Macallan, Aged Eighteen Years
November 24, 1995
Though I wake up in his arms, it’s not close enough. I’m groggy as I press myself against him. He’s warm like he always is, and despite the fact he’s still asleep, he’s hard. Throwing one of my legs over both of his, I pull him toward me. His hips move, and I can feel him rubbing me there. He lets out a low groan and rolls me onto my back, settling himself between my thighs. When I hook my thumbs into the waistband of his underwear, it’s not an act of curiosity-induced courage—I’m still nervous and a bit scared. I don’t think those emotions will ever go away entirely, but at the moment they’re eclipsed by my need to be close to him. I no sooner tug at his boxers, and he’s raising his hips so I can slide them off him without resistance.
This time when he positions himself between my legs, the only thing between us is my cotton underwear. He’s rubbing himself against me, and it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever felt until he slides down my body and palms my breasts. With my nipples between his thumbs and forefingers, he rolls and squeezes and, though he’s touching my chest, I feel it between my legs.
Keeping one of his hands on me, he moves onto his side, stretching out on the bed next to me. His squeezes become harder, my breathing becomes audible, and though I’m more than a little self-conscious, it feels so good I don’t care.
“I’m barely touching you, and you’re already so expressive.” He replaces his hand with his mouth, alternating between sucking gently and flicking his tongue over my nipple. “Something tells me when we make love, you’ll be a screamer.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“Oh, yes.” He moves his hand between my legs and strokes me through my panties. His fingers are the same temperature as the rest of him, but for some reason, they’re making me hot and very, very wet. It takes everything I have to produce the words, but somehow I manage; I’m afraid he’ll get skeeved and stop if I don’t.
“I swear to god, I didn’t pee myself. I mean, I know I’m really wet down there, but that isn’t why. Not that I haven’t been wet down there before, I have—just not like this. Anyway, please don’t be grossed out.”
“I’m not,” he says. “I like it.”
“Are you kidding?”
“No. It makes me want to taste you.” He rubs the narrow lace trim of the crotch of my panties with his index finger, then slowly snakes it underneath. After stroking me once, he brings his finger to his mouth and licks it.
“Oh my god.” I’m turned on and mortified in equal parts. “Seriously?”
“Want to lick it?”
“No! I mean…I know it’s supposed to feel good, but I can’t imagine it tastes okay, and I’d never be able to reach..”
“I meant mine,” he says.
“Oh. You mean would I want to lick your…”
“My dick, Bella.”
In theory, I want to lick him and suck him and do whatever makes him feel good. In practice, I have no practice whatsoever. With my luck, I’d probably puke on him.
“Would you touch it?”
“Do you want me to?”
“Yes.” He takes my hand and puts it on his penis, squeezing my fingers closed around the shaft. It’s hard and hot, but the skin is surprisingly soft. “Rub your thumb over the top…yes…just like that.”
It’s the strangest thing ever, and though my hand is wrapped around it, I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. I don’t understand how something so hard can also be flexible or how it can go from being squishy and fleshy and fairly innocuous one minute to a helmet-wearing battering ram the next. Even crazier is the idea that Edward walks around with this in his pants all time. I’m so focused on how he feels in my hand that I don’t notice notice what he’s doing with his until it’s once again between my legs, stroking me through the soaked crotch of my panties. I don’t know if he wants me to keep touching him or focus on what he’s doing to me; I just know I’m not coordinated enough to handle both at the same time. Thankfully, he doesn’t expect me to.
“May I take these off?” he asks, tugging on my underwear.
I don’t want him to know how nervous I am, so I just nod. I let go of his penis and lift my hips off the bed. He slides my panties over my butt, but leaves them around my thighs a few inches above my knees.
“In case you change your mind,” he explains. ”And they’ll keep me from getting too carried away.”
I expect him to touch me right away, but he doesn’t—at least, he doesn’t touch me where I think he will. Instead, he kisses me. It’s teasing at first, but it gets deeper and deeper. He’s nibbling on my lower lip when he rests his open palm against my short and curlies. Just when I’m about to die from anticipation, his body shifts. He’s sucking on my earlobe as he’s touching me there. He strokes and rubs—and though it’s nothing I haven’t done to myself, this feels different and million times better.
“I wish you could see yourself the way I see you,” he whispers. “then maybe you’d understand how crazy you make me. Your facial expressions, your sounds, the way you move against me…you don’t fake anything, do you? Every moan, every gasp—they’re all real, and they’re all for me. It makes me want you even more…to be inside you…”
The next thing I know, the tip of his finger is inside me.
“I want to put my cock in here,” he says, moving it in circles. “Like this.” He pushes his finger all the way in, then slowly pulls it out. “Do you like this?” he asks, sinking it inside me again. “You’re getting hotter…wetter.” Keeping the same rhythm with his finger, he starts to rub me with his thumb. ”Do you know how it feels to come?”
I grunt my response. “Uh-uh.”
