Lunch & A Kiss

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Three weeks. That was how long Edward had been working on the house. He pointedly ignored her most of the time, only doing the tasks that were on the contract he drew up. Their only interactions were when they shared lunch in silence. It wasn't bad. At least she could look at him, and it was nice not to be alone.

She knew most of his story, thanks to his mother. Knew why he chose to close himself off from others except family, and realized they were a lot alike while being worlds apart.

While he allowed his past to pull him under, he only surfaced long enough to take care of his family when they needed him. Carlisle said he had a tendency to disappear and hole up on his mountaintop for months at a time.

She chose not to dwell on something she couldn't change, and took life by the horns. If she wanted something, she went for it, plain and simple. Though she wanted Edward, something told her she might not be strong enough to keep him afloat.

She watched as he chopped and whacked at a tree stump that had fallen the week before in a freak storm. That night had been horrible, waking up from a nightmare only to find that it had been real. A limb smashed through her bedroom window, sending her running to Esme. As Esme and Carlisle worked to calm her down, they cleaned up the cuts from the broken glass and branches that scratched like fingernails along her arms.

Edward had been less than pleased.

She knew he was angry that she had become a permanent fixture in his parents' life. He didn't want her to be, only because he didn't want to want her. Half the time, the man looked at her as though he was ready to strip her down and have his way with her, the rest he spent ignoring her.

Muscles moved as he swung down, the sound of metal against wood echoing in the almost enclosed area due to the thick canopy of trees overhead. Sweat dotted his brow and dripped down his chest and back. A smattering of brown hair bisected his abdomen, highlighting the display. His back was as sculpted as his front, though she wouldn't call him bulky.

He had scars all over his back, thick ropes of rough and red skin. A prisoner of war; that was all Esme had to say, for Bella to know what he probably faced every time he closed his eyes.

She wanted to share her story; how she once loved a boy, until his time in the war marred him. Tell him how the blue-eyed man she watched him become and cared for, nearly killed her in his sleep due to his terror.

She couldn't share that part of herself yet, but one day. The rest of her secrets would come up eventually.

She walked out onto her porch with a tray filled with food and drinks, placing it on the tiny table nearby. She stepped off the stairs and approached him, his eyes narrowed and he was quick to toss his shirt on, glaring at her. It had been the first time he removed his shirt while working.

"How long have you been watching?"

"I'm always watching." She didn't dare mention she'd seen the scars.

He grunted and wiped at his face with a rag from his back pocket. "Don't you have a damn job?"

She cocked an eyebrow. "Don't pretend you don't know what I do for a living, your mother probably tells you all about me when she sees you." Bella saw right through the woman's matchmaking attempts.

"She tries," he grumbled, taking the bottle of water she offered him. "Thanks." He guzzled it, wiping his mouth on the red plaid fabric on his arm.

"Come on up, I have some lunch for you."

He nodded and quietly followed her lead up onto the porch. She felt his eyes on her, and something told her they weren't aimed at the back of her head. She shivered a little.

He grabbed a sandwich and leaned against the railing. He never sat beside her. "What do you do?" he asked after he wolfed most of his food down.

"Photography," she said, purposely vague. "Your mom said you have some property I'd probably like to photograph, something about a creek and an old bridge."

"No." He grabbed another sandwich and turned his back to her, kicking at the railing for no good reason.

"Why?"

He was quick to answer in a no nonsense tone. His voice was rough and thick with accusation. "Because its mine."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

He spun around and glared at her. "You already got your hooks into my parents, enough that you'll be invited to holiday dinners forever because they can't let their precious Bella be all alone."

She could've opted for anger, and she even felt a twinge of it. But she was tired of being angry all the time, it exhausted her. How could he stand it?

"They love me. They know I have no other family or friends." None; she lost those she had left in one night.

"Damn you."

Bella cocked her head to one side, catching a view of his chest again. He hadn't buttoned his shirt. "That dirty mouth of yours comes out a lot when I'm around."

"That's it!" He stomped toward her, lifted her up until her feet touched the ground. He grabbed the back of her head, and tugged it back by her hair. Staring down at her, he gave her no chance to protest. Not that she intended to anyway; she could happily stare at his face all day. "You should be scared."

"Not even a little bit."

He slanted his mouth over hers in a brutal kiss. It was passion, heat, anger, and a hint of possessiveness. Where that came from, she wasn't sure, but she loved the taste of it, of him. His lips were softer than she expected, as was his beard that he trimmed a little the week before. A bite on her lower lip had her moaning, and he took advantage of it. It was his chance to delve deep inside her mouth, stroking her tongue with his, tasting of sugar, cinnamon and spices.

Other than his hand and his mouth, no other parts of him touched her. He took care of that as he backed them against the wall. His body pressed along hers in a way that she couldn't move, but the heat coming off him was delicious and welcomed. One of his hands still held her head prisoner, directing where he wanted her mouth to go. He deepened the kisses further, his tongue tasting every inch of her mouth. His other hand cupped her breast, hissing when he realized she wore no bra. Her nipple, already tight from desire, was painfully aching for more. He gave it to her with a stroke of the rough pad of his thumb.

It was at that moment that awareness, other than for his lips, made her hands move from her sides. When she tried to reach for him, he pushed away.

"No," she said, pulling him in by his shirt until they were once again flush against each other. His grunt was short, and she swallowed his protest with another kiss. Fight gone, he fisted his hand in her hair, the other manacled her wrists between them. He kissed the way he did everything else.

Efficient.

Angry.

And rough.

She loved it.

"More," she pleaded as his mouth trailed down her neck. Her hands, caught in the vice of his, tugged, but he only shook his head. It was the beginning of the end; she felt it as he slowed down, and took a deep breath against her shoulder.

"Not like this," he said, stepping away and putting his hands on his knees to catch his breath. After a minute, he sailed over the railing in a spectacular show of grace and action. He picked up the axe from where he had ebbed it in the stump.

He stalked toward his truck.

"I'll see you soon."

It was a promise.

It was there in the words, in the way he looked at her even as he drove away.

She breathed deeply, rubbing a hand over her mouth. It tingled. Although his beard had surprised her in its softness, the effect of it no doubt marked her skin. She liked that it did and hoped he'd do the same to her thighs and breasts.

He didn't return that night.

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