20 someone keeps moving my chair

We’re just trying to bug you

We thought that our dreadfulness

Might be a thing to annoy you with”

But Mr. Horrible says, “I don’t mind

The thing that bothers me is

Someone keeps moving my chair

Excerpt from “Someone Keeps Moving My Chair” by TMBG

EPOV

“Well, to answer your question, the worst part was also the best part! That was when the dental dam slid away and I tasted Bella’s labia minora and clitoris,” I said, as I pressed Bella’s hand so she would know I was thinking of her as I said it. Her palm was sweaty, and the urge to look at her was very strong, but this time I resisted. It was important to look at Dr. Cullen, because I was talking to him.

“Edward,” Dr. Cullen said, glancing briefly at Bella, “I was hoping you would describe your feelings. You said you almost lost control during the date; I wanted to know what was the worst feeling you had. Fear? Anger? Sense of loss or betrayal? And how did you deal with that feeling, in your mind? Did you rationalize or use any of the exercises we’ve discussed? Let’s talk about that.”

“Oh. Yes, I felt fear when it first slipped away, but after I tasted her, it was so wonderful that all I felt was aroused. The frightening part lasted only a few seconds. I didn’t have time to use one of your exercises.”

I didn’t tell him that the reason I wasn’t worried was because Bella had had a full panel of STD tests less than six months ago with negative results, and she’s not had a sexual partner for almost a year. I figured that was personal information Bella might not want me to share.

Dr. Cullen’s face turned red as I spoke.

He cleared his throat and said, “Well, Bella, I’m so glad you’re here. I asked Edward to bring you today because it’s important for people who are close to him to have a chance to ask questions about his treatment, and to express any concerns in a safe place. On the other hand, you may not want to talk about personal things to a complete stranger, so don’t feel like you have to speak. OK?”

I looked at Bella. She was staring at Dr. Cullen with wide eyes, but she managed to smile and nod. She cleared her throat several times before saying: “Thank you. I…I’m OK…and I do have some questions.”

“OK. That’s great! What would you like to talk about, Bella?” Dr. Cullen set his notes aside. I looked at Bella and she immediately relaxed into the couch. What was it about that file that upset people? Rosalie did exactly what Bella had done, when she had come to one of my appointments with Emmett last year.

“Well, um…did Edward tell you about the, uh, subway incident?”

“Yes,” Dr. Cullen said.

I didn’t understand why this was so important. It was almost two weeks ago. Dr. Cullen looked at me and my brow furrowed with the mental effort to listen to Bella and not say what was on my mind.

“Well, it really upset me, and I forgave him, but…I feel guilty…because….”

I could feel her staring at my face, so I turned to give her my full attention.

She looked, well, a bit sick, like she might vomit.

I was compelled to back away. I did and she frowned and her eyes became wet. She brushed the tops of her cheeks with the backs of fingers and turned away.

“Bella?” Dr. Cullen said, leaning forward. His hand twitched and inched forward toward her. Her hands moved away from resting on her knees and found their way into a crevice between her legs. I wished my hands were with hers in that space.

Wait. Was he going to touch her? I was pretty sure this was not appropriate. Would she allow him to touch her? What was I supposed to do? My heart rate increased, and I considered putting myself in harms way.

She slid back into the couch further, her hair coming around her face, hiding her beauty from me.

Dr. Cullen pulled back and put his hands on his knees.

“Bella. You said you feel guilty? Could you tell me what you feel guilty about? I’d like to understand.”

She hesitated before saying, “Because…I haven’t really forgiven him, and I should have, but I haven’t. I’m still angry…”

“I see,” Dr. Cullen said.

“I don’t understand,” I blurted. “I apologize for interrupting, but I don’t understand, Bella. Why would you lie to me?”

She fidgeted with her fingernails, picking at them. It was disgusting, but I tried not to think about why she might have debris under her nails. “Well…I didn’t want to cause trouble. I mean, if I don’t forgive you, then…you might…not…want to, um, see me…anymore.”

“I would never—”

“—Never?”

