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This book was automatically created by FLAG on October 2nd, 2013, based on
content retrieved from http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6458809/.
The content in this book is copyrighted by 2carm2carm2 or their authorised
agent(s). All rights are reserved except where explicitly stated otherwise.
This story was first published on November 7th, 2010, and was last updated on
August 26th, 2012.
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Table of Contents
Summary
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17
18. Chapter 18
19. Chapter 19
20. Chapter 20
21. Chapter 21
22. Chapter 22
23. Chapter 23
24. Chapter 24
25. Chapter 25
26. Chapter 26
27. Chapter 27
28. Chapter 28
- 3 -
29. Chapter 29
30. Chapter 30
31. Chapter 31
32. Chapter 32
33. Chapter 33
34. Chapter 34
35. Chapter 35
36. Chapter 36
37. Chapter 37
38. Chapter 38
39. Chapter 39
40. Chapter 40
41. Chapter 41
42. Chapter 42
43. Chapter 43
44. Chapter 44
45. Chapter 45
46. Christmas Note
47. Epilogue
48. Outtake: Stargazing
49. Outtake: Mafia
- 4 -
Summary
One bored night, Bella goes online and stumbles across an American's soldier's
profile. On a whim she decides to write Sergeant Masen a letter. She never thought
she would get a response back from Iraq, much less fall in love with a man in
combat boots.
- 5 -
Chapter 1
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. He fights because
he loves what's behind him."
Full Summary: Edward Masen is a U.S. soldier serving over seas in Iraq, he no
longer has any family or any ties in the states. On night Bella finds his profile on a
website called Any Soldier, she decides to write him a letter, not thinking it would
go anywhere. To her surprise the Sergeant wrote her back. And thus begins their
relationship that starts to form over the course of letters. Bella has to come to grips
with the fact that she fell completely in love with a soldier who doesn't stay in one
place long. And then, throw in Edward's past that's threatening to destroy their
future. That's a lot of bullets for a girl to dodge.
"And so," Mr. Cox paused dramatically, shutting off his Power Point for the cast.
"Who can conclude what I've taught you today?" I glanced around the room to see
most of the students slumped into their desk, not paying the slightest attention. I
grimaced as I raised my hand. Again. I swore I was the only one who ever answered
anything in here.
"Yes, Bella," he smiled happily at me, gesturing for me to speak.
"Um, the war in Iraq is the first war the U.S. has fought in where no one can say
who we are exactly fighting. But we are trying to bring democracy to the Iraq
government," I answered hesitantly, knowing I had missed a lot of the slides that he
went over. But then again, it wasn't like my classmates could really do any better.
"Yes, very good, though I wish you had included something about the lives our
soldiers are living over seas," he chided carefully. I kind of shrugged a little bit just
as he looked away.
"Tomorrow, back to Economics," Mr. Cox announced, earning a very loud
collective groan from the classroom. The only real reason I was taking this class was
because I could use the extra credits. "See you guys later, get out," he added before
turning his attention back to his pride and joy his laptop.
I stood up and started to place my notebook and textbook into my backpack. My
best friend Rosalie was next to me yawning, but nevertheless doing the same thing.
- 6 -
"Well. That was fun," she sighed and then yawned again. I rolled my eyes at her
sarcasm while I hoisted my book bag over my shoulder.
"It wasn't that bad," I reasoned as we headed towards the classroom door. She
gave me a look.
"I'm only in it for the credits," she shrugged, fixing her hair that was currently in a
pony tail.
Rosalie Hale and I had met our freshman year. We were both 14 and had just
moved to the state for different reasons. I hadn't known a single person, and we met
at orientation. She had looked at me and said, "You look normal enough, I'm sticking
with you." And we became best friends.
Rosalie was pretty comfortable in her skin for a 17 year old. She had blonde hair
that had a natural curl to it not a poodle curl and gorgeous blue eyes. She was
about 5'7" and very curvy. That didn't mean she had a total body of a model, though.
Rose was actually pretty self conscious, and she thought of herself as chubby;
though that was nowhere near a word I would describe her with. She looked perfect
for our age, and I tried to convince her over and over that her insecurities were
ridiculous.
In the fall we both played soccer with our school, and in the spring the two of us
were on the varsity golf team. Along with those similar interests, we were just really
in sync with each other. Rose wasn't a crazed shopper that always was at the mall;
she didn't force me to go out anywhere and try on endless things nor did we need to
spend every waking moment with each other.
We also had almost every class together except for the AP English that I was in
and the different electives we were taking. I laughed every time I thought about how
we got identical schedules.
Rose's mom slept with the principal. Numerous times.
I loved Rose's mom. She was one of the coolest people I knew. She had Rosalie
when she was 16 so she was really young at 33. The two of them were extremely
close and they had a very Gilmore Girls relationship. It was quite humorous most of
the time, actually.
"I swear, if Mr. Heit makes us talk about sexual urges with our partners one more
time I am going to kill him slowly with that damn hockey stick of his," Rosalie
complained as we walked into our Health class. Luckily, this class was only
- 7 -
mandatory for one semester, which was probably a good thing. If that wasn't the
case, I was convinced someone was going to die.
I laughed as we took our seats, Mr. Heit was writing something on the board. He
was a hockey coach/player and had a very strong build which currently was blocking
my ability to see what he was writing. He moved out of the way and began to talk as
we read what he wrote, "Okay gang! Something new to do today."
What attracts you to the opposite sex?
I looked back at Rosalie. Her face was all scrunched up as she glared fiercely at
the white board. I laughed silently as I settled back into my seat, watching in
amusement the boy sitting next to me today. He looked pretty damn excited to be
there. He must have had to sprint from his last class to get here before some other
guy sat there.
Another idiotic thing about this class he gave the girls each a table they had to
sit in each class and the guys got to choose who they wanted to sit next to.
The last four I had asked me out. Sweet.
Now that was something I really didn't understand. Okay, I mean I knew I wasn't
plain, ugly or boring. I guess I was just slightly above average. . .but most of the
male population had at one point in the last three years made a move on me. Why
they did was beyond me. I've only accepted two of their offers to actually go on a
date. You'd think that would turn them away, but no.
Luckily Health was our last class of the day and all of us made it out alive. Rosalie
was just downright pissed once he dismissed us, already having such a hate for the
class to begin with. I, on the otherhand, was relatively pleased that the boy next to
me hadn't asked me out. I sent him a mental thank you.
I always dropped Rosalie off at her house since it was on my way home. Normally
we filled the car ride with mindless gossip, but today my head was stuck on some of
the things that Mr. Cox had said in that presentation.
"Those guys are only after you for your ride," Rosalie rolled her eyes as she leapt
up into the passenger seat of my Ford black truck. I laughed and shrugged. It was
probably true.
I loved my truck more than anything else in the world. It was giant, black and
shiny. The side mirrors were huge I was still worried about taking them off in an
- 8 -
accident and the silver chromes were amazing. It had tinted windows and had a
general apperance that was overall just very vicious looking. I was still in shock that
Esme and Carlisle actually gotten it for me. It mades me feel and look really spoiled.
"You know, I only got it for the clubs," I reminded her jokingly. Carlisle had
chosen to pick out something that could haul a lot of stuff, not that I was
complaining.
"Probably," she agreed, fiddling with the radio.
After I dropped Rose off at her house I headed home. I was surprised to see
Carlisle's red truck in the driveway when I pulled in to the driveway belong to our
beautiful house. It had a huge yard and Esme's gardens littered the grass.
I let myself in with the key to the mud room leading to our kitchen. The kitchen
was one of my favorite rooms in the house with it's cherry wood and granite counter
tops, complete with an island in the middle.
"Hey, Bella," Carlisle smiled at me from where he sat, eating a sandwich and
watching the small TV.
"Hi! Watcha doin' home already?" I asked him curiously as I dropped my backpack
down and slid it under the built in desk.
"Just grabbing a bite to eat. There's a board meeting so I have to get back to the
hospital pretty quick here," he glanced down at his watch as I took out an apple
from the fridge.
"When does Esme get home?" I asked as I cleaned the bright red fruit.
"One of her brides is at a fitting, so it could be awhile." I nodded and slid into a
stool next to him. "Anything interesting at school?" he inquired before taking
another giant bite of his sandwich.
"Rose planning new ways to commit murder," I shrugged, sinking my teeth into
the apple and savoring the sweetness. I had always loved fruit. In my opinion, it was
way better than candy. Of course that was before I ever really got candy, so. . .
"Anything creative?" he chuckled with a smirk, standing up to put his plate by the
sink.
I shrugged. "Not really. Today it was a hockey stick." Rosalie was very expressive
- 9 -
over her extreme dislike for the class.
"Well, I have to say I liked her mutated gopher idea a little better," Carlisle
grinned, shaking his head. I rolled my eyes remembering that particular day. No one
in that classroom had been safe from Rose's wrath.
"I'm so glad Thursday's Thanksgiving. Just one more day." Granted Thanksgiving
was only a two day break. I convinced myself it was still better than nothing though.
"Hang in there kiddo, see you later!" he called as he slipped out the door that I
had just came in.
"Bye!" I yelled back.
Carlisle was the Chief of Medicine at the hospital. He budgeted for a lawyer to
handle all of the legal stuff that the previous Chief had to deal with and now he
mostly did rounds and had regular patients, which was what he wanted to be doing
in the first place.
Carlisle was only 34. He finished college in three years and then went to medical
school for four years before interning at the hospital for a year and becoming a
resident at the age of 27. The old Chief had been his mentor and when he stepped
down three years ago, he turned the job over to Carlisle.
Esme was his wife, and she was 33. She owned her own wedding planning
business. She opened it about six years ago and was now one of the most sought
after wedding planners in the state with some of her ceremonies making it into
major magazines.
They adopted me when I was 14, right before I was about to start high school.
My parents Charlie and Renee Swan were killed when I was 13 and after that, I
went in an adoption orphanage because my parents were both only children and I
had no grandparents to go to. It was a hard thing to go to, but that's when I started
believing in the saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And I know I'm a
stronger person from the experience.
I didn't take the last name Cullen when they adopted me because I wanted to hold
onto the memory of my mom and dad. I also couldn't call either of them Mom or
Dad, because my Mom and Dad were dead.
At first I think it may have bothered Esme a little bit, and I was disappointed that I
- 10 -
just couldn't say it. But eventually, the three of us fell into a good place. I was their
daughter, but I had past and other parents that wouldn't be ignored. I couldn't have
asked for better adoptive parents, because I knew I was blessed to have them. That
way was more than others had.
I checked my phone to see if I had any texts and when I saw that I didn't I decided
to hit the homework. Luckily there was no Economics tonight, allowing me to be
able to whip through my Calculus and American History fairly quickly. When I was
done, I decided it was time for me to eat dinner.
I warmed myself up a frozen dinner.
I could cook. But just because you could play baseball didn't mean you were good
at it. I was awful when it came to making meals because I honestly didn't have the
patience to do it. If Esme wasn't home, Carlisle and I were screwed. That's why we
had such a stash of take out menus hidden under the phone book.
But just because I couldn't cook didn't mean I didn't love to bake. And any woman
knew the difference between the two. Baking was something that I could do, and
loved to do. My mom had taught me how to make my first batch of brownies when I
was four years old and I loved it ever since. Admittedly, I had gotten pretty good at
it over time.
After I consumed my delicious dinner, I went up to my bedroom and turned on my
laptop. My mind was still thinking about Mr. Cox's slide show. There were just so
many pictures of American men who were living in poor conditions with barely any
hygiene products and little ways to communicate with their loved ones.
And I wanted to help.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't "a save the world with every little act" type of
person. I wasn't a world peace beauty queen. But I did realize there could be
something that I could do for my country. As stupid as that sounded.
I got cozy on my bed and went to Google. Because really, Google had all the
answers.
I typed a couple of different things in the search box before I came to a site called
Any Soldier. I read over the homepage to see what the website was before I started
clicking around.
Basically it was a website that had hundreds of short, written profiles of soldiers
- 11 -
in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. If you came across a profile that you
wanted to help, you requested the contact and it was emailed to you for you to send
care packages or write letters to.
I set the computer down for a minute and went to grab my reading glasses
because I felt like I would be reading for the a while. Once I was back on the bed, I
tucked my feet under me and balanced the computer on my legs before clicking a
link that led me to the profiles. I was actually pretty eager to read them.
The thing was, when the United States entered World War I and II the whole
country threw themselves into the war effort. They grew victory gardens, did metal
collections, and sent thousands of packages out. People still sent packages, but that
was only the families for the most part.
I was a hypocrite, and I knew it. I hadn't thought about doing anything because it
didn't really seem like an actual war. There weren't battles and air raids or all that
extreme stuff, but it didn't mean that it wasn't important. So I was going to do
something about it. But again, not in the "change the world" scale.
I lost track of time, thoroughly consumed by all of the soldiers. It was actually
beginning to bother me, but I was feeling that sense of pride for the men in my
country, because most were extremely polite and all seemed to appreciate anything
sent.
I looked around my bedroom and felt, once again, way too spoiled. But I just kept
reading. I hadn't requested any addresses yet because I wasn't sure what I was
going to do. It was clear they were all in need of something, something they
deserved to get for all they have to deal with.
We are living in tents.
No cooking availability.
18 hour shifts, 6 days a week.
I heard Esme coming home and glanced around, startled because I had been so
immersed. The digital alarm clock on my bed stand read that it was already 7:30.
And I had gotten home at 3:30. I had been on this site for two and a half hours.
Esme didn't seem to need me at the moment so I returned to reading more
profiles.
- 12 -
We do what we do because freedom is a basic human right
These men are my brothers. . .
We take great pride and honor in our job.
By the time I looked at the clock again another hour had passed and I was feeling
incredibly stupid. How had I not thought of any of these things?
I had some tests tomorrow and I decided I needed to definitely get some sleep. I
reasoned with myself that I would only look at a few more. They were beginning to
sound very similar now. . .Well the list of things they wanted, anyway.
I clicked on one last one, reading the top. SGT Edward A. Masen. It said that he
was stationed in Iraq, which wasn't anything new.
There are plenty of other soldiers on this website that deserve much more than I
do. We are holding up given the solitude. They are worse off than my unit.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
I reread the short three sentences one more time before looking at the rest of the
information. His unit was from Illinois there were 26 men and 1 female. It also told
me that his address hadn't been requested at all.
"Given the solitude. . ."
I grinned a little to myself as I clicked "here" to request the address. I filled out
the normal form and typed in my email address before clicking submit. I added the
website to my favorites so I could access it later and then logged on to my email
account. Another 20 minutes had passed according to the clock on my screen.
I opened up the email that was already in my inbox and read the address. I would
fill out the envelope later.
Sleeping was what I should have been doing, but instead I looked around my room
until I located one of those cheap ten cent school note books and a pen. I had no
idea what I was going to write, so I just started with what came to me.
Dear Edward,
- 13 -
I wanna do something that matters, say something different
Something that sets the whole world on its ear
I wanna do something better with the time I've been given
I wanna try to touch a few hearts in this life
And leave nothing less than something that says I was here
And I know that I, I will do more than just pass through this life
I'll leave nothing less than something that says I was here
I was here
-I Was Here, Lady Antebellum
Next chapter hopefully up tomorrow.(: Whatdya think?
Thank you to SimplyDazzling, my lovely sister for betaing(:
**I do not own Any Soldier. Any Soldier is a real website, but please, if you choose
to go on there, do not expect to find a single, hot, amazing guy like Edward and plan
to fall in love with him.
- 14 -
Chapter 2
A little more than a week had passed since I had mailed the letter to Sergeant
Masen. In the letter I wrote, I just introduced myself, thanked him and all his fellow
army men for their service, and a side note at the bottom. I wrote it so I wouldn't be
disappointed if I didn't get a response.
Today I had to run to the grocery store so I could pick up some ingredients,
having to make six dozen cookies for a cookie exchange our golf team did. Rosalie
just went and bought hers. Cheater.
I was in the spice aisle looking for some cinnamon that we were out of. I had
almost everything I needed, and I was ready to go back into my cozy warm house. I
hadn't really dressed for the winter winds and those aisles were damn chilly.
"Bella?" I jumped and looked around to see who had said my name. Elliot Parker
was standing sheepishly behind me. I grinned over at him, relieved that it wasn't
some creepy stalker.
Elliot went to my school. He was a really nice guy, though I never got a chance to
really talk to him. He was the star basketball player at our school, better than all of
the seniors on the team and the one responsible to leading our school team to do
very well this year. I thought so at least.
"Hey Elliot, how's it going?" He smiled back at me as I placed the ground
cinnamon in my basket.
"Not too well. I'm running for my mom; do you know where I can find pop-e-raka?"
He stared at the little blue list in his hand with up-most frustration. I laughed and
raised an eyebrow before grabbing the list.
"You mean paprika?" I asked quizzically. I shut my month as he grabbed the list
back in confusion. I was trying hard not to laugh now.
"Oh," was all Elliot said. Then he glanced sheepishly at me, "Yeah. That."
I laughed again and helped him find what he was looking for. I also had to show
him to where they kept the bread and help him find the Italian loaf instead of the
sliced, in a bag kind.
- 15 -
I grabbed a couple more things that I was looking for along the way and then we
both went to check out. After we were both bagged up, I was about to say goodbye
when he stopped me.
Elliot was a really muscular guy. He had dark sandy hair with clear brown eyes
and was about 7 inches taller than me at my 5'4. I could understand why so many
girls wanted to get with him. He was pretty attractive.
"Okay, could I ask you something that sounds kinda weird?" he began cautiously. I
shrugged and nodded my consent.
"So, I know you don't really date and stuff and neither do I. But, the basketball
team is required to make an appearance at the winter dance this year. So I figured
maybe you would go with me?" I stared at him for a moment longer than necessary
because it made him go on.
"But not in like a, 'I'm-madly-in-love-with-you' way. It's not even that I like you."
He rambled on.
I rose an offended eyebrow silently at him.
"Shit, no. I mean you're a really nice, funny girl. But I don't want to date you,"
Elliot continued, trying to get his point across while back tracking.
"Not that you're not dateable because, I mean you totally are!" I couldn't hold it
any longer; I started to laugh under my breath. He stared at me, really not
understanding why I was laughing and was probably offended by the action.
I knew what he was asking from his first sentence. I just wanted to see how much
he would stress. I was mean, but I found it fairly amusing.
"You mean, go to the dance as friends?" I hinted for him.
"Yes! Exactly! That was what I meant!" He went silent then. I rose another
inquiring eyebrow. "And if you happen to keep some of the girls that want me in
their pants away, then so be it." I burst out laughing at his logic and told him I
would go. We exchanged cell phone numbers before going into the freezing wind.
I texted Rose telling her I had a date for the dance. She responded, irritated of
course. We had pretty much said that we weren't going to go, but now she felt she
needed to. So she was off getting a date. That shouldn't be too hard for her.
- 16 -
"Hey Es! I'm home," I called out as I entered through the mud room and into the
kitchen.
"Did you find everything?" she asked as she walked into the room. I nodded and
started to take the ingredients out of the plastic bag,
When Esme walked she had a certain dancelike movement to her. She was
gorgeous and looked 26, not 33. But there was a wiser and knowing component
about her that made her seem about a decade older. She had light brown hair, that
was a dark caramel shade that she wore like Rosalie wore hers; straightened or with
loose curls. She also had amazing hazel eyes. They were really light, making them
appear almost golden at times.
"Yup! I even scored a date for the winter dance," I smirked. Esme who was getting
out various bowls for mixing turned and gave me an inquiring look.
"Should I be concerned?" I laughed at her mock seriousness. Oh man, it would
suck if they were actually like that.
"No, I don't think so," I grinned as I started cracking eggs. The thing about cookie
exchanges is that you need to bake a dozen for each person, and we were a six
person team. It was a lot of egg cracking.
"Who is it?" Esme asked as she went to preheat the oven.
"Elliot Parker." I wasn't as giddy about it as you would think, actually. I didn't
have a crush on him, and he didn't seem to be interested in me that way, so I was
sort of excited because he seemed like he could be a good friend.
"I didn't know you liked him," she commented. I could hear the smirk in her voice
which I chose to ignore as I explained to her why I was going to the dance.
There was another thing about Elliot. Guys respected him. He was leading our
team out of failure and nobody wanted to do anything to piss him off. So I had a
feeling that I wouldn't have much trouble with all the guys wanting to ask me out for
awhile. That was a major plus.
"Well. That's interesting," Esme informed me after I finished. She still looked
slightly baffled but went back to rolling the dough nevertheless.
I nodded in agreement.
- 17 -
"Thank God you're not actually dating. Carlisle has convinced himself that he will
eventually have to give you 'the talk,'" she informed me under her breath. I laughed
but when I saw that she wasn't kidding, my face fell. The phrase 'Fuck my Life' came
into mind.
"You're serious?" I questioned in incredulous monotone. She nodded.
"But I got that from mom when I was 12!" I pointed out hurriedly. I wanted to grin
at that memory. It had actually turned out to be a pretty amusing conversation
between us.
"Sorry," she said in sing song voice that made it clear that there was no sorrow
whatsoever in her.
"If you want to avoid it, become a nun," she suggested offhandedly as I opened the
oven and put a pan in on the rack. That extreme heat warmed the kitchen for a
moment before it was gone.
"I'll think about it," I responded sarcastically.
Esme laughed when she saw that I was mixing the dough much more roughly than
needed.
Since neither Rosalie nor I planned to actually be going to the dance we were
pretty much screwed in the way of dresses.
"I can't believe you just decided to go to the dance!" she exclaimed in frustration
as I picked her up from her house five days later. The dance was on the 13th. It was
already the 7th.
"We've been over this; I'm just helping him out," I calmly explained one more time.
"My mom would have been able to sew a kick-ass dress if I had given her more
notice." Rose's mom was the most artsy person I knew. She did anything that was at
all creative, like painting, sewing, woodworking, and even gardening.
"Don't worry; she'll have prom."
"Oh I know; she's already planning it." I chuckled. I loved her mom.
- 18 -
Rosalie was still complaining about the short notice by the time we got to the
dress store in the mall. I didn't know why she was whining it took her all of three
seconds to get a date.
This dance was in between prom and homecoming, so the style that everyone
wore was dressier and longer than homecoming, but not as extravagant as prom
would be.
Rosalie was going with a boy named Luke. Luke was also on the basketball team.
They dated last year for a few months but decided not to continue, though they were
still pretty fond of each other in a friendship way. So it really wasn't hard to get him
to agree to go with her. I mean, he had to go anyways.
It only took us about six minutes to get the last of the good dresses to try on. The
dressing rooms didn't have full walls so we could see each over the top. That gave us
the perfect opportunity to talk.
"So, are you going back to Ohio after the dance?" Rosalie asked quietly, though I
still heard her over the ruffling of the fabrics and froze. I looked over at her but she
was extremely focused on something else.
"I hadn't planned to," I answered after what felt like a long pause. I slowly went
back to trying on the dress that was in my hands.
"Bells, it's your mom's birthday though," she said in concern, still not looking at
me directly.
"It was my mom's birthday. Now it's just December 14th," I corrected her. I hadn't
been to the cemetery they were buried at since the funeral.
"Do you honestly believe that?" she asked me. I could hear there was some
frustration in her voice, but I didn't feel the need to acknowledge it. I didn't
understand why this would bother her.
"Yes I do. Besides, if I went there, what would I do?"
"Talk to them," she answered like it was the simplest thing in the world. I glanced
at her, surprised to see that she was actually looking at me now.
I didn't bother to really respond to her statement. I didn't want to be having this
conversation at the moment. I would talk to Rose about most things, but this wasn't
one of them. I was a private person; I didn't talk to anyone about my parents.
- 19 -
"Fine. You win. I'll shut up, but I can't comprehend how you do it." She made it
very clear that she was referring to my disregard for the date.
A couple minutes of tense silence passed before low and behold, Rose said just the
right thing to break it. "Fuck! I think I just broke this damn zipper! Someone's going
to die." I stood on the stool and looked over the wall to see a mad Rose fighting with
a zipper of a purple dress. Purple really wasn't her color.
"Oh. Got it." I watched as she zipped it up with ease. I rolled my eyes as angry
Rose dissolved into disgusted Rose. I don't know why she tried on the purple. She
knew it didn't work on her.
It only took us about an hour, and eventually we both found dresses that worked
for us. Mine was a halter, knee length mint green dress that was very twirly on the
bottom. I loved it, confident that I would be able to find a tie for Elliot to match.
Rosalie ditched the purple and found a yellow strapless dress that was even
twirlier than mine. It had a wide black ribbon under her mid drift. It tied together in
a very classy bow and slid halfway down the dress which was roughly the same
length as mine.
After we each bought our dresses, we walked down the mall looking for
somewhere we could get ties for our dates.
"Why can't they pick out their own fucking ties?" she complained as we left a
department store with no luck. I couldn't lie and say I wasn't getting just as annoyed
as her.
"If I don't find a tie in the next three minutes he's getting a damn bow tie," I
agreed in frustration.
Luckily, we did find a tie shop. It was a very small store, but there were so many
ties! It was like a shoe store, but for guys. I wished I wore ties.
The yellows and greens were on the same wall, so we were right next to each
other, looking at the many shades and patterns of silk. I just looked at it like I was
picking out nail polish.
"I personally think the Ice King and Queen idea is ridiculously stupid," Rosalie
sighed as she felt a yellow silk tie.
Every year they had the king and queen of the dance, just like prom and
- 20 -
homecoming. They cleverly named it Ice King and Queen, because, here's a shocker
it's icy out during the winter. A week before the dance 12 people are nominated for
it: three senior boys, senior girls, junior boys and junior girls.
Rose and I were both nominated along with Angela Webber as the junior girls.
Elliot and two other basketball players were nominated for the 11th grade boys.
The night of the dance you were supposed to go fill out your vote at a table they
set up in the corner that one of the teachers ran.
"I know," I rolled my eyes, "And the title seems so cruel too. You're the Ice Queen!
Whoa. Might as well just say 'royal bitch.'"
"Found one!" Rose exclaimed excitedly, making some of the men currently in the
store glance over at her in confusion. I chuckled as she clutched the silk and held it
to her dress once again.
"Oh, I agree by the way. I mean, you're totally right. Most of the time the girls that
get it are annoying bitchy Barbie's anyway," she said in disgust before strutting over
to the counter to buy the tie.
Fortunately I found one that was silver, like the diamond pin and the exact same
shade as the dress. After we got shoes, Rosalie called to make appointments at the
nail place where we would get pedicures and manicures the day before. Personally, I
thought getting the pedicures was just a waste of money. All any girl wore this time
of the year were warm, fuzzy boots.
I had started checking the mail box when I got home from school lately. In fact, it
had become such a frequent tendency of mine that I now considered it one of my
daily rituals. I knew there was an extremely good chance I wouldn't get a response
from the Sergeant; the site even warns you of it. But I was still kind of hoping for
one.
I had no clue how fast mail got to Iraq. It could be months for all I knew. Or
maybe it was fast and he already got the letter.
Rosalie noticed that I had been checking the mailbox when she came over after
school, too. She took it upon herself to bring it up as we were getting our nails
painted.
"Did you order something in the mail? 'Cause everyday you are checking your
damn mailbox," she pointed out as the woman in front of her finished painting her
- 21 -
nails with a clear coat that completed the French manicure.
"No, I'm just seeing if I'll get a letter," I responded, trying to come off as
impassive. My nails were already done, so I stood up and followed the man that had
been doing my nails to the large area where they did pedicures. Rosalie wasn't far
behind.
"From who? And what the hell do you mean if?" she questioned as she shook her
hands back and forth. She sat down in the large chair next to me as we kicked off
our shoes and put our feet in the water for our pedicurists to start on our toes. I'm
not going to lie; it was a little strange having a guy rubbing lotion up my leg.
"I wrote a letter to a guy, but he doesn't know me so I'm not sure if he'll write
back," I explained to her vaguely, knowing that wasn't the direct answer she
wanted. I seemed to have gained the interest of the man filing my toe nails.
The other thing was, I didn't know anything about the guy, and he could be 40
years old with three kids for all I knew. I didn't really have a clear picture in my
head, but I had to admit, he was on the younger side in that fuzzy image.
"Well," she sighed, "I suppose it's classier than Internet dating."
I looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "What do you mean? I'm not looking for a
boyfriend, just meeting some new people." Well, that was actually a pretty good
answer. I mean, I wasn't even lying.
"Whatever you say, Bells. You'll probably end marrying whoever it is," she rolled
her eyes as she let her head fall back. I snorted.
"Shut up, you're the one who's secretly in love with Luke." That caused her to
glare at me.
"I do not love him! I don't really like basketball players; they're too tall and skinny.
I want a more muscular guy," she defended. I looked to see the guy doing my nails
smirk, which in turn made me smirk.
"Whatever you say, Rose," I mocked in a voice which made her glare at me more.
Just as I was about to add something else to that remark my phone started to
vibrate. I flipped it open carefully so not to destroy my nails. It was a text from
Carlisle. I pressed open.
- 22 -
You got a letter.
While we're young and beautiful
We'll party down on main street
Wearing next to nothin'
Feelin' every heartbeat
Having fun
While we're still young and beautiful
It's a crazy ride, baby you and I
are keepin' our sweet love alive tonight
While we're young and beautiful
-Young and Beautiful by Carrie Underwood
Thank you SimplyDazzling!
Update in a few days...any ideas on Edward's reaction?
I love your reviews. They make me smiley(:
***Again, I don't own Any Soldier.
- 23 -
Chapter 3
I felt bad for the guy who was doing my nails. I was anxious the whole time he was
doing my right foot. He kept grimacing and I kept trying to apologize but he just
shook his head and smiled.
Rosalie noticed my newfound impatience but other than just raising an eyebrow
and sitting smugly in her chair, she didn't comment.
As we were pulling out of the nail salon, I began to wonder if it was even from the
Sergeant. But then again, who ever uses snail mail anymore? And he would have
said something if it was from a college. It was still a little early for that anyways.
After I dropped Rosalie off at her house, I started to push the speed limit just a
little bit. Translation: I was doing 40 in a 25.
Carlisle and Esme were both home when I arrived. I pulled up along side Esme's
pearl Escalade, pulling my jacket close before getting out of the truck and going
through the garage to the mud room.
I had been wearing flip flops so I just kicked them off and took off my jacket
before going to the kitchen where they sorted the mail. I didn't even have to ask;
Esme who was reading a bill didn't even glance up as she handed me the letter.
I thought I had gotten out without any questioning, about to bolt up to my room,
when Esme stopped me. Evidently, Esme was physic.
"You realize I would like that to be explained once you've read it, right?"
I held back a groan. "Uh, yeah."
Sitting down on one of the bar stools, I began to carefully open the letter. A simple
white notebook page came out, just like the one I had written him on. I unfolded it
and began to read.
Dear Bella,
I was very surprised to receive your letter. The confusion dissolved once you
explained it was the AnySoldier program. I had forgotten that I had even made one
of those. Thank you for taking the time to write. It was very nice to receive mail, and
- 24 -
I enjoyed reading your letter quite a lot as I don't get much.
My name is Edward Anthony Masen, as you already know. I suppose because you
gave me your little autobiography I should give you one as well. I'm 21 years old and
have been in the army since I was 19. I will be here until June of 2009 (so about
another year and a half), though I will be a member of the army two years after that.
My birthday is June 20th and my favorite color is green even though I don't see
much of it these days where I am stationed. I'm originally from Chicago, but I only
lived there until I was 12, then we moved to the southern part of the state.
I don't really have family anymore, but the guys out here are all the same types of
pain in the asses as family is, so I count them now, I guess. I tried college for a year,
and I decided that college wasn't where I should be in life at the time and joined the
army a little after that. I have no regrets doing it either.
You certainly asked a lot of questions in your letter. I was in our rec. room when I
was reading this and some of the guys were looking at me weird while I chuckled at
how plainly ridiculous some were.
So, no, I cannot say my alphabets backwards, but one of the guys can burp them,
which is always entertaining. . .I do not know how to salsa, nor do I ever really have
the desire to learn to. Do I like Christina Aguilera? No, I'm personally more of a fan
of a Madonna, though I haven't heard either of them in awhile. And yes, if we didn't
have 80's music there would be no point to life. You can say that I am a big fan of
that era.
As for your other questions, life here isn't that bad I suppose. We live in small, 10
by 10 foot rooms and we are the lucky ones. Most of the other guys on base are
living in large tents with tons of bunk beds. I share my room with a huge guy,
Emmett, who is one of the most annoying people I have ever met and complains
about everything. He's always good for a laugh. . .though, mostly inappropriate
ones. We have electricity, but if you try to get an Internet connection, you're fucked.
(Sorry if you are innocent and don't speak like that. . .I wrote it in pen and can't
erase it.) Our hours and shifts are fairly decent. We have one of the strongest units
here with our operating power.
To your other question, yes, we only have one female here in our unit, though
she's tougher than half our guys. Her name is Alice, and she's like sister to us (those
of us she tolerates that is). The rest of us are all guys, which is way too much
testosterone for her to handle if you ask me, but she's a great sport.
I know you asked for a list of things to be sent, and I have to say that I feel
- 25 -
extremely demanding making a list, and that is uncomfortable for me. But it seems
like you just want to help; and it would be just annoying for me not to help you I
guess. Please don't feel obligated to get any of these things, just ignore it if you
want. I won't be offended, trust me.
As you probably read on that website, hygiene products are difficult to come by,
such as shampoo. I'm getting very grizzly because of the lack of razors and shaving
cream, though I happen to think it makes me look tougher. . .all of us could use
some Tylenol for the headaches you get out here, and Alice is always out when it
comes to her time of the month. Some new pillow cases would be fantastic, though
we're good on sheets.
We usually have spare time on base so most of us like to go the recreational room
where there are books, poker, and a TV that only works with DVDs. It would be cool
to get some new books; most of us like James Patterson or some hunting/outdoor
magazines. One of the things that a guy on base suggested was to get a season of
episodes of some of the hit TV shows; we're not picky at all. Though we already have
seasons 1-9 of Full House. . .don't ask. And candy and sweets is always good,
especially with the Christmas season upon us.
I feel like that's too long of a list, I'm sorry. . .
Thank you again for the letter you sent. In this country of despair I enjoyed the
small light that it brought. It actually does bring comfort to know there are people
like you out there that are thinking of us. Always feel free to send me a letter, I can't
say I'm a pretty good ear to listen given the distance, but I enjoyed reading about
you very much. You seem like a very nice girl. You don't know how much I
appreciated the mail, it couldn't have come at a better time.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
I smiled to myself as I finished the letter and folded it back up, as if it would get
better the next time I read it.
Sergeant Masen.
So, he wasn't a 40 years old with children. Or at least he isn't 40, I guess he could
have kids, but he didn't say anything about being married or in a relationship.
Normally people put that kind of thing in an informative part of their writing.
- 26 -
The Sergeant seemed like a good man. It was the last paragraph that really made
me feel giddy. He was also very humble and proud, it was apparent that he didn't
like asking for things, things that he really did need.
"'Kay, I want the who and why please. Well actually I know the who, but I am
extremely curious of why you are writing to an army Sergeant," Esme said as she
sipped her apple cider, looking pointedly at the letter.
I didn't particularly want to explain to her how I found him. It just would make me
feel awkward telling her that I wanted to do something good. I don't know how to
describe it; I just didn't really want to give her the exact story, not that there even
really was one. But I wasn't really worried about judging, just her acknowledging
the act. That made me slightly uncomfortable.
"Um, I found a website that gives you soldier's addresses, and you can write to
them or send packages as a way of saying thanks, I guess." I rose both my eyebrows
nervously, hoping that was a good enough answer.
Esme nodded and took another sip from her mug. "So what can you tell me about
this Sergeant Masen?" I blew out my breath in relief that she wasn't going to ask
more about 'the why.'
"He's 21, been in the army for almost three years. Um, he doesn't know how to
salsa dance and likes Madonna," I confined. Then I gave her a look as I realized that
was an awful description.
Esme returned the look with a raised eyebrow before nodding, "That's always
good."
I nodded. "Yeah. . ."
"Anything else?" Esme asked after a strange silent moment.
"I kinda want to go shopping and get him some things to send for Christmas," I
told her, biting my lip.
"That sounds like a good idea! Do you want me to go with you? I have some cash
that I really feel like spending! It's been sitting there for more than two days!" She
clapped her hands together in excitement.
I looked at her for a moment before laughing, "You're right, I would go insane if
you were like that," I agreed.
- 27 -
"I know right? I just felt like trying it out." She grinned as she took her empty mug
to the sink and rinsed it. Esme's thing was to mock the women she met for a book
club every month. Carlisle and Esme liked to mock those around them in upper class
society who didn't appreciate anything.
"But seriously, do you need some money? I know you used some of your
babysitting cash on the dress for the dance," she asked, going over to where her
purse was sitting.
"I have some, but" I trailed off, picking at my soccer sweatshirt.
"Here's 50 bucks, feel free to use it. And Bella? I don't want to get 48 dollars
back," she told me seriously, handing me some bills.
"Thanks Es," I beamed at her before standing up with the envelope and letter back
in hand, going over to where I had set my bag.
I quickly got to the mall and went straight into Target. Because Target is the best
store in the world. It had everything! Need some dog food, a swimsuit, and an iPod?
Yeah. Go to Target.
I made a mental list of things that were on his list, and then added some of the
things that a majority of soldiers had put on their profiles. It had been about three
weeks since I was on that website though, so I was a little foggy.
I got him a nice razor well it looked pretty nice and then I got a pack of 5
cheaper ones because if he didn't have one, some of his friends were probably in
need too. Then I grabbed a large container of Tylenol for them, and since I knew
from experience that it didn't really help with periods I got some Midol for the Alice
that he had mentioned.
Then I was at a bit of a bind. I wasn't sure what to get for the shampoo. So as I
stood in the health/beauty aisle, I took out my cell phone and dialed Carlisle's
number.
"Hey Carlisle."
"What's up, Bells?" he asked. I was glad he wasn't in the middle of something at
the moment.
"What shampoo do you use?" That was definitely up there with most awkward
moments of my life. The pause over the cell phone was just. . .uncomfortable, for
- 28 -
lack of a better word.
"Crew?" He answered in a very baffled voice.
"Kay. . .thanks. . .bye," I hung up and shuddered a little bit. I suppose it was better
than him calling and asking what tampons I used.
I found the Crew bottle and grabbed a large one and dropped it into the bright red
basket I was carrying. I went to grab some normal pillow cases that I picked out
without difficulty. How? I got white ones. Crazy, right?
Then, I went over and picked out a set of three murder mystery books. I had read
one of them last year and they were all by the same author, so I assumed the other
two were enjoyable. Then I got a hunting magazine, a Sports Illustrated and then
just an outdoorsy one that had a bear on the cover. I figured you couldn't go wrong
with the bear one.
I grabbed a People for Alice.
I went to the movies, wondering what the hell army guys liked to watch. Probably
not any movies about the armyor maybe they loved it? I grew increasingly
frustrated.
I decided on Troy, the movie about the Trojan War starring three of my favorite
men on the planet; Eric Bana, Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom. If they didn't like it
Alice sure would. And then I grabbed Dodgeball too, because anything Ben Stiller
was in was pretty great.
I had already grabbed 10 different boxes of candy and, now I just had the TV
episodes. I could see why they would want that it wasn't like you could really
watch TV like you would be able to at home so it made sense. I just didn't know
which show they would want.
But it only took me about three seconds to find it. I found House season 1. If they
liked the murder mystery then they would love this. It was one of my personal
favorite shows. Actually, Carlisle and Esme even like it too. I was surprised we didn't
already have the first two seasons. I would have to suggest getting it for Christmas.
After picking out the last of their toiletries, I was done and went to pay for
everything. I was very happy after I had my two bags full of stuff. The 'Tis better to
give than receive' shit that I've never really thought of really was taking meaning
now.
- 29 -
As I was walking through the mall to get back to my truck, I walked past a little
store for young teenagers and found a pillowcase that I thought he might like. I
smirked the entire time I was paying for it.
After I got home, Esme was there to see what I got. I had only been gone for about
an hour. Power shopping; something that Esme had taught me the first year I lived
with them. I had no doubt that it would serve much purpose in my life.
"I have a box that will fit this in it," she suggested helpfully. She didn't wait for my
response as she went to go to the closet, coming back with a medium sized
cardboard box.
"Why are you sending him Midol?" She held up the medicine with the most
confused look that I had to burst out laughing. I explained it was for the girl in his
unit and she was good again.
"I can take this to UPS tomorrow while you two are at the salon if you want to
write a letter tonight?" I smiled and nodded before thanking her for her help and
going upstairs to grab my notebook and write a letter back to Edward Masen.
The next day Elliot picked me up for the dance in his truck. Trucks were very
popular in this state if you hadn't caught on. . .
"You look really good," he grinned as I opened the door for him. I shivered fiercely
as I did this because the cold air stormed in with him. I would like to have a word
with the idiot who started this tradition. Who wants to wear a dress in the middle of
December?
"Thanks, you don't look too bad yourself." He rolled his eyes as Esme came in with
her camera. I grimaced as she smirked at me. I hated pictures, especially in the
winter when I was extremely pale.
"Okay, get together. Pretend like you like each other." Elliot chuckled at the irony
while I rolled my eyes. We posed for some pictures on the staircase before Esme
gave us the approval to go.
When we got to the dance. . .well, it was interesting. I had forgotten that nobody
knew we were going to the dance together. So in turn, everyone stared at us in
shock, wonder and a lot of jealousy. It did amuse us at first and we were both
laughing under our breaths about it, but after the first 9 minutes it was getting old
fast.
- 30 -
"Should we dance?" Elliot asked smirking as a girl walked by gapping at me.
"Might as well. . ." I shrugged as he took my hand and we walked over to where
everyone else was dancing to an old song.
The night just kept getting more interesting even after all the stares, glares, and
slightly awkward dances with Elliot. Halfway through the night, Mr. Cox, my
Economics teacher, got onto the stage next to the DJ. I was sure he was going to
announce the Ice Royalty. I had voted for two seniors.
"The Ice Queen is. . ." Mr. Cox paused, opening an envelope. I took the moment to
look over at Rose who was taking her camera out of her black little bag. "Bella
Swan!"
I started politely clapping while rolling my eyes at the girl who had won. . .oh
wait.
I might not have even been able to handle how ridiculous it was. But then they
actually made me get on the stage. Cox gave me a bouquet of white roses and then
placed a silver tiara on my styled hair. I was trying to smile. . .well, trying not to
grimace or glare at Rose who was cheering obnoxiously and taking several pictures.
Then, not only did I have to stay on stage, standing there awkward as hell, but to
add to that, Elliot won the Ice King. I had a feeling that people thought we were the
new power couple of the school.
And still after that, they made us dance together in the middle of a giant circle of
people. What song did they play? Forever Young. It was like I was starring in
Napoleon Dynamite. But, then again, that's the irony I appreciate.
Elliot was thinking the same thing and all we did was laugh the entire song.
Eventually the others joined on the dance floor and I started to feel some of the
irritation subside.
"Well, you've kept the girls away. . ." Elliot grinned at me as I put my hands
around his neck for a different slow dance.
"And none of my followers have approached either," I grinned back at him.
"Want to fake date?" He suggested. Well, it had already been a weird night, why
stop at Forever Young?
- 31 -
"Power couple," I held out my fist in agreement. He smirked before bumping his
own to mine.
Ever though I was dancing with one of the most desired boys in the high school,
my thoughts drifted thousands of miles away to a soldier in Iraq.
Maybe it's time to change
And leave it all behind
I've never been one to walk alone
I've always been scared to try
So why does it feel so wrong
To reach for something more
To wanna live a better life
What am I waiting for?
'Cause nothing stays the same
Maybe it's time to change
Maybe by Sick Puppies
SimplyDazzling is great. Just letting you know.
What do ya think of Edward? I'm extremely curious!
Happy late Veteran's Day!
Reviews make me happy.(:
- 32 -
Chapter 4
You know that feeling of Christmas? That feeling of absolute bliss you feel for no
apparent reason? It was one of my favorite things in the world.
At the Cullen house we piled on the holiday cheer. This was the one time of the
year where Esme allowed herself to be clich. Carlisle was always ecstatic those two
days. When he was an intern at the hospital and lower down on the food chain, he
would be forced to work those days; it was the only part of being a doctor he's ever
not enjoyed.
I had all my presents for my adoptive parents stashed under the tree. Mine were
more Martha Stewart wrapped than Esme's which, lemme tell you, is saying a lot.
Because Esme loves that kinda stuuf. But I really liked to wrap things. I don't know
why, it was just sort of calming in a sense, and the finished product always looked
fantastic.
The three of us all spoiled each other immensely for the holiday. There were over
40 presents under the tree, and luckily, we got a big tree this year. . .
It was the 24th and our house even smelt like Christmas. Esme had bought some
pine needle candles just so the whole house smelled like one gigantic Christmas
tree. Every time I took a large breath I smiled to myself.
Esme was off in the kitchen staring the roast beef down to make sure it was
cooking the exact way she wanted it to. Carlisle, on the other hand, was finishing
the wrapping of his gifts and sneaking them under the tree. For his sake we didn't
comment and pretended not to notice. He still thought he was getting away with it. .
.
I, on the other hand, was sprawled across the couch in my bedroom next to the
floor, staring up at the ceiling windows. There was a perfect snow fall coming down
softly, but it was still the big, beautiful, fluffy flakes
I propped myself up on my left elbow and flipped open my 10 cent red notebook,
clicking on the pen I was lightly chewing on. I had decided that mail was too slow to
wait for each one of the Sergeants replies. I hoped he didn't feel under any
obligation to write back to me the second he got the letter though. I really preferred
that he worried about staying alive.
- 33 -
Long story short, I think he liked my letter so I was going to write more.
Edward was spending his Christmas in Iraq in the desert. Even though he said he
didn't have much family, I figured he probably was still missing the normality of
Christmas. I was trying to spread cheer. I hoped it would make him sad. . .
Dear Edward,
Merry Christmas! You probably won't get this until the New Year but you've
become my diary. Lucky you.
Do you ever miss high school? Oh man, I sure won't when I graduate. Remember
the dance I was telling you about in my other letter? And how I was extremely
amused by the royalty? Well, you are now corresponding with the Ice Queen. I even
have a tiara. They made us dance to Forever Young like Napoleon Dynamite. I'm not
even going to say more on the subject.
Carlisle and Esme (my adoptive parents) are off doing some last minute Christmas
things so I'm up in my room. Carlisle is wrapping our presents, because he always
waits until the last minute. . .do all men do that? Esme is cooking our roast and
refuses to let me help with anything. Though I really can't cook too well, so it's
completely understandable.
After they finish that we'll have to get ready to go to mass. I'm still grateful that I
was adopted into a family that shares my same beliefs. Though they are the most
accepting people it probably wouldn't have made a difference in the slightest either
way.
It's snowing at the moment. You grew up in Chicago you said, so you've obviously
seen snow. It's coming down softly right now, just coating the ground with giant
fluffy flakes. I don't understand how people could be so grumpy about it. I mean,
sure it makes the roads icy and it isn't fun to shovel, but it is one of the most
beautiful things that I've witnessed.
It really irritates me when people have their heads so far up their asses that they
can't look around and appreciate the natural beauties of our daily life. When the sun
sets over the lake at our cabin, it's absolutely gorgeous. And the starry sky at night,
away from the city lights, when you look up it feels like you're in a painting. And big
fluffy white flakes falling on Christmas Eve. I live for those moments.
Do you ever find beauty where you are? Sites that just take your breath away? I'd
imagine that might be difficult where you're at. But beauty lies everywhere on the
- 34 -
earth, including Iraq.
What is life like where you are? I want to know everything. Write it all down and
send me it whenever you can. I'd love to have a better sense of what the men of our
country really do go through, good and bad. You and the men with you are the
bravest people on this earth, and I hope you all realize that.
My life isn't that interesting at all, but I guess if I'm asking you to tell me
everything about your life I should tell you about mine. Not that it's remotely
interesting at all.
You already know the basics that I told you. I was adopted by Carlisle and Esme
Cullen when I was 14 years old, right before I was supposed to start high school. I
lived in Ohio, that's where I grew up. My parents died when I was 13, right after I
finished 7th grade. I went to orphanage, though it wasn't a shady dark one. It was
okay.
Carlisle was in the state, giving a presentation to the local hospital and visited the
orphanage. We talked a little bit and I warmed up to him. The summer before 9th
grade him and his wife signed the adoption papers.
They are upper class citizens and we have a larger than necessary house but I
don't want you to form judgments about them. The two of them are the best people
you could ever meet. And they hate how people assume they're self righteous. .
.though they do often mock those type of people.
My best friend is Rosalie, she complains about everything from the color of a wall
to global warming. She's about as sarcastic as me, which trust me, is saying
something. We both are on the soccer and golf team. OH, and she hates blond jokes.
I guess they are, quote, "ridiculous and a stereotypical approach of mocking women
with the most beautiful color of hair in existence." Rose is just the tiniest bit vain. . .
Then there's Elliot. He's my fake boyfriend.
And that's pretty much it for important people in my life. I'm nice to most students
at my school so I consider them friends and vice versa, though silently I can't stand
most people. I'm not exactly the most tolerant person and it takes awhile for me to
warm up to someone and put up with the annoying little things that I notice when I
first meet them. Yeah. . .make of that what you will, I suppose.
Okay, here are some random things that are not relevant about me at all and I
have no clue why I am writing them down. I don't like feet. My feet are fine but
- 35 -
other people's feet just gross me out. I am the best water skier ever to ski the
waters. When I was 12 I had a crush on my 6th grade teacher; he was a very
attractive man. I don't like America's Funniest Videos, the show just irritates me.
And I hate black nail polish. . .because I know you were curious.
Some relevant things about me that could actually be points of interest are, my
favorite album is the self titled Boys Like Girls album, but it feels like I'm from the
80's, so therefore my iPod is completely full of everything from Boy George to Joan
Jett. Like I said before, I'm on the varsity golf team, Rose and I are captains, and
next year I'll be the captain of the soccer team. My favorite television shows are
American Idol and House (if you hadn't got that from the box I sent you). I'm also a
history nut. My favorite book. . .I don't really know actually. I can tell you that I'm
not a huge fan of any of the classics; I tried to read them when I was younger and it
just left me bitter that I couldn't understand them.
I hope life is good for you where you are right now. Carlisle's done with presents
so I'm off to church. I'll say an extra prayer for you and your squad.
'Till later,
Bella
I smiled to myself before carefully tearing out the page that was written on both
the front and back. I hopped off the couch and went over to my desk to grab an
envelope. I carefully wrote down the address and his name before sliding the paper
gently into it. I sealed it shut, setting it down and going over to my closet.
My closet wasn't as typical as you would think. I was not a spoiled little rich girl. I
had boundaries and so did Carlisle and Esme. I made money from babysitting and
other various jobs, and I used that money to buy the things that I wanted. Both of
them would give me some money if I asked, but what's the point? I didn't need 13
pairs of high heels; no one did.
I grabbed a knee length sweater dress that Esme had gotten me last Christmas
and put it on. "Are we going to do the matching thing again?" Esme hollered from
somewhere down the hall.
"I'm wearing purple," I called back as I smoothed the dress over my body. It was
long sleeved and would look good with Esme's black high heel boots. She called
them her hooker boots but I thought they were pretty tasteful. . .okay, well not
entirely.
- 36 -
"We'll coordinate then!" she responded cheerfully before I heard her disappear
into her bedroom.
Turns out we were pretty damn coordinated. Esme let me borrow her boots, and
then she wore a white pretty shirt with business black slacks and smaller black
boots. Here's the amusing part; she made Carlisle wear a tie identical to the color to
my dress with a white shirt and a black sports jacket.
"No wonder some people didn't like us. We looked like a flippin' Macy's add," I
pointed out as we went to grab our coats. The sun had already set in the half hour
which we had taken to get ready.
"They don't hate, they appreciate," Esme countered with a coy grin.
Carlisle made it a point to roll his eyes over dramatically. "Whatever you say
sweetie, come on, let's go we, don't want to miss another of Father Peter's ever
exciting sermons." I chuckled. Father Peter. . .oh that man.
"Wait, don't you think we should get a picture? I mean, this year I actually have a
resolution to do some more scrap-booking. It's not like I don't scrapbook at all it's
just kind of rare, you know" Carlisle cut off Esme's strange ramble by helping her
into the Escalade and shutting the door.
"She's not drunk, is she?" I asked as I caught up to them in the freezing garage.
"I don't think so, but who knows how much wine she had while starring at that
damn roast," he responded with a sigh. I rolled my eyes as he opened the back car
door for me.
"Just don't let Father Peter notice," I grinned back at him before he shut the door
and shook his head with a full blown smirk.
Church was a beautiful service as usual. Our church went all out for the three
masses they had for the holiday. The reason we all laughed at the mention of Father
Peter was because he was a very young priest who thought he knew everything. His
homilies never really made any sense, and they were extremely hard to follow. I
mean, one minute he's talking about a rabbit, then the beach before he's talking
about a wagon and then some turtles.
When we got home, Esme made us take a picture by the giant Christmas tree. It
was actually a cute picture with Carlisle in the middle of us, bringing the whole
purple, white, and black deal together.
- 37 -
Esme's cooking was amazing, if that hadn't already been made clear. It was such a
Christmas meal that I fell in love. And for her gourmet dessert, we had the sugar
cookies that we frosted earlier that morning. They were still so fresh and delicious.
We only made them once a year because otherwise the three of us all gained like 5
pounds from the treats.
"What are you doing?" I asked while biting into my bright pink bell cookie. Carlisle
was getting out of his chair and putting some more cookies onto a small decorative
plate.
"Putting cookies out for Santa," he grinned, still stocking the plate full. I think he
was about to a dozen by now.
"Bullshit!" I complained, "what a lame answer. It means that you will sneak
downstairs at 2 AM on Christmas to eat your weight in sugar cookies."
"That's a relevant objection. . ." Esme agreed. Carlisle frowned, looked at the
stack of cookies he was going to set out and sighed sadly.
He took this as an opportunity to add in a little fun fact that he had learned
probably at medical school. "Technically it's impossible to eat your weight in
something. Your stomach would"
"You would try," I cut him off.
"Besides the point. . ." he complained.
"It is not beside the point! It's exactly the original point that I was trying to make
in the first place," I argued exasperatedly. Esme leaned back in her chair with a
glass of wine and a smirk on her lips.
"Actually I was referring to the point that I was trying to make. You interrupted,
therefore, what you said was literally beside the point," Carlisle contradicted, going
all smart ass on me.
"It can't be beside the point when I was trying to return back to the point I was
making before you interrupted," I argued with him.
Esme cleared her throat softly looking thoroughly confused. She held up a finger
while her eyebrows furrowed, "Um, what?"
"Never mind, this is all irrelevant anyways," I apologized sheepishly, picking up
- 38 -
the bright pink cookie to resume eating. Carlisle agreed remorsefully after he sat
back down at the table.
We cleared the table after we were all extremely full. After the dishes were in the
dish washer I started to head behind Esme to the living room where the tree and
presents were.
I glanced back, ready to call Carlisle when I noticed what he was doing. He was
placing the huge stack of cookies in the highest cabinet where neither Esme nor I
could reach without a stool.
"Unbelievable!" I glared at the stash of goodies while Carlisle whipped around.
"If you don't tell Es I'll share the stash with you," he offered with a pleading smile.
I rolled my eyes and lost the playful glare.
"Fine. But if it isn't evenly shared I'm going to ask Esme to make Mexican food
every day of the week." Carlisle hated Mexican food. Like if he had a list of 100
dislikes, Mexican food would be 17, right before the nurses at his hospital.
"Fair enough," he agreed in defeat. I smirked before turning and rushing to keep
up with Esme. Carlisle was right behind me, neither of us wanting to tip her off on
what had just transpired.
We were a very competitive family.
On Christmas Eve we each got to open one present and save the rest for tomorrow
morning. Esme started it after I came and suggested it. It was like the thrill of
waiting for Santa Clause to come. It was like the saying, life is about the journey.
Well not really like that saying at all, actually.
I'm trying to say that it prolonged the excitement of not knowing what you're
going to get. Yeah. That was it.
The present I picked to open was from Esme because it looked fairly harmless.
Carlisle opened one of Esme's as well and Esme grabbed the box where I had
wrapped a handmade jewelry box that I had bought at an art fair last summer.
Esme had gotten me a bikini that was really cute. I had no idea where she found a
store that sold swimsuits in the middle of December, but I loved it regardless. It was
teal with light green and some dark pinks all swirled together in one of those
- 39 -
vintage design patterns. She got Carlisle a really nice silk tie.
After we were changed out of our coordinating clothes we went back downstairs
and followed tradition. I put the two Santa Clause movies in the player (the Tim
Allen ones) while Esme whipped up egg nog and we sat around and watched the
movies until midnight when we finally went to sleep.
The next morning, Christmas morning we all went downstairs and did the typical
American thing of ripping open presents. I was sitting with my various gifts
surrounding me and a giant beam on my face when Carlisle stood up and told me he
was going to get my last present.
I hoped it was a puppy.
Esme rolled her eyes and opened the perfume that Carlisle had given her to sniff
it. That was another thing about Carlisle and gifts; he normally got me and Esme
very similar stuff. I got the same type of perfume in a different smell, just like the
set of nail polishes and gift cards to the same places.
Carlisle walked back in the room, still wearing his flannel black pajama pants and
white t-shirt. Something was hidden behind his back. I straightened up and tried to
see what it was.
Grinning, Carlisle revealed what he was hiding. I broke out into a huge grin as I
saw the new shiny silver club. It was a golf driver that I had been looking at for
weeks at the pro shop. I was so excited I leaped up and hugged him anxiously.
Carlisle laughed as he hugged me back and handed me the club. He had even
gotten a hot pink grip that matched my putter.
"It feels perfect," I beamed as I tested out the grip and weight of the club, even
though I'd tried it out so many times that it wasn't a surprise. "When can we go to
the Sky Dome?"
The Sky Dome was like a giant white bubble. It was opened mostly in the golf
off-season and was basically an indoor driving range. I went at least once a week for
a couple of hours to hit a bucket of balls. They also had a pro shop where my new
driver lived for the previous part of its life.
"They wouldn't really open it on Christmas would they?" Esme sighed
exasperatedly. She golfed just like Carlisle and I and she was extremely supportive
to it, but she always commented about how our family should be just a little more
- 40 -
rounded.
"Movie theaters are open today," I said matter-of-factly with a shrug as I took
another small cautious swing.
Esme huffed quietly and gave us both a stern look, "Let me rephrase that: no
Dome today." I rolled my eyes and hugged Carlisle again. I thanked them both for
the extensive amount of presents that I didn't need at all.
As I was tiding up the wrapping paper, idly I wondered if Edward and his unit got
my package in time for the holiday. Or any other packages for that matter.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
Our troubles will be miles away.
Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.
-Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
-So, not much happening in this chapter; sorry. But I'm thinking I'll update sooner
because I feel a little bad. But you gotta plead with SimplyDazzling (my oh so lovely
beta) to get the chapter edited!
-This is the third letter Bella's written to Edward, NOT the second!
-Edward misses you all. Alice is ready to say hi next chapter!
- 41 -
-As always, lemme know what ya think!(:
- 42 -
Chapter 5
SimplyDazzling is great. Yay. We good? Cool.
Enojy(:
Winter break went by much too fast for my taste. I hung out around the house for
the most part. Esme and I went to a couple movies, Carlisle and I finally got to the
golf dome, and Rose and I met to exchange the presents we got each other. I even
went to an ice rink with Elliot.
It was exactly what I would have wanted. I was kind of a homebody; I didn't like to
be out with bunches of different friends every day of the week or go to all the parties
hosted. I went to some and so did Rose but neither of us really loved to be really
surrounded with people at all times.
School was going fine, and my grades were admittedly pretty good. There was
nothing lower than my one B+ in health. Oh how I completely and unconditionally
loathed that class. . .
It was January 10th when I got my response from Edward. It had been almost a
month since I'd heard from him and I was just as anxious as I was the first time to
read his letter. Carlisle really had to stop texting me in warning that I had mail
during school; it just made my leg bounce the entire day.
Rosalie noticed while I was driving to her house but otherwise didn't make a
comment. Just a raised eyebrow that told me everything I needed to know; I'm so
not going to push this right now because you'll probably run me over but you are so
going to spill and soon.
I rolled my eyes and waved as Rose got out of the truck. Then I was speeding
home again. This time I was pushing 20 miles over the speed limit. I cringed as I
glanced at the speedometer and slowed back down to 30 miles per hour.
I pulled into the driveway to see that Esme's Escalade was once again in its
parking spot in the garage.
Why was Esme home again? I grimaced and sighed before grabbing my backpack
and jumping down out of the truck.
- 43 -
The warm air of the house swirled around me and wrapped me in it as I entered
the mud room. I smiled slightly to myself and pulled off my boots and dropped my
backpack to the floor. Esme was sitting at the island with a bowl of M&M's next to
her. She held the letter out without even glancing my way. I snatched it out of her
hand and went to the counter to read it.
