Edward & Izzy, six months before the start of the story.
Izzy's been unnaturally down for over a week now. She calls round every day and sits brooding over Mike Newton. Who I can't stand. For the record I couldn't stand him even before he screwed Izzy over for Jessica Stanley, so it's not just a jealousy thing.
I hate to see her like this. When she's up, she's beautiful to watch; vibrant, dynamic and fun. Her laugh is infectious and her face comes alive, there's a glow about her I can't get enough of.
Her lows are painful though. She doesn't cry; there's nothing dramatic about them, it's like a valve has opened and all the life has drained away. She's quiet, her eyes are blank and her face expressionless. I never know quite what she'd thinking.
"Here." I offer her the mug of hot chocolate, mounded high with whipped cream and marshmallows. She looks from it to me, and finally a tiny light sparks in her eyes and the smallest hint of a smile plays around her mouth.
"Water would have been fine, you know? But thank you."
She shifts along a little and I sit carefully next to her on the couch. I feel her move a little and she leans on me. I'm not even sure she knows she does it.
She doesn't take her eyes off the TV as she picks a marshmallow off and pops it in her mouth, humming happily as it hits her tongue. I look down at her. Her hair is loose for a change, falling in messy waves around her face and over her shoulders. I lower my head and bury my nose, inhaling deeply. She twists her head to look at me with a bemused smile.
"What are you doing?"
"You smell good. You always smell so good."
"Get out of here!" She laughs and swats me away. I smile and wriggle down, making myself comfortable next to her, my head beside hers, still breathing in the scent that keeps the butterflies fluttering ever so gently inside of me.
After a while, when we're still lazing in comfortable silence, the hot chocolate mug sitting empty on the floor and we're half way through the next TV show, I finally get the courage to speak the words I've been saying in my head for so long now. My heart, usually booming loudly at moments like this, is gently beating, such is my state of complete relaxation, snuggled beside her like this.
"Why'd you never give us a chance?"
She doesn't reply immediately, but I can tell she's giving some thought to her answer.
"I …." Her words trail off before they've barely begun, and she turns her head slightly to look at me, her cheeks growing pink when she sees me watching her. We're so close right now, that if I just lean in a little ….
I'm half expecting her eyes to open wide and for her to pull sharply away, but as I move closer she actually closes her eyes and moves toward me.
My heart's not silent anymore.
My lips touch hers and she's softer than I ever imagined. There's nothing strange, or awkward about it. It feels natural and right and … perfect.
She makes this noise, the most adorable fucking sound I ever heard, and it makes my stomach flip and my body ache, because all the time I've told myself one kiss from her would be enough, clearly I was delusional. A million kisses would never be enough.
She urges me on, kissing more deeply and with the spark of something more, something teetering on the edge of urgency. It's fine with me, I have going on for four years of unrequited love to purge myself of, and I revel in the sensation of having my feelings accepted at last.
I push against her, forcing her back until she yields and shifts to lie beneath me. Her hands are exploring and her legs are wrapping around mine, but I daren't open my eyes and risk bursting the bubble.
As my lips travel along her neck, tasting her for the first time, she says my name. Her voice is husky, like I've never heard it before, but I'm consumed with the need to hear it again and again.
The next words to fall from her lips make my heart explode, filling my body with fizzing iridescent sparks.
"Take me to bed? … Please?"