“Ever not want to see you anymore,” I said. “But, if you don’t forgive me, how can you still want to see me?” I was completely confused. I looked at Dr. Cullen hoping he would explain what she meant.

Bella looked at Dr. Cullen, too. She smiled with half her mouth and looked away briefly. Her hands made it back between her legs and her hair was covering her face again.

I pointed at her and looked at Dr. Cullen, “I don’t understand this thing she does. Is this a symptom of her social anxiety disorder?”

Dr. Cullen was putting his hands up to stop me as I talked.

I looked at her and saw that she was weeping.

“What did I say?” I asked.

“Edward. Would you mind waiting outside for a moment?”

“Why?” I looked at Bella and then Dr. Cullen.

Something was happening, but I didn’t understand what it was. Dr. Cullen’s eyes were open wide and his hands were still up like that time when I brought my gun. Bella’s body seemed to be shrinking into the couch.

“Can’t you just explain it to me, like you do? You’ve now seen her behavior first hand. Just tell me what it means and what I’m supposed to do, please!”

“It means I’m embarrassed, asshole!” she said with a red wet face.

“Edward,” Dr. Cullen said again. “Ten minutes. Go take a walk.”

He pointed at the door. His mouth was pulled into a thin line. Was this anger? I was reminded of several looks that were similar on other faces. Yes, this is probably anger. I supposed my leaving was to help both of them calm down.

I looked at my watch and got up and walked toward the door. “OK. Ten minutes. Will you explain when I return?”

He looked at Bella, “That will depend on Bella.”

My heart beat faster again with agitation. “Fine,” I said, realizing that I was angry, too.

Then, I turned back around and said, “You should really wash your hands, Bella,” before I could think.

She got up and ran at me, hands out in front of her, like she was going to attack me. Her eyes were wide and reminded me of that movie with the crazy lady in the bathtub. That man didn’t kill her when he held her under water, and it seemed to only succeed in making her angrier.

“Arrrrrrr!”

Then her hands were at my shirt, jerking me. I put my hands up and backed into the door. Sweating, I turned my face away and squinted my eyes closed. I hoped she didn’t touch my skin with her filthy hands. As it was, I’d already have to get rid of this shirt.

Dr. Cullen was up from his seat right behind her before she could do more damage to my waning control.

“Bella, let’s give him ten minutes, OK? Come on.” His hands were on her shoulders.

She let go of my shirt, staring at me like she did right before she ran away from me the night we met.

Betrayal.

I knew exactly how she felt.

I left the room, the building. I headed down the street.

I was almost accosted by a guy with a handful of neon flyers.

He shouted at me from several feet away, “Hey, man, wanna come see Starving Fear? New band, West Coast, on their first tour!”

I knew he was about to shove a piece of paper in my face, so I turned on my heel and headed in the other direction, ignoring him.

I turned and almost ran into a man whose eyes were half open, in that lusty way my Bella’s were when she was aroused. Only, his mouth was pressed together in…anger? Yes, or…perhaps frustration? I wasn’t sure, but he looked like he was freezing without a coat on. His hands were shoved deep into a pair of khaki pants.

Who would be out in this weather without a jacket?

I turned and looked at him again, his footfalls fast and steady.

Lunch hour must almost be over, because the sidewalk was filling with people. I reached into my pockets, fishing for my gloves. I put them on with a painful slap, the sensation refocusing my brain.

I pulled out my measuring tape, the small one, only reached six feet. I needed to find a place where I could sit down. I looked in the windows of several shops, but none had benches or chairs.

I stopped at a pizza place and considered going in. I changed my mind when I saw how greasy the window was. A woman came out brushing her lovely brown hair back from her face, a jade-colored scarf tied to her wrist. That’s odd. Why was she was wearing a man’s black leather jacket when she had a perfectly nice camelhair coat? The coat was draped over her arm. It looked like it was her size.

She hesitated at the entrance, looking down the street, searching for something. Then, she stared right at me without seeming to see me. Her perfume hit my nose and made it twitch and tingle when she walked by. I shook my head and moved on.