Dear Bella,
Merry (very belated) Christmas to you! I got all three of your letters and the
package as well. You are one of the most generous people I have ever come into
contact with. Your package arrived on the 25th, not Christmas morning but around
noon so it was great. I didn't expect you to get every little thing I suggested. I wasn't
expecting anything, actually. I'm not sure how to thank you enough. I haven't had a
package addressed to me ever.
Everyone loves you over here. I divided the boxes of candy up for them but
stashed the tootsie rolls under my bed. I haven't had them in months, and they're
one of my favorites. Ah, you can imagine how great that tasted. My roommate
Emmett also took it upon himself to take the Sour Patch Kids that you sent. He
crammed those down his mouth in minutes.
The guys put Dodgeball in the player as soon as they saw it. Very nice choice, by
the way. Alice lost that fight, her wanting to watch Troy and being sadly
outnumbered. I gave the Midol to her and she was very grateful. The guys feel the
same about the Tylenol, headaches and irritation have already decreased around
here. That is the best gift you could possibly give.
I gave Alice the People magazine too. After I read the whole thing from cover to
cover of course. . .I put in the letter Alice wanted to write you as thanks. It's pretty
much from the rest of the guys too. They just aren't as good with writing things
down.
My beard got shaved off thanks to the razor. I think I lost some edge now that I
don't look as tough but I don't like my face feeling like a dog's ass, so I'm feeling
pretty good. Emmett and a man from another unit are thankful as well. Emmett with
a beard is seriously bad ass. He's a big guy. I mean like more the size of a bear that
a normal human. Though his dimples give him away. . .
I started the one of the books you sent me. Perfect taste once again. I am actually
familiar with the author of these books and have read some of her previous books.
I'm glad that you picked them. The guys already have a House schedule planned out
(anything other that Full House brings tears of joy to our eyes). We are watching
- 44 -
two episodes a week as of now, I guess.
You managed to nail anything possibly requested amazingly. Hopefully you know I
mean that, because I don't make up shit to make people happy. I'm generally a
pretty honest person.
Though on a side note, I gave Alice the Orlando Bloom pillowcase. Where does one
ever find one of those? I mean honestly, did you order that from the Internet or
something? Don't get me wrong, Alice loves the guy, but I on the other hand am
suffering through many wisecracks made at the expense of Orlando and me.
So Ice Queen, huh? Sounds like a pretty big deal to me (I wonder if my sarcasm
conveys over letters). What a great title to put on college applications and future job
interviews. Are you planning to go to college? You seem like a smart girl, but I don't
want to be presumptuous. I might try it again. I mean three years to get a degree
isn't that bad at all, I just didn't feel right when I went to school.
Rosalie sounds a lot like my best friend. It's great that the two of you share the
same interests. I'm not going to say you don't suck at sports because that would be a
lame ass response, but honestly varsity captain in both sports you play? I'm sure
you're just awful.
Carlisle and Esme sound like great parents, you're lucky to have them. I don't
make judgments about people I've never met before so don't worry. Though that's
not to say I don't silently make judgments about people the second I do meet them,
(one of my flaws I suppose). Carlisle sounds like a great dad, though I really have
nothing to compare him to. It was mostly just me and my mom the whole time I was
growing up. But she was my best friend regardless.
I have never heard of Boys like Girls songs, are they girly? We mostly hear the
same music around here since some of the guys brought over CDs like Led Zeppelin,
Queen, Simple Plan and Brad Paisley. I still don't know how I feel about country
music. At times I think I'm warming up to it and then I just feel like a hillbilly. I wish
we had some Joan Jett over here; I'm quite a fan of her.
Thank you for the prayers Bella. Sincerely. My shift is about to start and I wanted
to get this letter sent to you as soon as possible. I'll tell you more about my life over
seas next letter, promise. Enjoy the snow.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
- 45 -
I automatically smiled. I looked over at Esme who was also grinning but she was
grinning down at her flower catalog. I rolled my eyes and grabbed the envelope that
still had Alice's note in it.
Again I laughed. It was written on pink cherry blossom stationary. It was lovely
and cute, I'll admit, though I just can't imagine someone bringing specific paper
over to war zone. It was very cheery though. And I had to say, I was getting more
and more curious about this Alice.
The handwriting on this was much more feminine than the other letter. I'm talking
extreme over exaggerated swirls and loops. It was pretty. Though this would
normally annoy me because I got really irritated when girls tried to be cute and
spent hours perfecting their handwriting to look like it. It's not logical but then
again I'm 17 and don't really have to be.
Dear Bella,
Hey! I'm Alice! I'm not sure if Edward has said anything about me, and if it's good.
. .well it's all true. If he was mean, then just ignore it! I swear sometimes he is too
moody for his own good.
I wanted to personally thank you for the Midol! I mean I'm extremely grateful for
the other stuff but the Midol was like getting a new car over here. It's really
inconvenient when you are getting your period every three weeks in the heat of the
desert. But I'll be all smiles from now on. I feel compelled to tell that the guys all
want to marry you for sending that now.
I also love the People! I haven't read one of those in ages, and it's good to be
caught up on the happenings of people that I don't care about. I mean that sorta
literally, meaningless stuff is so welcome after all the sites you see during your
shifts. I can't wait for my tour to be over.
But that's not too important to you and I'll stop rambling about it. I love the
Orlando Bloom pillowcase way too much for my own good. And I can't wait to pop
Troy in the player, you definitely know your shopping, I'll tell you that. Shirtless men
are always good, especially when sword fighting. . .
Thanks again! It is totally appreciated here! Especially for me. Nice talking to you!
Alice (:
Alice was certainly very animated, at least from her note. I smiled to myself,
- 46 -
excited from hearing from her. I set down the pink paper and was about to read over
Edward's letter once more. Then I realized that I still had an audience, an audience
who was trying her hardest to look interested at the magazine in front of her.
Rolling my eyes but not losing my smile I cleared my throat. Esme looked up
innocently with wide eyes. I gave her a pointed look.
"So, how's Edward?" Esme asked as if she had no interest in the subject. I smirked
at her.
"He's fine, his squad loved the gifts," I told her while absentmindedly folding the
two papers back up. I placed them back into the slightly rumpled envelope. Esme
was planning her next comment as I did this.
"That's great! I'm glad. Why the pink paper?" I realized as of now things weren't
looking very good for Edward, well in Esme's eyes anyway. I mean she saw me send
him an Orlando Bloom pillowcase, a movie with a bunch of shirtless guys wearing
skirts, including Mr. Bloom, and I told her he loved Madonna.
"It's from a female soldier in his squad," I told her, trying to convey that I was
pretty sure he was straight.
"Oh, okay," she responded lightly with a satisfied smile. I was about to leave up to
my room when she stopped me. I let out a huge huff and turned to face her. "I hope
you realize that I'm not pressing you about this guy because he's only written you
two letters, but you'll be answering some questions eventually." Esme trying to be
stern was like seeing a small puppy intimidate somebody.
"Gotcha," I spun back around. Grabbing my backpack, I darted upstairs with the
letter in my hand. I always liked to write back as soon as I could so I didn't put it off.
That and I wanted a faster reply.
I took out my notebook and propped my back against my bed headboard. It didn't
take me long at all to write my response to him. It was a page front and back just
like I normally did. I asked him some questions about Alice; I mainly wanted to know
if she had any family that was writing to her.
As I was writing the last paragraph of the letter I wrote: I just got some pictures
developed, thought you might want to see who I'm talking about. Then I realized
that I wrote that and I mentally slapped myself. And worse, I realized that I should
really invest on some pencils to write these letters because pen sure as hell doesn't
erase.
- 47 -
As a result of that sentence I actually had to go and find the pictures I developed
and find the best ones. I got the one of me and Elliot at the dance, mostly because I
thought he would get a laugh out of the crown. I picked out the family picture we
took at Christmas and then I was looking for a picture of Rose and me.
There were no recent pictures that I liked at all. And honestly, I wasn't sure if I
was actually trying to impress him, but I really didn't want to send the picture from
after our soccer games where we're drenched in sweat. So I started looking months
back. Idly I was glad that I took time to actually organize a photo box.
Finally I found one that my golf coach took before a meet last year. I was wearing
a wide pink headband in my hair that was down because I hadn't put it up yet. I was
wearing a form fitting white collared shirt and then a golf skirt that was identical to
the headband. And Rose was next to me decked out in orange and white plaid. I
loved the picture because I wasn't even looking at the camera directly, we were both
laughing at something he had said when he was taking the picture.
After labeling them on the backs I tucked them in the envelope with the letter. I
looked at the time on my phone and let a profanity slip. I was supposed to meet
Carlisle at the Sky Dome for a little bit and Rose was meeting us there as well. I
hadn't realized that the designated time was five minutes away.
I did get there in time, though I had absolutely no freaking clue how I did. The
roads were like driving on an ice rink. And I wasn't being too careful. I knew it was
dangerous but I was relying on the still new tires that weren't worn much at all. I
pulled into the parking spot right next to Carlisle's truck and hopped out.
"You forgot," Carlisle accused me as I walked through the front doors. He was to
the left in pro shop and my bag was sitting right there with all my clubs accounted
for.
"Of course not," I inhaled deeply, completely contradicting my reply. Carlisle
shook his head with fond exasperation. That doesn't seem like the right word choice
but I'll roll with it.
"The roads were really icy," I mumbled lamely. I hadn't even had time to put my
hair up. So I started gathering my hair up to tie in a simple pony tail.
"I'm sure Esme, if I called and asked, would tell me you left about three minutes
ago and sped through the dangerously slippery roads, wouldn't she?" What was with
these two pretending to lecture me? It was getting old. . .
- 48 -
"There's a very likely chance that she may say that. . ." I told him with an
apologetic, overly toothy smile.
"Thought so," he rolled his eyes. I grinned at him.
Hitting golf balls was one of the most therapeutic things you could do. It let you
relieve stress and tension and every swing you took. Granted, I was going to have a
ridiculously screwed up back when I was older, it still felt great.
Carlisle normally hit some balls in the lane next to me if it wasn't too busy.
Otherwise he would just watch and help when I whined about how much I sucked.
He was really a huge help and I was fortunate that he was so willing to help.
The reason I loved golf so much, well the sentimental reason mind you, was that it
kept me connected. My dad Charlie loved golf. He used to take me to a small course
that we lived by in Ohio and he taught me from when I was seven up until he passed
away. He was thrilled when I went out for golf my 7th grade year and went to my
meets and walked along. It was something he was passionate about.
Golf kept my past and my present nicely together. It connected my dad and my
adoptive dad. Carlisle was just as passionate about the game as my dad was. It was
how Carlisle and I really formed a bond over the years. It reminded me of my past
while at the same time, reminding me to live in the future.
But that was just my deep answer.
My shallow answer would be: I love to golf because it's something that I can kick
ass in.
"That driver's working great," Carlisle commented as I teed a yellow range ball
up.
"I love it!" I replied enthusiastically. Carlisle grinned while I set myself up for a
shot. Just as I was lined up and the club was in the air, as I was starting to come
down on it, I was interrupted.
"Swan!"
I finished my swing, totally messing up as the ball flew to the other side of the
dome. I didn't even need to turn to know who it was. Only one person pronounced
my last name 'Sa-wannn.'
- 49 -
My coach had just walked through the revolving door with his bag over his
shoulder and a Mountain Dew in hand. He was dressed in his normal attire. The man
never wore anything except brightly colored polo's. Today it was purple with a white
belt and jeans.
"Hey Brenner," I sighed, trying to playfully show him that I wasn't happy he
messed up my shot.
Brenner let out a low whistle as he looked my driver over. "Nice club." I was just
about to thank him when he decided to add, "Too bad you can't hit it." We had a very
strange, not really encouraging relationship. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. I
couldn't stand compliments.
"Bah, that last shot was your fault!"
"I don't see how you could blame me. I was just a bystander," he held out his free
hand in defense. I rolled my eyes.
I scoffed. "Yeah, one who enjoys yelling."
"That was not yelling." Now he rolled his eyes. Brenner seemed to have a
ridiculous notion that I was far too over dramatic. Carlisle smirked from behind him.
I just stared at him in irritation.
"Calm down." I was convinced he should trade mark that phrase. You know when
you're annoyed the last thing you want to hear is to relax or calm down? Brenner,
however, said it in a voice that you just had to chuckle; just a little though. "Now let
me see you hit the club."
I raised an eyebrow at the challenge but teed up the ball. He went to stand next to
Carlisle. It was kind of amusing how contrasting the two looked. Carlisle got pale in
the winter, and that with his blond hair was funny to look at next to Brenner's brown
hair (which he always had a hat on) and tanned skin. It was only tan 'cause he went
to Mexico. . .but still.
Lining up with the ball I took a breath. Then, the club came into contact with the
ball and it went flying. I was aiming for a banner, and it happened to hit the right
side a little bit. But it did hit the banner.
"Good," Brenner nodded with a satisfied grin, then he turned serious. Kinda.
"Work on the right slice or Rosalie's captain and you get demoted to JV."
- 50 -
"Go away!" I laughed. He nodded to me with a smirk and went down to his lane.
Carlisle was chuckling and I just shook my head.
Rosalie got dropped off just as Carlisle was heading back to work. She stretched
after she set down her bag in the lane next to mine. We always talked while hitting
through the balls. This time, Rosalie wasn't dropping the mystery man thing.
So I told her the basics, just enough to satisfy her inquisitive side. I was hitting my
9 iron amazingly as I told her about the website and the soldier who I was
befriending.
"Is he attractive?" Rosalie asked curiously. I couldn't see her face because she was
in the lane behind me. After I struck the ball again I turned to give her a look.
"How in the hell am I suppose to know? I literally have no clue what he looks like."
I didn't see her reaction because I turned back to hit another ball.
"Stop chasing boys you two," Brenner warned with playfully narrowed eyes. I
shook my head and then looked up and narrowed my eyes back at him.
"Bella's chasing one across the ocean," Rosalie said smugly. I had no clue why she
was so smug considering she was about to get my 9 iron upside her blond
pony-tailed head.
"Don't wanna know." He walked away holding both his hands up for us to stop and
shaking his head. There was a lot of head shaking that went on during the season.
"You had to say that?" I sighed.
"You know it's just because I want one" Rosalie responded. I was trying to
measure the tone of her voice.
"You're serious?" I asked, totally baffled her serious expression.
"Of course. Do you know if Edward has any friends I could write to?" She was
actually serious. Hmm, who would have thought?
"I can check I guess." She smiled and thanked me brightly before concentrating
on her shot. I was just extremely confused and the befuddled expression stayed on
my face the rest of the time we were there.
I wrote Edward another, smaller letter a few days later.
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Dear Edward,
Got any friends for Rose?
This is the war that's never won
This is a soldier and his gun
This is the mother waiting by the phone,
Praying for her son
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Hung upon your wall for the world to see
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Remind us all of what we used to be
-Picture of You by The Last Goodbye
Happy late Thanksgiving!
I'm sorry we haven't gotten much E & B, but thanks for being patient! On the
bright side you met Brenner! I love that man...
I am curious what you guys think Emmett's going to be all about though...(:
Reviews make my day(:
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Chapter 6
January went by extremely fast. I was going to the Sky Dome more with Carlisle
and Rose. The entire school was convinced that Elliot and I were dating which was
perfect. The boys chasing me? Well, they were still there but they didn't have the
nerve to ask me out anymore. And the ones I tolerated still talked to me all the time,
though now with much more boundaries.
Anyway, basketball season was in full swing. Our school's team was doing
amazing, barely ever being defeated. And I, being the star player's "girlfriend," was
expected to go to all of the games and pretend to be as in love as possible with
Elliot. I liked him a lot as a friend, but the act on the other hand was starting to get
pretty damn old.
I was right about one thing I said weeks ago at the dance. We were the school's
favorite couple. Every other couple wanted to go on double dates with us; everyone
wanted the two of us to go to their parties. It was flattering and yet really annoying
at the same time.
At the beginning of February I had already gotten two letters from Edward. They
weren't in response to the one I sent on the 10th, instead they were about his time
at training camp. I always found myself laughing my head off at the stories he would
tell. At the same time though, it bothered me that I couldn't really picture anything
in my head. I could imagine the scene and some of the other people he'd described,
but I had no idea what the Sergeant even looked like.
I had gotten a hang of the pattern of the mail. Edward's camp wasn't that remote
and he stayed in the same place, so they were pretty good at getting mail there
quickly. I should have gotten a response before January ended. When I didn't, I
started to get nervous, and then I got embarrassed for sending him pictures. He
probably didn't care what the hell I looked like. God, he'll just think I'm some needy
little girl. I definitely felt like one.
That was another thing. I didn't really like when he called me a girl in his letters.
Even if it was a compliment, it wasn't all that flattering. Girls were older than
toddlers but younger than women. I was a woman, a young one granted, but a
woman nevertheless. It didn't really bother me per say. . .I had just noticed it as an
observation.
All these things were running through my head as I sat on the couch in our living
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room. I was flipping through channels on the TV and kept stealing glances out the
wide windows. I was anxious for the mail truck to come. That was, if I didn't scare
Edward off. Which I probably had.
Right as I was about to chide myself for being an idiot. . .for the ninth time, the
mail truck pulled up to our mailbox. I got up from the couch, anxious to see if there
was a letter addressed from Iraq for me.
There was.
I grinned the whole way up the driveway. Yeah there were some bills for Carlisle
and Esme and some magazines, but I wasn't remotely interested in those. I
wondered if Alice had written anything back, because the envelope was slightly
thicker than normal. Maybe he had just written a longer letter than usual.
I sat back down on the couch after dropping the other various mailings on the
counter where Esme always sat. This was the first time I was going to be able to
read a letter without Esme sitting in the exact same spot, raising an eyebrow at me.
And that eyebrow just seemed to be getting more and more pointed. I wasn't sure if
it was smug, amused or even knowing.
Opening the envelope gently with my thumb my suspicions were confirmed. There
was another pink stationary floating next to the notebook paper filled with Edward's
handwriting. I stared at the two papers for a moment, silently debating which one to
read first. Decided, I grabbed Edward's letter first.
I settled back into the couch with the grin back on my face. Then I started to read
yet another piece of Edward's life.
Dear Bella,
Nice to hear from you as always. Sorry this letter is going to reach you a few days
late. My notebook was all filled up so it took me a little while to locate one. Basic
stuff like that is difficult to find here. And I refused to use Alice's little fruity, pink,
frilly paper. I gotta draw a line somewhere.
Speaking of the devil, I bet you already noticed that Alice wrote you a letter
herself. I figured because you were curious about her, she was the better one to
answer those questions. A lot of us over here joined the army to get away from our
pasts and personal life. None of us really talk much about our lives back home,
unless they have normal American stereotypical lives. One of the guys in my squad
has a little girl who we all like to hear stories of, and we pretty much all adopted her
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as our niece. The innocence of those stories is so welcomed by everyone.
I'm not sure how much you know about military shit. Which I really shouldn't be
referring to that as considering I'm a sergeant, but it's for lack of a better word. So I
guess I should start to explain some things.
A sergeant commands a squad of nine or ten privates. In my case, I have ten
soldiers that I am in charge of. Alice would be an example of a private, though she's
tougher than our company captain. My job is to make sure that my guys (and Alice)
get home to their moms.
This is my second tour my first one I was a private. Coming back, I was
recommended to lead a squad of my own by my previous lieutenant. You gotta work
your way slowly up the ranks in the army world.
But, back to the squads; after squads comes the second smallest structure of the
army which is a platoon. Typically they are made up of two to four squads and lead
by a lieutenant. The two other sergeants in my platoon are Emmett and Jasper.
Emmett is my roommate who I mentioned before. His squad and mine were given
the luxury of a building to live in. Jasper's out with his squad in the trailers. We are
all led under our lieutenant Peter.
Then you typically stick three to five platoons together under one captain and you
get a company. Our company has roughly 125 men and 5 women. Alice is the only
women in our platoon of 32. Even though she doesn't admit it, I'm fairly convinced
that she loves it.
I'm not supposed to have favorites as a sergeant, but Alice is my favorite. Being an
only child, she's such a pain in the ass that it's almost like having a sister. At least I
assume so; I have nothing to compare it to.
I think that that's enough army stats for the moment. It's so much easier to write
about other things in these letters they're more like escapes from the army world. I
have the same country pride as everyone here it's just hard to show as much
enthusiasm as the young privates on their first tours.
Tell me more about your life, Bella. Does that sound intense? God, I hate not being
able to use the right tones when I'm talking to someone. You definitely don't have
that problem at all. I get when you're being sarcastic right away. . .At least I think
so. You write describing yourself perfectly, in my head it feels like I know you. I
mean, more than just letters back and forth. I don't know how to get a clear picture
of you in my head.
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Did I mention I suck at this? Because if I didn't, I think that paragraph right there
just told you everything you need to know.
I'll just go back to what you said in your letter, it seems like a better start. Do I
have any friends for Rose?
Gee, thanks for the elaboration there.
If you mean army friends that would appreciate some letters addressed to them
every once in awhile, then yes I do. If you mean single friends, then yes I do. Either
way I would say the same person though. Sergeant McCarthy. Informally know as
Emmett, my infamous roommate.
I wrote his email address on the back if you want to give it to her even though
Internet connection is extremely funky. It's usually only up for a few minutes at the
most. So Emmett installed a program on his laptop that automatically sends his
emails whenever the connection is working. Pretty handy actually. I suggested the
email approach for Rose because Emmett really isn't all that patient when it comes
to waiting for letters or anything.
I don't have much more to add. . .sorry. You're better at giving me things to write.
Answering your questions is the easiest, and I love hearing about your life. I hope
you don't need me to ask questions about everything. I'd rather you just tell me the
stuff you want to.
Your pictures are. . .beautiful. Thanks for sending them to me. I never would have
worked up the nerve to ask for anything like that, so I'm glad I have a picture of you
smiling in my head now. It was nice to see Esme, Carlisle and Rose to. If they ever
ask about me tell them I say hello.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
Under his ever prominent signature was Emmett's email address. I would text
Rose later. In the back of my mind I wondered why he always ended his letters that
way. Mine were always changing.
I set the letter onto the coffee table, setting it alongside Alice's letter which I
decided to read momentarily. Tea sounded really good at the moment. I was a bit of
a tea fanatic; I had been since I was about 12. Esme enjoyed it as well, so we were
fairly well stocked up at the Cullen house.
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I didn't feel like turning on the stove so I grabbed a mug from one of the top
shelves and filled it with tap water. Placing it in the microwave I pressed a few
buttons and then shut the door.
While I was opening the mint tea bag I thought about Edward's letter. I had
noticed that he referred to Alice as a woman. Though I wasn't referred to a girl this
time (at least I thought not), I noticed that he was very hesitant and almost unwilling
to share information about his personal life. That wasn't a bad thing; I could accept
that I was somewhat open with my life and others weren't, but Edward just seemed
closed off.
I thought next about his last paragraph. Repeating it in my head I wondered what
to make of it. I made a note to pick apart that later. Was beautiful stronger than
pretty? But he had made a joke about being intense; this could be one of those
things he was talking about.
My musings were interrupted by the loud shrill of the microwave.
Once I had my honey stirred in with steaming water, I settled back into the couch.
I took a sip of the hot drink and shuddered a little as the extremely warm water
traveled down my throat. Then I set the drink down to cool and picked up the
shorter letter that Alice had written.
In my previous letter to Edward I had asked him more about Alice. I had even
wondered if she needed some items personally. I was curious about this "woman" I
inwardly sighed at that and how she was living over there. I hadn't really expected
a response from her, but I was kinda excited about it.
Bonjour Bella,
I'm not French, but I've always wanted to go there. Besides the point though. I
just didn't want to use dear. It sounds too formal.
When Edward started asking me if my supply on tampons was good I figured it
would be everyone's best interest that I write you a reply myself. We have tampons
here, but they're not good quality at all. I'm shuddering right now as I write this.
Tampax would be amazing!
I hate to ask for anything, I'm generally a pretty proud person, but with very little
contact in the states I am on my own getting things I need. I really need some
ponytail holders; they have to be really dark brown, almost black. Unfortunately
they have to be the same color as our hair so no brightly colored ones. Um, some
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chap stick too?
If it's possible I'm in a desperate search for white ankle socks. And some shampoo
and body wash. I hate smelling like an 80 year old lady. The same goes with
deodorant. I would also love to have a nail file. I don't know if you're one of those
girls who care about nails, if you are, you know the feeling. Pretty much any hygiene
that you would normally need I do too. . .
I'm a year younger than Edward and this is my first tour in Iraq. It doesn't seem
like it though we've been here since August. It was extremely weird to be entirely
surrounding by testosterone when we first got here. I adjusted though I guess, and
most of the guys don't give me a hard time. The ones that do. . .well they leave me
alone after I politely request it. . .
About the relationship question. . .there is a man over here. But can you not write
anything to Edward about it? It's more of a hidden relationship considering he is of
higher ranks and we aren't supposed to hook up with other soldiers.
I was there when Edward opened your letter today. It was almost funny his
expression when he saw that there were pictures. I don't know how long he looked
at each one, but it was awhile. He seems happier in these past weeks than I've seen
him this whole tour. Thank you.
Alice (:
I read the end of the letter again. Then I sat back, exchanging the parchment for
the tea. A small, meaningful smile ghosted over my lips as I thought about what she
had written. I didn't how to describe the feeling that was coming over me as I
thought about it. Maybe content? I wasn't beaming or jumping, but I was. . .content.
Alice was alright, that certainly made me grin. I decided that she had already
written me two letters; I should really return the favor. Who knows, the two of us
could end up becoming friends? But by what she wrote, it seemed like she really
needed someone to talk to about her and her mystery soldier man.
It made me feel a sense of melancholy as I recalled that she had very little contact
in America. I assumed that meant she didn't have much or any family that supported
her needs. But Edward had said that no one really talked about their past because
they were trying to get away from it. I made a decision after a moment not to ever
pry about Edward or Alice's background.
Letting my head fall against the couch I started to compose a shopping list. I had
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just babysat my coach's kid for the whole day so I had some money that I could buy
her the things she needed with. If she was actually asking, it meant she was in an
actual need for it. I had discovered that soldiers all had a sense of pride and none of
them really liked to be dependent.
Fifteen minutes later the last few sips of my tea sat unforgotten on the coffee
table. I had texted Esme and she said she would love to go shopping with me. She
was meeting me at the mall. The roads were thankfully less icy today so I was able
to drive with more ease.
When I was five minutes out from the shopping complex my phone started ringing.
I checked the number and shrugged. Switching hands on the wheel I flipped open
my phone and brought it to my ear.
"Hi Elliot," I greeted him.
"Hey Bella."
"What's up?" I asked him as I came to a stop light and leaned back against the
leather seat.
"I was wondering if you were going to be coming to the game on Tuesday." That
seemed odd; I went to most of his games without him even having to ask.
"Yeah, I was planning on it. Why?"
"Tyler and Lauren want us to go to the party at her house afterwards." I couldn't
pinpoint how Elliot felt about the request. I, on the other hand, groaned. The light
blinked green and I hit the gas pedal a little too harshly.
Elliot chuckled across the line.
"Do you want to?" I asked him with a sigh. Lauren's house was the last place I
want to be, especially on a school night. She had kegs of beer and other alcohol, the
girls always dressed like little sluts, and I always had to try to be nice to Lauren. She
hated me, I didn't like her, but she tried her hardest to make it seem like we were
the best of friends. It was extremely frustrating.
"Not at all, I just told Tyler I would run it by you. What's a good excuse?" I was so
relieved that he didn't have any interest in going either.
"Tell him my ferret died," I replied in an uninterested monotone.
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"That's horrible karma if you do have a ferret, you know," he commented lightly,
chuckling. I started to laugh as well.
"Well it's fortunate that I don't. Well I gotta go. see you Monday!" After he said
bye, I disconnected the call. I pulled into the mall parking lot and noticed Esme's
gleaming Escalade. Even in all the snow and brown slush she kept her car clean as a
pearl.
I filled her in on why I was shopping as we walked up the sidewalk to entrance of
Target. She seemed happy with the idea. But it was when I mentioned Edward again
that she rose another eyebrow.
"How is Edward?"
"He says hello," I answered, hoping to get out of one of these conversation. I
grabbed a basket as soon as we were in the warm store. If Esme had an opinion, she
didn't comment. Instead she just stood there.
"So. Let's go fine some socks," I said cheerfully, trying to shake the awkward
away.
While we were getting different things for Alice, I found a notebook to send to
Edward. I also grabbed him some tootsie rolls because he said a few weeks ago that
he liked them.
I loved shopping with Esme. She knew exactly what to get in any situation. And
she was also a good person to talk to mindlessly.
"How is school?" she asked as we found ourselves surrounded by an aisle of socks.
"Grade wise? 4.0. Social wise? Eh, you know. I don't really like people." It was so
pathetic that it was pretty much a joke in our family. Rose was the only one else who
got it.
"How's Belliot going?" I grimaced. The not so clever student body had lovingly
dubbed us as a witty version of our names. You agree to fake date someone and
suddenly you've got a name your mom gives you before you get married. Then I
looked at Esme curiously, wondering how she had even heard about that.
"What? I know things!" She looked like I was the strange one for doubting her.
"It just sounds so bad when you say it," I groaned. In the midst of our conversation
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I was also wondering why they didn't make socks one size fits all. None of this size
nonsense made any sense.
Esme grinned back at me. "Before Carlisle and I got married my mom decided we
would be Carme." I allowed myself to appreciate the irony for a few moments.
We selected the socks that Esme approved of and went off to get shampoo. Then I
thought of something.
"How did you know it was Belliot?"
"Phh, how do people figure things out nowadays?" I wasn't entirely sure where
she was getting at with this. Honestly, I didn't know the answer she was looking for.
"They Google it?" I asked.
"Well yeah. . ." she agreed, "but the second way would be Facebook."
I stalked away from a laughing Esme, cursing the book of faces.
"Oooh! Does Edward have a Facebook? He and I could be cyber buds!" There
were times when Esme mocked other people for their annoying, strange words.
Unfortunately, this was not one of those times.
"We're done with this conversation." I declared, walking farther away from her. I
smirked; Esme was in heels.
"What? I'm hip!" she called, but I was just walking farther away. This was
partaking in front of the curious Target employees and shoppers.
If our letters ever turned into anything more which at this point I was clueless of
I sometimes wondered how my family would react to Edward. I knew Carlisle
would probably be. . .hesitant, to say the least.
But it was good to know Esme would at least be his Facebook friend.
And I know someday that it'll all turn out
You'll make me work, so we can work to work it out
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And I promise you, kid, that I give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet
I might have to wait, I'll never give up
I guess it's half timing, and the other half's luck
Wherever you are, whenever it's right
You'll come out of nowhere and into my life
Haven't Met You Yet, Micheal Buble
-You guys have to bare with me. About two more chapters before you all are going
to start seeinng (and hearing;) more about Edward. We just have to get past these.
-How do you like these weekday posts? Lemme know. Because I woke up really
fricken early for you guys.
-Thank you SimplyDazzling. Even if you do break my heart.
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Chapter 7
Thank you SimplyDazzling. Wooh. You're awesome. Even if you send me chapters
the day after I ask...
Thank so much to your kind responses to chapter 6! They blew me away! I wanted
to reply to all of them, but I figured you'd like a chapter soon. Don't worry though,
I'll be replying to all of them this week with my buddy Edward, and he loves to gives
spoilers...(;
Over the next eight weeks, I got about ten letters from Edward. I sent that and
probably a few more. Because the mail was so slow, a lot of the letters weren't in
response to anything, just random things to write. Once I wrote about squirrels;
Edward wrote about the sky. Granted his was just a bit deeper than mine, it was still
a random topic.
I learned a lot of new things about the Sergeant though. For one, I had no idea
that he had a dog. Granted, I had never really asked. In one of his random letters he
told me some about his childhood friends, and then I discovered that Edward was a
pet person.
When I was 17 I decided that I wanted a dog, a reliable companion. So I went to
the animal shelter, opting to adopt rather than buy a dog from a breeder or pet
shop. I hate those places; dogs should have more room than a glass box. Anyway, I
went to the animal shelter in search for any type of dog.
As I was waiting in the lobby for someone to take me back, a women brought in a
small puppy. It was a really light golden color and I assumed it was a golden
retriever. My interest was piqued. The lady went to the front desk and explained
that she had four kids at home. They had one golden retriever that had puppies and
they were able to give away most except for that little guy. The woman was frazzled
and it was apparent she couldn't undertake another responsibility
The woman left, leaving the puppy with the other woman at the desk. I stood up
and walked over there. That was the dog I wanted. I didn't have to see the rest to
know that. I told the woman that.
Twenty minutes later the puppy was sleeping in my arms and I was filling out the
adoption forms. Dogs are expensive, not to buy because I was adopting, but they eat
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a lot, need toys, medicine and beds. Luckily I was pretty well off at the time and I
doubted it would be problem. I was too busy thinking of a name.
After one day, the boy puppy I had picked a name. The dog was very sweet, but
when he encountered our neighbor's cat he started to bark ferociously, defending
his newfound territory. The dog was preparing for battle, and it was only ten weeks
old. I decided to name him after the god of war, Ares. I pronounce it Air-ees, some
people think it's just Air-s, but that's only his nickname. I hate not being able to see
him.
Edward then went on to write that he had to leave Ares with his elderly neighbor
when he got deployed. He hadn't heard from her in months, he was doubting that
she was still alive, and he was worried about if he'd ever see Ares again.
I couldn't really relate. . .I had a gerbil when I was eight. But it died.
It wasn't the only time he mentioned his dog. I wished there was something I
could do to check on the Ares, or anything, but I didn't know who the woman was, or
if she was alive, or where she lived. I had say though, an elderly woman probably
wasn't the best choice of dog sitters. . .not that I told Edward this of course.
Another thing he wrote about was his leave.
In the army you get 2.5 vacation days every month. Some guys like to space theirs
out, but most don't like the air fair is worth it and only go home once for their 15
days. That's what I have been doing. Some of the younger soldiers don't like doing
that; they like to get home for Christmas.
We all have to plan our leave by talking to the Noncommissioned Officer
In-Charge. He, or she in our case, has a chart for everybody. My leave was granted
for June 20th to July 15th. I think I'll go to Illinois for mine. I don't really have
anybody to see there, but I don't know where else I should go.
The other sergeant's in my platoon are taking leave that over laps mine, so we'll
all be in the states for a total of four days together. Who knows where Emmett's
going to make us meet? I'll just be glad to get out of here for awhile.
That letter he sent just a week ago in March. It was now the beginning of April. To
sum things up, grades were good, Elliot led the team to state victory, and golf
season had started. Oh, and it had just snowed. We still had to go to practice. Sweet.
I had been thinking about that letter from Edward for awhile now. I had been
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thinking about a lot of his letters lately, actually. It was still a wandering question in
my mind if I should address him as a friend, or just the soldier I met online. The
friend thing sounded a little better and might stop questions, but I wasn't entirely
sure if you were allowed to address someone you've never met as an amigo.
Speaking of amigos, I felt it was safe to say that Alice and I had actually become
friends. I wrote her a letter back weeks ago that I sent with the package of stuff.
She's been writing letters back and sticking them in the envelopes Edward mails to
me ever since, and I do the same thing with her.
As it turns out, I had been right about one thing. She really needed someone to
talk to about her boyfriendishthing. I learned that in the 4th letter she wrote to me.
You know that guy that I was talking about before? The one that I'm not really
allowed to be with? Well, I'm not sure if Edward has told you much about the
company, but he is a Sergeant in my platoon. His name is Jasper.
From what I understood about the military, which don't get me, wrong was very
limited, Alice was screwed.
Jasper was what a lot of our letters were about. I wondered if Edward had at any
time glanced at the letters I'd written to Alice or visa versa. If he had, it wouldn't
take Einstein to figure out that Alice and Jasper were. . .objectively, full of sexual
tension. . .for each other.
Edward never really wrote much about Jasper. He mentioned Emmett a lot more
than the other sergeant. Emmett sounded fun, and it actually felt like I knew him. I
had never been in any contact with either Jasper or Emmett, but Edward and Alice
wrote as if I knew them, and in turn, I learned a lot about each of them.
At the end of February, I had been inspired. The basketball team had a silly string
fight at one of the games. Silly string was sort of like. . .squirting out shaving
cream? Yeah. That was an awful description. It was like a sticky, foaming string. .
.like canned cheese that squirts out? Yeah. We'll go with that.
Anyway, after that game, I thought maybe the army would enjoy some fun.
Fortunately, Esme had just ordered a box of 60 cans of silly string. I guess it was for
a bizarrely fashionable wedding that she was planning. The bride was sleeping with
the best man, who happened to be the groom's brother. Esme had way too much fun
telling that story.
Bottom line was no wedding, no need for 60 cans of silly string. So I suggested
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that she send them to Edward's platoon. She shrugged and filled out the address on
the unopened cardboard box.
A couple weeks later I got this response in one of Edward's letters:
You know, for Christmas, we didn't even need all those other gifts. A box of neon
colored silly string worked just as well.
The guys (and of course Alice) loved it. Emmett and I organized a capture the flag
game with all three squads. You get shot with silly string anywhere, you die and
have to act as you have in fact died. You are allowed to come back to life only if
someone on your team comes and saves you from the Underworld. Then you become
a fully operating zombie. We got a tad bit theatrical. . .
We were going to use two articles of. . .women's clothing that one of Emmett's
guys as accumulated as flags, but Alice made us stop and we used bandannas
instead.
My squad (plus some of Jasper's) won that game. It all went down hill after
Emmett got bombarded with light pink silly string. As we were celebrating, Captain
Harry came out. He looked royally pissed off. Emmett and I were getting ready to
take the blame as he explained that someone had informed him we were using the
training grounds for fun. We both knew who had informed him; a little jackass from
a different platoon named Mark.
So, just as we know we're going to get a tongue lashing, he grins at us. Captain
thought it was one of the most creative ideas he'd ever seen, and it was a good, safe
way to train during rest hours. He applauded the idea of silly string and asked who
got it. Emmett told him "An amazing woman Sergeant Masen is good friends with."
Captain went on to call you brilliant, just so you know.
I had been thrilled. At least I was a woman to someone. Don't get me wrong, I
wasn't one of those little brats who was in the biggest hurry to be taken seriously
and grow up. I just didn't want to be perceived as a girl by Edward.
I was also beyond happy that the guys could use it. To me that sounded like a hell
of a fun time. Esme was glad that it went to better use than it would have at the
wedding it was for. I get not wanting bird seed thrown, understandable, but
wouldn't a better alternative be blowing bubbles? Whatever, I guess. Silly string is
cool too.
Alice told me that it was a fun time too and thanked me profusely. Those two were
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some of the most grateful people I'd ever know.
I had been extraordinarily busy lately. Rose and I still had been going to the Sky
Dome, but we hadn't really talked much about Edward or Emmett. I don't know how
she wrote an email to him or what response she got. This was one of those things
where I think each of us wanted to keep as our own, and not necessarily share too
much about. At least, that was how I felt.
But as golf started, Rosalie spent a lot more time with me. Unfortunately, golf
courses were still open in snow. So we spent a majority of our time freezing our
butts off together at practice.
It was warmer today. It hadn't snowed for about a week, but the spring air was
slightly biting. The sun was battling to spread more warmth but the crisp air was
still very chilling. I was wearing a dark pink pullover sweatshirt with a jacket vest on
over that. I had a wool black stocking hat protecting my ears. Rosalie was huddled
in a light blue windbreaker and a white fuzzy beret. She had gotten a lot of mocking
from Brenner, but she rocked that thing like no one else possibly could.
Practice today was just like a day at the Sky Dome. We filled giant buckets with
range balls and lined up on the driving range. There were only six of us on the team.
We had another 11th grader, a 9th grader and two 8th graders. Today the girl Rose
and I's age, Cynthia, wasn't there, so we were down to five.
"So. Emmett? How's that going?" I asked her with a hint of smirk. Now was one of
those times where I couldn't turn and see her face because I was behind her.
"I honestly have no idea why you don't use email," she answered nonchalantly, not
actually answering my question. Instead she busied herself by crushing her 7 iron.
"The email thing is working then?" I tried to steer her back to the topic that I was
curious about.
"Yeah, I get like two emails from him every week. At first it was a little awkward, I
mean, I had no idea what I was doing or where I stood with him. After some emails
though we got pretty comfortable. He's a really sweet guy." Now that was what I
had wanted to get at.
"I'll bet. What else?"
"Well he's 22 years old, it's his second tour in Iraq, his home is in Michigan. . .but
here's the interesting thing. Him and his mom don't really get along at all
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apparently she's exactly the type of person Carlisle and Esme mock: country club
member who doesn't even golf but buys 32 dollar salads. Emmett never met his dad;
he left when he discovered she was pregnant." I desperately wanted to see Rosalie's
face at that moment. I heard it in her voice, there was an undeniable softness in it
that I rarely heard used by her.
"But he is extremely funny, and entertaining to talk to. He has the best stories that
always make me laugh so hard. I think besides you and my mom, he's one of the
easiest people I know to talk to. Well you know. Type to." Yeah. . .I knew exactly.
I waited for Rosalie to add more. When she started dating Luke when we were 16,
she gushed about everything. I mean, she literally told me everything they talked
about, where they went on dates and the way his little brother acted.
I'm not saying she was anywhere near dating Emmett, It was just that Rose liked
to talk when something new came her way. I never really had to ask for details, I
just got them, wanting them or not.
Luckily, Rose was as virginal as me. Surprising though, given her exterior and
hotness and all, but still true. Last year we had gotten celibacy matching toe rings.
It was more of an inside joke than anything. No one noticed that we had matching
ones, therefore we never had to explain.
"Any visual?" I asked.
"Well I sent him a picture a little bit ago. . ." Rose trailed off. My brows furrowed
in confusion.
"Which one?"
"Um, the one we took last year at your cabin. You know, of me lying on the
floating bed thing in the water?" Oh, I knew which one she was talking about. Rose
had chosen that weekend to try out a very tiny bikini. She had only worn it for a few
hours because it was so small, but not before we got our scrap-booking shots.
"Your boobs look huge in that!" Rose's head whipped back and I realized how loud
I had just said that. She gave me a look, and right as I was about to apologize,
quietly, I was interrupted.
"Okay! That was more than I wanted to hear! So let's just. . .stop talking or please
quiet down that conversation. You're distracting the boys team." I cringed as
Brenner shook his head. I had forgotten the boys were right next to us, practicing on
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the putting green.
Rose and I glanced at the team. Most of them were staring at Rose appreciatively.
One very confident 14 year old grinned cockily and nodded appraisingly at Rose.
"Hey Baby," he winked before proceeding to raise both eyebrows. I started
snickering under my breath while Rose gapped like a fish. Then, she turned to glare
at him.
"Stop harassing my girls, Pinkberry!" Brenner went off to yell at them.
"It's Pillsberry!" the obnoxious kid complained. I continued snickering.
"Doesn't make it any better," Brenner responded without missing a beat.
My snickering died down as I tried to focus. Rose flipped me the bird before
hitting her club very aggressively.
"Okay, sorry about that, that was loud. But you really sent that picture? I know it's
a great picture of your profile, and err. . .assets, but a first seeing picture?" I asked
her, scrunching my nose up.
"Well he had already seen the golf picture Brenner took last year. The one you
sent to Sergeant Masen." The modest one I sent to Edward, I thought with a tiny bit
of self-righteousness.
"Edward showed him that?" I asked curiously. That made me wonder what he had
actually done with those pictures. I watched her white beret go vertically as she
nodded her head.
"Oh. So, Emmett email you anything?" I wondered if I would be able to catch a
peak at Edward in a picture of Emmett's.
"Nope. Why, did Edward send you anything?" Rose's train of thought was exactly
where mine was before the train ran into the ocean with her reply.
That was an excellent metaphor.
"Nothing."
It was a considerably long pause between the next conversation starter. I
welcomed it for a little bit; I did need to work on my game after all. Next year was
my last year, and I was planning to kick ass at state and play for a college.
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"When is Emmett's leave?" I asked after some ten minutes of nothing.
"June 10th to the 6th of July." I heard the smile in her voice. I was thinking that
Rose was developing a bit of a crush on Emmett.
"Is he going to come to Sections?" Sections were the big tournament before state
in golf. It normally went two days (if we didn't suck the first day). The team that
does the best in the conference goes to state. Carlisle and Esme walked along last
year, but unfortunately another school beat us by 3 strokes.
"I don't know. I mean, it's on the 11th and 12th. I don't know if he wants to spend
his vacation time watching golf." Rosalie had a good point. "Though it's better than
seeing his mother. . ." she muttered under her breath with some venom. I was pretty
sure I wasn't supposed to hear that, so I didn't comment.
"It might be fun," I shrugged even though she couldn't see me.
"I agree. It would probably be fun. I guess I might ask him if he wants to so we
could have a little face to face time." I was eager to meet Emmett. I wondered if
Alice, Rose or Edward had told him anything about me. Because I knew a lot about
him thanks to them.
"I liked it better when you two were tiny little freshman who didn't talk about boys
every waking minute." I hadn't noticed Brenner standing off to the side. Rose hadn't
either and she hit right while he was talking. It went. . .well it bounced all the way
across the grassy range and proceeded to roll right onto the road. "Nice," he
commented sarcastically.
"How's Belliot?"
"For the love God. . .Really?" I huffed. That Belliot thing was going to get
somebody killed. It was the most obnoxious name I had ever been a part of. I should
have fake dated a Sebastian.
"What? I didn't know!" de defended himself as I glared at him. "Did he shatter
your heart into pieces?" My eyes narrowed into slits. There was definitely going to
be a break up in my future.
"Fine, fine, fine. Are you going to ask for help with that? Or am I just going to
have to mock you about your personal life until you do?" he smirked while I sighed
deeply. I conceded and Brenner spent the rest of the practice helping me with that
club. That meant the conversation Rosalie and I had been having was quickly
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brought to a screeching halt.
After practice I always dropped Emily (the 9th grader on the team) and Rose off at
their houses. Rosalie was next to me in the front of the truck, trying to read the
chapter we needed to for English. Emily sat in the back listening to her iPod, and I
was left to my own thoughts.
An idea was brewing in my head by the time the two of them were out of the car. I
had no clue how it would be perceived but I was anxious to ask Carlisle and Esme.
First I had to go home and read through one of Edward's letters though.
Once Carlisle, Esme and I were all sitting down at the table, I mulled over how to
place my request. I was really nervous and my leg was bouncing at 100 miles per
minute up and down.
Right as Carlisle started into his baked potato, I decided to ask. Awhile ago I had
decided not to try and guess what their reactions would be. I cleared my throat
lightly and they both looked up in silent question.
"I would like to ask Edward to spend his leave with us. . .here."
Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you're never living twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life
If Today Was Your Last Day, Nickleback
-Hmmm. How do you feel about Bella's little idea? (I'm aware that a majority of
you saw this coming...)
-Like I said, Edward's helping me with reviews this week!
-I have decided in the name of the season to due a few one shots with our favorites
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couples based on Christmas carols! Good idea? Would you read them? Love to know.
And then I'll add to the Em/R one shot I did last year on Christmas Eve. (On my
website under New Stories if you're interested.)
-I'll now leave you in suspense. Poor Carlisle...
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Chapter 8
"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line
between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So
what the hell, leap."
Carlisle kept staring at me after I asked if Edward could come here. Slowly his
fork lowered down onto his plate and he cleared his throat. Esme raised an eyebrow,
but then gave a small what the hell shrug.
I was beginning to grow concerned as Esme and I waited for Carlisle to speak. He
just kept staring at me, and he hadn't moved since the fork had met his place. I
knew what he was doing; this was one of those cop show techniques. . .You stay
silent and wait for the suspect to fill the silence with more talking. I laughed silently
to myself.
I folded my hands together and placed my forearms neatly on the table. I wasn't
quite brave enough to go into a stare down with Carlisle yet, so I studied Esme
expression. She looked slightly skeptical but otherwise pretty indifferent to what
Carlisle was going to say.
I was about to crack. The silence was getting awkward and tense. But Carlisle
cleared his throat once more and then opened his mouth. Then he shut it. But then
he opened it again. I braced myself for whatever he was going to throw my way.
"Edward is that soldier who you have been writing letters to, correct?" I wanted to
smirk; proud at myself for holding out. But I figured that wouldn't do much good
with Carlisle in a mood.
I nodded.
"And he doesn't have a home to go to? Or family to see?" Carlisle's voice had a
hint of dry sarcasm that made my brows furrow. I didn't like it at all. He didn't know
anything about Edward. I thought back to one of Edward's letters from a little bit
ago.
It wasn't always just me, or in this case, me and Ares. I did have a family; my mom
and I were as close as could be. But life has a funny way of taking away the things
you need. Life has a funny way of making people feel so alone on this world. Just a
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separate soul, broken away from everybody else, wandering around, wondering why
any of us are here at all. That's how I felt for the longest time so entirely alone, no
one else in the world gave a shit about me. . .
"No, he doesn't. It's just him," I told him, trying to keep the protectiveness that I
felt for him out of my voice. Instead it just came across as colder than I had planned.
Esme gazed at me, her hazel eyes staring with an intense compassion. Her lips
were turned up slightly in the hint of a smile.
Carlisle didn't react to that statement; he kept his face neutral as he continued.
"Doesn't he have a home though? He must have friends that live in his hometown
who he would love to see?" I was already shaking my head back and forth before he
could finish his sentence.
"How old is he?" Objectively speaking, this could be a deal breaker for Carlisle. I
figured it was best to be completely honest.
"He's 21. . ." I gathered myself and took another breath before adding, "But he'll
turn 22 soon." Why exactly did I feel the need to add that? Yeah. Not sure.
"21 years old, well-" he was about to start a rant. Carlisle and I both looked in
surprise as Esme cut him off.
"I think that it's a good idea," she said with her calm, mediator voice. I wanted to
do a fist pump; half the battle had just been won. Carlisle, on the other hand,
gapped at her like a fish.
"He's 4 years older than her!"
"Technically I'll be 18 in July. . ." They both ignored me. So, I on the other hand,
chose to ignore the fact that he would be 22 in June.
"First of all, we wouldn't be allowing her boyfriend to come live with us for a
month; we'd be allowing one of her friends. Second of all, this is an American
soldier, Carlisle. A soldier who spends 11 months of the year in the desert protecting
our country. He's not some drug dealer from New York who thugs people on the
streets and takes their money." Esme was too far on a roll that I didn't correct her
use of the thugs instead of mugs. That was just Es for you.
"Okay, he's a soldier, and I'm all about country patronage, but I don't know the
guy. And that means that I don't trust him." With Esme on my side about this, I
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didn't even have to do half the fighting.
Esme lowered her voice so it was soft again. "But Bella does. And you've never
doubted her judgment before."
"Why are you all for this?" Carlisle questioned her.
"Because Bella deserves to see her friends. And Edward deserves a fun vacation
away from the war." Go Esme! She was definitely a pro at getting what she wanted
from her husband. Today she was pulling out all the stops. Over the years I had
gotten pretty decent at getting something if I truly wanted it, but Esme knew how to
play her husband like a guitar.
"I promise he is someone you will get along with, Carlisle. He's a nice guy. You
don't have anything to worry about," I added, using my softly pleading voice. I had
mastered that for my dad when I was seven.
Carlisle pretty much ignored my pathetic attempt.
Dammit. I thought I had it with that, but Carlisle huffed before continuing. "But
it's like going to pick up a guy who is a police officer and having him come live with
us for a month. Sure, he's an American Policeman; doesn't mean that I know
anything about him or want him roaming around my house."
"Edward's not some random soldier! I know him. Yeah, granted we haven't
actually met. But just because it's a bit of different circumstances than when I met
like Rose doesn't mean that I have no clue who he is!" I was getting flustered and
suddenly it was starting to feel extremely warm. Subconsciously I moved my hair
from my warm neck to my side.
Esme raised an eyebrow at him. "You did want to do a foreign exchange student
for a month this summer, remember?" I grinned at Esme. The smile with its triumph
fell as soon as Carlisle glanced over at me.
"Yeah. Student. Not soldier. Those words are not exactly interchangeable."
"But they both start with an S!" I made jazz hands, trying to encourage some
enthusiasm. Carlisle rolled his eyes.
"You can't argue with that logic. . ." Esme muttered.
I tried a different approach. "How 'bout we just skip the rest of this little friendly
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disagreement and you say yes so I can go send him a letter?"
Carlisle let his head fall back against his chair. I tried to hide the grin that was
about to emerge. I looked at him excitedly.
"Fine." I allowed myself a fist pump.
"Thanks, Carlisle! I love you guys!" I beamed at them as I grabbed my plate
quickly off the table and took it to the sink. Esme was laughing as I rushed upstairs
to get my notebook.
A little over a week later Rosalie and I were sprawled in my room with Elliot and a
guy from our school named Jacob. We were all in the same Economics class and had
been assigned a really annoying project. We paired up with someone of the opposite
gender and had to create a family. Elliot and I were still under the dating pretense
so I had easily had a partner. Jacob got to Rose the quickest.
Then, we were assigned a career and had to plan a family and budget with the
salaries we were given.
"I've been over these numbers like seven times. There is no way we can send all
four of our kids to a private school, Jake! Not with my teacher's pay," Rose
complained as she threw her calculator in frustration.
"Well I don't know what you want me to do, dear," Jacob sighed through gritted
teeth. Those two were getting old fast.
Elliot and I were getting along fine. As of now, Elliot was a physician for the New
York Yankees and I was a book publisher with books on the best seller list. We had
three kids and a New York penthouse with a view. And a cat named Melvin.
"So, we're buying a vehicle. But do you want a Lexus SUV, a Cadillac Escalade, or
a 911 Porsche?" I asked Elliot, looking over my notebook. We were on the couch,
heads on the opposite ends and legs to the side of each other. Rosalie was lying on
my bed and Jacob was sprawled on the carpet.
"Would you just shut up? I'm living in Iowa and driving a fucking mini van," Rose
whined to us.
"We could have sent them all to a public school and bought a Ford but no. . .you
had to get all righteous," Jacob bitched back. These two were getting pretty close to
be thrown out the window.
- 76 -
Rose was on a roll with her criticism today. "I have no idea why I married you.
You're a damn truck driver! I could have so much better than you, and you know
what? I want a divorce."
"Fine! See if I care you! You can have the house! I'll move out and take the kids on
the weekend!"
"Fine!" The odd thing was that Rosalie was starting to actually get pissed off by
this. Elliot was smirking and shaking his head, and I was laughing under my breath
at their little display.
I was about to decide whether or not to send my fake daughter Ella (Elliot's idea)
to horse camp in New Jersey with her brother Ben (my idea) when my laptop
beeped. I wasn't sure who was emailing me but I got off the couch anyway and left
the debate for Elliot to handle.
I perched myself next to a frustrated Rose on the bed and opened the computer. I
scrolled for a little bit on the pad until I found the email that had arrived. It was
from an email that I didn't have under my contacts. Curious, I bent down closer to
the screen to see who it was from. SgtEMasen(dot)yahoo(dot)com.
Gee, wonder who that was.
My heart started to pound faster in my chest. I let out a deep breath as my finger
hovered over the mouse. In that moment, I had transferred into a nervous, excited,
anxious girl.
"Hey guys, want to go downstairs and grab some snacks? Esme's in the kitchen,
she'll fine something to bring up," I suggested, looking at Elliot and then Jacob who
was currently calculating how cheap he could get a divorce attorney for, especially
with his truck driver pay.
"Sure," Elliot shrugged and set his papers down. Jacob groaned a little bit but
nevertheless pulled himself off the ground and followed Elliot out the door.
Rose was looking at me inquisitively. She set down her own laptop that had a page
about soccer camps on it. I tried to ignore her raised eyebrow. When I didn't answer
her silent question she decided to make it. . .not silent.
"Who's the email from?" I had written my email on one of the letters I sent Edward
a few months ago. I had no idea that he still had it, or would have decided to use it.
- 77 -
"Edward," I said, trying to get her to shut up so I could open it. She started to ask
another question. Screwing it, I didn't wait for her to stop talking and opened the
email. I had to get my leg to stop bouncing up and down so that I could read the
screen.
I blinked a few times, trying to get my eyes to stop darting around like I was on
drugs. I saw the size of the letter before anything else. It was only a couple
sentences. I felt a sense of disappointment but before I sighed, I leaned in closer so
that I could read what he wrote. . .no matter how much he did, or rather didn't
write.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Your letter
Date: 8, April 2008, 4:24pm
To: Bella Swan
I just got your letter. I'll call you as soon as I can. I'll try to remember that we're
eight hours ahead of you guys.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
I read the short email one more time and then closed the laptop. In the back of my
mind I was rolling my eyes at the fact that he signed his emails as prominently as his
letters. The disappointment I felt at the size of the email was replaced with more
anxiousness. Now I was excited for him to call.
The more I thought about it, I realized that this was the first time that I was
actually going to be able to hear what Edward sounded like. This would make him
even more life like, because there was just something about letters, sometimes I
wondered if the man I was writing to was actually real.
Because I had no picture or sound of him in my head, it made it extremely difficult
to think about him as anything other than a letter writer who I had never meet. Not
that that makes much sense or anything.
I was screwed. There was no way I would be able to concentrate on anything until
I got that call. Including sports and school. . .and my Economics homework.
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"What was that about?" Rose inquired. I smiled, absentmindedly looking out the
window to our wooded backyard.
"Edward's going to call me soon so we can figure out his leave," I told her,
knowing she would pounce for details on her own.
"You asked him to come? Here? Carlisle and Esme actually let you do that? When
is his actual leave? I can't believe you asked him! Why didn't you tell me? Did you
ask him to come the whole time or just a little bit? Should I ask Emmett if he wants
to come?" I felt my eyes widen and I just stared at her in awe. Anyone can fit that
many questions into one single paragraph is my hero.
"Yes. Yes. Yes. June 20th to July 16th. That's not a question. . .I just did. . .the
whole time. . .and yes." I think I got all the answers she wanted. I smirked at her.
"You're an idiot."
"I answered every one of your stupid questions!" I protested, used to being called
offense names by her regardless.
"And you think I remember every one that I asked? Or the damn order?" I cringed
along with Rose. Her voice was coming off as a shrill and we weren't the only ones
home.
"Well for the love of God, don't ask that many questions without pausing to
breathe!"
"Screw you. If you asked Edward, I'm asking Emmett. Then my mother." I rolled
my eyes at her.
"Good plan."
"I thought so."
Elliot took this as his opportunity to bust through the door with a tray full of
cookies. Jake was following close behind with four glass bottled cokes. "We brought
cookies!"
"How clich," Rosalie huffed. I grinned over at her and rolled off the bed and back
onto the couch.
I was too jazzed up about the email to even focus. Therefore, I left the decision of
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where the kids would go to college to Elliot.
The next day was our first golf meet of the season. We got out of school early so I
got to skip Health. As it turned out though, Rose's mom sleeping with the principal
couldn't get us out of a full year of that horrid class. The whole team was pretty
excited for the season to start. Brenner was absolutely ecstatic.
"Cough up the cell phones girls," Brenner demanded, standing up at the front of
the standard yellow school bus. I was especially hesitant to give him my phone right
now. It hadn't been a problem before, but I hadn't been waiting for a call from
Edward before either.
Brenner wasn't going to let us carry them regardless. If they made any noise
inside our golf bags when we were carrying them, we were disqualified. And that
would piss him off so, so much.
The bus came to a stop at the golf course we were playing at today, and we
grabbed our bags of clubs. We each walked past him, handing our phones as we
crammed to get through the aisle.
The sun was coming down warmly with a nice, very slight breeze. We were all
setting down our bags in the parking lot to change into our shoes when Brenner
walked off the bus. All of our phones were in his black laptop bag, all of them except
the phone in his hand.
"Swan, your phones buzzing. You got a call." It took everything in me not to rush
over there. I slid into my shoe quickly and glanced at Rose who was giving me a
knowing, yet still curious look.
I grabbed my phone out of his hand. I ignored the erratic beating of my heart and
pushed all the thoughts pulsing through my head away. I took a small breath before
putting the phone to my ear.
"Hello?" I answered.
"Bella?" I most definitely did not recognize that voice. I would have remembered a
voice that velvety and smooth had I heard it before. A voice that actually made me
catch my breath. I held the phone impossibly closer to my ear; not to block out the
other noise, there was none, but to get closer to that voice.
"Yes. Who's this?" Like I even had to ask. It was more of a rhetorical question
anyway. To make sure I wasn't dreaming.
- 80 -
"It's Edward."
He said, "Dad I'm big, but we're smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all
Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
So play with me, come play with me"
"And hey Dad, here's a riddle for you
Find the answer: There's a reason for the world
You and I?"
The Riddle, Five For Fighting
-Is it proper to thank your beta everysinglefreakingchapter? Well...thank you
SimplyDazzling. Anyone know her? She's pretty great.
-You guys can chill out...Elliot's not a threat. Come on. Like he could stand a
chance. I would just be wasting my time.
-Your review response from last chapter was amazing! Like seriously, I LOVE the
reviews I get for this story more than any other one I've wrote. You guys have the
kindest things to say. I wanted to thank everyone more reminding me why I write
this crazy story in the first place. (:
-Anyone else freezing their tails off?
