Though it is almost always hot and dry during the day, when the sun goes down, the temperature drops. Bella is wearing a thin sweater over her sundress, and I am doing my boy scout best to put my hands on her skin. My breath fans out over the sensitive planes of her neck, and she shivers.
"Edward," she moans quietly. "We're supposed to be talking."
"So talk," I breathe out over her mouth as I move to kiss her.
There's a continuous fire that flames in my belly when she's near me. I'm helpless to it, even when I try desperately to ignore it. Only Bella can soothe the ache from the burn. I use my tongue to trace around the seam of her mouth, grinning in satisfaction as her lips part. My tongue strokes against hers, exploring her soft mouth.
When I pull away for a breath, she stares at me, eyes heavy-lidded, chest heaving with the excitement I know she's feeling. It mirrors the way I'm feeling.
"You're not talking," I remind her. My hands never stop roaming, and I find a zipper at the back of the dress, slipping it down her back slowly. The sweater has long since been pushed down her shoulders. When the flesh of my hands meets the flesh of her back, I groan out my pleasure. Her skin is like silk under my rough hands.
"I can't concentrate." She gasps at the end of that statement, and I chuckle.
"That's the point."
I wake with a start, but my brain insists on replaying the moment when she told me she was interviewing with a Seattle news station. I tried to convince myself it wasn't going to happen, that she would stay in Phoenix with me forever. I'd claimed her roughly, needing to remind her that she was mine despite the fact we were in the back of her pickup, with quilts from her attic thrown down and the cool air biting our skin.
I was wrong. She'd left Phoenix, left me behind.
Today I'm determined to meet Riley. He's moving to a rehab center, and I'm going with Bella when she visits.
It's been a productive week in Seattle; I've found the place I'll move to at the end of the month, and put down the deposit. I'm considering having my things shipped so I don't have to go back to Arizona. We only had one practice scheduled since it's the off season, and I don't mind missing it. I've had lunch with the coach and the owner of the Sounders, and we've signed the deal.
The only thing left to check off of my to-do list is getting rid of the fleaflicker. If I can get him to really show his true colors, maybe Bella will realize he's a choad and break up with him.
I was expecting that to happen on the afternoon of St. Never's Day, but that didn't mean I couldn't try.
Being the chump left behind means I could go on and on about how perfect we were for each other. We never fought, never had a bad day. Only, I'm not going to bullshit the way that asshole does. I'm simply going to remind her that we worked well together, that we were good at working out our problems, not that none existed. Isn't that what a solid relationship is built on?
I'm completely worked up by the time I reach the rehab place, and ask at the front desk for Satan's room. Turns out, he's a major enough celebrity that he's not listed at the desk for any schmoe to walk in and see him. Pity, really. Mobbed by adoring fans would be a good way to die.
I have to pull out my phone and text Bella to find out where they are. Poor thing has been draining herself between work and Riley, and I wish I could lessen the load for her. When my phone chimes with her response, I head off in the direction of the elevators.
I can already see how this is going to go when I step into the room. He's got this grimace on his face, like he's pissed that I'm here. That's fine, motherfucker, I don't plan on liking you either. He's got this pretty-boy look to him that makes my skin itch, and I can't explain it. I know he's an on-screen personality, so there's a certain image he has to maintain, but the only image I see is spoiled, childish prick.
"Hi, I'm Edward. Nice to meet you," I say with genuine fakeness as I extend a hand. I've got manners, like I reminded Bella.
He doesn't reach out to shake my hand, dismisses me even, and instead looks to Bella. "Where is my lunch? I asked for it 20 minutes ago. Go check."
I raise an eyebrow as I drop my hand.
She goes out of the room to check, and he looks at me. "Who are you again?"
"Dude, I just introduced myself."
"I know your name, asshole. Who are you to Isabella, and why are you here?" he snarls. Well, now, since he's decided to be so fucking pleasant, it's game on.
"Oh, it's Isabella, is it? Well, dickwad, she and I used to date before she moved here. I'm the ex-boyfriend she called to come for a visit."
He grins, and his smile is exactly as creepy as the neighborhood pedophile. "Well, I'm the fiancé, so why don't you go the fuck back home?"
Fuuuck, I hate this guy. Hate is not even a low enough description of the emotions I feel for him. Loathing, maybe.
Bella comes back in the room before I can murder him, looking apologetic and contrite. "They said it'll be another few minutes, but it's coming."
She looks like a POW, waiting for the next blow, knowing it's coming and that she's helpless to stop it. "For fuck's sake, you can't even handle something as simple as lunch?"
"Back off, she's not your personal lunch lady. She's not cooking the food or serving it." I stand up for her, knowing it'll piss him off.
"Ugh, I'm the one stuck in here, helpless. I can't do anything for myself until my leg heals. I can't get up and yell at the incompetent asses myself, or I would!" I let him rant, not doubting at all that he does yell at the staff, constantly.
"The food will be here soon, Riley. They promised me." Ever soothing, Bella tucks the blankets back around the bastard's legs.
"I'm sure it'll taste terrible, anyway. No one has any idea how to cook a decent meal in one of these places!" he shouts loudly, like he hopes someone in the hall will hear him.
I roll my eyes before giving an exaggerated sigh. "Which is exactly why Bella and I are going out for lunch." I tug on her hand, and she looks between us like she's torn. "Come on, you promised to show me your favorite Mexican place," I urge her.
"I'll only be gone for a little bit, Riley." I'm so over her placating him.
He smirks, the schmuck. "That's fine, Isabella. I'll call Victoria."
"Good luck getting Vicky to put up with your shit, pretty boy," I say as I drag Bella out the door. We can hear him yelling all the way down the hall, and I can't help laughing loudly.
"Bella, why do you put up with his bullshit?" I demand once we're outside.
She sighs. "He never used to be this way. I think it's just a result of being stuck in there."
"He's a narcissist, plain and simple. He expects you to wait on him hand and foot, foregoing sleep and your life, all for his benefit. Then he threatens you with your fucking co-worker? It's ridiculous. I can't believe you're engaged to him." I finally take a deep breath, my engine run down from so much effort.
"Are you done?"
I stop walking and stare at her. "You have the nerve to ask me if I'm done, when he runs all over you? I have your interests at heart-"
I stop talking as she places her fingers over my mouth. "Edward." I raise my eyebrows at her. "I said he proposed. I never said I accepted."
Fleaflicker: a loser that mooches off of everyone else
Choad: another word for taint