A/N: Thank yous to NKubie, AnakinSmom, and princeselisa for pre-reading and Midnight Cougar for beta-ing. xx
Song inspiration for this chapter: “Let’s Make Love,” Faith Hill (feat. Tim McGraw)
(Playlist for this story can be found on my YouTube channel, if you search for “ghostreader24”)
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The NHL owns anything that sounds familiar. I’m here having fun.
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I’m learning to expect the unexpected.
It seems to be the only thing I can rely on these past few days.
When Pastor Isaac showed up with Billy rolling his wheelchair into the waiting room at the hospital yesterday afternoon, I was stunned. With tears in his eyes, I watched my unflappable father embrace his best friend and thank Pastor Isaac profusely for making the trip. When Mom’s surgery took longer than anticipated, their company was a welcome reprieve.
Pastor Isaac has no shortage of Dad jokes. He fits in naturally with Dad and Billy. The three of them spoke endlessly about sports and the best fishing spots around Forks. I wasn’t surprised their discussion progressed into plans for a fishing trip together when the weather warms this spring. Dad needed the distraction during our wait, including things to look forward to, even though he’s made Mom the top priority in his life. I’m thankful they made the trip, but I suspected Leah prompted their visit, which she confirmed last night after my call to Edward.
After speaking with Mom’s doctor once the surgery was complete, we were disappointed to learn she was unable to remove the entire tumor because of its location and not wanting to risk damaging the nearby areas. So now, we’re in limbo until we receive the lab reports, which will determine our next steps.
For my own sanity, I had to stop her when she began informing us of diminishing survival rates and spoke about making appointments for additional procedures, like stereotactic radiosurgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The last thing Mom needs is to believe this surgery wasn’t successful, because it was to an extent. We’ve gained a little ground, but we need her to focus on recovering from this one before we dive headfirst into whatever awaits us next.
Mom’s doctor also warned it might take some time to see the benefits of the surgery—at least two weeks. Mom was complaining of a headache, dizziness, and fatigue during her doctor’s evaluation this morning. I’ll admit I was worried when Mom was confused at times and unable to follow many of her doctor’s directives. We were reassured this is expected and normal after her surgery. This evening, our visit was more encouraging—Mom was alert with fewer complaints, but her nurse explained those would come and go. After positive evaluations today with several therapists, Mom will be leaving the ICU tomorrow, which is about the only bright spot.
I’ve been touched by the outpouring of support we’ve received through phone calls and texts, but I don’t think anything could be more surprising than my current view. I’m frozen in place after walking through the doors of our hotel still clutching our freshly issued valet ticket when I see Edward. He is leaning against the check-in desk with his cap turned around backward. I watch as he glances toward the main entrance where I’m standing. After a double-take, he stands to his full height and gives me that crooked grin of his he knows turns me into mush.
“Bella? What is it?” Dad questions from behind me.
I release the breath I’ve been holding, shaking my head and wondering for a moment if I’m seeing things. Blinking my eyes quickly, I look around at the others going about their business in the lobby, then return to Edward who nods, opening his arms.
His smile widens. “Get over here, beautiful.”
There’s no stopping my feet as I hurry, leaping into his waiting arms when I’m only a few steps away. I wrap my arms around his shoulders while he encompasses me in a tight embrace, lifting and spinning me around.
“Fuck, I missed you, Doc,” he whispers next to my ear.
For the first time in over a week, my world rights and my body sags with relief, relaxing instantly at his soothing touch. I bury my face in his neck with his hoodie full of his comforting scent.
After taking several deep breaths, I smile, unable to refrain from stating the obvious, “You’re here.”
“I’m here,” he confirms, pulling away slightly and kissing my lips. “For you.”
When he sets me back on the floor, I lick my lips, already missing his. Trailing my hands over his fabric covered arms, I lace my fingers with his, not wanting to let go of him for even a second.
“You’re not in Aspen.” My mind attempts to reconcile that he’s actually here and not there.
“Nope.” He chuckles that deep laugh of his I missed. “Today has been an adventure. I’ll tell you about it later.”
“I can’t believe you flew here for me.” My voice shakes and my throat tightens at the last word.