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Chapter 9
Y'all are so dang lucky that I have an awesome beta who gets me my chapters on
time, and without her, this story would suck. Thank you once again SimplyDazzling(:
Edward Masen was calling me, from thousands of miles away. After six months of
writing letters to him you think I'd be squealing. But, no, what do I do when he
finally calls?
I move the phone away from my ear.
"This is kinda important; can I meet you guys at the green?" I asked Brenner,
holding the speaker part of my phone with my other hand. Brenner was giving me a
puzzled look but shrugged nevertheless and nodded his consent. I grinned at him in
thanks.
The girls were putting the bag straps over their shoulders and were walking
towards the practice putting green next to the club house. I glanced uncertainly at
my bag where Rose was lingering. I wanted to get away from them so I could talk to
Edward alone and now. Sighing, Brenner grabbed my bag and slung it over his
shoulder. I grinned wider at him as he rolled his eyes.
With everyone else going that direction, I made my way over to the club house
where I could talk to him on the deck that overlooked the course. I had played here
before and generally didn't like it very much. So I figured if I was going to sacrifice
some of my practice time I might as well try to make some mental notes about
where I would be competing.
"Sorry, umm, hi Edward," I finally responded gleefully as I brought the phone
back to my ear.
"Is this a bad time?" The voice that that question belonged to startled me once
more. I didn't necessarily like comparing assets of the human body to food. . .it just
didn't really click for me. But in this case, when he spoke, it reminded me of honey.
Warm, melting honey.
"Nope. This is fine," I assured him quickly, just so glad to be able to finally put a
voice to the unknown mystery man.
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"Aren't you in school? I thought you would be, but my shift just ended and I
needed to call you before I had to catch some sleep," Edward explained nervously.
"Technically I would be in school, but it's our first meet today so I got out early." I
could have sworn I mentioned that in one of the letters I wrote to him. But I really
wasn't holding onto the notion that he hung onto to every word I had ever written.
So it's not like I was even in the least bit annoyed.
"Oh shit, that's today? Sorry, I forgot. This is a bad time, isn't it?" Yes Edward, let
me just hang up on you right now so I can go putt for an hour and listen to Brenner
talk about hard work and passion. I rolled my eyes.
By now I was through the club house and standing at the deck. It was a huge
deck, but surprisingly there wasn't anyone up there. I was too distracted to try and
get a feel for the course at the moment so I gave up trying basically before I even
started.
"No, the meet doesn't start for like an hour," I assured him, not in the slightest bit
bothered by missing practice time.
Edward paused, slightly confused. "Shouldn't you be practicing then?"
"Nah, I'm so amazing that I don't need it," I retorted with mock-buff confidence. I
could practically hear him rolling his eyes.
"If you say so." I waited for him to continue, you know, start the conversation that
he was calling for. When he didn't, the awkward silence filled the line and made me
extremely uncomfortable.
"So, my letter," I prompted.
"Yeah. . .umm, so I read it," he finally responded with casualness.
"Who woulda thought? What with it being a letter and all," I replied with my usual
playful dryness. It was a lot easier now that we were talking on the phone I could
be as expressive as I wanted. And he would hopefully be able to tell when I
wasn't being serious.
Some called it sarcasm. I preferred the term wit.
I heard a chuckle over the line and smiled. "Well, I figured I actually needed to
talk to you about this, instead of just send a letter. God, it feels good to hear your
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voice for the first time." Now I grinned and blushed.
"Yeah, I know what you mean." I stopped for a moment to gather my thoughts. I
was a tad bit overwhelmed in that instant. "So might as well cut to the chase. . .my
letter. What did you think of it?"
"Well, thanks for inviting me, obviously." Oh Lord, it was like pulling teeth.
"No problem," I answered. As I was waiting for him to toss the ball back to my
court, I perched on a chair by a glass table.
"The thing is. . .I'm not really sure if this is the best choice. Hell, it could be a
great choice though, I just don't know." I felt a bit of disappointment course through
me. But it was overruled with the fact that he thought it might be a good choice too.
Right then, listening to him, I wanted more than anything for him to come.
I knew I wanted him to come, but now I realized just how badly I wanted that. I
wanted to take him to our cabin, my summer paradise. I wanted to relax on the
beach and ride Carlisle's boat with him. I wanted to go four wheeling through the
woods. I wanted to lounge on the couch and do nothing at all.
I just wanted to meet him. So, so badly.
"Okay. . .so, let's just talk about it then, I guess," I insisted with ration. That,
objectively, was something an adult would do, and my subconscious was kind of
proud of my reason while my inner monologue continued its ramble.
"I don't want you to think I'm not extremely grateful for the offer. I really am. But
first of all, I don't think your family really wants me there much at all. No father
would want a man of legal drinking age, whose been living in the desert for months
and had a bit of different upbringing than normal standards to their house with their
daughter." Well. Let's just dive right into it then.
I disagreed. "Carlisle's not like that." Okay. . .maybe just a tiny bit. . .
"Bella, he's your dad. I know he probably doesn't show it that much, but I know
that's how he feels. If I had a daughter I sure as hell wouldn't let her have a
swearing soldier come over for a month." That made me go silent. I ran my tongue
over my teeth, wondering how to respond to that.
"You're right, my dad would not approve. Charlie would have a hissy fit over even
the suggestion." I tried to keep my tone not as cold as I thought I sounded.
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That got him. I felt a little bad as I softly heard him swear over the line. I didn't
want to make him feel bad; not at all, but he wasn't making a relevant point in the
current argument.
"Bella, I'm really sorry. I'm also sorry I'm such an ass. I should've been more
sensitive to that." The velvet voice got even softer. This wasn't a surprise. I had read
his letters he wrote with such an art; of course he would talk the same way.
I shook my head, not in the least irritated with him. I actually was finding myself
with some patience for this scenario. I didn't want him to apologize or berate
himself, but something else he had said piqued my curiosity.
"It's okay Edward. I shouldn't have said it like that. I know this is a little weird. .
.at least for me, but what did you mean when you said the thing about you being in
the desert for months? What does that have anything to do with Carlisle not wanting
you at the house?" I hated to sound nave, even in my thoughts, but could there be a
disease native to Iraq that is contagious when you come back to America? I think I
would know about that if there was though. . .
Edward cleared his throat rather uncomfortably. After that I heard some sort of
low chuckle, like someone was trying really hard not to make their amusement
known. By someone I meant Edward, who was, at the moment, doing a real sucky
job of that.
"Well, umm. I'm not quite sure how to say this. . ." You know when you can tell
when a person is smirking, without even being able to see them? Yeah. This would
be one of those times.
"Honestly is always nice," I sighed slightly exasperated and a wee bit on the
sarcastic side.
"Okay, err, well. So, when you're in the army, out here at a secluded base in Iraq,
you have a very limited social life. And, um, relations with other soldiers on base is
extremely frowned upon, and those are pretty much the only people that you see.
So, when you get back from the desert, men typically have little more. . .tension.
And most feel they really need a woman to" I had let him ramble way too long, to
the point where I was blushing scarlet.
"Yup! Gotcha! I don't need an explanation of the Y chromosome. Thanks though." I
didn't think he would have gone on much further then that, but that doesn't mean I
hadn't been a little worried.
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"Sor"
"I know, I know. I asked." I interrupted him.
"But Carlisle is your guardian and that doesn't change much. I doubt Esme would
want me in her home either."
I snorted. Not so delicately.
"Ph, no, she was all for it. She was the one who helped me convince Carlisle." I
informed him cheerfully, chuckling as I thought back to that conversation.
"Oh. Well. . .I wasn't expecting that." he answered, slightly thrown off guard. I
smirked. God, I loved Esme.
"I don't think there's anything really stopping you from coming here, Edward," I
told him when he didn't say anymore.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa," he suddenly stopped me.
"Isn't four whoas typically the common standard?" I questioned him.
"Typically." The smirk was back again.
"Just checking. Proceed with your whoas," I grinned, amused.
"Thank you. As I was saying, I said firstly before, so you should have assumed
there would be more than one point. Secondly, even if your family doesn't mind me
there, I will feel like I'm barging in on your summer family time. And thirdly, well,
I'll get to that in a moment."
I scoffed. Family time? What the hell? Who actually did that for every day of the
summer? Oh man, the three of us got on each others nerves as it was and that was
only for a few hours at a time. By August, Esme always seemed to find more
weddings to plan and Carlisle picked up more shifts at the hospital. I scoffed again.
Summer family time? Ridiculous. And that's exactly what I told Edward. I also added
that it was an extremely lame-ass excuse.
He conceded.
"Well you said thirdly, so lets here it," I exhaled, not in the least exasperated. I felt
like after this conversation was over I would be.
- 86 -
"I. . .I'll only be able to be there for less than four weeks. Well, you already knew
that. But, I'm just worried that. . ." he paused thoughtfully for a moment, seeming to
consider his next words. "Bella, I know if I come we'll have a great time together,
and I don't doubt that at all. But I don't have many people close to me, many friends
I guess, the ones I have are here at base. I don't have to worry about saying goodbye
to them and going off for a year. I don't want you to have to deal with that heavy of a
separation."
Holy shit. Summer family time was a hell of a lot easier than this little hurdle.
I breathed in deeply through my nose and looked slowly around as I contemplated
what to say to that. My thoughts were in a crazy mess. I needed something to just
calm my mind down from overdrive. I gazed around until I saw a small pond on the
17th hole of the course. It was a beautiful little pond; it made me ache for summer
and time at the lake. And that was exactly what I needed.
I knew that I would probably get attached to Edward, hell, I was already attached
to Edward. I knew, and so did he, that if he came, at the end of our time together it
wouldn't be a very desirable parting. But it would be nothing I couldn't handle. It
wouldn't be losing him like my parents he would be doing his job. And his job was
the reason we even came into contact with each other in the first place. It reminded
me of something my mom used to say to me.
"Nothing lost, nothing gained." I said simply. The silence from the other end
caused me to elaborate, "I think if you come, I'll show you an amazing summer.
Yeah, it will be difficult to say goodbye at the end of it. But it will be the price to pay.
I can handle it, and I know you can too. Nothing is stopping you from coming."
Logically, I had just won that argument. Now it was just solely up to him to try it
or not.
"The ball is in your court, Sergeant," I said with a smile. If he signed all his letters
like that, why not call him it? I liked the ring of importance that it had as it rolled off
my tongue.
"Well spoken, Miss Swan, well spoken," he replied appraisingly.
"Did Emmett tell you that Rose asked if he wanted to visit her during his leave?" I
don't know if I was still trying to convince him or just make friendly conversation. I
think I just hated any type of phone silence.
"Yeah, he did mention that. Who would have guessed those two would get along
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with each other?" Edward chuckled, as did I quietly under my breath.
"Rose always comes up to our cabin with us in the summer. I'm sure if Emmett
does decide to come we could definitely have them both stay with us." I had just
thought of that, but suddenly my thoughts were racing, excited by that possibility.
But then I remembered that Edward hadn't even said yes yet.
"Well, if you come that is," I added quietly. I couldn't use my doe eyes over the
phone. Internally I let out a few profanities.
"You know, Bella. . ." I immediately smiled. That wasn't a lecturing tone. That was
a what the hell tone. I knew it; I used it all the time.
"Screw it. I'm coming." I allowed myself the biggest smile I could produce as he
said it. Then I let myself get extremely excited.
Edward was actually coming. That thought made endless possibilities speed
through my head in a nanosecond. But all the different scenarios were dulled by the
one that I was the most thrilled about. I would actually be able to meet Edward. In
person; face to face.
"You are one hell of a negotiator, Swan," Edward chuckled. His tone had become
much more relieved and relaxed, probably from actually having made the decision.
That made me question how long, and how much he had been thinking through this
particular choice.
"Get used to it, Masen," I responded playfully. I was just as relieved to have an
answer from him as he was.
We spent awhile talking about all the letters. I answered some of the questions he
had and vise versa. At one point I was actually twirling a few strands of hair in
between my fingers. Of course once I realized that I was doing this I moved it right
away and stuck it in my pocket instead.
I didn't realize how long it had been. I jumped when the door leading from the
club house to the huge cherry stained deck opened. It was none other than Brenner
looking impassive. Shit. I hoped he wasn't mad that I had been out here for awhile. I
glanced away from him and looked over at the practice greens; sure enough all of
the teams were here and ready to go.
Turning back so that I was facing the course, I grimaced. I didn't want to say
goodbye to Edward. But then I realized that he had to go to sleep and I had to play a
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meet.
"Edward, I gotta go. The meet is going to start any minute." Holy. . .I couldn't
even think of the right profanity to insert; had we been on the phone for almost an
hour?
"Okay, yeah, I better let you go." I couldn't help but hope that the unplaceable
emotion in his voice was hesitance. "Well, go kick ass, Bella." I grinned. Oh I
planned to. I reluctantly thanked him and said goodbye. I then concluded that,
probably due to my own loning, he did in fact sound hesitant.
Sighing heavily, I snapped my phone shut. I thought about what had just
happened for a peaceful and content moment. Then, sighing yet again, I turned to
face the strangely none-commenting Brenner.
"Is everything alright?" Well if someone had died I wouldn't be here.
Why were my thoughts so bitter? Oh damn, I was turning into Rosalie. That was a
depressing thought. I convinced myself it was just because my phone conversation
had been cut short.
"Yeah, just peachy," I grinned at him. He raised his eyebrow at the display of
emotions that had just flickered across my face. Now I wasn't bitter, I was just
happy again. Edward said yes!
"Who's the reason I let you miss badly needed practiced?" Badly needed my ass. I
rolled my eyes at him. The general public all had a certain respect for soldiers; I
would assume Brenner wasn't any different. Might as well tell the truth.
"I was talking to a soldier. He's over in Iraq."
Brenner raised his eyebrows once again, looking surprised and almost. .
.impressed. I was mildly insulted. "Is he a relative of yours?"
"Not exactly. . ."
"Oh! Is that the boy that Rosalie said you are chasing over seas?" he asked in
revelation. What the. . .? She had made that stupid little comment all the way back
in January.
"Coincidently that would be the same guy. . .how on earth do you remember that?"
I really wasn't comfortable talking about this with him. So I turned the tables. And
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as it was, I was extremely curious.
"Well it's not like you get a lot of guys, Bella."
"Gee. Thanks," I retorted dryly. Brenner sighed and rolled his eyes.
"That's not what I meant so shut up. You have never showed any interest in a
particular boy over the time I've known you." Stop saying boy, I groaned internally.
"I have a boyfriend, Brenner." Elliot and I had decided to keep up the pretense of
dating. I didn't really care. I liked not having to turn the guys down when they asked
me out. Now they just don't ask me out; problem solved!
"It's a good thing I'm not 17 or I might actually believe that load of. . ." he trailed
off. He made it a point not to swear around us, he was awful at it, but it was a point
nevertheless.
"Does everyone know that Belliot is crap?" I asked in exasperation.
"No," he said with his own exasperation as he stretched out the 'o' in no. His tone
made it seem like I was the irrational one. "But you wouldn't date a basketball
player; they're not your type."
Oh my Lord. . .
I was about to interrupt him and comment on his weirdness factor at the moment
but he continued. By now in the conversation he was leaning against the railing of
the deck and I was standing across from him, wanting to bury my face in my hands.
"No, you on the other hand would be the one I peg for being strong enough to go
into a relationship with a soldier."
My lips turned up a tiny bit at his slightly hidden compliment. "Just friends,
Brenner. Don't get ahead of yourself."
"Right back at you. Now would you please go. I would enjoy starting the season off
with an ass whooping." I grinned at him, and I got a genuine smile back from him
and the two of us walked down the stairs to the green. "I know you hate this course,
but I have a good feeling, Bella."
"So do I," I grinned, content with everything at that moment.
I took first in that meet. My score was tied with my personal best. I didn't know
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how I did it I hadn't been focusing at all. I just couldn't wipe the dumb, clich,
overly happy grin off my face the entire time.
That night I fell asleep with my new trophy on the bed stand next to me. Everyone
thought I was thrilled to have done so well; I had beaten the number one in the
state. And that was fine they could continue to think that. But only one thing
mattered to me that day.
Edward, my soldier, was coming home.
I'm running out of ways to make you see
I want you to stay here beside me
I won't be ok and I won't pretend I am
So just tell me today and take my hand
Please take my hand
Please take my hand
Just say yes, just say there's nothing holding you back
It's not a test, nor a trick of the mind
It's so simple and you know it is
You know it is, yeah
We can't be to and fro like this
All our lives
-Just Say Yes, Snow Patrol
Yay! Edward's coming home! Who woulda thought he'd be stubborn about it?
This was my Christmas present to you! My birthday present to you will be a whole
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chapter of Edward in person, first day home. Now...the only question is, when is my
birthday? (;
Holy crap! The shitload of snow has got to stop! Whose with me?
-I need your help, yes you, the reader barely skimming this. My sister
(SimplyDazzling) and I are in the middle of quite the debate. I watched Titanic for
the first time. Needless to say I sobbed for 20 minutes. (I'm being legit. 20 minutes.)
Justine thinks that Remember Me was way sadder.
Remember Me or the Titanic?
Your opinion?
- 92 -
Chapter 10
My New Years Resolution? Figure out a better way to thank SimplyDazzling for
her betaing! What's yours?
I was just finishing my letter to Edward when my phone rang. I was getting him all
the information he needed to book a flight to and from here. There wasn't much to
write other than that, so I felt the need to ramble mindlessly. I hoped he didn't care
that the letter had no interesting content.
Sighing, I folded the paper to fit into the envelope and answered my phone. I
knew it was Rose calling. She was borrowing her mom's sleek little black car and
picking me up to go shopping in a few minutes.
"Get your ass outside, darling," she demanded before I could so much as speak. I
rolled my eyes and pushed myself off the plush carpet in my bedroom. We had some
serious damage to do and Rose did not take a thing like this lightly.
"Coming, coming," I told her, exasperated. I was already halfway down the stairs
when I snapped the phone shut. I slipped into flip flops and opened up the heavy
front door, grabbing my purse on the way out.
Unfortunately, it hadn't really occurred to me that normal teenagers that were in
a relationship actually went to prom. . .as it turned out, it was kind of expected. So,
as a result of my misfortunate thinking, I was being dragged out a week before prom
to find the best possible dress available.
Rosalie, however, was extremely smug about the fact that her mother, an
extremely gifted seamstress, had been working on a dress for her for quite some
time. Neither of us had really talked about going, so I did not have a dress and Rose
now had a use for the dress.
I really wasn't going to go at all have my tonsils removed or something of that
nature. But that wasn't going to work for two reasons. . .One, Carlisle wasn't
working prom night so he was unwilling to perform a surgery. And two, Esme went
all Yoda on me and somehow convinced me that I would regret it if I didn't go. Even
now I snort.
Don't get me wrong, I have wanted to go prom forever. I used to look at my
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babysitter's pictures and dream about my day. But I would enjoy going with an
actual boyfriend. I still had senior year, which was why I wasn't crazy about going
this year.
"Alright, let's tear up this mall!" Rose exclaimed enthusiastically as I slid into the
car and she peeled out. I struggled to get my seat belt to click. Loved Rose to pieces;
hated Rose's driving to bits.
"There is going to be nothing there!" I complained while trying not to glance at
the speedometer. There was a reason Rose didn't have a car yet. Her mom, while
amazing and totally fun, didn't trust Rose's driving. . .at all. She trusted Osama Bin
Laden to drive her somewhere more that her daughter.
"You'll get a bubble gum colored dress or nothing." I would definitely be better off
with the nothing.
As it turns out, I was painfully right. There were absolutely no prom dresses left.
Well, okay. Yeah there were the usual slutty ones. Then some animal print ones and
of course, bright, freaking fairy pink ones. My frown was just getting deeper and
deeper with every store we went to.
After two hours we were both getting desperate. We had one last store left to go
to and I was extremely nervous that there would be nothing.
"How opposed are you to ruffles?" Rose asked as we divided and looked on each
side of the metal rack. I raised an eyebrow at the poop colored dress in front of me.
"How ruffly?" I asked her, peering over the metal hangers clinking back and forth.
"Really fucking ruffly." I sighed. The awe in Rosalie's voice was somewhat comical,
actually.
We continued for a few moments, hearing nothing other than the clinking of
hangers meeting and the usual elevator music this store offered as a playlist.
"Oooh! What about this?" For a second I thought she might have actually found
something. Then she shoved Cookie Monster in my face. I'm talking some extreme,
stringy ruffles complete with the signature bright blue color and even eyes! There
were giant googly eyes that were placed quite provocatively over the general midriff
area.
"That's a winner." My sarcasm was so powerful that it came out in a monotone.
- 94 -
Rosalie rolled her eyes dejectedly and went back to her side.
After we looked at every possible surface that held a dress, I had two to try on.
The first one was too skinny and displaced my breasts better than that creepy
Cookie Monster one because it was really tight. Rosalie didn't even get to see it on
me.
Finally, I tried on the last one. It was a light yellow one with silver beading
designed along the bodice. For lack of a better description. . .I looked like melted
butter. I grudgingly had to admit that it was unfortunately the best one I had tried
on.
"I look like corn on the cob!" I complained loud enough so that Rose could hear. I
swiveled in front of the full length mirror to see how it would look.
"Yeah and my dress looks like a psychedelic pumpkin. Show me the damn dress,"
she demanded, irritated. Over the years, Rose really had not built up the stamina for
more than two hours of shopping.
Frustrated, I stepped out of the dressing room and stood in front of Rosalie. I had
to give her credit, for as opinionated as she was, she was definitely doing a damn
good job of hiding her thoughts as she examined the dress with a thorough eye.
"Well. It'll have to do." No need for flattery; really, Rose.
"Can't believe I'm spending money on this. . ." I muttered under my breath as she
dismissed me back into the dressing room. I grumbled the entire time I was
purchasing it.
Luckily, Rose and I had learned from our winter formal fiasco. This time I got the
tie and matching vest I needed in about seven minutes flat. Rosalie had opted to
make her date Luke the very same one that took her to the winter dance wear a
bright orange bow tie and vest. Feel the pride, my man. . .
Rosalie was busy prepping me on prom day as we made our way back out to the
car. "My mom's friend Brunico is thrilled to be able to get his hands on your hair. He
can be at you house at 11 in the morning." Brunico was the extremely not straight
friend of Rose's mom. He was a stylist at the most popular salon in the city. "He said
not to bother planning your style; he knows exactly what he's going to do for both of
us."
"I made appointments for our nails and toenails to get painted. That's at 9 in the
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morning. After we are all dressed and ready we'll go off to the gardens for like two
hours and do pictures. Then the basketball team and dates have reservations at
some restaurant." Oh my damn. I would be asleep before the actual dance started. It
seemed like girls objectified themselves way too much for these occasions.
"How do I not know this until now?" I asked her with utmost curiosity.
"Simple. You've been in your own little bubble since our meet last week." I
grinned at her answer. It didn't exactly take a detective to figure out why I was so
happy. Rose hit the nail right with the hammer so to speak. Edward's phone call had
made my entire week.
When I didn't argue with her answer she looked over at me, still keeping both
hands on the wheel. She glanced at me with her eyes shining and a knowing, simple
smile graced her lips.
Prom day came along no faster or slower than any other day. I was throwing
myself into my school work with finals approaching rapidly. But along with that, I
was immersed into the golf meets and practices. I was having my best season ever
and concentrating really had at practice. I really wanted to play for a college team in
a couple years.
Any spare time I had from studying and practicing I was thinking about Edward's
arrival. So far I had a pretty hefty list of things I wanted to do when he got here in a
couple months. It was hard to day dream about someone when you didn't even know
what they looked like, but impressively I managed.
I was also anxious about Alice coming. As it turned out, Sergeant Whitlock had a
dad that lived about 20 minutes away from us. Alice didn't have a family that I knew
of, but she did have the same leave as Jasper, so they were going to be at his dad's
house for the duration of their leave.
I didn't want to steal any of their alone time. I knew they really didn't get much, if
any, at base and this was their vacation. But Alice and I had discussed getting
together and being able to meet. I wanted her to come up to the cabin with me, and
maybe even Rosalie. But I left that up to her.
Alice used email much more than Edward did. Not that I minded. I preferred
letters over emails much more, just like he did. One time he had said something
about delayed gratification. I wouldn't say that I'm all for that, because let's face it,
patience is a virtue I sorely lack in, but I'd admittedly been getting better. Alice and
I no longer even sent letters to each other we just corresponded with one another
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through computers.
So when I unknowingly let it slip out that I was going to prom a few days ago, she
wanted to see a picture of my dress. I learned that Alice had a bit of a knack for
clothes and sort of liked keeping up with fashion trends. She wasn't a big fan of the
color army green, but she was very proud of her uniform from what I had gathered.
After Rosalie and I got back from our pedicures and manicures, we had a little
time to ourselves to eat brunch. We were munching on something Esme had made in
the dining room while I had my laptop next to me and was scrolling through some
things before I checked my email. I had an email from Alice. . .and Edward.
Delayed gratification my ass, Sergeant.
I smirked.
Cautiously, I glanced at Rosalie. She was texting rapidly and thoroughly
distracted. I let out a silent breath of relief at the all clear sign. Rose could read me
like Seventeen Magazine.
I didn't know what the occasion was for me to be graced with an email, but before
my thoughts could head down the lovely worry lane I clicked open. I got the
impression that Edward only used email when it was pretty important. And by
opening it quickly, I wouldn't have to fret any longer than a few seconds. I couldn't
allow myself to think about him being hurt.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Off to the Ball
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:33 AM
To: Bella Swan
Alice tells me you have quite the day planned out. I wish the best.
I never really did the whole prom experience. Tuxedos aren't really my thing. I
much prefer my issued military blues.
Do I get a picture?
Grinning, I clicked reply. So there wasn't really a reason for his spontaneous
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email. I was glad.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Glass Slippers?
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:36 AM
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Yes, we've already been to the nail salon and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of
the man who's going to make my hair look gorgeous.
Strange. I definitely pegged you as a typical prom man. I can't say the same for
dressing up as you though. I somewhat enjoy it. Except when I look like corn on the
cob. . .
Hmm, I'll think about the pictures. But I think it'll give you too much hope seeing
me all glammed up. You'll be thoroughly disappointed when you realize the real deal
isn't as nice as the pictures.
After I pressed send I went back to my salad. I really wasn't a salad person. I
wanted a stack of warm, buttery waffles.
I wondered who Rosalie was texting. I cleared my throat and she looked up. She
raised her eyebrows in expectancy. I gestured for her to explain.
"What? Oh, just making sure Luke got the corsage."
"You guys have been getting along," I commented while picking up my glass of ice
tea. Rose's eyes narrowed in the slightest.
She was quick with a defensive retort statement. "So have you and Elliot." Idly, I
wondered why she was defensive about that in the first place.
"Actually, I think we're done. I mean, in a couple weeks that is." That was nothing
new to Rosalie. Elliot and I had talked about it when we went golfing last weekend.
We mutually decided that as soon as school got out, we wouldn't keep up the dating
pretense any longer. There was really no need; I didn't see a lot of the people from
school in the summer anyways. Well, not the ones I disliked at least. . .
I really thought Elliot deserved a good girlfriend. That entitled someone who was
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actually interested in him. He was a good guy, and it would have been awesome if
we actually were attracted to each other.
"Going to stage an overly dramatic screaming fit as your final act?" she asked with
amusement.
"It's a possibility. . ." I smirked at her in response. My laptop dinged to alert me
that I had another email. Rose went back to her cell phone and continued to text at
an impressive speed.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Glass Was Not Intended for Footwear
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:42 AM
To: Bella Swan
Did you get black nails?
That's always a very pretty feminine touch to add to a yellow dress. I'm sure you'll
be the most appetizing looking girl there.
Disappointed? I sincerely doubt that.
You going solo to this event?
Hmm, I dare say that the Sergeant was flirting with me. I had to say, this email
thing was a hell of a lot more fun. In letters, I got Edward's deeper side the more
thoughtful and intense part of his personality. In emails he was much more playful
and. . .flirtatious? That was such a lame word.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Fan of Corn?
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:46 AM
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Unfortunately I have a pretty self enforced policy against colors on my body that
are also colors of olives.
- 99 -
So as a result, there were no black nails for me.
Speaking of sincerely, why the loss of the prominent signature? I was growing
rather fond of it.
Solo? No, not quite.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: The Best of All Vegetables
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:51 AM
To: Bella Swan
What did the color green ever do to you?
As it so happens, that would be the color of my eyes and I'm now wounded.
I suppose you paint your nails brown, just because it's not a form of olive?
I've decided that particular signature serves a stronger purpose in the letters I
write. I come off as prominent? Interesting.
So who's the lucky little ass who gets to escort you?
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Carrots Are Better
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:54 AM
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Well. Our stylist Brunico has just arrived. I have to be off.
And no, I was not aware that you had green eyes. And I don't paint my nails
brown.
The color green has never personally offended me. I just have an immense distaste
of olives and their colors in general.
- 100 -
Prominent indeed Sergeant. I'm off, talk to you soon.
P.S. He's not an ass.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Would you Prefer Jackass?
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:56 AM
To: Bella Swan
Have fun my little kernel.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: No, I Wouldn't
Date: 19, April 2008, 10:58 AM
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Stay safe please.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Always Am
Date: 19, April 2008, 11:01 AM
To: Bella Swan
I thought you had to go.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Smirking Are We?
Date: 19, April 2008, 11:03 AM
To: Sergeant E. Masen
- 101 -
I do. BYE.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Am I That Obvious?
Date: 19, April 2008, 11:05 AM
To: Bella Swan
Still going to call you kernel...
I smiled as I closed the laptop. Esme had gone to get the door for Brunico and was
talking to him excitedly about life, and Rosalie stacked our dishes before bouncing
eagerly to greet him. I walked over and gave him a hug and we headed upstairs to
my room. Apparently we had quite a lot of ground to cover in the next couple hours.
Brunico sat me down in front of the mirror in the large bathroom and took out his
assortment of hair products. He started right away, because I guess we had no time
to lose. While he was chattering away about Pairs Hilton in his adorable Australian
accent, I watched what he was doing in the mirror. When he looked up, I noticed
that Brunico had green eyes.
I drowned out Brunico and contemplated that little tid-bit I had just learned about
Edward. Hmm, green eyes. Maybe he was Irish? I tried my hardest to create some
type of image of what he looked like. Now all I just pictured as was a set of green
eyes.
"Something on your mind, my dear?" Brunico asked when he realized I wasn't
paying attention to his chatter. I cleared my thoughts and smiled reassuringly at
him.
"No, I'm just excited," I lied with an amazingly false grin. He smiled back at me
and went back to doing whatever the hell he was doing with my hair. But really, to
think of it, I was excited. I was just excited for June 20th, not prom.
Two hours and a lot of hair tugging later, Rosalie and I were ready. I was in my
yellow puff dress which I admittedly was starting to grow the tiniest bit fond of and
Rose was dressed in her orange floor length psychedelic orange gown. She sure as
hell didn't look like a pumpkin; she looked like the goddess of fire.
Elliot and Luke, along with Rose's mom, showed up a little after we were dressed
- 102 -
and ready. Esme was excitedly snapping pictures as we got our corsages. We went
outside to take a quick few pictures of the couples before actually heading to the
local gardens where literally the whole school would be.
"You look awesome," Elliot grinned at me as he placed his hand on my waist and I
stepped in closer to him. I was pretty relieved he didn't put it on my ass, I'd tell him
off of course, but I really rather did not do that on prom night.
"I'm glad one of us can pull off the yellow," I smiled back gesturing towards the tie
and vest. Elliot rolled his eyes but didn't respond because Esme was taking another
picture. Then she had just me and Rose take a picture together without the guys. If
it turned out well I would probably have to go buy another frame for it.
"That's the one you have to send to Edward and Alice," Rosalie grinned at me as
Esme handed me the camera so I could see the picture. I looked at her in surprise.
Damn she was intuitive.
"And Emmett," I added, giving her a teasing elbow in the side.
And then, one of the strangest phenomenon's I'd ever witnessed took place. I
looked on in absolute awe as a soft red blush coated the cheeks of Rosalie Hale. She
saw my eyes widening and narrowed her sky blue ones right back at me, daring me
to call her out. I just grinned.
Going onto AnySoldier months ago, I had no inclination that my life would soon
shift as a result of it. But somehow, over the course of events, Rosalie and I had
found ourselves totally wrapped up in the world of our soldiers, and they found a
place in our minds for constant thought.
Pick your heart up off the floor
Leave good intentions at the door
Is she gonna say yes?
Is she gonna say no?
What's she gonna say, day, way
Am I moving too fast?
- 103 -
Am I thinking too slow?
I just wanna know Ohh
Stupid Love Letter, The Friday Night Boys
-Do you guys like the emailing? Flirty Edward is out to play (:
-The results for the Titanic vs. Remember Me debate are in. I learned about a lot
about you guys from your answers, and it was fun to read them all week. Thanks for
so much your help! (IN YOUR FACE SimplyDazzling.)
Unresolved: 11
Remember Me: 19
Titanic: 22
Up: 1
-So, guess who just got exactly 100 reviews for the last chapter? And guess whose
on cloud fucking 9? Yeah. That'd be me. I tried to respond to all the reviews, but I
just ran out of time with Christmas. Speaking of which...favorite gift? I got the
Mamma Mia DVD. So I'm just a happy camper(:
- 104 -
Chapter 11
Dear Kernel,
Do you have self confidence issues? When you sent me those pictures on your
email I was expecting to see a pretty girl in a last resort dress. Corn, although my
favorite vegetable, does not do you any justice. You looked absolutely stunning. You
didn't look like corn. You looked like a gorgeous flower; a fully bloomed, beautiful
sunflower. And I'm completely aware that wording it like that does give me quite the
creepish sound.
I don't know why I decided to email you today. Our computers are up and picking
up the Internet for the most part now so things have been much easier. It's my day
off and I remembered that you had a pretty big day. So, after I twiddled my thumbs
for hours I decided to send an email. I have to say, I actually enjoyed emailing
almost as much as letters. Almost because everyone over here looks forward to a
physical letter to be addressed to them.
I got your letter dated last week today. I will book a flight as soon as I find time to
get back on the computers again. As nice as it is to offer to cover the trip, I assure
you, when the army's your life and you don't have any family. . .you do begin to build
up a bit of a bank account. Don't worry; it's no problem for me.
How has your golf season been going? Congratulations on taking first at your first
meet, I knew you would kick ass. As a general rule, I'm always right. But that's just
typically. I hope you continue to have a great season. Emmett tells me that Rosalie
asked him to walk along at sections. He hasn't given her an answer, but I'm thinking
he'll say yes. With his mom being such a country club snob, Emmett learned how to
play golf when he was about four while his mom was always meeting friends for
lunch.
I definitely did not grow up by lakes. So, no; I have no clue how to water ski, or
wakeboard. I could probably fish to save my life, and water tubing doesn't seem that
difficult. . .but I'll end up eating my words on that one I assume. But, hey, I'm willing
to try all of them.
Remember back when you asked what my life here was really like? You somewhat
demanded I tell you about my everyday life. Well, I told you it isn't something you
want to think about, but if you want to really know, here it goes.
- 105 -
Yesterday my squad was on patrol, another squad from a different platoon was out
as well. The Iraqi people that resist our efforts think setting road side bombs will
stop us. We shouldn't have missed it; someone should have been able to catch it
before it went off. One of the other men closest to the bomb. . .Bella, his legs got
blown off. He had third degree burns all over his body. Others were burned as well,
but when we brought the kid into the medical tent and they begin work on him, his
heart line went flat on the monitor. I had been standing by, explaining the situation
to the working medics when it happened.
Those are the things that happen all of the time, Bella. Granted, normally they are
less severe. Things like that make you wonder how much one can actually handle.
Sergeants are like older brothers, and squads are families, not like families; families.
And when something happens to one of your guys, well, it's about as close as I've
came to feeling like I was in hell. But that's the burden we all have here. When we
get close to someone, in the back of our minds we know that any day we spend with
them could be one of our last. But the pain of that thought is easier to bare than
being alone out here.
I could have saved him. I didn't kill him, I know that, but I gave him a death wish.
I should have been more aware. Had I been paying attention we wouldn't be sending
his body with an American flag draped over the casket home. It's my fucking fault he
died. There are so many things I could have done to stop it. Hell, had we just been
quicker to get him response, he'd probably still be breathing.
The kid who died. . .he was barely 19. When you're 19, your whole life is ahead of
you. He probably joined the army to help pay for his college or something. He
probably had a girl back home, waiting anxiously for him to come home. He
probably had a mom, sitting at home, worrying everyday for her son. His name was
Private Hayden. Daniel Hayden. I don't know why I'm telling you this, I guess maybe
by writing his name down. . .maybe that helps him to live on, just the smallest bit.
I know that it could easily have been me. Death itself doesn't frighten me, it's
what happens next. I know if I die, I'll die a faceless name, lost in history with no
one to remember me, no one to miss me. I'm not vain enough to wish for statues
built in my honor, or streets named after me. But when I leave this world, I just want
to know that someone will occasionally think of me and remember my name.
I'm sorry this is so short, but I can't keep writing.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
- 106 -
I sighed as I read the letter one more time. I would miss him.
I turned my head to watch the scenery that was flying by through the large
window, framing the twilight. We were on a coach bus, coming back from another
one of our meets. I was exhausted and slightly disappointed. I played fine but the
team didn't do that well and we took third. Individually, I took third.
It concerned me that Edward could be so fun and happy in the first part of his
letter and then suddenly he was in pain. It just made me sad to think of the things
Edward goes through. I knew he spared me the details of the explosion; I was fine
with not knowing. But Edward couldn't just not know. He couldn't just skim over the
details when they were probably perfectly etched in his mind. Experiences like that
are the ones that stay with you. The ones you see when you close your eyes and try
to sleep.
I had gotten the letter when I went home today to get my golf shoes which I had
forgotten. When I had checked the mail, there was mail for me. Edward had written
the letter last week when I was at prom. I had a quick chance to read it before
rushing back to school to get on the bus. The letter had been securely tucked in my
backpack during the meet and I had another chance to read it.
My head fell against the headrest on the seat and I closed my eyes. I curled my
legs under me and opened my eyes, gazing out the window again. I wasn't looking, I
was just thinking.
Edward was going to book his flight. Great. Edward thought I looked beautiful, no,
stunning in my dress. Awesome. I was going to meet Emmett if he came to sections.
Super.
The sadness of the second portion of his letter weighed down on me. I watched a
young kid die. Those are the things that happen all of the time, Bella. All the time? I
thought I was a strong person, and then you read things like that, and it really
makes you question who on earth have the most strength.
The worst part of that whole thing is that by the way he was writing it. He was
blaming himself for a death caused by some Iraqi. He blamed himself for not being
better. It made my heart ache for the faceless soldier with green eyes.
I allowed my thoughts to wander. Alice was only a couple years older than me. We
both lost our parents at young ages. And she joined the army and is dealing with the
same things that Edward is. It made me feel exceedingly insignificant. . .not that I
really cared; it was more of an observation.
- 107 -
I was rubbing my sleep deprived face with both my hands when I felt someone sit
down next to me. Well I knew it wasn't Rose at least. She was crashing behind me.
Actually, she was blocking the aisle because her feet were stretched across to the
seats beside her.
Opening my eyes I saw Brenner sit down in the empty seat next to mine. I tucked
my feet in closer to me and fought back a yawn. I really hoped we weren't going to
have a very in depth conversation. Sleep had just about to come to me. This better
be good, Brenner, or someone's going to die. . .
I looked at him expectantly. "I wanted to talk to you about how the season has
been going."
"Shouldn't you wake Rose up for this?" I asked him quizzically.
"Firstly, no way in heck will I be the one that wakes her up. And secondly this
little talk only pertains to you." Well that got my attention. I angled myself so I was
looking comfortably at Brenner.
"So what I'm about to say in purely theoretical. Don't go getting all offended." I
nodded. Brenner continued. "Your game has been amazing this year, Bella. There is
absolutely no denying it. Today was an off day for the entire team, I expect that
every once in awhile."
"Where exactly are you going with this. . .?"
Ignoring my comment, Brenner continued. "I've seen you at the sky dome working
your tail off over the winter. That's awesome, and you've really improved. But there
is something else that I noticed. Our first meet after you got off the phone with that
guy; you shot your best round."
"Edward," I automatically corrected.
"Well, Edward. Anyway, since you've come into repeated contact with him, you
have been playing as well as the number 1 in state. But today, I think it was more
than a bad day." It was goddamn awful day. . .
"I'm assuming that letter is from him, and I'm also assuming that he wrote
something that frustrated you in it. Now these are two assumptions that if wrong,
throw off my entire theory." My eyes began narrowing without my knowing as I
started to figure out where he was going with this.
- 108 -
I sighed. "Yeah, I suppose frustration would be a fair enough definition." Or
despair. Whatever; same thing.
Brenner nodded thoughtfully. Several moments later, right before the silence was
about to annoy me, he started to speak once more.
"Here's where you have to go with me and not smack me. I think with this Edward
guy in your life now, when things are good and he's happy, you're happy. And as a
result, your happiness puts you in a calmer and more content manner which does
wonders to your game." I processed that for a second. "But today, he was upset or
wrote something that would upset you, so now, you didn't play well because you
were frustrated, and therefore distracted with something he said."
Once it was clear that Brenner's little speech had come to an end I leaned back. I
had to give him credit; he was definitely much more observant then I had thought.
But his little idea seemed to have some good reasoning. I had to admit he was right,
when things were good in Sergeant Masen World, I was generally relieved and
happy. But today, that letter had been on my mind most of the round and it didn't go
too well.
I reflected Edward's feelings. That was basically what Brenner was trying to point
out. It made sense. I hadn't realized I was doing it, but now that he pointed it out, I
did. But I didn't know what that meant. It probably wasn't normal for you to mirror
someone else's feelings who you haven't even met. I hadn't comprehended how deep
I was in with Edward.
And I didn't want to admit it to Brenner.
"Well I worked really hard over the year to improve my game. Maybe I'm just that
good without him and today it was just too cold and my score suffered." I was being
rude; I could hear it in my voice. I really just didn't want to accept what he was
saying. Plus, he was use to my decidedly snarky attitude.
Brenner almost rolled his eyes. He could see through that shit fairly effortlessly.
"See? I told you not to go get offended. I said it was just a theory. And you know it
wasn't the cold. You've been playing it for years; you are well equipped for it."
I didn't say anything. This was embarrassing. I wasn't even dating Edward! I was
a little mad that Brenner was so intuitive. We were just friends. Friends who
apparently shared an intense connection. . .
"What exactly are you trying to say by telling me this?"
- 109 -
"Just be careful, Swan. It's not really my business and you can take care of
yourself, but don't get your heart broken." I nodded, my lips turning up in the
slightest. It was slightly weird to see this side of Brenner. But it was nice
nevertheless to be reminded that people cared all around me, especially after
Edward's most recent letter. He grinned back at me then before adding, "Because
then all hopes of our team placing in state go down the toilet. Not like
Rosa-freaking-93 back there can carry the team."
I laughed as he jolted forward from a solid kick to the back of his seat. Rosalie
happened to be awake. And apparently not too happy with him for mocking her
score. Rolling his eyes, he rocketed out of his seat and went to bug Rose some more.
I looked on with exasperation.
Though it wasn't his intention, Brenner had managed to thoroughly distract me
from Edward's letter. I was glad for it.
The next day, as if Esme had been there during Brennan's talk, I got a little
announcement from my adoptive mother. Es on the other hand of Brenner was
worried about something other than a broken heart and bad golf game.
"You get pregnant out of wedlock and we will disown you."
That's always something you want to hear over breakfast at 7:30 in the morning.
My eyes widened as I tried to force the cereal to go down my throat. While I'm sure
there was some sentiment in that lovely statement, I wasn't exactly prepared to
discuss that topic.
"Awesome."
"I'm being serious," Esme chided me as she sipped her coffee like we were
discussing our monthly donations to those sad homeless animal commercials. It was
the fact that she was being serious that frightened me.
"I realize that." I told her, putting down my spoon next to my half eaten bowl of
Fruity Pebbles.
"Well, your fath- Carlisle," she caught herself and continued, trying not to draw
attention to her little slip. "He's concerned about the arrival of Edward in a few
weeks." Four and a half, I mentally corrected her.
So I may have been counting down. Sue me.
- 110 -
"Anyway. Let's go get you protected from STDs!" I blanched as Esme cheerfully
clapped her hands. Of course I realized that she was being in fact sarcastic, but it
wasn't easy. I stared at her, my eyebrows up to my hairline. She was ridiculously
amused by this whole ordeal.
I wasn't a little slut. I wasn't going to jump Edward the second he got off the
plane. I wasn't planning to jump him at all! Besides. . .the legal age of consent here
was 18. So, even if I wanted to screw his brains out; it was illegal. And I'm pretty
sure that statutory rape wouldn't look great on his record.
"When you say go get protected, I hope you mean buying a pack of condoms." My
mental freak out was already at stage two. I was trying to coach myself; it probably
wouldn't be that bad. Esme knows you already had the talk. Esme's fine, it could be
worse; Carlisle could be having this conversation with you. You'll be fine.
I had heard the stories of the girls in my grade. About half were on some sort of
birth control. Therefore they had already had their fun little exam. And they all had
different tales. No one fucking cares that some dude felt you up. Stop being so damn
dramatic. But over the months I had heard my share, no matter how unwilling I was.
"Nope. You have an appointment with Dr. Mitchell today." I skipped over stage
three and went straight to four. We were almost at full blown panic.
I glared at Esme's eyes which were twinkling with laughter. I hated to get this
worked up over something like this, but I really didn't want some doctor up in my
privates. I was a very. . .private person. Oh for the love of God; I hated unintentional
puns. . .
"If I have a male doctor you will be dragging me out of this house kicking and
screaming."
"Stop being over dramatic. Dr. Mitchell is a woman. Carlisle arranged for her to
meet with you. She's one of the best," she half heartedly soothed me.
"Fantastic. One of Carlisle's friends. That's just great. I can just see this doctor
grabbing a cup of coffee in the break room while chatting with Carlisle. The
weather's lovely out.Did you hear about the national dept? Yeah, it's pretty bad. Did
you know your daughter is sexually clean? Nope, no STDs whatsoever. Yup, she is
healthy as a horse down there. Well, nice talking to you!"
Esme blinked as I ended my little, and slightly hysterical rant. Then she rolled her
eyes and smirked at me. I continued to glare at her like the teenage that I was.
- 111 -
"Don't be ridiculous. She wouldn't say that." Esme sighed, "The national dept is
horrendous; not pretty bad."
I said nothing.
"Oh, stop glaring. Go get dressed; your appointment is in half an hour." Sighing, I
pushed myself from the table and sulked upstairs.
They say that if you aren't mature enough to have these exams then you shouldn't
be having sex in the first place. First off, I wasn't having sex and I really wasn't
counting on it. And second, I was mature enough to handle this, I was just choosing
not to, because I felt no need for it, hence the first point.
"You know, I talked to Rosalie's mom too. She is having her exam done today as
well," Esme called up the stairs in a matter-of-factly tone. I snickered. That did make
me feel a lot better actually. I could not wait for her stories.
"Why exactly do I need a pelvic exam? I'm about as virginal as a rock," I
complained as I climbed into Esme's Pearl Escalade.
"It's not a pelvic exam. It's more like. . .a tiny pelvic exam. It'll be fine," she sighed
as she slid on her large sunglasses and pulled out of the drive way.
"Awesome. As long as it isn't a full blown pelvic exam," I responded with the
utmost sarcasm.
"That's the spirit." Esme grinned over at me. "I would die to see Rose's reaction
when her mom told her."
"She will definitely have stories for me later." I smiled as well. But then again, I'll
probably have just as great of an experience as her.
"Oh my God! You gotta hear about my doctor's appointment!" Yes! I internally
cheered as Rosalie unbuckled her seat belt and leaned up towards me.
I was extraordinarily relieved. I didn't get an exam whatsoever. Well, Dr. Mitchell
didn't get a view of my vagina at least. We had a quick little verbal conversation and
I got information on every type of birth control possible. After being completely
overwhelmed, I decided to get a depo shot. Esme got me ice cream afterward. I had
smiled like a little boy on Christmas.
I wasn't planning on playing a round of golf after getting blood drawn and a shot,
- 112 -
but Rosalie and I had made a tee-time yesterday with Elliot and Jacob. So we
decided to suck it up and play.
I had picked Elliot up in my truck along with Rosalie and we had gotten to the golf
course way before Jacob. So we stayed in the truck for a little bit. Elliot was fiddling
with the radio in the front seat next to me. He turned it down when Rosalie leaned in
between the two seats.
"Some old fart fingered me this morning! He was really creepy, but yet he looked
like my fucking grandpa!" I grinned as Rosalie started her tale with exuberance.
Glancing at Elliot, I saw him cringe. Rose didn't really have that many limits.
"He told me to put my feet on these little stands and I was 'Oh, wha? Kay?' so I
did. And then he spreads my legs like into splits and puts on his glasses like he's
about to read a damn book." She took a breath and then dove right back in. "I had
sent my mom out of the room and the man was just talking to me. He told me if I felt
uncomfortable at any point a nurse or my mom could come in to hold my hand. Um,
great, so, I should ask for a nurse after you shove your fingers in there?" I laughed
as Rosalie grimaced. I was having trouble keeping up with her fast pace speaking.
And her octave was going all over the place.
"And then! Then he shoved this little metal thing right into my" Rosalie was just
getting to the best part when Elliot abruptly cut her off.
"I'm done," he said simply, grimacing as he opened the passenger door and
walked right out. He stalked away shaking his head.
"Where's he going?" she asked, confused. "Should I go out and apologize?"
"I bet that's exactly what he wants to hear. Hey Elliot, sorry I was so expressive
while I was explaining what they did to my womanly parts? I'm sure that would go
over amazingly," I replied sarcastically. Rosalie's mouth formed a small 'O' for a
moment before she launched right back into her tale.
"After him staring in there for like 20 minutes he pulled it out and then he shoved
his fingers right in there. And I was like 'Holy Fuck! Mom!'"
As much as Edward wanted to know about my life, and how open he was about
his, this would definitely not be something I would be sharing with him in any future
letters. Period.
- 113 -
From yesterday, it's coming
From yesterday, the fear
From yesterday, it calls him
But he doesn't wanna read the message here
On a mountain he sits, not of gold, but of sin
Through the blood, he can learn see the life that it turn
From council of one he'll decide when he's done
With the innocent on his face is a map of the world
A map of the world, on his face is a map of the world
From Yesterday, 30 Seconds to Mars
-Gotta love Rose. Hope you're ready for her mom! Hands up if you love an
insightful Brenner...
-Emmett next chapter? Why yes. Yes indeed.
-Again, I wanted to thank you all for your tremendous support and love you
continue to give me with this story...you don't know how blessed I am to have each
and everyone of you as readers. And that sentiment says a fucking lot; 'cause
generally I'm more sarcastic than Bella, and so not sentimental.
-Finally...I'm kinda curious...where exactly do you think Bella lives? She doesn't
live in Forks, or even Washington. So let's play where in the US is Bella! Leave me
your guesses(:
- 114 -
Chapter 12
Claps for SimplyDazzling. She did a hell of a job editing, as always.
The last day of school came fairly quickly. Due to all the snow days we had, we
were required to go till the end of the first week of June. Two days after school
ended we had to go to sections for golf, and Emmett would be arriving to visit
Rosalie tomorrow. I was still hazy on the details and wasn't sure how long he would
be here, but I knew that Rosalie was extremely excited for him to come.
It was our last day of health; one period left of the day and I was watching
Rosalie's knee bounce up and down rapidly with impatience. I was smirking when
she started to tap her pink pen against the table in sync with the knee bobbing. She
sighed loudly and glanced at the clock for the 100th time in the last three minutes.
"Holy shit calm down," I hissed to her while grabbing onto the offending knee to
make it stop.
"I can't!" Rose hissed back at me, with a silent, duh implied at the end.
"We have practice right after this and Brenner is really cracking the whip, so if
you don't settle down he'll make you stay for an extra three hours," I reminded her.
"I don't give a fuck. It'll give me something else to do." Her profanity came out
louder than she intended, so Mr. Heit overheard our little conversation and got a
glint in his eye.
"Miss Hale. Will you please tell the class what you have learned this year?" The
pen tapping stopped abruptly and she raised an incredulous eyebrow at him.
"Well Mr. Heit, this year I learned that if I ever have sex there is no need
whatsoever for a condom because I will not get a disease or pregnant. And drugs are
healthy, so I shouldn't have any trouble finding a dealer," she answered sweetly,
tilting her head with a smile in his direction. I snickered as the pen tapping and
knee bouncing resumed.
"Nice," Mr. Heit commented flatly, giving her a quick glare before calling on some
other unsuspecting kid.
- 115 -
Mercifully, the loud bell shrilled a couple painful minutes later. I let out a breath
of relief and grinned. No more school for 100 days. I didn't mind school, I really
didn't. But it was just time. And that also meant that it was only two more weeks
until Edward got off that plane.
"Damnit, this wait is just hell. I feel like yelling every swear word I know at the top
of my lungs just to pass the time," Rosalie complained as we walked out of the
classroom. Her frustration? Well it was rolling off of her in tidal waves that weren't
exactly affecting my good mood.
"Wait until we're on the putting green. The course will love that."
Rose stuck her tongue out at me, and I rolled my eyes as we grabbed our
backpacks out of our lockers. Just as we were out of the hallways and in the fresh,
June sunshine, I felt someone's presence behind me. Before I could turn, an arm was
casually thrown around my shoulder.
"So. It's a no to the screaming match?" Elliot grinned at me. I chuckled and
nodded.
If anyone asked, I did have an elaborate tale of our break up that I had come up
with. It involved chipmunks, potatoes, a rake, and a whole lot of swear words.
"Yeah, I think I'll pass. But feel free to fabricate any story you want," I smiled at
him. We were officially broken up. I was a free woman. I chuckled.
"Oh, believe me I will. Thanks for being my fake girl," Elliot held out his fist and I
bumped it with my own.
"Anytime. Now please find a real one?" I wrapped my arm around his waist and
looked up at him with dancing eyes.
Elliot pulled me into a hug, wrapping both of his strong arms around me so that
my face was pressed against his gray t-shirt. I hugged him back with a smile. I was
glad that I had agreed to it months ago. Elliot turned out to be a great friend.
"You got it, Swan." We broke apart and he leaned down and gave me a cute kiss
on the cheek.
"Have a good summer!" he beamed while one of his buddies called his name. I
smiled back at him and he jogged through the parking lot to catch up with them.
Rosalie was waiting for me in the truck.
- 116 -
She didn't comment on Elliot and I's exchange and therefore I chose to ignore the
fact that her other leg was now bouncing as well.
"Are you picking him up from the airport tomorrow?" I asked, doing nothing
whatsoever to distract her.
"Yeah, my mom's giving me the car. His flight is supposed to arrive at 12:07," she
nodded. I grinned, keeping my eyes on the road. Rosalie was anything but patient.
Admittedly, I was enjoying her anxiousness a little too much. It was amusing as
always.
"Want me to come with you?"
"Nah, I'm fine."
"I'm anxious to meet him. Is he staying at our hotel?" There were two days of
sections. I was confident that we would play well enough to make the cut to go to
the next day. Since the course was an hour away and the start time of the second
day was fairly early, we booked hotel reservations as a team.
"Yeah his reservation is set."
"You nervous?" It was a dumb question considering the answer was blatantly
obvious.
Rosalie inhaled and then shook her head as she let out her breath. "No, no. I'm
good."
I chose not to accuse bullshit.
I felt for Rosalie. She was a little. . .no, a lot freaked out about meeting him in
person and bringing him into her home. I knew that sections were going to be a
little stressful for her. I would try to help her out the best I could. Rose didn't want
Emmett to feel left out, especially the first few days of his leave, but she needed to
concentrate so I got the role of Sergeant-sitting.
"This'll be fun!" I smiled encouragingly at her. She rolled her eyes exaggeratively.
"You mean the part when Brenner gives me shit about Emmett? What if he calls
him my boyfriend or something and Emmett's right there? Oh shit. . .I hadn't even
thought of that till now!" I lent Rose an empathetic ear the rest of the ride to golf
practice.
- 117 -
Turns out I was right. Brenner was trying to do the hard ass thing, so we all
stayed for two extra hours of practice. By the time we were done, Rosalie was
exhausted and therefore I didn't have to hear any more.
As eager as I was to meet Emmett the Emmett I had been reading stories about
for months it didn't affect me from getting 11 hours of sleep that night. Things
were starting to whirl around in my life; everything was going by fast. I was doing
my best not to let it overwhelm me. Staying calm and relaxed is what I discovered
worked the best. That and sleep; lots of it.
I had decided weeks ago that I would leave Rosalie and Emmett alone the day he
got here. This was for two particular reasons: first off, I didn't want to intrude at all.
Rosalie was extremely excited to have him in person, and I really hated the feeling
of being a third wheel. Second off; I hoped that Rose would extend the same
courtesy when Edward came in a couple weeks.
The next day I woke up, cocooned in my feather down comforter. I yawned loudly
and pulled my hands above my head as my legs stretched the sleep out of them. I
did this for a full minute until all my limbs were looser. Without really caring, I
glanced at my alarm clock. 10:45. I yawned again with a grin.
There was nothing more pleasurable in the world than waking up 4 hours later on
the first day of summer than you normally would. It even beat the feeling of freshly
shaven legs rubbing together against your soft blankets as you crawled into bed
right after a shower. And from experience, that was saying a lot.
I was debating on whether or not to actually get up from my bed when I noticed
that the light from my laptop was flashing. It was nestled by the power outlet on the
carpet on the other side of the room. The flashing meant that I had a new email. The
conflict I was having was whether or not it was worth it to get up from my personal
little heaven and see who it was from.
Curiosity overruled my laziness and with some protest from my legs, I managed to
slide out and pad over to scoop out the computer. My stomach gurgled
unflatteringly and so I figured it might be a good idea to go and get some food, so I
took the laptop down to the kitchen with me. The wooden floor was cold on my feet
and I regretted my decision to come downstairs.
The house was ominously empty of anybody else as I ate some freshly cut fruit I
found in the fridge. Ah summer. I grinned to myself as I looked at the clock on the
screen of my computer. I would be in third period right now. Sorry geometry, I
prefer the sleep I got today over you and your evils.
- 118 -
After I was finished with my produce filled breakfast I was fairly awake and
decided to see who had been emailing me. I had my suspicions but I didn't want to
get my hopes up. Besides, it was probably a dumb-ass forward from this one chick in
my grade who thought they were hilarious.
Pleasantly surprised was the understatement of the millennium when I read that it
was not from her. I beamed as I clicked on the email sent from over seas at a base
camp in Iraq.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: FORE.
Date: 7, June 2008, 10:28 AM
To: Bella Swan
Good luck at sections tomorrow.
Things are a hell of a lot quieter here without Emmett around. Let me know how
that goes for you.
How's everything going, Miss Senior? Or are you repeating junior year again?
From: Bella Swan
Subject: PAR.
Date: 7, June 2008, 10:57 AM
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Why thank you Sergeant. I don't intend to need your luck, but it's nice to hear
anyway.
I'll bet it is much quieter. I haven't actually met him yet. I suppose I'll have to wait
until tomorrow to have the honor.
Of course I'm a senior.
It's going very well. I just slept 11 hours.
- 119 -
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: BOGEY.
Date: 7, June 2008, 10:59 AM
To: Bella Swan
I didn't mean to imply you would need it. But it was just a good reason to email
you.
You'll like Emmett. He's a fun guy, and luckily for you he does have a few
boundaries so you don't have to worry about him getting tossed off the golf course
for noise.
Mmm, I can't wait to get to your house. 11 hours is almost double what I sleep
usually.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: BIRDIE.
Date: 7, June 2008, 11:03 a.m.
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Who needs a reason?
I'm glad to hear he has some limits. Maybe he'll teach Rosalie some. Like maybe
not to swear out the manager of the club house.
What makes you think I will let you get that much sleep? I plan to have you up at
the crack of dawn every single day for four weeks.
And frankly I find the subjects of your emails to be even more insulting typed in
CAPS.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Me? Insulting?
Date: 7, June 2008, 11:07 a.m.
- 120 -
To: Bella Swan
Noted for future occurrences.
Swearing out a golf club manager? Hmm, well I'm afraid she may not find very
good influence from Emmett then. I'm interested to see how those two will get
along.
What will we be doing at the crack of dawn? Milking the cows and feeding the
chickens?
So you aren't a fan of the little Caps Lock key?
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Insulting? No. Negative.
Date: 7, June 2008, 11:09 a.m.
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Screw those two. If she doesn't end up killing him in the first three hours they'll
be fine. The rest of us will have to deal with it either way.
Milking the cows? How amusing, Masen. But your guess was completely and
utterly wrong you smart ass.
We milk goats.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: you're kidding, right?
Date: 7, June 2008, 11:12 a.m.
To: Bella Swan
I agree. Screw them.
