I should have been able to control myself… to resist the urges I'd been ignoring since the first day I'd met Edward Cullen almost three years ago.
I should have… but then he wore those damned suspenders.
How could a girl resist that?
Edward always had his own style… as an Art major it was expected. One day he'd show up to class wearing a striped bowtie and sweater vest… the next a plaid flannel button-down and tie-dyed Converse. It was one of the things that made Edward, Edward… and one of the things that made him irresistible to me.
We were both students at the University of Washington and our first semester fate intervened and made sure he and I had every class together. Fluke or fate? I still had yet to decide, but I enjoyed every minute of it. When I walked into Contemporary Literature – our third class together – he looked up with a grin on his face.
"Are you stalking me? Or am I stalking you?" he asked.
I stifled the butterflies in my stomach and replied, "I'm pretty sure it's you. I've taken up the issue with Campus Security."
He laughed, and we became fast friends. For some reason, he seemed to enjoy my company and I came to realize there was more to Edward than his rumpled bronze sex hair, hypnotizing green eyes and panty-melting smile. He shared his love of art and music with me and I shared my passion for literature with him. We studied together and partied together, but never crossed that line from friends to friends with benefits.
Much to my dismay.
Of course, I should have been glad. I enjoyed my friendship with Edward and the fact was, it probably would have been ruined if we wandered into the naked realm.
Although the idea of Edward in the naked realm certainly did hold some appeal.
Instead, I stifled my lust for Edward and remained securely in the friend zone. For three, long, unrequited-lust-filled years.
Let's just say I spent a lot on batteries.
But then, three years later as I sat in the photography class we decided to take together (we tried to choose one a quarter, just to keep the tradition alive), Edward walked in and my whole body burst into flames. I swallowed deeply, taking in the worn Stoli shirt that I knew was his favorite. It even had some rips and tears that I'd sewn up myself at his request – even though I would have preferred to leave the little holes that provided glimpses at his chest and stomach. His wild hair was partially hidden by a black beanie and he wore a pair of black Doc Martens, the laces left untied.
Then there were the pants: black, loose, low-hanging, the bottoms tucked haphazardly in those boots… and a pair of suspenders hanging down from his waist.
God help me. My mouth actually watered.
I couldn't even speak as he took his seat next to me.
"Hey," he said. "Did you think about the assignment?"
Edward and I were partners for our first photography assignment. We had to shoot a portrait of our partner, showing something significant about their personality. We had already decided that I would shoot Edward at the Olympic Sculpture Park overlooking Puget Sound. He loved several of the massive sculptures there, in particular an orange, curved-metal piece called "Eagle".
So, Edward was easy.
Me? Not so much. And how could I concentrate on anything when Sex in Suspenders was sitting just a few inches away?
"Bella?" he waved a hand in front of my face. "What's the matter?"
I blinked, trying to reign in my horny emotions. "Uh… nothing… sorry," I muttered. "Guess I was just daydreaming."
About you. In those suspenders and nothing else.
"Anything good?" he asked, smirking and wiggling his eyebrows. Oh, if he only knew.
"Just wishing you'd give me that shirt," I countered. I was always asking him for the Stoli shirt.
"This? Sure," he reached down to grasp the hem and I inhaled sharply. He laughed. "I'm not giving you this. It's my favorite shirt."
I frowned. "Tease," I muttered.
"Anyway," he said, pulling the beanie from his head and running his fingers through his hair. "I had an idea for you."
And I have an idea for you. God, I was out of control.
"So what do you think?" he asked, and I realized I'd totally missed what his idea really was.
"About the school library," he repeated, rolling his eyes. "Jasper owes me a favor and told me he'd give me the key so we could shoot it tonight after the library closes."
"Really?" I asked, actually liking the idea. "Won't he get in trouble?"
Edward yawned, stretching up until the Stoli shirt rode up a little, revealing his muscled stomach over the top of his pants.
"We'll have to be careful not to get caught, of course," he said, scratching at the day's growth on his jaw. "But it shouldn't take long. We'll be in and out with nobody the wiser."
I nodded. "Okay, that sounds good. I can shoot you this afternoon, right?"
He looked out the window. "Weather looks good, for a change," he said wryly. "So if the rain holds off, that should work out fine."
After class, we stopped at Starbucks for sandwiches and lattes and hopped a bus to the waterfront, since it was often faster than trying to drive and find a parking spot. The overcast skies had even cleared up a bit, with a few rays of sunshine making an appearance. I shot a half a roll of Edward in various positions around "Eagle", marveling at the way the sun played off the highlights in his hair. He looked over once and I think he caught me staring because he held my gaze a beat longer than usual before turning away abruptly.