Edward pulls his hands from mine and reaches out, brushing away my happy tears that escape at his thoughtfulness. My fingers instinctively find the belt loops of his jeans, tugging him closer as he cups my face gently.
His eyes are full of sincerity when they search mine. “I know you didn’t ask me to come here, but I would do anything for you.”
I gasp, and there’s no stopping the rush of my next words. “I love you so much, Edward.”
His smile is blinding. “Oh, Doc. I love you too.” Tilting my lips to meet his, he leaves me with another too short kiss.
I’m about to complain when I hear Dad clear his throat from behind me. “Bella?”
Sliding my hand into Edward’s and clutching his same arm with my other, I turn around. “Dad, this is Edward. He’s here.”
“I figured that part out.” Dad laughs. “Hello, Edward.”
Edward reaches out, shaking Dad’s offered hand. “Hi, Charlie. It’s nice to see you in person this time. Were you two returning from dinner or the hospital?”
“Both,” Dad says.
“Mom’s going to leave the ICU tomorrow, which is good news,” I share.
“That is,” he agrees with a nod.
“Do you have a room?” I wonder, because I have no plans of letting him out of my sight now that he’s here and would be more than happy for him to stay in mine.
“Yeah, I’m checked-in. They were calling your room for me, but there was no answer. So, I was about to text you when I noticed you standing by the door.”
Dad jerks his chin toward the hallway behind us. “The elevators are this way.”
“Okay, I need to grab my bag,” Edward says with a smile when I don’t release his hand and bends to steal another kiss.
“I’m going to need more of that,” I whisper my warning.
He winks. “We have a lot of catching up to do, Doc.”
With me still clutching onto Edward, he pulls his bag with his other hand and we catch up to Dad who is holding the elevator for us.
“What floor, Edward?” Dad asks, glancing toward the selections.
“Twenty-seven. Oh, sorry.” Edward releases the handle of his bag and removes his key card from his pocket. After scanning it in the card reader, he presses twenty-seven, lighting up the button for the top floor, then Dad selects ours.
As the elevator ascends, we’re all quiet, watching the overhead numbers light up. I tilt my head, leaning against Edward’s arm. He bends, leaving a kiss on the top of my head and filling me with an undeniable happiness. When the elevator stops at our floor, Dad presses the button, holding the doors open and waiting for me to depart. But there’s only one place I’m going and that’s with Edward.
“Uh . . . do you want to meet for breakfast in the morning?” I suggest not moving an inch.
He looks between Edward and me for a moment. “How about I go over to the hospital in the morning and spend a little time alone with your mom, just the two of us? I can find something to eat over there.”
“Are you sure? We can meet you downstairs at the restaurant in the morning.”
“Nah. I can drive myself.”
“Oh—let me give you the valet ticket.” I look at my empty hand where I know I had it last, but I wonder if I slid it into a pocket of my jeans or maybe my purse.
Before I can begin my search, Dad holds it up. “You dropped it earlier.”
“Oh, good. You’ve got it.” I smile with a touch of relief, glancing briefly at the handsome man by my side. “Um . . . I think Edward and I will plan on visiting Mom in the afternoon. Maybe she’ll be settled into her new room by then.”
“Okay, I’ll let her know. Good night, Bella. Edward.”
“Good night, Dad.”
“Good night, Charlie. See you tomorrow.”
With a final nod, Dad disappears from our view, but it feels like it takes forever for the doors to slide closed. Once we’re alone, it’s mere seconds when I release his hand and every part of Edward is pinned against me, especially his lips. His mouth devours mine while our tongues reunite, tasting and tangling until our needy moans echo off the walls.
I need more.
So much more of him.
With the rattle of the opening doors, Edward pulls his mouth from mine, leaving us both a little breathless.
“It sounds like you have some plans for me, Doc—until tomorrow afternoon.” His crooked grin is back in full-force as he grabs his bag and tugs me from the elevator.
“They’re very last minute.” I giggle as he guides me down the hallway searching for his room. “And could change to mesh with my boyfriend’s plans.”
He pauses in front of a door and leans close, stealing another kiss while removing his key card from his pocket once again. “Oh, I’ve got plans for you. For the first time, my girlfriend said in a lobby full of people—including her father—that she loves me. I don’t think she realizes how long I’ve been waiting to hear those words. Or say them to her.”