I am a smart ass among many others, such as jack, dumb, hard, sexy. . .Needless
to say, I could go on. (;
- 121 -
Do you have pigs that need to be fed as well?
From: Bella Swan
Subject: You'll Find Out
Date: 7, June 2008, 11:16 a.m.
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Sexy ass? I didn't know that was commonly used among the others.
Yes. It would be embarrassing if we were pig-less.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Fresh Bacon?
Date: 7, June 2008, 11:19 a.m.
To: Bella Swan
I am anything but common. So yes. Sexy ass. You'll see.
It would be such a disgrace that I would be unable to be seen with you if you
didn't have pigs.
My computer time is up. Even though you don't need it, good luck again, and beat
the other teams into the ground.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Disgrace Indeed.
Date: 7, June 2008, 11:22 a.m.
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Alright, sexy ass. I plan to do just that, thanks. See you soon!
Hmm. . .I actually would.
- 122 -
I closed the laptop and smiled. I sat for a minute, content as I always was after
getting word from Edward. It just made me even more excited for his approaching
arrival.
I went upstairs to change into some clothes so I could go to the driving range.
While I was changing the grin stayed glued in place.
Hey, if he said he was sexy, I had no reason not to trust him.
That morning I met Emmett. Everything I had ever heard about him was
completely true.
We had to be at the course by 10:00 A.M. But that meant we had an hour car drive
and Brenner wanted us to have an hour practice with a half to put our shit into the
hotel. That meant we had to be at the school by 7:30. Waking up at nearly eleven
yesterday had spoiled me and I was exceedingly tired.
I had to bring out the tea that actually had caffeine in it when I was getting ready
this morning. Carlisle dropped me off at the school and came back home for a little
while before leaving to come and walk along with my group. Esme had a huge
wedding and couldn't be there for the first day.
Carlisle was getting my golf bag out of the bed of his truck and I was grabbing my
overnight bag and other crap when I saw him. I mean, it had to be him. There was
no one else that it could have been.
And holy shit.
Carlisle took my bags over to where Brenner was standing with his back leaning
against the coach bus. Figuring that Carlisle had it covered, I slid my sunglasses on
and walked over to where Rosalie was standing with a literal giant. I had to admit, I
was a bit jealous of her. Because, boy, this man was hot. And she would be spending
the better part of four weeks with him.
"Hey!" Rosalie said excitedly. I grinned a hello at her and then couldn't help my
eyes wandering over to the man she was standing next to. "Emmett, this is"
"Bella! How's it hanging?" Emmett interrupted Rose and pulled me into a bear
hug. This was after I jumped from the volume of his voice. I threw my right hand
that was holding my thermos of tea up in the air so it wouldn't get knocked all over
us.
- 123 -
I was a bit taken back by him, but I started laughing nevertheless. I was at least
seven inches shorter than his shoulder. He was really tall, and I had never seen that
big of muscle. His hair was a standard army buzz cut, but it was pressed down and
looked like it was more along the lines of cut than shaved. I looked up at him
through my shades and noticed that he had a dimple to compliment his smile and
brown eyes. It was slightly ironic; my eyes were brown and I also had a dimple.
Though his was so prominent, mine were barely noticeable compared to his.
"Hey Emmett," I said through laughs as he released me and I safely brought my
steaming drink out of the air.
"It's awesome to meet you! Between Rosie and Eddie both talking about you it's
like I already know you!" Emmett grinned at me as he stepped back by Rosalie.
Rosalie was taller than me and he even made her look short. I felt like I was
shrinking exceedingly. Luckily it didn't bother me much.
"It's mutual!" I grinned, caught up with his infectious attitude. "So I have to ask. .
.did you really get into a fight with a raccoon?" I couldn't help myself, I really just
had to ask.
Well I wasn't thinking about it at the time, I was glad that Emmett was easy to get
along with right from the get go and totally sucked away any awkwardness. I was
hoping it would be that easy when Edward came.
A deep, happy laugh answered my question. "Yeah, but that was years ago! And it
was over my favorite shirt which Edward had thrown in the garbage as a prank.
That raccoon formed a strong bond with it and would not give it back when I pulled
at it. Then the colonel came out and. . .let's just say unfortunately the raccoon won
that little game of tug a war." Rosalie and I giggled at his story as the image of this
huge guy wrestling with a raccoon came into our heads.
"Did you get Edward back?" Rosalie asked him with a conspiring grin.
"Hell yes! But it all backfired. . .so. . .no. I didn't actually." I fell silent as I watched
the two of them exchange a quiet conversation and grins. Rosalie thank God did
a complete 180 from yesterday and now she was almost glowing. It looked like the
pregnancy or first time glow. Only her's was just contagious. I couldn't help smiling
seeing Rosalie so relaxed and happy with this guy.
"Well ladies, hate to interrupt but we have a tournament to go and win," Brenner
called from the stairs of the bus. I looked from him back at Rose and Emmett. I was
suddenly overcome with an extreme feeling of curiosity about those two.
- 124 -
"That'd be my cue." Rosalie grinned at him. It had been less then 24 hours and I
could see her eyes twinkling with adoration. His weren't far from it either.
"Kay, I'll see you at the hotel then." Emmett's attention was focused solely on her
and she smiled shyly at him.
"Yeah, see you then," she agreed. And that there was Rosalie Lillian Hale
completely besotted.
"Swan, Hale!" I was mildly surprised that he didn't make a comment about
Emmett as he summoned us. I turned from the two of them and made my way over
to the bus.
"I think the two of you will be having good rounds," commented Brenner as I
reached the stairs to the bus. He glanced at me and even though his black
sunglasses were securely on I could tell he was giving me a knowing look. I rolled
my eyes and walked up the stairs and found a set of seats.
Thirty seconds later: "Seriously Rose!" Brenner complained as I settled into two
seats comfortably. Rosalie arrived soon after and sat down in the two seats across
the aisle. I pushed my sunglasses to the top of my head and looked at her with
raised eyebrows.
"Great day for golf." Well, I wouldn't be getting much out of Rosalie today.
"Yeah, great day," I agreed, keeping my eyebrows raised until she looked away,
silly smile and all.
Turns out it was a great two days. We dominated in the conference, totally wiping
ass the first day of the tournament and we managed to hold on and totally beat the
team that was trying to take us the second day. Rosalie and I being the captains of
the winning team were just ecstatic. It was an amazing day.
Emmett had walked along with Carlisle, following my group for a few holes on
both days and it seemed like those two men were getting along well. I hoped it
would be a bit of encouragement that Edward would be just as likable.
After we all got our medals and some people and teammates snapped some
pictures, Emmett, who had disappeared off somewhere came back with two
bouquets of flowers. One was lilies and roses and there other was small sun flowers
with other greens and yellows. When I saw two I had to assume that one of them
was for me. I was thinking about the irony that if I got the sunflower one it would be
- 125 -
exactly the same flower Edward said I looked like in my prom dress.
"Bella! Awesome job!" Emmett boomed as he thrust the flowers to me. I beamed
at him as I smelt them. I realized that Rose was getting the roses and lilies because
her name was Rosalie Lillian. Clever Emmett. Clever.
"Thanks!"
"Don't thank me," Emmett grinned. Before I could ask what that meant he was off
to deliver the roses to Rosalie. I shook my head and then noticed a small white
envelope nestled in the yellow peddles. Curious I opened it quickly before Carlisle
and Esme would tell me of their pride. . .again.
I smiled as I opened the note inside it. I knew that handwriting anywhere.
Dear Bella,
Awesome job at sections! I knew you would kick some serious golfer girl ass. I'm
proud of you. I can't wait to watch you dominate at state. Hope you like the
sunflowers. Tell Emmett thanks for playing delivery boy for me. I'll see you before
you know it.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
You got one foot out the door
And choking on the other
Always think there's something more
It's just around the corner
Talk, talk is cheap
Give me a word you can keep
Cause I'm halfway gone and I'm on way
- 126 -
And I'm feeling, feelin, feelin this way
Cause you're halfway in but don't take too long
Cause I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone
Halfway Gone, Lifehouse
-My birthday's coming up. One more chapter until we get a whole one of Edward.
Excited?
-Secondly...thank you all for your guesses as to where Belliepooh, lives. The right
answer? Wisconsin. Haha, lemme know if you have any questions about that
decision(:
-Finally...I love you guys. Honestly, you make my life so much better. I wish
everyone was as lucky as I am. Oh...and you're gonna hate me for the next chapter's
ending...heads up.
- 127 -
Chapter 13
SimplyDazzling is my hero for life. Okay...not really, but she's a damn good beta!
One day.
After a grand total of 218 days since the first letter I sent, we were down to one
day before I would finally be able to meet Edward. 218 days. Or about eight months.
That's what it all came down to. Eight months was a long time to wait for something.
Especially something you're dying for.
Edward's flight was scheduled to arrive at 3:50 tomorrow. I would be waiting for
him in his terminal wearing a mid thigh white skirt and yellow plain v neck t-shirt. I
had sent him an email a few days ago to tell him this. I cringed thinking back to it; a
mid thigh skirt? Not my finest moment. But something had forced me to type it out,
so I was rolling with it.
I felt bad for being impatient with Rosalie a couple weeks ago. Take a jittery,
anxious Rosalie, multiply it by 7 seven you get somewhere along the lines of what I
was feeling. Last night I got about four hours of sleep maximum. I can't even think
of a metaphor to begin and describe how excited I was for 3:50.
It was like. . .nothing I had ever experienced before, which is why I couldn't
possibly compare the eagerness to anything else. I just knew that the yearning I
would have to feel for the next 26 hours to pass by was utterly overwhelming.
Edward didn't seem real to me. He seemed more like a forbidden fruit for lack of a
better description. I could hear from him, I could hear of him, I could know so much
about his life and him mine. But it didn't seem like it was something I would ever get
to experience.
Our worlds were just too different. I was a high school honor roll student, captain
of two sports. Edward was a Sergeant in the U.S. Military, living in Iraq without a
family. Those two lives just didn't mix everyday. And the fact that they were about to
was beyond mind-baffling to me.
It's been Edward, the soldier I write to. Now it's about to become Edward, in the
flesh and whatever the hell he is.
- 128 -
I couldn't place it, but something had changed between the two of us towards the
end of the eight months. Maybe we'd just gotten to know each other better; maybe
we were both antsy for the summer. To me though, it just seemed like it had gotten
to be. . .more.
But I was getting ahead of myself with all the time I had to think lately. A blessing
and curse about summer. Today, knowing how annoying I would be to Esme, Rosalie
and Emmett volunteered to babysit me.
"We could play Rock Band?" Rosalie suggested lazily, without much enthusiasm at
all. I shrugged, equally as unenthusiastic.
Currently we were lounging around the living room at my house. I was occupying
the entire couch while Rose and Emmett made themselves comfortable on the love
seat. Rosalie was resting with her back on the arm of the seat and had her tanned
legs across Emmett's lap. They weren't an item or anything, but I felt like the
unwanted third wheel nonetheless.
The thing about their situation was even if they wanted to; they couldn't really be
an item. Emmett was 22 and Rosalie didn't turn 18 until the beginning of November.
Though their age difference wasn't that apparent when you looked at the two of
them together; Rosalie could pass as college senior effortlessly.
We both looked at Emmett for a yes or no. He also shrugged.
In summary, they were doing a shitty job of entertaining me.
"How 'bout we watch a movie?" Rose tried.
"Eh, look how nice it is outside." I gestured toward the tall windows behind me
that were letting the sun stream through them.
"Then lets go outside," Emmett offered.
Glancing at each other, Rosalie and I simultaneously let out, "eh."
"Glad we're getting somewhere," Emmett grinned. From the looks of him he was
pretty content to just sit with Rose. It made me curious as to what those two had
been up to for the past two weeks but I didn't want to ask and be rude while Emmett
was in the room. Getting Rosalie alone now was like trying to meet with the Queen
of England. The two of them had been joined at the hip.
- 129 -
"We could bake cookies," I posed.
"I feel like pie," Rosalie responded.
"That takes too much work."
"Thought I'd throw it out there."
We sat in silence for a moment. I looked around the room for inspiration. Family
pictures framed on the wall. Artwork from somewhere in Italy. Coffee table littered
with various common household items. Rosalie swooning. Emmett swooning. Glass
shelving filled with DVD's. Plasma screen TV. . .gaming system. I sat up abruptly.
"Anyone wanna play Super Smash Bros on the Wii?" I asked. I raised my eyebrows
up and down suggestively, suddenly jolted with energy.
Emmett sat up in his seat immediately. "Fuck yes! Are you kidding me? Dibs on
Mario. Hands down!" I grinned, enthusiastic that someone shared the same passion
as I did for Nintendo games where people beat the shit out of one another. He held
his fist out to me. Before I could bump it with as much force as I could he winced.
"Sorry for the F bomb Mrs. C," he hollered remorsefully. Rosalie smirked. As did I.
"Thanks Emmett, but I could really care less," Esme responded, her voice coming
down from the upstairs where she was probably in her bedroom. Emmett grinned.
Rolling her eyes, Rosalie moved her legs from Emmett's lap so he could dart down
to the counsel. "Prepare to go down, ladies."
"It is you, Mario, who shall go down," Rosalie commented mildly with a wicked
smile. She looked at her nails, seemingly uninterested in the whole ordeal. Emmett
raised a cocky eyebrow at her before turning and scooping low to get three remotes.
Rosalie looked over at me and winked.
"Eat that you no good Italian motherfucker. Take that! Not so strong without your
light saber, are you, bitch? Taste my umbrella you shit bag!"
Rosalie continued to yell, her eyes never leaving the screen as her fingers pressed
the buttons repeatedly and she moved the controller wildly around. Rosalie had
taken me out in the first eleven seconds of the game. I now sat watching with
growing amusement as Emmett and Rosalie battled it out in a duel between the
Princess Peach and Mario.
- 130 -
"That's what I thought," Rosalie said smugly as Emmett accepted defeat and
Mario went flying off the screen.
The look on Emmett's face told me that he had just fallen in love with her. Well,
maybe not quite that, but his eyes were huge and full of reverence towards his
destroyer who currently was too busy smirking at the screen to notice. It looked like
he had just learned that Santa Claus was in fact real. I stifled a laugh at the two of
them.
"Rematch," Emmett demanded after he gave his little head a shake. Reverence be
damned, Emmett was back with a vengeance.
"Bring it, bitch," Rosalie smirked at him, confidence oozing from her tone. I rolled
my eyes and turned off my controller. It turned out that it was much more
entertaining watching Emmett and Rosalie try to kill each other's virtual characters
than actually playing the game.
Later that afternoon, Rose and I went to our last golf practice before state which
was in two days. As I was fiddling with the radio in my truck and driving along the
freeway, I couldn't help but roll my eyes at Rosalie's smugness radiating off of her
from beating Emmett multiple times. I was all for Nintendo domination as much as
the next guy but those two had taken it to the extreme and back again. Eleven
fucking times.
Though their unintentional distraction had been quite effective, unfortunately it
had worn off. Now I was repeatedly stealing glances at the clock on the dash board.
23 hours.
Practice was like hell.
I could not focus on anything whatsoever. Every time I tried to perfect my stance
and make sure I was doing everything right, a random thought would pop into my
head. Sheets in the guest bedroom needed to be changed. I would take a shot and it
would suck. I'd try to clear my head and get lined up with the ball again. I would be
able to hit a few balls before bam! Out of nowhere, I wonder if Edward likes muffins.
I like muffins. You'd have to be crazy not to like muffins. I think I'll make muffins for
breakfast.
I was actually getting very frustrated with myself. State was in two flipping days
and I wanted to do really well. I was also mad that my mind was placing Edward
before my responsibilities to my team. I could only think about his arrival and how
much time until it. The more frustrated I got, the more my shots started to become
- 131 -
shit. And the thoughts were still popping into my head.
I felt like crying. The 8th grader was hitting better than me.
I credited the growing lump in the back of my throat to post PMS. I normally got
really emotional and hormonal after my period. I was just getting more and more
angry with myself.
Part of the problem might have been the pressure I was putting on myself for the
tournament. Edward would be walking along with my group to watch me play. And I
wanted to impress him. And here I was playing like a four year old.
"Geez, Bella, is everything okay?" Brenner asked as he walked from the
phenomenal 8th grader to me. There was genuine concern in his voice which just
made me sigh.
I wonder how Edward will take my moodiness in a few weeks. . .
"Yeah, yeah, fine." I reassured him. I went back to the bright yellow ball in front of
me and swung my club. Let's just say that that shot did not help my case
whatsoever.
"Clearly," he scoffed. I rolled my eyes, annoyed.
"I'm working on it, alright?" I felt bad as I snapped at him. He looked at me with
more concern, seeing that I was really worked up about something. I never used
that tone with anyone. Except maybe Rose. . .sometimes. . .
"Sorry, just a little tense."
"What's got you all, you know, teenagery?" I looked at him with a raised eyebrow,
and then just shook my head at his cautious expression.
"Time is being a little too slow for my liking," I answered, not caring to elaborate.
"I have no clue what that means! So," he clapped his hands together and nodded
uncomfortably at me, "You just make sure you, umm. . .get some sleep tonight!" I
opened my mouth but he just walked off to Rosalie, his hands clasped behind his
back and his head not looking at me again. I rolled my eyes and went back to
realizing how much I loathed the sport of golf.
After a whooping five hours of sleep last night, I woke up that morning not at all
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refreshed. I woke up at about nine and I wasn't ready to get out of bed and wander
'round the house for hours. So I dug under my bed one handed, groping blindly for
about a minute until I found the bundle of letters.
I pulled them up to rest on my blanket covered lap. I had kept every letter that
Edward had sent me since December and they were all tied up neatly with an extra
pink shoelace. Grinning like an idiot, I rubbed my eyes and yawned before I untied
the neon string holding the papers bound.
For the next hour and a half I read through all of Edward's letters. I grinned, I
frowned, I laughed, I sighed but I read through six months worth of conversation.
I found that after that hour and a half had passed, my mind was calmer. I was
tired of this feeling like I had just drank six pots of coffee. My mind was exhausted
from all the directions it had been going in the past to days. And now I was just left
with a feeling of calm excitement.
I should have read his letters days ago.
I got out of bed and threw on a pair of jean shorts and old shirt and threw my hair
in a pony. Grabbing my laptop like I did every morning, I went down to find
something to eat for breakfast.
There was an email in my inbox and before I could get too excited, I saw that it
was from Esme's office. She and I hadn't really talked much about Edward's visit.
Well, Carlisle hadn't really said much either. . .So I had no clue in hell what that
man felt about the subject at all.
From: Esme Cullen
Subject: You Better Be Awake
Date: 20, June 2008, 10:53 AM
To: Bella Swan
Change the sheets in the guest bedroom. There are fresh ones in the linen closest
next to my bedroom. Get the pillowcases too.
And please settle down before you pee your pants on the Persian rug. And if you
have calmed down, thank God.
- 133 -
By the way, am I cooking tonight? Or would you like to give it a try. . .? (:
From: Bella Swan
Subject: RE: You Better Be Awake
Date: 20, June 2008, 11:08 AM
To: Esme Cullen
I got it taken care of. Well, it will be as soon as I finish eating.
I am settled down. . .to an extent.
You can knock yourself out with the cooking. I think I'll have to past just tonight.
See you later.
I closed the laptop and went off to do her bidding. After the sheets were changed
and the bed was made to the best of my ability, I busied myself in baking. I had read
something in one of Edward's first letters so I decided to pass the remainder of time
in the kitchen by my two best friends: butter and sugar.
I found it surprisingly time-passing to be in the kitchen surrounded by the warm
aroma of cinnamon and raw dough. I was being honest when I said that I only
glanced at the clock once in two hours.
And when I did glance at the clock I was reminded that I had a 45 minute drive
ahead of me to the airport and it was past 2 o'clock. Swearing loudly in the empty
house, I turned off the oven and put the perishables back into the fridge. I rushed
upstairs to put on what I told Edward I would be wearing.
I cringed when I looked in the mirror. Very nice, Bella. The flour hair is definitely
a new trend. I pulled part of my hair into a half pony tail and left the back down. I
looked at the clock sitting on the counter in the bathroom. 2:20. Damn it.
"Screw it," I mumbled. I grabbed a clutch makeup bag and flipped off the light
switch before flying down the stairs and out the door to the garage.
I wasn't being a model driver. . .to put it lightly. I was driving up people's butts on
the highway, challenging the speed limit just a bit, and applying makeup at the stop
lights. At least I was buckled and not texting. . .that had to count for something.
- 134 -
I glanced at the clock. 2:57. I still had time. Granted, I was about five minutes
away from getting into the actual airport.
I couldn't decide if I wanted his flight to be delayed or not. I decided not. I
definitely did not want to wait any longer. Ten more minutes.
Finally I got into the parking lot and fortunately found a fairly decent parking spot
near the building. I was glad I hadn't worn anything other than flat sandals. I
managed to book it across the parking lot and through the airport lounge in record
time. I'd dare any bitch to break the record I just set.
I navigated around that building like I owned it. The terminal Edward's flight was
due to land in was near the door where I parted. So at 3:05 I was waiting in that
area for a soldier to walk out.
Even though I had already checked twice, I glanced back at the arrival board one
more time. No delays whatsoever. My heart started to pound and I found myself
fidgeting.
I don't know what was running through my head right then. If anyone had asked I
wouldn't be able to say. The was feeling so surreal. It didn't seem like I should have
been standing there, waiting for a flight from Iraq. Tell me I'd be doing this seven
months ago and I would have laughed in your face and called you a dumbass. Maybe
not in those words. . .but something along those lines definitely.
I tapped my foot against the carpet in a hurried motion that matched the beat of
my heart. I wasn't sure anxious was the word anymore. I was fervent. And that was
not a word I used lightly.
The large windows serving as walls let me see that a plane had landed in the
space where Edward's was supposed to be. I smiled to myself. The fluttering
butterflies in my stomach were flying all about in a spastic flight. I hated that clich
but it was really the best comparison for what I was feeling at the moment.
People started to walk through the door where the flight attendant stood. I stood
up on my toes so I could see around another man. I looked anxiously at the people
exiting the makeshift hallway from the plane. Family of six. . .two men in business
suits. . .elderly and young women. . .family of four. . .a young couple, probably back
from a honeymoon by the looks of their tan. . .
A soldier.
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My heart skipped a beat. I noticed because it was pounding so sturdily against my
chest. The man had light brown hair that had a bit of a rusty tint to it. He didn't have
a flat out buzz cut he had short, closely shaven hair on both sides of his head, but
the top of his head still had a short layer.
The soldier was tan, obviously from the hot desert sun. And he was tall. Not as tall
as Emmett, or as muscular. But he had a certain build that I could see through his
uniform that was definitely not short of appealing.
The man was looking around, searching for someone. I didn't move. I was frozen
to the gross carpet, my tapping foot stopped midway up. The soldier looked at the
small group of people I was standing by and then looked at me, in my yellow shirt
and white skirt.
Then he looked me in the eyes, a grin, subtle but crooked growing on his face. I
began to grin too when I saw the color of his eyes from all the way across the room.
That soldier had a pair of green, stunning eyes.
Edward.
Too far down
The road you know i'm scared to go down
I'm waking up anxious to lay back down
'Cause all i can do here is wait
Just wait, i'll hurry up and wait
Well i can't read her expression
'Cause man this vixen she's sly
As she keeps me suspended
I've lost all control of this flight
Hiiii yeaaahhh yeaaahhh
- 136 -
We've ravaged our chances to shine
Would you take what i'm giving to you or did i take this
Do we take this
Hurry Up and Wait, Making April
-Umm...soo...I did warn you...? Don't kill me?
-Okay. If you're dying for more, there is an alternative. My website? Anyone
remember it? Well recently, I decided to try and get back into it. There's a blog
where I ask a character a week some questions that give some stuff away. I'll be
posting a tiny little bit of Chapter 14 on there as well. If you have any questions you
want to ask a character, leave me a review. Link's on my profile, you know the
drill.(:
-Lemme know how much you hate me(:
- 137 -
Chapter 14
Wow.
I'm thinking that sexy ass was a tiny bit of an understatement.
Edward was standing about 30 feet from me. In that moment, the second that our
eyes locked to each others, Edward became a real person. He was more than just a
name on an envelope or mentioned by Emmett. He was a real, living human being
who was actually going to spend the next four weeks with me.
I snapped out of the little trance I was in and made sure that I wasn't gaping
across the room. The crooked grin on Edward's face grew wider as he adjusted the
duffel bag strap on his shoulder. Surprisingly, I was somehow able to move my feet
towards him. Hmm, I guess those authors exaggerate when the heroine lays eyes on
the hero and is frozen in place, unable to go to him because of her awe. That's
bullshit. Why would anyone not want to get to the hero as fast as they could?
Edward started walking towards me as well. I looked him over as we approached
each other. He had some very nicely defined cheekbones that accented his penny
colored hair. Just like I had observed, he wasn't as big as Emmett, but Emmett's
muscles would just look disproportionate on him, he had nice muscles that suited his
build and height. God; those were some eyes.
Edward was hot.
I mean, like, really attractive. We're talking Brad Pitt attractive here. And I never
gave a guy that rating. Normally me and Rose just agreed on Chase Crawford.
Setting my attraction aside for the moment, that is Edward and I reached
common ground in the middle. I knew what he sounded like from the phone call. But
his voice still made me startle a little.
"Hi," I smiled. Good ice breaker, Bella.
"Hey," he grinned back. He was about eight inches taller than me and looked like
he wanted to smirk about it. Than again, he could have been wanting to smirk at my
excited flush too. . .
I was pretty damn positive I was talking to the right soldier. How did I know this?
- 138 -
He was wearing his uniform with the letters MASEN stitched over his chest on the
right side. But hey. I didn't want to assume or anything.
"You're Bella Swan? Right?"
"In the flesh," I made a ta-da gesture which made him chuckle. There was a pause
of silence. The awkwardness was threatened to burst out any second and I was
scrambling to find something to say. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to think for
long. Edward handled it with comfortable ease.
"I'm glad to finally meet you," he smiled genuinely. Before I could respond, he
brought his arms around my body and pulled me close in a warm and secure hug.
My eyes fluttered shut for the briefest of seconds, as his arms engulfed me. I felt. . .
safe. I placed my arms around his back and hugged him, so glad he was finally here.
We broke apart and I smiled brightly at him, ignoring the weird disappointment
that had come when his arms moved away from me. He smiled as well, showing his
set of flawless white teeth. Of course he had amazing teeth. . .you don't look that
great and have a set of crooked yellow teeth. The world just doesn't work that way.
"You have no idea. How was your flight?" I asked him as we shuffled over a few
feet to avoid being right in the middle of other people's paths.
"Boring and long. But worth it," he grinned at me. His grin made me catch my
breath, and I blushed which made him laugh some more. I had heard his laugh, but
that had been his phone laugh. His real laugh. . .it was incredible. I couldn't find
words to describe how just. . .happy hearing it made me.
"Should we get your bags?" I asked, blinking out of my trance and dodging the
compliment. I shied away from his glance and smiled down at the floor. I was utterly
flattered though.
"Sounds like a plan," he agreed. I knew my way pretty well around this airport so
he gave me a lead the way sign with his eyes. I started to walk to the direction
where I knew the bags would be with him one step behind me. Then he put his arm
that wasn't carrying his duffel bag around my shoulder and tucked me nicely under
his arm, making me forget about any of that disappointment. I tried not to lean to far
into his frame, not wanting to be too forward. With me smiling like a four year old,
we went to get his bags.
It took a few minutes to find his other duffel bag before we were finally getting
out of the airport. During that time I was fighting the awkward silence like the
- 139 -
Yankees fought the Brits. I refused to let it be awkward between us. We weren't
strangers so it shouldn't have been a problem. But yet, it still was.
The weird thing about the silence was that I was the only one who seemed to be
effected by it. Edward looked completely content walking through the airport, a
lazy, and if I was being honest with myself, sexy smile on his face. He had this
strange calming vibe about him, and I couldn't have been more appreciative.
While we were walking outside in the parking lot, Edward started talking about
some crazy flight attendant. I couldn't contribute much to the conversation so I just
gave him my attention. I gave his jaw line attention. . .I gave his cheek bones
attention, and I gave his amazing eyes attention. . .long story short, he talked while I
swooned.
I wanted to slap myself. I normally was not that shallow. But in all honesty, I was
just in shock. And it frightened me because I didn't think it was going to wear off
anytime soon.
I shook out of it when we started to walk past the spot where my truck was
parked. Edward didn't notice anything; he kept walking so I had to stop him. I
stretched my arm out and placed it on his abdomen to make him stop walking. He
stopped as I startled. He had a rock hard chest. Either that or he was wearing a
bullet proof vest. Blinking, I quickly moved my hand off his body and gestured my
head in the direction of the truck.
"Shit," he said in appreciation as he took in the black beast. I smirked as he looked
at the bumper sticker on the back rim. This isn't my boyfriend's truck. That had been
a little Christmas present from Esme last year. Needless to say, that had been the
best gift ever.
"You never told me you drove this."
"Well, it never really came up in a casual conversation. And I'm enjoying your face
quite a lot," I grinned as I jingled my keys. His green eyes blinked a few times at
that comment. When they opened, his face lost some of its surprise and became
more amused. A lazy smirk appeared on his face.
"I like it. It suits you." I rolled my eyes and grabbed one of his bags. He released it
and we both tossed them into the bed of the truck. I knew what was coming but it
still made me laugh when he said it after sliding into the passenger seat.
"Can I drive?" Ah men and there sparkly eyes for toys.
- 140 -
"Driving in a new state which you've never been to, after traveling 8000 miles and
suffering from some serious jetlag doesn't seem like a stellar plan to me," I
answered sarcastically.
"You'd be surprised at how adaptable I am," Edward grinned with some self pride.
I smirked while checking my back mirror and pulling out.
"Uh huh," I nodded in mock agreement, slightly amused by the childish pride of
his statement.
Edward was not fazed by my declination. He just grinned. Either he was always
this happy-go-lucky with the world or he was in a pretty damn good mood like I was.
"So how do you like all the grass for a change?" I asked, trying to strike up a
conversation in which not much feelings would be required. We spent the next forty
minutes talking about grass and other vegetation.
Now that's what I call a connection.
While Edward stared out his window at the large lake we were driving next to I
shifted in my seat as I wondered how Carlisle and Esme would react to him. Esme
would love him. Edward had a good heart, he was a kind man, and those were two
biggies in her book. And I had a feeling Carlisle would take to him, but I didn't want
to get my hopes too high. Carlisle was a very black and white person, so I hoped that
for all of our sake he would like Edward.
Once we were past the lake, Edward turned his attention and head back to me. I
had to keep my eyes on the road but I could feel his eyes staring at me. I blushed;
not because it was awkward, but because I liked the way he was looking at me. I
was too shy to meet his eyes so I watched the black tar ahead of me.
I knew it went against everything in my ever sarcastic and loquacious character to
be shy, but whenever I met someone, it took me awhile to warm up to them. Edward
was different, however. I already knew him, but I was still a little uncertain of what
he thought about me.
"And this is where we live," I pointed out as we arrived at the southern end of
town. I directed him to some of the local attractions in the town but figured I could
give him a better tour later. Right now I just wanted to get home and see Carlisle
and Esme's reaction to him.
Then we pulled into my neighborhood and I drove a little bit faster to get to our
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lot. I watched Edward's reaction as I pulled into the driveway next to the Escalade.
We had a fairly large house. It was built with bricks and had many different
triangular points to the roof along with windows. Esme's gardening added tons of
character to it and complimented the tall trees surrounding the backyard.
I grinned as his eyes widened slightly, taking in the home. It was a much milder
reaction than the one I had when Carlisle first pulled into the house a few years ago.
I was freaking out at the size and beauty of it. I still haven't gotten fully used to
pulling in the driveway everyday.
"Nice," Edward said simply. I shrugged and glanced at his face for any indications
of other feelings. Sometimes when I brought people over from school they would
compliment it but I would be able to see jealously and bitter in their faces. I was
relieved that Edward looked just curious.
I pulled the key out of the ignition and hopped out of the car. I was annoyed that
Edward could just leisurely get in and out of it without any difficulty. My height
really irritated me at times. It would be a lie to say that I wished I was taller than
some men, but a few more inches would have been nice.
"Where are the pigs? I thought I was promised fresh bacon," he smirked as he
grabbed both of his bags with ease. I rolled my eyes and led him to the front door.
"Good luck with Carlisle," I whispered hurriedly under my breath as I pulled the
handle of the door open. I was able to get a quick glance at Edward's eyes widen
before narrowing them accusingly at me. I chuckled silently as he walked in the
door after me. Carlisle and Esme were standing off to the side, near the living room.
Which meant Edward couldn't say anything back to me. I was throwing him to the
wolves, but I didn't feel that bad. More on the amused side, actually. This was a man
who was trained for combat; he could handle meeting the Cullen's.
"Edward this is Carlisle, and this is Esme," I introduced them. Then I stood back
and watched.
Carlisle was sizing Edward up, his face calm but his eyes guarded and suspicious.
Edward was trying to control his facial expression as he watched Carlisle look at
him. His eyes were much better hidden then Carlisle's and the two men were
wondering what to make of each other silently. Esme was grinning happily.
"Dr. and Mrs. Cullen, it's a pleasure to meet you both," Edward said smoothly. I
silently approved, good use of the abbreviation Dr. instead of Mr. I taught him well.
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"Edward, call us Esme and Carlisle." Carlisle looked like he preferred Dr. Cullen,
and not first name bases, but didn't say anything in response to his wife's statement.
"It's so good to meet you," Esme continued graciously as she danced toward us and
hugged him. Edward was momentarily taken back but recovered and hugged her
politely back with a smile.
"Thank you Esme. I'm glad to meet you as well," Esme was. . .well Esme was
appreciative. She was surprised by his voice. And. . .him. Again, I rolled my eyes.
Yeah Esme, join the flipping club.
"I hope you make yourself feel at home," she smiled once more before going back
to stand next to her stone silent husband. Edward looked at me in a moment of
uncertainty so he missed the little stomp Carlisle got on his toes from his loving,
hostess wife.
I heard Carlisle's grunt and shared a smirk with Esme as Edward turned in
confusion. Carlisle grudgingly stepped forward to shake Edward's hand.
"Nice to meet you as well, Dr. Cullen." That a boy.
"How was your flight, Edward?" Carlisle inquired politely. Esme stepped over by
me to get a better view of the awaited meeting.
"It was good Sir, thank you," Edward responded as they dropped hands. I noticed
both men flex their fingers out as their limbs returned to their sides. No wonder
they had been shaking for so long. Carlisle nodded and didn't say anything for about
a minute. I stifled a laugh at the comically awkward silence.
"Alright then. Bella, how about you give him a tour of the house?" I straightened
as they both looked at me. Carlisle, again looked calm and slightly satisfied. Edward
appeared just as casual but his eyes were pleading and slightly freaked out. Fighting
a grin, I nodded.
"Yeah, of course. Let's go upstairs," I agreed. I held my hand out for one of
Edward's bags but he just shook his head so I turned and headed up the stairs with
him on my tail.
"You suck," Edward said accusingly as we got to the top of the stairs and saw that
Carlisle and Esme had gone back to the kitchen.
"On the other hand, I thought it was funny," I smirked at his glare. I knew he
wasn't really upset, just a little irritated with the lack of warning he got.
- 143 -
"Oh really?" he asked with fake surprise. "Fantastic. I'm glad I amused you."
"You'll live. Come on tough guy, let's go."
I gave Edward the grand tour of the house. It ended up taking about an hour
because I was being very detail orientated. Edward was a good listener and made a
few comments here and there but otherwise took it in silently.
We ended the tour in the guest bedroom he got. It was a smaller bedroom but
Esme had worked her magic. It was painted sandy colored with dark mahogany
wooding such as the dresser, bed stand and the head board. The comforter on the
bed was several shades of green that matched a painting above the bed and rug on
the wooden floor. I actually really liked the bedroom, and it had a nice view of the
backyard and woods behind it.
"Well, dinner should be ready in a few minutes. Esme wanted to eat out on the
patio. You can unpack or freshen up. The connecting bathroom is all yours, no one
else uses it so do whatever you want. Am I missing anything?" I watched him as he
examined the room. I chewed on the inside of my cheek before he smiled at me, his
grateful eyes taking me by surprise.
"Thank you, Bella, for everything," he said quietly with sincerity that gave me the
best feeling in the world. I flashed him a small smile before nodding and turning to
make my exit.
After I was out of his room and down the hall to mine, I went into the bathroom. I
leaned against the door as I shut it.
Whew.
I was in for one hell of a month.
Once I was freshened up, I went in search for Carlisle. I had a bit of bone to pick
with him. I found him grilling the steaks with the outdoor barbecue, oblivious to my
entry. Esme had already set the glass table so I went straight over to my adoptive
father.
"Would it be that hard to try and play nice?" I asked him flatly as I perched on the
short brick wall surrounding the outdoor area. He looked up from the meat and
grinned at me. I raised a not-amused eyebrow at him.
"On the contrary, that was me being nice." I narrowed my eyes as he turned his
- 144 -
focus back to the dead cattle. Instead of retorting, I just watched him silently until
he turned back and sighed. Then he smirked.
"I'm kidding, he's fine. I'll be nice." I continued to stare, blinking only when
necessary. He conceded, "Okay, I wasn't serious a second ago but I am now. I
promise to not give him that hard of a time. Deal?" I smiled, finally satisfied. I knew
that was about as good as it would get.
"Deal," I agreed. I stood up from the uncomfortable brick as Esme exited the
sliding glass door.
"Aw, you two made peace." Carlisle gave me a knowing look and rolled his eyes. I
giggled quietly.
Carlisle was just putting the steaks onto a serving platter when Edward came out
the door. He had changed out of his uniform and into a black long sleeved dress
shirt, the last few buttons undone and a pair of denim jeans. He appeared more
bright eyed and bushy tailed.
"I hope you like steak, Edward," Esme said warmly as Carlisle pulled out a chair
for her to sit down in. I sat down next to her in the square table and Carlisle moved
across from me.
"It smells great," Edward complimented, rubbing his hands together in
anticipation. He sat down next to me and I gave him a reassuring smile, though he
didn't seem to need it.
"So, Edward, do you fish?" Carlisle asked after we were all getting into our meal. I
looked at Edward, my fork in mid air towards my mouth. He glanced at me,
confident and so I continued eating.
"I'm pretty handy with a rod, I guess." Thank God he thought about it and didn't
say poll in place of rod. Lord knows I would have.
Those two launched into a conversation about fishing. Esme and I watched on in
growing complacency as Carlisle warmed up to Edward. They really started to bond
over the talk of smiley aquatic animals. . .even though it was evident that Edward
really didn't know much about fishing at all and was completely winging it. The
conversation ended a half hour later when Carlisle, astounded that Edward didn't
know how to clean fish, promised to give him a lesson or two on it.
"Unfortunately, I have to leave and make sure a rehearsal dinner goes smoothly."
- 145 -
Esme sighed as she stood up from her chair. Carlisle stood as well and decided to
leave and get some nursing schedules made. Thanks for leaving the dishes to me
guys.
It was about seven o' clock when they both went inside. It was just me and
Edward now. He sat back in his chair and looked around the yard before his glance
settled on me. I smiled a little bit and in turn his lips turned up a bit as well.
"Is this weird?" He asked gesturing his hand in between us.
"Kinda," I admitted, shrugging. And it was weird. Eight months is a long time. I'd
been thinking about this man for 32 weeks. But I hadn't been thinking about his
looks or appearance. I'd been thinking about his thoughts, and what he had to say
about things. And now it was new to me to try and place the man in front of me with
the nameless man who wrote me letters.
"But not a bad kinda?"
"No," I smiled softly and shook my head, "not a bad kinda."
We sat there silently for a moment. The sun was setting and twilight was upon us.
The golden sun was shining through some of the trees and illuminating the back
yard. These were the moments I lived for.
"What are you thinking right now?" Edward asked curiously, his voice still soft.
"I'm just trying to put two and two together. I'm trying to associate you with the
man in the letters; the faceless Edward. You're not really what I expected," I
explained, or tried to, at least.
Edward nodded and looked to the west again. Then he looked back at me and
smiled. Though he looked confident, his tone was unsure. "Are you disappointed?"
I couldn't help but raise an incredulous eyebrow. "I wouldn't have been
disappointed if you had 12 toes, a third eye, and a creepy mustache. Looks aren't a
big deal. I'm glad to finally meet the guy who wrote me all those thoughtful, amazing
letters. Whatever the hell his appearance is."
Edward relaxed and he unclasped his hands that were locked together in his lap. I
watched his reaction after I finished my little speech and noticed the relief as his
shoulders sagged out of their tense lock.
- 146 -
"Creepy mustache?" he asked with a crooked smile. I laughed.
"Okay, that might have brought on a tiny bit of disappointment." After that little
conversation was over we brought all the dirty dishes inside and placed them in the
sink. When the table was cleared I told Edward to head back outside and handed
him a can of Coca Cola on his way.
I fixed my little surprise up and found the lighter for the finishing touch. Then, I
walked outside with the dessert securely in my arms. It was dark outside now but
the patio lights had kicked in so I could see.
"Happy birthday, Edward."
Edward spun in his chair. His face was as surprised as a deer caught in
headlights. I had been right about my assumption earlier that he didn't want to be
fussed over for his birthday. I was kind of sad that he was that surprised I would do
something for him, or even remember.
I smiled softly and walked towards him with the snicker doodle cake I had made
this morning. There were two candles lit and I spelled out Happy Birthday Edward
in butter cream frosting. The cake was two layers of snicker doodle cookie with a
layer of butter cream frosting in the middle.
I placed it front of where he was sitting on the table and started to sing softly.
"Happy birthday to you. . ."
The look on Edward's face when I was finished singing would be something I
would remember forever. I had never seen someone so grateful for anything I've
baked in my life. His greens eyes were still in shock but they were also dancing with
just an innocent happiness. He blew out the two candles carefully and stared at the
cake, before looking up at me with a boyish grin.
"I can't believe you made this for me," he whispered in awe. I just smiled, in awe
myself.
"I can't believe you didn't make a single comment that it was your birthday."
"I didn't think it mattered," he replied quietly. It did matter. I don't know why the
two of us suddenly were shy with each other. In our letters we were both very open
with each other and friends. Now, it was like all that was gone and suddenly we
didn't know what to make of each other.
- 147 -
"It matters, Edward. Trust me, it matters."
Edward sighed. "I didn't know. I didn't want you to feel you had to do anything
special just because I am staying here."
I leaned in and swung my arms around his neck loosely, close enough to smell his
fresh inviting scent. He was still facing the cake, just like I was. So I gave him a
backward hug. I was close to his face, so close that my cheek was tickled by his hair.
"You're not just staying here. You're home now, Edward." I whispered.
I don't know you but I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me and always fool me
And I can't react
You have suffered enough and what with yourself
It's time that you won
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time, raise your hopeful voice
You had the choice, you've made it now
Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Falling Slowly, The Frames
-I got up early to post this for you...on my birthday? Damn I must love you all.
-Okay so Edward's here...about time! I'm going to warn you now, the next three
chapters are going to be total, serious, complete fluff. Whose excited?
- 148 -
-Check the blog for an interview with Esme and the chapter song! Oh and some
pics too.
-How'd I do? This chapter was weird to write for me, and actually took awhile.
Hope you like it! (:
- 149 -
Chapter 15
Thanks to my beta SimplyDazzling. Who should have had the chapter ready
yesterday. Just saying.
"We have three minutes until the bus leaves and all your hopes and dreams of
placing in state go down the toilet!" Carlisle called with pestering urgency from the
bottom of the stairs.
Edward had just got here yesterday and now I had to go and play in the state golf
tournament. I felt bad because for the next two days I wouldn't get to spend much
time with him at all. Each day I would be out on the course for about eight hours in
total and the rest of the time with my team.
Last night had been. . .great. Honestly, it was just a peaceful and happy night that
I would never forget. In just a few hours from the time I had picked Edward up at
the airport to when we went to bed, most of the awkwardness had completely
evaporated. Edward and I ate the cake I made him and just talked for what seemed
like hours. I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off of my face the entire time I had got
ready for bed, and I had fallen asleep with sore cheeks.
"They can't leave without me!" I hollered back in exasperation. I was packing my
toiletry bag and then I would be ready. And by packing I meant throwing a bunch of
random shit into a small bag and hoping I didn't leave out the tampons.
"Two minutes!" was all Carlisle yelled. I sighed and shoved the bag into my larger
overnight bag before throwing it over my shoulder and jogging down the stairs.
"We were supposed to be there fifteen minutes ago!" Esme sung as she adjusted
her Callaway hat in the mirror. Carlisle and Esme both had an excellent fashion
sense. Esme always looked like a pro when she went to watch my meets.
"I'm ready! Let's roll! Where's Edward?"
We would be staying at a hotel tonight because the starting time tomorrow was
too early to go home and drive back. Esme and Carlisle took two days off of work so
they had reservations along with Edward who would be coming with to watch me
play. I was so glad that Emmett was going to watch Rosalie and the two would be
sharing a room. I would feel really bad if I dragged Edward all the way from Iraq
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just to dismiss him for a dumb sport.
"Already outside," Carlisle said pointedly, narrowing his eyes. I dismissed him
with a hand wave and hurried out the door with Esme.
Edward was leaning against the Escalade casually waiting for the rest of us. He
was dressed properly for the occasion, fitting in perfectly. He looked like a golf pro
himself wearing a black polo golf shirt and khaki pants. Instead of a hat like Esme
was wearing, Edward had decided on some silver aviators. And they looked
incredibly sexy.
. . .The shallow thoughts hadn't quite left yet my mind yet. . .
"What took you so long?" Edward asked, pushing himself off of the car. I was
going around to place my bag in the trunk. Edward gently snatched it and opened
the hatch, setting it in himself. I smiled in thanks before we split in opposite
directions to get in the car.
Luckily the school where the coach bus was waiting was only a half a mile away
from our house. Edward and I didn't have much of a chance to say anything to each
other with that period. I was too excited and nervous for state to be freaked out at
what was going to happen. Edward was going to meet Rosalie, Brenner, and
Rosalie's mother. I was most worried about Rose's mom. She was quite a character.
I hadn't given him much warning about the three of them. Last night we had
stayed up just long enough to eat some of his birthday cake before both of us
crashed. And this morning we both overslept and I was too busy trying to get
everything for golf set away that we didn't get a chance to exchange anything other
than good mornings.
Carlisle pulled into a parking spot across from the bus shoot and turned off the
car. Brenner was standing on the sidewalk talking to Camille, Rose's mom. Rosalie
was over with Emmett a few yards away.
"Anything you'd like to tell me about those three?" Edward whispered to me, still
irritated from last night. I laughed quietly.
"Nothing I say will prepare you for them," I answered with a warning glance while
unbuckling my seatbelt. He followed suit but only after he narrowed his eyes at me.
"Here, Bella, grab your clubs," Carlisle requested as I stepped out of the vehicle. I
grabbed the bag and started walking across the street.
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"I got it," Edward muttered as he appeared at my side. I shrugged as he slung the
bag strap on his shoulder effortlessly. I was in shape; I could carry the 50 pound bag
for five hours, but I could not lift it that effortlessly.
I was in a very good mood this morning. Last night I had fallen asleep with a grin
on my face, and woke up this morning feeling like P Diddy. Edward was here, the
wait was finally over and he was everything I could have hoped for. And now I got to
go kick some ass in a sport I loved and possibly show off for Edward. And it was
sunny this morning. Sunshine just made me happier in general.
"A little late don't you think, Swan?" Brenner chided mockingly as we made it
across the street. I stuck my tongue out but he didn't seem to notice. He was doing
the same thing Carlisle had to Edward yesterday; sizing him up. I wanted to remind
everyone that he was in the army and pretty strong, but hey, what did I know?
"Brenner, this is Sergeant Edward Masen. Edward, this is my coach, Shannon
Brenner," I introduced the two. Then I looked around and wondered where Camille
had drifted off to. I located her with Carlisle and Esme and was momentarily
relieved that he didn't have to meet her yet.
"Sergeant," Brenner acknowledged with a nod. Edward held his hand out and the
two of them shook. "I trust you're enjoying your leave?"
The guys dropped hands and Edward looked at me with a smile. "Yes Sir, I am." I
smiled back at him before lowering my eyes and glancing cautiously at Brenner. He
didn't seem to notice our silent exchange; he just looked really damn smug that
Edward had addressed him as "sir."
"Well, Bella, you seem like you're in a much better mood then Tuesday's practice,"
Brenner commented, raising an eyebrow that had its own unspoken question. I
chose to ignore it.
"Yeah, just a bit."
"Good, maybe you'll have a decent round," Brenner winked at me before nodding
at Edward and walking to talk to the Santa Claus looking bus driver. His words from
the conversation we had a few weeks ago were ringing in my head. I forgot about
his little theory that I reflected Edward's feelings when I played golf.
"See, that wasn't so hard," I cooed to Edward. He chuckled and the smirked.
"What is with all the men in your life squeezing my hand until the blood flow
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stops?" Edward asked with genuine confusion as he flexed his hand and rolled his
fingers. I grinned and was about to respond when Emmett had other plans.
"Masen, my man!" Emmett boomed with his arms open wide as he walked towards
us. Edward gave a crooked grin and returned Emmett's man hug with just as much
enthusiasm.
"I see you've met little Bella here," Emmett grinned, pulling me under his arm. I
rolled my eyes and ducked out of his loose lock.
"Yeah, thanks for introducing us," Edward responded sarcastically as he put his
aviators on the top of his head.
Rosalie and danced silently over to where we were standing and was taking a
good look at Edward. Edward and Emmett started talking about the flights they took
while I watched Rose's face. After she thoroughly examined Edward's features and
assets she looked at me with wide eyes.
"Damn," she mouthed, impressed.
"I know," I mouthed back conspiratorially, still as equally impressed.
"Hi, I'm Rosalie," Rose interrupted their conversation and stuck her hand out to
Edward. He smiled and shook it. "You must be the Edward I've heard so much
about." I sighed. No Rose, this was a different Edward.
"Pleasure to meet you, Rosalie. I've heard a lot about you too," Edward's voice
became even more honeyed. I watched his eyes dazzle and charm.
Rosalie blinked rapidly before smiling back at him hugely. Emmett crossed his
eyes in mock disgust and looked at me brightly after I silently laughed. "All good I"
"Hello darlings, Bella! My my my, who is this young man?" Camille barged in our
little circle and gave me a hug with kisses on both cheeks. I laughed and made a
face at Edward who was raising his eyebrows back at me.
Camille was a tall, thin, curvy woman. She had her daughter's shiny blond hair
and brown eyes. Today she was dressed in her golfing attire. Camille didn't golf, she
just liked to be stylish. She was wearing a short, black, golf skirt and a tight, light
blue woman's polo with giant, Pairs Hilton sunglasses.
"I'm Camille, or Cam, whichever you prefer," she spun and introduced herself to
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Edward with a mock purr. Camille had a great energy to her, everywhere she went,
people just took to her because of the way she walked, talked, and sang.
"Edward," he introduced himself after uncomfortably clearing his throat. Emmett
and Rosalie were standing back, giving them room. Rosalie looked bored, seeing her
mom do this every time she met someone. Emmett, on the other hand, looked
amused and smug that he wasn't the one getting the attention at the moment.
"Have you met Emmett, Bella?" Cam spun back to me with an enthusiastic face.
Edward looked momentarily relieved. I stifled a laugh.
"Yes I"
"Isn't he fun? We love having him at our house! I feel so safe with him under the
roof! Don't you, Rosie?" That was another thing. Camille wasn't one to stay on a
topic for that long.
"Huh?" Rose looked up from own golf skirt that she was fixing, still bored with the
conversation. "Yeah, sure I guess."
"Personally I think he's a bit of a hunk," Cam stage whispered to me. I pressed my
lips together to stop the smirk. Her mother now had her attention. Rose's head
whipped up, alarmed and embarrassed.
"Mom!"
"Oh, that was rude. Bella, you got a cutie pie too." I closed my eyes in
mortification as I felt blush spread all over my cheeks. Cam also knew no bounds
when she was on a roll talking. And I always forgot how quickly one could go from
amusement to complete embarrassment.
"Mom!" Rosalie repeated, just as mortified as me.
"Dear, am I embarrassing you? I'm terribly sorry. I was just admiring what God
gave you and Bella." Cam turned from her daughter over to Edward whose
shoulders were rocking from his silent laughter. She paused before smiling at him,
"so Edward, how do you feel about cougars?" Edward's eyes bulged out and
suddenly his face that was red from laughing so hard paled to the shade of a polar
bear. He stared at her, blinking twice before turning to me, his expression now
frightened.
"Holy shit. Mom!"
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"Rosalie Hale! Language," Camille scolded her daughter with actual seriousness.
Rosalie huffed, ignoring that comment and starting to lecture her free spirited
mother. "Mom. You can't just go around hitting on every young man you meet! It's
weird! And really creepy!"
"I was not hitting on him. If I was hitting on him I would say something more alone
the lines of" I would never know what Cam was about to say. That would probably
be my biggest regret in life. She was interrupted by an oblivious Brenner.
"Everyone on the bus!"
"I fucking love you, Brenner!" Rosalie yelled to him in desperate appreciation and
relief.
"Sorry Rose. . .my heart belongs to another." Brenner held out his left hand and
pointed to his wedding band before disappearing back in the bus. Rosalie's face was
so red, I almost felt bad. Camille departed and went back to Carlisle and Esme
without another word. Emmett smirked sympathetically and put his arm around her
shoulder and walked her to the bus with a very amused yet still slightly frightened
smile as Edward trailed behind with me.
"Any more crazy people you want me to meet?" Edward asked seriously after my
clubs were loaded and we were all on the bus.
"No, I think we got them all for now," I reassured him.
"For now? Awesome." I laughed as he went to sit with Emmett behind where
Rosalie and I were sitting. All the parents/boyfriends were riding on the bus with us
since it was a huge ass coach bus and there were a total of seven actual golfers.
Rosalie and I couldn't really say much with Emmett and Edward right behind us.
So instead we just communicated with overly expressive faces and a lot of word
mouthing. It was a good talk.
We arrived at the golf course a little later than a tense Brenner would have liked
and everything after that was a blur. Edward told me not to worry about him and
that he could take care of himself so I had no clue where he was for a good hour.
Instead, I focused on practicing with the girls, trying to put my mind back in
athletics. This was a big deal and if I did well, it would help me narrow down some
choices of colleges. If any were interested in the first place, that was.
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Brenner gave each of us our starting hole numbers and a small talking to before
they dismissed us all to the holes. My little inspirational talk consisted of "You know
that Shakespeare quote? The one about greatness? I can't remember it now, but
let's pretend I did. Go get your medal, Swan."
I was nervous that I wasn't going to have good shots and that I would have an
awful group of girls. I was nervous that a bunch of girls from other conferences
would be better than me and the course we were playing was kind of freaking me
out.
But that just flew right out the window on the first tee box.
I was the last one in my group to go, and I was playing with some of the best. They
were all the number ones for their team but I wasn't that intimidated, I had played
with two of them before and, to be frank, I was better than them. But that wasn't
what relaxed me.
I hit my driver, clobbered really, over 250 yards, straight as an arrow, landing
right in the middle of the fairway. I grinned triumphantly and turned back to the
girls and crowd. Before I could take two steps towards my bag to put the club back,
I jumped in surprise.
"Wooh!" Edward cheered loudly with his hands raised above his head. Edward and
my adoptive parents were each clapping rapidly. Even some of the other parents of
the girls were clapping for me.
I grinned at Edward and blushed at the attention. There was not a doubt in my
mind that inviting Edward here for his leave was a bad choice. I was so glad that he
was here, especially today because the support I was already receiving from him
was something that I loved.
"It's going to be a good day," I muttered to myself as I slung my bag on my
shoulders.
Damn.
I would never question Brenner ever again though there was no way he would
know that. I don't even know if he was right about his insane theory concerning
Edward. I just knew that I shot my best of the entire season on the first day of state
and on the second day I shot my best round ever.
Every good shot that I had during both rounds, Edward was there to cheer me on.
- 156 -
Every bad shot I had, he was there to give me a silent, encouraging nod from where
he stood with Carlisle and Esme. It was just awesome having someone so completely
supportive. Edward was the sweetest guy I had ever met.
On the last hole of the second day, a nice, short par three, Brenner walked over to
where I was watching the last girl tee off. I had already hit and landed on the green.
I knew that I had an extremely good chance at placing, or even winning the
tournament, but I didn't know what the other girls has shot.
Coaches were the only ones who were allowed to talk to us during our rounds. So
even if Carlisle or Esme knew the scores they couldn't tell me without getting in
trouble. But Brenner came and told me we were the last group to finish due to slow
play and that the best in the conference had already beat me. By about two. But
there was a girl after her who was two strokes ahead of my current score. That
meant I had to make a fifteen foot putt to place second.
Well that sucked. But in the end, as all the crowd circled the green and watched
us putt, I somehow got the ball in the hole. I stared at it for about eight seconds
before I broke out into a gigantic beam and fist pumped. I turned and smiled hugely
at the Bella Swan crowd.
"Thata girl!" Edward beamed back at me. I don't know why, I don't know if he
knew why, but in that moment we were drawn to each other. I ran over to him and
threw my arms around him, still holding a putter around his neck. He picked me up
around my back and spun me around. After a few seconds of laughing and spinning
he set me gently back onto my feet. We stared at each other for a millisecond, our
arms still locked around each other. Nothing did happen. But something could have.
The smile on his face dissolved a fraction and he released me like I was on fire. I
blinked. Then I dropped my arms from his neck just as quickly. I cleared my throat
and straightened my shirt out. Edward cleared his throat as well, looking at me with
amusement at both of our reactions. "Good job," he nodded. I grinned and nodded
back. Carlisle and Esme hounded me about three seconds later.
"Second place isn't half bad, kiddo," Carlisle grinned with pride. I smiled and
hugged him tightly. He hugged me back, and I could feel how proud he was it; it was
radiating off of him.
"Told you," was all Brenner said as I hugged him too. I rolled my eyes and pushed
lightly back from him.
It would have been an awesome day, regardless if Edward had been there or not.
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But he just made it all the better. He was definitely the loudest though Emmett
was closely behind when they announced my name as second place. I went on
stage to get a large second place trophy. I wasn't upset about missing first by two
strokes. The girl who did win was a senior and hadn't won before, and she was really
good and deserved it.
After everything was winding down, the golf course was starting to clear our, and
Esme had taken every picture she could, we were ready to get back on the bus. I
was adjusting all the bouquets of flowers I had in my hand when Carlisle and Esme
appeared next to me.
"Now that I didn't suck, can we please go up to the cabin?" I asked with a pleading
pout. It was never a sure thing if we could go up for the weekend or not because of
what Carlisle and Esme did, but I always wanted to.
"Yeah, sure, we can still go today if you want," Carlisle shrugged. I broke into a
huge grin and thanked them. Edward, who was on my other side, gave me an
inquiring eyebrow, but I just smiled at him mischievously.
Edward, who had now willingly become my golf bag mule, went to put my clubs in
the storage compartment of the bus. I boarded without him and found my seat next
to Rose. I sat down, well more like fell into the seat, and placed the bundle of plastic
wrapped flowers on the floor gently.
"I'm still speechless," Rosalie commented mildly as she looked out the window to
the sidewalk where Edward was standing, politely talking to Mr. Santa Claus bus
driver.
I let my head fall against the seat before turning to look at her. I made a face.
"Tell me about it."
Emmett and Edward got on the bus and took the seats they had yesterday behind
us. Edward was just as proud of me as Carlisle and Esme were. And Emmett seemed
just as happy about Rosalie's 8th in state ranking.
I turned in my place so I could see Edward through the opening of the two seats.
He looked up with eyebrows raised as soon as I turned. I grinned, my heart
fluttering from just looking at him.
"So Edward, how do you feel about water skiing?"
- 158 -
If anyone could make me a better person, you could
All I gotta say is I must have done something good
You came along one day and you rearranged my life
All I gotta say is I must have done something right
I must have done something right
And maybe I'm just lucky 'cause it's hard to believe
Believe that somebody like you'd end up with someone like me
Must Have Done Something Right, Relient K
-Fluff? Told ya. Two more to go.
-As always thank you for your fantastic reviews! They were as great as the pillow
pet I got. And trust me; that's saying a lot.
-Guess who hopped on the Twitter wagon? -sighs- I feel like sort've a loser at the
moment. I have 1 follower. Follow me? I'll lead you to the Land of Oz. Twitter is
2carm2carm2 (surprised) or links on profile.
- 159 -
Chapter 16
"Ohio."
"For the love God; I don't want to play the license plate game!" Edward
complained, irritated with me. I had let him drive the big black monster to where
our cabin was and he was learning that I wasn't a very good passenger. Every state I
found just made him clench his teeth and his hold on to the steering wheel before
sighing tensely.
I was enjoying the antagonizing, not going to lie.
"Florida!"
"Where? Where the fuck do you see Florida?" Edward whined. I smirked.
