teaching. Intellectually, I understood what a doctor’s responsibilities are when a life is lost on his watch. I knew that it’s typically the attending physician who would inform the patient’s family. I just never actually thought about how it would feel to be that person…”

He choked on his words as his eyes filled with tears. “I never thought about what it would be like to tell a woman she had lost her husband…to tell a man he lost his father until I was on the receiving end. The doctor came into the waiting room, scrub cap in hand, looking defeated. I can’t even remember what he said, just my mother’s screams as she fell to the floor in shock. Her hair was so red against the sterile gray linoleum, she looked like she was bleeding.”

I sat up and pulled him into my arms. I didn’t need to see his face. The trembling of his chest coupled with his labored breathing told me exactly what he was doing. Several moments later, when he pulled away from me and leaned against the headboard, his red eyes told me I was right.

He pulled me against his chest. “I know the trauma surgeon who operated on my dad thought he’d failed us, that he’d failed my mother. I could see it in his eyes. Still, when his shift ended, he probably drove home and ate dinner with his family like it was any other day. I know he did. I’d watched my dad do the very same thing more times than I can count. I’m not judging him for it. There’s a certain emotional disconnect a person needs in order to be effective in medicine. I don’t have it.”

“I doubt your father had it at eighteen, either. Sadly, I imagine it’s one of those things that’s gained solely through experience.”

“That’s experience I can do without. I don’t want to become desensitized, to be able to shrug off the loss of human life. I’m grateful there are people out there who can do that, who don’t mind. I doubt I’ll ever be one of them.” He paused briefly, lazily running his fingertips along my spine. “I’m not sure I want to be.”

“Not to state the obvious, but you can still work in the medical field in other capacities. Lots of people attend medical school and never practice. There’s the research and engineering side of it.”

“True. I have no intention of changing majors, so I could certainly pursue that path if I decided it appealed to me. Really, I think I may want to take some time off and compose a bit. I can always apply to medical school later if I change my mind.”

I played with the sprinkle of hair around his nipples. “Musicians are incredibly sexy.”

“Are they sexier than doctors?” he asked, seemingly very intrigued.

“That depends on a variety of factors. I would need to know which instrument the musician plays, as well as what color scrubs the doctor is wearing. Though doctors have steady hands, musicians also have skills. Bagpipers can hold their breath for minutes at time. Imagine the possibilities…”

He laughed and rolled me over onto my back, settling himself between my legs.

I cupped his face in my hands. “I just want you to be happy. How you spend your days is of little importance to me as long as you find it fulfilling. I’m far more concerned with how you spend your nights.”

I fought the urge to trail my hand down his torso and squeeze his cock. Edward would think I was using sex to avoid intimacy, and in the past, he would have been correct. It was different now. Taking him inside me was the best way to show him my commitment and sincerity.

And my love.

“So, what happens when we go home?” he asked, repeating his earlier question.

He had to realize this time everything was different.

I traced my finger around the tip of his penis, marveling as it hardened with my touch. My eyes met his, and I smiled unassumingly.

“I was kind of hoping to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“You will,” he whispered, pushing inside me.

I closed my eyes and lost myself in our coupling, finally able to give every part of myself to him, knowing he loved my ugly bits as much as he did the beautiful ones. I wasn’t sure if forever would exist for us, but when I recalled the contents of the terse email he sent to me during one of our darkest moments, I couldn’t help but believe that it would.

Edward had never lied to me.





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  1. on 01 Oct 2010 at 3:51 pmlisa89

    I always think of things I want to say when I’m reading through, but then I forget when I’m down here. I don’t really want to go back and re-read because I’m anxious to keep going, though. Oh, I remember one. I really appreciate Bella working on her problems, and not that they’re magically solved now that she and Edward are back together.

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  2. on 13 Nov 2010 at 2:01 amkng1986

    Edward is so much more mature and self confident. It came with a heavy price but he’s not afraid to talk to Bella now and hear what she’s thinking.

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  3. on 25 Nov 2010 at 6:56 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    Why am I worried when you end a chapter with Edward had never lied to me? Huh? That’s right. Cause there’s always a first time.
    Loved their conversation. Books

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  4. on 06 Jan 2011 at 9:08 pmSea4Me

    Ooh-good way to bring it back.

    Terrible & excellent ephinany about his potential career path. Although, we need more empathic docs. Has he forgotten about his mother’s profession? I suspect his future lies there.

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  5. on 30 Jan 2011 at 12:30 amJanice

    What will Edward’s future be???? This story is just so wonderful – I can’t stop!!!

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