“Yes. I love you and I’m thrilled I can say them finally.” He kisses my lips briefly, then holds his key card against the lock. “Now, let’s get inside so we can start naked Christmas Eve. I’m thinking it should be a new tradition.”
I snort as the door unlocks and he turns the handle, opening the door not to a room, but a suite bathed in warm lighting. I’m stunned as I walk inside first and my eyes pass over the large space. I notice wrapped Christmas gifts on the dining table, as I remove my purse strap from across my body, and leave my purse on the coffee table in front of the couch.
“Wow, this is huge.” I’m drawn toward the windows of the living area, framing a beautiful illuminated nighttime view of Seattle and the Space Needle. “And breathtaking.”
I turn around at the sound of the door closing and watch Edward abandon his suitcase, walking toward me until I’m backed against the glass. While my heart accelerates with excitement, my chest heaves with anticipation for his touch.
I want it.
I need it.
But that’s not all I need.
“I worried you could be sharing a room with your father.” Edward places two fingers under my chin, tilting my mouth to meet his for a delicate kiss. “Or maybe connecting rooms.” He presses another kiss against my lips with his lingering tongue parting them briefly. “Or I think even next door would be too close.” He grins, kissing me so thoroughly I feel it all the way to my toes. “I believe space between us and him is important for keeping me on his good side.”
“Like ten floors?” I smile as he dips lower, nipping along my neck before finding a ticklish spot.
“Yeah. That’s a good start,” he says, moving to the other side and opening the neck of my shirt wider.
“So smart.” I giggle at his teasing tongue.
“I knew you would realize eventually that I’m not just a pretty face.” He pulls away, winks, and pecks my lips. “I love hearing your laugh. I missed that too.”
He pushes off my jacket, tossing it on the couch nearby, and runs his hands over my shirt from my waist to my chest before starting at the top and working open the buttons.
“It’s not only your face I love,” I say as he focuses on removing my shirt. “I love your body. Your tatts. Your touch. Your scent. Your taste. Your cock . . .”
He pauses, looking into my eyes, and I lower my voice.
“Especially that look when you’re in my mouth and trying not to come.”
Edward releases a ragged breath. “Doc, I’m trying not to give up and just rip your shirt open.” His voice trembles slightly while his fingers fumble the buttons. “Have some mercy on me. It’s been nine days.”
“I love your hair.” I smile, reaching higher and pushing off his cap. After tossing it to the side, I run my fingers through his soft tousled strands. “Do you need to eat? Or want to shower? We have time.”
“Yes, but I need you more than either.” When he finishes the last button, he pushes open my shirt and his hands roam over the newly exposed skin, sending shivers up and down my spine until he’s cupping my bra-covered chest. “We’ll get to those later. I promise.”
“Later, huh?” I reach out, sliding my fingertips along the waistline of his jeans and tucking them inside the elastic of his underwear.
“Fuck.” Edward groans when they briefly touch the tip of his ready cock, and he reaches with one arm for the back of his hoodie. Pulling it off in one smooth motion, he drops it beside him, then rests his hands on my hips. “Yeah. Much, much later. Say it again, Doc.”
I grin while my eyes follow the winding path of my fingertips, tracing along his newly exposed tatts until they reach the button of his jeans. Flicking it open and lowering the zipper, my gaze never leaves his.
“I love you.”
I ease my hand inside, watching his eyes close briefly while I’m rubbing his cock over the soft cotton of his underwear. He releases a frustrated sigh when I stop to pull my arms from my shirt. After letting it fall to the floor, I move to my knees and his crooked gin is back.
“Oh, fuck. Really? Here?”
“Yeah, here. You’re mine. Shouldn’t I be able to have you anywhere?”
Edward smirks. “Okay, but I can’t guarantee I’m going to last long at this rate.” He reaches out, braces his hands against the window, and watches me through half-lidded eyes. “Did I mention it’s been nine days?”
“You may have said something about that.” I smile. Tugging his pants and underwear lower, his cock juts greedily from his body, desperate for my touch. I wrap my hand around his hardened length and his hips push forward reflexively.