I feigned mistake as I squinted forward to look at the license plate ahead of us on
the freeway. "Oh, never mind. It wasn't Florida. It was another Ohio."
"No," Edward spoke through clenched teeth again, making sure to get every
syllable out very slowly and with pauses. "That is the exact same Ohio you pointed
out nine seconds ago."
I blinked, acting overly surprised. "Oh? Hm. I didn't notice!"
"Holy shit," he muttered, shaking his head and sliding one of his hands down his
face in exasperation.
"Both hands on the wheel!" I yelled, making him jump. He put his other hand back
on the steering wheel before glaring at me.
I sat back in my seat, getting comfortable. I folded my arms over my chest and
kept an eye on his driving. The quiet lasted about a minute. I shouldn't have tried
the coffee this morning; it was making me hyper active.
"Let's play the word game then," I suggested enthusiastically.
Edward was more on the unenthusiastic, apprehensive side. But he grudgingly
asked, "What the hell is that?"
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"I say a word and you say the first word that pops into your head," I explained,
nodding eagerly. When he didn't seem convinced I added, "Its fun!"
"Whatever, you start." Even though it shouldn't have, grumpy Edward was
amusing me greatly.
"Cool."
"Ice," Edward said without missing a beat.
"Hey!" I complained, "that wasn't my word!" Edward rolled his eyes again and
looked at me, waiting for another word I suppose.
"Bella," I chose after a second of thinking.
"High." Okay; fair enough. I deserved that one at the moment.
"Plane."
"Fly."
"Edward," I nodded; satisfied with the answer I just gave.
"Hot," Edward nodded slowly with a grin, satisfied with his own cocky answer. I
couldn't disagree or anything though.
"Annoying."
"Hey!"
"Horse," I continued, ignoring his protest.
"Oats."
"Field."
"Farm."
"Barn."
"Red."
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"Blood."
Shit. I really shouldn't have said that. Not to a soldier who had been in combat
before and was stationed in Iraq. Especially after the letter he had sent me before,
about the young man losing a leg. Well; score one for Bella. I'd officially managed to
be an insensitive bitch.
I looked at Edward. I had to give him his credit, he did try to contain the hurt and
haunting from his face so that it bottled only in his eyes. I felt the remorse flood into
my system as he shook out of it and thought of something else to say. "Doctor."
"Carlisle," I said quietly, willing him to see the apologetic look I was giving him.
He glanced my way and gave me a half smile with a shrug.
"Father."
"Charlie," I said, just as quietly. I looked out the window, not wanting to see
Edward's own apologetic face right now. All the hyper had been sobered out of me;
and that was saying something since three seconds ago, I would have been
suspected of drug use.
"Police," Edward sighed.
"Gun."
"Army."
"Edward."
"Sexy." I smiled at his answer, shaking off the thoughts of my parents.
"This again?" I asked with a smirk.
"First of all, last time I said hot. Not sexy. They are two different adjectives
completely. And second, you were the one who wanted to play the shitty game," he
said in playful defense. He wasn't as irritated as he would like me to believe.
"It's not shitty!" I protested, crossing my arms again.
"It entertained you for like two seconds! Now you're back to being the Energizer
Bunny!" Edward exclaimed, exasperated.
- 162 -
"Turn!" I practically yelled.
"Around," Edward said grudgingly, just replying to humor me. "I thought we
stopped this game!"
"No, the turn is right here!" He looked away from me and hissed a profanity as he
took a sharp right off the freeway. I flew towards him and managed to catch myself
by grabbing the dash board.
"Yeah. I'm driving home," I decided after I let out a relieved breath that I was still
alive. Edward didn't say anything; instead he stared at the road with utmost
concentration and a bit of sheepishness.
We continued down a dirt road before I directed him on the right turn to take.
Edward slowly pulled the truck into the short driveway and parked right next to
Carlisle's truck. I smiled calmly as I took in the lake.
The cabin was about 25 feet away from the small sand beach and water. We had a
fire pit right in the middle of the grassy yard. Our dock was straight ahead of where
Edward parked. We had our speed boat lift in with the boat covered and secure.
Carlisle also bought two new jet-skis last year that had a double lift next to the
speed boat.
After Edward and I grabbed our bags, I gave him a short tour of the cabin. It was
much shorter than the one I gave of the house. When you first saw it, it looked like
just a large hallway. There was a small, open closest when you first walk in to your
right and then a pantry on the left. Following that wall you arrived at the long
counter that served as our kitchen with the sink, microwave, and fridge, along with
other things.
There was a table with six chairs across the space from the far end of the kitchen,
right next to the bathroom. Also next to the bathroom was the entrance to the first
bedroom. On the other side of the table was the entrance to the second bedroom
and then a few feet after that was the third and final bedroom. Opposite of the third
bedroom was where one of our futons was set up. It had several large windows on
the wall that viewed the small deck with picnic tables and of course, a view of the
lake.
At the end of the cabin were two couches one of which was also a futon and a
coffee table in the center. There was also a TV that sometimes got more than four
channels. And there was a door that led out to the deck. We had three doors
including the one in between the fridge and first futon.
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"Ready for a day on the water?" I grinned at him, showing him which bedroom he
got.
"You know I've never water-skied or tubed, right?" Edward asked as he plopped
his bag onto the bed. I grinned mischievously.
"Which is exactly why Esme will be giving you the skiing lesson while I watch from
the boat and laugh my ass off."
I left him to go and get my swimsuit. Carlisle was already on the dock getting the
boat ready and Esme was raking the sandy beach. Both of them were already
donning the aquatic wear so I figured we didn't have much to do today. I put on the
bikini that Esme gave me for Christmas last year. I knew it fit, so I was opting not to
look in the mirror and talk myself out of walking outside with it.
By the time I gathered a cooler of snacks and drinks along with some towels for
each of us, Edward was already outside with Esme, getting a crash course on skiing.
I walked onto the dock with the cooler in my arms and Carlisle took it easily from
me to place in the boat.
"I bet it'll take him six tries to get up," Carlisle mused with an amused twinkle in
his eyes. He loved driving when someone was trying a new water sport. He found it
all very amusing. That could be where I got it from.
"I don't know; he's got a lot of upper body strength. I'm going to say four."
"I win, Edward and you are going early morning fishing with me tomorrow." The
confident smile fell off my face as I groaned. Getting up with Carlisle at 5:30 in the
morning in the middle of the summer was not exactly my idea of fun.
"Fine," I grudgingly agreed and shook his hand.
"You ready, Es?" Carlisle called after he gave me a life jacket to give to Edward.
"I think we're good!" He nodded and I jogged off the dock to give Edward the life
jacket while Carlisle winded the dock down.
Esme was already wading in the water to help him get started. I handed the red
life jacket to a very shirtless Edward. When I saw that he was giving me a quick
once over I blushed and looked down, tucking my hair behind my ear as I did. I was
surprised that I didn't feel self conscious per say. . .more nervous on what he
thought of what he was seeing.
- 164 -
"I like that color on you," Edward said lightly as he put the life jacket through his
arms. I looked back up from our feet to catch a glimpse of his. . .eight pack? An
eight pack? Seriously? Inwardly I sighed in exasperation.
Real funny, God. Real funny.
"Thanks," I said, trying to sound just as casual as he did. "Try not to swallow a
whole gallon of water when you don't get up," I warned, changing the subject before
he could say anything else.
"I always get up," Edward grinned cockily with his crooked smile. I rolled my eyes.
Idly I wondered how something so crooked could be so. . .nice, for lack of a better
word.
"Whatever you say," I said dismissively in a sing song voice before turning to go
back to the boat.
Turns out, contrary to what Edward thought; he doesn't always get up.
Edward's confident attitude quickly dissolved into frustration. The first time he
yelled "hit it!" and Carlisle started the boat I'm sure he thought he would easily get
up. He didn't even almost get up. Not even close.
Carlisle was driving and I was lounged across the back of the boat with my
sunglasses and soda in case I would need to spot. I laughed to myself. It'd be awhile
till I had to worry about watching him up. Esme was on her tip toes in the water
where Edward was, giving him some more tips and telling him what he was doing
wrong. She was doing a lot of talking.
I suppose you could say that I was up for a large laugh today. By the forth try he
almost got up. This time he fell into really awkward and painful looking splits.
Carlisle winced for him while I laughed really hard. He popped out of the water, his
skis floating in various directions, coughing out some water. Carlisle drove in a slow
circle around him so he could get the rope again.
"For the record," I stated when we were close to wear he was floating, tapping the
water out of his ear, "that was like two gallons." Edward scoffed and rolled his eyes
as the boat drifted away from him.
It was all funny until Carlisle reminded me that Edward has just passed four tries
and suddenly, he was the one laughing. I liked fishing with Carlisle, don't get me
wrong, but not at the ungodly hour of 5 AM. There are a number of things I would
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rather do than expect to be coherent that early. Like say, get a Brazilian wax.
"Alright, let me just show you how it's done," I decided loud enough so that they
could all hear me. I stood up from the warm leather and took off my sunglasses.
Then I hopped off the back of the boat into the cool water. I came to the surface
quickly, gasping at the coldness of the water.
I swam out to where Edward was while Esme swam to get on the boat. "Give me
the life jacket," I demanded mockingly.
"I was taught what to do in combat; not how to water ski," Edward complained
whilst he unbuckled the life jacket. I slipped into it and adjusted the size before
getting the skis situated on my feet.
Ignoring his excuse, I nodded at Carlisle to start the boat. "Watch and learn," I
taunted. Carlisle started the engine and started to pull. Fortunately for the point I
was trying to prove, I popped right up on them.
I smirked to myself. I let go with one hand and turned my head to wave back at
him. Then I did all the little tricks I could think of just to show off a little bit. He
stayed treading in the water until I dropped a ski and balanced on the one. I let go of
the rope when I was close to where Edward was floating.
"Combat; not water sports," Edward justified simply. I rolled my eyes and threw
the life jacket back to him.
Edward got up the next try. And I do sincerely believe it was because of my
amazing teaching skills. Or maybe the fact that I had already lost the bet and
Carlisle was going a little slower and helping him more. Whichever it was; doesn't
mean I didn't laugh at the look of concentration Edward had as he figured out how
to stay on the skis. He didn't end his ride as gracefully as I did, but he did okay.
"It took you five times to get up; I don't know why you're so smug," I told him as
we both carried a ski back to the garage behind the cabin. He was walking with a
very satisfied expression, like he had just ended global warming. You'd think that's
what he did if you saw his smile.
We had our usual bonfire that night. Meaning we set the lawn chairs out and
roasted s'mores. And pyromaniac Carlisle entertained himself with making sure the
whole lake would know we were having a fire.
I went to bed early thought 11:30 doesn't really count as early I guess because
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I knew what was ahead of me the next morning. And the next morning came way too
quickly for my liking.
Carlisle came into my bedroom and started poking my head like a three year old. I
groaned and rolled over, burying my head in the warm, comfortable blankets. He
leaned over and continued to poke. I burrowed further under to shield myself, still
groaning and making unintelligible grunts. Finally he won the battle and I
grudgingly got out of my small heaven to get dressed.
I threw on a black hoodie to reflect my grumpy mood and a pair of old jeans. My
hair was a rat's nest so I put it into a sloppy bun on the top of my head and braved
outside of my room. Edward and Carlisle were at the table each scarfing down a
piece of toast. Edward was also wearing a pair of jeans and a zip up brown
sweatshirt. His eyes were just as droopy and groggy as mine, so I didn't feel like the
ugly step sister at least.
"Alright! Let's go fishing!" Carlisle said enthusiastically after his toast was
finished. Just to complete his perky statement, he clapped his hands together,
making me jump, and rubbed them with anticipation.
This is quite literally the happiest I had seen Carlisle with Edward around.
Needless to say that regardless of my somewhat hazy state...I was incredibly
confused.
"I hope you know this is all your fault," I told Edward irritably after I covered my
mouth due to a large yawn.
"How is it my fault?" Turns out Edward was just as grumpy in the mornings as I
was. Great. Perky Carlisle, grumpy Edward, and pissy Bella. Someone was not going
to make it off the boat when we returned.
"If you would have gotten up on the fucking skis earlier I would still be sleeping," I
snapped. The microwave beeped, just to finish my statement properly. I poured the
steaming water into my traveling coffee mug and let a bag of tea seep in it.
"I would have told you not to bet on me, had I known," Edward grumbled, pushing
his chair away from the table and standing up.
"Pardon me that I assumed your athletic ability was just a little better than that
sorry display yesterday," I retorted, walking the opposite direction of him to get to
the door.
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"Athletic ability? Water skiing isn't about being athletic," Edward was one step
behind me, slipping on his tennis shoes the same time I did.
"Are you saying that I'm not athletic?" I questioned. Edward merely raised a
challenging eyebrow at me while cocking his head to the side. I leaned in closer to
him and poked his chest with every word. "Because let me tell you something,
buddy."
"What?" He continued to challenge. I narrowed my eyes as he began to smirk.
"What would you like to tell me?"
I came out blank. What was I going to tell him? I wished I wasn't carrying a
scalding beverage; otherwise I'd splash it in his face. "I'm more athletic than you. So
ha," I finished lamely. I opened the door and walked outside, Edward still only a step
behind me.
"Well I guess I can't argue with that logic," Edward retorted sarcastically.
"You're right; you can't," I agreed snobbishly.
"I happen to enjoy sleep too you know!"
"Evidently not a high enough value to you though," I sassed, irritated. I was quite
positive that no one in the world held sleep at a higher level than I.
"You're a pain in the ass, Swan," he muttered, only loud enough for me to hear.
"Get used to it, Masen," I snapped. I hadn't sounded this sassy since I was nine.
More like snotty really. But it was 5:32 in the fucking morning. The sun was barely
up!
"Anything wrong?" Carlisle asked cheerily as I stomped down the dock into the
boat. His perky mood just pissed me off more.
"Ask him. He seems to have a problem with his ass," I said sweetly, turning to
glare at Edward who was shaking his head and stepping into the boat.
"Am I supposed to deny it?" Edward asked me grumpily with a nice little mix of
sarcasm.
"I'm not the issue here," I snapped whilst Carlisle backed out from under the
awning.
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"You're right. Perhaps we should go with a more fitting synonym. Like maybe. . .
problem."
"Takes one to know one," I retorted smartly. Carlisle started the engine and we
began to travel across the water. Therefore not allowing Edward to respond to my
amazingly clever comeback. I totally won that argument. I sipped my tea smugly as
he rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. Pissy always beats Grumpy.
Fortunately for Carlisle, the higher the sun got in the sky, the better Edward and I
behaved. We only bickered for about an hour into the fishing trip before Carlisle
scolded us and we were told to play nice.
It ended up being a pretty good morning after that. We had a really good
breakfast that Esme (who got three extra hours of sleep) made for us. This was after
we got the limit of fish to eat. After a light lunch, Carlisle and Esme drove to the
town in search for some good sweet corn to cook on the fire for dinner tonight.
Edward was taking a shower and I finally had a moment of peace. I went out to
the hammock that we had hanging between two trees next to the beach. I laid back
on it horizontally so I push myself with my feet.
The past five days had been absolutely nonstop for me. Edward got here and we
spent the day together. I went to state for two days and placed 2nd. Then we went
up to the cabin with Edward, where I spent even more time with him. And that
brings us to today where I'm finally allowed a break and can think for a couple
minutes.
I don't know what I was expecting when I invited Edward to spend his leave here.
I know I must have had some sort of idea on how he would act or what he would
look like. But all of that is just blank now. I wouldn't be able to tell you what I was
thinking two weeks ago.
Edward and I were very agreeable in our letters, we complimented each other
well. . .I thought, at least. And now that he was here, I was realizing the connection
even more. I was normally a very private homebody. I craved time to myself, and
when I spent so much time with someone, I always needed a break where I could
just be alone and not out doing something. But with Edward, I hadn't needed that
break yet. Me sitting out here right now wasn't a break. A break was at least a six
hour away period and a night in my own home alone.
Maybe the reason I hadn't needed more space from Edward was because of how
excited I was for him to come. And I still was excited to have him here. Maybe I
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wouldn't even need my break this month, because I knew that after he leaves, I
wouldn't see him again for awhile. That could be the whole reason that I'd wanted to
spend so much time with him. But I think it was more than the reminder of him
leaving. With Edward, I wanted to be around him whenever I could.
The rock of the hammock was soothing my jumbled thoughts and I was enjoying it.
I let my eyes close for a few seconds and listened to the water and sea gulls
squawking. They opened again when I heard the loud and protesting squeak of the
door opening.
Edward came out and walked over to the hammock, aided by my inviting smile.
"Mind if I sit?" he asked. I scooted over to my right to make room for him to answer
his question. He laid back and settled into the hammock, his feet taking up the
rocking motion immediately.
"Sorry I called you a pain in the ass," Edward apologized. His tone made it clear
that he wasn't really sorry, but more making sure I wasn't upset about it.
"Sorry I questioned your athletic ability."
"Whatcha thinking about?" Edward wondered, turning his head to face mine. I
adjusted mine as well so that we were facing each other. I smiled, never getting
tired of his eyes.
"Why do you ask that so much?"
"When we wrote letters, you always told me everything you were thinking, or at
least that's what it seemed like. Now I wonder what you're thinking, just like I did
when I'd ask you a question on paper. To be honest, it's kind of concerning me a bit,
staying here and not knowing how you feel," he explained. Most guys shied away
from eye contact for too long. I was the same way actually. But Edward kept his eyes
locked on mine while he was talking and I found that I couldn't look away.
"Fair enough. I was actually thinking about how much I like having you around," I
admitted, trying not to cryptic, but not wanting to really spill the mess of thoughts.
"I'm glad," Edward smiled slightly before looking past me to the lake. I let him
think, noticing the small furrow above his eyebrows. I looked at his hair, still damp
from the shower. He didn't have a floppy hair style but he had just enough hair for
me to want to run my hand through it.
"You know, I'm not really good with words. Writing letters is one thing but being
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near you is totally different. I just wanted to tell how happy I am to be here, with
you." I looked into his serious eyes and just stared for a little bit before I felt myself
give him a small smile.
"I'm happy to be with you too, sexy ass," I teased, smiling wider.
"You know you love it, snicker doodle," Edward smiled crookedly.
"When did I acquire that name?"
"13 seconds ago. And come to think of it, I actually like it."
"Of course you do," I rolled my eyes endearingly. Edward chuckled quietly under
his breath.
We sat there in peace for a little bit. Neither of us speaking, the only sound other
than the occasional speed boat passing was the creek of the swinging hammock. I
looked out at the lake and beach before turning back to face him. He was closing his
eyes contently. They opened when he sensed my eyes watching him.
"I caught way more fish than you this morning," he bragged with that childish
smugness.
I leaned over and flicked his temple lightly. "Owe," he whined, bringing his hand
up to rub it soothingly.
Yeah, it was good to have Edward here.
Have I hope with your heart?
She's such a teaser, she's such a star.
Give me a reason or gimme a chance.
Am I alone in your heart, or am I alone...?
It tears me apart.
Am I alone?
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Doing all I can do, just to be close to you.
Every time that we meet, I skip a heartbeat.
Always up for a laugh, she's a pain in the arse.
Every time that we meet, I skip a heartbeat.
Heartbeat, Scouting For Girls
-Sorry this chapters late. In my defense...I did write it in September. My beta (who
is still just great...) took a little longer. To make it up to you I'll post another on in
just a few days.
-I don't have much to say...thank you to all of you who have recommended my
story! It means a lot to me (:
-Follow me on Twitter (2carm2carm2) for my grumbling and sarcasm...well and
updating schedule and chapter teasers...but mostly the sarcasm.
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Chapter 17
I woke up back in my bed the next day. I had made Edward let me drive home and
I found that he was also not a good passenger. It was like driving with a kid who just
got their permit. They sit and correct every little mistake you make and Edward was
taking great pleasure in doing so.
I was happy to be home and just relax, but I already missed that cabin. We had
had a great weekend there, and I was anxious for Friday to come again so we could
go once more.
An hour before lunch, I wandered to Edward's room, wondering where he would
be. Esme and Carlisle both had full days of work for the next week so it would just
be the two of us. Edward was lying across his bed on his stomach, his arms folded
and his head buried in them.
I tip toed across the wooden floor and jumped lightly on the bed and fell on my
stomach next to him. I mirrored his position putting my chin on my folded arms and
facing him. Edward looked up with raised eyebrows.
"Whatcha doing?" I asked innocently.
"Sleeping." And with that he put his head back down.
"Liar," I accused.
"Gee, what gave it away?" he asked sarcastically. I rolled my eyes, even though it
was a wasted gesture considering he didn't see it.
"No need to get snippy with me," I teased, kicking his ankle lightly.
"Actually, I was thinking that I should probably buy a cell phone," Edward went
back to the original question after giving me a nudge back.
"You don't have one? Whose did you call me on?" I asked, laying my head down to
face him.
"Emmett's. I was thinking that I should be able to call the guys and you when I
want." I'm not going to lie and say I didn't want to grin to find out that I was
included in that group.
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"Yeah, it might be a good idea," I agreed, allowing myself a small smile that was
supposed to appear encouraging. It was more of selfish smile actually. Edward
nodded. I waited a minute. "Do you miss your guys?"
"I guess I don't like it when I'm not there to watch there backs," Edward confided.
I nodded, well sorta, given the awkward angle and all.
"So you miss them," I concluded.
Edward agreed with a quick nod. "Pretty much, yup."
"You're a good sergeant," I noted with a smile.
Edward shrugged modestly. "I don't know about that. I just give a shit about them.
I want them to get back to their mom's and girlfriends."
I noticed that well Edward was extremely confident and downright cocky about
almost every subject, he wasn't as sure of himself when it came to being a sergeant.
A note to file and return to later I guess.
"Isn't that Emmett and Jasper too?"
"Most sergeants are. There are hardasses who still get concerned when it matters.
And then there are real bastards who honestly don't fucking care. There's only a
fewn but they're there." I processed the bitterness in his tone.
I wasn't sure if I knew where he was going with this, but I took my best shot at it.
"Who was your sergeant during your first deployment?"
"Back when I was Private Masen?" Edward grinned, remembering the time rather
than the leader. I smiled and nodded. "Being a private, those guys and girls have it
made. I get jealous of Alice. She's not in charge of the well being of ten men. Though
she sure as hell could do it," he added with a chuckle.
"The sergeant I had my first deployment was one of those few and true bastards. I
met him and the rest of my first squad at basic training. And God was that hell. I was
still a little, well. . .not in shape for one thing, and still rebellious. The guy, Sergeant
Volt, instead of making at least a decent introduction, sent us out to run eight miles.
In an hour. I somehow managed to do it by about three minutes but there was a guy
behind me who missed it by a minute and the man made us all run four more miles
in a half hour. It was a really nice sign of what we would be getting for the next
year. We all hated him. Even Emmett; and Emmett doesn't hate anyone."
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"I guess you weren't exactly jumping at the chance to make him pie."
Edward looked at me like he found something particularly funny. "Jumping at the
chance to make him pie? What kind of saying is that? What is the origin of it?" Now
he was mocking me.
So I straightened my shoulders and gave him the only answer that would make
sense.
"Canada."
"Of course," he agreed, again, mockingly.
"So, no pie for Sergeant Volt," I prompted.
"Hell no. And it's not like he had a wife to bake it for him. A woman in prison
wouldn't even marry the man. One of the guys in the squad was running literally
seventeen seconds late to a training session. Volt made the guy do push-ups until his
nose actually started to bleed. That doesn't make you stronger; it breaks you way
more than you should have to be. That man took Army Strong to the extreme. And
he was always calling us shitbags. And let me tell you, not in the endearing 'hey ya
little shitbag' way. No, more like the, 'you are such a shitbag that your country is
unfortunate to have you stand for them.'"
I listened quietly and watched Edward start to get visibly upset as he continued
talking about the man. It almost shocked me when I started to feel really protective
over him. I wanted to tell this Mr. Volt (which was a real dumbass name if you asked
me) what to shove up his dumb ass.
"But hey, you and Emmett," I prodded, wanting to hear more stories that were fun
to hear verses these.
Edward laughed loudly. "I don't think he could've been hated more by Volt if he
tried, and believe me Emmett tried. He was dumb and reckless and was always
subtly pushing his buttons, like this one time. . ." Edward launched into a tale about
Emmett being stupid.
That's really what we did for the whole day. Until we were both hungry, we laid on
Edward's bed and I listened to him tell stories that he couldn't have conveyed nearly
this well in a letter. Then, when we both got hungry, I fixed us some BLTs which we
ate outside on the grass. And then for the afternoon, I told him stories of the trouble
that Rosalie and I had gotten into over the years. It was a really relaxing and good
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day. Yeah; it was a good day.
I loved to talk. I was a very expressive person and when I told stories, I really got
into them; I'm talking hand gestures, changes of voices, facial expressions. It was so
nice to have someone listen to me with their full, undivided attention and laugh with
me.
The day after that I was really excited. I had another surprise for Edward. I
couldn't be sure, but I felt he would like this one just a little bit better than the cake
I baked. I was really eager to see how he would react to it.
I had my phone in my hand all day, waiting for texts from Carlisle. If Edward
noticed, he didn't indicate it. He was too busy beating me in Grand Theft Auto over. .
.and over. . .and over. I think he may have still been a little annoyed that I was a
better water-skier than he was. I mean, by the eighth time of getting my ass handed
to me, we switched to Call of Duty.
When I did get the text from Carlisle, I had to tell Edward I would be back in ten
minutes. I asked him to wait for me in the front yard when I got back. He agreed
even though he gave me a weird, apprehensive look.
Carlisle had gone to the airport to pick it up and met me at the hospital to transfer
it into my truck. I sped the entire way back to the house, just wanting Edward to see
it again. When I pulled into the driveway, sure enough Edward was just shutting the
front door and jogging slowly to the middle of the grassy yard.
Grinning to myself I shut off the truck and hopped out. Then I walked around to
the passenger side and opened the back door. Edward was looking at me with
furrowed eyebrows which I ignored.
Once the door was opened, a golden retriever leaped out of the vehicle and ran as
fast as his legs would take him to his owner. I watched Edward's mouth literally fall
open in such genuine surprise that assured me it was all worth it. Ares flew at
Edward, literally, and brought Edward tumbling down on the grass from the impact.
Edward rolled around with the dog from the fall and started petting his hands all
over the golden body. I leaned against the truck and watched with a content smile.
Edward recovered from the shock and I watched as the biggest beam I had ever
seen settle onto Edward's face. He knelt on the grass, still wildly petting the
tail-wagging animal. Ares was attacking Edward's face with his tongue and Edward
was laughing gladly.
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"Hey bud," Edward greeted enthusiastically, blinking his eyes and moving the
overly affectionate dog away from his face. Ares let out his own happy bark and
shoved his nose into Edward's neck, nuzzling it with hyper love.
I hadn't met Edward long ago at all. Last week to be specific. But I've known him
for months. And it genuinely made me happy to see Edward, who deserved so much
and had nothing, to be able to connect with the life he had before he joined the
army. I would do a lot of things in this life to be able to see him smiling like that
everyday.
"How'd you do this?" Edward asked in breathless amazement. Edward had
managed to stand up after a couple more minutes and Ares was prancing around his
owner eagerly. Edward was bent down at an angle to continue and pet the affection
wanting dog. "I called the woman who was watching him but the phone was
disconnected. . .so I just assumed. . ."
I nodded while I crouched down on the driveway to pet Ares. "She did pass away
actually. Five months ago. That's why you got the disconnected line when you tried."
I looked from Edward back down to Ares who was panting from excitement and the
June heat. "How 'bout we get you some water boy?" The dog barked in approval and
I grinned. Edward helped me up from the crouch I was in and we went inside to get
water for all of us.
I explained to Edward that while the woman had died, she had a very prominent
son who was a lawyer in Chicago. Oh the things Google can do for a curious one.
Anyway, I called his firm and after some charming and a tiny bit of lying on my part
(the receptionist patched me through after I convinced her I had accidentally
murdered nine people and this was my one phone call from jail), I talked to him
about Ares. Turns out he had two daughters that had been taking care of Ares until
an owner could be located. I told him who I was and we got to talking and he was
very gracious, arranging transport for Ares and whatnot. He had also mentioned
something else of Edward's that he had.
"You got my motorcycle back?" Edward asked disbelievingly. I pressed my lips
together as he had interrupted me. I watched his eyebrows go up and his greens
eyes start dancing. . .no, not dancing; salsaing, for an answer. Then I nodded slowly,
waiting for his reaction.
Edward's eyes brightened considerably and beamed again. He opened his mouth
and inhaled, about to say something most likely explicit and mock-able by many
counts. I watched with a smile and raised an eyebrow. He met my eyes and exhaled
with a whoosh. "Cool," he finally said with a shrug and underlying smugness at his
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restraint. I rolled my eyes as Edward held his head high with pride.
"Is it fast?" I hedged on, still amused by his happiness, amused and thrilled at the
same time.
"Fuck yeah! There is nothing like going 80 with that thing down the highway. . ."
Edward launched into an extravagant tale of another one of those dumb antics
stories and I just laughed at him.
Rose called shortly after that. Edward and I agreed that Ares was in need of some
supplies. There was never a question that he would be living here. So I figured he
needed some food and maybe a bed. I was glad Carlisle liked dogs and Esme was
'down with it.'
Edward was over getting food while I was looking at cow hooves. Apparently they
were good for teeth. I told her about Edward and the motorcycle and the store I was
in currently. Emmett and her were having a lazy day apparently and he was sitting
by her when I mentioned the motorcycle.
"Let's go! I'm driving," I heard shuffling of fabric, most likely of the couch as
Emmett got up enthusiastically.
"We'll be at your house in ten," Rosalie sighed endearingly. I laughed and closed
the phone.
Emmett was quite disappointed when he pulled in the driveway with Rose sitting
next to him, right after Edward and me, and realized we weren't on a motorcycle. I
had already explained to Edward that the lawyer was handling shipping. Turns out
the motor death trap and the dog were the only things he left with the woman.
Rosalie coddled Ares the moment she walked in the door and fawned over how
pretty he was for about ten minutes straight. Emmett admired that dog too but his
mind was still on motorcycle so Edward and him jumped into a conversation about
that. Rosalie and I went into the kitchen to get some snacks after Emmett suggested
a game of Rock Band.
"I've left you alone all week and now you're going to tell me what the hell you two
have been doing," Rosalie demanded. She stood up from the crouch she was in by
Ares and turned her interrogating stare on me.
I chose to ignore her comment and pretend I didn't hear her. Instead, I busied
myself by studying the pantry intently.
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"I don't know how you two haven't hooked up yet. His look just screams sex and
he has this mysterious, bad boy solider thing going on. It's hot," Rosalie concluded
knowingly with an impressed nod of approval.
"Where did you get ever get bad boy from?" I asked her, focusing on a container of
Oreos and inadvertently dodging her questions.
"A motorcycle? Come on, Bella. A motorcycle."
"I don't know what that's supposed to mean. So stop saying it like it's the Holy
Grail."
"Hell it is!"
"I don't even like motorcycles," I shrugged honestly while I put the Oreos back on
the shelf and picked up the cookies instead. Motorcycles really didn't appeal to me.
Esme's reasoning was they were just jet skis on land. I had to disagree; if you fall off
a jet ski, you get cold water in your face. A motorcycle on the other hand, you break
a few bones. . .or die.
"Then why the hell did you find it for him?" Rosalie had finally made herself useful
and was rummaging in the fridge for drinks. All the while she kept up the steady
stream ofI wanted to say lecture but that sounds too light.
"Because I like to think I'm generally a nice person."
Rosalie snorted. I thought she would be done and leave it at that but no. With
Emmett's arrival I swear to God she had gotten impossibly more annoying.
"You know who else is a nice person?"
I was pretty sure I did not like where she was going with that suggestive
comment.
"Jesus?"
"Holy and nice are two totally different things." Rosalie shut the fridge. I glanced
at her hands and saw two cans of Coke and two bottles of beer for the guys. My
brows furrowed as I looked at that. I had never really thought about the fact that
Edward was of drinking age. I hadn't offered him a beer the entire time he had been
here. Lovely, Bella; you are such an amazing hostess.
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I blinked as she waved her hand that was holding the bottles in my face. "What?
Oh yeah. I agree. Completely different things." Now I was distracted, wondering
about other things that Edward might want that I hadn't thought about at all.
Rosalie either didn't notice or chose not to give a damn.
"But holy fucking sexy is just another meaning of nice," Rose raised her eyebrows
up and down yet again, suggestively.
"I am fairly sure that it does not say holy fucking sexy in the dictionary under
nice."
I wasn't entirely sure why I wasn't talking to Rose about my thoughts on Edward
right now. I just didn't know what I was supposed to be feeling about him or what
crossed lines. Right now I just wanted to keep it as simple as possible. It was
working pretty well and I didn't want Rosalie advertising him like a piece of pork. It
would just complicate things. And it wasn't like I was disagreeing with any of the
things she had pointed out.
"Read between the lines, deary," Rosalie winked before shutting up because we
were entering the living room again.
Emmett and Edward were lounging across the couch and an armchair. They had
been talking about something before Rose and I walked in but they instantly looked
up when we walked in and shut up. I looked at Edward curiously but he didn't give
me an answer, he was just looking at me like he was seeing something new, and by
the looks of his expression, not bad.
I felt my stomach flutter under his stare, Rose's words ringing freshly and
annoyingly in my mind. I set down the pile of junk food and broke the eye contact I
had with him. I took a seat across from him on the loveseat where one of the plastic
guitars was waiting. I would have sat next to him; Lord knows that's where I wanted
to be despite all the thoughts. But he was sitting on the armchair and I don't think I
was quite ready to plop down on his lap. Besides; he had the drum set in front of
him.
Read between the lines.
When Rose had first said it I rolled my eyes. But as we started playing an intense
game, I thought about her words and the way she said it. The more I mulled it over,
I realized she had meant it in more ways than one.
I thought I knew Edward, and there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I didn't have a
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pretty good idea of who he was. But I wanted to be more to him. I wanted to really
know him, and for the first time in my life, I wanted someone to really know me.
Whatever the hell that meant for us.
Honey you are a rock
Upon which I stand
And I come here to talk
I hope you understand
That green eyes, yeah the spotlight, shines upon you
And how could, anybody, deny you
I came here with a load
And it feels so much lighter, now I've met you
And honey you should know, that I could never go on without you
Green Eyes, Coldplay
-That was the last chapter of pure-who-effing-cares-fluff! I promise! Now we can
start getting into the good stuff from here on out(:
-I wanted to thank you all for your fantastic reviews! I'm sorry I don't have time to
respond to all of them, but I've been busy trying to figure out how I'm going to end
this crazy story...(don't worry, that won't be for at least another 30 chapters;)
-I'm on Twitter, 2carm2carm2, follow me for my complaining and occasional
teasers!
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Chapter 18
"I know you're not actually asleep."
"Mmmm," I groaned and buried my head in my pillow. He laughed softly and
didn't say anything else.
We were driving up to the cabin again today. It was already seven o'clock and I
felt like sleeping for eighteen hours. Yesterday I had started to bug Edward about
what he did to stay 'Army Strong,' physically that is. He soon gave in to my annoying
nagging and promised me a real workout.
Real workout?
I was pretty sure my legs would never forgive me.
I had always thought of myself as being in pretty good shape. I lifted weights most
of the year to keep my arms toned for golf and I ran to stay in shape for the soccer
season. Turns out that wasn't much of a workout compared to Edward's.
Anyone who had ever pushed themselves to the point where if you took another
step, there was no doubt in your mind that you would die. . .would know what I was
talking about. Edward seemed concerned a few times, but under that was
amusement and that damn smugness. So I told him to shut up and stop worrying
about me.
This brings us back to the present. I let Edward drive without a fight and he was
still amused by my soreness. I was currently stretched out in the back seat of the
cab of my truck. I was cuddled up with a pillow and technically I was sorta buckled
in. I'm not entirely sure, but I trusted Edward wouldn't hit a wild turkey and end up
killing me.
"You know, if you couldn't handle that I really don't think you should be a soccer
captain, much less on the team." Yeah. He was definitely enjoying my agony way too
much.
Without opening my eyes I raised my arm and flipped him the bird. I wasn't even
sure if he could see it. I was counting on the rearview mirror to relay the little
gesture. Edward laughed again. Bastard.
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I slept the rest of the way and Edward let me be in peace. Thank God.
Rosalie and Emmett were in Rose's mom's car behind us. We invited them to the
lake because we all missed Rosalie, Carlisle and Esme included. I hadn't seen her
much since Emmett arrived and now that Edward was here we really hadn't gotten
to spend much of the summer together at all. And Emmett. I smiled and shook my
head as I thought about him.
God I loved Emmett.
It would be fun to have him and Edward at the lake at the same time. Emmett
grew up in Michigan; they had lakes there and he, from what I'd heard, had his fair
share of water in his time. I was eager to challenge him to a battle of the strengths;
tube style.
I was awake when Edward pulled in the cabin's driveway. I hopped out of the
truck in sync with him and he grinned over at me as I stretched and yawned. He
reached over and ruffled my already disheveled hair. "Cute," he smiled as I
narrowed my eyes playfully at him.
"So what's the sleeping arrangement?" Edward asked as we grabbed our bags
from the bed of the truck. Rosalie and Emmett pulled into place between us without
killing either of us which was a miracle itself.
I got distracted by the way he had said the question. After Rosalie's little chat with
me, I'll admit that my mind had been in the deepest gutter possible. I may have been
imagining it, but it felt like Edward was being more suggestive too. Then again, that
was probably me wanting that to be true, just so my sickness wasn't my entire fault.
"Sleeping with who?" I blinked and asked, trying to focus back on him as we
headed in through the door.
Edward chuckled, "I don't know. You tell me."
"Uh, I can sleep with someone I guess," I muttered with an indifferent shrug. I ran
the words back in my mind the same time Edward got a smirk on his face. He tried
to hide it, failed miserably, but tried nevertheless.
"Good to know," Edward grinned crookedly. Okay. That was suggestive, was it
not?
"Um, yeah," I said, because really, nothing else would have fit. "I guess you and
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Emmett can have the bedroom with the bunks and Rose and I can share the other
one that has one bed."
Edward nodded and started walking to the far bedroom. I may have imagined it,
hell I'm pretty sure I did, but I could have swore I heard a faint, "Lucky Rosalie,"
come out of his mouth.
I threw my bag on the bed in the bedroom I usually took and fell onto the mattress
with it. Whew. Some dynamic had changed between the two of us in the past few
days. I liked it, but it was making me a little nervous if I was being honest. Flirty
Edward had come out to play. I just hoped I could keep up.
I knew Edward's shift in demeanor had something to do with the conversation that
he had with Emmett a couple days ago. I couldn't help but think that Emmett had
been saying the same thing Rosalie had been to me.
It was 80's night again tonight. Meaning that one of the local radio stations played
all 80's all night. And I mean like all the classics. Carlisle, Esme, and I had been
belting them out for the whole lake to hear for years. Emmett fit right in. And I must
say. . .he really stole the show with Journey's Don't Stop Believing. The other side of
the lake must have been impressed with his unusual skills.
Rosalie adored the guy.
Plain and simple. Whenever he spoke her gorgeous eyes twinkled brightly and
whenever he looked at her she would get a blush on her cheeks. It was crazy to me,
really. She bitched about anything and everything, and from what Edward told me,
so did Emmett. But like in math, two negatives equalled a positive. I hated math, but
it seemed to have some merit.
Rosalie ended up taking one of the futons in the far living room area that night
instead. Something about not wanting to cuddle with me. . .yeah; I was a little
offended. I was very cuddle-able.
"Anyone want to go fishing tomorrow morning?" Carlisle asked to no one in
particular after we had all moved inside from the fire to the cabin. Rosalie was off
putting sheets on the flattened futon and laughed outright at the suggestion. The
question wasn't for her at all. Rosalie was less of a morning person than I was which
was saying a lot.
"Not with princess over there," Edward snorted and looked at me pointedly but
still teasingly. I stuck my tongue out playfully.
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"I'd like to get back into it," Emmett shrugged. He was planted in one of the chairs
by the table, fighting sleep by the looks of it.
"I'll go too," Edward volunteered and Carlisle nodded with such satisfaction it was
almost comical. Esme rolled her eyes at her husband and finished putting the
marshmallows and chocolate away. She was just glad Carlisle wouldn't try to drag
her out of bed; he had other people to entertain him now.
I woke up the next morning at a very satisfying time. It was no 11 in the morning,
but I would take 9 over 5:30 any day. Esme, Rose and I had a late breakfast and
went about our daily morning activities. I threw on a swimsuit under a brown tank
top with some short shorts over it. By the time I had my hair tied on the top of my
head with a pony tail, the boys were pulling in the boat.
I stole a glance out the window as I sharpened the knives for Carlisle to use to
clean the fish. Edward had kept up his golden tan from the dessert and he looked. .
.really good with the tan, his wind blown hair and the lazy smile on his face. I smiled
and looked down again.
Apparently Emmett was excused from fish cleaning this morning. He out-fished
Edward by seven and wasn't above rubbing that in. I decided I would get a laugh out
of Carlisle teaching Edward how to get the meat out of the fish. Plus I hadn't seen
him yet this morning, and I was a little curious to test out his newfound flirting.
I walked leisurely to the grass area in between the cabin and the garage where we
had a picnic table that was generally used for cleaning purposes. Edward was
standing at one end, looking clumsy but still totally knowing what he was doing with
the knife in his hand. Carlisle looked frustrated already and when he saw me
walking towards them he stood up with relief.
"Bella! Awesome! You remember how it took me three hours to teach you this?"
He gestured to the table that had a bucket of partially alive fish, knives, newspaper
and other buckets. I nodded. "Knowledge is power, and we like to spread power. So,
spread some power with Edward over here while I go get a beer." I opened my
mouth to protest, not entirely sure what I was going to say, but Carlisle was already
jogging past me to the door.
Eh, what the hell?
I walked over to Edward who was smirking at the place where Carlisle was just
sitting. I rolled my eyes and moved to stand next to him. I reached over and grabbed
Carlisle's discarded knife and a poor, but really fat fish.
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"You clean fish too?" I looked over at him and flashed a grin before concentrating
on what I was doing. "Do you hunt with Carlisle too?" I wasn't sure if the question
was meant to be sarcastic but I smirked confidently down at the dead fish.
"Shot a 12 point buck last fall," I told him with pride.
"That buck was at one point Bambi you know," Edward teased after chuckling.
"I never liked that movie. I thought Bambi was a girl until they made the sequel
where he was king of the forest."
"Not anymore he's not. Because you shot him." I laughed and threw the meat of
the fish into a bowl of water and the rest of its body into a plastic bag. Carlisle and I
had raced last year; I could clean fish seven seconds faster than him.
"Did you get all that?" I asked, knowing full well he hadn't. Edward looked down
and noticed that the fish was no more.
"How about a step by step?" Edward asked sheepishly.
"Fine, I'll do it with you," I agreed. I leaned over the table, careful not to shove my
ass in his face and grabbed the next unfortunate aquatic creature. I set it down on
the cutting board and picked up the knife, expecting Edward to follow my suit.
I held in a gasp of surprise when Edward moved from my right side to behind me.
His rock hard arms slipped past my sides and wove their way under my arms that
were poised and ready with the knife. I stiffened as his chest pressed lightly, yet still
firmly against my back.
Without wanting to make a big deal out of it outwardly, inwardly I was freaking
out a bit I didn't glance up at him. Instead, his gentle fingers coaxed mine to softly
release the knife. I let go of it and he took it firmly in between his fingers. I sat there
for a second, feeling so much of his body caging mine in. Except I didn't feel
constricted, I felt safe. It was a weird sensation to describe; the best comparison I
could make was trying to write what a sunset looks like. It was impossible to
describe. It just is what it is.
"Now what?" I breathed, downplaying my anxiety.
"Take my hands, show me what to do," Edward whispered into my ear. The hairs
on the back of my neck stood up and my chest fluttered at his proximity.
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I place my hands lightly on top of his and moved them. Edward moved without any
resistance, cutting exactly where I was telling him to, and cutting smoothly with
ease. I fought the urge to let my head fall back against him.
We continued with this system for a few more fish. I wasn't even guiding his hands
after the second one; he was working skillfully without my help. But he didn't move
his arms or chest from me, and I didn't move out of them. I tentatively closed my
eyes and felt his arms moving slowly around me, his muscles moving with every cut
of the blade.
Without any warning I felt his lips on the base of my neck. My eyes flew open and
I blinked rapidly, in sync with my pulsing heart. I didn't move, I stayed perfectly still
as my body tingled and his lips lifted gently off of my skin. I turned slowly in his
arms and looked up at him.
Edward locked eyes with me. I heard some shuffling and sliding behind me. I was
curious what he was doing without looking but I wasn't going to break eye contact.
He lightly urged me backward until I met the edge of the picnic table. Edward's
startling eyes moved away from mine and looked behind me. I turned my neck to
look behind. I saw that he had pushed away all the shit so that there was a square
foot of clean table.
I used my hands to push myself onto the table as a chair. I was secure quickly and
looked back up at Edward. He stared down at me with the hint of a smile. He moved
his hands on each side of my thigh, so close that the edges of his fingers were
brushing against my bare thigh.
"What now?" Edward asked with a hint of seduction in his desirable voice. I felt
the corner of my mouth go up the tiniest bit.
I don't know where I found my voice, or how it didn't betray my racing heart, but
somehow I managed to speak. "Is this the part where you kiss me?"
Edward ducked his head and smiled softly at me. He leaned in so that his breath
tickled my skin over my shoulder. He leaned in farther and placed his lips on my
bare shoulder, placing a chaste kiss and then removing his lips only to place them
farther up a few inches towards my neck. His whisper made me shiver. "You tell
me."
His lips roamed around the area of my neck, making my back arch when he
started to suck lightly on the skin of my neck. Abruptly he removed his lips off of my
skin and it felt cold without the contact. I looked at him, my hands weaving their
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way over his arms until they were nestled behind his neck. I looked at him. He
looked at me. Then he started to lean in towards the final destination of my lips as
my heart steadily pounded in my chest.
"I want some fillets! What's taking so long?" Emmett's voice rang from somewhere
on the other side of the cabin. Edward closed his eyes and let his head hang down
next to mine.
"I will kill him," he promised threateningly. I smiled, trying not to show my
disappointment when he raised his head and looked back up to me.
"Seriously, when are you going to be oh." Emmett had just rounded the corner
that Carlisle had left and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw us. Edward sighed,
quiet enough just for me to hear and moved away from the compromising position
we were currently in.
"Hi Emmett," I gave him a little half-hearted wave, trying not to blush. I looked
down and crossed my legs because they were spread where Edward had been
standing. Emmett pressed his mouth into a flat line, looking like he was fighting
some amusement.
"Something funny, McCarthy?" Edward asked coolly, crossing his arms defensively
and widening his stance.
"Nope. Well just a little. . ." Edward saw where Emmett was going and raised a
challenging eyebrow at him. Emmett quickly backtracked. "Nope. Nothing at all. I'm
just going to go and find Rose, and do. . .stuff. Yeah, kay bye." And with that Emmett
turned around and jogged back out of sight.
"So," Edward said as he moved his arms to hang at his side. He shoved his hands
in his pockets. I shifted awkwardly, the mood from a minute ago totally gone.
"Well. Let's finish these fish I guess." Had we done anything else it would have
been uncomfortable for each of us. Neither of us said anything while we made quick
work of all the fish.
God I hated Emmett.
We waded in the water out in front of the cabin in the lake after lunch. Rosalie
and I floated on blown up water beds while Edward and Emmett threw the football
back and forth. Rosalie and I were trying to have a conversation about the upcoming
soccer season. But holy shit, it was impossible with the two of them casually in the
- 188 -
water without their shirts. There were abs everywhere you freaking looked!
"Justine Marcy!" Emmett said suddenly. He sounded pretty triumphant, like he
had just remembered the name. Rosalie, Edward and I all stared at him as he
grinned proudly.
"Huh?" Everyone was thinking it.
"She was my first. 11th grade, prom night." Edward and I continued to stare, but
Rosalie nodded and shrugged, running her hand in the water. Emmett looked back
and forth between us before sighing dramatically and explaining. "Rose was asking a
few days ago and I couldn't remember her name, but now I got it!" He looked like he
wanted a high five.
"Awesome!" I exclaimed with fake enthusiasm. Emmett narrowed his eyes at me,
and Edward laughed.
I couldn't tell what Rosalie's actually reaction to the subject was because she had
her Hollywood sunglasses on and was looking down at the water. I don't know why
she would even ask him a question like that in the first place. But I had no idea what
those two talked about, so I wasn't judging.
"Who was yours, Edward?" Rosalie asked curiously, looking from the water over to
Edward. I looked curiously over to gauge his reaction. He blinked and then stared at
her before putting both his hands behind his head uncomfortably.
"Who was yours, Rose?"
"Wouldn't you like to know." I rolled my eyes. I'm sure Rosalie would like to know.
Edward looked over at me, his eyes burning. "What about you, Bella?"
Great. This is totally the conversation I wanted to be having right now. You suck,
Emmett.
"Not applicable."
Edward looked at me funny when I answered. I guess in any of the letters this
conversation had never really come up. With good reason of course. His shoulders
stiffened a little bit and his face became tense. It was almost like he was a little
annoyed.
- 189 -
"What about yourself?" I didn't want to know the answer to the question. I mean
really, who would? But I couldn't keep myself from asking regardless.
"Doesn't matter." I was taken aback by the cool dismissal in his tone. I blinked a
few times and gave him a look. Okay, Mr. Touchy.
"Well why'd you ask me then?" I asked, quickly getting annoyed with the response
I was getting from him.
"I don't know. Let's drop it." Edward threw the football back to Emmett with
noticeably more aggression.
"I don't why you're getting worked up about some chick." This was the first time
(not including the early morning fishing) that I was legitimately growing annoyed
with him. It was weird.
"I don't know why you're still talking about it," Edward retorted. I squinted. Geez,
what the hell's up his ass suddenly? I didn't like the tone he was using and I hated
the tone I was using.
"I don't know why you're avoiding it."
"I don't know why you're so interested!" I backed off when his tone became more
agitated. I was aware of the audience we had and I didn't even know why we were
talking about this.
"I'm not," I argued.
"Good," Edward agreed. I turned away and sassed him. Rosalie, who had been
watching the whole thing, lifted her sunglasses up and raised an eyebrow at me. I
shook my head and fell against the inflated plastic.
Edward was still grouchy when we got out of the water and went inside to get
some snacks. I decided not to say anything, waiting for some sort of explanation on
his part of why he was so touchy. That decision not to say anything dissolved when I
realized he wasn't going to say anything.
I placed my hands firmly on the counter and looked over at him. "Okay, seriously,
what's wrong? You freaked out about a simple little question."
"I didn't freak out. Why the fuck are we still talking about this?" I wanted to roll
my eyes. I was already exasperated with him. And I was getting frustrated.
- 190 -
"I want to know why you are still worked up about the damn question," I
persisted, irritated.
"Because it's none of your business! I don't need to tell you everything." I felt my
face scrunch up in displeasure. That stung a little bit. And it pissed me off.
"I know that!"
"I really don't think you do!" Edward crossed his arms after shutting the fridge
door with a violent shove. I mirrored his position. "Why the the hell do you want do
know the first girl I did?"
I raised an eyebrow, daring him to piss me off further. "You asked me! Just
because I didn't have an answer doesn't make the question any different!"
"Exactly!"
That made absolutely no sense. "What the fuck?"
"You know, screw this. This conversation is pointless and going nowhere." I
narrowed my eyes at him. In the back of my mind I was wondering where Rosalie
and Emmett had hidden.
"Of course you think that. . ." I trailed off angrily when he threw his hands up and
started to walk hurriedly away from me to the door. I frowned and hesitated for a
split second before catching right up to him.
Carlisle and Esme were under one of the trees sitting in lawn chairs, Carlisle with
his laptop and Esme with some feminist trash. They both looked up when Edward
and I strode out the doors. I watched as Edward, still keeping up his fast pace threw
off his shirt and scooped down to grab a life jacket off the grass. He buckled it up in
record time and waded into the shallow water.
Was he serious?
I continued to watch as he slid onto the seat of the slick jet-ski and put the key in
the ignition. Before another word could be said or even a glance back at me, he
grabbed the throttle roughly and jetted away across the water.
"What the hell was that?" Esme asked at the same time as Carlisle chuckled with a
smirk. "Bummer," he said, nodding to Edward who was already halfway across the
lake. I stared out at the lake and crossed my arms again.
- 191 -
"What am I supposed to do now?" I asked, not really hoping for Carlisle or Esme to
answer. Then I decided exactly what I would do. I bent down, unbuttoned my shorts
and unzipped them before pushing them down and kicking them away from my
ankles.
"I'm not sure. But I don't think taking your pants off is really going to help. Well it
probably would, but I'd rather we keep it clean." Why was he finding this so funny?
Esme laughed softly.
"I'll be back in a little bit," I told them as I took off my tank top and grabbed a life
jacket. That's right buddy, two can ride a jet-ski.
I laughed to myself as the wind whipped my hair violently away from my face due
to the speed. I had gotten the faster jet-ski. And it took Edward about two minutes to
figure out that I would win this one. I caught up with him and he waved a white flag
of surrender and we had words.
I wasn't sure about much. Especially with the last couple of days spent with
Edward. But I did know one thing; I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
And yet somehow, I loved every minute of it.
Wait, I'm wrong
Should've done better than this
Please, I'll be strong
I'm finding it hard to resist
Save me, I'm lost
Oh Lord I've been waiting for you
I'll pay any cost
Save me from being confused
Show me what I'm looking for
- 192 -
Don't let go
I've wanted this far too long
Mistakes become regrets
I've learned to love abuse
Please show me what I'm looking for
Show Me What I'm Looking For, Carolina Liar
-I have a little annoucement. Well really, it's a rant. If you don't like the pace of my
story; fine. If you don't like the way I write my characters; whatever. I don't care. If
you don't like how I'm explaining things? Or don't like the lack of smut as of now?
BYE. I'll see you when I've finished posting this story. I'm not changing a thing I've
wrote in the next 30 chapters because of your opinion.
-With that being said, I write for me. Not any of you. That's not to say that I'm not
so fucking thankful for all of you have stuck with me. I couldn't imagine this story
without you. I'm just not cateering to you. (Don't take that in a bitchy way.)
-Finally...Bella and Edward are fine. It was just a small fight. If they didn't have
one; they'd be unrealistic. Next chapter, things will be peachy(: I just had to show
their changing relationship.
-Sorry for the long ass authors note...(:
- 193 -
Chapter 19
As it turns out the little fight Edward and I got into the day before was just been a
tiny bit pointless. Out there on two separate jet-skis in the middle of the lake
Edward partially explained why he had reacted the way he did. He had remembered
the first girl he'd been with, her name was Carrie, and she was a pretty blonde. But
now she was as good as a vegetable. Yep; apparently Carrie fell into a coma a couple
years back and her rich family is still waiting for her to wake up.
I wanted to laugh in exasperation. But then I would feel bad. So as he was telling
me this I just nodded. He didn't really seem too torn up about this. Infact, he was
rather detached. So I was still heavily confused as to why the hell he had reacted the
way he did when I answered. I tried to think of anything I had said before he became
angry, but I couldn't remember anything. Maybe a turtle bit him. That'd make me
crabby.
Edward and I were back into sync again that night and we enjoyed another night
around the campfire. Esme raised an eyebrow at me when instead of sitting next to
her in the empty lawn chair, I opted to sit in the one next to Edward. I looked at her
and shrugged. I was so confused the only thing I could do was roll with it.
The next morning I woke up at about six due to the loud thunder shaking the
cabin. When it stormed up here, it stormed with hell's fury. I got out of my warm bed
and padded on the carpet to the door. I was disoriented and surprised when I saw
Emmett leaning with his elbows on the counter staring out at the grayish green
rainy landscape. My yawn alerted him to my presence. He turned his head back to
look who it was. I smiled softly in greeting. He gave me a small grin and nod in
greeting.
"Do you drink coffee?" I asked barely above a whisper due to Rose sprawled on
the futon on the other side of the cabin.
Emmett shook is head still looking out at the storming skies, "Never liked the
stuff."
I nodded and went slowly to the cabinet to get a bag of herbal, non caffeinated
tea. I found a mug and carefully turned the water spout on to fill it. I put it quietly
into the microwave, working around where Emmett was standing. I kept an eye on
it, not wanting the ding to go off.
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"I love the smell," I commented, following his gaze out the window. It had a screen
on it so the glass part of the window opened to let in the noise and smell of summer
rain.
"One of those things you miss in Iraq," Emmett agreed faintly. I nodded and we
waited there for about a minute. I beat the ding of the microwave and took out the
mug and put the bag in to seep it. I decided to leave Emmett and his rain watching
in peace. So I went to the closest unoccupied futon and sat down on it. I tucked my
feet under me and opened the curtain to see the rain from a more comfortable
viewing point.
I looked up from the steaming water to see Emmett coming over to sit across from
me on the couch. I propped my elbow on the back of the cushion and laid my head in
my hand. I glanced up at him, wondering if he had anything he wanted to say. When
he didn't say anything I looked back down at the tea and raised the bag up and down
with the string, watching as a dark red swirled around the clear water and a
flavorful aroma spread around me, tickling my nose.
I enjoyed having Emmett around. I knew Rose just adored him, and I was glad
she'd found someone who was truly decent. I had never really had many discussion
with him though.
"Edward's a good guy," Emmett spoke without warning. When I watched him I
saw he was still staring out to the lake that was being pelted with tiny drops of
water.
"I know that," I said quietly, looking over to see if Rosalie was still out like a light.
She was.
"I'm telling you this as a friend, not Edward's wing man," Emmett continued, voice
hushed.
I nodded and took a sip of my tea.
"Edward's had some pretty shitty luck in life. He's good a covering it up and
acting like he's happy so no one notices." I frowned. I didn't like to hear that Edward
has had a rough life. I didn't know exactly what all had happened to him. He's very
closed off about his past. And I didn't push, because I haven't told him much about
my parents either.
Emmett either didn't see my frown or continued regardless. "I've been around him
for a long time now. And seeing him here with youit's the first time I've seen a
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difference in him. He's genuinely happy. He's not covering anything up since I've
watched him here."
I figured Emmett was telling the truth because I had no reason to doubt what he
was saying. I didn't have anything to compare Edward to. No Edward then and
Edward now. I couldn't imagine him any other way than he was now. I stopped my
mind immediately from drawing horrible conclusions of what exactly happened to
Edward.
"I'm glad," I whispered, thinking rather fondly of him.
Emmett turned his gaze away from the rain and looked directly at me. "But I'm not
done. And feel free to tell me that I'm out of line when I say this, but there is
something...you know...between the two of you."
Again, I nodded, unsure of what I was supposed to say. Somehow, oh gee thanks!
You really think so? didn't sound right.
"Look Bella, to anyone else your relationship looks downright weird and
unconventional. I get that you guys both are facing a few. . .erm. . .issuses with your
age and current living statuses. But honestly, I don't know why either of you would
be dense enough enough to let whatever you are. . .you know, feeling slide because
of fear." I remained silently, listening intently to his unexpected lecture. It would be
a lie to say that he hadn't been spot on with guessing why I was so unsure. I didn't
know what to think. Emmett had a sensitive side; who knew?
"I'm not trying to go all Yoda on you; I just want you to give him a chance. If that's
what you want I mean." It was way too early in the morning to be having this
conversation. But I silently thought about what Emmett had just said and then
nodded slowly.
"So basically do whatever the fuck I want?" I summed up with the hint of a grin on
my face.
"Basically," Emmett grinned back with an approving nod and wink. With Edward
and I's relationship at the stage where it was so completely undefined, I was glad
that I had his best friend's approval.
We sat there and watched the rain fall until I had finished my tea. It would be
raining all day from what the weather forecast said, so I doubted I would be missing
anything if I went back to sleep for a couple hours. My yawn gave me away. Emmett
yawned shortly after me.
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"Might as well go back to bed," he suggested. I agreed and stood up slowly. I set
the empty mug on the table and Emmett went towards the direction of the room him
and Edward were sharing.
"Hey Emmett?" I asked in a loud whisper. He turned back and looked at me
expectantly with raised eyebrows. "Does Edward snore?"
I watched as his shoulders shook up and down with silent laughter as he smirked
at me. Then he shook his head and winked at me before opening the door to the
bedroom. Good to know, I nodded to myself before crawling back into the comfort of
my pillow and blankets.
When I woke up again there was no difference in the sky outside. But when I
looked at the clock it said 9:12. So I got out of bed, not bothering to change out of
the fleece pants and sweatshirt I had slept in and opened the door to find everyone
else already up, looking bright eyed and bushy tailed. Well, with the exception of
Rose who was sitting at the table blinking her sleep filled eyes rapidly and looking
slightly murderous.
Carlisle and Esme were both already dressed in jeans and casual clothes buzzing
around the kitchen. Each of their overnight bags were thrown by the door that leads
to the backyard. Edward as sitting at the table across from Rosalie and next to
Emmett. The guys were each nursing a can Mt. Dew.
