14 snail shell

Was it something you would do for anybody?

Was it what you’d only do for me?

Or was it something where you acted when you saw the need

and knew that there would be a way the act could be repaid

And so it may, but for today

I want to thank you for putting me back in my snail shell.

Excerpt from “Snail Shell” by TMBG

EPOV

I woke at seven.

That was not unusual. I always wake at seven.

But I was naked. On my couch. I looked down and saw my clothes piled haphazardly on the floor. I didn’t remember removing them. Again. But clearly I had. The last thing I remembered was that I had showered and gotten dressed before Bella left…

Bella.

The thought of her sent my hand to my crotch instinctively. On it’s way, it brushed a cool sticky substance on my belly. Ejaculate. I retched, feeling the burn of half vomited bile at the back of my throat.

As I moved my head to peer shamefully at the disgusting mess on my abdomen, I discovered that my left cheek was rather stuck to the leather of my couch. I peeled my face away and I felt the imprint that remained.

I grabbed a tissue to remove what I could of the partially dried fluid. Then, picked up my clothes, tossing them in the hamper in my closet.

I must have undressed and masturbated…or at least had a nocturnal emission, I thought, as I went to my bathroom and confirmed my suspicions about my face in the mirror.

Red blotches that reminded me of a serious rash, or possibly rosacea, marked my face. I touched my cheek, then rubbed it.

They didn’t go away. I pulled out a fresh bar of soap and turned the water on hot. I scrubbed my face several times until it was red all over. I would have to check later to see if they were still there.

Then, I got in the shower to clean the rest of my body.

Bella came to mind.

Had she ever left it? I thought.

I had to relieve myself of the ache, which thoughts of her always caused, before I could finish washing.

Clean and only temporarily relieved, I walked into my bedroom and pulled out clothes to wear. I was hesitant to get dressed. I wanted to hold onto something of the previous night’s activities. The rest had gone down the shower drain.

In the end I decided I would have to dress. Although well groomed, the thought of body hair getting into my food in the kitchen was nauseating.

I fixed breakfast: two servings of oatmeal, herbal tea and a thoroughly washed apple. I lined up everything on my kitchen table carefully once it was prepared.

I paused before eating. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the compulsion to measure. I eyed the wood grain of the doors of the sideboard across from me warily, the smug inlaid geometric shapes taunting me, daring me to open them and measure everything inside.

I looked back at my food and concentrated on the necessity of nourishment. I wondered if Bella was awake, yet, and considered whether or not it would be appropriate to call her this early on a Saturday. I wanted to know what she was doing, what she thought about last night…

I wanted to kiss her again.

I touched my lips and felt my erection growing in my pants.

I slammed my unused spoon down, then lined it up again.

I gripped the edge of the table with both hands, my fingers turning white as I squeezed the blood from my appendages in an illogical attempt to calm the ambivalence in my brain by focusing physical energy through my fingers.

One part of me wanted nothing more than to keep and maintain any kind of physical contact with her. To explore every part inside and out. To learn her mind and body.

The other side wanted order, cleanliness, distance. It feared the change she brought last night. It hated her and her meddling in my journal. It felt betrayed.

I was determined to keep some semblance of faithfulness to my routine, so I ate my meal carefully, not too fast, but not so slow that the oatmeal cooled before I could finish. I would think of Bella after breakfast.

I washed the dishes, went to the living room and picked up my journal. The ambivalence was back. Anger and lust held equal sway in my mind.

I realized that both feelings were illogical. I had to figure this puzzle out. I needed help.

I needed Dr. Cullen.

I set my journal down and went to my computer to send him an email.

Dr. Cullen:

Please forgive me for not having responded to your last email.

I know too much time has passed for you to consider this a timely response. Indeed, I am somewhat ashamed that I did not tell you after our last appointment that I had no intention of continuing our sessions.

If you can forgive me for not responding, perhaps you can also find an opening for me within the next few days.

