The next few days I do my best to push Edward from my mind, reminding myself again and again that he’s far too young for me. In spite of my best efforts, he keeps coming to the forefront of my mind, and I wonder how he’s doing and if he’s all settled in yet.

Wednesday evening, I’ve only just managed to change out of my work clothes when there’s a knock on my door. When I answer it I’m surprised to see Edward, blushing faintly as he holds a large covered casserole in a carrying case in both hands, with a bag dangling off his wrist. The smell emanating from the dish is mouthwatering.

Quirking a brow, I manage, “Edward?”

He clears his throat, his flush deepening a little as he says, “I hope you don’t mind… and if you’ve already got plans or something then that’s okay, but…” he pauses to take a deep breath, then meets my gaze and says, “I thought maybe we could have dinner together? I wanted to thank you for your help and…”

He trails off, biting his lip and shifting his weight from foot to foot. I smile, opening the door wider and gesture for him to come in. The smile that lights up his face makes my breath stutter as he passes me. I watch him walk before catching myself checking out his ass – thankfully before he notices. Edward’s more dressed up than I’ve yet seen him, wearing black jeans and a dark green corduroy button down shirt.

I follow him into the kitchen where he empties the bag to reveal breadsticks wrapped in a kitchen towel, as well as a container with salad. When he opens the carrying case I let out an appreciative hum at the sight of lasagna. Grabbing some plates from the cabinet next to him, I ask, “Did you cook all this yourself?”

He turns, resting his hip against the counter as he nods. “Yeah. I love to cook. I don’t often get to go all out like this, though. I mean, I cooked a lot when I was living with Alice, but when it’s just me…” He trails off with a shrug.

I know what he means, though. It’s much the same for me. I can hold my own in the kitchen, and I enjoy it for the most part, but I’m not exactly chef-material – never have been. From the look and smell of the lasagna and breadsticks, however, it seems that Edward is very much at home in the kitchen, and I can’t wait to find out if it’s true.

Smiling, I nod as I grab the utensils and lead the way to the dining room table. We set the table in companionable silence. The only thing missing is something to drink, so I turn to Edward. “Did you want to have some wine to go with this? I’ve got a Chianti that’d go well with this, I think.”

Edward beams at me. “Sure, sounds great. Thanks.”

As I go to retrieve the wine and a couple of glasses, I have to gather myself. Already, this feels like a date and that can’t possibly be. It’s ridiculous to even think it, because really, what on earth could a beautiful young man like Edward possibly see in an old man like me? No, surely he’s just being friendly. That’s all there can be between us – friendship.

With that thought firmly in mind I return to the dining room to find Edward’s plated us both with a helping of salad already. He smiles up at me and says, “Hope you don’t mind?”

Shaking my head, I pour us both some wine before sitting down opposite him. “Not at all, thank you.”

Over the course of dinner – which is excellent – we talk easily. I ask him how he’s settling in, and whether he’s stopped by to see Rose yet and how she’s doing, even though I don’t know her. He’s more than happy to share, it seems, and pleased that I’ve asked.

He swallows a bite of lasagna before taking a quick sip of wine and grins as he says, “Yeah, I did yesterday, actually. She’s doing alright, if you overlook the fact she’s going a little stir crazy. Emmett tries to keep her busy, but it’s hard, you know? Rose’s always been very active. Always moving, always working on something, and she can’t now. Well, she can do some stuff, like knit or crochet or even hand-sew, but she gets… impatient.”

I snort, rolling my eyes. “Yeah, I’ll bet. Can’t say I blame the poor girl. How long til she’s due?”

Edward frowns, tilting his head as he thinks it over. “Hmm, not sure. Another month, I think? Maybe a little more.”

We talk some more about our families as we finish dinner. After we’re done, he insists on helping me clear the table and do the dishes. He’s washing a plate when he grins and looks up at me. “Sorry, I forgot to make dessert.”

I chuckle, nudging his arm with my elbow. “Don’t be. Dinner was wonderful. You cook very well, Edward. Thank you for a lovely meal.”

He blushes, ducking his head a little, though his eyes remain on me. “You’re welcome. I’m really glad you liked it – and that you didn’t have any plans tonight.”