"Morning," I said to no one in particular as I stretched my arms across my body
and yawned. Rosalie grunted in acknowledgment and Esme gave me a wave without
even looking in my direction. Edward smiled warmly at me, already showered and
looking fresh in his ARMY gray t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
I plopped down in the chair next to Edward and slouched against it. He grinned at
my tiredness and took another drink of his pop. I smiled groggily back and then
looked over at Carlisle. He was flipping pan cakes on the stove and Esme was next
to him cutting up fruit.
"Why are your bags packed?" I asked him. Carlisle looked up from the food and
followed my gaze to the bags.
"One of Esme's new employees who planned her first outdoor wedding called this
morning in. . . well it wasn't really tears. . .more like sobs. Es agreed to get over
there and make sure things run smoothly for the afternoon wedding. So we're
heading out after breakfast." Sucks for that bride. I shrugged indifferently and
nodded.
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Minutes later steaming food was set in front of us on the table and we all dug into
the meal. I was in the middle of devouring my pancake with wild berry syrup when
Esme spoke up.
"So Emmett, how long will you be here?"
I watched both Emmett and Rosalie curiously. Rosalie frowned and stared intently
down at the fruit that she was currently eating and stabbed a blueberry particularly
roughly. Emmett started to frown but then caught himself and his mouth moved to a
flat line. His shoulders on the other hand, tensed.
"I'm here for one more week. My flight leaves a week from today," he answered. I
wasn't sure if Esme was oblivious I doubted that- or if she was empathic and didn't
want to dwell on the subject.
"You'll be here for 4th of July! I'm glad! Do you two have any plans?" Esme
continued cheerily. I was glad Edward and Emmett wouldn't be in Iraq for
Independence Day. Alice and Jasper wouldn't be either come to think of it. I had
completely forgotten that they would be arriving on leave in just a couple days.
Emmett looked at Rose who looked up from her plate. She shook her head and
Emmett nodded. Even though Esme had seen the exchange Emmett still answered,
"No, we don't."
Esme nodded and raised an eyebrow at no one in particular, her lips pursed twice.
I knew that look. That was Esme's idea look. I glanced over at Carlisle who was
looking at his wife. We both knew that look and wanted to know what her current
plan was. It was like you could hear the gears turning in her hand.
"How would you two like to come up here, to the cabin? The four of us will be up
here." Hmm, I was disappointed; normally her ideas were a little more exciting.
Honestly, I had been hoping for something with a tiger in it. But Esme continued, "If
your friends Jasper and Alice haven't made any plans you could sure ask them if they
would like to join us. We have plenty of room." And there it was.
Edward nodded considering the idea. Rosalie shrugged but a small smile tugged
and her lips and Emmett was nodding slowly, approving greatly by the looks of it. I
on the other hand positively beamed. I fucking loved 4th of July.
"I would like that." The rest of them nodded in agreement with me and Esme
smiled brilliantly.
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"I'll text Jasper later," Emmett piqued.
"I'll be a great 4th," Esme smiled, her eyes twinkling brightly.
Just like they said, Carlisle and Esme were out of the cabin right after breakfast
was done. I mean literally right after. . . again leaving us to do the dishes. Emmett
and Edward were forced to do them while Rose and I played a card game. War.
I got dressed in a different sweatshirt from the soccer team and threw on a pair of
jeans. I placed a thin headband in my hair to push it away from my face and decided
to screw makeup.
Edward and Emmett were in the garage and Rosalie was taking a shower. I
opened the door leading outside and sprinted through the rain to where the
hammock was nestled under the protection of the two trees. It was dry as the desert
when I laid down on it. It was chilly out here but it was nice, it smelt like summer
rain, and the constant pour of it was soothing.
I don't know how much time had passed. It couldn't have been more then ten
minutes. Edward opened the door that I had come out of. I watched as he scanned
the yard and lake until his eyes located where I was lying. I gave him a little wave.
He smiled before looking up at the sky. Then he ran through the yard in my
direction until he got under the protection of the trees.
"Hey snicker doodle," he said breathlessly with a dazzling grin. I smiled at the
name. He ran his hand through his hair that had just gotten rained on. "This seat
taken?" he asked while he gestured to the empty space on the hammock next to me.
I slid over to make room, just like last weekend.
"I like the rain," Edward said softly staring out at the lawn.
"Me too," I agreed. I turned on my side and propped my head up to face him. He
turned away from where he was looking and then mirrored my position. Our denim
covered legs fell together and rested against one another.
The only sound for a whole minute was the steady pour of rain on the leaves and
lake. We stared at each other. This morning when Rosalie was staring down her fruit
while Emmett talked about leaving it made me panic and empathize with her.
Edward wasn't going to be here forever. He wouldn't be here for long at all. And I
didn't want to forget a single thing about him. So I studied his face, I memorized his
eyes and put his small smile in my memory.
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"Bella," his voice broke me out of my gazing. I blinked and looked into his eyes.
His voice was gentle, and, almost vulnerable.
"Yeah?" I asked quietly.
I watched as his shaven jaw shifted back and forth, something he did when he was
at a loss for words. And that wasn't often. I didn't wonder when it came to Edward
talking. I waited.
"These past two or so weeks have been some of the best of my life," Edward
started. His eyes traveled past mine and looked off to nothing in particular. I gave
him a small encouraging smile. I wasn't going to interrupt him, especially because
he sounded like he had something important to say.
"I. . .Bella, this morning when Emmett and Rose were talking about him going
back. It made me think of me having to go back in a couple weeks. . .when I was on
the plane coming here, I didn't ever think it would be that difficult to leave you after
a month. But then I saw you, standing amongst the crowd at the airport and," he
paused for a milisecond, his eyes locking with mine, "everything changed. And now,
I. . . now I don't know what I'm doing anymore."
I watched him as he put himself out there with that beautiful speech and now he
was completely exposed. And soldiers are never exposed. I had only hoped that this
is what he had been thinking about. I wanted to reach out and wrap my arms around
him. I wanted him to hug me and everything to be good and make sense. Instead I
tentatively reached out with my free hand and brushed stray strands away from his
forehead tenderly. I let my hand rest lightly on the side of his face as he kept his
eyes on mine.
Edward took another breath to steady his voice. "I really like you Bella, I know I
shouldn't, I know nothing can happen, and if it does it will only cause you pain. But
I. . .I don't know why I feel this way, but something's right. It's like I never really
lived until I met you, I didn't know so much was missing until you came into my life."
I opened my mouth hesitantly to speak but he started to talk again, looking
slightly panicked now, "I don't mean to freak you out. I mean, I totally get it if I'm
being completely out of line. I didn't come here expecting this. I really didn't. I just. .
.fuck, I just, I don't know what I'm doing. I just know I can't keep sitting around
wasting another day of you not knowing how I feel."
I closed my eyes and took a cleansing breath when I opened them I stared into his
anxious eyes as I spoke. "Edward, I. . .I don't know how I'm going to let you go back
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to Iraq. I feel so much for you, and it's honestly freaking me out. All I know is that I
want you in my life even if that means pain for me. You are worth it."
I hated exposing myself just as much as Edward did. Admitting fear is not
something I did, because it made me feel weak. Maybe that was why I was so
insanely sarcastic most of the time. Edward made me feel so vulnerable and so safe
at the same time.
"I'm scared shitless," I whispered.
Edward let out a low chuckle, "Tell me about it." Involuntarily I licked my lower lip
and continued to stare at him. He leaned forward, towards my face while my heart
started to pound loudly. My eyes darted nervously to his lips which were making
their descent towards mine.
Edward pressed lips softly against mine. It was just a light touch, one full of
promises. He pulled back after a moment and searched my eyes, looking for
something unknown to me. Whatever he was looking for he seemed to have found.
He pressed his lips gently, yet firmly against mine. I pressed my mouth back against
his my lips parting for him.
He took my lower lip between his soft lips and sucked softly. I shivered in pleasure
and closed my eyes all the while pushing my face closer to his. Tentatively I ran my
tongue over his top lip. Edward stilled for a moment and I was about to open my
eyes when I felt him resume kissing me, now with more rigorousness than before. I
moved the hand that wasn't holding my head up to his hair that had started to grow
out longer since he got here. I ran my hand through the soft locks holding his head
close to mine. His own free hand slid under my sweatshirt and rested on my side
firmly, not going any higher.
Edward's warm tongue slid into my mouth. My toes curled at the sensation. I
kissed him back with spirit as the gentleness of the first kiss dissolved. It dissolved
into passion, and hunger. Edward's mouth was no longer gentle; instead he was
kissing me roughly, kindling a lust that shouldn't have surprised me. Responding on
instinct I pulled myself closer to him. His grip on my side tightened possessively as
he shifted closer to me.
The rain continued to pour around us. But Edward and I, right now, we were safe
from the storm. We were under our own awning blocking out all the harsh elements
and staying dry. I wished that we would be able to stay here forever. But the rain
would continue and eventually we would need to brave it out and run through the
water hoping we didn't get too wet. And we would get to shelter, but waiting at that
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shelter will be Emmett and Rosalie, eyebrows raised and silent questions on their
mouths. We'll be safe from the storm, but not alone together.
I continued to kiss Edward until he softly pulled away. My eyes fluttered open as
my chest raised up and down, filling with the air I hadn't got while kissing him.
Edward fell back on the hammock next to me, bringing his hand away from my side
and placing it on his own chest.
After both of us had regained our breaths Edward turned to look at me. I stared
curiously at him. He smiled at me, and that smile assured me that everything would
be all right. He was all in on this. I smiled back with soft happiness back at him. He
moved forward and placed a reverent kiss on my forehead, his lips lingering against
my skin, unwilling to break the connection we had in that moment.
We didn't have to brave the storm just yet.
It's like I never lived
Before my life with you
So much was missing here
I never even knew
I still picture the place we were
When I fell into your world
I don't know why feel this way
But something's right
You're like the morning air
Before the light arrives
No more lonely and
No more night
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No more secrets to hide
Keeping Me Alive, The Afters
-Aww. Finally! Took me long enough, huh?
-I want to apologize for my bitching last chapter, you guys are SO awesome, and
you didn't deserve my frustration for a few a few people. Thank you so much for
sticking with me(:
-Sorry this chapter is a little rough editting wise. I betaed (betad? hmm.) it myself
since my lovely sister has been working nonstop.
-Oh. Well I'm at it...any puppy name ideas? If Edward was to say (hypothetically of
course;) get Bella dog. Lemme know your ideas(:
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Chapter 20
Shout out to my beta SimplyDazzling! She's back and you won't have to suffer
through my poor grammar any more(;
Oh. And Ares? Guys, he's still with the gang, and he's going to live with Bella
when he goes back. But come on...who doesn't want two dogs?
I decided to ride home in Rose's car from the cabin that day, the day of the kiss.
Edward and Emmett took my truck and Ares. It was Sunday, and we only stayed at
the cabin for the weekend. I called Carlisle in the car and asked if he wanted to go
golfing when we got home since the rain had stopped. I didn't want to go with Rose
because she was just dying to ask questions, so he made a tee time.
After Edward and I kissed, I was feeling pretty damn good about life and whatnot.
We stayed on the hammock, close to each other for awhile. I was feeling some
serious bliss at that point. Edward had told me that he liked me, he said beautiful
words about his life before and I told him I had feelings for him too. Who wouldn't
be ecstatic at that point?
But I can never think objectively about Edward when I'm with Edward. And I
really was in need of some objective thinking. That's why I was riding home with
Rosalie. I doubt she saw the kiss; she would have definitely said something had she
seen it. But just because she didn't see it didn't mean that she didn't have a shitload
of other questions. I had to give her credit though, she was practicing restraint on
the way home.
I informed Edward that Carlisle and I were going to go golfing. He was waiting for
Ares to do his business, standing out in the lawn when I told him. I tried to make it
sound like nothing was bothering me, but I think came off cold. His eyebrows
furrowed in slight concern when I told him. His eyes searched mine and silently
asked if something was wrong. I pretended not to notice.
Edward nodded after I didn't say anything else. "Have fun," he told me with half
halfheartedness due to his confusion. I gave him an apologetic look before turning to
go in the house and change clothes. Sorry buddy, you have no idea what you're
getting into with me.
Carlisle somehow sensed that I wasn't in a chatting mood when he was driving to
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the course. I stared out the window not commenting on anything. I had way too
much on my mind to exchange pleasantries. And he accepted that easily. I was a
teenage girl. . .would you argue?
I formed a mental list while Carlisle was teeing up on the first hole. I was good at
lists; they helped me organize and gather my bearings. The list consisted of the past
week. . .
I found Ares and Edward's motorcycle. Okay, that was a friendly thing to do.
Rosalie told me Edward was really sexy. Well. . .I already knew that.
Emmett and Edward have mysterious conversation. I still wondered what they had
talked about, though I had some pretty decent guesses.
Edward started to get very flirty. No comment there.
Edward kissed my neck and shoulder on a table full of fish guts. Who would have
thought fish guts could be romantic?
Emmett interrupted kiss. Not a very relevant point, but regardless I found Emmett
as annoying as Rose.
Emmett remembers the first girl he slept with. Why was Emmett on this list so
much?
When asked about this, Edward gets agitated. Had I said something else to make
him mad? I felt like I had but I had no clue what.
Edward takes off on a jet-ski. The slow jet-ski. Things are resolved regardless.
Emmett tells me to give Edward a chance. Aw, Emmett has a soft side.
And finally Edward tells me he likes me and we have a very hot kiss. Hence the list
now.
I think that was a fair summary of what had transpired in the last week. Now I just
needed to know what to make of it. We were on the 4th hole when I thought about
the kiss. I smiled while I swung the club. That was a damn good kiss. But at the
same time, I felt like that kiss was wrong.
Edward was 22. I was 17 for another week. That's a five year age difference. In
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the world of people in their 20's and 30's, that wasn't that big of deal. But seeing as
how I was in high school. . .Yeah, it was kind of a big deal. He was in the army; he
was my pen pal to put it lightly. You didn't go making out with your pen pal who was
visiting you and your family on his leave. Well apparently I do, I guess.
Emmett seemed to know that's where my thoughts were at the time. Basically do
whatever the hell I want. I wish it was that simple. I knew Edward was a good guy
and I knew he cared about me. If only we could leave it at that.
But it all came down to one question. Did I want to be with Edward; did I want
him to be my boyfriend? Or did I want him to stay my friend? At least until I had life
figured out.
The obvious answer would be yes, I would love to be in a relationship with
Edward. But that involved so much. He would be leaving in a few weeks and he
wouldn't be coming back for a year. What's worse, he would be leaving to a war
zone for a year. I didn't know if I could handle that intense worry for that long.
It wasn't something a normal senior in high school had to think about. They were
thinking about AP classes, the sports they were captains of, colleges, graduation,
and senior prom. Which I wouldn't have a date to. And when I said AP classes. . .I
really meant it. I was taking five. If I was able to pass the exams at the end of the
year with a 3 or 4 (I'd already passed four), I would have my first year of college
done. That was incredibly stressful, but I had brought that upon myself.
I wanted to think I could handle that. But the truth was, no matter how much
convincing I could do to myself, it would still be way too much for me. I was a strong
person, I could get through anything, but I didn't want a relationship with Edward to
feel like a task, just another thing on a list. And I didn't want him thinking about me
when he should be focusing on staying alive.
Which made me wonder if everything would be better and easier if we waited until
his tour in Iraq was over. I would be done with high school and he would be home.
Objectively that would be the best choice. But I wanted to be with Edward. I didn't
want to dangle over that line of friends or a couple. Especially for another whole
year. I would rather have him 9000 miles away than not have him at all.
The stay-friends-forever thing was so completely out.
I was running out of options here.
The rational part of my brain was telling me that I should just talk this over with
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Edward. He should have a say in any decision. But I knew if I did talk with him, he
would have much more than a say. Whether he meant to or not I would probably
agree with anything he suggested. But then again, maybe he had a better solution
than the shitty ones I'd been coming up with.
I went back to my original train of thought. I hadn't factored in my family and
friends. Senior year was going to be a stress throw in a boyfriend and it's just
down right insane. But I had Rose, I had Esme, and I had Carlisle. They all loved me
and could keep me sane; even if that was impossible.
And that led me back to the wait a year choice. It seemed to have so much more
pros than cons than the other one. It sounded easier when you put the two together
and factored in all the other obstacles. But was easier always better? I didn't think
so in this case. Well, hell, I didn't know what I was thinking.
I frowned. Good Lord, I needed a shrink.
On the 17th hole I came to a decision. It wasn't really a decision more of an
impasse really. . .which didn't make sense considering you needed two people for an
impasse. . .Yeah. Um, I needed some serious sleep. Regardless of the fact that my
sanity was slowly but surely slipping away from me, I made the choice to give
Edward some space. Even if he didn't want it, it was for my benefit anyway. Even if
that made no sense at all.
I would continue to weigh the pros and cons of all the choices. And hopefully I
would come to an actual decision regarding the matter. And if that didn't work. . .I'd
flip a coin?
To sum it up; I was just as fucking confused when we left the golf course than
when we arrived. . .four hours ago. I wasn't good at multiple choice questions. I
liked True of False so much more.
We pulled into the driveway to see that Esme was home from her wedding.
Carlisle offered to bring my clubs into the garage. I accepted his offer and
apologized for the lack of attention I paid today. He looked over at me with a sly
grin. "Are you kidding? That was one of my best rounds! It's nice when you finally
shut up once and awhile," he teased. I cracked a smile despite my mood and rolled
my eyes.
"I'm glad I could help," I responded sarcastically. He held up his hand in a fist and
I bumped mine to his with a smile before getting out of the truck and going inside.
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Edward was sitting at the counter with his shoe up, tying the laces. He was
wearing a gray sweatshirt and athletic shorts. I looked over to see Esme was
wearing running clothes. She was flipping through a magazine while Edward
finished getting his shoes on.
"Oh Bella," Esme smiled when she noticed me walking in. I slid out of my golf
shoes and gave her a false smile that she seemed to accept. "We were just going to
go running since the rain has cleared up a bit," she informed me, going back to her
magazine.
Against my better judgment, I looked over at Edward who was looking at Esme
while she was talking and then looked over at me. He raised his eyebrows at me
while he gave me a once over. I didn't respond to his quizzical face. "Yeah, you
should come with us," Edward said after a moment.
That totally defeated the purpose of giving myself space. "I" I was about to say I
had homework. That would have gone over nicely. "I have to send the school the
days Rosalie and I decided for captain's practice," I instead finished lamely. Luckily I
wasn't exactly an awful liar.
"You have to do that right now?" Esme asked with a raised eyebrow, a very
pointed raised eyebrow.
"Yeah, they want to print the sheets out tomorrow." . . .Or two weeks from
tomorrow.
"Okay. Ready to go, Edward?" Esme accepted my answer easily.
Edward, on the other hand, looked at me one last time, looking for any signs of
distress on my face. He mouthed "you okay?" I shrugged and then nodded. Esme
was already jogging out the door so Edward had no choice but to sigh and follow her
out to the garage.
I called it an early night. I went to bed at nine; hell, if it hadn't been overcast it
would have still been sunny out. But really, sleep was the only thing I wanted to do.
It didn't involve thought. It just involved me looking at the inside of eyelids. Edward
sensed something was off at dinner and stopped asking questions. The only good
thing about being a girl; you could attribute almost anything to PMS. I'm sure that's
what my family was doing now.
The next day I was as resolved as I had been yesterday. I decided, even though I
didn't want to, it would be best if I spent another day avoiding Edward. Tomorrow I
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would have everything figured out, I was sure of it.
Don't get me wrong. I hated being the whiny little girl who had an amazing man in
front of her but was to dense to see it. That was not me. It wasn't a question of being
with Edward, it was the question of when exactly that was going to happen.
I'm sure some would say I was being immature about it. But in reality, I was a few
days short of 18. Eighteen year olds had to deal with so much shit. I couldn't defend
my distance from Edward because in all honesty, I wasn't sure what I was doing
myself.
Edward came into my bedroom after I didn't come down for breakfast. Carlisle
and Esme both left for work at 7 in the morning. And I realized that when Edward
was knocking on my door. I felt bad for leaving him and the dog alone. I was
supposed to be having fun with him. But I just needed a little more time.
"Are you feeling okay?" Edward asked as he hesitantly peaked his head through a
crack of the door. It would have looked a lot better if I had been lying in bed. But I
was sitting on the couch with my lap top on my lap. Fully dressed.
"Um, yeah, I'm fine," I told him, looking up from the computer.
"Oh okay, well, do you want to do something? I kind of want some ice cream." I bit
down on my lip as Edward ran his hand through his hair, like he was nervous. I
wanted ice cream, it sounded really good actually.
He wanted ice cream. Part of me was awing at how freaking cute and boyish he
looked standing in front of me asking for sweets. The other part of me was just, well.
. .a bitch.
"Can we go later? I have to finalize my soccer coach's design for our new jerseys."
Again. . .it wasn't a total lie. I did have to approve the jerseys. . .he hadn't sent me
the design yet, but that didn't really matter if Edward didn't know that.
"Yeah, okay, sure. I'll be down there," he turned uncomfortably around and
pointed to the hallway and then just mumbled a "yeah," and went back out, closing
the door softly behind him. I smiled emptily and went back on the keyboard.
I went downstairs after about an hour. It was lunch time and I was wondering
what I should make. I was leaning towards an instant meal as I was heading down
the stairs. To my surprise however, Edward was already in the kitchen buttering
some bread. There was lettuce, cheese, ham, tomatoes and various other garnishes
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on the counter.
"That must have been some design to decide on," Edward smiled up at me briefly
before concentrating back on his task. I was glad he wasn't looking at me, I was
blushing. I couldn't decide if he knew I had been lying or if he was just making
conversation.
Edward put a delicious looking sandwich on a plate in front of me a couple
minutes later. I grinned and went to devour it as he sat down on the stool next to
mine and started to eat his own creation. Instead of being a creep and watching him
eat, I stared out the kitchen window leading to the backyard.
"So, Emmett and I were wanting to take you and Rosalie somewhere. . .you
interested?" Edward spoke after he swallowed a bite. I looked up at him, his greens
brimming with sweetness.
"For the whole afternoon?" I would have to turn him down, but I wanted to make it
seem like I was at least considering it.
"A good chunk of it."
"Oh, I have a golf lesson at the course today." Now I was outright lying and I was
starting to feel awful. Edward nodded slowly. He looked back down at this sandwich,
trying to hide is disappointment. I frowned and bit down on my lip once again.
"Did I do something to make you mad?" he asked, looking back up from his food.
His eyes were remorseful for something that he didn't even do. My heart clenched. I
made a promise I wouldn't lie to him anymore. "Look. . .I'm sorry I kissed you, I
swear I won't"
"No! Of course not! Please don't apologize for that. I do not regret it. I just have a
lot on my mind right now. Sorry." That was totally truthful! I could do this shit. Easy
peezy lemon squeezy.
Edward didn't look entirely convinced. "You're sure?" he checked. I nodded, trying
to appear cheerful. "Well okay." Still not convinced.
"You guys go have fun," I smiled falsely, trying to sound enthused for them. It
didn't sound that bad fortunately for me.
"Well okay, they'll be here in like ten minutes."
- 210 -
I nodded and finished my sandwich in silence. I was washing the very little dishes
we used when there was a honk outside. Ares barked sharply from the spot he was
laying by the sun. Edward turned and waved before going out the door without
another word. Ares barked again, this time softer. I looked over at him. "What the
hell am I supposed to do, Ares?"
Ares lifted his head and tilted it to the side before laying it back down on his paws
and staring at me. The door that Edward had just exited through opened abruptly
and I jumped in fright. Ares again barked loudly. I shushed him when I saw that it
was only Rose.
"Normal people knock," I said sourly, glaring at her for freaking me out. She
rolled her eyes and sat down on one of the stools. "What? What are you even doing
here? I thought you, Edward, and Emmett were going somewhere."
"We were," Rosalie sung in an irritated voice. "We were until Edward came out to
the car without you. I asked where you were and he said you had a golf lesson. I said
no she doesn't. He looked at me and said 'I assumed that much.'" I opened my mouth
to defend myself but Rosalie held up a hand to cut me off. "What the hell does that
mean? And that's what I asked him. He said you had been ignoring him for the
entire day, and some of yesterday. An" I cut Rosalie off sheepishly.
"Distancing. Not ignoring." She narrowed her eyes, not appreciating my
correction.
"Regardless I told them to go ahead without me while I came in here to knock
some sense into my dense friend," she finished, huffing.
"Did Emmett appreciate that rhyme?" I asked, ignoring everything else she just
said and smirking.
"Yes. I got a high five," Rosalie informed me snobbishly. "And now you're going to
tell me why the fuck you are distancing yourself from Edward." She made finger
quotes around the word distancing.
I sighed. Then I went to stand across from her at the counter. I placed my hands
firmly on the cool granite and thought about what I would say.
"Look, it's a little more complicated than what you're saying, you don't know
everything that happen" Rosalie interrupted me. I had almost forgotten that neither
one of us could ever finish a sentence when we were together.
- 211 -
"Is this about the kiss? Yeah yeah, don't look so surprised. Emmett looked out the
window and saw you two turning up the heat on the hammock yesterday. Way to be
discreet," she complimented sarcastically as I gapped at her. Of course it was
Emmett who saw us.
I closed my mouth and shook my head. "No, it's not just the kiss. It's everything. I
don't think you'd get it." Rosalie raised an offended eyebrow and gave me a, you
have got to be kidding look.
"Really?" she asked rhetorically in a monotone voice. I gave her a shrug.
"Think about it Rose, he's leaving. He's to be gone. Away. Not here." I said slowly,
trying to get this through to her even though I knew she was totally aware of the
fact. "You know it be smarter to wait until he got back."
"Bullshit," Rosalie sighed like I really was dense. "Do you want to know what I
think? No, scratch that. Do you want to know what I know?" She didn't give me an
opportunity to answer. "When you kissed, you thought about what it would be like,
being with Edward. You realized it'd be as easy as fucking blinking! And that totally
freaked you out."
Those words were spoken so surely and so positive. I knew Rose didn't have a
doubt in her mind that she was right about this. And I had to admit when Rosalie
was sure, she was generally right.
I gave up while Rose was staring at me. It had been less than 24 hours and I was
already waving the white flag of surrender.
I couldn't distance myself. I was already too far past that stage, I was already so
invested in Edward that I couldn't change my mind now. And she was right. Being
with Edward in the long run was the easiest thing I had ever done in my life. I
couldn't keep considering the odds, or the pros of cons. I had just wasted a day of
time with him that I wouldn't get back now.
Screw lists. I wanted to be with Edward. And I didn't give a damn what anyone
else had to say about it.
So she said, "What's the problem baby?"
What's the problem I don't know
- 212 -
Well maybe I'm in love, think about it every time
I think about it, can't stop thinking 'bout it
How much longer will it take to cure this
Just to cure it 'cause I can't ignore it if it's love
Makes me wanna turn around and face me
But I don't know nothing about love
Accidentally in Love, Counting Crows
-For those of you about to analyze the shit out of this, relax. Bella's reaction has
nothing to do with her age or ability to be in a relationship. She's a woman. We
change our minds. All the time.
-Edward and Emmett's afternoon plans? Paintball fight. That damn Bella...
-NOW, for all of those following me on Twitter, you know I dropped a hint or two
about Edward's past. Edward's past is going to be focused on in the last...12ish
chapters. Trust me...right now I'm going to keep it simple. However, why you guys
think Edward joined the army?
- 213 -
Chapter 21
Thank you to my beta SimplyDazzling!
"Nuh uh, nope. Sorry, not happening," I protested profusely.
Edward was standing on the driveway, holding out his hands in question, a lazy,
amused grin on his face. He happened to be standing next to his freshly imported
black, glossy motorcycle. Normally I would have been noticing how attractive he
looked in his snug white t-shirt and jeans, but right now I was staring down the
death trap. It had just arrived yesterday and Edward had just about peed his pants.
And then called Emmett like he was in second grade; they squealed in excitement
together.
Well maybe not squealing, but it had been pretty damn close.
"It's perfectly safe, Bella," he assured me, letting his hands fall as he took a step
toward me. I just tilted my head forward and raised an eyebrow at the bike,
continuing to assess it.
"That's what the makers of the motorcycle want you to think! So you'll buy one." I
argued, talking like I would to a stubborn three year old, still not bringing myself to
look away.
"If I crash, I give you permission to kick my ass," Edward promised with a crooked
grin.
"If you crashed I would not wait for your permission," I promised in return,
crossing my arms. Finally I looked up at Edward away from the bike. For some
reason he was amused by my resistance to get on the motorcycle.
"Come on, drama queen," Edward rolled his eyes and turned to go over to his
baby. He swung onto the leather and looked over at me, my feet planted firmly on
the cement. "Before the next ice age please."
"Fine," I grudgingly caved in. Only because I still felt bad for ignoring him on
Monday. It was now Wednesday, and this was the last time I would agree to do
something out of remorse.
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Edward grinned at me and held out the helmet. It was a huge helmet that looked
really heavy. And stylish. It was all shiny black with a tinted visor attached to it. I
grabbed it from his outstretched hand with two hands. I pushed my hair behind my
shoulders and pulled the helmet on over my head.
"Cute," Edward smiled in approval. I rolled my eyes. "It makes you look really
tough," he added with a sure nod.
"Don't push it, buddy," I warned him. He chuckled and slid forward in the seat.
Without anything but my life to lose, I swung my leg over the one side and sat
down on the seat behind him. There was a reason I didn't like motorcycles. And one
of them was the fact that there was nothing but a narrow strip of seat to hang onto. I
was a little more willing to give it a shot now that I had a U.S. soldier to hang on to.
But I still wasn't thrilled about it.
"You might want to hang on," Edward warned. I couldn't see him as he was
turning the monster on, but I heard an undeniable smile in his voice. I rolled my
eyes exasperatedly.
The engine roared to life and Edward slowly rolled out of the driveway. I place my
hands lightly on each of his sides, just like I would if I was riding on a jet-ski. The
explosion of movement caught me by surprise as Edward ripped out onto the street.
Without a second thought I wrapped my arms as far around his torso as I could,
crushing his back to my chest. I heard his musical laughter through the wind and I
wanted to kick him. I would have had I not thought it would kill us both. Jackass.
I had no idea where we were going. I knew it was around lunch time, but that
didn't really mean anything to me. It only took a few minutes before Edward was
turning out to the highway. I raised two eyebrows even if he couldn't see them. I
wasn't expecting how much faster the bike could go. He accelerated when we rolled
out onto the highway. My thighs squeezed around him involuntarily due to the
unexpected burst of speed. If he said anything about it I would kick him, despite the
possible dire consequences.
We weren't on the highway for long thank God before Edward turned off to an
exit. He continued to slow down as he turned on several different roads as if he
knew area like the back of his hand. We seemed to be traveling up a hill. When he
finally stopped, it was at the end of the road and I knew where we were. Rosalie and
I had hiked up this road a couple years back. You could see a good half of the city
from up here, surrounded by the various trees.
- 215 -
There was patchy grass growing in through the dirt. In a certain area, under the
protection of a giant maple tree, was a blanket laid on the ground in the grassiest
area of the spot. On that blanket was a simple picnic basket that I was pretty
convinced came from somewhere in my house.
I stared at the beautiful and romantic setting. Edward had done this for me; even
after I had been so rude to him, after he opened up to me. I was overwhelmed with
gratitude, and I felt so cared for by the man I was currently clutching; even after he
killed the engine. I removed one arm from him and pulled the bulky helmet off of my
head, lightly setting it on the ground. Then I wrapped the arm back around him,
hugging him purely because that's what I wanted to do.
"Thank you," I whispered against his t-shirt. He put his hands on my thighs and
ran them up and down comfortingly. I shivered at the feeling of our bare skin
brushing against one another.
I hugged him for another minute. It was one of those perfect moments. You know,
the kind where you see in movies with a violin playing in the background? Or in a
Nicholas Sparks novel? It was strange, yet amazing having one of those moments to
yourself.
"Hungry?" Edward asked quietly, not daring to break the spell of the moment by
raising his voice.
I nodded against his shirt and he chuckled. Regrettably I released my arms from
around him and slid off the side of the motorcycle, Edward following suit. I started
to walk towards the blanket when Edward snatched my hand and laced his fingers
through mine. I smiled shyly at the ground as we walked slowly.
Edward took a seat against the trunk of the tree and I laid down on my stomach
across the blanket. I wasn't aware that from the angle I was at, Edward could get
quite a good view down my shirt. If I had been I would have noticed the way Edward
adverted his eyes from anywhere other than my face.
I watched with growing amusement as Edward pulled out two foil wrapped
sandwiches with a logo from the local deli. He pulled out two bottles of Snapple and
a plastic container full of various fruit. And a box of Girl Scout cookies! Well I was
positive I just fell in love.
"Where did you snag a box of those in June?" I asked curiously, picking the box up
to examine it.
- 216 -
"I didn't snag it. It was forced upon me; by a little demon Girl Scout outside of the
deli. I'm quite certain I paid much more than expected for it," he reported with
irritation. I laughed. Edward looked up and smiled at me.
"I love that sound; your laugh." I blushed while unthinkingly tucking my stray hair
behind my ear. I looked down as Edward chuckled softly. He unwrapped the foil of
one sub and handed it to me with a grin.
We ate leisurely in light conversation. And while I liked the easy aspect of that, I
felt like Edward had a little more on his mind than Alice and Jasper's arrival
tomorrow. And I was anxious to do so as well. I wanted to explain to an extent of
what my dilemma had been. But I would wait for him to bring it up.
After we had both consumed more than our fair share of food, Edward leaned
back against the tree. I had sat up by this point and was watching him curiously.
"Come here," he requested softly, opening up his arms for me. Without hesitation I
shuffled over and adjusted my body so that I was leaning against his chest. After I
was settled, he wrapped his arms around me lightly and rested them on my stomach.
I brought my own hands up and put them on his as my head rested over the spot
where his heart was.
"I don't want to assume, but I think you know what I'm asking about," Edward said
lightly. There wasn't judgment or accusation in his voice, just a quiet need to
understand.
"You mean when I blatantly ignored you?" I guessed, turning my head up to look
at him. His lips formed the hint of a smile at my phrasing and he nodded, looking
down at me. I settled back against him.
"Yeah. . .sorry about that," I said sheepishly, not knowing how the hell I was going
to explain what had been running through my head.
"Don't. I understand. But I would honestly like to know if I did anything to upset
you."
"No, it wasn't you. Definitely not you," I assured him certainly. Edward waited as I
mulled over what to add to that. Turns out Edward wasn't exactly that patient.
"Was it someone else? Did Emmett say something about me? Because believe me,
I have a ton of stories to tell about his ass." I giggled under my breath at his
accusation.
- 217 -
"No, Emmett didn't do anything. . .this time. I just panicked, and I didn't exactly
deal with it as well as I should have. It's a sad day when it's Rosalie Hale who has to
knock sense into you." Now it was Edward who laughed.
"What freaked you out?" I resisted the urge to shiver as his head bent closer to
mine and his voice came from closer to my ear.
"You," I sighed. I wiggled my toes due to his proximity.
"No need for flattery," Edward teased sarcastically. I was relieved at how well this
was going. I was extremely impressed with Edward's patience.
"I got freaked out about the thought of you being here one day, and gone for
another year."
Edward took this in silently. His arms tightened the tiniest bit around me, so small
that I doubt he even noticed he was doing it. I resisted the need to see his face, and
see how he was taking this.
"Remember when I told you that everything changed when I saw you?" Edward
asked, his voice unreadable. "Well I still hold on to that statement. It will be
exceedingly difficult for me to get back on a plane to Iraq. But I understand if you
don't want this," he gave me a little squeeze, "to happen just yet. I'll do my best to
keep my feelings in check better."
I was about to nod wait. What? I ran over his choice of words, and then mine
before. Oh.
I rushed to explain. "No, no, no! I want this. I want to be with you. But I was
avoiding you because I wasn't sure what I wanted. I thought about all the reasons
we shouldn't be together right now, and I realized how much better for both of us it
would be if we didn't do anything until your tour is completed. The cons outweighed
the pros by a lot. But I didn't give a shit; I want to throw logic out the freaking
window and be with you. Right now," I emphasized. I turned to look up at him after I
finished my little rant. I watched his jaw shift back and forth and his eyes stare out
over the landscape. He nodded and smiled down at me brilliantly
"Wait. . .what did you mean 'in check better'?" I asked curiously.
"Hasn't it been obvious? I started liking you the minute I heard you speak. It was
really fucking hard to try and downplay all the shit I was feeling for you. I mean,
when you got Ares for me. . .God, I just wanted to spin you around and kiss you.
- 218 -
Instead I believe I said thanks and smiled at you. Nice, huh?"
Well this was news to me! I beamed at him, the hint of teasing in my voice. "The
minute I spoke?"
"The very minute," he said with a cocky, crooked grin. I moved so that I was
kneeling in between his legs. I leaned forward; surprised by the confidence I had
gotten with his compliment. I pressed my lips softly against his first and then pulled
back, looking into his eyes.
"Hmm, enticing, who would have guessed?" he breathed against my lips, his own
forming back into a grin. Before I could respond to that remark, his lips came
crashing against mine. I adjusted myself while our lips moved in sync so that I was
kneeling at an angle slightly above him.
My hands found their way up his chest until they were resting on his shoulders. I
moved them up farther as my mind surrendered. They rested below his jaw on his
neck. This happened while Edward placed his hands firmly on my hips, pulling me
closer to him.
That position didn't hold for long. Edward roughly, yet still carefully, guided me
down against the blanket, all the while continuing to kiss me. I straightened my legs
out as he pressed against my body, covering it with his own. I bit lightly down on his
lower lip and ran my tongue over it. A low moan came from his throat and he
responded with even more rigorousness.
It didn't last long because soon we were both so out of breath that it wasn't even
funny. Edward shifted the portion of his weight that had been resting on me away
when he rolled to my side. I opened my mouth and gasped for air like a fish flopping
around on a boat. It took longer than it should have, getting my breath back that is.
"I thought you were in shape," I commented with a smirk as soon as I was able to
breathe through my nose again.
"I've worked out like twice in the time I've been here. I've been too busy with you.
Training is going to kick my ass in a couple weeks." He had gotten his breathing
under control, and now he was facing me, propping his head up on his hand. "What
about you? Shouldn't you be in better in shape?"
"You just wait until September rolls around; I can run 10 miles without stopping to
catch my breath." Well, maybe like one actually. But did a little over-exaggerating
ever hurt anyone?
- 219 -
"Oh I'm sure," he agreed sarcastically. I smirked and rolled my eyes.
I laid still there, closing my eyes as I listened to Edward's breathing next to me.
"Hey Bella?" I left my eyes closed and smiled.
"Hey what?"
"Remember last week at the cabin? When I sorta snapped at you over the whole
umm. . .sex thing?" I nodded, raising an eyebrow at where he was going, "I wasn't
mad because you were asking me. I wasn't mad at you about your answer. I was
mad at myself for the reaction of your answer."
I thought back for a second, than I looked back over at him, "What do you mean?"
"When you first answered you know, not appli-whatever, I was so fucking relieved.
But within seconds I was just pissed at myself for even going down that train of
thought. I didn't what to complicate our amazing friendship as it was. I'm sorry I
yelled at you." I couldn't lie and say I wasn't relieved at this revelation. I was so glad
everything was cleared up now.
"Relieved. . .?" I trailed off and our eyes locked. His were inviting with lust lurking
behind that. I leaned down and our lips continued their battle for dominance.
My life was starting to sound dangerously close to a novel.
"Alice liked you a lot I think," Edward commented offhandedly next to me. It was
July 3rd and the whole gang was going up to the cabin for the summer celebration.
Emmett and Edward had convinced Alice and Jasper to come up with us and I was
pretty excited about that. Seeing how they were twenty minutes away from where
we lived, Edward and I drove off to meet them at Jasper's dad's house.
"Yeah, I liked her," I smiled, my mind drifting back to the meeting that took place
a half hour ago.
Edward had been driving and someway or another he knew his way to the house.
It was a cute house; it was painted light yellow and reminded me of my great
grandparent's house. There was a silver truck that looked to be a couple years old
sitting in the driveway. A tall blond man was loading a cooler into the bed of the
truck with ease when Edward parked the car.
I assumed it was Jasper, and when I glanced over at a grinning Edward I
- 220 -
confirmed my own suspicion. I smiled at Edward's happiness and unbuckled my seat
belt. Edward was out of his side before my hand was even on the door handle. I
rolled my eyes and hopped out into the sunshine.
Jasper was wearing a pair of navy swim trunks and a gray t-shirt from the local
high school. He was as ripped as both Edward and Emmett. He was fairly attractive
as well. Edward greeted him with a "man hug" while I looked on.
A woman about as short as me exited the front door of the house and stepped into
the beating sun, a spring in her step. She had short hair that went just past her ears
and flipped up. She had on a white wife beater with a white spaghetti tank top on
under that and a pair of short jean shorts.
"Bella!" She called excitedly after she put a hand to her face to block the sun and
looked closely at me. I grinned and waved as she came jogging excitedly towards
me.
"Hey Alice," I greeted her as she gave me a dainty hug. I was aware of Edward
and Jasper now watching us.
"It's so good to finally meet you!" Alice exclaimed and then let out a large breath
before smiling brilliantly again.
"You too! I'm so glad you guys can come to the lake!"
"We wouldn't miss it! I mean with Emmett leaving in a few days, this is the only
time we can all get together without our uniforms on."
"I think it'll be a good time," I grinned. Edward placed his arm around my
shoulders and pulled me in close. I smiled up at him, and even with the other two
watching he placed a quick kiss on my lips that lingered even after I was looking
back at Alice.
"Bella, I would like you to meet Jasper Whitlock," Edward said after a few
moments pause where Jasper took his respective place next to Alice.
"Pleasure to meet you," Jasper grinned lazily, his southern accent drawling out as
we shook hands. I shared a secretive smile with Alice; that was one hell of a nice
accent enough to make me swoon. . .and probably Esme.
"The pleasure's all mine," I replied, smiling at him instead of Alice. Alice had given
me the slight inclination of an eyebrow as if to say, yeah; tell me about it.
- 221 -
That was the thing I loved about being of the all X chromosome. All of us shared a
silent language that men didn't take place in. Even if you just met a woman, she
could give you a small lip twitch or widening of her eyes that would mean so many
things that guys wouldn't ever even notice.
"It's such a beautiful day; I'm ready to dive into a lake. We should probably get
going," Edward suggested. I looked up to see the smirk on his face. I wasn't sure
what amused him but Jasper looked like he had the hint of a smirk as well. I didn't
even have time to raise an eyebrow at his amusement.
"Yeah, we're all ready. Right, Als?" Jasper looked down at Alice and she smiled
and nodded. Their height difference was staggering. Edward was about ten inches
taller than me. Jasper was about sixteen taller than Alice. "Alright, lead the way!"
Jasper gestured to my truck and we nodded.
"Why were you smirking?" I asked curiously after we were in our respective cars.
Edward had laughed.
"Jazz has yet to meet a woman who doesn't make that face when they first here
him talk."
"What face?" I asked defensively, covering up my immediate embarrassment of
being caught.
"The one you made when you realized he had an accent."
I turned so that I was facing the windshield so he wouldn't see my reddening
cheeks. "I didn't even realize he had one," I sniffed indignantly. This only made him
laugh more.
And that brought us back to the present. We had arrived at the lake shortly after
Rose, Emmett, Carlisle and Esme had.
Edward only tried to hit two animals.
"Oh my God, I love this," Alice said appreciatively after she hopped out of the
truck. She took in the green trees, standing still as a rock with the sunshine
fluttering through them. Then she walked in the direction of the glittering lake and
sandy but small beach.
"Yeah, it's not too shabby," I agreed, appreciating it myself. I loved this place so
much. And I loved when other people came and fell in love as well.
- 222 -
"Neither are you," Edward said with a smile as he snuck up on me. I jumped,
startled as his arms snaked around my waist. I smiled without looking up at him.
Edward and I had become a couple in the past few days. I mean, we hadn't been
on like eight dates or anything. But we had spent almost every waking moment
together in the past couple of weeks, which was more than a bunch of other, normal
couples could say.
So far it was going great.
"Well I'm glad you think so. Remember that while you are sleeping on the bunk
beds tonight."
I felt his shoulder sag around me. I laughed and turned in his arms. He loosened
his grip so that I had room to rest my arms around his neck. I smirked as he pouted
at that piece of information.
"Or you can go ask Carlisle what he thinks about us getting our own bedroom," I
said sarcastically.
I watched in horror as the idea fluttered through Edward's mind. He was actually
considering it. What the hell, man?
"Maybe I will."
"He has a gun cabinet here too."
Edward's face fell.
"Well maybe if" Edward started to reason some dumbass idea when Emmett
interrupted him as Emmett only can.
"You're going down, bro!" Emmett yelled in a challenging tone as he walked past
us, carrying one of our circular inflated tubes over his head.
"Well. There you have it," Rosalie said lightly as she walked after him, opting to
roll the identical tube instead of use her upper body strength.
"Isn't it a little early in the day for tubing?" I asked after Emmett had thrown the
tube into the water where it was currently floating.
"Oh Bella. Tubing is like drinking. It's never too early," he grinned as he walked
- 223 -
back past us.
"Can't argue with that logic," Edward agreed with a smirk. I rolled my eyes.
"Well I guess that means I better put a swimsuit on."
"There won't be any hard feelings when I knock you off of your tube, right?"
Edward asked with his cockiness as we broke apart. I shook my head with a smirk
and started to walk off.
"I don't know, you tell me." And with that note of my own cockiness, I went in and
changed.
Carlisle was as anxious to be out on the water as the rest of us. He was getting the
boat ready for some extreme tubing and Esme already had a cooler full of drinks and
a stack of towels ready.
"Welcome to Totally-Epic-Battle-of-the-Tubes," Emmett said, buzzing with energy
as everyone reported to the dock with swimsuits on. Rosalie was wearing a light
blue and white striped bikini and Alice was wearing a simple all teal, but really cute
bikini of her own.
"Once you are knocked off or you fall, you're out. No chance for victory. A loser. It
makes you a failure. Got that, Bella?" I sighed exasperatedly as Emmett insulted me
yet again.
"Should we just get this done right now, Bella?" Emmett smirked and crossed his
arms at me. "Then you can just chill in the boat and watch me win."
I was starting to learn that Emmett was a little competitive.
"Nah, I think you and Rose should go first," I crossed my own arms and raised a
daring eyebrow at him.
We both looked over at Rose as she spoke with a shrug as she tied her hair into a
messy pony tail. "Let's go. Knock me off and you will be sharing Ares' bed."
Emmett's confident face fell off his face and he frowned, close to a pout really. We
all were smirking at him but it was Edward who actually let out a laugh.
"See that's the difference between us. Bella knows I'll push her off; she accepts it
and she's fine with it," Edward laughed delightedly as he swung his arm around my
shoulders. Rosalie and Esme stopped smirking and made amused faces at each other
- 224 -
as I turned slowly to Edward with a lethal eyebrow raised.
"I was going to be nice and let you think you made it farther than the others but,
guess who's going to be the first to go?" I pushed a life jacket into his sculpted chest
and grabbed my own.
"The first tube ride either makes or breaks a relationship," Jasper, who had just
been standing back commented, chuckling at a confused Edward. Edward gave him
a look with narrowed eyes as he put his arms through the vest.
I had to give Edward credit. Seeing as how he hadn't even been on a tube before
he was able to hold his own fairly well with Carlisle's insane driving. I tried to flip
him off of it several times and he did the same for me. After about ten minutes of
neither Edward nor I touching the water, Carlisle stopped the boat.
"Can I go now?" Emmett complained loudly enough so Edward and I could hear.
"You two can continue to go at it and try to get each other off later," he added.
Oh Emmett.
Before someone could make a comment about Emmett's dumbass innuendo, I slid
out of my life jacket and dove into the cool, refreshing water. Edward was still
smirking by the time we were both into the boat.
Unfortunately, and somewhat miraculously, Emmett managed to kick Rosalie's
tube out from her, thus knocking her into the water. This happened only after much
whooping, hollering and I think some type of battle cry?
Alice decided to take on the overly testosterone running Emmett after a dripping
Rose got back into the boat. Alice might have been small, but she was much
stronger than she looked. Emmett wasn't even the one who made her fall off;
Carlisle drove in a really tight circle and ran through the waves he had made. Alice
was too focused on trying to kick Emmett's tube that she wiped out very
dramatically.
Edward wanted to put an end to Emmett's rein and decided to take him on.
Emmett played dirty and tipped his tube over when Edward was in the vulnerable
spot between the wake from the boat and the flat water. I can't say I didn't smirk
when this happened.
I beat Jasper after like a half hour before it was down to just me and Emmett. In
the back of my mind I knew I was having a great time with everyone and I didn't
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want it to be over. But all I was thinking about at the time was kicking Emmett's
sorry ass all the way to Mexico.
Much to my dismay this did not happen. Carlisle called it quits after about twenty
minutes and called it a tie. Rose and Alice who were hanging out in the front of the
boat with their hair drying out were very disappointed with this result. And so was I.
Even though neither of us fell off, in Emmett's mind he had totally and completely
won.
"Get ready for round two, Swan. Tomorrow. Be there." Emmett pointed tauntingly
at me as he hung a colorful beach towel around his neck. I rolled my eyes as I
hopped off of the boat and wrapped a towel around my body.
I found it almost interesting that Emmett and Jasper had the bodies of
Abercrombie models and I wasn't even the least bit attracted to either. Edward, who
was also Fitch worthy, was the one I was having trouble keepings my eyes off of.
That damn eight pack. . .
It was a good thing that I found Edward the. . .sexy one for lack of a better word.
Because he was my boyfriend. I smiled just at the thought as he fell into place next
to me walking off the dock.
"Did I tell you I love the swimsuit?" Edward asked with a lazy smile. I rolled my
eyes and wrapped my right arm around his side. Instantly his left arm went around
my shoulders.
"Thanks for coming," I told him softly after we reached the grass. Involuntarily I
snuggled in closer to his chest.
Edward knew I wasn't just talking about the cabin. He pulled me closer to him.
"Best fucking decision I've ever made."
"I gotta admit, I thought it was just small and long at first," Alice said
conversationally.
"Yeah I know," I agreed, "but it's actually pretty big."
"Exactly! I mean, not going to lie, I didn't think it was much; no offense."
"Oh, none taken. That's exactly what Rose thought, but than she got to look closer
at it and she fell in love too."
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"Are most that long?" Alice inquired curiously.
"No, not at all. But there is definitely a fair share of them."
"I like it; its classic."
"Oh I love it. It's one of a kind to me. I don't want anything else."
"I wouldn't want any other cabin either," Alice agreed as we continued to paddle
our way steadily across the lake. Our paddles were dipping into the water in
synchronization and making the canoe glide across the water effortlessly.
We continued to glide across the sparkly sun reflecting lake for a moment or so
before I decided I didn't like silence with Alice. She wouldn't be here forever, why
spends ages contemplating the significance of a tree when I could be actually
talking with her?
"So how do like being here? In the states, I mean."
Alice didn't have to hesitate to answer. "God, I fucking love it," she breathed. I
laughed and she turned back to face me with a conspiring grin. Even though I
couldn't see her eyes behind her large sunglasses, I had a feeling they were pleased.
"Jasper and I have to hide everything when we're overseas. He's not my rank and
dating fellow soldiers is really discouraged, I mean really. Now I can jump him
whenever the hell I want to. And I have been."
I rolled my eyes but grinned at Alice's giddiness.
"Please try not to christen the entire cabin," I requested jokinglyokay, I really
wasn't joking about that; I slept in those beds.
"I'll try" Alice promised and even though she laughed and agreed I knew she
would actually have to try.
"I'm glad you and Edward finally got together," Alice said after a moment as we
stroked through the cattails. We were already a fair distance away from the cabin
and I liked being able to talk to Alice, especially about Edward who she knew pretty
well.
"Well not. . .together together," I informed her after I smiled. I was glad we did
too.
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"Really? I couldn't tell. You both have been extreme happy since I saw you this
morning. I assumed it was some type of glow." Before I could respond, even though
she didn't really ask me anything, she continued on with a second thought. "Oh! Are
you one of those people who are always happy? Because I gotta be honest; I don't
think that is something I can handle."
I snorted in hilarity. "Always happy? Ha. No. But I've just been appreciating
Edward more in the last couple days. . ." I trailed off cryptically.
"Well I mean. . .you're turning 18 in a few days. . .so it won't be illegal after that!"
The way she said it, so cheerily, it just confused me. In my mind I heard something
along the lines of, Hey! You and Edward can bone really soon, and he won't be
charged with rape for it!
"I have brought that into consideration," I admitted. I wanted to share with
someone why I was so confused about having sex with Edward. I had no idea what
to make of our new relationship and let's be honest, I was befuddled as hell. But I
decided Alice would be able to help me, or in the very least let me vent.
And vent did I. I told Alice almost everything about my fears, desires and
curiosities. I had no clue how she was responding to anything I was saying because I
was in the back steering and all I could see was her back.
After I was done Alice pulled her paddle out of the water and sat it on her lap
before turning to face me. I stopped stroking the water and looked at her
questioningly.
"I know Edward will be leaving soon, and I know that's going to suck so much. But
honestly, I think you should go for it. I spend every day with Edward and I've never
seen him like this before. He's all in on this thing with you. And a year will fly by,
and then when it's over, you'll have Edward and you'll be glad you took that leap the
summer before."
"I can relate to you. I want to be with Jasper so much, all the time. But I can't, not
the way I want to." Alice took a breath before continuing in her soft yet wise voice.
"But at night, even after a month between one of our meetings, I'll feel his arms
around me, and I'll feel his soft breath tickling my neck, and it seems almost
bearable. It makes the reality easier to deal with. And knowing that you're his, and
he's yours, it makes it worth it, because you know, you know he'll be reliving the
first night, and the look in your eyes, just like you will be. That alone is why I would
take a chance and trust Edward; trust him to care and honor you in every way he
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humanly can."
Alice let her works sink in. After I thought about what she said and ran it over
through my head I looked back from the lake up at her. "Is that really what you
would do if you were me?"
"I did it with Jasper, didn't I?" Alice smiled at me, smiled knowingly because we
were in the same boat. Literally.
I silently chucked. Damn I was funny.
"Everything will work out in the end. It always does. Otherwise, don't hold your
breath, because it's not the end," Alice couldn't resist adding.
"How did you become so deep?" I was again jokingly asking but still fairly serious
and curious.
Alice, who had raised her sunglasses and rested them on the top of her head,
grinned at me. And then she winked, "Listening to Edward talk."
After my enlightening discussion with Alice I was watching Edward more closely. I
realized that I was extraordinarily lucky to have a man like him in my life. And well
this was new to me, extremely uncharted waters we're talking like off the map
uncharted- I was excited. I was excited to do this with Edward.
Carlisle built his usual campfire for the night, just delighted. Normally he was up
here with just Esme and me. But now he had three other guys to share his
pyromania with.
I changed into a sweatshirt from a few years ago with the front torn in a triangle
and put on jeans as well, my usual campfire attire. It got really cold when the sun
went down and the breeze started to pick up.
By the time I was presentable, I slipped outside with a hesitant Ares. I was the last
one out apparently and there were only six chairs, because, well we normally only
needed three, maybe four, not eight. Carlisle and Esme, well they were great hosts
knew when to draw the line and they were seated comfortably in the best lawn
chairs. Next to Esme was Rose, and then Emmett and then Alice. Jasper was sitting
right by the fire with his head rested on Alice's knees while she ran her hands
through his hair.
And finally, right between Alice and Carlisle, was the man who occupied way too
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many of my thoughts. Edward looked up when he heard the door squeak. His gaze
locked with mine as the crooked grin that still managed to take away my breath
spread across his face.
I tentatively walked over to the fire until I reached their circle. Out of the corner
of my eye I saw Edward sit up straighter in his chair. With everyone's eyes on me
with curiosity, I stepped over to Edward and carefully sat down at an angle on
Edward's lap.
Edward's arms immediately went around my waist as my head fell next to his
against the back of the chair. If I hadn't been so fucking short I would have sat taller
than him, but right now, it was working. I felt the heat rise to my face, and even
though we were sitting next to a roaring fire, that wasn't the cause.
I didn't need to look around the circle to see everyone's faces, but I did against my
better judgment. Rosalie raised an eyebrow but otherwise was as indifferent as only
Rose can be. Emmett looked vaguely amused. Alice was smiling knowingly. Jasper
was distracted by the sparking fire. Carlisle had a calm mask on his face which I
chose not to read into. And Esme looked relativelyjoyful? That couldn't be
rightno, joyful seemed strangely accurate.
Thankfully Rosalie and Esme hopped right back in their conversation about
summer weddings and Emmett and Jasper proceeded to discuss some NBL team
with Carlisle while Alice listened to both conversations quietly.
"You're not wearing any makeup," Edward accused lightly into my ear. I gave him
a small, yet somewhat self conscious smile.
"I forgot my water proof stuff," I explained, wondering how he felt about me going
all natural.
"Good. I like it," Edward smiled making it impossible to not return it. To seal his
statement he placed a lingering, tender kiss on the side of my temple.
"Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?" Edward asked rhetorically,
nuzzling his nose lightly against the side of my face. "If I was the only man in the
world and there were three billion women, I'd always name you the most stunning,
especially in jeans and a sweatshirt."
"I don't want you to go back Edward," I managed quietly after a minute of silence.
"I want you to stay here with me, all summer, right here." I knew I sounded awful, I
knew this was a sore subject for him, but this was something Alice couldn't help me
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with. I needed to know it would be okay when he was gone.
"I know baby, believe me I know. If I could freeze this moment I would. You don't
know how much I hate reality." Edward was a tough guy, and when he showed his
vulnerability, if only for a brief moment, just to me, well it made meit made me
feel so much more connected with him.
"But-" I started to protest softly but Edward stopped me by placing a soft kiss on
my lips and then looking at me, his gaze burning.
"But right now it's just me and you Bella. You and I." Edward said firmly, with
utmost conviction. I started to speak up, not entirely sure what I was going to say
but knowing I should say something but he interrupted me before I could even start.
"And that's all it'll ever be."
Something's in the air tonight
The sky's alive with a burning light
You can mark my words something's about to break
And I found myself in a bitter fight
While I've held your hand through the darkest night
Don't know where you're coming from but you're coming soon
Come on and we'll sing, like we were free
Push the pedal down watch the world around fly by us
Come on and we'll try, one last time
I'm off the floor one more time to find you
And here we go there's nothing left to choose
And here we go there's nothing left to lose
Nothing Left to Lose, Matt Kearney
- 231 -
-No, whining and calling Bella a bitch will not usually get you over 7k worth of
chapter. It was just a happy coincidence. Do we trust me now that you gotten your
fluff? I'm sorry last chapter wasn't what you guys were hoping for. I hope this one is
up to your standards(:
-Next chapter is the 4th of July! I'll see you in a week, as of now, I am so done with
people and am going to hide under a rock for the next week. Wooh! Spring break!
-I'd like to say welcome to all my new readers! Glad to have you aboard! And
guess what...I broke 2000 reviews last chapter! Granted most of you were
complaining about Bella...but I still love you all nevertheless! (:
-As always I am on Twitter at 2carm2carm2, follow me for spoilers!
- 232 -
Chapter 22
"You and Edward are getting along fairly well I'd say," Esme commented casting
me an unreadable expression. A small smile fought its way to my lips.
This morning Rosalie had gone to show Alice the small local town and Emmett had
gone with, tagging along with Rose considering that he would be leaving in a few
days. Jasper was in the shower and had some catching up on emails to do. Carlisle
was on the shore with Edward and they were splitting wood for Carlisle's giant 4th
of July fire.
Esme and I had put on swimsuits like we did every morning we were up here and
taken the water floaties. Currently we were lounging lazily on them, floating out in
the water with soda and our sunglasses.
I glanced over at Edward who was laughing with Carlisle while bringing an axe
perfectly down on a log. And then I looked over at Esme.
"Yeah," I agreed, knowing there were so many responses I could have given her
but just choosing the simplest and truest.
I thought back to last night. After much persuasion Alice finally agreed to take the
bedroom to herself while Rose and I camped out on the futons. The guys had all
worked out there sleeping arrangement in the other bedroom with Emmett getting
the top bunk. And that's all I heard from that argument.
Rose took the futon in the main area while I got the other one in the more private
alcove area. Edward and I had said goodnight and departed our separate ways. I
went to bed smiling at how glad I was to be with Edward. In the middle of the night,
I couldn't say when I woke up. I looked around, disoriented and wondered why I had
woken up.
Imagine my surprise when I find Edward stretched out next to me sleeping
peacefully. His hand had found its way to me and was resting on my stomach. I
blinked a few times so my eyes would adjust to the lack of light and then slid back
under my blanket. Carefully I turned so that I was on my side and brought my hand
up to stroke his hair that had begun to grow out, out of his eyes.
As my fingers started to sweep lightly across his forehead his eyes began to blink
open. Even in the dark with only the moon reflecting the lake as a light his eyes
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were still stunning. Instead of moving his hand off of my hip he pulled me closer to
him.
