Pedal Point

My house was eerily silent as I came through the back door after dropping off Bella. Though the alarm announced my presence, I still moved as quietly as possible to the kitchen, where I helped myself to a lager.

“Did you have a nice time?”

Now soaked with beer, I turned to find my mom sitting on the sofa.

“I’m beginning to think you do this on purpose,” I muttered as I grabbed a dishtowel and patted myself dry.

“I can’t believe you still fall for it. What’s your IQ again?”

“Very funny.” Holding what was left of my beer, I walked across the room and sat across from her. “You’re always going to wait up for me, aren’t you?”

“Maybe not always. It’s more for me than it is for you, you know.”

“Is this one of those maternal things where you can’t sleep unless I’m home? How did you manage when I was away at school?”

“No, nothing like that. I wait up for you for the same reason you wanted to carve the turkey on Sunday.”

“Because of Dad.”

Her lower lip quivered as she nodded, and though I hated to see her feeling so lonely, I was somewhat relieved to know that her newfound penchant for waiting up for me was more from a need to feel close to my father than any doubt that I was capable of behaving responsibly.

“So how was your midweek getaway?” she asked again.

“Nice. Bella agreed to go to Houseparties with me, which is a huge step for her.”

“Visiting you on campus?”

“Visiting me on campus, willingly sleeping in a dorm, agreeing to be present in a room where there will be underage drinking as well as people taking pictures. It’s huge.”

“Her history of playing the I’ll-lose-my-teaching-license card notwithstanding, she is taking a serious risk.”

“Yes and no. I mean, if anything ever happened to her career because of me, I would take care of her.”

My mom rolled her eyes.

“What?” I asked.

“It’s been two years of this, and you still don’t know her at all. Yes, you could easily provide her basic needs—shelter, food, clothing—if she let you, because those are things that can be bought and sold. Think about your father for a moment. Do you really think the salary he made as a surgeon had any bearing whatsoever on why he went to work each day?”

“Dad always wanted to help people.”

“That’s true, but there was always more to it than that. Despite his parents’ shortcomings, your father was raised to believe that with privilege comes responsibility. They’ve always been dedicated humanitarians, but he took it a step further. His work was a huge source of pride for him. It enabled a young man who always had far too much money but not enough of anything that mattered to find worth. His friends who didn’t know him when he was in his twenties assume he went into medicine because he valued life. The truth is that in those days, he didn’t value much of anything. How could he? Everything he’d ever wanted had been given to him. Well, everything except his father’s attention. Medicine gave him a purpose and made him who he is.”

“Dad said that you made him who he was.”

“He’s always given me far too much credit. All I did was love him, and that was easy.” She looked down at her wedding rings and closed her eyes.

I knew what she was doing—I’d certainly seen Kate do it enough times. She explained to me once that most important part of a memory was its emotional component, that if she could will herself to feel the way she did when Jason was alive, in those moments it was almost as if he was. My mom always said that we view the people in our lives as extensions of how they make us feel while we are with them. It only made sense that a composite of those emotions could replicate the essence of a lost loved one. Her eyes remained closed, but her smile confirmed that wherever she was, my father was with her. I couldn’t imagine how much she missed him. I knew I longed for my father with an intensity I couldn’t verbalize, and my pain was nothing compared to hers.

When she opened her eyes a minute later, it was as if our conversation hadn’t lulled.

“Have you ever asked Bella why she teaches?”

“She says she likes the challenge of shaping young minds.”

“I’m sure that’s true. I also know that if not for her teachers, she would have had no adults in her life who took interest in her. Until fairly recently, the sense of fulfillment she gets from mentoring was her only source of self-worth. As far as Bella was concerned, she wasn’t just jeopardizing her livelihood by publicly canoodling with a former student—she was risking the only thing in her life that gave her a sense of purpose.”

“She’s told you this?”

“She didn’t have to.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I’m glad you weren’t betraying her confidence just now. On the other, when you put it like that, it’s so obvious. I feel like a douche for not realizing that myself.”

“When you’ve gone to medical school, completed your psychiatry residency, and worked in private practice for fifteen years, then you can feel like a douche for not being able to read people well. Until then, just accept the fact that I’m going to pick up on things you won’t.”

I laughed, and for the first time since my dad died, the thought of going to medical school didn’t make me want to projectile vomit. The image of going into practice with my mother flashed before me and as strange as it was to admit, I found myself smiling. I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted to do, but it was appealing enough that I couldn’t rule it out.

“I told Bella about my inheritance.”