“I love your cock.”
After giving him a few strokes back and forth gingerly, I direct him toward my mouth and watch his reaction as my tongue reaches out, licking the tip before sucking on only the head. He uses one hand to brush a few loose strands from my face and moans when I swirl my tongue teasingly along the slit. Popping off for a moment, I look up at his darkened eyes.
“I love the taste of you on my tongue—the feel of you in my mouth.” I lick lightly along his length, then continue stroking him while sucking each of his balls in my mouth, using enough pressure to prompt a string of “fucks.”
“I can’t—” He gasps, teetering on the edge as I return to his cock. Capturing the head and sucking him deeper into my mouth with every pass, I set a relentless pace. I suspect he wants me to stop, but I know he also wants to keep going and that’s what I’m going to do.
“Mmmm.” I hum around him, running my hands along his thighs, encouraging his movements with a determined squeeze of his ass.
With every tilt of his desperate hips, I relax and push him a little deeper until there’s no turning back and he’s hitting the back of my throat with every thrust. A rumble deep within his chest escapes, then his body tenses, pulsing and filling my mouth. After swallowing his release, I don’t stop, drawing out his pleasure until he softens. Leaving a final kiss on the end of his cock, I tuck him back inside his underwear.
“Oh, Doc. That was so fucking hot.” Edward pulls me from the floor, weaves his fingers through my hair, and guides my mouth to his for a searing kiss. “It’s my turn.” He rests his hands on my hips, turning me around to face the window. “Still willing to stay here?”
I stare out at the city lights, wondering if it’s possible for someone to see us or if the windows are tinted. Before I can overthink and talk myself out of continuing, I nod and he brushes my hair to one side, tucking it over my other shoulder.
After leaving a kiss on my shoulder, he says from behind me, “Focus on our reflection. I want you to see how beautiful you are when you come.”
My breath catches at the thought and I ignore anything beyond the window, watching us reflected back at me. It’s a captivating view as his hands roam my body, trailing along every inch of exposed skin and tracing the thin straps of my bra. He hooks a finger under each one and tugs until they hang down my arms. Edward looks over my shoulder, appreciating the view.
“Always so sexy.” His warm breath near my ear nearly makes me crumble while his hands cup and squeeze my chest. With only the support of his hands, my chest looks bigger, as if it could spill completely from my bra with the slightest tug. His thumbs brush back and forth over my nipples, until their peaks are obvious through the thin material, causing my breathing to increase.
“Edward,” I gasp. My eyes want to close and surrender to the feelings, but I force them to remain open.
He watches his left hand slide under the fabric and cover my right breast. With his tatted arm barely concealing my chest, I lean against him, letting my head fall backward. His right hand moves lower until it’s between my legs, rubbing over the fabric of my jeans and eliciting my soft moans for more.
“That’s it. I want every single one of your moans. I’ve missed those. Watch me touch you.”
Along the curve of my neck, he leaves a path of kisses while the fingers of his right hand return to the skin along the waistline of my jeans. His teasing touches cause my stomach to contract with each movement. Without opening my jeans, his fingers ease past the waistline of both my jeans and underwear until a single finger pushes through my arousal easily.
He hums his approval while his finger glides and swirls before a second finger joins his toying movements. “Look at you, Doc. It’s been too long, for you too. You’re going to come so fast on my fingers. Is that what you want? Or do you want me to draw it out? Bring you close but not quite give you what I know you need.”
My eyes are drawn to our reflection again, noticing my parted lips, swollen slightly. My tongue peeks out and passes lightly over them, tasting the traces that remain of his come. His tatted arm holds me protectively against him while his other hand is hidden from view, controlling the inevitable building of my orgasm.
“Oh, God. Yes. I want it. Don’t stop,” I say breathlessly, watching every labored inhale and exhale of my chest over the pounding of my heart.
“Keep watching, Doc. Watch what I do to you.”
I try, but it’s nearly impossible to keep my eyes open. There’s no turning back when I succumb finally to his hands and mouth everywhere I need; my body arches and twists helplessly in his arms.
“Yessss . . .” I gasp.
“That’s it, Doc. You’re so beautiful.”