The way he says it has me blushing as I wonder whether there could be more to it, but I push the thought away and simply say, quietly, “I’m glad, too.”

He smiles at that, handing me the plate and I rinse it before drying it, paying far more attention to the job than it really needs. It doesn’t take long until we’re done and I find I’m not ready for this night to end. Biting my lip, I stall, frowning. It’s been a very long time indeed since I’ve enjoyed the company of another, and I don’t want to give that up just yet.

“Would… would you like to have some coffee?” I ask, feeling very uncertain suddenly.

His quick – almost too quick, “Sure, I’d love to,” has me looking up at him in surprise.

Smiling, I start the kettle before setting up my French press. Edward watches me curiously. “What’s that?” he asks.

I look up, quirking a brow as he points at the press. “Ah. This,” I say, holding up the pot, “is a French press. It was a gift from my sister, who’s a bit of a coffee snob. I have to admit, though, that it makes a great cup of coffee, and I haven’t looked back since I started using it.”

Edward chuckles. “I see. Can’t wait to try.”

We chat while we wait for the water to boil, and Edward watches with fascination as I prepare the brew. “There,” I say, smiling. “Now we just have to wait for a few minutes and then you can try your first cup of French pressed coffee.” I gesture for him to lead the way to the living room. “Shall we?”

I’m uncertain where to sit, finding myself drawn to Edward much more than I should. In the end, we both sit on the couch, one leg tucked underneath as we sit in mirroring positions, facing each other. It feels… comfortable. Placing my elbow on the back of the couch, I rest my head on my hand as I watch him. “So what is it you do, anyway? You’ve mentioned work a couple of times, but you haven’t said what kind.”

He ducks his head, blushing a little. “Not much, really. I’m looking for an actual job, still, but Alice’s friend, Charlotte, and her husband Peter run this bar and I’ve been working there off and on. Mostly so they could actually take a vacation for the first time in like… eight years? Something like that, anyway.”

He shrugs. “Not really my thing, but it pays the bills, right? And it’s only temporary. They’re back now, but they’ve been giving me a shift here and there so I don’t have to worry too much, you know?” He pauses, glancing at me with a wry smile. Sitting up a little straighter, he says, “I’ve got a couple of interviews next week, though.”

I smile at the way his eyes light up as he tells me about the non-profit he hopes to work for. “It’s accounting work, but I love numbers, and I’d rather work for a non-profit than some big shot company, you know? Plus, they’ve got these great volunteer opportunities and stuff.”

I get up and he follows me into the kitchen, still talking about the work he’s hoping to do, while I pour us both coffee after asking how he takes his – two sugars and a dash of milk. Once we’re both settled on the couch again, he takes a sip and closes his eyes, moaning appreciatively. “That’s good,” he murmurs.

Chuckling, I hum my agreement, trying to ignore the way my body responds to him. “Told you,” I say quietly.

Edward opens his eyes, rolling them as he grins, muttering, “Yeah, yeah.” Clearing his throat, he looks at me for a moment and then asks, “What about you? How did you end up running your own frame shop?” before taking another sip.

Frowning, I stare into my cup, trying to make sense of this strange twinge in my chest at his innocuous question. I can’t quite figure out why I’m scared to tell him, worried how he’ll react to hearing about Liam. And why, for the first time since losing Liam, I was fiercely protective of his memory, as if frightened by the thought of him being replaced.

A nudge against my knee has me looking up into worried eyes. “Hey, you okay?” Edward asks quietly.

I smile faintly, nodding. “Yeah, it’s nothing…. just…” I shrug and sigh, closing my eyes briefly before meeting his gaze again. “It’s a long story… well, maybe not…”

Edward gives me a puzzled look, but stays quiet, allowing me to gather my thoughts while he sips his coffee.

Clearing my throat, I start again. “Long story short, I was trying to find the perfect frame for a picture, and when I couldn’t find one I liked, I decided to start a business selling custom frames.”

