A/N Thanks to my PTB betas HEAR and Sirenastarot. And as always, I don't own Twilight.

Here's the chapter in its entirity. Enjoy the lemony goodness!

Chapter Twenty-One: A Long Way Home


Edward's enthusiasm was infectious. I couldn't help but be excited for the show. I was excited for him, and I was excited to see him on the stage for the first time. Sure, he had played for me before, but this was different. I was nervous about the paparazzi being there, but I would deal with it when it happened. I had extra security in place, and Edward would be there with me. I was fairly confident that there wouldn't be anything there that would bother me.

I was just glad I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving without having to worry about the paparazzi. It would've been nice to know beforehand that photographers were in Vermilion, but I understood why Edward hadn't said anything right away.

The arrival of the paparazzi wasn't the only surprising thing I learned about on Thanksgiving. It was a little disconcerting to be face to face with someone who intimately knew Edward, as Leah did, but at least that part was in the past. Edward and Leah never had a romantic relationship; their one night together was just sex. If I was a little uncomfortable with Leah, I couldn't imagine what Edward's first thoughts were when I told him about Jacob. Not only had we been involved sexually, we'd actually been in a committed relationship. Now, he worked for me. Edward had taken the news much better than I would have in his position. Hell, look what had happened with the whole Tanya fiasco.

Leah seemed to be pretty cool, which made it somewhat easier to set aside her history with Edward. It was nice to be able to talk about Tanya with someone, besides Edward, who knew how crazy she was. Most importantly, for Charlie's sake, I was making an effort to get along with Leah. I could see how much he loved Sue, so I thought the least I could do was get along with someone who could end up being my step-sister.

And now, I had a surprise planned for Edward. The dress that I bought when I went shopping with Alice practically jumped out at me when I was digging through my closet. It was perfect for tonight, and here I thought I'd never have a reason to wear it. Edward had only seen me in a dress once before, so I couldn't wait to see his reaction. The cocktail dress was a far cry from the relatively innocent green sundress I wore on my birthday. While Edward showered, I quickly packed away the dress and some make-up so I could change at the bar. Edward was none the wiser when I left for work.

As I pulled into the entrance of the bar, I noticed that there were a few cars in the lot that I didn't recognize. I didn't see anyone inside any of the vehicles even though the bar wasn't open yet. and the bar wasn't open yet. Weird. I looked around quickly for anything odd looking in the trees or shrubs, like shaking branches or flashes of light. I didn't see anything, but that didn't mean that no one was there. The cars hadn't driven themselves to the bar.

In the bar, everything was normal. The ever reliable and dependable Angela and Jacob were already there setting up. The stage area was clear and ready for tonight. I wondered just what Edward was going to do. All he had with him from LA was his acoustic guitar. I had to admit that I really wanted to hear him play an electric guitar.

Just picturing Edward with an electric guitar strapped to his body was making me dizzy. There was definitely something sexual about a guitar, especially an electric, in the way a guitarist strokes the neck up and down as the strings are plucked and strummed by nimble fingers. Watching him play his guitar reminded me of how his fingers and hands could play me.


Angela's voice pulled me out of my daydreams as I turned to address her.

"Hey, Ang."

She smiled broadly as we walked to my office. "Are you ready for tonight?"

"As ready as I am going to be. I think we are going to have a record crowd," I said quietly as I put my bag down on my desk. I didn't think I would be spending much time here.

"Me too. When are the guys from the police department supposed to be here?"

"About four, when happy hour starts. I don't expect much until then. We are known for our live music, but no one knows who it is yet. Hey, did you notice any strange cars in the parking lot when you got here?"

"Yeah, but no one was in them. Did you see anyone around?"

"No, which concerns me. We'll just have to keep an eye out. The paparazzi are already here. Edward spotted some yesterday when we were on our way to Charlie's for dinner."

"Oh, no! What happened?"

"Nothing, actually. Edward said he never saw anyone at Charlie's, just when we were driving through town. So they gotta be around here somewhere. They know Edward is here, courtesy of Lauren," I said with disgust. "So now they will seek me out and hope to catch some good shots of the two of us together."

"How do you feel about that?"

"I'm nervous, but its here in my bar on my territory. I am in control here. It's not like I'm being ambushed on the street corner."

"But that could happen," Angela pointed out.

"Yes, but I'd rather my first direct interaction with the paparazzi be on my turf. Let them come. Let them see how much Edward and I love each other. Most importantly, let Tanya see everything that she doesn't have."

"Oooo, vengeful much?"

"I think it's deserved. She's done a lot to try to undermine our relationship. She needs this wakeup call. I'm not imaginary. I am real, and I'm here to stay."

"Wow, go Bella!" Angela enthused. "I like this strength in you."

I shrugged. "I've always been a fighter, Angela. You know this. Otherwise, I never would've tried to buy the bar. I would've let other's doubts bring me down."

"Even so, give 'em hell."

"Oh I will, Edward especially. He won't know what hit him when he sees what I'm wearing tonight."

"Do tell."

