summary: It's that special place where you and I exist apart from the rest of the world, where shadows and light mingle without fear, and I and love and you can be spoken in the same sentence without worrying about what tomorrow might bring.
It’s that place between sleep and awake, that somewhere special where dreams still resonate with beauty and time stands still at just the right moments. It’s that feeling of absolute contentment when he finally tugs you into his arms and pushed a gentle kiss on your forehead. It’s a sigh of happiness that exhales all reservations and breaths life into a broken soul. It’s the truest form of love that can heal all wounds, even the heart that’s been immutably shattered can be sewn up bit by bit by the beauty of a lovers smile.
Together the mysteries of the universe can be unraveled for wondering eyes and innocent hearts to traverse without the taint of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of facing the world alone.
It’s that place above all others where he finds himself now though how he is not certain as sleep holds no illusions for him, no welcoming embrace.
But he keeps his eyes closed, feigning sleep that never comes. The sound of fabric being rustled and the soft squeal of a squeaky drawer reminds him of why he is here.
“You know, this would go a lot faster if you would help.”
He can hear the smile in her voice, knows she is enjoying this as much as he is. He opens his eyes to see her standing beside her desk, her back to him as she peers intently at him in the mirror. The floor is littered with shirts, a genocide of color that could easily be mistaken for Armageddon come early. Here and there lay his attempts at helping, cast aside with nothing more than a quirked eyebrow. He had long since given up offering his opinion.
“Ah, but why would I want to do that.”
It’s not a question and she doesn’t treat it as such. Instead, she rights herself and forces a counterfeit scowl onto her face.
Fortunately, she’s always been a terrible actress.
She turns around, stares at him, long and hard, but he doesn’t look away. “You’re no help at all,” she mutters when the scowl finally gives way to a coy smile.
He wants to leap from his perch on the edge of the bed and drag her into his arms. Her smile, the scent of strawberries saturating the air around them all urge him onward, but the quick rush of crimson that warms her face reminds him of why he shouldn’t. Part of him wonders at her reaction because it makes him nervous, but another part is wondering what it would be like to feel that warmth pressed close against his own cheek.
Bella closes the drawer with a swift tap of her hip and he forced himself to meet her gaze, grateful that she cannot read his mind. His eyes are immediately drawn to the scrap of fabric in her hand.
“You’re not wearing that are you,” he asked brightly, hoping she’ll mistake the mischievous note in his voice for something benign.
She grins and spreads the shred of fabric, which could hardly be called a shirt in polite conversation, out in front of her, smoothing it across her stomach.
A sigh escapes him as the image of Bella in a tight red shirt flashes before his eyes, layers of deepest chestnut divinity hiding her face and a small grin threatening to bloom in the wake of something he has said.
But no, he shakes his head, that is not the reason he is here.
“Well, if you’re sure,” he says, careful to keep his voice neutral. “We should probably get going, the party has already started and Edward is probably getting testy.”
There is a pause and another grin, brilliant this time and he swears he can see a flicker of heaven in her eyes. Warm, soft, inviting, fleeting, but there all the same. Her breathing changes, quick and hinting at a feeling she refuses to show. All too quickly, she disappears into the bathroom for to change, leaving him alone and staring at the empty space where she had just been. He swallows hard, allowing himself a moment of relaxation to regain control of himself and beast who rages within.
He breathes deep; enjoying the scent of Bella as it fills his lungs completely. His memories take him back as his mind conjures up faded memories from his past and draws parallels with his present. She’s a flower garden after the rain, a rainbow on a lovely spring day, warm cheery pie, a shirt straight out the dryer that feels good enough to bury your face in, she’s an eclipse on a bright sunny day, blocking out the natural light and supplementing it with a radiance all her own.
She’s poetry in motion, every move a note in a melody he knows by heart.
Five minutes pass before he hears the tell-tale sounds of Bella padding barefoot down the hall. Even though he’s seen her at least a thousand times before nothing quite prepares him for the sight of her framed in the doorway of her own bedroom.
The shirt is the first thing he notices. It’s not the tight red number she was insisting on earlier, but a modest little pink sweater that he’s never seen her wear but that’s so Bella that he feels something inside of him swell with delight.
She shrugs at his smile. “You said it would bring out my eyes so…”
Of course, now he remembers where he saw it last, it was one of the shirts he picked out but she threw aside. Sneaky Bella.
He nods mutely, his eyes trailing slowly over the rest of her body, taking in the vision before him. There is a tiny barrette in her hair, a touch of eyeliner making her eyes more noticeable, pale pink nail polish that smells like cotton candy and if he has to hazard a guess would be named something outrageous like cherrypalooza or dazzling electric apple. And to complete the ensemble, a snug pair of dark jeans melts into a pair of Christmas socks with happily grinning reindeer proclaiming Merry Christmas to all.
And it’s just so Bella.
A blush creeps up the delicate curve of her neck and she curls her toes under as his gaze comes to rest on her seasonal attire. “All my other socks are dirty, so I have to wear these,” she explains, stating the obvious.
“You’ll do,” he hears himself say, letting his smile do all the necessary talking.
It seems impossible but her blush deepens as she stutters out a bemused thank you. She grabs her shoes, and meets him at the window. It isn’t until they are outside that he realizes she has forgotten to grab a coat.
He takes off his jacket and drapes it across her small, shivering shoulders. His fingers linger a moment too long on smooth porcelain skin and tempting heat as he brushes her hair back, out from beneath the folds of leather that have swallowed her.
He’s distracted for a moment, his eyes following her slow progress toward his car, her eyes casting a thousand unvoiced words back at him when she shouts that the door is locked and to hurry up because it’s freezing out here. Each and every syllable lighting up the night like a flash of lightening through the sky and he feels that warm contentment seeping back inside. The impossibility of the moment unnerves him as the secrets between the shadows of his soul melt in the wake of her smile.
“No,” he whispers, his words lost to the night. His cold heart alights with a spark of something he cannot name. “Thank you.”
It’s that special place where you and I exist apart from the rest of the world, where shadows and light mingle without fear, and I and love and you can be spoken in the same sentence without worrying about what tomorrow might bring. It’s a flower that blooms in the fragile light of early morning, a birth, a rebirth of spring, a cleansing of the soul where all impurities fall by the wayside and you and I are all that really matters.