At his quizzical brow, I add, “The picture was of my boyfriend. He’d just passed away and I needed… I just needed to…”

I can’t finish, my throat suddenly too tight. Closing my eyes, I swallow hard, trying to push the wave of emotion that threatens to overwhelm me like it hasn’t in years, away. I’m not even entirely sure why it’s hitting me so hard, or what it is I’m feeling. All I know is that it’s strong and that I’m struggling.

I’m vaguely aware of Edward shifting, putting his cup on the coffee table before I feel his fingers pry my cup from my hands to put it aside. Then he’s suddenly closer, his hands taking both of mine, squeezing gently as he brushes the tops of them with his thumbs. His voice is soft, soothing, “Hey, it’s alright, Carlisle. Tell me about him?”

Slowly, I open my eyes to stare at him, silently asking him if he means it. He’s much closer than I thought and he nods, smiling. I feel my lips curve up slightly in response, and then I’m talking. Telling him about Liam. How we’d met in college, falling in love fast and hard. How we’d struggled back then. How he’d lost his family after he came out; how supportive mine had turned out to be.

I tell him things I’ve not told a single soul. How Liam hated getting up early, but was stuck doing morning classes and the things I’d had to resort to to get him in a good mood whenever we ran out of coffee.

Edward laughs at that, encouraging me to continue. I find myself smiling as I recount various dates we’d been on, some more successful than others. Something in me releases as the words flow and I find a peace I hadn’t even realized was missing.

When I finally get around to the last day of Liam’s life, my throat threatens to tighten up again, but I manage to get through it, telling him of that morning and how we’d gone out for our usual run. My voice is gruff with emotion, and I stare down at our hands as I say, “Everything seemed perfectly fine – normal. Liam was as upbeat as ever, joking around with me like always, when suddenly he just keeled over. I can’t remember it all, it happened so incredibly fast, but… One minute he was alive and the next he was… gone. Just… gone. I tried CPR, and a passerby called 911, but it was too late. They told me later it was Sudden Cardiac Death, likely caused by Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.”

Edward murmurs quietly, “I think I’ve heard of that. It’s rare, right?”

I nod. “Yeah, it is. We never suspected there was anything wrong with him. It just… happened.”

We sit in silence for a while. Edward continues to hold my hands, caressing them. After a minute, he whispers, “I’m sorry for your loss, Carlisle. I know it’s been a long time, but it’s obvious how much you loved him.”

I smile sadly, nodding. “Very much. Thank you, Edward. And I am sorry for dumping all this on you. That certainly wasn’t my intention, I don’t know-”

He squeezes my hand, then let’s one of them go, cupping my cheek instead, his thumb gently brushing my cheekbone. My eyes widen at his touch, yet I find myself leaning into it with a soft sigh. “None of that,” he says quietly. “I’m honored you felt you could share that with me.”

My heart starts beating wildly and I’m torn between wanting – needing – Edward and pushing him away. The thought too young keeps repeating itself, and at the same time I can’t seem to help myself when it comes to him. So when Edward slowly leans forward, his head tilting slightly, I don’t stop him. In fact, I meet him halfway and half-sigh, half-moan when our lips touch.

The kiss is soft and brief, leaving me wanting more. Edward rests his forehead against mine, smiling serenely as he whispers, “Thank you. God, I’ve been wanting to do that for so long.”

His admission startles me and I blurt out, “Really?”

He looks up, laughing, his thumb still brushing my cheek. “Yes, really. I’ve known pretty much from the moment I met you that I wanted you. Do you have any idea just how hot you are, Carlisle?”

His words set my cheeks aflame and I shake my head. “I’m an old man, Edward. What on earth would you want with someone like me? You’ve got your whole life-” I start, but he cuts me off with a kiss, chaste, but urgent.

His voice is low, gruff. “Trust me, babe, you’re hot, and you have plenty to offer me. I know what I want, Carlisle, and I’m not afraid to get it.”

The term of endearment takes my breath away – literally. To hear him say that, to me, amazes me. It isn’t like with some of the other men I’ve been with, where they’ve used it loosely without much affection behind it. No. With Edward, I can feel there’s more there for him, and that astounds me.

“You barely know me,” I whisper, blinking.

“I know enough, but I hope you’ll let me learn more. Much, much more,” he says, grinning crookedly.