But let me be clear: I do not want to go back to weekly sessions. I have made a lot of improvement on my own lately, and I enjoy the sense of empowerment that comes with it. You were right about that. You were right about everything.

However, from time to time, I think it would be wise to seek your advice, particularly, as I don’t want any major setbacks.

The reason I want to speak with you is because I am now in a relationship with the woman we last discussed, Ms. Isabella Swan.

There is a lot to explain, of course, but suffice it to say, we are approaching a physical relationship, and my OCD symptoms, which have improved greatly over the past several months, are becoming difficult to control again. I need your guidance.

I will take any opening you have, day or night, at your earliest convenience.

Thank you,

EAM

Satisfied that I had done the best that I could to persuade Dr. Cullen to see me, I thought about Bella, and whether or not I should call her.

Wouldn’t it be easier to email her like you did with Dr. Cullen? She would appreciate that, and then you could contact her at any time, and she could respond when it was convenient for her.

Finally able to focus on something that made sense, I got online and purchased a top-of-the-line Apple MacBook Pro. I knew that Bella would not want to be bothered with the constant vigilance required to maintain a Microsoft operating system. Keeping them virus free was almost a full time job in and of itself.

I entered her address for delivery, and added Protection Plan and One-to-One setup help to my purchase. As much as I wanted to take care of it for her, I had to accept my current limitations.

After the order was placed and I received email confirmation of my purchase, I worked on cleaning my desk and measuring my journals. I added an entry about the compulsion to do so, but felt better once the tasks were complete.

Then, I undressed and prepared to shower again, as I always do after cleaning.

Once in the shower, I masturbated again. I decided that shame had no place here. It was far better to clear my mind in this way, than to allow thoughts of her to get out of control.

Her hair…and lack of it…were a blur in my mind as I came.

Feeling exhausted from the frequency of orgasms within the past twelve hours, I toweled off and fell on top my bed for a nap.

I was awakened from sleep by the sound of my phone ringing.

I glanced at the caller ID briefly, and once I recognized the number, I answered it.

“Bella.”

Hi. Is it too early to call?”

I laughed.

That was odd. It was also odd that she unexpectedly had the same concern as me.

“No, I was worried that it was too early to call you. I’ve been up since seven.”

I just woke up. Um.”

I had learned that the best way to deal with Bella’s fear of judgment about speaking was to wait patiently for her to continue.

I normally…uh…get up earlier than this…than ten a.m. on…you know…Saturdays.”

“What time do you normally get up?” I was already imagining waking up next to her, finding her sleeping. Watching her. Naked. Bella naked. And me naked. Wait. She was talking again.

Around eight?…” she sighed loudly. “I mean, eight. I get up at eight…I’m, well…I’m usually at my sister’s…at Alice’s apartment right now.”

“Why are you not? Did something happen?” I asked.

Um…I’m not sure. She…Alice always calls. She hasn’t called. I…uh…”

I could hear something rustling over the phone.

I need your help.”

“Anything,” I said, ignoring the panic that followed as I anticipated her asking me to come to her apartment.

I uh…OK…just listen…OK?”

I waited for her to continue for several seconds.

Edward?”

Was I supposed to speak now? I waited for her to say something that more clearly articulated what she needed.

Are you there?”

“Yes. I’m sorry, did I do something wrong?”

No…uh..”

I worried again that I made a mistake, but resisted the urge to speak.

Will ice keep a bruise from forming?”

“What happened?” I asked, panicking. It was true that bruises were not a terrible condition, but the thought of her bruised caused me to worry that she had exposed herself to danger.

Please answer the question, Edward, and I’ll tell you,” she said, her voice carrying that tone that Rosalie’s has when I am on her dirty list. In those situations, I had to accept that my questions were not a priority.

“Yes, if it is within moments of impact, ice can prevent a bruise from appearing.”