People were so odd. Why tie a scarf around your wrist? Wouldn’t it be better to have it around your neck? If your wrist is cold, put some gloves on!

Finally, I found a bookstore, off a side street.

I stepped in and noticed there were very few customers. I sat down on a filthy chair. I was already going to have to throw out my clothes out as soon as I stepped inside my door, what difference would it make? I crossed my leg over my ankle and measured.

Twelve inches and nine sixteenths.

I measured again. Then, I measured the other shoe. It was the same. I measured them both five times. I was precise with my measurements. I felt a little calmer.

I decided it would be a good idea to murmur the measurement in my head ten times. When I was on number seven, I was interrupted with a hand on my shoulder.

“Sir?”

“Take your hand from me!” I shouted.

The woman stepped back, her face morphing from a placid expressionless face to one that was wide and tight, like it was stretched to its limit. She put her hands on her hips and spoke with equal vocal tightness, “Sir, I need for you to leave, right now.”

She stepped out of my way, her hands up, and didn’t try to touch me, again. I was relieved.

I got up, stuck my measuring tape in my pocket, and chanted “Twelve inches and nine sixteenths” three more times as I left the bookstore. I could feel her eyes on me as I left.

I walked back to Dr. Cullen’s office feeling like a failure. Here I was, after months of constant progress feeling as out of control as I did the first time I stepped through the door.

I was shaking with fear and shame. The fear I expected, but I’d never felt shame about my OCD before. It was inconvenient, and had a negative impact on my ability to get a job and maintain relationships, but other than that, I was fine. Just fine.

Now, I was most certainly not fine. I realized that if Bella couldn’t forgive me for not being able to ride the subway, what would she do if I couldn’t stand for her to touch me with her bare hands?

She’d never want to see me again.

Could I live with that? If it was a choice between allowing her hands on me and never seeing her again, could I tolerate it? I could wash after, as many times as I needed.

I fingered the tape measure in my pocket. I would measure everything in my apartment when I got home. I wouldn’t tell Bella or Dr. Cullen about it, though. I needed to keep Bella. If I could just get through the rest of this session, I could go home. Could I make it?

I knocked.

“Come in, Edward!” Dr. Cullen said.

I opened the door and walked in.

Bella was leaning into the couch, left arm draped over the armrest. She turned and smiled at me.

Dr. Cullen was writing in on something in my file. “Have a seat, Edward,” he said, without looking up.

I realized I still had my gloves on when I rested my hands on my knees.

Bella noticed, too. She blushed and looked away.

Before I could pull them off, Dr. Cullen looked up. “Hey, you had your gloves with you?”

“Yes, I had them in my jacket pockets.”

“What happened? Why did you feel a need to put them on?” he asked, pen poised to write.

I looked at Bella. Would I be dishonest? Would she accept me?

“Dr. Cullen, I’m very interested in what you talked about while I was gone. Can we discuss that first? Then, I’ll talk about my gloves.”

Dr. Cullen looked at Bella. Her was nod practically undetectable.

“Edward, Bella is easily embarrassed. But she told me that when you and she are alone, she’s not embarrassed with anything you say. And by alone, she means where no one else can see or hear her. Do you understand?”

“Yes. I understand the words. I don’t know why.”

“Well, we’ll get to that, OK?”

“OK.”

“So, now, I’m here with you, so it’s hard for her to hear some of the things that you said earlier, particularly about her issues and telling her she was disgusting. Remember after you wrote the first letter how we talked about betrayal?”

“Yes.”

“So, do you see how it’s the same?”

“When I talk about her emotional problems and cleanliness around other people, it makes her feel betrayed.”

“Even through a closed door,” Bella added.

“I understand,” I said.

“Bella, why don’t you tell Edward why you were upset about the subway, again.”

“Edward.”

I looked at her. I turned in my seat to face her more fully.

She smiled.