Quirking a brow, I can’t help myself. I smile and lean in to kiss him again, needing to feel him – taste him. That voice in my head still cautions me that this can’t happen – he’s too young; it’s too fast – but I stifle it. The need I feel right now is too strong for me to ignore. It’s been too long since I’ve felt this way about anyone and I have no desire to deny myself this, even if it turns out to only be for tonight. Tomorrow, Edward will see sense, I’m sure. But for now, I can have this, I tell myself.

I don’t say any of this, though. Not that I’m given much of a chance to say anything at all, because Edward cups my face in both his hands and returns my kiss, deepening it. We both moan at our first taste of each other and my fingers tangle in his hair, holding him close.

Thoughts of Liam fall away the longer we keep going until I can’t think at all anymore. All I know is Edward – how he tastes, feels, smells. Yet it’s not enough. He seems to feel the same way, because suddenly he clambers across my lap, straddling it, his hands constantly moving as he whispers breathily, “Let me… please… feel you… need you, Carlisle,” in between kisses.

My own hands grasp his hips, because I’m sure it’s the only thing keeping me grounded. If I let go of him, everything’ll fly away – out of reach. I’m aching, so incredibly hard and needy that I can’t form a coherent sentence to save my life. It doesn’t help when I feel Edward’s hard length when he bucks into me.

When he reaches between us and cups my hard-on I start babbling with no idea what’s coming out of my mouth. I can feel his smile against my lips, though, as he whispers, “Anything, baby, I’ll give you anything – everything.”

Slowly, he pulls my shirt from my pants and glides it up over my stomach, my chest, his fingers spidering along, guiding my arms up and pulling my shirt off, tossing it aside. My breath is coming in gasps, my hands once again falling to his hips while his fingers trail along my chest. His eyes are hungry when he looks at me, his smile crooked, and his voice gravelly with desire – desire for me. “God, you’re beautiful, Carlisle.”

I blush, my eyes shifting away, unable to believe him. I’m too old to be beautiful. Edward, on the other hand…

He flicks my nipple gently. “I mean it,” he says quietly.

Edward puts a finger under my chin, forcing me to meet his gaze. He smiles as he leans in to capture my lips, humming appreciatively. His hands roam my chest as we kiss, and I’m lost in sensation for a while as he caresses me.

After a while, though, my need to feel his skin against my own builds to the point where I cannot ignore it so I work to unbutton his shirt with fumbling fingers. He let’s me get on with it without comment beyond the occasional, “God, yes,” and, “Feels so good, Carlisle,” as I reveal his skin and search it out.

Finally, I’ve gotten his shirt undone and he pauses long enough in his own caresses to allow me to take his shirt off completely. As soon as it’s out of the way, my hands skim up his stomach to his chest, searching out his nipples. Edward’s head falls back and he moans quietly as I rub them.

The sight of him like this is mesmerizing and I can’t look away. I’m so hard it hurts, but I can’t seem to do anything about that right now. As if sensing my need, Edward lifts his head and looks at me with heavy lidded eyes, his grin promising dirty things to come.

He leans in, cradling my face in his hands as he kisses me deeply, hungrily, before getting to his feet. His eyes remain locked on mine as he reaches for my belt buckle, loosening it and then slips each button free of its confines. With each pop of a button my breathing becomes more rapid and I feel like I could explode if Edward so much as touches my cock when he pulls it out.

As if sensing it, Edward pauses, grinning at me as he pats my hip and hooks his thumbs into the waistband of both my jeans and my boxers. “Up,” he murmurs.

I do as he says and he carefully pulls my pants and underwear over my aching cock before settling on his knees on the floor in front of me. My thighs automatically fall apart when he places his hands on them, rubbing gently as he looks up at me. A small smile plays on his lips, though I can see the question in his eyes, that hint of uncertainty as he asks quietly, “Is this okay?”

I nod – what the hell else can I do? I’m in no way capable of saying no to him. Not now, maybe not ever. With every pass his hands go higher up my legs until his thumbs brush along my pelvis, making my cock jump with anticipation.