Good…”

I waited for the explanation I’d requested, but it never dame. I was growing impatient. It was an emotion with which I had little familiarity.

“B—”

“—I…OK…here’s what happened…I woke up…the sun…it was too high for eight…I uh…kind of freaked out because of Alice…you know?”

I wasn’t sure if that was a rhetorical question or not. I hesitated and she continued, so I assumed it was.

I jumped out of bed…and…I have hardwood…gets waxed a lot…anyway…I slipped on a shirt lying on the floor…kittens, this is embarrassing…”

I didn’t speak. I waited.

I was…um…naked?”

She was naked?

I was beginning to resent my growing familiarity with having to concentrate through the distraction of an erect penis.

It was annoying. That was another emotion with which I lacked familiarity.

Shit..naked. I fell…uh…fuck it—right boob first, right shoulder close second…My shoulder hurts. I grabbed an ice pack, but…I wanted to check…I guess…um, well, it was just an excuse to call you.”

“You were naked?” I had to have confirmation.

Yeah. I, uh, I’m still naked.”

I couldn’t remember why she called. It was important…she was…fuck…she’s naked…

“Are you Okay, Bella?” I could manage that, at least. Then we could get back to the nakedness.

Yeah, I’m great…you know, now that…the bruise thing is OK, and…um, you’re on the phone…shit…that sounded really desperate, I know…”

“No, it’s fine.”

I had no idea what she meant by her last comment. I wanted to ask, but it seemed to me that asking her to explain herself might make her want to stop talking, and I didn’t want that at all.

I noted the location of my hand and moved it. This was not the proper time. It was convenient, true, but grossly inappropriate.

Focus.

“Bella, I am very glad to hear that you are OK. I think you should invest in some house shoes with tread. Rosalie has a very nice pair you might consider. They have wool on the inside, so they are very warm, too… Of course, my feet get quite hot, so I couldn’t wear them. If you are like me, you might like something else. Here, I can initiate a Google search for—”

No. Don’t Google—”

“—OK. Well, I’m not as familiar with Bing, but I’m willing to try—”

“—No. Don’t…you don’t have to do that. Listen,” she sighed loudly. I knew that noise, it’s the one Rosalie makes when she’s about to call Emmett to “deal with me.” I decided now was a good time to listen.

And stop. Imagining her. Naked.

I’ve thought a lot about this. And I like that you care about me, and want to help me, Edward, but I already have someone in my life who does that…and I don’t like it. I want to start…you know…taking care of my own shit…do you understand?”

She was breathing heavily on the other line. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to understand, but I hoped that her “shit” was not something with which she expected me to become better acquainted.

“I don’t think I do understand. Will you please explain?” I said, desperately hoping that it wasn’t excrement.

She sighed. Alice, Edward. Alice does everything…she doesn’t even ask if it’s what I want. And I just can’t take that from you. I don’t want to hate you, I want to…I mean, I do like you…more than like…a lot. OK? So, just…if you want to do something for me, just ask first, OK? Just give me the fucking choice for a change!

Her volume and intensity suggested seriousness. And possibly violence, I wasn’t positive. I was relieved that she was not in the room with me.

I was also glad that her reference to excrement seemed to be figurative, like Emmett and Rosalie’s.

And then I realized that I had made a mistake.

I was afraid to speak. If I told her about the laptop, she may hate me.

On the other hand, she said she wanted me to check with her…could I lie to her and tell her I hadn’t ordered it, yet? Would that be acceptable?

It was an ethical dilemma.

No, it wasn’t a dilemma. It was wrong, and I was afraid because I knew that she would be upset when I admitted my guilt.

Not one to shirk my comeuppance, I prepared to confess.

“B—”

Edward. I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Can you forgive me?”

Me forgive her?

“I don’t understand.”

I…fuck…I don’t mean to take my problems out on you. You’re just trying to help for fuck’s sake.”

“About that,” I said, hoping she would let me get a word in this time, “I have to apologize, too.”