“Thank god.” My mom took my empty beer to the kitchen and returned with two fresh bottles, one of which she handed to me. “How did that go?”

“She took it well.”

“Of course she did.” She reclaimed her spot on the sofa. “I told you before that it would be an issue only if you kept putting it off. Then it would have stopped being an omission and become a bona fide deception. All of a sudden, what was no big deal would have become a potential deal breaker.”

As she sipped her beer, I wondered if she was speaking from experience, but I didn’t want to pry.

“I guess I’d had it built up in my mind as this enormous hurdle. In all fairness to me, nothing with Bella had been easy. Why should this be any different?”

“Because you’re both in a different place now. This is the upside of having lost each other once before—both your bond and your resolve are stronger than ever.”

“She made me promise not to go randomly buying her stuff.”

“Then don’t.”

“The first night of Houseparties is formal. Her budget is very tight; I know she can’t afford to buy a dress.”

“Why don’t you let me take care of that?” My mom smiled, and I knew that whatever she was planning was as much for her as it was for Bella.

My theory went out the window on the first night of Houseparties, when Bella stepped into the common area dressed to attend my formal. I wasn’t sure what color she was wearing (it wasn’t green, but it wasn’t blue, either), just that it looked amazing next to her skin. The top of the gown left her shoulders bare and hugged her body tightly until reaching her hips, then flowing into a skirt that seemed to float around her. Her hair was pulled into a tight knot at the back of her neck, and her make-up seemed to give her lips a perpetual pout. I wondered if after the formal, she’d leave lipstick marks on my cock. She probably would if I asked her, because she loved me.

I was the luckiest fucking bastard alive.

“Would it be incredibly cheesy if I fell to my knees and thanked God I’m a man? Because that’s kind of what I feel like doing right now.”

“Not only would I lose all respect for you, but you’d get schmutz on your tux.”

Determined to behave as suavely as possible, I brought her hand to my mouth and brushed kisses across her knuckles. “In that case, let me leave it at this. You’ve never looked more beautiful. I’ve never been more proud to be with you, nor have I ever loved you more.”

“Listen to you,” she said, giggling. “You’d think you’d spent the past two years at charm school, not the nation’s most highly rated undergraduate institution. You do realize it’s a huge waste of effort on your part. You should know by now I’m a sure thing.” She pressed her hand against my ass and added in a whisper, “Don’t wear yourself out too much tonight. I have plans for you.”

“Is that so?”

“Mmm hmm.” She dragged her hand across my side to my chest. “Do you remember the one act neither of us have done before?”

As if I would ever forget. I’d been fascinated by her asshole since we first started having sex. Before taking her from behind, I’d fixated on it, but not from the typical male desire to know how it would feel to fuck the tightest hole in existence. I mean, Kate was a virgin when we met; I knew what tight felt like. My obsession with Bella’s back door had more to do with the emotional than the physical. Anal sex was the final frontier, and the only thing we could do that would be ours and ours alone.

But I didn’t want to pressure her. I decided to play dumb just in case she was talking about something else.

“Just so you know, I have zero interest in water sports, and the showers here are communal.”

“Not that. Yuck.” Her eyes widened, and her hand flew to her mouth. “Wait, that’s not something you’re curious about, is it?”

“No, I was teasing you. I know exactly the sex act to which you are referring.”

I’d say I knew it in the Biblical sense, but because I’d yet to actually perform said sex act, that statement wouldn’t be entirely accurate. In my real day-to-day life, my association with the act in question was more onanistic; that is, it was one of my favorite wank fantasies.

“I brought a bottle of Astroglide.” She flashed me her trademark I’m-up-to-no-good smile.

It was the smile that could make me do anything.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying to convince me to ditch the formal and stay in tonight.”

“Would you skip the evening’s social obligations if I let you fuck me up the ass?”

I tried not to get excited; she might be speaking in the hypothetical. At the same time, if she hated the idea of going to the formal that much and were willing to negotiate, if anal sex were on the table—better yet, if anal sex were on my desk—could I be convinced to forgo the evening’s public celebration in favor of a more private one?

The tightening in my nutsack gave me the answer. I most certainly could.

“I’d seriously consider it.”

“Interesting.” She bit her lip and drummed her fingertips against my chest. “I’ll have to remember that for the future. Tonight, though, you won’t have to choose—I’m happy to provide you with both.”

“I love you, Bella.”

In fact, at that moment, I doubted that I’d ever loved her more.

“You don’t have to butter me up, you know. I told you I brought a whole bottle of lube, and I fully intend for us to use it.”