“I felt embarrassed when we had, what I consider to be, a private conversation, through intercom, through your door and finally over the phone in front of your sister. I don’t think those are appropriate places to discuss our,” her breath hitched, “our relationship.

“I need for you to keep that in mind, and try to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself until we are truly alone, and if you aren’t sure, ask me, first. I know that this place, with Dr. Cullen is a safe place for you to be honest, but I wasn’t ready for that…I am now, I mean,” she shook her head and took a breath, “I feel better about it, but I didn’t before you left. I was very uncomfortable.”

Then, she sat back and looked at me.

“There’s more, Bella. You need to talk to him about your responsibilities,” Dr. Cullen said.

“Right,” she said scratching her head. Then she looked at her fingernails. I didn’t comment. “I know that sometimes I mistakenly equate your motivations for doing things with people like Alice and my mother. I know you’re different from them. You’re like Mr. Darcy, not Miss Bingley. It’s easy for me to forget that sometimes. I’m sorry. And I’m going to try to do better.”

“That was great, Bella,” Dr. Cullen said. “Edward, is there anything you’d like to say?”

“I’m sorry I betrayed you, Bella,” I said. Then, I felt like everything was going to be OK, because she reached out and took my gloved hand in her own, dirty one. I had to be honest, so I said it all at once, as quickly as possible, like removing a sticky bandage,

“I’m sorry, but I had to put my gloves on and I had to measure my shoes and when I get home, I’m going to throw out my clothes and measure everything and shower ten times, but I doubt I’ll masturbate that much, but I’m sorry, and if you never want to see me again, I don’t blame you, but would you? Could you give me some time before making that decision? I want to try and get better again. I can try. I won’t stop trying, I promise!”

I was watching her face closely as I spoke. Her eyebrows were up and pulled together in the middle like Dr. Cullen’s. Compassionate. But she was frowning. Did those expressions go together? I wasn’t sure.

Then she squeezed my hand and I relaxed a little.

“Edward. It’s OK. Today was hard for both of us, right?”

“Yes. But you did very well, Bella.”

“Well, I have some things to work on, too, Edward.”

“Right. But you’re already better, Bella. I’m broken…like a clock that can’t be fixed. I’m afraid you’ll toss me out. Why keep me if I can’t tell time?”

“Maybe I just like to look at you,” she said snickering.

“What?”

Then she winked at me.

I laughed loudly. Her winking always made me laugh, now.

Dr. Cullen sucked in a loud breath and I glanced at him. He looked surprised. When he saw my face, he started laughing, too.

~~§•§~~

It was almost time for the meeting at Brandon & Brown.

I was hoping I’d be in better shape, emotionally, but there was no more waiting on this project.

I worried and wrung my hands, ungloved, as Bella held the door to the building open for me, and then held the door to the stairs. She was fresh and clean, her cheeks glowing. I hated to see her sullied by having to put her hands on door handles.

Last night, we had gone to the library, and she read out loud to me. Then, we went back to my place and she watched me in the shower as I masturbated. Then, she got in with me, and I washed her body carefully and touched her and made sweet, clean oral love to her.

She asked me if she could stay, and what with her being so thoroughly washed, I saw no reason to say no. I would never have told her no. I wanted to wake up next to her very badly, and I told her so.

At seven, I woke, curled around her soft body, and watched her sleep.

Her knees were under her chin, one hand under her head, the other buried between her legs. I reached around to her front, and slipped my hand over hers. She rocked in her sleep against me, muttering my name.

My cock grew harder when I heard it from her lips.

I kissed her hair and her clean ears (I spent ten minutes on her ears alone, last night).

I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate or not, what with her being asleep, but I rocked with her, rubbing my erection against her backside through the double fabric of my sleeping pants and the boxers of mine that she was wearing.

I hardened further when I thought of her clean pussy rubbing against the place where my testicles rested in my clothes.

I rubbed my hands over her body; her breasts, feeling her nipples harden under the thin white undershirt she was wearing; her arms, feeling goose bumps when I pulled the sheet down so I could watch and feel; and her hips, as I pulled them back to meet mine with force.