I handed Angela my bag. She quickly pulled out my blue BCBG Max Azaria dress and whistled.

"Holy shit, Bella. This dress is hot! I've never seen you wear anything like this before."

"Alice helped pick it out when I went shopping with her on Monday."

"Damn, was that really only Monday?" she asked in disbelief.

"I know, right? I can't believe that so much has changed since last weekend. Seems like a whole other lifetime," I mused.

"Life has definitely become more exciting since Edward came into your life."

"Truer words have not been said," I replied with a laugh. "Alright, let's get back out there and get this show started."

As soon as our "Open" neon sign was lit, people started coming in. Fridays were usually fairly busy, but since it was a holiday weekend, there were more people out and about. However, there was a sprinkling of people I had never seen before. As people came in, I tried to look for any sign that someone was a paparazzo but since I really didn't know what I was looking for, I wasn't very successful in making any solid determinations. I noticed that the majority of the people that came rushing in were harried looking married men who shuddered anytime anyone mentioned "Black Friday."

The phrase "Shop till you drop" was coined for the husbands.

Something else new for this particular Friday was my lack of anonymity. My identity as Edward's girlfriend was no longer a secret. By now, the Internet was rife with rumors and blogs and posts about Edward and me. There wasn't any photo confirmation of us together yet, but Lauren's "eye-witness" account was quoted and plastered all over the Internet. It didn't hurt her case that she had a picture of herself with the autographed copy of the tabloid magazine. And, somehow -and this somehow I believed was also named Lauren- the celebrity entertainment sites got copies of my high school year book pictures and a few pictures of me in college.

After tonight, I was sure they'd have photographic proof of our relationship. And as I told Angela, I really didn't mind as much as I thought I would. I knew it was coming and it was on my own turf. Let them come. I only hoped I would have this much courage if they found me on the street or in the middle of the grocery store.

Between the pictures and the fact that Lauren had the audacity to identify where I worked, the new people here knew who I was, and they knew who I was involved with. I was asked questions all afternoon long about Edward. At first it was cool, but now, it was getting annoying. I was expecting to be hassled by the paparazzi, not my patrons. Someone would want my picture and would ask a few questions about how we met and what he was really like in person. After about the twentieth person who asked me if he was a good kisser, I was ready to start busting heads together.

Angela could see I was quickly losing my patience as we got closer to the start of Happy Hour. She pulled me aside and told me to go have a breather in my office for a few. I was glad for the break. I was seriously about to blow up on a patron. I took the time to check the voicemail, which consisted of yet more requests for information and interviews. After deleting most of them, I tried to think of a good way to keep most of the questions from patrons at bay. Most people were polite, but not all. I wondered if some of the people at the bar were paps after all, just not packing video cameras, but mere camera phones.

Putting a sign up telling people not to ask about Edward was just too trite. My mind whirled with ways to politely tell paying customers to butt out of my personal life. A few pictures were one thing, intrusive questions were something else. Mentally telling myself that they weren't going to get the best of me, I walked back out to the bar. The crowd had increased slightly, but that was normal. Angela looked over at me and I nodded, letting her know I had reigned in my temper.

Ten minutes hadn't gone by before someone at the bar started asking me more questions than what type beer we had on tap.

"Hey there, you're Bella, right? The owner of this place?" a guy asked as I walked past him. I shot him a look while I gave the drinks I was holding to a patron. As I walked back toward him, I noticed that he had a small tape recorder cupped into his hand, like he was trying to hide it.

"Yes, I'm the owner of the Midnight Sun. Can I get you something to drink?" I placed a napkin down in front of him.

"Water will be fine, thanks. I wanted to ask you a few questions," he started.

I grimaced when he asked for water. "Well, as you can see, I'm pretty busy, so I don't have time to answer a bunch of questions."

The man was undeterred. He leaned forward, pushing the recorder he thought I couldn't see, closer to me. "It's just a few questions. It won't take long at all," he said with a smile - a smile I'm sure he thought was going to win me over. He was wrong.

I brought his glass of water over to him and accidentally spilled it all over his hands. "Oh, I'm so sorry, sir. I have no idea what happened!" I gushed. I grabbed a few bar towels and started blotting the spill as the man's smile quickly turned to irritated anger.

"You dumb bitch," he hissed as he tried to keep as much of the water from his recorder as he could. Unfortunately for him, the water made his hands slick and the recorder slipped out of his hands, landing on the bar top with a wet clatter.

"Excuse me?" I spat. I immediately stopped trying to clean up the spill and threw the bar towels at his hands. He fumbled through them, trying to find his recorder in the wet, sopping mess. I scooped it up before he could find it.

"You heard me!" He started to get up but was kept in his stool by a large, russet-skinned hand.

"What I think we didn't hear was an apology," Jacob drawled, his tone friendly but his expression fierce.

"For what?" he sputtered.

I leaned over the bar and poked him in the chest with my index finger as I spoke. "You think you can come into my bar and expect me to drop everything so you can ask a few questions, and then try to record me secretly? I don't think so." I tossed the ruined tape recorder at him. "Jacob, see him out."