Bowing his head, he breathes over my cock, causing me to shiver. Just as he’s about to take me into his mouth, I half-choke, putting a hand on his shoulder as I shake my head. He looks up at me, puzzled and perhaps a little hurt. Brushing my thumb along his skin, I take a wavering breath and attempt to smile. “Not… not here… like this. Please?”

Tilting my head toward the bedroom, I hold my breath. I’m not left waiting long, though, as his eyes light up and he scrambles to his feet, then helps me off the couch. Pulling me close, he kisses me hard again, his hands firmly on my ass as he murmurs against my lips, “I can definitely live with that.”

I chuckle, shaking my head, unable to believe this is really happening. Edward’s the one that leads the way to my bedroom. Not hard to do, since the layout of our apartments are exactly the same, I suppose. Still, it leaves me with a sense of wonder and rightness that catches me by surprise.

When we reach my bed, he turns around and gently pushes me to sit on it. I can’t stop staring at him, my hand automatically moving to my straining cock as he slowly rids himself of his jeans, shoes, and socks. With a blush, I realize I’ve still got my socks on and hurry to remove them, too self-conscious not to.

Edward’s low, throaty laugh sends shivers down my spine even as it makes the heat rise further in my cheeks. Stepping up to me, he cradles my face in his hands again, brushing my cheekbones with his thumbs as he gazes into my eyes. It’s almost as if he’s trying to etch this moment into his memory, like this – like I am precious. The idea of that – and all the possible things to come – has my heart beating faster.

“Move up,” Edward whispers, smiling tenderly at me.

I find myself shifting until I’m lying in the middle of the bed, my head resting on my pillow as I watch him crawl over to me. He moves so slowly, so purposefully that for a second I feel more like prey than anything else. Especially when his eyes meet mine and I see the hunger in them reflected so very clearly.

He straddles my thighs, his hands skimming along my sides, my chest, my stomach, my arms – every inch of skin he can reach except for my cock which is hard, aching, and leaking pre-cum. His voice is hoarse with desire as he says, “God, I want you, Carlisle. Been dreaming of this… of you… for so long, it seems.”

I shiver at his words, his touch, unable to speak. What is there to say, anyway? So instead, I watch him, mesmerized by the sight of him. He’s as lithe as I’d thought him to be when I’d first seen him in the park all those weeks ago. His muscles are toned and he’s clearly very fit, though nowhere near as buff as his cousin. It suits him very well and I’m in awe that someone like him would want a guy like me. Granted, I’m fit for someone approaching fifty, but nowhere near as in shape as Edward is.

Edward leans forward, his hands resting on either side of my head as he kisses me. Slow and deep, this time. We both moan when our cocks brush against each other. It’s been so long since I’ve been with anyone this way that it’s almost as if something short circuits in me. Planting my hands firmly on his ass, I tilt my hips up again and again, pulling my mouth away from his with a strangled groan.

“Fuck, Edward… need… feel… oh, Jesus… please…” I babble, not even remotely able to put into words what I feel or need from him.

Edward seems to understand better than I do, however, as he shifts just enough to lick his hand and slip it between us, wrapping those long fingers of his around both our cocks. His thumb brushes over our heads, spreading the pre-cum around and sending shivers of need down my spine.

I arch up into him, meeting him thrust for thrust as he works us both over, all the while murmuring how beautiful I am, how great I feel against him. How much he wants me. Edward sets a languid pace, seemingly wanting to draw the experience out, but I’m so high strung and it’s been so long, that I’m coming before I’m ready for this to be over.

He speeds his movements, chasing his own orgasm, but the sensation is too much. I whimper and try to shift my hips away. He takes my cue at once, releasing his hold on my spent cock. He grins down at me as he continues to jerk himself off, hovering over me with heat gleaming in his eyes. His voice hitches as he speaks between grunts of pleasure. “Want to see you come again… not done with you yet… fuck, so good… so good.”

I can’t resist and reach out to twine my fingers with his and together we bring him to completion. The way his neck strains as he cries out his release, his body quivering from head to toe… I’m spellbound. One hand still wrapped around his softening cock, I place the other on his cheek, staring at him in awe as I whisper, “I want that, too,” before I can even think of stopping myself.