We moved to a double-fountain called "Father and Son" and I positioned Edward at various spots around the piece, looking for the perfect angle. As the water of one fountain rose, the other would fall, revealing a statue of first the father, then the son. I managed to get what I thought would be an interesting shot, with Edward positioned between the two statues, his arms outstretched. I still had a few shots left on my roll of black and white, so we moved to a series of granite benches shaped like eyes. Edward got down on his knee and I shot some profiles of him looking straight into the granite eyes, his expression serious. Suddenly, he blinked and turned to me with a big grin.
"Felt like a staring contest," he explained. "I think I lost."
We laughed and turned to walk toward the bus stop. Glancing at him out of the corner of my eye, I couldn't resist reaching for one of his suspenders, tugging lightly.
"So when did you get these?" I asked playfully.
"Huh?" he replied distractedly before looking down. "Oh, Alice gave them to me." He shrugged. "Lame?"
I shook my head and blushed, to my mortification. "No… they're not lame," I managed.
Edward was quiet and after a moment, I stole a peek at him. He was watching me with a strange look on his face.
"What?" I asked.
He shook his head as if to clear it. "Nothing, it's just…" he began. "It's nothing," he repeated, turning away as the bus drew near. "You want to get something to eat? We have a few hours to kill before the library closes."
"Sure," I shrugged.
We grabbed a pizza and had a few beers as we waited for the hours to pass. We had our usual conversations about school and family and friends… but I couldn't help but feel that something was… different. Every now and then I'd look up to see Edward studying me almost in confusion. I couldn't explain it, and he insisted nothing was wrong, but it was like the air was heavier around us.
And it was not helping as I tried to wrestle with my lust-filled thoughts.
Finally, we made our way to the library under the light from the full moon and the lamps along the campus walkways. Edward was uncharacteristically quiet and I was worried that he had somehow figured out my secret and it made him uncomfortable. I didn't know how to ask, though, without looking like an idiot.
Jasper was waiting for us outside the library. He greeted us both with a smile before handing a set of keys to Edward.
"If you get caught, it's my ass, man," he warned. "So don't get caught."
Edward laughed and reassured him, then led me to a small side door. We walked through a small office and into the main lobby, passing the reference desk and periodicals section.
"I think the literature section makes sense," Edward whispered as we made our way to the stairs. "Third floor, right?"
I nodded. "Why are we whispering?" I whispered.
Edward grinned. "Force of habit, I guess."
I laughed and the sound echoed eerily around the dark and silent space. I became intensely aware of Edward as he walked next to me, his arm brushing mine every now and then, sending a charge of electricity through my nerve endings. By the time we got to the English Literature section on the third floor, my heart was racing madly and my palms were sweaty.
Edward set his backpack on the floor and pulled out his camera. "Maybe… holding a book?" he suggested. So, with shaking hands I pulled Sense and Sensibility from the shelf, opening it and leaning against the stacks as I pretended to read. I heard Edward snapping some shots, and the idea of him watching me had my hair standing on end.
"You seem tense," he said quietly.
I flicked a glance at him. "I don't really like having my picture taken," I explained.
Edward frowned, then reached into his backpack and fumbled around a bit. Eventually, he pulled out a small silver flask. He twisted the cap off and offered it to me. I sniffed at it and wrinkled my nose.
Edward laughed. "Just a little," he encouraged, "to take the edge off."
I sipped a little, grimacing as the liquid inside burned down to my stomach, then took another swig, hoping it would ease my nerves.
I coughed a little. "What is that?"
Edward smirked. "Stoli, of course."
I chuckled. "Of course."
Edward took a couple of gulps from the flask before offering it to me again. It went down a little smoother that time and I felt myself relaxing, my limbs feeling loose and languid.
Weird. I hadn't had that much vodka. Although I had some beer at the pizza place… only a couple… or three. But then Edward had ordered a pitcher…
I shrugged, unconcerned. My tension had lifted, so I was happy. I picked up my book and sat cross-legged in front of a wall of books. Edward snapped picture after picture and I just let him, pretending I was reading and twisting my hair or biting my lip. I heard a crash and looked up to see Edward picking up a pile of books he had apparently knocked over.
"Everything okay?" I asked.
Edward shot me an embarrassed look. "Fine."
I got up to help him and swayed a little. "Whoopsie." I giggled.