"Gladly," he said with pleasure. He not so gently picked up the man by the back of his shirt and led him towards the door.

A few of the nearby patrons clapped and cheered as the unwelcome guest was seen to the door. I shook my head and finished cleaning up the mess. It felt good to tell the man off. It took the power that he thought he had from him. This was my bar, my place. No one was going to make me do something I didn't want to do here.

Shortly after Jacob took the trash out, Edward texted me that he was here and wasn't alone. I was quite curious about who he had brought with him. He hadn't said anything about bringing anyone to play with him. I certainly didn't have a problem with it.

My first glimpse of Edward came a few minutes later as he wheeled in a stack of speakers. He had his very recognizable bronze hair under a ball cap. It was amazing how something as minor as a baseball cap could help hide his identity. If someone looked at him directly, he could be recognized, but the hat definitely helped him blend in. The guys came in after Edward, each laden with equipment. They all appeared to be around his age. I caught Jessica's gaze from across the room, her face bright with excitement.

It was kind of exciting to watch Edward like this. This was my first real glimpse of him as Edward Cullen the performer. He was wearing the same clothes that he'd left the house in, but something about him looked different. There was a lightness to his step that I had never seen before.

I caught his eye a few times and couldn't fight the huge smile that bloomed the moment our eyes met. To a casual observer, it would only look like two strangers flirting with one another. Nothing we had done thus far revealed the depth of our relationship. It was kind of like going somewhere with your significant other, pretending that you didn't know one another and trying to pick one another up. I wasn't the only person who was admiring Edward and his band mates. Many of the women in the bar openly ogled the quartet, whispering when one of the guys bent over. I had to admit, it was a mighty fine view.

I didn't think anyone recognized Edward yet, but it was only a matter of time. A few people looked back and forth between Edward and I, perhaps due to the looks we were sharing between us. Or, perhaps they recognized Edward after all. The people didn't look familiar, and my gut was telling me that they were either working for some media company or were members of the paparazzi. I made a mental note to keep an eye on them. As long as they behaved themselves, they were welcome to stick around. The moment that they started acting like the jerk from earlier, they'd be seeing the door.

The set up that Edward and his friends were putting together was impressive. It was a far cry from the single person acoustic set I was expecting. One of the guys was putting together a very well made drum kit, especially when compared to some of the local groups that played around the area. He was wearing a cowboy hat, which almost slipped off a few times as he adjusted the tension on one of the drum heads. One of the other guys, who had short brown hair and a goatee, was setting up the electronics on the side of the stage. The last guy was tall and blond, and worked quietly tuning up the guitars. Edward was running around the stage plugging in cables and taping set lists to the floor. If I hadn't already known that Edward and his friends weren't a regular band, I wouldn't have been able to tell. They worked together like a well-oiled machine. There was some level of familiarity, especially between Edward and the blond. I wondered where Edward knew them from but figured he'd tell me at some point tonight.

Eventually, my attention was diverted by drink requests, and I quickly returned to work. A few more people asked about my relationship, but I did a lot better this time around. Having told off that nosy jerk gave me the courage and confidence to keep my head up. If someone asked a personal question and I didn't want to answer it, I rebuffed them or just ignored them. People slowly got the hint and the questions lessened, but the camera flashes didn't. Patrons were taking numerous photos of me and the bar. An increasing number of people congregated around the stage, taking pictures of the operations.

I turned away to fill more drink orders and when I looked back, Edward and his friends were standing at the bar. Edward looked so happy. He was beaming as he talked, leaning against the bar. I grabbed a handful of cocktail napkins and greeted the group. Edward's response, while simple, was rather familiar and had the same affect as peeing on my leg. I didn't mind so much, especially based on how one of the guys was looking at me. I got their drink orders and was introduced to everyone. It was great to finally meet the Garrett that I had heard so much about from Edward. I walked over to Edward and settled happily into his side. It felt wonderful to feel Edward's arms around me, even if it had only been a few hours since I last felt his touch.

We chatted for a few minutes and I got a feel for Edward's friends. It was evident that they were all from the south based on their twangs. I instantly liked Garrett and Rhys. Collin seemed okay. He laid off the undressing-with-the-eyes bit, for which I was quite thankful. It was nice to know that other men found me attractive, but his gaze was a little much for me. Later, after I had gone back to work behind the bar, I realized I liked Rhys even more when I saw him back Edward up when Collin tried to talk Edward into doing shots with them. I was on the other side of the bar, so I couldn't hear everything that was said, but I was proud of Edward for sticking to his guns.

The other bartender had things under control so I slipped away to my office to change. Pulling the dress out of my bag, I ran my hands gently across the soft fabric. It was luxurious and smooth, the silk sliding gently across my skin. I had always been a bit of a tomboy so wearing dresses, especially ones as small and sexy as this one, was a rare occurrence. I felt a little exposed but I couldn't wait to see Edward's reaction. I knew it would be worth the money I spent. As I finished up the final touches of my make-up and hair, I heard the boys tuning up on stage. I ran a brush through my hair one final time before I stepped out onto the floor of the bar.

