A/N: I’m trying to keep my fangirl under control, but it’s nearly impossible when this little story was rec’d on the last chapter of Body of Christ by the amazing belladonnacullen and FictionFreak95. (squeals with excitement) Thank you, Bella Donna and Jo. Their story is amazing and my drop everything fic, because there’s no one like Father Edward. Welcome, new readers! My never-ending thanks to Midnight Cougar for her help in tweaking my words. xx
Song inspiration for this chapter: “All In,” Lighthouse
(Playlist for this story can be found on my YouTube channel, if you search for “ghostreader24”)
Disclaimer: Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond own the adorable little mouse whose needs inspired this very adult version of their story. Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m here having fun.
When my shift ends, the dark cloud cover of the early morning hours matches my mood, and while most of Forks is still sleeping, I slide into the driver’s seat of my car, but I’m not ready to return to my apartment yet. Despite my exhaustion, I’m restless and my thoughts are jumbled.
With no destination in mind, I drive toward Calawah Way, then follow the road until a sign gets my attention and I slam on my brakes, turning onto the worn path and pulling past the entrance.
After parking my car far from the road, I’m out the door and walking between the stones, searching for one in particular as I realize my intended destination all along.
My eyes search the area until I see “Cullen” carved proudly at the top with large letters. After cutting through the rows, I crouch down, brushing away the matted wet leaves and clearing the granite stone. I pull and toss a few stray weeds, then my fingers brush away the dirt and debris from across their engraved names, “Robert Edward” and “Elizabeth Anne.”
“Hey, Grandma. It’s me, but you already know that.” I chuckle, taking a seat on the wet grass nearby and stretching out my legs. “I should have a bench installed or something. I think I could become a regular here.”
Releasing a deep sigh while looking around, I listen to the squawk of a bird in the trees at the edge of the grounds, breaking the morning silence with its call. It sounds like a jay, but my search through bleary eyes can’t locate it in the trees to confirm my suspicion.
“I’m tired,” I admit, and scrub my hands over my face. “It was a long night. We lost one early this morning. I guess that means you gained one.”
I move my hands behind me and lean backward slightly. “I miss you.”
“I’m…” I shake my head, staring at the headstone. “I’m horrible at this.”
I shrug with no idea where to start. “I doubt this is what Jasper is thinking when he says I need to talk with someone, but it’s better than nothing, I guess.”
Looking up at the sky, I watch two birds fly overhead until they land on a tree branch close by. My attention is pulled away from the birds when I hear a car approach then pass by the entrance from the road, and I release a big breath. “I’m struggling, but you probably know that too. This isn’t easy.” I run a hand through my hair as my frustration builds and snort at my babbling. “What am I doing? You would probably say I’m not making any sense.”
I close my eyes and tilt my head back, trying to gather my thoughts, and when I do, I focus on the most recent change in my world. Opening my eyes, I shift from side to side on the uneven ground and share the best thing I’ve had happen in a long, long time.
“I’ve met someone, Grandma, but… there’s a part of me that…” I start then stop. “I know I’m holding back. I just…”
My heart lifts at the thought of her, and I can feel a smile tugging at the corner of my lips. “Her name is Bella. She reminds me of you, but she’s like Mom too.
“I suppose it’s okay to admit that I’m more than a little… scared.” I shake my head. “You’re probably laughing at me. Right? Because out of everything I do, she’s the one who scares me the most. It’s ridiculous. You don’t have to tell me that.
“I need to open up and trust her, but I know my life isn’t easy. It may be too dark and she has such an incredible spark inside of her. I don’t want to be the one to extinguish that, but there’s something growing between us… maybe it’s inevitable. I can’t stay away. It’s like I’m drawn to her. Every day. I can’t get enough. I don’t know how to explain it.
“You would probably say the answer is obvious, and I know it is too.” I sigh as the truth spills from my lips. “I love her. There. I said it out loud… finally. I love her and have since I first saw her. That’s crazy, right? Who does that? I’m a walking cliché. Maybe I am crazy. I’m sitting here talking to a gravestone.”