"Hi," I whispered with utmost quietness.
"Hey," he smiled groggily his voice sounding of velvet and sleep.
"What are you doing here?" I asked. He had closed his eyes after I moved my hand
down to cup his jaw.
"I've gotten used to Emmett's snoring, but-" Edward stopped, interrupted by a jaw
splitting yawn. I giggled quietly before I found myself yawning as well. Edward
smirked sleepily and continued in a hushed tone, "Jasper sounds like a fucking
steam boat."
"The right answer would have been, 'Oh Bella, why would I want to be anywhere
else?'" I teased.
Edward locked his eyes with mine and then in a whisper that sent shivers down
my spin said, "You didn't let me finish. The main reason I'm here is because I can't
imagine being anywhere else."
Esme's considering tone brought me out of my reminiscing. "How well?"
"Really well," I stressed. I found that I hadn't been able to talk to Esme lately,
about anything. Alice yesterday was really the only person who had said anything
useful to me. I wanted to know what Esme was thinking, and I wanted to know what
Carlisle was thinkingfrom her though. I added, "Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy well."
"Whoa. You just went all Pride and Prejudice on me?"
I nodded, lips pursed, agreeing with the incredulousness in her statement.
"I always wondered who you'd end up dating. Maybe the football captain, the
future brain surgeon, the guy with the dark side, or at times even some dude who
writes poetry and plays the bongos. I honestly can say I never thought it would be a
U.S. soldier." Esme took a sip of her Sierra Mist as we both looked over to the wood
being cut.
"But I'm glad you did. I think Edward's a good guy," Esme said approvingly.
Edward was a great guy. And II didn't know how I felt him. It sure as hell was
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positive and intense. The feeling was so new to me, and I didn't want to jump to
place it. What if I was leaping? I had never been love. I didn't know if that was what
I was feeling or if I was just so excited about our relationship. All I knew is that I
wanted to be with Edward all the time. Every time he smiled it made my stomach
twist up, in a good way. What that all meantI had no clue, but I was more than
sure this was something bigger than a summer romance.
I knew that even if Edward wasn't leaving I would still be this invested in him. I
didn't want to be with him so often because I wouldn't be able to for a year though
that was a small portion of it- I wanted to be with Edward, because I loved being
with Edward. I loved laughing, swearing, and smiling with Edward.
"I think so too," I muttered distractedly yet whole heartedly agreeing with her.
Esme ran her hands under the surface of the water, scaring away a few brave fish.
Then she fixed her gaze on me, "You know Bella, you're confused. That's completely
understandable. But I want to tell you this. And I'm sorry that I can't sugar coat it or
sound like Nicholas Sparks; read his books if you want crap like that. You're 17 he's
22. I know there are things keeping you apart but I want you to know that regret is
one of the worst pains to live with. Life has been particularly shitty to you. And now
I personally believe that divine province threw Edward into your life. And really;
don't fuck with divine province."
Esme finished her small sermon, stared at me a moment longer before she settled
back against the inflated lounger. Evidently she was satisfied that she had been able
to get her point across to me. Well apparently everyone had an opinion on my love
life as of recently. Good to know.
As if they had been listening to our entire conversation which of course they
hadn't been- Edward looked up from the pile of chopped lumber. His head went
straight in the direction of me, and when he saw that I happened to be looking at
him he raised his hand in a saluting wave. I smiled a brought my hand out of the
water to give him a small wave back.
"Seems like forever since you wrote that first letter, doesn't it?" Esme asked after
she waved to her own husband.
I was still watching Edward as he smiled adoringly at me before picking up an
uncut log and getting ready to split it. "Yeah," I mumbled distractedly, all the while
thinking that that first letter seemed like it came yesterday.
It was a gorgeous 4th of July. Last year it had rained the whole day and we sat
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inside playing an extreme tournament of Crazy 8's. But this year it was 85 degrees
with the slightest breeze you didn't even notice it. And there wasn't a cloud in the
sky.
Alice, Rose and I were just getting ready to build a fucking sweet sand castle
when Edward gently grabbed my arm and pulled me up. I swung around with an
expectant grin. "Let's go snicker doddle, we're going jet-skiing," Edward grinned,
letting go of my arm and moving to take off his white t-shirt.
"Is jet-skiing really a proper verb?" I asked him but all the while slipping out of my
white beach skirt.
Edward tossed me a lifejacket, giving me a raised eyebrow. "You know, I really
thought after we started going out you wouldn't be such a pain in the ass." I rolled
my eyes at his strangely endearing comment.
"Yeah, but do you really want that?" I challenged slipping on my life jacket and
giving him a flirty grin.
Edward, breathless from the rush of sudden activity looked up at me with a
crooked grin. "Hell no."
I smiled to myself as he tugged my hand, sliding his fingers through mine as we
splashed through the ankle deep water to get to the jet-ski landing. Edward went to
the one on the right and I started to stray to the one of the left, figuring this would
be one of this races. Edward pulled me closer to him, making sure I didn't stumble
in the water. "You're riding with me on this one."
I could live with that.
Without hesitation I slipped up onto the jet-ski and out of the water as Edward
cranked the pulley so that it would lower. The seat was black therefore very warm in
between my thighs. I shifted trying to be discreet; Edward didn't seem to notice. My
skin adjusted to the temperature and I slid forward across the seat that was long
enough to fit three people. "Can I drive?"
"No."
"Sweet."
Edward finished cranking it and he guided it over the lift so that it was floating a
few yards away from it. "Move," he commanded expectantly as he looked at me with
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my hands on the handlebars.
"You were serious?" I asked incredulously.
Edward nodded, totally serious.
With a heavy sigh I slid back and let go of the handle bars to make room for him.
He shot me a smug grin and glided easily onto the seat in front of me. As soon as he
was situated I snuggled up closer to him, wrapping my arms around his lifejacket
covered chest tightly. My thighs constricted fairly snugly around him. I heard a soft
chuckle come from him as I sat up straighter so I could put my chin on his shoulder.
"Just go," I sighed exasperatedly. He was far to exhausting for his own good.
"Hold on tight baby," and before I could literally even process what he said the
jet-ski rocketed across the water in a sudden jerk forward. I wasn't used to not being
able to control the speed on these things. My arms tightened more around him;
probably his plan to start with.
If it had been anyone other than Edward I would have been concerned. He was
driving like a maniac, plunging into all the waves he could find and creating huge
circles of waves from the many times he was going around. This was exactly how I
drove when I had the jet ski to myself; but being a passenger was slightly
frightening. At one point I think I was crushing his ribs from my grip.
After a few minutes of the insanity I started to relax a bit. Edward's laugh whipped
from his mouth through the wind to my ears, it made me smile. And then he soaked
us in a particularly large wave. I laughed with him as I blinked the splash of water
out of my face.
When Edward had had his fun almost killing the engine he slowed down the motor
to a stop. Through the course of all the looping and waves he had managed to travel
halfway across the lake to a secluded bay with very few houses in it. He slowed it to
a stop and then took the key out of the ignition. He started to turn so I slid away
from him to give him some space. We each unbuckled our life jackets and slid them
off.
"How was that?" he was breathless from the rush, his eyes shining and his hair
disheveled from the window. He looked soperfect. It's such an overused word, but
that is the only word that could be used to describe him in my eyes.
"Amazing," I answered, not just talking about the jet ski ride alone.
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I smiled up at Edward, his face perfectly illuminated from the shining sun. He
grinned down at me, his stunning green eyes gleaming with adoration as he gazed at
me.
When we locked eyes, there was something. Something that hadn't then there
before. I would replay the memory for the next year he was away trying to decipher
it. But in that moment I knew. I don't know what it was, but I couldn't deny the
strong tug I felt to be impossibly closer to him, and not physically.
I didn't leave time for my brain to think this over or worry about it. I just knew.
"Edward," I started passionately. My smile wanted to grow huger, into a giant
beam, but I kept my face soft with happiness. Edward didn't blink; instead he
scooted closer to me, tangling our lower legs together.
"I, I love you."
The words left my mouth without regret. And when they were out, even though
they came out softly and lovingly, I wanted to shout it out. I wanted to proclaim it on
the world news. I, Isabella Swan was in love with Edward Masen. And even if he
wasn't there yet, there was no worry of rejection in my mind. That was the
enlightening thing about love. I trusted and loved Edward so completely that I knew
he would not hurt me, just as I wouldn't him.
I broke into a huge grin, my heart racing just as it had when that first letter
arrived in the mail box. Edward's jaw dropped a fraction and his eyes widened in
disbelief. But his relaxed grin didn't dissolve, instead, his entire face brightened as I
nodded my head a little, agreeing with myself about what I had just confessed.
What happened next? Let me tell you, I did not see this one coming. Edward stood
up and before I could even raise an eyebrow his arms were around me and then we
were abruptly in the cold water. I came up startled gasping for breath. Edward was
above the water too, grinning at me with such happiness.
"God, I love you too Bella. So fucking much," Edward breathed, his voice sounding
relieved and joyful and well, lovingall in one. We grinned at each other for literally
a fraction of a second before our lips crashed against each other, sealing our
statements with such an intense kiss. I opened my mouth up to him, and our battle
for dominance, the one that has been going on since the beginning of time for men
and women, continued.
This kiss was different then the rest, yet still so the same. I was still kissing
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Edwardit was still great kissing Edward. But now, I was kissing out of love.
Though, if you ask me, we had always kissed from love. I had loved Edward for a
long time, but now, it was pronounced.
It was also different because we were in the water and simaltaneously treading
water while we made out.
The only not great thing about this kiss was the ending. And the only not great
thing about the ending was the time of it. It ended far too soon than I would have
liked. But then again I probably would have given myself to him right there on a
jet ski in the middle of lakeso I don't think I was the best judge.
Edward, even though the kiss had subsided was placing soft, feather light kisses
on my lips continuously, his lips forming a subtle grin. When he lifted his lips off
mine he leaned down to put his forehead against mine.
"Now why the hell did you throw me in the water you ass!" I exclaimed with a
grin, smacking his shoulder.
"It seemed like the right thing to do...?" He answered sheepishly, amused by his
own antics apparently.
"A girl tells she loves you and you push her in the water. How very chivilarous of
you!" I mocked him. We had reached the jet ski again and were both resting of our
arms against the side to hold us up.
He laughed loudly and grinned with sparkling eyes. "I did not push you. I threw
you. Two completely different things!"
"Ass," I muttered under by breath with a smile, just so he could hear me. He was
an ass. But he was my ass.
"I said it first you know," Edward informed me with slightly smug grin. He kissed
me again before I looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
"You most definitely did not. I did." I disagreed, not at all being stubborn; being
right. He helped get me back on the jet ski as our conversation continued.
"Nope," he continued matter of factly, "actually I did. Last night, when I came out
to where you were sleeping. Before I fell asleep and you woke me back up, I told you
I loved you. And you smiled ever so slightly in your sleep."
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I smiled at the sweetest thing I had ever been told. I tried to convey how much he
meant to me in my gaze on him.
"Did I really smile in my sleep?" Seemed likely to me, but I still was going to
believe that I said it first.
"Well your eyebrow twitched, so I interpreted that way." I laughed and kissed him
softly for a moment.
Edward tucked a stray strand of hair that had flown out of my pony back behind
my ear before saying, "I would have told you tonight anyway, during the fireworks."
"How romantic," I grinned with the edge of teasing. Edward rolled his eyes as I
giggled.
"You know, in my head in played out pretty nicely actually," Edward informed me.
"You probably didn't factor in Emmett," I pointed out. I grinned at him as my arms
wound their way around his neck.
"It always comes back to Emmett," he sighed with mock exasperation.
My head started to inch closer up to his. Edward's arms wound around mine as I
smiled happily up at him, "Not right now."
"No," he agreed, centimeters away from my lips, "not right now." And then his lips
met mine again and all thoughts about Emmett dissolved and with those the rest of
my thoughts.
Now any one who was just being filled in on what was happening, they would
think we were moving far too fast. But if you asked me, I would say it was a long
time coming. I had fallen in love with Edward over the course of his letters. These
past two weeks or so have just put that into perspective. Besides, as I had decided a
long time ago, I don't give a shit what the hell anyone thinks about us.
It was a picture perfect 4th of July. I spent the rest of the afternoon with my
sweetheart and my family. We were out on the water playing water volleyball and
football (tackle actually) and Carlisle barbequed hot dogs and burgers. We drank
lemonade and got sunburned. We cranked up the radio and all took turns bursting
out the latest songs off key. We spent the day under the sun, enjoying each others
company; none of us thinking about tomorrow. And Edward and Iwell Edward and
I were, well we had just discovered we were in lovehow you think we were acting?
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But I was looking forward to the fireworks. We had four soldiers among us, and
4th of July was celebrating the freedom of our country and the men who fought for
it. And today, especially in this area we continued to celebrate the men and women
in the forces. I was just excited for Edward to have his day. Granted Emmett, Alice
and Jasper were here too, but I wanted Edward to know how appreciated he was
and how proud of him I was.
"Rose and I call the jet ski!" Emmett called. I rolled my eyes, even though I was in
the bathroom changing and he couldn't see me.
I heard Rosalie's snort through the door. "Or you can go cuddle with the handle
bars while I enjoy an actual seat." Yeah; saw that coming.
Emmett was pouting at Rose as she grabbed a pop from the fridge; they started to
bicker while taking the conversation outside into the dark night. Jasper was
shrugging on a jacket at the door on the left side of the cabin. And Edward was
bending down in crouch tying his shoes. Even though he had heard the door open I
still decided to sneak quietly up on him. I pounced onto his back and wrapped my
arms around his neck, placing a kiss on the top of his head.
"This isn't Esme, is it?" There was a slight chance that he was seriously asking me
that.
"Do I feel like a 30 year old woman?" I challenged as he finished tying his shoe
and placed his hands to hold me up on my knees.
"Well, no. But I'm not calling Esme fat either!" He defended his answer as he
stood up easily, even with an extra 115 pounds on his back.
"Well played Masen."
Edward chuckled and pushed open the door to the outside. Rosalie and Emmett
had finally agreed that a boat would be a better option than a jet ski. Rosalie looked
up when we exited the house.
"Well aren't you two just cute."
"Yes. Yes we are," Edward answered matter of factly. And with that he continued
to walk towards the dock as I giggled quietly. Well if Rose thought we were cute
then I guess we had it made.
Our boat had a front that didn't have seats; it was just flat with a small wall lining
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the triangular shape. But generally I liked to lay up there with my back resting on
the windshield.
Tonight we had a bigger crowd than usually. So Edward set me down on the dock
and climbed in the front of the boat with Jasper. Alice grinned knowingly and
climbed in the front after Jasper. I followed suit and found Edward resting casually
against the windshield his legs open in a V. I mentally smiled and went to cuddle up
with him. Once I was situated in between his legs he wrapped his arms around my
torso.
Carlisle and Esme were in the driver and passenger seat with Rosalie and Emmett
in the long cushioned bench in the back. Alice was engulfed under one of Jasper's
arms her feat curled underneath her as she snuggled up to him. They were really a
pretty damn adorable couple. You know how sometimes you see this awkward short
guy who doesn't wash his hair with this ugly chick who has a unibrow? And you
goeww? I was pleasantly relieved that they weren't one of those cringe worthy
couples.
Edward's arms were the best place in the world to be. A few weeks ago, I would
have said something like, ohwell I like being at a beachbut now I've started to
realized there is more in life than that. At 17 I really didn't think anything was
missing in my life; I'm 17. But now that I've fallen in love with Edward I realized just
how empty my life has been until now. And yeah; that sounds ridiculous for 17. I get
that. But Edward had come into my life and filled it completely.
I thought about this as the fireworks started to boom over the lake. There was a
hush over all of the 200 boats floating in the area. The only noise that could be
heard was God Bless the USA coming from all of the radios on the boats.
Edward had come into my life, blazing like the fireworks shooting in front of us.
And unlike the fireworks, he was continuing to light up life, and he wouldn't end
with smoke. It frightened me how much love I had for the soldier holding me tightly.
In the back of my mind, I couldn't help but realize that any emotion that powerful
had the possibility of hurting me.
I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I wont forget the
men who died, who gave that right to me. God bless the U.S.A.
So I thought what better time to share this feeling
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and I turned to you and said.
"I don't think I'm ready for the leaves to change,
cause I met you in the summer so please don't blow away.
When the wind picks up and it's colder everyday."
Because you're all mine,
You've got me dreaming a future with your beautiful eyes,
I'd do whatever they told me to.
I won't waste time when it comes to you,
because no one makes me feel like you do.
You make it easy girl.
Baby I've been waiting for my luck to change
and the moment that I saw you well it all just feel in place.
When the wind picks up, I will be there in every way.
And when push comes to shove it's the two of us,
just give me time and I'll prove it to you.
You'll see we've got nothing to lose.
The Leaves Will Change, Take Cover
-This chapter is dedicated to Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon
22, Chauncy Mays 25 and thier families, soldiers who gave their lives this week with
no media mention due to Charlie Sheen and his crazyassness. Thank you for your
service. You are my heroes.
-As of lately I've been finishing up work on this story (don't worry I'm about 25
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chapters ahead of ya'll) and I'm working on some EPOV. As of this far in the story is
there any parts you'd like from Edward's point of view? I'm not doing the whole
story again obviously. But a few parts. Let me know which ones you'd like to see!
-And finally, yay! They're in love! I know there's going to be some mixed reactions
to that, but just remember, he's only here for a little bit. Enjoy Sweetheartward
while he's still here(:
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Chapter 23
He wrapped his arms around her tightly, engulfing her tenderly with his strength
as he whispered sweet farewell words softly into her ear. He was leaving today,
after their month of spending everyday together. There was too much remaining
unsaid in between them, feelings that weren't yet discovered, and he would be going
to fight in a war for the next year while she waited for him to come back to her. The
departure had snuck up on everyone, and the bystanders that had come to see him
off turned away so the two could share an intimate moment.
Thank God it was Emmett.
It was July 6th and the end of Emmett's leave was here. I watched Rosalie and
Emmett, not even saying goodbye because she still had to take him to the airport,
cling to each other. And it was a huge wake up call. This would be me in two short
weeks.
I frowned sadly at the scene in front of me. And while I didn't want to fathom what
it felt like, I envisioned myself in that situation. I knew it would hurt, but it shocked
me how deeply it did when I thought about him actually leaving, me having to drive
him to the airport and say farewell.
Edward was standing silently next to me; he had come to see his best friend off
knowing that he would be joining him in Iraq soon. I couldn't look up at him; instead
I stared at the ground. I noticed how Rose's mom hadn't had the neighbor mow her
grass for awhile. It was getting a little on the long side. I would have to tell Cam
about that.
Without saying a word, Edward slipped his arms around me from behind and
rested his chin on my head.
"It'll be okay," he said quietly into my ear, not drawing attention from anyone else.
I nodded doubtfully.
"We still have time," he added tenderly while he lightly pulled me closer against
his chest.
I didn't say anything. Instead we just watched as Emmett and Rosalie reluctantly
pulled apart from each other. Edward placed a firm kiss on the crown of my head as
Emmett took Rose's hand and they came to say goodbye to us.
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Edward hesitantly unwrapped his arms from me so Emmett could give me a giant
bear hug. I wrapped my arms tightly around my friend, not wanting him to go almost
as much as Edward.
"Stay safe," I whispered in command. Emmett nodded.
"Look out for my girl," he asked before we broke apart. I nodded and gave him a
sad smile. He ruffled my hair and when I rolled my eyes and cracked the smallest of
a smile he winked at me.
I hugged Rose lazily as Emmett and Edward said goodbye. She sighed, "Life sorta
sucks."
"Yup."
But, on the bright side, I was now officially 18.
Emmett was gone; he had arrived at base in Iraq in the middle of the night and
was safe and sound. Rosalie was sad.
It was my birthday and I had woken up with a vase of bright yellow flowers at the
end table by my bed with a note that said I love you at its base. I smiled as I
stretched out. I was thrilled. Edward and I were finally legal.
Normally I was pretty indifferent about my birthday. It was sort of just another
day. But I was excited to celebrate it with someone. Edward was fantastic. From the
moment I woke up with the flowers until I fell asleep. Especially when Elliot came a
knocking.
Esme and Carlisle had taken the afternoon off but were working in the morning.
That meant Edward and I had the first half of the day to ourselves. We spent it
kissing extensively and snuggling in his bed watching Happy Gilmore while playing
with my digital camera.
After the movie was over we went downstairs to. . .well, a change of scenery I
guess. As I was about to suggest a game of rock band, the door bell rang. With a
shrug, I hopped off the coach and opened the door. And there stood Elliot in a white
polo and jean shorts smiling as I opened it.
I smiled after the door was opened. "Happy birthday!" he cheered stepping in to
the house and giving me a casual hug. In surprise I started to hug him back but he
was already moving away.
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My ex-fake boyfriend and my current actual boyfriend were staring each other
down. Sweet.
I watched warily as the men studied each other. Elliot was just as tall as Edward
was, but high school basketball player and U.S. soldier have a different type of
muscles. I rolled my eyes, unnoticed, as Edward buffed up considerably. Edward's
jaw shifted as Elliot rose the slightest eyebrow.
"Elliot," Elliot braved the intense silence first as he stuck his hand out to Edward,
whose arms were crossed over his chest. This was dj vu. This was exactly what
had happened when Edward met Carlisle.
Edward nodded at his hand. "Sergeant Edward Masen." I mentally slapped my
forehead.
Once Edward caught my eyes narrowing at his childishness he stuck his hand out
to shake Elliot's with extreme hesitance. This better be a really fucking short visit.
But even though I was already exasperated with the two of them, I was still slightly
amused.
After some more silence in which we all stared at each other, Elliot again broke it.
"So Bella, I brought you this," he said with a nervous smile as he handed me a
wrapped box. I smiled brightly and took the present excitedly.
"Can I open it?" I asked eagerly, my face lighting up. I was a bit of a sucker for
wrapped goods. Elliot chuckled and nodded, choosing to ignore Edward and relax a
little bit.
Elliot got me a basketball jersey that had my favorite player's name and number
on it. I thanked him profusely and gave him a hug after holding it out and looking at
it. This was one of those nice, $100 jerseys. After that I tried to usher him out
without being rude. Fortunately he had some place to be.
"Well I gotta get going, I hope you have an awesome day," Elliot said distractedly
as he watched Edward put an arm around my shoulders. I pretended not to notice
Edward's testosterone.
Elliot slipped on his sunglasses as I put the jersey back in the box. "Thank you so
much!" I grinned and he smiled back before letting himself out the front door.
Edward had said a grand total of three words. The whole visit. His name.
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"Nice," I said sarcastically as soon as the door was closed. Edward knew I wasn't
really mad at him because as soon as I tried to glare at him I cracked a smile.
"On the contrary, I thought I was pleasant," Edward smirked, leaning down to kiss
me.
"Pleasant as a bear woken from hibernation."
"Still a type of pleasant," Edward argued, kissing me lightly again. I kissed him
back, our lips molding together familiarly. I was about to wrap my arms around him
as the kiss began to kindle into fire. But we were interrupted.
"What did you do to Elliot? The kid sprinted out of here like someone had just
been shot!" Carlisle boomed as the door from the garage opened. Edward and I
broke apart with sighs.
"What'd you do Bella, curse him out?" Esme chimed in. I narrowed my eyes at
Edward and crossed my arms. He looked at me sheepishly, yet not regretfully.
"Yup," I confirmed in my monotone as they rounded the corner to where we were
standing.
"That's my girl," Carlisle winked. Esme and him breezed past us up the stairs,
Carlisle unbuttoning the cuffs of his sleeves and Esme kicking off her pumps.
"Why the rush?" I called after them as they entered their bedroom and shut the
door, to change clothes I assumed.
"We're going to be late," Carlisle hollered back through the door. I glanced at
Edward, curious to see if he knew anything about this, but he was looking at me
with a raised eyebrow.
"Late to what?"
"Your birthday present!" Esme's muffled yell replied.
I waited. "I need a little more to go on!" I called. Edward chuckled. Instead of
answering the door was opened and they stepped out of their room in more casual
clothes. I did a double take. Carlisle and Esme just changed faster than I did? I was
in awe.
Carlisle grinned as he shuffled down the stairs behind Esme. "Happy 18th
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birthday! We're going skydiving."
My face lit up in absolute joy. I had been wanting to go skydiving for years, but
you couldn't do it until you were 18. I had forgotten about that. But it took three
seconds for me to get fired up about it.
My motto; if I was dying, would I want to be able to say I did this?
Like when I ordered a smoothie, my favorite flavor was strawberry, but do I really
want to die without trying the mango? Granted that was on a much smaller scale,
but still along the lines of the motto. I wasn't an adrenalin junkie or anything; I just
wanted to live life. . .on the edge. . .of a plane evidently.
"Seriously?" I asked with the hint of squeal, trying to contain my burning
excitement. Esme shook her head up and down vigorously.
And this led us to where we were now. I was skipping into a building in the middle
of no where, where I was going to go get ready to go skydiving. The other three
were walking behind me, trying to project normality that made up for my lack of it.
Carlisle was talking to the man behind the counter while I looked around at all the
pictures taken from thousands of feet in the air. The part I was a little freaked out
about was getting my ass strapped to some guys lap and jumping with him. I mean,
it's not like I wanted to fly on my own, I just wanted it to be with someone more
familiar.
I drifted over to the counter just in time for the nice man to address me. "You're
the birthday girl I take it." I smiled politely and shook his hand. But before I could
say something to him I noticed that he was staring at Edward's chest. And then
before I got weirded out, I realized he was most likely reading the ARMY label on
the gray shirt.
"In the service?" My brows furrowed as he talked to Edward. What kind of fucking
question is that? I hoped this would not be the guy I was jumping with.
Edward nodded, "on leave."
"Are you jumping today?" The man whose name tag read Kevin inquired.
Edward shook his head, "it's her birthday."
This answer seemed to confuse the man. "Did you go to the Army Airborne
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School?"
Edward nodded nonchalantly. "Last year, before my deployment," he answered
with a shrug.
"You're qualified to jump with her if you should choose. Or she could of course
jump with our trained guys." I had been following the exchange between the two of
them and I was now looking expectantly at Edward.
Edward looked at me with his own expectant expression. Hell yes I wanted to
jump out of an airplane with an army trained soldier who I just happened to be in
love with. As I was waiting for him to say something I decided this would be one of
those things where I would get my way. Edward was the only guy I wanted to jump
out of a plane with.
"Please?" I asked Edward, blinking my eyes up at him. He rolled his eyes at the
little display.
Edward's lips formed the start of his crooked grin. "How much do you trust me?"
"Enough," I grinned.
Edward shrugged and then he and Kevin launched into a fast based talk about
parachutes as I smiled victoriously. And before long Kevin was leading Edward and I
to a locker room of sorts where we could put on our jumpsuits. My heart was racing
in sync with my butterfly filled stomach.
"I can't believe you want me to jump out of a plane with you," Edward remarked
as he pulled the zipper of the hunter green jumpsuit up to his chin. I pulled my own
up before grinning at him.
"I believe it's called a leap of faith," I corrected him, trying hard to sound like a
dork with that fantastic clich.
Edward sighed and shook his head.
Kevin came back in with several other men and women who were wearing the
same jumpsuits as us. We were all introduced and shook hands before Kevin went
over what to do. I zoned out because he was just addressing the people who were
going to be handling the parachute.
With my palms sweating we then boarded a small, compact plane that would be
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taking us up. I rubbed my hands on the bulky jumpsuit before taking the weird
looking helmet and goggles from Kevin. Edward, who was standing next to me, did
the same. Once everyone was secured safely with the equipment and sitting down,
they got the plane ready for take off.
Edward grabbed my hand and laced his fingers through mine. I looked over at
him, looking just as ridiculous as I did, and grinned despite my nerves. He smiled
reassuringly at me.
"I passed the airborne course top of my class," he told me so only I could hear
him. "We'll be fine, I promise."
I nodded, taking in a breath. I realized how nervous I was, without being that
nervous. I wasn't nervous about Edward's capability; I trusted him with my life. But I
was concerned about a possible break in a parachute that would send us
plummeting to our death.
My ears popped due to the altitude as we started to climb up in the sky. I had
been on an airline before, several times, but this small plane didn't glide as
effortlessly, it was more choppy and at the same time thrilling. As we climbed up
closer to our destination of 14,000 feet I started to wonder if I would chicken out. I
knew I would regret it if I did that, but I was worried that I might plead to spare the
jump as soon as I looked down.
Next to me Edward let go of my hand and motioned with his hand for me to move
in front of him. Tentatively I moved over to sit where he gestured to. He clipped his
harness to mine, his fingers lingering softly on mine. I looked around, my heart
skipping beats, to see the others doing the same thing.
Edward started to stand and I stood with him, the awkward harness making us
walk difficultly to the wide open door. We were whipping through the wind at a neck
breaking pace, but it felt for a moment so peaceful. The protests to stop and not
jump were on my lips, ready to come out in a few seconds. The ground was way to
far away; a tree looked like an ant.
I looked out at the blue sky, putting all of my trust in Edward. And then we fell
forward.
It was the single most exhilarating moment of my life. All my nerves were left in
the airplane as we began our descent down. I let out a thrilled scream. The air was
rushing past our faces and the clouds were coming closer and then disappearing as
we passed them. It was extremely thrilling yet peaceful in a weird way. Our velocity
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increased and I was starting to have trouble breathing, it felt something along the
lines of sticking your hand out a car window while going 120 mph down a highway,
so I just held my breath. I knew we wouldn't be free falling long due to Edward's
weight being higher than the other instructors.
In less than 10 seconds our free fall time was over and I felt Edward who was
thankfully still attached to me reach for the parachute. In a matter of seconds the
parachute caught the wind and we went from diving to certain death to lazily
floating in the still air. I let out a breathless whoosh of air as I shivered with the
excitement from the falling.
Immediately I wanted to be free falling again, and then again. Floating down was
interesting but nowhere near as fun as the free falling had been. It was peaceful
gliding around the air. I took it all in and craned my neck to see Edward, he was
grinning widely, taking in my expression with amusement and some form of elation.
We were swooping in to where the landing field was. We glided down, way too fast
I thought, but I trusted that Edward knew what he was doing. At the right moment
he pulled a cord and our glide stopped. For a moment there was no gravity and it
seemed like we were suspended from the air before we were set gently on the
ground, my feet up and Edward catching us.
"Holy shit."
I took in a giant breath, letting the air fill my deprived lungs as Edward balanced
us sturdily. Tentatively I put my feet on the ground, testing my balance. I wobbled a
little but Edward held me up as he worked to unclip me from him.
"Fuck!" I exclaimed in amazement, turning around as soon as I was free to launch
myself at him. I threw my arms around his neck and he caught me with a laugh.
"Let's do it again!" I suggested enthusiastically.
"Maybe later," Edward grinned, placing a kiss on my lips. I smiled against his and
kissed him back.
A golf cart came to pick us up; we had fallen to the ground about a minute sooner
than the other two groups. The driver took us back to the building where Carlisle
and Esme were. I had always thought Carlisle would go up with me, and I was
curious why he hadn't gone up.
My legs were a little shaky when it was time to get off the cart so Edward
wrapped his arm around my waist to help me get my land legs back. Carlisle and
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Esme were inside the air conditioned room waiting for us to arrive. When we walked
in the door they both grinned at me.
"Have fun?" Carlisle asked as Edward and I gave our helmets and goggles back to
the women at the counter.
"Lil' bit," I nodded, wanting to relive every moment of the jump again and again. I
launched into details, trying to find words to describe the experience but failing
horribly to do so. Directly after that, once the rest of the jumpers and instructors
were in the building, we went and changed out of our ridiculous suits.
"She likes mine way better than yours," Carlisle said to Esme as they lounged on
the couch not seeing we were there yet. I looked at Edward, but he shrugged, not
knowing what they were talking about.
"I haven't even given it to her yet," Esme scoffed.
"Doesn't matter," Carlisle smirked confidently. I assumed they were talking about
my birthday present. The skydiving was more than enough, but I guess they chose to
make it a competition. Before I could eaves drop more, Edward, evidently not as
curious as I was, made our presence known.
I had to wait the rest of the day, all the way until dinner, to figure out what Esme's
present was. After she cooked my favorite pasta and amazing steak, we were all
sitting out on the patio. The sun was beginning to set through the trees, much like
the first night Edward had arrived, on his birthday.
Esme had gone in the house to grab drinks and my present. Edward was telling
Carlisle about his views on the presidential race. I was not really listening, just
looking at the two most important men in my life. My thoughts were beginning to
drift to my father. I was starting to think about what he had gotten me for the last
birthday I had with him, and that was a place I didn't want to go. Fortunately Esme
returned outside with various drinks and an envelope.
"Happy birthday, sweetie," Esme smiled warmly as she set an iced tea and the
envelope in front of me. Wasting no time I opened the envelope. I had gotten pretty
good at that.
Inside the envelope was a brochure. The brochure had a picture of a pretty, large
wooden house on the cover with the words Duluth Area Nature Retreat scrawled on
top of it. Duluth was a city in Minnesota a few hours away from where we lived. It
was a port city that had ships coming from the ocean through the great lakes. I
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opened the brochure and pictures of a homey, large cabin were scattered various
spots with captions to the side of them. It was a beautiful place located on one of the
lower bays of Great Superior Lake.
I looked closer at all the pictures. There was one of an in-home theater with cozy
black leathers seats. There was a snapshot of a gorgeous pink sunset reflecting on
the water. There was a game room with a pool table and other little games, like a
pinball machine. And there was a hot tub on the porch over-looking the vast lake.
"You're going up for a two night stay! With whomever you want! It sleeps 12
people, but Carlisle and I both have to work and can't get time off. So, you're 18, you
get to be off on your own! It's tomorrow night and the night after," Esme said
excitedly, living vicariously through me apparently. I looked up at her incredulously.
My jaw refrained from dropping.
"Really?" I asked. I was making sure she was actually serious about it. And if she
was then I would get completely excited about it.
"Really really!" Esme beamed. And then my mouth did fall open. And then it
spread into a giant smile.
"Oh my God, thank you!" I launched myself from my chair at Esme, giving her a
grateful hug. She laughed and hugged me back.
"Now the only question is, whose present do you like the best?" Carlisle asked,
completely serious after I settled back in my chair. I had to give the man credit; he
had to know that there was no doubt I would take Edward and only Edward with me.
And he was pretty calm about it.
"Just remember who buys your tampons when you make your decision," Esme
sang, even with all the confidence in her voice. I rolled my eyes.
I looked at both of them seriously, "thank you both so much. I love you guys and
this was an amazing birthday." Carlisle smiled fondly at me like a proud papa.
Esme on the other hand. . .
"What? Spoken like a politician! I expect an actual answer after you get back from
your lovely stay in Duluth. And I expect that answer to be in my favor!" Esme
exclaimed, outraged by my dodging on the question. Edward chuckled and I just
sighed. Esme was about to continue on with her rant but Carlisle stood up dutifully
and pulled his wife out of the lawn chair. We watched as he pulled her along into the
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house, leaving Edward and I alone.
"Are you excited?" Edward asked with a lazy grin, moving his eyes to the
brochure. I smiled brightly with my teeth in response. He chuckled while gently
pulling my arm toward him. I moved towards him, standing up out of my chair and
moving to his lap, my legs going over his, each of ours in opposite directions. I
swung my arm around his shoulders and he wrapped his arms around my waist and
rested them there.
"I have a present for you too. It isn't nearly as extravagant as Carlisle and Esme's
though," Edward said, and although Edward was always confident, there was an
underlying of nerves in his voice. Not knowing what to say in response I simply
nodded, urging him to continue.
One of Edward's hands dropped from my waist and went to his neck. He pulled on
the small chain that's charm was hidden under his shirt. As he raised it off of his
neck I saw that he was taking off his army issued dog tags. My eyes widened as his
other hand moved away from my waist to put the chain around my neck. The metal
was still warm from Edward as the chain settled around my neck.
Edward's arms settled around me as I looked down at the tag my fingers going up
to brush it. I started to protest half heartedly. "Edward, I can't take th-"
"-is without giving you an awesome kiss," Edward finished for me. For the record,
if it wasn't obvious, I was not going to say that. I blushed from my rudeness and
leaned in to press my lips against his. His lips met mine as if we had been doing this
for years. I had to pull away because I didn't want to get too carried away with
Carlisle and Esme.
Edward gazed at me passionately, his eyes serious, no longer joking. "I want you
to have it. And when I see other guys with theirs I'll think about you. And when you
look at it, I want you to think about me and how much I love you. I want you to
remember that I'll come home. I will get back to you."
I blinked at him, suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to tear up. I continued to
blink rapidly, surprised at the emotion coursing through me. I nodded, biting my lips
and starring into his eyes. There were moments that none of this seemed real, it
seemed like I was living someone else's life and not my mediocre one. And I was so
glad Edward was thoughtful enough to realize that, and give me something that I
would cling to when he was gone.
I looked down at the tag that read his name, social security number, division and
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religious preference. I continued to look at it as I spoke. "You know," I started in a
quiet voice, "this is my favorite present." Then I looked up at him, trying to
communicate how much I loved him.
"Meeting you was mine," Edward whispered, his lips turning up into a small grin.
I don't know why I said the thing I did after that. I mean, it was a step that every
relationship took eventually, but I don't know why I chose that moment to talk to
him about it. It just felt right.
"Edward. . .I want one more thing for my birthday," I whispered, scared to an
extent of his reaction.
"Yeah?" he asked. I looked into his eyes, he had already decided to get or do
whatever I may ask him. I thought about the pictures of the lake house, and the
large bedroom overlooking the lake. Hundreds of scenarios flashed through my
mind, all involving Edward and I completely together, making love.
"I want all of you."
I've been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see
Painted faces fill the places I can't reach
You know that I could use somebody
You know that I could use somebody
Someone like you and all you know and how you speak
Countless lovers under cover of the street
You know that I could use somebody
You know that I could use somebody
Someone like you
Use Somebody, Kings of Leon
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-Lemon next chapter! I'm sure you have mixed feelings about this and what Esme
did. I know Esme's crazy/unrealistic. It's fanfiction, let the teenage girls dream of
having her. Oh, and. Bella is a teenager. Teenagers have sex. I don't think I can put
it plainer than that...
-My golf season starts in a few days, as does my betas. So, don't hate me if the
next eightish chapters are late or not editted as well, I'll do by best!
-I'm off to antisocially enjoy Harry Potter Weekend(: Have a good week!
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Chapter 24
I threw a bunch of clothes on my bed and huffed. It was around noon and Edward
and I would be leaving in a couple hours to Duluth, all expenses paid (thank you
Esme.) And now I was packing a suitcase and had no fucking clue what I was
supposed to bring. I wanted the weekend to be about me and Edward, I wanted him
to enjoy it and I wanted to feel pretty myself. It had taken Edward some convincing
yesterday, but he finally came around. And now I was as excited as I had been
skydiving, but I was also just a little freaked out. I was in the process of selecting a
swimsuit when I was interrupted. I was a little tense and the simplest thing made
me want to screen.
"Bella?" Esme called from somewhere in the upstairs. I huffed yet again, this time
making it even more dramatic.
"What?" I grit my teeth and asked loud enough for her to hear me. Esme's caramel
head of hair popped into the frame of the door.
"Got a minute?" she asked, completely oblivious to my utter frustration. My teeth
grounded further into each other.
"Sure." She turned out the door and I assumed I was supposed to follow her. She
walked to the end of the hall, past Edward's bedroom where he was laying in his bed
texting on his new phone, he looked up when I passed and smiled crookedly. I
continued to follow Esme until we got to Carlisle's office, the last door. Diffident
about what was about to occur I walked in it with her.
Carlisle was sitting as his desk, dressed ready for his shift at the hospital. Esme
went to perch on the arm rest of his chair while I sat down across from them. I had
the sense I was about to get lectured.
Esme stared at me, making me wonder what I had done. But then the hint of a
smirk played across her lips which told me this was going to be bad. Angry Esme is
way better than amused Esme. Wordlessly Carlisle pulled open a drawer to his desk
and rummaged through it until he found what he was looking for and pulled it out
into view. My eyes widened as a box of Trojan condoms landed on the desk with a
thud.
I shuddered. I didn't even want to think about why he them in his desk.
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This was just the way my life went. I had come to accept it. Carlisle and Esme
were insane people and I loved them and their comical only from a bystander's
perspective- ways. This was just one of those things that had been coming. I wasn't
even surprised. Instead I just stared in boredom at the box.
"Are you suggesting something?" I asked in an uninterested monotone. Esme bit
her lip as her shoulders shook. Carlisle's eyebrows shot up in surprise to my lack of
reaction. Then he frowned and folded his hands together, sitting up straighter.
Carlisle cleared his throat, staring me in the eyes, trying to appear with authority.
"Despite my protests, Esme has given you a perfect weekend away from us. Despite
my hopes you asked Edward to go with. And despite my prayers I assume you may in
engage in activities that could lead to pregnancy-"
"And herpes!" Esme interjected cheerily.
Carlisle frowned deeper and looked like he was fighting an eye roll due to his wife.
Then he sat up impossibly straighter and continued. "As I was saying, sex can have
consequences. You got the depo shot two months ago, so that will most likely
protect you from pregnancy and making myself, Edward, and Esme suffer the
ordeal-"
"I'd be fine with an Esme Masen," Esme interrupted with a shrug.
Carlisle slapped his hand against his forehead and ran it down his face. Then he
looked back up, trying to remain serious despite the exasperation in his eyes. "
Anyway, I want you to have these-"
"Ha! Yeah right," Esme snatched the box up after I made no move to take it
myself. There was no way I was going to touch their emergency supply.
Carlisle leaned in towards Esme and started to whisper vigorously into each
others ears. I wasn't trying to pick up what they were saying, I didn't really care. I
was actually thinking about what bras I should pack. But I did hear Carlisle's
particularly whiny voice complain, "Come on Es! We agreed; united front. And then
you went and threw in herpes."
"Herpes needed to be thrown in!" Esme argued, her voice get louder than his to
the point where it was even really whispering anymore. I cleared my throat, letting
them know I could hear them. They both looked up, startled. Then Carlisle looked at
Esme who nodded sheepishly and put the box of condoms back on the desk, willing
the sacrifice.
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I raised my eyebrows. "Okay, yeah, thanks. But I'll pass. I bet Edward has his own
stash. And if not. . .we'll import some from Canada. Anything other than the ones
you two crazy cats need. Now, can I go?" Carlisle blinked rapidly at me. Then he
nodded, raising his eyebrows. Without another word I stood from my chair and
walked out the door.
I was being rude to them, and it could appear that I was a little on the cranky side.
But I was just stressed. I had a closet full of clothes and absolutely nothing to wear.
And I was anxious for tonight. But it was mostly the clothes thing.
Four hours later Edward and I were pulling out of the driveway with Edward
driving my truck. Edward was quiet, but maybe it was because he sensed that I was
stressed.
For the past four hours I had been a little crazy, and I could admit that. It literally
took me 25 minutes to pick a bra to wear. And even now I wasn't sure I made the
right choice. And then I had to think about lingerie, I did have an unused stash of it
that I had accumulated from Victoria Secret over the years, but how was I suppose
to do that? Was I supposed to wear it and jump him, or was I supposed to just walk
out, bearing it all? I packed a little of everything just in case. My stomach felt like it
was permanently going to be in a giant bundle of twists and knots.
After the bra crisis was over I went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror.
Was I supposed to curl my hair? Straighten it? I was going to be wearing a little
make up, but what was too much? And then back to the hair! Maybe I could put it
into a ponybut that would be uncomfortable lying downwe would be lying
downright?
Would by head be against a surface and Edward on top of me? The thought made
me shiver with eagerness. I didn't want to be on top, I would feel awkward. Though
a bunch of girls said it hurt less when you are on the top. Shit, how bad was it going
to hurt? I promised myself I wouldn't cry no matter if it did hurt that bad. I didn't
want Edward to get freaked out. I wanted this.
So for the next few hours I was pretty much freaking out about everything. I mean
everything possible I was freaking out about. I wished it would have been a more
spontaneous of an occasion. I didn't want this to feel forced and not full of love like
it should be.
An hour into our trip I hadn't said much at all to Edward. Actually the only thing I
had said was, "Why does Miley Cyrus suck so much?" and had turned the radio
channel immediately. Edward didn't know who Miley Cyrus was, he hadn't gotten
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word that she was also Hannah Montana, so he didn't make much of a comment.
And I went back to staring out the window.
I was watching a hawk chase another hawk across the sky when Edward turned
down the radio slightly. I had been thinking about candles; if they were better than
natural lighting or if they would burn down the general forestry. But if they were
better than I would have to go buy some, and I didn't know which ones to buy! I
sighed quietly and glanced at Edward. He kept glancing from the road to me, his
face expectant.
"Are you okay snicker doodle?" he raised his eyebrows after I didn't say anything,
looking at the road and then back at me in concern.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," I rushed to reassure.
Edward's eyes narrowed slightly, not believing me one bit, but also not calling me
out. "Are you hungry?" Actually I was a little bit. But I didn't want to eat some fast
food and feel bloated later.
"Nah," I shook my head.
Edward's got narrower this time him wanting to see that he didn't believe me.
"You ate an apple for lunch, four hours ago."
"I had an energy bar before we left," I protested pathetically.
Instead of arguing with me farther he just left out a large, defeated sigh and
stared out at the road. I sighed quietly once more; I had just made him mad. Great.
I chewed on my lip for the next eight miles, wondering what I should say to
apologize. I felt bad for not thinking about Edward and what he was feeling all day.
He had not wanted to this yesterday. But he was going to do it for me, because I
wanted this, and I was being a bitch.
Unknowingly my lips began to quiver. Edward however did notice. I was looking
out my window when he snatched my hand into his and gripped it with tight
gentleness. "Hey," he said, concerned. He rubbed his thumb against the back of my
hand soothingly. I blinked a few times and looked hesitantly over at him.
"What's wrong?"
I shook my head, not knowing what to say but also not trusting my voice.
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"Hey. Bella. Talk to me," he pleaded softly, staring directly into my eyes, silently
urging me to confide in him.
"I'm just-" I stopped, took a breath, "it's nothing. I'm fine."
"No," he pressed, "you're just what?" I pressed my lips together, mad at myself for
not being able to tell him everything running through my mind. I didn't want to
scare him away.
"Are you afraid?" Edward asked softly, his voice full of the wish to understand.
I shook my head back and forth profusely, "No, I'm just," I paused and searched
for the right word, "overwhelmed."
Edward's grip on my hand tightened slightly. "Bella, maybe this is too much. Don't
get me wrong I want this too. But I'll be back, and when I come back, I'll stay and
you won't have to deal with me leaving soon."
"No Edward. I'm excited too, I just need to relax," I gave him a somewhat
convincing smile. And when that didn't change his frown, I also frowned and gave
him a look, begging him not to press the issue.
And thankfully he didn't.
Instead we spent the next two hours of the ride in almost comfortable silence.
Edward didn't let go of my hand the entire ride. Except when he pulled into a dirt
road where he revealed some food that he had brought. It wasn't fast food, so I
decided to humor him with compliancy. I noticed him texting someone but didn't say
anything, because it really didn't spark my interest. I was too busy thinking about
sheets. Do we go under them? Or not?
After we finished our small snack Edward continued to drive. I didn't go to Duluth
often; I hadn't personally driven there so I didn't have the best idea of what roads
we should be taking. So when Edward took an exit off the highway we were
traveling on, I didn't think anything of it.
And then he took a series of other turns that caused me to sit up straighter in my
seat. I didn't recognize this from our previous drives. I also didn't think Edward
knew his way around that well yet. But I just watched as he turned down a series of
other roads like he drove this everyday.
Then he drove down a dirt road which I was absolutely positive I had never been
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on. Finally after we traveled down the bumpy stretch he turned the engine off. The
road had ended in a large circle that looked like it could be used to part multiple
cars. There was a path that had the same worn dirt as the road that lead into the
trees.
"Where are we?" I asked uncertainly as Edward unbuckled his seat belt. I followed
suit. He held up a finger and opened the door letting him out. He then jogged
around the front to open my door for me and help me down.
"Detour," he smiled the tension that had been building up in the truck dissolved
when the door opened. I was just thrilled that he wasn't angry with me, so I took his
hand and jumped out of the car.
I followed him, my hand latched with his as he walked around to the bed of the
truck. He leaned in and pulled out two fleece blankets from our house that were
folded nicely. I raised an eyebrow as he tucked them under his arm and started to
tug me in the direction of the path.
"Where are we?" I asked curiously, my mood improving greatly with the
wilderness air.
"A few miles out of Duluth," Edward said vaguely, lacing his fingers through mine.
I watched our arms swing together in pace with our walking.
"I didn't exactly plan for a hike," I pointed out, looking down at my sandals. I said
it mostly just to give him a hard time, which is what we did to each other.
"It's not a long hike," Edward promised, his signature crooked grin spreading
across his face.
And true to his word it wasn't. We walked through the bright green canopying
trees and wildflowers for only about fifteen minutes. Some of this was spent in light
conversation, the rest in comfortable silence.
We reached the end of the trail and suddenly we were on a cliff. The water was
directly ahead of us, but about 400 feet down until you could actually reach it. It was
still very grassy until there was solid rock a few feet from the edge. The trees were
still huddling over us protectively. And when I looked from one side to the next I saw
more cliff and forest lining. I knew we were overlooking Lake Superior, since
Edward had said it was only a few miles out from Duluth.
I hadn't noticed Edward letting go of my hand, I was too engulfed by the scenery.
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When I did realize it, I looked back behind me to see him spreading the blanket
down on the grass. He looked up at me smiled softly. I returned the gesture and
walked the few steps toward him.
"So how did you find this place?" I wondered aloud.
Edward sat down gracefully on the blanket and patted his side. I sat down next to
him as he answered, "Jasper is quite resourceful." Ah, that had been who he was
texting. Well, I thought with a mental shrug, made sense.
"It's stunning," I told him, leaning back against my arms, looking at his face which
was golden from the setting sun. Edward smiled distractedly, looking out at the
waves rolling in lazily.
I waited for him to say whatever he had to, knowing that face. I looked back up at
when him when he started to talk, "Bella, I want you to know how much I love you. I
know I'm not the perfect man for you to fall in love with, far from it, but somehow
we're together. And you need to know how glad I am that we are. You were
everything to me while I was still in Iraq."
I pursed my lips, watching as Edward looked away from the lake and at me. I
came him a soft smile, wondering how on earth I ever wound up in this position.
Then I leaned in and pressed my lips against his lovingly. I pulled back for a
moment, "You're wrong," I whispered against his lips before pressing mine against
them again. "You are the perfect man."
Before Edward could respond, probably in disagreement, I pressed my lips once
more against his, but this time I can my tongue against his lips. His mouth instantly
opened and my heart started pounding faster as our kiss deepened and a wild sense
of desire was kindled in me.
Gradually, not breaking our intense kiss I moved. I placed one knee on one side of
his legs and the other opposite of it. I moved my hands up his chest to his face
where I placed them on each side of his face, holding his face against mine. All the
while his hands wound down my back to softly but firmly hold my ass. When he
flexed his fingers, squeezing my butt I groaned and involunantarily ground against
his lap.
Kneeing in the position that I was, I could feel the affect I was having on Edward.
His erection was hard and prominent against the inside of my thigh. I smirked
against his lips as he groaned having felt my grinding. We broke away, both of us
entirely breathless. Edward moved down my neck kissing and sucking in sensitive
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places making me throw my head back, granting him a wider access.
I moaned as his tongue trailed along the spot underneath my ear, that having
struck a particularly pleasing nerve. Having gotten control of my breathing once
more, I roughly moved his face back up to mine and our lips crashed together again.
When our tongues met once more, him and I both groaned. Edward's hands wound
under my shirt slowly sliding up against my bare skin until the reached wear my bra
was. Just having his hands ghosting under my breasts make my shiver with pleasure,
feeling moist heat in my panties.
Edward's hands dropped from my breasts, just after lightly ghosting over my bra.
Without ever breaking our fierce kiss he went down to the hem of my shirt and
helped me pull it over my head. Our kiss broke for only a second before his mouth
attacked my again.
Abruptly, so fast that I hadn't even realized it was happening Edward had moved
so that he was slowly laying me down against the blanket. My bare back with the
exception of my bra straps laid back against the soft fleece blankets. Now it was
Edward who had his knees on either side of my me.
I than realized he had way too many clothes on. Before he could go back to my
neck I was pulling his own shirt over his head, trying to do it swiftly without
awkwardness. I had seen Edward shirtless plenty of timesbut God. Does it over get
old? Breathing heavily, I ran my hands down his hard muscular chest lightly, making
Edward close his eyes and shiver lightly.
When he opened them again, I noticed for the first time the lust and desire
burning deeply in the green eyes of his. I squirmed under him, thrilled at how much
he wanted me.
Before long both of us had shed our pants and we were left only in underwear.
Edward was leaning on his elbows above me, running his hand on the side of his
face while we kissed. Feeling devious I moved my hands on his back slowly before
coming to the hem of boxers. I fingered them hem as Edward slowed down our
vigorous kiss, curious as to what I was going to do. With a glint in my eyes I started
to pull them down, his large cock springing free. I pulled them down until they were
at the length that he could just kick them off.
I couldn't help but look down between us at his manhood. Edward raised slightly
up, watching me look at him. When I looked back I raised an eyebrow with a small
smile on my tender lips.
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"That's supposed to fit?" I asked rhetorically. Edward chuckled and nuzzled his
nose against mine.
"In theory," he smirked. I rolled my eyes and shook my head.
I couldn't ignore the ache in between my legs as I rubbed my thighs together,
needed some type of friction. Edward had moved so that he was propped on one
elbow and his other hand was sliding under my back. I arched my back up to give
him better access to my bra clasp. With great skill, Edward matched to unhook the
clasp and since I was wearing a strapless bra he gently pulled it away from my body
leaving me completely exposed to him.
With my hands running lightly through his hair, I watched his reaction. At first he
didn't even look down to my breasts, he was looking at me adoringly. I smiled,
fighting the self consciousness I was feeling. Really, I had nothing to feel self
confident about. I had had breasts since I was 12, and I didn't think there was a
single thing wrong with me being confident in my bra size.
Edward's eyes didn't change, and he didn't make any sudden movements as his
eyes lowered. The only movement there was, was our chests rising and falling in
sync. Then, very slowly he leaned his head down and placed a kiss in between my
two breasts.
My eyes fluttered closed his face trailed up to my right breast and his other hand
fondled my left breasts. I groaned and wiggled under him, growing wetter at the
sensation. My eyes almost flew open when his lips found their way onto my nipple,
taking the rosy bud in his warm mouth. The ache between my legs was growing
impossibly more unbearable.
I moaned loudly as he sucked harder making me arch my back up, desiring more.
The sensation was enough to drive me insane. I fisted his hair and tugged lightly.
And when I thought my senses couldn't go into more of an overdrive, his hand that
had been teasing my breasts and rubbing my other nipple did something else. I
gasped loudly as his fingers lightly pinched the bud, sending electricity down to my
core.
"Edward," I moaned, raising my back even higher off of the ground. All conscious
thoughts had left my mind the moment his lips found my breast. Now I was just
making primal noises that I didn't seem to care I was making. His lips released me
before trailing his tongue across the valley of my breasts and taking my other bud
into his mouth. This time though, he ever so lightly used his teeth, making me cry
out with pleasure.
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I ground my legs against his cock, desperately in need of sustaining. He
responded my rubbing his length over slowly up and down my panties making him
groan at my heat.
Before I knew what was happening, Edward's mouth released me and his free
hand went down to pull my panties off of my legs, but not before waiting for a look
from me. I was left laying completely exposed in front of him. I could honestly say
that I did not feel weird or even uncomfortable. Edward's held nothing but love and
passion for me. Why would I create irrational feelings of rejection when none
existed?
Keeping his eyes locked with him, his hand traveled down between us and very
lightly, he touched the aching part of my body. I groaned as his fingers touched my
wet lips. I hadn't realized how wet I actually was.
"God," I moaned in desperation, I needed the need to be sustained.
I felt his hard on rub against my thigh and though I wanted to do something for
him, something told me he was ready for me, just as I was ready to receive him. By
now I was rubbing my legs fiercely to creation any friction. I whimpered and he
chuckled patiently before moving his hands down to open up my thighs. I was
reluctant for the friction to stop but his warm strong hands guided them open for
him.
Sweat was on our bodies as he slowly moved into me. I was taken aback by the
feeling and cried out. It wasn't painful persay, it just felt...intrusive. Edward stilled
above me, watching me carefully.
I closed my eyes as my head fell to the side, I let out a breathless laugh, "If this is
it, I'll be disappointed."
I opened my eyes to see Edward rolling his eyes, his concern fading slightly.
"You're okay?" I nodded. "I love you." I grinned.
With my assurance, Edward slowly continued to slide into me, stretching me the
farther he went. I wouldn't say it was painful, just kind of uncomfortable. I let my
nails dig into his biceps as he concentrated on pushing into me all the way.
Edward stopped moving and I was sure he had gotten all the way in. Here's the
thing, a few years ago my hymen broke when I went horseback riding. Sex isn't
suppose to be painful if done right. Edward wasn't some 15 year old fumbling boy,
he knew what he was doing, and I trusted him with my body. After a few moments of
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Edward stilling, I was ready for more.
I met his eyes, and he must have seen my twinkling lust as he started to slowly
pull out and then push back in with enough force to make me moan. Edward got a
steady rythm of pushing into me so that after just a few times, my body was starting
to respond in primitive ways. I threw my head to the side, groaning as Edward hit a
particularly sensitive spot. I unvoluntarily clenched my walls and Edward responded
the soft, "Shit," and moan.
I felt it everywhere in my body as we pushed against each other. My core coiled
tightly and I squeezed around him. Edward's lips captured mine as they had done so
many times and I responded eagerly, letting out more moans at the things my body
was feeling.
His mouth left mine and traveled down once again to my breast. I knew what was
coming, but it didn't stop me from letting out a loud, "Ahh!" as Edward's lips sucked
on my nipple. I arched my body up instinctively. I groaned, I was so close, the
energy that had been building up felt as if it would make me explode. With one final
thrust I came. I can't say exactly what was happening in my mind at the time, I just
knew that what I was feeling was the most natual, most amazing thing a person
could.
When it was over I felt as if I would never be able to regain my breath. My chest
heaved as Edward, who had been letting out loud yells of ecstasy of his own, let his
head fall next to mine, gasping for breath himself.
Finally and somewhat miraculously, we were able to get our labored breathing
under control. Edward managed it before I did, and when I let out a final sigh he
was positively beaming at me.
"Holy shit," I breathed, closing my eyes and smiling.
I felt a hand tuck a stray moist strand of hair behind my ear and opened my eyes.
Edward leaned down and placed a tender, loving kiss softly on my lips. I was aware
of the stunning sunset over the horizon from our spot on the cliff, but nothing was
more stunning than the man gazing down at me, completely in love.
"And just think," he smiled softly, "we can do that for the rest of our lives."
I wanna break every clock
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The hands of time could never move again
We could stay in this moment (stay in this moment)
For the rest of our lives
Is it over now hey, hey, is it over now
I wanna be your last, first kiss
That you'll ever have (that you'll ever have)
I wanna be your last, first love (that you'll ever have)
Till you're lying here beside me with arms and eyes open wide
I wanna be your last, first kiss for all time
Anberlin, Inevitable
-Was this a realistic first time? Nope. Is this a fanfiction. Yep. Do most people have
a problem with that? Nope. For that, I'm glad(:
-Clarification: Bella's nerves at the beginning of the chapter was mostly just a
filler. I didn't feel like doing a lemon the entire chapter. She wasn't concerned about
the act of sex itself, just the specifics. Some could say she was being immature. But
really, Edward doesn't expect her to be 30. He's never thought of her as immature.
-Some sadness next chapter, the last chapter with Edward home...on that cheery
note, have a good weekend!
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Chapter 25
"Wake up beautiful," a soft adoring voice coaxed. I felt my hair being brushed
back lightly. A smile flittered across my face. My eyes blinked open to see Edward's
face smiling softly at me. He had his head propped up with his elbow and was
resting on the white pillows, bare-chested.
"Mmm," I hummed as I stretched my legs out. I wasn't quite anticipating the
soreness in between in my legs. It felt something along the lines of the first time I
had rode a horse, when I woke up I had been so stiff. I wasn't awake enough to be
startled, and when I looked back at Edward the memories that led to the soreness
flowed through my mind.
Last night. I grinned sleepily. Edward had been so tender and loving that my
decision to give myself to him was only reassured. I don't know if his intention had
been to wind up making love on a cliff at sunset. But whether it was or wasn't didn't
make a difference to the perfection of my first time.
My toes curled at the thought of Edward. I had never experienced the sensations
he made me feel yesterday. They were amazing and just thinking about his lips and
hands made me shiver with pleasure, and anticipation. I realized that we could do
that for the rest of our lives. Oh the possibilities. . .
"Hi," I grinned, speaking quietly because loud voices would disrupt our content
bubble.