Right as I was approaching the bar, Edward introduced himself Johnny Cash style. The moment his name left his lips, a gasp went through the crowd. Cell phones whipped out all across the bar as people texted their friends with the news.

It's going to get crazy around here now.

I looked up at the stage and caught Edward looking me up and down with a hungry gaze. My smile turned to a smug smirk as his eyes lingered on my chest and my legs. Oh yes, this dress was a great idea. Edward nodded his head quickly and said one last thing to the crowd around the stage before beginning the show.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Edward was on fire on the stage. His velvety voice took on new dimensions as he sang and played his guitar. Several times, I saw him close his eyes as he got into the music. Energy surrounded him and poured into the bar. Everyone could feel it. This was such a far cry from the broken man I'd met months ago.

People continued to flood into the Midnight Sun; so much so that Jacob had to keep people out before we violated our occupancy limit. Despite all of that, all I could see was Edward. His energy was like a magnet. I couldn't help but watch him. Every time he stroked his guitar, I thought about how his hands felt on me. Then I would catch myself running my hands across the fabric of my dress, imagining him touching me. Work would occasionally distract me from watching him. This was probably a good thing. If I had no distraction from Edward, I probably would have jumped him on the stage and really given the people a show.

Before I knew it, the guys were taking a break, and I was given a momentary reprieve from my lusting over Edward. Edward disappeared into the crowd. Despite his height, I could not find him in the mass of people. I almost jumped out of my skin when I felt arms wrapping around me from behind, but Edward's familiar scent calmed me instantly. Feeling his lips on my bare shoulders put my brain back in the gutter. His name floated from my lips like a prayer as I turned in his arms. I was incredibly happy being held by him but also incredibly nervous about the number of witnesses with camera phones around us.

Edward brushed aside my worries about the paparazzi and complimented me on my dress. I blushed as I always did, but his comments also made me feel incredibly sexy. He pulled me closer to him and whispered in my ear, causing me to shiver.

"As much as I love seeing you in it, I can't wait to see you out of it."

Before I could even come up with an appropriate response outside of a gasp, he had my face in his hands and was kissing me. This wasn't the chaste peck from before, but something more, a promise of what was to come later. As much as I loved hearing and watching Edward play on stage, now I couldn't wait until it was over. I heard people whispering around us as he kissed me and cameras flashing, but I didn't care. We didn't care. We were already considered out to the general public. Now that they had proof of our relationship, maybe they would let up a little. I could hope anyway.

Edward pulled away from me before we became obscene. There were lingering glances in our direction, but the people nearest to us were trying to give us privacy. Strangely enough, despite my fear of becoming paparazzi fodder, I didn't care about the stares and the whispers and the cameras. Being in my place gave me a certain amount of control that I was sure was why I felt so at ease. A part of me feared what would happen outside of the bar. I tried not to think about it too much.

Edward made his way back up to the stage, with Jacob escorting him, after we quickly mouthed 'I love yous' to one another. I watched in amazement as people tried to reach out and touch him. People would never act like this with a complete stranger, but because he was well known, people assumed that they knew him and felt like they could intrude on his personal space. It pissed me off a little bit, but Edward seemed to be unfazed by it all. I laughed to myself when I saw several of the female fans in the audience try to entice him with their cleavage. He walked by them like they weren't even there.

Everyone quieted down as Edward and his band mates returned to the stage. There was still a good amount of cheering, but people were eager to hear the rest of the concert. Jessica was one of the people right up front, just as she was for the first part of the show. She was still technically on the clock, but I'd given her a pass since this concert was for her. She looked like she was having the time of her life. Jessica never would have gotten as close to the stage at the Odeon as she was here.

Edward started out the second half of the concert by introducing the band. Instead of just being four separate individuals thrown together for this concert, they actually looked like a band, a cohesive unit that had all appearances of having played together for some time. I remembered Edward telling me that he and Garret used to play together, but I knew it had been some time since they'd seen one another. Was it possible that they'd found that connection again so soon? If tonight was any indication, it was.

Their first song of the second set was familiar. I wasn't expecting to hear them do a cover of Brother, but it sounded great. Edward was a master on the guitar and started out on the guitar intro with ease. It was something awesome to watch, to see him lose himself in the music. Although there were three other people on stage with him, I only saw Edward. When he sang, he cradled the microphone like it was a treasured gift. The lyrics seemed to be perfect for where he was in his life at this moment.

As the song ended, the bar burst into applause and cheers. Clearly, the band's cover was a hit. They switched gears after that and played some of Edward's acoustic music. This was the part of Edward I was more familiar with seeing. Granted, it was still different with him on stage than just him playing on my deck, but it was still familiar. He poured his heart and soul into his performance. The audience ate it up, and the crowd started singing along with him. Once he realized what was happening, I swore I saw his eyes get watery. I knew I had tears in my eyes when he looked at me with a soft, but very happy, smile on his face.