“I’m serious,” I said, placing my hands on her hips. “I know you feel uncomfortable here. Your presence tonight means to me more than I can possibly express.”

“Well.” She let out an exaggerated sigh. “It was either stomach an evening on campus or throw you to the skanks. I can live with a few hours of feeling like the babysitter if it keeps you out of their clutches. Though once the whores see you in that tux, I’m going to have my work cut out for me. I suspect I’ll have to beat them off you in a pathetic attempt to guard your virtue.”

I pulled her against me. “You can do whatever you want, as long as the person you’re beating off when the party is over is me.”

“That’s a given.”

With Bella’s arm through mine, we made our way to the Street.

“Will I know anyone here besides you?”

“No. Mike and Tyler belong to a different club; Angela is an independent.”

“Independence is an option? You made it sound as if one starved if one didn’t join a club.”

I laughed. “Starving is a bit extreme. It would be safe to say that you don’t get much socially out of being here on campus if you don’t join a club. Don’t worry about not knowing anyone. You know me, and I have no intention of leaving you.”

I knew Bella felt a bit awkward on campus, and the least I could do to show my appreciation for her presence was to remain at her side—which is exactly what I did. I even escorted her to the ladies’ room, staying in the hallway while I waited for her to reemerge. That was until she told me laughingly that she was a big girl and capable of going to the bathroom on her own. For her third bathroom trip of the evening, I remained at the table at Bella’s insistence.

When twenty minutes passed and she still hadn’t returned, I went to check on her. Just as I raised my hand to knock on the closed bathroom door, it swung open. Much to my surprise, the person on the other side of it wasn’t Bella.

It was Kate, and it was obvious she had been crying. How could I not have realized this would happen? Even worse, how could I not have thought to tell Bella that Kate would be here?

One thing was certain—Bella may have bought the lube for herself, but I was the one about to take it up the ass.

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8 Responses

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  1. on 16 Jun 2010 at 9:55 pmMary

    I. Love. This. Esme. That is all.


  2. on 16 Jun 2010 at 10:21 pmKate

    Esme was perfect in this. Just perfect. I loved Edward’s thoughts of being a doctor like his mother, not like his father for the first time.

    I’m so glad you are including this!


  3. on 17 Jun 2010 at 12:11 amItlnbrt

    It was really nice once again to read Edwards side… his talk with Esme was great!
    We know about the convo in the bathroom with Kate and Bella… poor Edward… can’t wait until next update to see what else he has to say about this situation.

    Thanks again for sharing this story!!!


  4. on 18 Jun 2010 at 4:38 pmGabi

    Thank you. I love your Esme. Strong, sensible, witty, friendly, caring…as we all aspire to be as a mother.


  5. on 20 Jun 2010 at 9:14 pmadhita

    I’m glad that after talking to his mother, Edward actually considered a different option in the medical field, not in theory (like last chapter) but actually saw himself going to work with his mother, and it gave him hope. His dad’s death took a lot away from him, emotionally speaking, but Carlisle wouldn’t want his son to give up considering some paths because of his passing.
    Esme is a great influence in his son’s life and has even more chances now to develop her relationship with her son. She’s great!
    Even though Edward is a genious, he still reacts like a teenager in some situations and I love him for it, he shouldn’t deny himself the opportunity to experience things as an 18 year old.
    Bella’s conversation/confrontation with Kate was inevitable, it was a matter of time they would end up meeting each other; I hope all’s well…


  6. on 21 Jun 2010 at 10:57 pmElizabeth440

    Why do I get the impression that Esme’s psychological orientation is psychodynamic? Ah, just like Freud, she believes that love and work are the cornerstones of a person’s life (and she’s right!). I always treasure these little glimpses into Esme’s personality and source of strength, especially when they are in contrast and comparison to Youngward’s. He is so resolute and decided in his beliefs that it is jarring when they bump up against his naivete.

    One of the best things about this chapter was how he knows and accepts that Bella loves him. The question that tortured him so greatly in their first go-round, separation, and friends stage has now been answered so thoroughly that he doesn’t even think about it anymore and just fully accepts it as truth.

    I also liked how Youngward and Bella’s dynamic is so free-flowing and easy. She makes him so happy and thrills him by merely being present, even though she was once all wrong for him on paper. Such a juxtaposition to being with Kate, who despite her suitability, still caused him to constantly analyze his feelings for her. With Bella, everything just *is*.


  7. on 16 Dec 2010 at 2:25 pmNKubie

    What a great last line. LOL


  8. on 04 Jan 2011 at 1:05 pmFancastride

    Not good wonder what went on.