I’m silent as I contemplate this one-way conversation. “Can you hear me?” I wonder, holding my breath and waiting for some sort of sign, but nothing happens other than a rustle of a few leaves.
“Right. Crazy. What was I expecting? I need sleep.”
Standing from my spot and brushing the loose grass clippings from my pants, I look around and push my hands into the front pockets of my jacket.
“I guess I’m going to go. I’ll probably be back—” I stare at my shoes, noticing the mud on one edge, and even though I am at a loss for what else to say, I can’t deny future visits are undeniable. “No, not probably. I’ll be back, but I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you either.”
I consider driving by my grandparents’ home site—well, it’s mine now—and spending some time there, but I’m too tired and ready for bed.
“I love you, Grandma. I should have told you that a long time ago—every chance I had, but you knew, right? I hope so.” I pause, taking a few more deep breaths and feeling a little lighter before I continue. “Thanks for this. It’s a step in the right direction, I suppose. Maybe it will be easier next time.”
My fingers trace along the silky skin of her legs, as my curious hands discover the secret spots only known to lovers, eliciting giggles of delight. From her toes to the backs of her knees, she squirms against my lips when they take over for my fingers, leaving a path of gentle kisses and moving higher.
With her head turned to the side, pressing firmly against my pillow, her hips grind into the mattress. “Edward—more,” she whispers with a breathy sigh, as I gaze longingly at her naked body.
Taking my time, I caress every inch, building an insatiable desire that parts her legs wider when my hands squeeze and drift away from where she needs them most. My thumbs brush over the dimples of her lower back, and I can’t resist kissing one, then the other.
I pepper kisses along the delicate curve of her spine until they reach the spot between her shoulder blades, causing her body to arch. I brush her dark wavy hair to the side while my tongue lingers over a dusting of freckles along her shoulder.
Lowering my body and supporting my weight against my bent forearms, I hover while she readjusts her position, turning over, and huffing in frustration. “Stop teasing me.” She reaches between us, wrapping her hand around me, and I gasp at the incredible feeling, silently begging her for more.
“Bella.” Her name slips from my lips reverently, and I know she’s the answer to every prayer I’ve ever had.
Her rich brown eyes gaze lovingly into mine while her hand starts a slow rhythm back and forth. “I want you, Edward.”
Any inkling of control I may have had between us evaporates with her every touch.
I fight not to close my eyes as the ecstasy of pleasure builds. “You’ve got me.” I admit this easily and shift my weight to one side, reaching down, covering my hand over hers, and increasing the pace.
“Do I?” she questions with a tilt of her head, and attempts to pull her hand away.
“Yes, don’t stop,” I plead, squeezing her hand tighter.
Her voice lowers. “Is this all you want from me?”
“No—” I groan when her soft, delicate hand disappears from under mine. “I don’t.”
“You can do this without me… and have.” Bella shakes her head as her eyes close and she fades from beneath me.
“No.” I gasp as she slips out of reach. “Bella—I don’t want to do this without you. Any of it. Don’t go!”
My eyes open suddenly, and I sit up, out of breath, as the echoes of my voice fade. I blink a few times, clearing my blurry vision, and make out the shadows of my bedroom. Alone. I’m all alone. I shake my head, collapse against the bed, and stare at the ceiling as I catch my breath.
“Not good,” I whisper into the darkness while trying to recall the details of the dream. “I lost her this time. No crazy fun sex, like last time. This is not good at all.”
“Hey, man,” Emmett calls from the doorway of the workout room. “I just saw your girl next door. She made cookies, and damn, they’re good. You’d better add another set of reps on every station, if you’re going over there when you’re finished. Looks like a shower wouldn’t hurt either.”
I’m dripping with sweat from the punishing workout I’ve been doing this morning, trying to get my head together. My heart plummets at the reality that I haven’t made any greater progress with Bella than passing small talk.
“She’s not my girl,” I tell him, irritation clear in my voice, as I readjust my stance and start another set of medicine ball slams.