The band eventually moved back to Edward's rock standards. The crowd had no problems with that whatsoever and continued to cheer them on as they played. I was surprised when Edward introduced their final song as a new one. I didn't realize he had written anything new during the week. With the craziness of this past week, between our reunion on Monday and the holiday, it didn't seem like much time to come up with anything.

The moment the song started, I was dumbstruck. The music was incredibly powerful and intense. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the bar, staring at Edward as he stroked down the neck of the guitar. Instantly my mind traveled back to Monday night and what his hands did to me. Once again, I could not wait for the concert to over. He looked over at me, and his eyes were dark and dangerous. Only a small amount of self-control kept me from rushing up on stage and jumping him. The combination of him and the song were incredibly arousing. I found my body reacting to the music and Edward's body language.

He prowled around the stage like a caged animal. His hands were on fire as they flew across the guitar, making the instrument scream with pleasure. His solo was amazing. I had never seen a guitarist's fingers move that fast. I could not keep my eyes off of him. He approached the microphone with an animalistic intensity and stared at me as he sang.

And I want you now
I want you now
I feel my heart implode
And I'm breaking out
Escaping now
Feeling my faith erode

That said it all. Before I knew what was happening, Edward threw his guitar at Garrett and stormed off the stage like a man possessed. The energy that had been building in the room between Edward and I was making my nerves stand on end. I was literally quivering from the adrenaline running rampant through my body. As soon as Edward called my name, I finally let go of my restraint and threw myself at him.

I'd never been this forward with him before, especially not in public. My lips latched onto his as my hands twisted into his hair, sweaty from the stage. Everyone around us was cheering, and I didn't have the decency to be embarrassed.

"Office," I growled at Edward, his lips grazing mine. "Now."

He did not hesitate and quickly turned us towards my office and the hopes of some shred of privacy. I walked as quickly as I was able to in the heels I was wearing. These kinds of shoes just were not meant for power walking.

Once we passed the threshold of my office, Edward's hands were all over me, touching my arms, my back, running across my stomach and down my sides. My nerves danced with anticipation. Before anyone could get a free show, I flung the door shut and locked it. The noise from the bar became instantly muffled, barely loud enough to cover the noise we were making. Edward pulled my back against his chest as he bent his head down to kiss my shoulder and the crook of my neck. His warm, inviting scent that was all Edward surrounded me. I tilted my neck to the side as his lips continued a trail up the side of my neck to my ear. As soon as his lips touched the flesh of my ear, I moaned.

"Sweet Jesus, Edward," I whispered.

Edward hummed as his hands traveled upward and massaged my breasts. I reached behind me and threaded my hands in his hair once again. His hair was still a little damp with sweat from the bright lights of the stage, but I didn't' care.

"Mmm, no bra," he purred in my ear. "I like dresses like this."

One hand dipped into the top of my dress and gently cupped my breast while his other hand continued to massage my other breast over the fabric. My breath was coming in short gasps as his hands played their own song on my flesh. The electric feeling I always felt when we touched was in full force. Every touch from him burned, but it was a delicious sensation. I pressed my back into him, pushing my butt into his rather prominent erection, and dragged my nails across his scalp. He groaned and his grip on me tightened, making me shudder.

It felt like the pressure in the room was increasing. All I knew was that I couldn't get enough of this man. His touch set me on fire, a spiraling inferno of love and desire and lust. His hands started to drift southward, slowly cinching up my dress, revealing my upper thighs a little bit at a time. Before he could get my dress completely up around my waist, I whirled in his arms and roughly pushed Edward against the far wall of my small office.

Edward's eyes nearly popped out of his head in surprise before his face split into a slow, sexy smile. Before he could do anything further, I attacked him. My lips crushed against his, barely letting him react and start to kiss me back before I deepened the kiss and roughly fisted my hands in his hair. There was still a lingering taste of beer and something uniquely Edward. He wrapped his arms around me tightly, one hand spanning my back while the other cradled the back of my head as he returned my passion with vigor.

Music came through the walls again as Garrett and the other guys kept playing without Edward. "Do you need to get out there?" I panted as Edward peppered my shoulders and collarbone with his soft lips, searing my skin.

"No," he uttered roughly. "Our set was done. They are just playing for the hell of it."


My hands flew down to the waistband of his jeans and made quick work of his belt, button, and zipper.

Edward chuckled again over my enthusiasm. "Eager, are we?"

I raised an eyebrow at him as I pushed his pants and boxers down around his ankles, freeing his erection. Before I could stand up, Edward picked me up roughly and turned, pinning me against the wall. My breath hitched as the skin of my back came into contact with the cool surface of the wall.

"Good God, you are so beautiful, Bella," he whispered as he leaned into me, pushing his hardness into my belly. The barrier between his hot flesh and my skin was minimal. The silk of my dress did not do much to block the heat of his body.

I wrapped my arms around his neck as I tried to lift myself up a bit. Edward caught on and raised me up a little, allowing me to wrap my legs around his waist and effectively push my dress completely up to my hips. Lace was an even thinner barrier between Edward and me. He groaned as he felt the dampness of my arousal on his skin.