The smile that spreads on his face is almost beatific, stealing my breath away. Then he dips his head and kisses me deeply, determinedly. Minutes pass with him lying on top of me, kissing me. His weight is comforting and strangely familiar and utterly new all at once and I can’t imagine not wanting more of it. Of him.

My hands trail lazily across his back, learning the dips and curves of his body. He shifts so he’s lying tucked up against me, half on top of me with his head resting on my shoulder. His fingers tracing idle patterns over my chest and stomach. I can feel him smirk whenever he hits a particularly ticklish spot, causing me to gasp and squirm.

After a while, he gazes up at me, his palm resting over my heart as he murmurs, “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean for things to go quite so fast.”

My heart starts to beat wildly, certain that this is the moment of regret for him. The point where he’ll tell me this should never have happened, and never will again. Swallowing hard, I brace myself for his words, staring up at the ceiling as I wait.

Instead, Edward shakes me lightly and when I chance a glance at him through my lashes, it is to see him frowning. “Hey, stop that. I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that I had plans of wooing you-”

I can’t help myself and snort at that. Half in amusement at someone so young wooing anybody, let alone me and half in exasperation though I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Edward tickles me in retaliation and I cry out in surprise, trying to wriggle away. He glares briefly at me before it morphs into a mischievous grin. “Yes, wooing. You deserve to be wooed. Someone like you needs to be…” he pauses, kissing and licking my nipple, “savored. I was going to make it so you’d be too smitten to even think about things like age.”

At that, I raise my head, eyes wide and cheeks heating at having been read so thoroughly by Edward. How on earth had he known?

Edward raises himself up, resting on his elbow so he can look down at me and I’m stunned by the tenderness I see in his eyes. He cups my cheek with his free hand and smiles. “I don’t think I’ve told you about my aunt and uncle, have I? Emmett’s parents?”

I shake my head, completely confused by the change of subject. Edward grins, dipping his head to steal a kiss before continuing. “Aunt Helen is my mom’s sister – twin, actually. She’s forty nine. Uncle Everett just turned seventy five. They’ve been happily married for twenty eight years. It took Aunt Helen almost three years to win Uncle Everett over. They had a lot going against them, of course, but she was in love with him and knew no other would do.”

Edward smiles, brushing my cheek. “Uncle Everett had been widowed for a couple of years and was struggling to take care of his kids. My grandma was best friends with his wife, so she and my mom and aunt helped out as much as they could. For Aunt Helen, it was a done deal. She’d seen how he’d been with his wife and had admired him for the love and devotion he’d given her right til the last. And she could see how much he missed her, and how hard he tried with those boys. She fell in love with all three of them – though not in quite the same way, of course,” he adds with a cheeky grin.

“Uncle Everett was intrigued by her, to be sure, but didn’t feel right because of the age difference between them. Never mind the fact that she ended up pursuing him. It wasn’t until my parents were married that he finally relented and they went out for the first time. Aunt Helen had flat out told him that if her twin-sister was old enough to get married, than she was old enough to know who and what she wanted, too. Though I think Grandma and Grandpa ended up having a long talk with both of them, too, before anything really happened.”

I stare at him, wide-eyed. “Wow,” I murmur, trying to wrap my head around that situation. I’m not at all sure how I’d have responded, had I been in his uncle’s shoes. Hell, I’m not even sure how to handle the situation I’m in.

Edward chuckles, still smiling fondly at me. “Age doesn’t have to mean anything, Carlisle. Not if you don’t let it,” he says quietly, his eyes searching mine.

Covering his hand with my own, I hold it to my cheek as I gaze up at him. “You really mean that, don’t you?” I murmur.

He nods.

I pull him closer, kissing him and in that moment, I can believe it, too. I want to believe it. We lie quietly together for a while as I process what he’s told me. After a few minutes, though, something occurs to me and I frown. “Your Uncle Everett… he must’ve been pretty old already when he and his first wife had kids?”