“I can do that for you; I can make you come so hard.”
It feels so good, but at the same time, there’s so much tension down there and it’s so intense it almost hurts. If I were touching myself, this would be the point where I would stop.
But Edward doesn’t stop. Not only does he keep touching me, he adds a second finger.
“Don’t fight it, baby. Just let go.”
The knot in my pelvis tightens and tightens, until all of a sudden, it releases into millions of tingles. I feel them everywhere from the bottom of my mouth to the soles of my feet, and though I’m hot and sweaty, I’m shivering at the same time.
He takes his hand from between my legs and pulls me into his arms. I’m trembling as I cling to him; he strokes my hair and peppers the top of my head with tiny kisses. I want to tell him I love him but it seems too soon, so I whisper the next best thing.
“I love being with you like this.”
His arms tighten around me. “I love it, too.”
The air is brisk, but not so much that being outside is uncomfortable. Edward holds my hand as we walk down M Street, looking at store windows. He claims he always shops on Black Friday, but I think he’s lying, and this is his version of a cold shower. None of the stores we pass are of any interest to me, until we’re in front of a lingerie shop. The window displays a red lace slip. It’s sexy and festive, and completely unlike anything I own. I can’t pinpoint why, but I want to go inside. I stop walking and tug on Edward’s arm.
“Do you think I could have a few minutes to browse on my own?”
His eyes dart from my face to the contents of the window and back again. “You want to go in there?”
“Well…kind of,” I say, staring at the well-worn toes of my Doc Martens. “And I’m mortified enough as it is, so if you don’t mind–”
“Okay. I’ll meet you back here in half an hour. Is that enough time?”
“Yeah. Thank you.”
He squeezes my hand and places a quick kiss on my forehead. ”If you buy anything, make sure it’s something you feel comfortable in. Don’t pick something just because you think it’s something I’d want to see you wear—if you feel good in it, I’ll like it. Okay?”
After he’s crossed the street, I take a deep breath and enter the lingerie shop. I look around for a few minutes, trying not to feel intimidated. Just when I’m about to panic, a saleslady approaches me.
“Would you like help with anything?” she asks.
“Yes!” I say a bit too enthusiastically. “I’ve never shopped for anything like this, and I need something to wear for…well…you know…” I lower my voice to a whisper.. “For when I do it. And I’ve never done that before, either, so something like this…” I gesture toward a pair of split-crotch panties. “…won’t work. Also, I have almost no boobs and my budget is roughly the same size they are, so that presents a bit of a challenge, too.” Realizing how I sound, I close my eyes and sigh. ”This is hopeless, isn’t it?”
“Not at all,” she says. “You’re looking for something to wear on a very special evening that’s demure but still sexy, and you don’t want to spend more than $32. Come with me; we have a few chemises that may work for you.”
If she thinks I’m crazy, she doesn’t let on.
November 22, 2009
“Did you hear me, Bella? I love you. I never stopped, and I don’t think I ever will.”
“Stop saying it,” I wail, pummeling his chest with my fists.
“No—not until you believe me. I love you, Bella. And if I have to say it all night to convince you I mean it, I will. I love you.”
“God damn you!” I struggle against his arms, and when we fall to the cold hardwood floor in a heap, he still doesn’t let me go. If anything, his embrace seems to tighten.
“You said you wouldn’t try to make me stay,” I say, sobbing. “What the hell am I supposed to do now? Get on a plane back to Chicago and pretend this didn’t happen?”
“I’m not trying to make you stay. I just needed you to know…because I didn’t that Christmas, and I’ve been carrying it around with me for a decade.”
I can’t see his face, but his voice is unsteady, and I know he’s crying, too.
“And I need to know,” he says. “I need to know how you feel. Look at me and tell me you don’t feel the same way, and I promise I won’t bother you again.”
“Then look at me! Look at me and say it—tell me you don’t feel the same way. I won’t stop you from leaving—I swear to god, Bella, I’ll let you go.”
I lift my head so I can see his face. His skin is flushed and his eyes are bloodshot, and the contrast makes his eyes the greenest I’ve ever seen them. It seems as if he can look right through me, and I know. As much as I want to—as better as it would be for my longterm emotional well-being—I can’t lie to him.
He’ll have all the power again, but I don’t care. Though he’s no worse off than I’ve been, I can’t stand to see him this broken. I want him to know. I’m thirty-two years old, but the four years I spent with him was the only time in my life I felt truly happy.
“I hate you,” I tell him.
“You destroyed me.”
“I know that, too.”
“You make me hate myself.”
“You don’t have to tell me about self-loathing.” His chest quakes beneath my still-clenched fists.
“You make me hate my life, but I can’t help it…I love you anyway.”
Groaning as if he’s in pain, he pulls me more tightly into his embrace.
“I think I always will,” I whisper.
We claw at each other out of pure concentrated need to get closer, sobbing because we both know. Everything is different, and nothing has changed.