Emmett laughs. “Oh, please. I’m not buying that load of shit. You need to get off your dead ass and ask her out. If not, somebody else will.”
I hadn’t thought of that.
I slam the ball with all my force.
He points at me and walks toward where I’m standing. “Didn’t think about that, did you? I can see it written all over your face.”
I grab the ball again and shake my head. “Maybe I’m not…”
“The right guy for her?” Emmett takes a seat on a weight bench while watching me hurl the ball at the floor repeatedly. “Save that stupidity for someone else. You need to let her be the one to make that decision. All I’m saying is every time I go next door to see if Ty or Jake wants to shoot hoops out back, her smile fades when she realizes you’re not with me.”
He waits, letting his words sink in while a slight smile tugs at the corners of my lips.
I finish the set and grab my towel, wiping away the sweat from my forehead. “I need to ask her out.”
“Damn right you do. Stop dragging your feet and set something up—anything. Hell, she probably thinks you’ve friend-zoned her at this point. I’m surprised she hasn’t asked you out.”
I catch my breath and reach for my water bottle, guzzling it. “I’ll figure out something.”
“You better or I’ll kick your ass myself.” He grins. “At least one of us should be getting laid on the regular, and right now, you’ve got the best shot.”
“Things stalling with Lauren?” I wonder, and start a set of box jumps.
“She hasn’t said anything, but I think she’s been hanging around hoping to get Ty’s attention—not mine. I mean really…” Emmett holds out his arms, then waves toward his body. “How can she resist all this?”
In between jumps, I pass along some new information. “I heard there’s a new nurse over at the hospital. Eric said she’s in labor and delivery.”
He perks up a bit, but shakes his head. “How am I going to meet a labor and delivery nurse? Emergency room—there’s a chance, but up on the labor and delivery floor? Not likely.”
“I don’t know—cafeteria?” I finish my set of box jumps, catch my breath, and grab another quick gulp of water. “What about—are Jess and Mike taking childbirth classes? You could sub for him some night he’s working. I’m sure Jess won’t mind.”
Emmett’s grin widens. “Edward, now you’re thinking, but I’m not giving up on Lauren yet. She’s so fucking sexy. I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish, hoping to impress her.”
I chuckle and towel off the sweat running in my eyes before moving to the mat for planks. “How’s that working?”
He releases a deep sigh. “I see your point. Maybe I should ask if she wants to take a cooking or dance class together. I could show her my moves in and out of the kitchen.”
I grin at his never-ending confidence and can’t resist teasing him. “You’ve got moves in the kitchen? You burned last week’s chili.”
“That wasn’t my fault,” he defends. “You know I’m the best cook we have here.”
“Don’t let Cap hear you say that.”
He waves off the idea, but we both know Jasper can cook and grill circles around any of us. “All I’m saying is that our options are limited here in Forks. I know Lauren teaches CPR classes at the hospital, but maybe on one of her days off she would be open to going to Port Angeles and expand our options for a little fun. I’m positive she has moves I can only dream about.”
At the mention of dreams, my thoughts drift toward my latest dreams about Bella, taking my mind off the burn coursing through my muscles as I hold my position. There’s no way I want to lose my shot with her, and Emmett’s right, I need to let her take the lead. It’s not as if she hasn’t been around her father and the life of a first responder. Life is fragile, and there are risks with every call. I have to put those thoughts out of my head and be willing to place my heart in her hands, then trust that she won’t break it.
If you give a postal worker a love note, she’ll wonder about the identity of the author when it’s delivered by an unintended mail carrier.
After a visit from a sexy firefighter, the mystery surrounding the note will add to her curiosity, but it won’t be solved any time soon, when she has no choice and accepts another job far from home.
Her secret admirer will hold on to hope for their paths to cross again, and when they do, he will find that being near her again is better than he ever anticipated.
Visiting her during his breaks and getting to know each other will be the best parts of their days, until one day she unknowingly makes his favorite childhood cookies, giving him the sign he needs to move forward.