Why?” She asked, sighing.

“I bought you a laptop…and I didn’t ask if you wanted one or not. I thought we could chat online and email.”

You bought me a laptop?”

“Yes. Do you forgive me?”

I forgive you for not checking with me first. Geez, Edward. I mean, you don’t even know what I would prefer.”

“Would you tell me? I’ll cancel my order, and get you whatever you want.”

Well, I don’t feel right about accepting such an expensive gift. I mean, I can certainly afford my own laptop, several actually…I was always just too…I don’t like sales people asking questions. It never works out well…plus, what would I use it for…Internet dating?”

She barked a laugh that sounded like she was crying.

“Well, so can I. Seeing as how we can both afford multiple laptops, will you just accept it? I know a lot about computers, and whatever your preference, I can help you to make a sound decision. And I don’t mind dealing with sales people…well, as long as we’re not in the same room.”

Fine, as long as it’s a MacBook, I really don’t care.”

I smiled at my success.

“Well, it’s done, then.”

Really?” she said.

“Yes.”

How did you know?”

“I didn’t.”

Then how did you, I mean…don’t you work with PCs?”

“That’s for my job, Bella. My personal preference is for a clean, streamlined operating system, not the Byzantine monstrosity preferred by adolescent gamers and power-hungry corporations with no respect for finite resources.”

Well, Edward, why don’t you tell me how you really feel.”

“I did.”

She laughed loudly, and then I thought I heard her drop the phone.

I waited.

I didn’t understand what was so funny.

“Bella?” I called.

I’m sorry, Edward. I shouldn’t laugh at that, I just forgot how literal you are!”

“Yes. It’s true. I lack the ability to determine the meaning of certain nuances of speech…tone, for example, is very difficult for me to ascertain without multiple consistent experiences.

“I have never understood sarcasm. I’ve tried some examples that Emmett came up with, but it eludes me. I prefer to work with language choices I more readily understand.”

I like it.”

“You do?”

Yeah. It makes it easy to talk to you. I know that if you are judging me, you won’t be malicious and sideways about it…and I respect that. A lot.”

“I think you are easy to talk to, too, Bella, and I…well, I am intrigued and grateful that you have been so accommodating of me and my limitations with physical contact. I never thought I’d meet anyone who would tolerate—and even join me in wearing—latex gloves.”

Yeah, about that…uh…I wouldn’t call it “tolerating,” Edward.”

“You wouldn’t? Were you unhappy? Did you feel obligated or uncomfortable? Bella, please allow me to apologize.”

No, I’m not explaining this right…just listen again, OK?…I like the latex, Edward.”

Her voice had taken on that tone she used when we discussed the lists and when we were in my apartment. That tone that suggested arousal. I understood that tone.

Oh.

She meant…

It actually turns me on. A lot.”

Oh.

It’s a fetish. I don’t know if that’s what it is for you or not, but the fact that that’s what you need…is the opposite of a problem for me.”

Oh.

“I’m naked, too, Bella. I don’t know exactly why I said that, but it seemed germane.”

Yes…It is indeed. We’re both naked…talking about latex…and I have a confession to make, Edward.”

A confession? Had she committed a crime of moral turpitude?

“What is it? I’m sure I would forgive you anything, Bella.”

I stole something from you last night.”

Although I felt a twinge of anger at her act of theft, I was also curious about what she had managed to take without my notice. But before I could interrogate her on the subject, she anticipated my question.

I took one of the gloves you wore while you were touching yourself. I’m wearing it right now…and, um…” she took a deep breath and continued, “I’m touching myself, Edward…I’m touching my, uh…shaven…pussy.

I ached with the need for sexual release, but was distracted by a high-pitched scream or…was it a squeal? on the other line. I wondered what had happened.

“What happened?” I asked.

Sorry,” now she was giggling, “I’m not used to being so forward…verbally…I was embarrassed about what I said.”