Edward shifts so he can look at me again and shakes his head. “No, not really. He and Maria – that was her name – had been trying for a long time. I don’t know why, exactly, but they had a fair bit of trouble getting pregnant, and for her to see the pregnancies through. She wanted children so badly, though, that he couldn’t refuse her even if every time they tried, it became more dangerous for her health. They lost two girls before they’d turned five before they had their sons – Emmett’s older brothers. I don’t know the whole story there because I’ve never really asked. It pains Uncle Everett to talk about that, so…”

He shrugs and I nod. I can imagine how much that must have hurt. Caressing Edward’s arm, I watch him, seeing some echo of that pain in his eyes as he surely remembers conversations with his uncle. “So Emmett has two older brothers?” I ask.

Edward grins. “Yeah, he does. And a younger brother and two younger sisters, too. The girls are twins, just like our mothers.”

My eyes widen at that and I let out a startled laugh. “Wow, that’s quite the family.”

Edward chuckles. “Yep. I’m an only child, though. So I suppose it all balances out.”

We talk for a little longer about his aunt and uncle, and I have to admit it does help quiet some of my fears. Not all of them, though, but I can’t quite bring myself to listen to them. I don’t want to think about them. It feels too good to be here with Edward in my arms – to believe that whatever this is between is is real and stands a chance at becoming more. So much more.

As time ticks by, something else occurs to me and I glance at the clock, shocked to find that it’s already nearing ten o’clock. Turning to Edward, I look at him, startled. “Edward, what about Brutus? Did you leave him alone? Doesn’t he need to be taken out?”

Edward laughs quietly, brushing his lips against mine before whispering, “Brutus is probably lying in front of the fireplace at my parents’ beach house right now, chewing on his latest rope toy or some treat or other.”

Raising an eyebrow in puzzlement, I mutter, “Huh?”

Another chuckle. “Mom and Dad are on vacation at the beach house, and since I was moving, they offered to take him with them. Brutus loves the beach, and I figured why not. This way he has some fun, and he won’t be running underfoot while I get the place settled. Win-win. Besides, Mom loves spoiling him.”

My eyes widen at that, and I can feel a smile of my own tug at my lips as I roll us both over, pinning him underneath me. Gazing down at him, I ask, “So you don’t have to go anywhere? You can stay?”

He wraps his arms around my waist, his eyes twinkling with delight as he says gruffly, “I can stay.”

Lowering myself onto him, I relish the feel of him beneath me as I press my lips to his, closing my eyes and humming in the back of my throat. I know I have to get up early in the morning, but I’m not ready to end tonight – a small part of me fears that everything’ll be different in the morning light. That he will change his mind by light of day after all.

I shiver as Edward’s fingertips brush along my back, soft, teasing strokes that more often than not end up with his fingers dipping into the cleft between my ass cheeks. The needy groan that escapes me whenever he does it ignites something deep inside of me. Never having really been one for one-night stands, it’s been a very long time since I’ve had anything there aside from my toys or my own fingers. My cock stirs at the thought of being taken by Edward – nevermind the stimulation he’s giving me.

We’re both writhing against each other, our kisses becoming more heated, our movements more frantic as our need gets ramped up and I’m mere seconds from asking him to please, please take me.

And then I remember. I have lube… but no condoms.

Wrenching my lips from his with a guttural groan, I rest my forehead against his, struggling to regain my breath. My eyes are closed tight while I mentally kick myself for my lack of foresight, but really, how on earth could I have known that I’d ever get to this point again? Hadn’t I resigned myself to being alone? I’d never counted on Edward coming into my life, and certainly not into my bed.

“What? What’s wrong, Carlisle?” he whispers, concern etched in his voice as he gently strokes my face and combs his fingers through my hair.

Lifting my head, I gaze down at him, certain he can see the desperation in my eyes, the need. “God, I want you, Edward…”

He grins at that, lifting his head to steal a kiss. “You’ve got me, baby.”

Heat flashes through me at his words, doubling the need I feel and strengthening whatever it is that’s going on between us. I don’t know why, exactly, but I believe him, as crazy as it seems. Groaning again, I add, “I can’t…” The hurt flashing in his eyes has me hurrying to clarify with a heavy sigh, “No condoms.”