“Mmmm.” My entire body slumps in relief.
As his fingers slow, I watch our reflection until he withdraws his hand, then turns and lifts me into his arms. He kisses my lips briefly before carrying me into the bedroom where he sets me on the bed. Reaching around to unhook my bra, he slides it from my arms, tossing it behind him.
“I’ll order room service after your second.” He winks, toeing off his shoes and removing his socks. “Go ahead and lean back. I need you naked and coming again on my tongue this time.”
“A second? I haven’t recovered from the first.” I chuckle, scooting to the middle of the turned-down bed, and watch him with a lazy smile, still a little dazed. “My current view is amazing.”
“I think mine is better.” Edward grins, removing his jeans. “The only thing that beats you topless is you naked.”
“These sheets are heavenly. Good luck kicking me out of your room.”
“Like that’ll ever happen.” He laughs, taking his time undressing me.
My shoes and socks are the next to go, prompting another soft moan when he rubs the arches.
“Your hands feel so good. I missed those too.”
“Sounds like you’re a fan.” Edward smiles, watching as they glide along my legs. He reaches the waistline of my jeans, popping the button and tugging them and my underwear from my body.
“Oh, I am.” I wiggle my eyebrows. “Big fan. Your fingers are magical.”
He trails kisses from my ankle to along my leg, causing my giggles to erupt when he finds another ticklish spot near the back of my knee.
“Hold still,” he insists with a chuckle, continuing to my hip despite my soft squeals, then across my hips before moving down the other leg.
Once our laughter fades, he returns, kissing my lips and hovering above me.
“I think you missed a spot.” I smirk, brushing the hair from his face and spreading my legs wider in invitation.
“Not a chance. I’m savoring every inch of you. And that spot is one of the best parts.” He trails a path of kisses from along my neck to the valley between my breasts. Moving lower, his tongue teases the indentation of my belly button before wrapping his hands around my thighs and guiding my legs over his shoulders. “Mmmm. God, I’ve missed you.”
“Oh—” My body bucks at the first touch of his tongue. “Fuuuckkk.”
Draping one arm across my hips, he prevents my needy movements as they greedily tilt, seeking more from his divine mouth. Between languid licks, he hums his satisfaction, bringing me to the edge of another orgasm in record time.
“Did I mention I love your mouth?” I clutch onto the sheets tightly. There’s no holding back anything as my back arches off the bed, thrusting my chest automatically toward the ceiling. “A-And tongue? Oh, fuck, that feels fantastic.”
His tongue swirls with some sort of wicked torture against my clit that there’s no escaping—not that I would ever dream of it. I moan as my orgasm rolls through every part of my body, filling me with indescribable warmth from my head to my toes. I chant his name over and over between gasps, as if he’s the answer to my every prayer. And maybe, he is.
When I open my eyes, I’m in a floaty headspace of euphoria while attempting to catch my breath. I watch as he kisses a path back to my lips with an expression of undeniable joy and pure happiness. I blink slowly, wrapping my arms and legs around his body. Somewhere between my orgasm and now, I miss the removal of his underwear because in this position he’s as naked as I am and nestled between my legs, ready for more.
“I love you,” he murmurs between kisses covering my neck, jaw, and lips.
There’s no keeping the grin from my face at his words. “Love, huh?”
“Yeah. Love.” Edward nods, pulling his body backward and watching the space between us as he sinks inside of me inch by delicious inch. His eyes close, relishing the feel before he returns to holding himself above me with the support of his bent arms. “You feel incredible.”
I push my fingers through his hair, combing the strands and staring up into his eyes. “I love you too.”
“Oh, Doc.” With each gentle roll of his hips, his mouth peppers me with delicate kisses, full of a restrained hunger I need him to unleash.
“Don’t hold back,” I encourage, because he has never been so cautious. “I think we both need more, especially you.”
Edward chuckles. “I’m attempting to prolong this moment, which is starting to feel slightly impossible for me. Do you think you can come again?”
I return his hopeful smile. “With you, anything is possible.”
Pausing his movements, his voice is low and rough, “My thoughts exactly.” He looks at me in a way I realize we aren’t talking about orgasms but something else.