“Please don’t be. It was beautiful…but it makes me ache, and I don’t want to importune you…but I need to masturbate again very soon.”

Okay. Will you, um, talk to me about it?”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

Just, um…you tell me what you’re doing, and I’ll do the same…and then we’ll know…what’s going on.”

“I’m masturbating, Bella.”

Right,” she said, breathless and…was she moaning? “more…specific…like…what specifically your hand is doing…maybe…um, you can…fuck me…tell me what you wish I were doing…or what you want to do to me…or…fuck…hang on I’ve got to stop or I, er um, we won’t get very far.”

There was silence. I thought about what she said. I removed my hand from my penis and spoke seriously.

“So, you want to verbally simulate the sex act with me over the phone?”

Fuck, yes.”

“I can do that.

“Bella, if I were with you right now, I would push you back on a soft surface so you were comfortable, then I would kneel on the floor in front of you.”

Would you be wearing the gloves? Ung…”

“Yes, if it stimulated you, I’d wear two on each hand, my love.”

God damnit that’s hot…”

“It is? Okay…And then I would take my gloved hands, and push your knees apart, sliding them up your legs to…Bella, is it Okay if I touch myself while I stimulate you verbally? I’m finding it overwhelmingly stimulating myself.”

Fuck! Absolutely…I love the thought of you…oh, god, of you fisting your cock in your hand while you’re…ah…talking to me. Ohhhh…yes, and…and…what else, Edward?”

“I would use my fingers to pull your labia apart carefully. Then, I would use one or possibly two fingers to stimulate the skin around your clitoris, as I observed you doing just…oh fuck…hang on…”

I breathed through my nose repeatedly in an attempt to hold off my orgasm. Bella was somewhat silent, her labored breathing and occasional expletives the only indication she was still on the phone.

“Okay, then, once you were sufficiently lubricated, I would stimulate your clitoris directly, slowly at first, and with more speed and friction as your…shiny…glistening…pink and…oh, it’s beautiful, Bella, your genitals are absolutely lovely…and…just a minute.”

I stopped masturbating and breathed deeply, listening to the noises she was making. Lovely, musical noises. I was upset that it wasn’t one of my hands in the glove touching her. I wanted to be her hands. Was that jealousy?

Fuck, Edward, I’m about to come…please…please keep talking…I can’t…I can’t do it. And it’s so good. I…I know it’s not possible, but I wish it were you…I can’t wait to feel your hands on me.”

“I agree,” I said, picking up speed with my motions. It was difficult to discuss what I wanted to do with her, while handling myself. But I was pleased with the outcome for both of us, so I persevered.

“Bella…fuck…then I would…ugnf…then I would insert two fingers into your vagina while I kept constant and attentive friction on your clitoris. I would carefully move them in and out of you, curling them up…fucking fuck…I don’t want it to be my fingers, Bella…right now, I’m not thinking of that, I’m…I’m…I want to fuck you with my…oh, god, my dirty filthy cock! I…I…I just ejaculated, Bella!”

Fuck, that’s hot…Fuu-huuu-huuuck…I just…I just came, Edward…Wow…”

I was glad I’d never left the bed. I was about to fall asleep again. I reached for tissues from my nightstand.

“That was incredibly interesting…Bella?”

Yes?” she asked sleepily.

“I’ve had six orgasms counting this one and the one we had together last night…I’m very, very tired. I need to take another nap, but when may I call you again?”

Anytime. I mean, I don’t have an answering machine, but…”

I heard a noise over the phone…a banging noise.

Oh, shit,” she said. “I have to go, Edward…um…Alice is here.”

“Oh…can I help?” I asked, and the OCD part of me became upset at the lack of self-preservation exhibited under Bella’s influence. I wondered briefly what I would do if she asked me to ride the subway.

Empty your stomach, first.

No! Oh shit! She’s using her key. I have to go.”

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