“Damn,” he mutters, though I see a faint grin tugging at his lips. He nudges me until I roll onto my back and he follows right behind me, hovering over me. “Guess that’ll be something to look forward to another time, then,” he says, his grin coming into full bloom.

He kisses me deeply, stifling any reply I might have made. For a moment, I forget what we’re even talking about. Then his lips leave mine to travel along my jaw, down my neck to my chest, searching out my nipples in turn before going ever southward. It’s all I can do to hang on, even if it is by a thread. As it is, my hand comes to rest on his head, fingers scratching lazily at his scalp, eliciting throaty moans of appreciation.

Every now and then he pauses to look up at me with this wicked little smile that has my stomach doing flips. His gaze is heated, holding me captive as he says hoarsely, “Doesn’t mean we can’t have a little more fun tonight, though, does it?”

He purses his lips, blowing air over the tip of my cock, causing it to twitch in anticipation. I feel utterly helpless and can’t seem to find my voice so I just shake my head, silently begging for him to please let me feel him. He’s so close to where I need him to be.

Then, finally, he wraps his lips around the head, suckling lightly and teasing my slit with his tongue. All the air leaves my lungs with a whoosh and a muttered, “Oh, fuck!” as my back arches. My fingers tighten in Edward’s hair and he moans, slipping my cock further into his mouth. I shudder at the vibrations he sends through me.

Edward takes his time as before, and this time I last a lot longer. To say I’m enjoying the feel of him giving me head – and excellent head at that – would be an understatement of epic proportions.

He leaves me a babbling, writhing mass of over-charged nerve-endings as he licks, sucks, strokes, and teases both my cock, my balls, and hole. What sends me over the edge is a spit-slicked finger tapping against my prostate even as he seems to swallow me whole.

Edward continues to ever so gently lick as I ride out my orgasm until I beg him to stop, my cock sensitive to the point of pain. He lets me go with a quiet plop, a satisfied grin on his face. I laugh breathily, feebly waving him over and he complies readily, settling down on top of me until his face is inches from mine.

Slipping my arms loosely around him, I take a wavering breath, a ridiculous smile on my lips as I manage an embarrassingly quivering, “Thank you… that was…”

He cuts me off with a chuckle and a kiss and says, “It was my pleasure, believe me.”

Turning my head to the side, I stiffle a yawn before looking back at him with a quirked brow. “Mmm, sorry ’bout that.”

He chuckles again. “’s Okay. I know it’s late. We should get some sleep.”

I frown, shifting to try and get a better look at him. “What ’bout you?” I murmur, my voice slurring ever so slightly from pleasant exhaustion.

Edward shakes his head, a faint blush creeping up his cheeks. “That kinda took care of itself,” he mutters, glancing down with a sigh.

I only need to move my leg a little to understand what he means and I wrinkle my nose when I feel the cold stickiness against my skin. Then my eyes widen when I realize Edward actually came while blowing me – maybe even because of it. “Did you-?”

He nods, a shy smile on his lips. “Yeah… we might want to get cleaned up and change the sheets before actually falling asleep,” he laughs quietly.

I thump my head back against my pillow, hating the idea of moving. I’m exhausted and much, much too comfortable with him in my arms. Still, I know he’s right, so with a sigh I let him go and we get up to go to the bathroom.

“Shower, or wash cloth?” he asks.

Pondering it for a moment, I reach into the cupboard for a couple of washcloths and hand one to him. “Shower in the morning. Too tired now,” I mumble, causing Edward to chuckle.

We make quick work of getting rid of the sticky residue on our bodies before going back to the bedroom and changing the sheets. It feels right somehow, to do this with him – comfortable. Once we’re done, he climbs in bed first and holds his arms open in invitation to me. One I’m more than happy to accept as I snuggle up to him and wrap my arm around his waist, my head resting on his shoulder.

Edward hums quietly for a while, then plants a soft kiss on my hair and whispers, “I didn’t plan for this to happen tonight, but I’m sure glad it did.”

Tightening my hold on him, I press my lips against his chest, murmuring, “Me too.”

The last thing that goes through my head as I fade into the blessed nothingness of sleep is I could get used to this.