Amusement lit Edward's features. "Whoopsie?" he repeated.
I stuck my tongue out at him and bent to pick up a book. I lost my balance and reached out to stop my fall, grabbing onto the first thing I touched.
Of course, it was one of Edward's suspenders.
And it was enough to pull him over… and right on top of me.
"Unff," I grunted as I lost my breath, then I blinked as I took in Edward's piercing green gaze just inches from my face. I could feel his breath wafting across my face and his body… his whole body… along the length of mine.
If I died right that minute, I'd tell God to keep heaven because I'd found something better.
"Are you okay?" Edward asked, but he made no move to get up.
"Stupid sexpenders," I muttered.
"What?" Edward laughed. "Sexpenders?"
I shoved him off of me, reddening furiously. "I said 'suspenders'," I insisted, standing up and relieved I could do it without stumbling.
"No, you didn't," Edward countered, a wide grin on his face. "You said 'sexpenders'. Bella, do you think my suspenders are sexy?" he asked teasingly as he got up.
"Shut up," I growled.
He reached down and grabbed the lengths of stretchy fabric, toying with them and twisting them in his fingers as he walked toward me slowly. "Admit it. You like my suspenders. You love my suspenders."
I crossed my arms over my chest but couldn't find my voice once I saw the look on Edward's face. Because where one second it was all teasing mockery… the next it was something else entirely. His eyes darkened and flicked to my lips briefly as his jaw tightened. He towered over me, gazing down at me intently, his hands still at his sides, although he'd dropped the suspenders. He raised a hand slowly, reaching forward tentatively to touch my face.
"Bella?" he said quietly… confused... uncertain… then almost… hopeful.
He leaned forward and I felt his breath wash over my face as my own stopped entirely. In fact, my whole body shut down… my heart, lungs… even my thoughts froze in that moment as I waited for Edward's lips to touch mine.
And once they did, my body kick-started in a hot-blooded frenzy.
His kiss was hesitant at first, a mere brush of warm lips, but when I moaned in response, my hands clutching at his chest and twisting that Stoli shirt in my grasp, he reacted. He wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me toward him as he deepened the kiss, then sucked lightly on my bottom lip. His teeth grated against it, then his tongue, and I opened to welcome him, my hands trailing up his muscled chest to the back of his neck and then tangling in his glorious hair. I felt him fumbling with the hem of my shirt and backed up enough for him to pull it over my head. He looked down at my sheer lace bra and cursed under his breath.
Edward glanced up at me briefly before leaning forward to plant his hot mouth over my covered breast. I clutched at his head, my breath coming in loud pants as he sucked my pebbled nipple through the damp fabric and he lifted his hand to my other breast, sliding it underneath my bra to roll and pinch me gently.
"Sweet Jesus," I murmured, my head rolling back and bumping the books on the shelves behind me. I was overcome with a need to touch Edward… to feel his skin. I scratched at the Stoli shirt, pulling it up toward his head. He released my breast long enough for me to pull it off, then returned to his delicious, erotic work. I reached out to the waistband of his pants, running my fingers along the edge, but because he was bent over, I could barely reach him.
"Edward…" I panted, "I want to touch you, too."
He stood up then, moving closer to me once again and I bit my lip, looking him directly in the eye. I reached down and grabbed the suspenders, twisting them slowly around my wrists, pulling him closer with every twist.
"I really like these," I murmured. Edward's eyes darkened.
"Yeah?" he asked gruffly.
I nodded, tugging him toward me, then bending my arms behind my back, effectively forcing his erection into close contact. He groaned loudly and ran his fingers down my arms, finally closing on my suspender-wrapped wrists behind my back. He ground into me slightly and I whimpered, pushing back forcefully.
Edward smirked and bent down to trail his tongue along my neck, planting wet, nibbling kisses from my shoulder, up to my ear, then back again.
"God. You're killing me," I groaned.
"Yeah, well you're not the only one," he replied in a raspy voice. He released one of my wrists and his hand trailed along the waistband of my jeans, then gently over the zipper and back again. I moaned, pushing into his hand and he reached for the button, stopping hesitantly.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Please," I said breathily. "Yes…. Edward, please."
I didn't have to ask twice. He flipped the button and slid the zipper down quickly before sliding my jeans and panties over my hips. They fell to the floor, and I managed to kick them off, as well as my flip flops without releasing Edward from his suspender prison.