"I love you, Edward," I whispered urgently as I tightened my legs around his waist, bringing him that much closer to my body. My hands clasped behind his head and played with the hairs at the nape of his neck.

"I love you too, Bella, so fucking much."

Edward buried his head at my neck as he reached down between us and pushed his fingers in between the lace of my panties and my slick skin. "Jesus, Bella," he muttered as his fingers drifted further to stroke the sensitive skin. "You are so incredibly wet."

I blushed at his words but was thrilled at them at the same time. Our physical relationship was still new enough that hearing things like that excited me even though they warred with my natural shyness. Whenever Edward was involved, my shyness took a backseat to Bold Bella. She was not disappointing tonight as she took control.

"It's all because of you, Edward," I whispered throatily as my legs clenched when he made another pass across my skin. "It's never been like this with anyone before."

Edward groaned and roughly pushed the tiny strip of lace to the side before plunging a finger deep inside while keeping his thumb rubbing on the outside. My body shuddered in response, my pleasure spiraling further outward until I was on the brink of exploding.

"Ah, Edward," I moaned loudly.

"Shhh, baby. We gotta be quiet. There are probably people outside trying to record this," Edward whispered to me urgently as he replaced his fingers with his rock hard penis. I gasped as I felt him fill me completely. He groaned quietly and rested his forehead on mine for a moment to collect himself.

"Do you have any idea what you do to me? Especially when you are dressed like this?" he murmured, his breath brushing across my face like a caress.

I whimpered from his lack of movement and wiggled my hips slightly to spur him on. "Do you have any idea what you do to me when you are on stage?" I countered in a hoarse whisper. "Especially when I see all the women in the crowd that wish that they could be with you? Especially when I know that I'm that person, and that you want me and only me?"

Edward trembled underneath me as he sucked in a breath. "Bella…," he moaned as he cupped my face in his hands, one of which was still damp from my arousal. He closed his eyes as he breathed heavily.

"Edward, please," I begged, and shifted my hips again. When we first walked in my office I thought he was going to rip my clothes off and do me right on the floor. I knew he wanted this just as badly as I did, but now he seemed to hesitate. I could feel his desire inside of me, a tangible physical sign of his want, but something behind those beautiful green eyes was holding him back.

My pleading must've gotten through to him. His eyes snapped open and held mine like a vise, holding me still with their dark and hungry depths. "Kiss me," he growled, his voice deeper than I expected.

I didn't say a word but pulled his face towards mine, locking my arms behind his neck. I did not kiss him gently or sweetly, but hungrily and desperately. My tongue tangled with his as his hands roamed up and down my sides. As we broke away to breathe before either one of us passed out, Edward finally began moving inside of me. He cradled my head with one of his hands, using the other to brace himself against the wall. He thrust inside of me roughly, grunting with exertion.

The position made it hard for me to participate, but I didn't care. My hands fisted in his hair as he plunged deep inside of me. The building tension inside of me crept up, seeking release as every nerve of my body stood on end. I tried hard to keep my voice down and several times had to bite my lip to keep myself from crying out loud in pleasure. Edward's gaze never left my face, and I finally saw whatever was bothering him fall away. The only thing that was left was his love and passion for me, hungry and urgent.

"God, yeees…" I moaned as quietly as I could. I was on the brink of my release now that his brain was back in the game. Edward continued to pound into me relentlessly, panting with each push into me. The room became permeated with the sweet smell of sex and it served only to spur me on. I untangled one hand from Edward's hair and slid it down to where our bodies were joined. Quickly, timing it with his frantic thrusts, I touched myself and felt myself explode. My body shuddered, legs clenching around Edward's waist, and let out a gust of breath.

"So close," he uttered as his movements became erratic. He thrust into me one final time before stiffening and muttering a quiet final "Fuck me."

I couldn't help but laugh at his statement, my hearty amusement breaking the relative silence of the room. He cocked an eyebrow at me as I continued to chuckle at him.

"Normally, a man would be offended if the lady he was with started laughing during sex."

"Nothing about us is normal, Edward," I countered, still snickering.

"What was so funny about what I said?" he asked, becoming amused himself.

"I don't know. It just was."

Edward humphed but didn't say anything further. He carefully lifted me off of him as I detangled my legs from around his waist. As I had become accustomed to, I felt a bit of a loss when his body was no longer touching mine.

My knees felt a little wobbly as my feet finally touched the ground. Wearing heels certainly didn't help my stability. I balanced carefully while I waited for my knees to solidify. Edward quickly pulled his boxers and jeans back up. Despite my hopes of being graceful for once in my life, I stumbled as I tried to walk around Edward as he was fiddling with his belt buckle. My head was heading straight for the corner of my desk. I raised my arms up to try to protect my face and break my fall, cringing the entire way, already knowing this wasn't going to be pretty. Thankfully, Edward was more coordinated than I was, and quickly caught me by my hips before my desk gave me a plastic surgery bill.

"Whoa, there, Grace," he teased as he pulled me towards him.