Something so much deeper that I can feel the shift between us.
Or maybe it’s happening only inside of me.
After a brief peck to my lips, he hitches my leg higher and starts driving his hips into me again, hitting a spot that has the potential to make me see stars. His slow and steady pace never falters, and I cling to him, as if we’re the only two people in the world, moving together as one. His eyes brim with love as our bodies explore the give and take of our reconnection. I crave every intimate touch as he feeds the fire building within me.
It’s undeniable and overwhelming.
I had no idea love could feel like this.
With one hand, I cup his jaw, rubbing my thumb along the stubble as his breath fans across my face and our eyes lock. I’m filled with an unwavering trust and an ever-growing confidence, that I know placing my heart in his loving hands is the right decision. Maybe the only possible one at this point.
Between languid kisses, we fill the room with our desperate moans, chasing wave after wave of pure bliss until we’re spent and gasping for breath. For a moment, he rests his forehead against mine, then pecks my lips lightly.
“Tu es tellement belle, à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur.” His voice is warm and tender—each word feels like a lover’s caress as I listen. “Je suis amoureux de toi. Je pense . . . nous nous sommes trouvés pour une raison et je ne vais pas laisser tomber.”
I whisper, “I can never resist your French, but I have no idea what you—”
Edward captures my lips with another unhurried kiss and smiles when he pulls away. “I thought you might be missing it.”
“Maybe a bit,” I admit, but I suspect there isn’t anything dirty about whatever he said.
He gazes into my eyes. “I said, you are so beautiful inside and out. I am in love with you. I think . . . we found each other for a reason and I have no intention of letting go.”
There’s no denying the gravity of his words or their level of devotion as I’m overcome with emotions and a tear rolls down my cheek. He’s not holding anything back. I shouldn’t be surprised, considering everything I know about him. He loves whole-heartedly. It’s a little mind-blowing that he feels this way after such a short amount of time together, but I’ve been dancing around similar feelings for the past few weeks. I know enough about love to recognize that I’ve never been loved the way he loves me.
“Je t’aime,” he says softly, brushing away my tears and kissing my lips. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
He leaves another kiss on my forehead before readjusting our position until we’re under the sheets and I’m settled against his side.
“Now, I need some naked cuddling. And don’t deny it. You know you need it too.”
“You’re right.” I chuckle. “I do, but I know what naked cuddling with you always leads to, and at this point, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to walk by tomorrow afternoon. You’re going to wear me out. And I probably have your scruff marks everywhere. You’re like my personal loofa.”
He grins, undoubtedly happy about those. “We’re making up for lost time.”
With his arms wrapped around me, I nuzzle into the crook of his neck, releasing a contented sigh, before tilting my head to kiss his jaw. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too, Doc.” He kisses my waiting lips briefly, then pulls my leg across his hips, resting his hand on my thigh. “Mmmm. There. That’s better. I was worried someone would spoil my arrival on social media. I may have left a bit of a trail.”
I laugh, because I can only imagine. “I haven’t checked anything today. So, I had no idea. It was the best surprise.”
“Good. I had to be careful with my texts this morning not to tip you off about what I was doing today.”
“When you mentioned talking tonight, I never dreamed it meant in-person.”
Enjoying the comfortable silence that settles between us, his fingers stroke a lazy path along the curve of my spine while my hand rests on his chest until his stomach growls loudly, prompting my giggles.
“You need to eat.”
“I haven’t had enough cuddling.”
“We can go back to cuddling after you eat.”
“Are you hungry?”
“We could share a bottle of wine,” he suggests.
“I would be okay with that.”
“And I have gifts for you.”
I shake my head. “We already exchanged gifts before I left. There’s no need for any others.”
“You should know by now that I’m going to disagree, and I didn’t say they were only from me. I have a special delivery from your future business partner . . . Dr. Katie. And one of mine could include chocolate.”
“You brought me chocolate?” I push myself into a sitting position at this news.
His smile only widens in confirmation or maybe because the sheet is no longer covering my chest.
“Well played. That’s a game changer. I always have room for chocolate, and I think it’s time to check out those gifts,” I say with a resolute grin, throwing off the sheets to Edward’s thunderous laugh.