He didn't complain, though. I loosened my hold enough for him to reach between us and stroke me, and he pushed a knee between my legs to force them apart slightly. He tortured me, circling my clit lightly before sliding his fingers through my wetness to push into me slowly… once… twice…. three times, before he'd return his attention to my clit, driving me up toward the peak over and over again without allowing me to fall over. He watched me intently, lust vivid in his eyes as he worked me with his magnificent fingers.
"Please…" I sobbed. "Edward… I can't…" I didn't make sense. I just needed… I needed…
This. I thought as Edward slid his fingers into me again, curling them slightly to stroke my g-spot as he rubbed my clit with his thumb. It took mere seconds for the tension to tighten like a spring in my core… pulling tighter… and tighter… until it exploded, pushing white hot electricity through my trembling extremities and a scream from my lips.
Edward covered my mouth with his, swallowing my cries as I rode out my orgasm. When I had quieted, he removed his fingers and unzipped his pants, pulling himself free. I couldn't really see it, because we were so close together, but I could feel it as he leaned toward me slightly and reached into his back pocket for his wallet.
And unless I was mistaken, it was pretty impressive.
Edward planted another searing kiss on my mouth, taking my breath away yet again before pulling a condom from his wallet.
"I've been wanting this for so long," he said quietly, his eyes intense. "But we don't have to, if you're not ready."
My arms ached where they were anchored behind me, but my body yearned for him to fill me. "Edward, I've wanted this pretty much since I first met you. Don't make me wait any longer, okay?" I asked with a wry smile.
Edward grinned, kissing me again. "Okay." He rolled on the condom and wrapped one of my legs around his waist as he eased into me. I gasped at the fullness and he rested his forehead on mine.
"Jesus," he said through gritted teeth. "It's even better than I imagined." He pulled out slowly, then pushed back in fully and we groaned in unison.
"I don't think," he said as he pulled out again, "that I can go slow." He thrust a little harder and my eyes rolled back in my head.
"I don't need slow, Edward. I need you. Now."
With a loud groan, Edward picked me up, wrapping my other leg around his waist and setting me partially on the bookshelf behind me. The movement deepened our contact and we both grunted in appreciation. He quickened his stroke, plunging into me forcefully and I clutched at the suspenders keeping him locked to me.
"Shit," he grunted. "So good. It's so good."
I could only moan in response as he thrust powerfully into me again and again… each stroke taking me higher and higher. Books toppled from the shelf beside me, falling to the floor around us, but neither of us noticed. We were lost in the feeling… the lust taking over.
I think the football team could walk in and we wouldn't even care.
Somehow, my hands being bound behind me heightened the intensity… I was completely at his mercy, my pleasure at his whim. It excited and enthralled me and I felt myself once again nearing release.
"I'm going to…" he muttered, his eyes clenched tight and sweat glistening on his forehead. "Fuck. I'm gonna…" his fingers tightened on my ass and the sensation pushed me over the edge into another mind-shattering climax, each muscle tightening, then loosening in wave after wave of ecstasy. Evidently, that was enough for Edward as I felt him drive into me once more before he shuddered forcefully, a long groan escaping his lips, followed by a stream of obscenities.
We stayed as we were for a long minute as our breathing returned to normal. Finally, Edward lifted me from the shelf as I lowered shaky legs to the floor and unwrapped the suspenders from around my wrists, rubbing them ruefully.
"Are you all right?" Edward asked with concern, his eyes on my wrists.
I smiled at him. "I'm better than all right."
He grinned, flushing lightly as he zipped up his pants and reached for his shirt. I dressed quickly and we ignored the awkward silence that descended as we worked side by side to replace the fallen books.
Finally, I'd had enough. "It's not going to be weird between us now, is it?"
Edward sighed. "I hope not. Do you feel weird?"
"Me? No. Why would I feel weird?"
"Well, I thought maybe you might be having second thoughts… maybe you regret… everything," he mumbled, his eyes on his boots.
I couldn't resist. I reached for his suspenders again. "I don't regret anything. Do you?" I asked.
Edward's face broke out in a wide smile. "Nope."
We looked around the room to make sure everything was back where we found it before walking toward the stairs. Edward reached out and took my hand, twining our fingers together.
"You know," he said thoughtfully after we walked out the library door, locking it behind us. "We probably ought to develop these pictures right away. I'm pretty sure there's no one in the dark room at this hour."
The dark room? Now, that definitely had possibilities.
I eyed Edward speculatively only to find he was mirroring my look. I reached up to kiss him, my fingers tugging at his hair.
"Guess we'll see what develops," I said with a smirk, and he groaned at the pun as we turned to walk toward the photography building.