“Edward,” she moaned more articulately.

“Are you awake now?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said with a croaky voice, “what time is it?”

I looked at my clock. “Seven-fifteen.”

“Fuck!” she said, getting up quickly. I groaned when she left the bed cold, my erection unattended.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t have any clothes, here, Edward! I have to go home and change!”

“I washed your clothes and hung them up to dry after you went to sleep last night. Can’t you just wear those?”

“You washed my clothes?”

“Yes, that’s what I said.”

She walked back to the bed and I made room for her in the little spot she’d occupied since I put her to bed last night.

“Can we have oral sex again, Bella?”

“Sure, but, don’t you want to do something else,” she said running her hands over my hips and over to the front of my shirt, pulling up at the hem, so she could access my abs.

“Hard,” she moaned. “Everywhere.” she kissed my neck and jaw line and I leaned down to give her my mouth, too.

“What do you mean, something else…vaginal intercourse?”

“Fuck, why is that so hot? Yes, I want you to fuck my vag, Edward,” she continued to kiss me, as she pulled on the drawstring of my bed pants.

“Wait,” I said.

“What? What’s wrong?” she looked up at me with concern.

“Nothing is wrong, Bella.” I pulled my hand out of her hair and gripped her shoulders. “I just…I want to do it when we have plenty of time, and we can do it more than once.”

I smiled at her, and she returned it.

“Wait, are you afraid, and you’re just avoiding telling me that you can’t do it?”

“Of contamination?” I asked.

She nodded.

“No. I don’t think so. Thank you for getting that STD panel again last week. I promise I’ll stop asking soon.”

“No problem, you’re paying for it,” she said grinning.

“No, I just…I want to take my time, and really enjoy it. I’ve read that some people think it’s an important experience, and it didn’t go so well for me last time. I didn’t even get in all the way, and my cock wouldn’t stay hard, and it was…horrible.”

“My first time wasn’t that great, either. I mean, it was OK. But isn’t that was everything new is supposed to be? I mean, don’t you think you need practice before it’s really good?”

“I think you could be right,” I said. “I promise you, that it will be wonderful when we do it. I’ve been studying lots of instructional videos online. It’s been difficult, because I didn’t know how clean everyone was. But I tell myself that they bathed thoroughly and have a clean bill of health.”

She giggled.

“Hey, would you tell me about your first time?” I asked, and chided myself for interrupting her giggle. She had stopped making that lovely sound and I missed it.

“Not much to tell, Edward. Do you want to know now, or do you want to get that BJ before breakfast?”

“Hm. That’s a…” I almost said difficult but remembered a synonym that had a double meaning. Would this qualify as a joke? I decided to try it out. “That’s a hard decision.”

I punctuated the “hard” with a subtle thrust of my hips.

She giggled again and I joined her.

Success.

Then, we were kissing again, laughing and rubbing.

The question answered itself as we pulled our clothes off, throwing them to the floor. I didn’t care.

Finally naked, I reached over to the nightstand and pulled out a condom.

“You know, we could do this faster, if we would sixty-nine,” she said.

“Absolutely not,” I said, remembering Emmett’s tales of mutual oral gratification. “I’m not putting my nose anywhere near anyone’s anus. I’m sorry if that bothers you, but…but I just can’t.”

“What if I cleaned it with anti-bacterial soap? You could watch,” she said, rolling the condom on and licking the tip with her pink tongue.

“Fuck that’s…OK, maybe…maybe later. We’ll talk about it later, Bella.”

She grinned and licked my cock from base to tip roughly, putting her entire mouth over it, wetting it with her saliva.

I gripped the sheets.

Then, she started talking while she gripped me with her hand, “when we fuck, Edward, you’re gonna slide right in my tight pussy. I’m gonna be so wet for you baby. And I’m gonna grip your cock like this,” and she squeezed my cock with her hand to demonstrate, “and then, I’m gonna ride your hips.”

Then she put her mouth on me again, sucking, squeezing…then…she…

“Oh, fuck! What? Ohhhhh….fuuuuuck!”