The position wasn't lost on me once I realized I wasn't going to face plant into the desk. He held me by my hips while I was still slightly bent over, right in front of my desk. Still feeling like we had some energy to work off, I wiggled my hips into his crotch. Edward chuckled in response, tightening his grip on my hips.

"You are eager tonight, aren't you, Miss Swan?" he asked.

"Maybe," I said coyly, looking up at him through my lashes.

He groaned again as he shook his head. "Brace yourself, my little vixen," he ordered as he gently pushed me towards my desk.

Grinning hugely, I shoved the chair out of the way and pushed various papers and paraphernalia off to the side of the desk. Once I had a decent-sized area cleared off, I hopped up on the edge and sat primly, crossing my ankles. I batted my eyelashes at Edward and giggled as he stalked towards me while he pushed his pants down far enough to expose his hardening length. He stroked himself a few times, closing his eyes, and smiling lazily.

"When did you get so insatiable?" he asked, reaching towards me and pulling my legs apart. He opened his eyes and hungrily looked me over.

"When you came into my life."

Edward slowly stepped in between my legs and dragged his fingers up my legs, under the hem of my dress to the waistband of my panties.

"I think these need to go this time," he commented mildly, pulling them down slowly and stepping out from between my legs in the process. He tossed them behind him, instantly forgotten. Edward quickly returned to his previous position with his erection in his hand, standing proud between his fingers.

I leaned back on my arms and smirked at him. "I think you are just as insatiable as I am, Mr. Cullen."

"Only because it's you," he said huskily, freeing his erection from his hand and running his hands along my legs again. "Your legs are so smooth and soft."

Edward tugged me closer to the edge of the desk and braced one of my legs up on his shoulder. I hooked the other around his hip to help steady myself. He started stroking himself again, running the head of his erection up and down the sensitive skin of my folds.

I hissed at the intimate contact, wanting so much more. I pulled Edward a little closer with the leg I had around his hip as I slipped a hand into my dress and teased my nipples.

"Sweet Jesus, Bella," Edward muttered as he stared at my hand. "I love watching you touch yourself."

"You can see all you want later, Edward. Now, I want you inside of me." I ordered hoarsely.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied as he pushed his erection deeply inside of me. The angle was exquisite. Having my leg on his chest and shoulder limited my movement like being pinned against the wall had, but the depth of penetration could not be beat.

"Oh my God, Edward," I moaned as he pulled out almost completely before entering me again.

He grunted as he buried himself to the hilt inside of me. "Amazing…."

Words were beyond us after that. With every push Edward made, I pulled him into me with the leg I had wrapped around his hip. His motions were not soft and if my desk wasn't as heavy and stable as it was, the whole bar would hear the back of the desk slamming into the wall. I was glad I had thrown down the money for a solid oak desk and not the cheap pressboard ones that were so popular in most furniture stores.

I felt my legs start to quiver as Edward's fast pace and deep strokes were bringing me quickly to another orgasm. This time, I didn't need to help out. Edward's breathes came in faster and faster, his pace more frenetic.

"Come on, Edward," I urged. "I am so close."

"Gah… love… Bella," he grunted.

He thrust again as his body shuddered and released inside of me. I came almost immediately afterward, my body trembling and covered in a thin sheen of sweat. Edward dropped my leg from his shoulder gently and collapsed against me, breathing hard.

"Is it always going to be like this?" he gasped.

"God, I hope so," I replied, panting.

I jumped, almost knocking my forehead into Edward's jaw when someone knocked softly on my office door.

"What the hell," I muttered.

I slid off the desk and tried to straighten my dress while Edward pulled his pants up and fastened his buckle. His shirt looked rumpled, but passable. My dress was horribly wrinkled, and my hair was a haystack from being pressed against the wall.

"Shit, look at me," I fussed.

Edward smiled down at me affectionately. "You look like you just had sex in your office," he teased quietly. Garrett, Collin, and Rhys could still be heard faintly in the background.

I glared at him as looked around the room for my panties. The person at the door knocked again, a little louder this time, reminding us that someone was waiting. I huffed and scooped up my discarded underwear.

"Can you find out who is there? I am going to step into the bathroom and try to clean up a bit." I grabbed the bag I had brought with me earlier in the day and gave Edward a quick peck on the lips.

"Sure, love."

I closed the door to the small bathroom just as Edward was opening the door to the office. I caught a glimpse of Jake's face before the door was completely shut. He looked amused, but concerned. As I cleaned up and changed into my other clothes, I could hear their voices, but I was unable to make out specific words. I really wanted to take a shower, but that would have to wait until we got home. Freshening the important parts while I had the chance would be sufficient. Taking one last look at myself in the mirror with my hair fixed and a change of clothes, I could barely tell that Edward and I had just christened my office.

When I stepped out, Jake was still in the room, but it looked like the conversation was just wrapping up. "Hey, Jake," I greeted warmly, even though I had seen him throughout the night.

"Hey, B," he replied with a smirk. He knew exactly what we were up to in here. "I'll be right outside when you guys are ready to head out." He nodded briefly to Edward and walked out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

"What's going on?" I asked, setting my bag on my desk.