She was humming.

I didn’t last long after that. I jerked up into her mouth, not able to keep my hips on the bed, and she moaned louder against my cock. Then I came with a shout.

I pushed her back, grabbing the condom off and throwing it at my trash can (which I had to add to my room after meeting Bella), and with her head at the foot of the bed, resting back on her elbows, I pulled her knees up and buried my face in her clean, freshly shaved (oh, yes, I shaved it myself last night…very carefully) pussy.

I knew she liked the dental dams, but I wasn’t sure if doing this would be as satisfactory for me when I couldn’t taste her. Perhaps we could do it sometimes with the dam. I growled against her clit, when I thought of being separated from this wonderful place between her thighs.

“Ohhhhhh, mmmpf…” she said.

Her thighs squeezed my head, and it excited me. I was already hard against the mattress.

But, her tight grip on my head with her strong legs made it difficult for me to breathe and continue to bring her pleasure. I pulled my hands up from where they were holding her open and thrusting in and out of her, and pushed her knees apart. I gazed up at her, and her eyes shined, seeming to see beyond my face and inside my head. I couldn’t look away from them as I returned to my position of pleasure.

For the first time, I watched Bella come against my mouth. She was clearly trying to keep her eyes open, staring into mine, but as I felt her body throb against my tongue and fingers, her eyes slipped closed with the most graceful expression I’d ever seen. Her mouth was open slightly, body flushed, eyebrows up, lashes resting against her reddened cheeks. I watched with focus, so I would remember this moment with perfect clarity.

My mouth and hands had stopped moving at some point. I wasn’t sure when, but her elbows finally slipped out from under her, and head rolled way so I couldn’t see her face.

I lapped up what I could of her, savoring the odd tangy flavor, which made me hard like nothing else.

She moaned quietly. I got up and went to the bathroom and started the shower. We would need to hurry if we were going to make it to her office by nine.

I studied myself in the mirror. I looked like one of the men in the videos I had watched.

Face wet with her ejaculate, sweaty with effort, eyes bright and…I had that same look she had. Intense. I grinned at myself.

That was it. I had read about this look in several books. And now I wore this expression.

For her.

I stepped into the shower. Bella joined me after I soaped up once. I didn’t wash more than that, and I didn’t masturbate. We had a schedule to keep.

~~§•§~~

Once we were set up in the conference room, Alice let me wait in her office so I could avoid shaking hands with everyone as they filed in and took their seats.

At ten “on the dot,” she came to get me and then entered the conference room ahead of me, holding the door.

“Good morning!” I said with enthusiasm. “I’m Edward Masen of Green Hills Integrated Systems, and I’m here to talk to you about how we can help you increase efficiency and productivity.”

I went through my presentation, and answered questions from the floor. The board seemed impressed. They smiled a lot and nodded and seemed to like most of my responses to their questions.

During the presentation, I noticed a man on my right, halfway down the table, who seemed to be under the weather. He coughed quietly in to a handkerchief several times, face flushed, and only rubbed his nose once with his right index finger. I looked away quickly so I could stay focused. I congratulated myself on my ability to do so. I was obviously getting better.

Then again, it might have been the mind fucking orgasm I’d had before breakfast.

At 11:45, Alice interrupted to remind everyone that lunch had been ordered, and we would be wrapping up the meeting soon. She advised that I would tour the office with Bella after lunch, watching people do their jobs, so I could come back in a couple of weeks and meet with the department heads about the best way to implement to the new system.

I fielded a couple more questions and thanked them for their time.

“Great, job, Edward!” Alice said. I noticed a very tall dark-headed man behind her and to her left. His brow was heavy, but his face was open and he was smiling. She pointed at him with her thumb and said, “This is Demetri, my PI.”

He waved. I nodded, my hands staying firmly at my sides. I felt Bella move to stand next to me.

“I’ll have some questions about security. I’m not in IT, but I know my way around computers. Alice has asked me as a personal favor to look into it.”