Edward smiled at me softly as he ran his hands through his hair a little rougher than normal. There was a tightness around his eyes as well that concerned me.

"There were some overzealous paps in the audience who tried to follow us in here and record us. Jake stood guard by the door to keep anyone from interrupting us."

"Well, that's good. I'm glad Jake was able to- Wait, if he stood by the door than he heard everything!" My face blossomed red in embarrassment. The last thing I was sure Jake wanted to overhear was Edward and I having sex.

Edward laughed as he pulled me into his arms. "Nah, he didn't hear anything. He had ear plugs in while he stood watch. He guessed what we'd be doing based on how we left the bar floor, so he came prepared."

"Wow. I owe him," I murmured, winding my arms around his neck.

"He's a good guy," Edward commented.

"Yeah, he is. So what's he doing now?"

"He's waiting for us. He wants to make sure we won't get ambushed on the way back to the bar."

I nodded while I dug through my bag for my cell phone. I had no idea what time it was or how long we had been back in my office. When I finally found it, I was surprised at how early it was.

"It's not even one in the morning yet."

"I know," Edward said as he rubbed my back. "We've only been back here for about twenty minutes."

I stared at him. "We did all of that in twenty minutes?"

He chuckled with a satisfied grin on his face. "We sure did."

"Wow." I was impressed with not only my stamina, but his.

"Yeah," he agreed as his grin grew bigger.

"Okay, time to face the music," I said, rounding my shoulders and preparing for the onslaught.

When I opened the office door, the noise from the bar was the first thing to hit us. Jake stood about three feet in front of the door, his back facing us. When I shut the door, Jake nodded and walked towards the bar. Edward and I quickly followed behind with our hands clasped. The moment we passed the threshold to the bar floor, I was blinded by a series of bright camera flashes, one right after another. People were yelling, calling my name and Edward's. Jake tried to block anyone from getting too close, hollering for the police back-up to come and help.

I cowered next to Edward, clinging to him desperately as he stood stiffly beside me. The camera flashes effectively blinded me so I couldn't see anything or anyone. He had done his best to shield his eyes, but I didn't think he was much better off than I was. Thankfully, the police back-up came quickly and escorted the paparazzi out the door before they could do any more damage.

As suddenly as the barrage started, it ended. I blinked a few times as my vision finally cleared. A few people looked over at us sympathetically but most were still listening to Garrett and the boys play on stage. The experience was surprising, but tolerable. I wasn't so foolish as to assume that this was the worst it could be, although I could always hope. I started to move towards the bar but stopped when I noticed Edward wasn't moving with me.

"Baby, come on."

He stood in the same spot he was in when the ambush started, his shoulders stiff, his brow set, and his gaze on the floor.

"What is it, sweetheart?" I asked quietly, walking back toward his unmovable form.

"I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop," he whispered, still not looking at me.

I reached out and pushed his chin up with the tip of my finger so I could look him in the eye. "What other shoe?"

"When you realize how insane it is to have to deal with the paparazzi and that you don't want to deal with it anymore and leave me," Edward whispered in the same soft but strained voice.

"Edward, you silly man, I am not going anywhere. Yes, it was startling, and I'm sure the next few days will be interesting with all the stories that are going to be out, but it's okay."

He looked at me in disbelief. "How can you think this is okay?"

"Because now we are real. Now I am real. The rumors before of me being your fake made-up girlfriend have effectively been nullified. With the number of times we've kissed one another in full view of everyone, there is no doubt that I am real, and our relationship is not fake."

"But, it's so intrusive," he argued.

"Yes, it is, but they are at my bar where I get to call the shots. It'll be okay."

"What about later, when you aren't at the bar?" he asked quietly, the full extent of his fear weighing heavily in his words. I realized then that he truly thought I would up and leave him one day because of the paparazzi.

"I can't promise you that it won't bother me, Edward, because it probably will. But I can promise you that I am not going anywhere. We are together. We'll face it together, even when we are apart."

He looked at me dubiously.

"Edward, you have to believe me; otherwise there is no chance for us if you are constantly expecting me to leave."

He closed his eyes and his shoulders dropped in defeat. "I know, it's just so…" he trailed off without finishing his thoughts.

"I know, Edward. I am only beginning to get a glimpse of what you have had to deal with for years. Now, though, we have each other. We'll help one another and protect one another."

I tried tugging on his hand again and finally he started to follow me out to the bar. I breathed a sigh of relief and hoped that I won't have to eat my words one day.

A/N Thanks for your patience! I promise, I will be adhering to my new update schedule. The next chapter will be up on or about August 13th. I have already started it.

As always, teasers for the next chapter will be given with reviews. I also post a second teaser in the thread on Twilighted. Come join us in the thread for BFTO: . ?f=44&t=9524 (replace the 'dot' with .)

I have also started writing weekly picture prompts on a blog with some other great authors here in ficdom. If you want to read them, you can find them off of my FF profile or stop at the blog to see the other submissions as well: .com