“Yes, of course,” I said. “I’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.”

“Great job on the presentation. You’re a natural public speaker. Alice said you’ve never done this before.”

“Well, I’ve never done this for a live audience,” I said. “Only via video conference.”

“Well, I couldn’t tell. You were very engaging. Congratulations.”

He smiled and nodded and then stepped away.

I looked down and to my right at Bella, grinning with a full-face smile. She seemed equally pleased. She grasped my hand and I squeezed back. Her tongue slid out of her mouth and wet her lips and I thought about kissing her. Then, she winked at me. This wasn’t the place, but I enjoyed sharing the moment mutual understanding. I was almost giddy with excitement at the overwhelming success of the morning.

She let go and excused herself to help with the food (which, success or not, I had no intention of eating) I watched her wind her way to my right around the table.

Then, I sensed someone near me, and turned to find myself face-to-face with the sick man I spied earlier.

He was less than six inches from me. I couldn’t move away, because people were flanking me. So, I stepped back into the projector screen. In my panic, I grabbed it.

“Whoa, there, buddy!” he said, taking my arm and pulling me in even closer proximity to his person. His other hand rubbed his nose again. “Don’t fall over! Sorry, I scared you! I’m Marcus Volturi, senior partner.”

Then, before anyone could react, he reached down and took my hand with the one he had just rubbed his nose with!

“Thank you so much, it was an excellent presentation.”

I could see all of his teeth in his big wide mouth and his raw nose, already crusted with mucus.

I couldn’t tear my eyes away. It took some time for his words to find their way to my brain, but it didn’t matter. I was paralyzed with fear. It was too late to scream and force him away. It was too late to push him.

I was contaminated.

“Hey, are you OK, buddy?” he asked, brows furrowed. Then he sniffed and pulled a bead of mucus that was emerging from his left nostril back into his sinus cavity.

Finally, he dropped my hand and I pulled it up and looked at it. I could feel the germs on it, crawling, seeking purchase on my body, where they easily find their way to my face, wrecking havoc on my respiratory system.

How long before they made it to my sinuses or my lungs? Had he coughed on me already?

“Marcus!” Alice called, “I see you met Edward. Marcus, is my business partner. I think it would be a good idea for you to spend some time with him today. Maybe after—”

“—No! Get the fuck away from me! This man is sick! Don’t touch him! Bella, get away from me, I’ve been contaminated! Alice! Alice! He’ll make you sick, too! Everyone back away from him! Your health is being compromised!”

Everyone was watching me, and backing away from me, but no one was moving away from the walking infection who had backed away to the door.

I walked up my adversary who was blocking my exit and said, “Get out of the way! Or I’ll…” my hands were balled into fists and I was shaking with the need to act on my violent impulses.

I was already contaminated, so I knew I had nothing to lose by punching him in the throat, which Emmett said was more effective than punching someone in the nose. It was also more sanitary.

Marcus must have understood my intentions and wisely moved out of my way.

The door was thankfully propped open. I ran to the restroom and pushed that door open with my back.

“No need to spread his germs to everyone else,” I muttered.

I used the soap in the dispenser, hoping that it was antibacterial. I scrubbed and rinsed my hands ten times with water as hot as it would go.

Then I washed my face ten times. I finally looked at myself in the mirror. My face was red.

Marcus’s face was red.

“Fuck! I’m gonna get sick!” I shouted my voice taking a high-pitched quality I hadn’t heard since that time after Jessica….

The room was spinning. I could see the germs. Feel them crawling up my skin. I leaned over the sink and vomited.

I wanted to sit on the floor, but when I looked down, I could see microscopic bugs.

They were crawling on the floor.

I knew rationally that it was impossible to actually see something microscopic, but my brain filled in the blanks and the germs were there. I could see them as clearly as anything.

Then, I screamed.

I’m not sure why, but I seemed like the most important thing for me to do. A warning? A cry for help? I wasn’t sure, but my mind was conjuring new tortures I’d never conceived before.

Then my knees gave from beneath me and everything went black.

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