"Hey," he smiled back. I closed my eyes as he leaned in to place a kiss on my
forehead. When he moved back, I opened my eyes and scooted into him, wanting
contact. Edward's arms wrapped around my naked body while he settled back
against the pillows with me against his chest.
He buried his face in my hair. "How are you?" he asked quietly yet full of concern.
I hummed as I snuggled closer against his warm muscular chest, "Incredible," I
breathed.
"You'd tell me if you felt any pain," Edward stated. I wasn't sure if it was a
question or a demand. But it didn't matter. I nodded against him.
"I love you," I said placidly.
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The grip Edward had on me tightened while remaining soft and protective,
"You've given me the meaning of love." I turned my head up so I could place a kiss
on his marvelous lips. He broke away before I did and tucked my head under his
chin.
This was the strangest thing. It did not feel like this was my life. It felt like this
should be done by actors and scripted by Oscar winners. But this was me, and here I
had a man who loved me so painfully much and knew all the right things to say in
any occasion.
I had expected that we would become closer, I mean sex does that. But I didn't
expect to feel so utterly connected with Edward's soul. Three days ago I could have
told him anything, it might have been awkward and I might have felt uncomfortable
but I could talk to him. But now, I wanted him to know my deepest secrets, I wanted
him to know what I thought about the most intimate of things. We had been
together, completely vulnerable and as a result I trusted him impossibly more.
"I'm glad I waited for you," I mumbled, closing my eyes again.
"So am I," he kissed my head to accent the point, "so am I."
After about an hour of rolling around in bliss under the sheets together we agreed
it was time for breakfast. Without a thought I slipped out of the warm bed and was
met with the cool air wrapping around my skin. Edward's bag was lying discarded
on the side of the bed I had slept on so I walked toward it and unzipped it. I grabbed
the shirt on top and slid it on over my body.
Edward, clad in a pair of boxers looked at me as I met him in the kitchen, with
nothing but his dress shirt on. I blushed shyly, ducking my head. Edward paused for
a second, not moving. I felt is eyes on me. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you
look really fucking sexy."
I bit my lip and smiled up at him. He was grinning crookedly at me from where he
stood in the kitchen. I padded across the wooden floor to perch on the stool at the
counter. Edward was pouring some kind of juice in a class. I raised an eyebrow as he
handed it to me.
"Cranberry juice," he answered as I took the glass lightly out of his hand.
I was about to tell him that I hated that juice with such a ferocious passion when I
stopped. I had read about the effects of cranberry in one of Esme's women
magazines. "And why am I drinking cranberry juice?" I asked, not taking a sip of it,
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but instead grimacing at it.
Edward obviously had read the same magazine as I had. He winked with a cocky
smirk. "I was planning on having more fun this weekend."
I can't say I wasn't pleasantly surprised. I had been worried that Edward would be
freaking out about the whole "losing virginity" thing and wouldn't touch me again.
But I was so glad he wouldn't be asking how I felt every five seconds. That would be
like giving someone the best piece of cake in the world and telling them they could
only have a lick of the frosting.
I just smiled brightly at him. And then I gulped down the god forsaken juice.
Edward and I had a perfect weekend. It was probably some of the best days of my
life, and if not, definitely in the top ten. But then again, that ten all consisted of days
I was with him. We went to some of the lighthouses in the Duluth area and went
hiking to some secluded waterfalls. Then we ate at a few gorgeous restaurants,
Edward insisting he had the need to treat me.
And then when we weren't out on the bustling town or outside on the lake we
were inside, in our bedroom. Sex was awesome.
I mean plain and simple, it was the most fun thing ever. Edward blew me away. I
didn't have any expectations because I had no one that I would compare him to. But
that didn't mean I wasn't positive that no one had it as good as me. He really was
completely amazing. He was the most tender, gentle lover. But he was also fun; he
laughed and said things that made me laugh, and he also was rough with a softness
beneath it at the right times. I was certain that some high school jock had nothing
on Edward. Edward made me feel, without a doubt, the most coveted women on the
planet.
On our last morning there, I woke up alone. I looked around, wondering where the
hell Edward had gone. But when I looked out the window overlooking the lake I saw
Edward in a t-shirt and boxers leaning against the railing of the porch, unmoving.
Curious and slightly concerned, I wrapped one of the blankets around my body,
covering myself on the off chance of being seen. Then I went out through the sliding
door and out into the crisp morning air. Edward must have heard the door, but he
didn't turn, he just continued to stare out at the still blue water.
"Why'd you leave?" I asked as I leaned against the railing next to him, mirroring
his position.
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"I didn't know you'd wake up this early," he said without turning to face me.
"What's on your mind?" I asked.
"The future," Edward said, his emotions kept well hidden from his tone and me.
"Oh," I said. I hated thinking about the future, it honestly scared me. But I hated
thinking about the past because it made me rather doleful. I tended to live life day to
day, which was sometimes nice but other times a weakness.
"And what have you come up with?" I asked, almost frightened. But I wanted to
know. We had never really broached the subject of what would happen when he
returned next June. Mostly because the thought, "return next June," scared the shit
out of me.
"Nothing. I have no clue what I want to happen, other than you," he finally looked
over at me, I met his gaze and tried to understand him through his eyes. It wasn't
often when Edward was unsure, or even, -though the tiniest amount- frightened.
"Well, you have me." I slipped my arms around one of his comfortingly, all the
while trying to keep my blanket up. "And even though I don't want you to go, you're
leaving in a week. We'll have plenty of time to decide what we're going to do after
that." I rested my head on his bicep.
Edward didn't say anything for a long time. Instead he just rested his head on top
of mine. And we stood there in the rising morning sun, unmoving.
"Do you want me to stay in the army?" The words were asked with a curious
vulnerbility. I could tell he hadn't made a decision yet. And I knew what I said would
affect that. I thought slowly, choosing my words carefully. I had feelings, but I
wasn't going to let them stop him.
"I am so, incredibly proud of you. You are strong and brave. And I know you do
what's right. And you're also stubborn as hell; I know in the end you'll do what you
want. And I'll support you."
Edward nuzzled my cheek with his nose and made me crack a smile. "You're lying.
You have a yes or no answer."
"Not a definite one. . ." I grinned, leaning up to place a butterfly kiss on his lips.
He surprised me and held my lips to his, entering into the beginning of a very
passionate kiss.
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"We have a couple hours till we need to be gone," Edward breathed against my
face as he broke away for air before going to kiss and nip the skin on my neck. His
voice was husky and full of lust that accented his desire filled eyes.
"How convieient for you," I said saucily as my instincts began to kick my thoughts
out.
"What?" he asked as his tongue slid out behind my ear after he nipped at my ear
lobe.
In answer to his question I moved my arms away from his and spread them out.
He looked me, his eyes full of passion and wondering what I was doing. With a sly
grin I dropped the blanket and it fell away from my body, completely exposing me.
Edward's eyes widened as I smirked. Then he attacked my lips with his while his
hands went down to cup my ass, covering it from the peeping birds and squirrels.
And that was that.
I was sad to leave the house. I loved Duluth and I had gotten very attached to the
house. I mean, the first house you walk around naked in will stick with you your
entire life. . .well maybe not. But I didn't want to go back to reality; I didn't want to
go home to Carlisle and Esme or anyone for that matter. I didn't want to leave
because that would mean I would be closer to Edward leaving.
But our drive home was nice. We listened to music and talked about the current
stuff, our favorite genres and such. Then we talked about the classes I would be
taking in the fall and what colleges I was looking at so far. I loved having someone
listen whole heartedly to me talk. And Edward was interested in what I had to say,
he listen well and asked questions occasionally which kept me speaking for hours. I
was almost surprised when we pulled into the driveway.
The rest of the afternoon passed by without much of anything happening. Carlisle
and Esme, well Esme, wanted to hear about the house and what we did (sightseeing
terms.) And then after a nice small dinner we all went off to bed. I hadn't really
realized that Edward would still be sleeping in his room. I spent most of the time
getting ready for bed contemplating if I should go into his room. I was sure Carlisle
would not be thrilled and Esme might not be either. But I didn't want to waste any
nights I had with Edward in the country.
I crawled into my bed, missing Edward already, even though he was three doors
down. I laid there in the dark for a few minutes. And then finally I decided to screw
it, I was about to the throw the covers of my bed off and march down the hallway in
a very quiet march- when I heard a noise.
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It was coming from outside in the backyard where I had a small deck overlooking
the yard. I slid out of bed and walked across the room to the door that led to the
porch. I hated night time because I was always convinced there was a murderer in
the house, even though it had gotten better with Edward. Braving the night, I
opened the door and stepped outside in the breeze and looked off the balcony.
And alas there was Edward.
Climbing up a rope suspended from the balcony.
Should have seen this coming. . .
"Edward!" I hissed, not sure if Carlisle and Esme's window was opened, "what the
hell are you doing?"
"What the fuck does it look like I am doing?" he snapped in frustration. Point of
clarification here; he was climbing using a ski rope. A very thin one. Not like the
ones used in your gym class. And it didn't seem to be working out too well. "I'm
sneaking into your room!"
"Seethat's why people, -just in general- use doors!"
"Shut up and appreciate the Disney princess aspect of this gesture," Edward
complained as he started to get up the thin rope.
"You know," I started, suddenly feeling very sassy, "for someone who went
through military training, you think you'd be just a little quicker with this."
"I'm sure the army would be thrilled to know I'm using their skills in the real
world," Edward said, his voice oozing with sarcasm.
"More like. . . attempting," I reworded for him, a smirk threatening to come out,
"and clearly failing by the way."
"Holy shit. Shut up; it's like one in the morning and here I am climbing up your
windowsill like Prince fucking Charming and you are mocking me!" Edward griped
being unintentionally comical.
"You know, I never really got the whole fantasy of Prince Charming. Disney guys
in general taught only sexism, strength, and dominance to determine masculinity
and as a result the young smart boys of today whose mother's made them watch
those movies will feel physically inadequate and in the end result in violence. Plus
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Prince Charming taught girls if they're helpless some rich guy will definitely come in
and save them." I told Edward, completely serious.
Edward, still wrestling to get up the rope froze. I looked down curiously as he
stared at me shock and then exasperation and then annoyance.
"What. The. Hell. You've got to be fucking kidding me Bella."
I raised my eyebrows as he began his struggle again. Then I shook my head. "No, I
was serious. Maybe if you were going for a more manly approach, I wouldn't be
mocking you."
"Bella?"
"Yeah?" I asked with bright oblivion.
"Stop talking."
Once Edward managed to actually get on to the balcony I let him in the bedroom,
glad he was here, though not above teasing him. I was flattered he had something
against doors. I didn't want to sleep in my bed alone, I wanted to cuddle with him
and fall asleep in his warmth. And that's exactly what I did.
Edward snuck into my bedroom for the next week leading up to his departure. The
one time I was feeling risky enough for a quick. . .session. . .Edward decided that he
suddenly feared Carlisle. I tried to tell him no, he's a doctor, he's really not
intimidating, and he's down with the whole losing virginity thing. But Edward was
adamant; Carlisle was a doctor and could in fact kill him and make it look like an
accident. So. We mostly just laid in each other's arms.
The week was actually nice. I had been surprised, thinking that it would be awful
and we would both be so depressed that we would consume our weight in ice cream
while watching The Office marathon, but, no such thing happened.
We went out on a four wheeling excursion one day, we trailed through the woods
competitively and then ate a lunch in the middle of the woods. The day after that we
went to the mall. Mostly because we both wanted something normal about our
relationship, and normal people went to the mall. I made a mental note of some of
the things Edward said would be useful at base. We went to the movies and dinner
after that.
Then, on a particularly rainy day, Jasper and Alice came over to the house and we
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had a Stars Wars marathon. I discovered Edward was a diehard, complete nerd. But,
any guy who appreciates Star Wars more than Star Trek, deserves my respect, and
evidently my undying love. . .
And then we started getting closer to the day he was leaving. Two days before he
had to leave we went to a Twins baseball game, again with Alice and Jasper. Even
though I grew up in Ohio, and lived in Wisconsin for awhile I liked the Minnesota
Twins. They had a new outdoor stadium, and it was a beautiful day to be outdoors.
Edward and I had taken a cell phone picture and texted it in and ended up making
the big screen. Which made me take a cell phone picture of that.
Before I knew it, it was my last afternoon with Edward. His flight would be in the
morning. And then he'd be on a plane flying 8000 thousands miles away to the Asian
desert of Iraq, entering a war zone once again.
That thought just made me a cheery person.
I had decided that Edward had grown used to home cooked, good food and he
shouldn't just be cut off from it. So, I started to bake furiously. I was baking every
type of cookie that he had ever said he liked from chocolate chip to peppermint to
snicker doodle. I was trying to figure out the best way to pack them so they wouldn't
get cracked and smashed. So far I had no ideas.
My lemon cookies were in the oven when I decided to go upstairs to Edward's
room where he currently was. When I got into the room he was sitting on his bed,
elbows on his knees and hands clasped together in front of him as he stared over at
the two of his duffel bags.
I didn't say anything, and he didn't either, even though he knew I was standing
right in front of him. I casually crossed my arms and leaned over against the frame
of the door, watching him.
Edward finally looked over at me, he was frowning, almost in disappointment. I
met his eyes, sharing it with him. "Come here," he requested softly, opening his
arms up as I strode across the room to him. I perched on one of his legs as he pulled
me in into him. I wrapped my arms around his shoulder and held onto to him,
burying my face into his hair.
"Are you sure you want to say goodbye at the airport?" he asked after about five
minutes of silence in which the room started to smell like lemons, "I don't want you
to have to drive home alone. . ."
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"Don't. Not right now," I pleaded, hugging him tighter. "If we start talking about
this now then I won't be able to make it till tomorrow."
Edward nodded against me and pulled me tighter, kissing my neck.
I slid off of his knee and slipped out of his grasp and went to stand in between his
spread legs. My hands slid up his neck as I leaned down to press my lips fiercely
against his. We both were in need of a distraction, and let's face it, baking was doing
squat to help.
Our kiss deepened almost instantly. I let out a quiet moan as Edward went to cup
the curve of my ass. But he didn't stop there, his hands slid under my skirt so that
we were skin on skin as he fondled it. I kissed him back harder, my hands going to
his collar on his shirt to pull him closer.
Edward's hands skimmed down to my thighs and in one swift movement, he had
pulled me up so that I was straddling him. I curled my legs around his back. I
smirked against his lips as I adjusted the position. Now that I was sitting on his lap I
could feel the affect I was having on him.
Just as Edward's lips started traveling down to my neck the timer keeping track of
the cookies baking went off in simultaneous, irritating beeps. I groaned in
frustration and was about to make a move to get off of Edward and get the cookies
out. But Edward pulled me closer, unaffected by it and continued to suck on my
neck.
"The house is going to burn down," I panted, losing will as my primal instincts
kicked reason's ass.
"Did you use the oven timer?" Edward asked breathlessly before continuing his
assault on my neck and collarbone.
"Yeah," I answered, my body arching into his, making him moan as a result of my
breasts being pushed in his face.
"Then the oven shut off automatically," Edward said certainly. His hands slid up
my back to where the clasp of my bra was, making quick work of it. I pressed
against him, sitting completely topless on his lap. His hands slid around my waist
and up to cup each of my breasts. I moaned loudly.
"But they'll be ruined," I argued. The sex deprived part of my mind screamed at
me to shut the fuck up. I was agreeing with that side.
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Edward pinched one of my nipples sharply between his fingers, making me yelp at
the sensation. "Good thing I don't like lemons." His tongue swirled out to trace the
skin around my nipple on one of my breasts. I groaned, rubbing across his denim
lap, needing relief.
"Oh? I quite. . .enjoy lemons. . ." I trailed off into a loud moan as he took the erect
peak into his mouth and started to suck roughly. I continued to rock in need of
friction on his lap.
"Well," Edward said sexily as he started to move to my other side, his tongue
trailing slowly from one to the next, "I suppose I could help you get your fill." I
grinned and we plunged back on the bed. In the process Edward swiftly kicked his
packed duffle bags off of his bed, making us both forget about what was going to
happen tomorrow morning.
The rest of the afternoon I managed to hold myself together. Sex with Edward
help distract me thoroughly. Twice. Esme was extra chatty at dinner that evening
and Carlisle was extra quiet. I knew Esme was almost as sad as I was that Edward
was going. And in his own little way, I knew that Carlisle was going to miss him as
well.
After our late dinner Edward and I went upstairs to repack his bags since all of his
clothes and stuff fell out when we were using his bed. It didn't take us long to
silently get it all back in place. When we were finished Edward pulled me in a tight
hug, his arms engulfing me. He started to talk, say something about leaving but I
stopped him, still not ready to talk about his coming departure.
I went back downstairs to pack up all of the cookies for him and his squad. I
figured a tuper ware container would work the best. I packed as many as I could in
one, before taking out another one and stuffing that one as well. Wordlessly Edward
helped me.
Before I knew it, the sun had set. I knew I had to shower tonight because I
wouldn't have time in the morning. I left Edward to say goodbye to Carlisle and
Esme while I went up to shower. Numbly I stripped out of my clothes and stepped
into my shower, the scalding water stinging my body instantly. I lathered shampoo
into my hair, my body on autopilot as I thought about Edward.
The pain I felt knowing that Edward was leaving was so awful that I couldn't put it
into words; all I could do was helplessly feel it. It was like when my parents passed
away. In my creative writing, we were supposed to write about the most intense
experience of our lives, and I couldn't describe it. The only person who could know
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how I felt were other army girlfriends and wives.
Before I could fight it, my emotions crashed over me, drowning me. I slid down
the side of the shower, the water continuing to pour on me as I started to cry.
I hated change. I was the worst at it. I liked things to stay exactly the way they
were. I mean, after I graduated from elementry school, I went into a depression
because I would be going to middle school. Not because I was scared, because I
didn't want my kid years to be over. I was doing the same thing now, I desperated
needed more time with Edward, because I would be losing him.
I had gone through enough change over the years. It hardly seems fair that I
should lose my parents, move to an entirely new state and have to start a new life.
And then, when I finally find a guy who I love more than anything, he's going to
leave for a year. I didn't know what I would do without him.
A year. 12 months. 56 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525,600 minutes, and
31,536,000 seconds. I couldn't wrap my mind around how long of a time that was. I
just knew that I wouldn't be seeing Edward for what would feel like forever. I could
feel my freshly healed and bright heart beginning to break. The familiar pain of
seperation began to creep through my body.
I depended on Edward. He had become my world. And now he was going. It
wasn't fair that the one guy I could actually open myself up to love with my whole
heart had to leave me and was powerless to do anything else. My cries soon turned
into sobs. I hadn't allowed myself to cry since I'd realized I was in love with Edward.
I knew it was coming, I had known it was coming before he even arrived. But now it
was here, and I was handling it so much worse than I should have.
I continued to cry, trying and failing to stop it. I brought my knees up to my chest
and tried to muffle the sound of my anguish. I didn't want them to hear me
downstairs. I doubted they'd be able to, but I didn't want Edward to hear me. It
would stress him out when he got to Iraq knowing that I would be here, missing him
so unbearably much. I didn't want him stressed or worried, I wanted him to focus on
staying alive.
It just wasn't fucking fair! I wanted Edward with me so badly. That was the only
conscious thought I had. Why me? Why did God give me this amazing man, only to
have him leave me again?
It was hard to stop my mind from picturing things. And when I did, I only cried
more vigourously. What if Edward never came home? What if this was the last night
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I would have with him? I would have to live with those thoughts for the next 12
months.
Suddenly the shower curtain was pulled back loudly and I looked up, startled as
my cries were temporarily quieted. Edward stood there, his face fell into a state of
misery. It made my heart break as he took in my sorrow. I started to cry harder, the
water still cascading around me. I buried my face so I didn't have to see Edward in
pain. It felt like I could no longer breathe, and my throat was closing in. I chanced a
glance up and gathered air, just in time to see Edward, all of his clothes on, stepping
into the shower, not bothering to turn off the water.
Edward slid down next to me, his shirt and jeans darkening from the continuous
stream of rain. He wrapped one of his arms around my bare body and pulled me into
his chest. I couldn't move out of my fetal position, so instead he reached so he could
put his other arm around me as well. His body completely shielded me from the rain,
as he silently let me cry into him, my world crashing down around me.
Edward was my shield, my rock and my brave soldier. He stayed with me through
the night, and held me as I eventually fell to sleep. Edward was all I needed. And I
had no idea how I would be able to go on without him by my side.
And there you stand opened heart-opened doors
Full of life with the world that's wanting more.
But I can see when the lights start to fade,
The day is done and your smile has gone away.
Let me raise you up.
Let me be your love.
May I hold you, as you fall to sleep,
When the world is closing in, and you can't breathe.
May I love you.
May I be your shield.
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When no one can be found
May I lay you down.
May I, Trading Yesterday
-I don't think I have much to say...again, sorry for some editting mistakes, my beta
now has a boyfriend, a job and golf...-sighs-
-Edward actually leaves next chapter. . .so bring your tissues girls!
- 282 -
Chapter 26
I woke up the next morning wrapped in Edward's arms. My eyes felt puffy as I
blinked them opened and closed. Edward's body was warm and protective as he
slept soundly, his face coated with serenity. I sighed quietly, instantly remembering
what day it was. I gazed as him lovingly, reaching my hand up to stroke his hair
away from his forehead.
I stayed still, just looking at him, memorizing the way his face relaxed completely
when he slept. I studied the slight furrow of his brows, and the way his lips curved
making me wonder what it was he was dreaming about. I froze in my mind how his
arms felt around my body.
It was not like I would not see or feel any of these things again, but a year was a
long time to wait for them. I had tried at one point to be an optimist and remember
that it could be worse; I could never see him again. But the dread that thought
caused me, made me screw optimism. Edward was going into a war zone, Edward
was soldier. Bad things happened to soldiers. And that was as far as I allowed my
mind to go before I stopped that train of thought.
After almost twenty minutes I slid out of his hold. I was careful not to wake him
up. I just needed to get some fresh air because that mostly just seemed like the
thing to do in a moment like this- I would only be out for a few minutes. I didn't want
him to wake up alone. So as quietly as I could I slipped outside to my balcony and
collapsed in a chair.
Surprisingly I felt fairly at peace with myself. I wouldn't say I had come to terms
with Edward leaving in a couple hours, and I wouldn't remember this peace when he
was gone. But for the moment, I was just glad to be getting it over with. I had my
whole life with Edward and his tour in Iraq would only make me fall more in love
with him.
The frustrating thing about this was the fact that I knew that I could do it. I knew
that I could be strong enough to be away from Edward for that long. And that made
me just angry, because I didn't think I should have to prove it.
I was actually doing okay. At one point tears came to my eyes. Not because he was
leaving and I would be on my own again. No, the few tears were from pride. I was so
proud of Edward. My boyfriend was fighting in a war so others didn't have to. No
one had forced him to join the army; he did it on his own because he knows what's
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right. He went through ordeals others couldn't even dream about because he
wanted to keep people he didn't know safe.
Edward was like a character in a movie, who should be played by the best actor in
Hollywood. He was so much more than average. I was so, so, fucking lucky that he
wanted to be with me when he could have any other woman he wanted. I didn't
understand why, but I loved him so much for it.
The door leading out to the balcony swung open and I looked back, even though I
knew it was Edward coming out. He had his hands above his head, stretching with a
giant yawn. I grinned at his disheveled hair and groggy eyes. He was pretty damn
cute.
Edward frowned as he looked at me. I blinked in confusion and then felt the
weight of tears on the tip of my eyelashes. I rubbed the tears off my cheeks quickly
and wiped my eyes. He yawned once again, but now he was completely alert. He
walked a few steps to where I was sitting and crouched down in front of me, taking
one of my hands in his.
"Hi," he said boyishly, his eyes examining me. I felt bad for making him see me cry
yesterday and I had decided to make it a point to hold it together just a little bit
better.
"Morning," I smiled, showing him I was okay. I yawned, covering my mouth with
my free hand.
"How's it going?" he asked, hesitant to believe my smile. I felt worse. I didn't want
him wanting on egg shells around me. I was fine.
"I'm fine. Really," I added when he still didn't look convinced. "What about you?"
"I was worried when I woke up without you," he admitted, running his free hand
through his messy head of hair. "I guess it's something I'll have to get used to now,"
he sighed. I frowned too. That would be something I had to adjust to as well. Army
Wives made this shit look way too easy.
"This sucks," I sighed.
"Fuck, I know," Edward agreed, looking out over the backyard and woods behind
it. I ran my hand tentatively through his hair, feeling the softness of it. It had grown
out so nicely, the next time I saw him it would be short again.
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"I'm going to miss you," I told him quietly, looking down at our entwined hands. I
didn't want to, but I just had to let it out once. I wasn't going to burden him. I
chanted it in my head a million times. But this just slipped out.
Edward clasped my hand tighter as he met my eyes, his lips curving into the
tiniest of a grin. "If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not togetherthere is
something you gotta always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger
than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even
we're apart, I'll always be with you."
I stared at him blinking every few seconds. What he said was beautiful and I loved
him immensely for it, because it was very fitting. But something wasn't quite right
about it.
"Who did you just quote?" I asked, knowing that while he was very sweet and
creative, it wasn't exactly Edward's style to leave out a select choice of swear words
when speaking.
Edward actually blushed. The faintest of pink spread across his cheeks before he
looked down at my lap. When he looked back up he had a sheepish, almost
embarrassed grin on his face.
"Winnie the Pooh" he trailed off. I pressed my lips together and nodded
seriously before a small giggle escaped from my mouth. Edward's eyes narrowed
playfully at me.
"The deepest of all bears" I teased in agreement.
"I know!" Edward agreed, and I was actually convinced that he was serious. I
raised an eyebrow.
Edward quickly composed himself and cleared his throat. I smirked. "But what he
-well I'm pretty sure Winnie's a he. . .ha a bear named Winnie, oh- said is true. You
are the strongest, most brave person I've ever met, and keep in mind what I do for a
living. You are incredibly smart and I cannot wait to see where it will take you. And
most importantly I will never really leave you. I'll always be thinking about you. I
hate to be one of those 'together in your heart' people, but I figure if we both think
about each other, remember this past month and look forward to the future, it'll be
like I never left."
I loved him so much for trying. I smiled, amused but also sad. "Do you really
believe that?" Way to damper his mood Bella; good positive spirit.
- 285 -
"No, but I'm trying."
I nodded, "I'll try too," I promised.
"Come on, let's not go getting all fucking dramatic just yet," Edward said after
looking into my eyes. He stood up, the morning light justifying his body well. He
held his hand out to mr as he stretched from side to side. I smiled and grabbed onto
it and he pulled up. Edward wrapped his arm around my waist and settled it on my
hip as we walked inside.
An hour later we were dressed and getting in the car, ready to head out. Carlisle
and Esme had just left for work, having said their final goodbyes. Carlisle and
Edward were speaking quietly for a surprisingly long amount of time. Ares was
staring out the glass door as Edward climbed in the truck. If dogs could be cry, I'd
definitely say Ares looked sad enough to be doing so. I glanced back and he put his
paw helplessly on the glass, I could practically hear his whine. I didn't tell Edward;
he knew how much his dog would miss him.
Our ride to the airport was mostly silent. I can't speak for Edward, but I was
thinking back to our past month together. It seemed impossible that our time was
up. It literally felt like yesterday since I was driving to the airport alone to pick up
Edward, not knowing what to expect from him. I didn't really think I would fall
madly in love with him and make love several times over to him.
The fall madly in love part, isn't really fair. I fell in love with Edward throughout
his letters. I loved him before I even met him. I just had no fucking clue. And now,
like a rug being ripped out from under me, he was departing.
It kept hitting me, harder and harder each time. It didn't seem real that Edward
was actually leaving. For real. I wasn't doing a good job of wrapping my head
around it. I had known it was coming for months, but now it was here, and every few
minutes I would painfully realize it.
Edward held my hand tightly as we weaved through the crowds of the airport.
After his bag was checked and loaded he was able to hold onto my side with his free
arm. We walked wordlessly until we arrived at the terminal in which Edward's plane
would be departing from. Edward led me over to empty seats away from everyone
else who was watching us curiously.
Edward was wearing his standard camos, as he dove right back into his duties
once he was back on base. He even had the dusty combat boots laced up. The only
thing he was missing was his dog tags which were around my neck. He assured me
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that he would get a new set first thing back on base.
This was the second time I had ever seen him suited up. I couldn't help but think
in the back of my depressed brain how incredibly sexy he looked. Of course as soon
as that thought was out, I felt like crying again.
People were generally curious about the lives of soldiers. If you see one walking
around in the mall, dressed in uniform, people are going to stare. They'll be polite
and try to hide it of course, but eventually their curiosity will win over. And that's
what was happening now. In their minds they were about to witness a tragic parting
of star crossed lovers complete with sobbing and hysteria. As fun as that would be, I
knew I wouldn't do that, and I ignored them.
Edward's thumb soothingly rubbed the back of my hand repetitively. I bit my lip.
Then I released it. And then I bit it again. And before I could say anything, the first
boarding call for Edward's flight was announced in a bored monotone voice. I let out
a huge breath, not realizing I had even been holding it. I glanced slowly over at
Edward, wanting to just have a nice cry already.
I stood up with Edward and he took both of my hands. I bit my lip again and
stared up at him, not blinking as he stared back at me.
"So this is goodbye," I breathed disbelievingly. Edward's lips pressed in a grim
line, his stare unwavering.
"Just for now," Edward said quietly, but with such assurance that I had to nod.
Edward released my hand, suddenly remembering something. I watched as he
pulled a small white envelope out of his jacket. "Here," he said, offering the
envelope to me. I took the letter I had written him yesterday out of my back pocket
and handed it to him in return. We had decided to write letters that he could read
once he got on the plane and I could read once his plane had taken off.
"I love you," Edward said in a, for what it's worth tone. His hand came up to
caress my cheek softly, his eyes boring into mine.
As I stared at him, my restraint slipped. In that instant no one and nothing could
have stopped me from being in his arms. I literally threw my arms around his
shoulders and his automatically came around my waist pulling me close into his
chest. He hugged me so tightly to him, his arms all the way around my torso, that he
lifted me to the tips of my toes. I buried my face in his chest, right where MASEN
was stitched in. His embrace was all I needed right now, because I was safe.
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"I love you too," I whispered back. My eyes pricked with the tears, anxious to be
shed. I pulled myself closer to him, as if he could hold together my breaking heart in
someway. I wished he could, because in my mind Edward could do anything. "I'm so
proud of you," I couldn't resist adding.
"I'm proud of you baby," Edward mumbled in the crook of my neck, where his face
was buried.
I pulled away, just far enough for me to be able to see his face and not break out
of his hold. My hands moved from around his shoulders to the sides of his neck,
resting them lightly on it. I looked at him seriously, trying to be stern despite the
tears on the brim of my eyes. "You're going to come home to me Edward. Promise to
God, you'll be safe." This could be the last time I ever saw Edward, nothing was ever
certain with soldiers and war. And that thought alone pushed the tears rolling down
my cheeks slowly.
Edward, seeing my heartbreak didn't hesitate. He pulled me back against him,
crushing my body to his. "I promise baby, I'm not going anywhere," he whispered
firmly, without a doubt. And Edward's promise was all I needed.
A second call for Edward's flight came up over the intercom. I was seriously
getting ready to walk over and punch the dumb chick who was smacking her gum,
totally unaffected by the destruction of my life.
I could have said a thousand different things to him. I had thought of millions of
things over the past month, knowing this was coming. But nothing, nothing seemed
to fit right now. This was even more difficult then I could imagine.
The misery I was feeling was horrendous, but not unfamiliar. I had felt this deep
hopelessness, this sadness and pain before. When my parents died, I didn't think I
would ever be happy again. But for the first time, I've truly without a doubt happy
for the past month. It felt like my heart was breaking and taking away the newfound,
beautiful happiness.
Edward leaned down to press a kiss on my lips. It was a kiss filled with so much. I
felt his desire, his sadness, his passion, his love, and his care conveyed in the simple
gesture. I kissed him back, burning the feeling into my memory to feel later. And
then, we both unwillingly pulled away from each other. I looked into his eyes despite
the fact I knew I would be showing him the despair filling mine.
"Stay safe," I said once again my voice cracking. I knew I had said it already, but
having Edward leave for a year is one thing that I can deal with hopefully- but
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having him never come back was something that I would not be able to make it
through.
"I will." He leaned in to place a sealing kiss gently on my forehead. "I love you a
shit ton," he added. I cracked a tearful grin as he put his forehead to rest on mine.
He gave me a crooked smile filled with melancholy.
"Right back at you Sergeant," I smiled, blinking the tears back. I could feel a sob
pushing its way up my throat and I was powerless to stop it. Edward smiled and we
stayed still and silent for a moment. Then, the time had finally come. He released me
from his arms, and I slowly slid out of his embrace. My arms around my torso, as if
that could hold me together. I watched as Edward bent over to sling his bag over his
shoulder and straighten up again.
"I'll be home before you know it," Edward promised as he kissed my forehead
tenderly once more. I nodded, choking back my cries and trying to put on some sort
of brave front for him. My hand fell out of his, our fingers dangling next to each
other's for the shortest of seconds. And then he turned and started to walk towards
the boarding entrance. I pressed my quivering lips together as I watched him walk
away. I was counting the steps he took, separating us. Halfway to the door his head
turned back, his face confirming that he was not handling this as well as he liked me
to believe. His eyes, the uncertainty and pain, make me swallow back a sob. I raised
my hand and tilted it to the right, encouraging him to go, I'd be fine.
I waited until he was in the tunnel and the door was completely closed to the
plane. I didn't want to watch him take off, I would break down. I managed to stay as
the wheels taxied across the take off strip before I had to leave. I navigated back
through the same crowds I had just come through with Edward. People gave the
tearful girl plenty of room to get out to her car. And I was thankful.
I made it all the way out to the truck. I had made it a habit in the past month to go
in and sit in the passenger's seat because Edward liked to drive. So automatically I
opened the passenger door once I was in the parking lot. When I looked across the
inside of the cab and didn't see Edward climbing in; that was my breaking point. I
slid into the passenger seat and slammed the door shut, just in time for the
overwhelming sobs to rip through me the crushing weight of what just happened
overtook me.
For literally 40 minutes.
The planes continued to fly overhead. People continued to pull in and out of
parking spots around me. Employees went outside to take their usual smoke break.
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Everybody was continuing life normally, like nothing had happened; and nothing had
happened to them. But to me, it felt like my world had just ended; that my heart was
flying again to Iraq.
Finally my sobs soon turned to cries, and then softer cries and then I was
hiccupping and wiping the tears away from my face. My eyes felt swollen and puffy
and my nose was stuffy. I remembered the letter weighing nothing in my back
pocket. The slightest ounce of enthusiasm shone through as I arched my back to
wiggle the paper into view.
I tore open the small envelope and unfolded the letter in record timing.
Dear Bella,
You're asleep right now. I just snuck into your room in case you were wondering.
God, you look so stunning. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes
on. The fact that I love you is just a bonus. It's strange, writing you a letter when I'm
lying right next to you.
By the time you're reading this, I'll be on a plane. If you've got to the point where
you can actually read thisI love you. You'll do just find without me there. Even
though I wish I didn't have to put you through this. You don't deserve it. Blame the
damn government. Or George W. Bush. Unless you're a strong republican, in which
case, I'm sorry. Are you a republican? I never did ask
I feel like there is so much that we didn't talk about. Or so much stuff that we
could have done. But then again, we crammed years worth of relationship in the
past month. And it's been the best month of my life. When I'm an old man, with
nothing to live for but the coming of my time, I'll think back to our perfect summer
together, and how it was the happiest time of my life.
You are so much more than I had ever hoped for in anyone. You are the best thing
that has ever happened to me. You are the most caring, warm, funniest and most
beautiful woman on the planet. I look at couples now when we walk past them and
pity them. Because I know that their love doesn't even come close to competing with
what we feel for each other.
Remember when you told me you loved me? I think back to your face and the way
you said it all the time. I love you so much for taking it into control like you did, and
the way you told me, it was just so you. And it was perfect. I remember the light in
your eyes. I had noticed it before we went out on the lake. Your eyes always sparkle,
but that day they were shining, shining because of some type of epiphany. I could
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barely dare myself to hope you had realized that I was in love with you. Even though
I had already figured out my feels for you and told you them well, kind of- I was
going to wait for you to tell me. I didn't want to freak you out, or scare you away.
And that worked pretty damn well for me.
I have plenty of time to write to you about my feelings for you. I don't need to use
up all my smooth lines right now. You'll get enough of those in the future. Oh, you're
starting to wake updid anyone ever tell you that you have weird sleeping patterns?
Never mind, if the answer is anything other than no, I'll be extremely curious
I miss you already. And I'm lying right next to you. I hate it that I have to go. I
hate myself for doing this to you. I'm sorry, please don't hate me as much as I do
right now. Though I wouldn't blame you. Please don't lose hope. I swear I'm going to
come back soon. I know this isn't what you asked for, and Iraq is taking its toll on
me too. We'll be together soon.
Sincerely,
Your Sergeant Masen
My eyes feel like they're bleeding
But I'm just crying
Is this what I ask for?
I hate myself when I'm away from you
I swear I'm sorry
Please don't hate me too
And I don't know if my heart will make
It through, I swear I'm sorry
Please don't hate me too
Don't fail now, hold on to hope
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Cause I'm yours
I'm coming home to you soon
Cause the road is very worn
And it's begging me to come back to you
Distance, Secondhand Serenade
-GIANT frowny face ): This song makes me cry; strongly recommend it! It's okay
ladies, we'll see him soon. And when he comes back, we're going get Edward's past.
God I can't wait.
-Brenner's back next chapter, goodbye to Alice and Jasper and a sketchy guy will
come into play. Oh, and majorly depressed Bella, but ya know.
-I 'm going to go be a cool kid and spend the next week doing stuff for National
History Day. Eh. If anyone knows where the hell to find audio clips of Woodrow
Wilson on the League of Nations, just give me a shout! Or just give me a shout
because I'm going to want to punch myself in the face.
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Chapter 27
Life sucks.
It's been said by many far greater than me, and it will continue to be said for all
eternity. But I finally grasped the true concept of the meaning, and what it feel like
to really be living in one giant suck fest.
I've also come to realize that I am a spoiled little bitch. I've been moping around
for the past two weeks, missing Edward and hating life for not being able to have
him. Did I stop to think about the starving people in Africa who didn't have a house
or food like me? Nope. Did I stop and think about the people whose husbands or
wives have died? Hell no. Did I think about global warming and how it's going to
destroy us all? Maybe in passing. . .but the bottom line was; I was mad at myself. I
had life so good and for some reason I expected to have a boyfriend actually with
me. At least I had one.
The first day without Edward while he was on a plane flying to Iraq was the
easiest. I never thought it would be, but I found it strangely easier to deal with than
the days that followed. I finally drove home and arrived at an empty, silent house
without Edward. But I felt a sense of mental exhaustion that just left me at peace.
Yeah, I cried the most that day, but it was still easier. I had been dreading the day
for months. The moment had finally came and passed. I was just relieved I wouldn't
have to do it over again.
The first four days after that were impossible. That whole sense of exhausted
serenity was completely wiped out of my system after that. I went from sad, to
depressed, and then onto lonely, then I was proud and then I was happy and then
back to sad in less than an hour. And it was like this for three days straight. The
happy was the quickest passing of all those emotions. I was just glad that
Carlisleand Esme had decided to work full days so I could be overly emotive alone.
The sad thing about the entire situation was the fact I knew our relationship
completely worked. I was a homebody, I didn't really go out partying or anything
like that, I was content to be alone and left to my thoughts. I couldn't be sad for long
because I knew this was the relationship that worked perfectly for me. I could
concentrate the next year on doing my best with senior year and my sports, I didn't
have to try and work in a boyfriend to that. Edward would work me in when he could
and I would be available whenever he needed, no matter how short of time, because
unfortunately I wasn't the one who decided when we were able to call each other.
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I knew I'd have the emotional strain of a long distance relationship, but I almost
looked forward to proving that we could do it. I trusted Edward completely and I
was secure enough with myself to know that he really did love me and would never
hurt me. That only left the worry of being in love with a soldier, and that was the
biggest issue I had and the reason for much of my sadness.
After those dreadful four days were over, I got. . .bored. I mean the sad, lonely,
proud, etc, cycle kept coming, though it started to lessen. But beside that I realized I
still had like six weeks left of summer and now I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
I tried to think about what I had done last summer but none of that sounded excited,
well, nothing sounded exciting without Edward. He had become my best friend, the
person I wanted to do everything with. And now, I was just so utterly, complete
bored.
I also gained seven fucking pounds.
I was a bored eater. So for the three days I sat around totally bored I ended eating
a lot more stuff than I should have. I eat a half gallon of ice cream all by myself and
a bunch of the left over cookies that I didn't send with Edward. The other stuff I ate
I didn't even necessarily like, I just needed something to do.
Once the first week marker had passed I stepped on a scale and realized how
much I had gained and I decided that that form of boredom wasn't working out real
well for me. So I decided maybe I could do something more productive with my
misery induced boredom.
So I did the most boring thing ever in some people's minds. I golfed. I golfed
everyday for the next week, playing at least 18 holes a day, sometimes an extra nine,
sometimes an extra 18. I practiced on the driving range for hours and putted
senselessly after that. Unfortunately my mind sometimes wandered to Edward. I
started to wonder why I hadn't gotten a letter, an email, a phone call or even a text
from him. But instead of pursuing that line of questioning I pushed it out of my head
repeating the phrase, no news is good news, over and over again.
When I wasn't golfing or sleeping I started to run more. I had to run captains
practice with Rosalie for the soccer team starting in less then two weeks and with
the shape I was in there were going to be freshmen kicking my ass. I had forgotten
that I enjoyed running too.
Ares was also getting antsy. He was too young of a dog to be spending all of his
time napping. He wanted to be out and about. Edward had taken him when he went
running in the mornings until our Duluth weekend. And since then Ares has been
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bored. So I decided he would make a fantastic running companion. We both wanted
to exercise with Edward, but since he wasn't here we were going to have to put up
with each other instead.
On the two week marker of Edward's leaving I got up and went on a jog with Ares
as Esme had continued to give me space, so neither of them could go out golfing
with me. So I loaded my clubs into the truck as usual and drove off to the golf course
leaving Ares to lay out in the sun with a bone.
I went to the driving range first and said hi to the old man who had been there
every day at the same time as me. Then I got situated and started to swing my club
and take some shots. I turned my iPod on loudly and worked like a machine,
swinging through ball after ball and sending them launching in the air, one after
another, oblivious of anything else.
About eight songs, and half a bucket of balls later I saw someone standing near
through the corner of my eye. I finished my swing and turned to find Brenner
stretching out his arms in the lane next to me. I really hadn't had a conversation
with people since Edward had left don't ask or wonder why, it's just what had
happened- and I was slightly nervous about my social skills.
I took the ear buds out of my ears and let them fall to my sides. "Hey," I greeted
him with a grin.
"What's got you out here everyday?" Brenner asked, moving to pull his elbows
behind his head. I started to speak, "not that I'm complaining, this is where you
should be given your awful game."
I rolled my eyes, "I'm just, catching up on practice time."
Brenner chuckled as he swung his club loosely back and forth then he looked up
at me with a smirk. "Why do you need to catch up? It's Rosalie who should get her
butt out here every once and awhile."
"I haven't been playing much since state," I admitted, distractedly glancing down
at my phone. I didn't think I would play a round this morning. For some reason I just
felt like going home for awhile.
"I noticed, haven't seen you around much. You better have a damn good excuse,"
Brenner said, mockingly lecturing me.
"I'd say it was a pretty good excuse," I smiled, Edward's face flashing in my head.
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The best damn excuse of my life. . .
"I swear to God, if you say boys you're off the team," he threatened. I blushed and
grinned at the ground. "How is Mr. Eduardo anyway?"
I wasn't prepared for the overwhelming longing I felt to have Edward until he was
mentioned. Someone else saying his name made him real again. Being asked about
him because I was his girlfriend made me realize how proud I was to be his
girlfriend. It's hard to explain how much I missed him and what I had been thinking
these days.
"It's Edward," I corrected, scrunching my nose up. Eduardo?
"No," Brenner disagreed, far from diffident, "I'm pretty sure it was Eduardo." And
Edward would now, and forever more being know to Brenner as Eduardo because he
had seen my reaction to the name. I laughed, annoyed at him, but glad to having his
irritating ways back.
Then I heard the sound of my laugh and I realized that this was the first time I had
been able to laugh since Edward had gone back. And it felt good. I didn't want to be
moping for the next year; I wanted to be happier again. And this, laughing, I was
taking it at as a good sign.
I grinned widely, and went back to taking shots, the ball flying noticeably
straighter. "Is he back in Iraq?" Brenner asked, raising a confused and exaggerated
eyebrow at my smile.
My smile only faded slightly. "Left two weeks ago" and I'm so proud of him. Damn
the cycle.
Brenner nodded and started to swing at a few balls. "He's a good guy Swan,"
Brenner approved.
"Yeah," I smiled, "I know."
I was at the driving range for longer than normal, and when I had finally hit
through four buckets of balls I decided it was a good time to go eat lunch. So I
loaded my clubs into the truck and drove back home, still in a good mood from my
talk with my golf coach.
On a whim I decided to get the mail before I pulled into the driveway. I pulled the
truck to a stop next to the mailbox and reached out to grab the small stack of papers
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and ads. Before driving into the garage I flipped through the envelopes of bills,
letter from Edward, ads. . .oh.
A huge grin spread across of my face as I squealed excitedly and my heart
immediately started to race. I pulled into the driveway anxiously and grabbed my
keys and the mail before darting in the house to look at the envelope closer. Sure
enough it was addressed to me in Edward's script. This would be the first I had
heard from him in two weeks, the lack of communication had been killing me, and
all of the sudden none of that mattered anymore.
I slid the envelope open carefully and pulled out the ink covered paper. Tears
threatened to prick my eyes because I was so happy to hear from him.
Dear Bella,
I miss you so much baby.
This past week has been hell. Don't worry; nothing too dangerous has been
happening over here. The first day back here, when I woke up in my small twin sized
bed and found your warm, soft, small body not curled up next mine was the worst. I
laid in bed, knowing I was probably going to be late and thought about you. But
that's nothing new, I think about you all the time.
Emmett says hi by the way. He misses you.
The guys love the cookies. . .at least the few that I gave them. They're sensational
and I miss your baking already. And Esme's cooking. Tell her I say hello. It sucks not
being with you so much. I don't want to have to be here. I don't know if I want to do
this anymore.
Did you know that statistically if a guy and girl are in a serious relationship the
guy loves the girl more? I think it's a pretty true statistic since I can't figure out a
way to write how hard I fell for you and how much I love you. And no; I did not just
happen to make up that, so stop smirking you little brat.
I realized we never really talked about what you're going to do after you finish
high school this year. Shouldn't you be taking a bunch of tours of all the colleges
fighting for you? One of my buddies here was a former football recruiter of the
Midwesta rea and knows 'all the inside dirt' as he put it. You're so smart you should
be going to Harvard you know.
Our internet connection has been down for the past few days and they don't know
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when they'll be able to get it back up. As soon as they do I expect to see pictures in
my inbox. My laptop screen saver sucks ass, it's an eagle. It would be so much
prettier if I had a sun flower instead.
June feels like forever away. I don't want to miss so much of your life. Write down
everything that's happening. I want to know everything. No detail is too small. If you
got an A on a test, fuck I want to know it! I don't want us to loose connection and
when I come back not be able to talk about things as easily as we can right now.
That would fucking suck.
It's been 18 days since our perfect night on the cliff. When I look at the number 18
written, it doesn't look like a long time. But that night feels like it was a life time
ago. And yet I remember the feeling of first holding you so clearly, that I am sure it
will forever be etched into my brain.
I've deployed before, I've traveled to Iraq time and time again but this is so
different. The warm days still fade to freezing night out here, but you've given me
hope that someday this war will be over and we won't have to be here any longer.
Until then, that's a lot more 18 days until I get to feel you against me, the way your
small arms wrap tightly around my body like I'm the only man in the world.
You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I know I've said that, and I
don't want to sound like a pansy, meeting you, was such, such a good thing Bella.
And this isn't going to be a good thing that comes to an end. This is going to last, I'm
sure of it. I promise you I'll work ten times harder than any other man does in a
relationship just so we can have a chance to live a happy, normal life.
How are you holding up? Love you.
Sincerely,
Sergeant Masen
I smiled and propped my head in my hands as I read over the letter again. Edward
was in this just as much as I was. We would be fine.
Alice came over that night with Jasper in tow. Honestly, I loved Alice. She was
single handedly the most fun person I had ever met. I was sad that Jasper and her
would be leaving the next day. It appeared they were dropping like flies. First
Emmett, then Edward and now the last two soldiers are headed back to Iraq.
Last time the two had come over Edward had been here to entertain Jasper and
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they talked about. . .guy things? But this time Jasper was lingering silently in the
background while Alice and I chatted. I felt bad; Jasper was the one soldier who I
didn't really know all that well. I knew that Edward trusted him with his life and that
was good enough for me. But I didn't know his favorite color.
Carlisle had arrived home before Esme. Jasper and Carlisle seemed to have
bonded at the cabin, so Jasper felt comfortable launching into a conversation with
him about deer and hunting. Alice and I decided to take Ares out on a walk and take
our conversation into the dimming sun.
"How are you doing?"Alice asked as we started to walk down the driveway
following Ares lead. Ares kept darting back and forth in between us to smell
everything excitedly.
"I'm good. Today was a good day," I informed her. I was kind of proud of myself. I
might finally be getting out of my slump.
"Did you hear from him?" she asked, genuinely curious.
I nodded with a smile. "I got a letter this morning."
"I'm glad. I knew it was going to work out with you guys."Alice gloated. I rolled my
eyes and nudged her shoulder playfully.
We walked in comfortable silence before I voiced a thought. "Do you think it's
possible for someone who has never had their heart broken to find true love? To find
the person they're meant to spend the rest of their life with?"
My mom, Renee has always told me that dating in high school was fine. But she
also went on to say that you should get out there and look for other men too because
you never know what you do or don't want. She told me this at one of her co workers
daughter's wedding. The girl had met her husband at 15 and married him at 23,
never having broken up.
I wanted Edward in my life forever. I couldn't imagine a lift where we weren't
together when we had the chance to be. I didn't want to break up with him just to
discover that I didn't want anyone else. But I didn't want to ignore my mom's advice,
especially if other people agreed with her.
"Yup. Definitely. Without a doubt."Alicesaid firmly within seconds of my question.
I looked over at her with a raised eyebrow, caring for her to elaborate. "What? Not
everyone meets the love of their life at a young age. And some of the ones that do
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are cautious and need to look for other people to realize what they have. You're a
mature, smart person who met someone who loves you more than breathing and
you're barely 18. But I don't think that's wrong."Alice looked at me as if she
suddenly realized something. "Why? Are you thinking about leaving Edward?"
My mouth fell open in shock and my eyes widened in surprise. I could never even
think about doing that! Alice seemed to take my expression as me surprised she
figured it out.
"Bella. Edward has given himself you completely. He loves you so much. It'd kill
him if you all of the sudden decided you didn't want him anymore. I really doubt he
would move on from something like that. For him, there's no life after you."
My heart clenched, the image of Edward in pain making me weak at the knees.
"Alice! I'm not going anywhere! I love Edward," I assured her firmly.
Alice let out a relieved huff. "Good."
I was a little shaken from Alice's outburst, but we continued our walk around the
block until we arrived back at the house.
We were walking into the driveway when a sleek black Mercedes came slowly
crawling down the street. I hated when people did 60 down the street, but this car
had dark tinted windows and was going at a speed of like three miles per hour. I
lowered my eyes, not wanting to stare as it passed us. When I looked up I realized it
hadn't passed, it was waiting right in front of us.
The black window went down. A man who had hair the color of mine which was
straight and tied in a sleek pony tail behind his neck appeared. He was wearing a
formal suit with a pressed tie, looking like an upper class business man. He couldn't
have been older than 40 at the most. And the dude was creepy. His skin was
completely pale and he had dark eyes. And a disproportioned little nose. If he hadn't
looked so surreptitious I would have laughed at the nose.
"Excuse me? Is this the residence of Edward Masen?" This voice made me shiver.
Blah was the word that came to mind.
Alice looked at me curiously, I shot her a clueless look before glancing back at the
little nose guy. "Yes it is," I told him shortly.
"You must be Mrs. Masen then?" he inquired, smiling politely.
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"No. I'm Bella Swan. Edward's my boyfriend." This guy was giving me the creeps.
I was rushing to talk, eager for him to drive away.
"Oh, yes, yes, of course. Well, thank you for your help. All the best," before I could
ask who he was, the window rolled back up and he sped off, now doing 60. I was left
standing with my mouth open, still ready to speak.
"That was weird,"Alice pointed out as he started to slowly walk up the driveway.
"Tell me about it," I agreed, still frowning as I thought about the guy.
Edward didn't say anything about having any relatives he had left, or having had
friends he wanted to see when he was here. He never mentioned anything about this
strange man, and it left me with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that that
man wasn't one of Edward's buddies.
Alice left. Then Jasper left. I was sad. That was currently becoming the story of my
life.
I would have been sadder that I wouldn't be seeing Alice for awhile had I not been
distracted. But when I went to bed I was still deeply thinking about the man,
worrying I may have said too much.
I don't wanna have to be here
I don't understand it now
Cause its been 18 days,since I first held you
But to me it feels just like, it feels like a lifetime
I'm trying hard to re-arrange
Some say its the hardest thing to do
But that's another 18 days without you..
Time after time I've been through this
You show me what it means to live
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You give me hope when I was hopeless
As my days fade to night, I remember that state of mind
I'm soaring straight into your heart, and I'll fly high
And I know what they say about all good things
Will they come to an end?
But I'll fight this time, so that we might
Have a chance at this.
18 Days, Saving Abel
-Kind of a boring chapter, I'm aware. But I wasn't going to have a year go by in
one chapter. I'm not that good of a writer.
-A lot of people thought that Bella would fall in love with "sketchy guy" no. I don't
believe in stories where the couple falls apart as the plot. I personally like/write
stories where the couple is a united front and faces whatever together.
-3,000 reviews? What the hell...damn I love you all(:
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Chapter 28
"Um, excuse me," an annoying, whiny voice rang through my ears, "uh, I have like,
stomach cramps, and I can't like, run, like right now. So, like, I'm going to go like,
sit down." I didn't think it was possible to put like in a sentence so many different
times. But this nasal sounding girl totally just proved me wrong.
I nodded, trying my best to look sympathetic, but also putting just enough sarcasm
in there to make sure this little bitch knew I already disliked her. "Well, like, are you
like, sure?" I asked blinking at her and sticking my lip out like she was currently
doing.
"Like, yeah," she nodded vigorously, making her fake blond hair fall into front of
her make up covered face.
I scoffed as she walked off the field. Rosalie jogged over to where I was standing,
shaking her head. "I really wish we could just cut people right now."
Rosalie and I had the joy of running captains practice for the girls soccer team. So
far it was going peachy.
"Nah," I disagreed with a smirk, "I'm thinking she'll do great things."
So far we had instilled a fear in the new girls that was giving me a wrong sense of
satisfaction. I enjoyed having power quite a lot.
"Alright, we're going to start out with a two mile run!" I announced. The girls
looked up from where they were sitting in a circle on the grass stretching. There
was a groan from a few of them, but the others looked indifferent, and even a little
bit excited. Rose and I had decided to base the first days off of Edward and
Emmett's army work outs with the exclusion of some very heavy lifting. As of lately,
it had been working pretty well. I was glad I had started to run with Ares though.
"That has to be run in under 15 minutes!" I added loudly. The indifferent ones
were now groaning. The freshmen were driving Rose and me insane. They were all
little brats. And normally I wasn't one to be mean to those lower in the food chain,
but this was particularly annoying group.
Rosalie grinned at me as we started to run, not waiting for the girls to get up.
They could catch up.
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The two of us hadn't been able to catch up at all. For the past few days of practice
we had been all over the place, trying to meet all the new girls and make everyone
feel comfortable. And before practice started we hadn't been able to hang out or
chat due to my obsessive golfing and moping.
"You totally fucking slept with him, didn't you," Rosalie accused as soon as we
were out of ear shot from the other girls. I raised my eyebrows and then lowered
them almost immediately. I had spent so little time with Rose lately that I had almost
forgotten her blunt ways. Almost.
"Who?" I asked, playing coy with a smirk. She knew I knew who she was talking
about. She also knew I was going to be difficult. It seemed almost. . .wrong. . .to
share what had happened with Edward and I. Because it was ours and I felt like
sharing it might take away from how special it was. Besides, despite the fact that I
was 18, I liked to think I was more mature than my peers.
Our feet hit the pavement in sync with each other as we swung or arms with our
jog. I welcomed the breathless feeling that slowly started to creep through my lungs.
Rosalie huffed and glared over at me. "You so did," she laughed. I narrowed my eyes
at her. "When? Did the good Sergeant break the law?" she questioned, amusement
still in her voice.
"No," I informed her, raising my chin in the air snobbishly, "there was no law
breaking."
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Let me guess, the day you turned 18."
"Of course not!" I exclaimed while trying very hard to to act indignant. It looked
like she believed me.
It was the day after I turned 18.
"Geez, touchy, touchy. When did you become Miss Sensitive?" Rose asked her
voice starting to fill with breathlessness. We had run about a half of mile so far. I
looked back to see if we had lost any of the girls yet. I was pleasantly surprised that
they were still trucking along faithfully.
"I am neither touchy nor sensitive!" I snapped defensively. Well. . .maybe a tiny bit
on the touchy side.
"Uh huh," Rosalie agreed mockingly. I stuck my tongue out over in her direction.
"Then how come you didn't call me for two weeks after Edward left? You dropped off
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the face of the planet."
I definitely did not want to be having this conversation. I imagined something
more along the lines of, Hey Bella, how's Edward? Oh he's good! Super, guess what?
And then she should have launched into an irrelevant story about Emmett that I
would have half listened to. But no, she decided to be persistent today.
"I did not drop off the face of the planet. I was just a little. . ." hysterical?
Depressed? Crying all the time? A mess? Emotional train wreck? ". . .sad," I finished
lamely.
Rosalie made a disbelieving cluck. "Then why did I get a call from Esme asking if
you were so depressed that you may need medication or professional help?"
"You did not," I disagreed, knowing full well that Rosalie's middle name was
bullshit.
"Actually I really did. They were both really worried about you Bella," Rosalie
insisted. And this time, strangely, I believed she was telling the truth. My eyebrows
knitted together as we kept running.
"I was fine." I argued, lying my ass off big time. "I am fine," I added as she glanced
over at me doubtfully.
"Are you sure? It's not like you to go two weeks without a Facebook update," I
rolled my eyes. In her mind she was making a perfectly logical point. And in this
generation, it could be considered an excellent point.
"Yes. I'm positive." Then I looked over at Rose and remembered that we were best
friends, we actually liked each other and talked. "There was a little bit of a. . .rough
patch. . .for the first few days, but I dealt with it." Rough patch. Ha. Internally I was
laughing hysterically.
"Must have been pretty bad; Carlisle was looking for the best interventionist if
needed." The sad thing was the fact that I knew she was serious. And I really did feel
bad for putting them through it. I had seen the concerned looks they were giving me
and the few worded questions here and there. I felt bad that I freaked them out.
"But I'm fine now. It's all good," I insisted.
"See," Rosalie started, her voice morphing to smug and totally unserious once
again. "This is why I, -unlike you- chose not to sleep with Emmett. Because I am wise
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and knew better. Which is why I am completely dandy and not emotionally
compromised."
"And still a virgin," I pointed out.
Rosalie hummed like it didn't bother her. We passed the mile and half marker and
were starting to slow it down. "Well you missed the HEART vs. CRUSH presentation
in health last year. And that makes me the smarter one."
"The what vs. what?"
Rosalie smirked, apparently remembering one good time from the horrid year of
health. "Don't have sex with someone when you don't really love them, it's just a
crush. Wait until you know you truly love them and trust them."
"Well. Didn't I just make the biggest mistake ever?" I retorted with dry sarcasm.
"It's totally a bummer Edward doesn't really love me. I'm so dumb."
Rosalie nodded in agreement.
I elbowed her.
"I'm kidding!" she laughed. "I'm kidding!" I laughed with her, because it was
completely ridiculous the notion that Edward really just had a crush on me. Rosalie
nudged me as we giggled, both of us just needing a pointless laugh.
"I'm really glad Edward loves you," she paused to inhale a deep breath, "as much
as he does," she took another gulp of air as we approached the end of the run. "Plus,
Emmett volunteered to kick his ass if he hurts you."
I smiled fondly thinking about Emmett. I was really glad Edward and I had great
friends that had somehow found each other. They were a very sweet couple, even if I
wasn't sure what exactly their relationship status was.
"I'm sure Edward would love to beat Emmett up as well. They're always looking
for excuses," I rolled my eyes. My lungs were burning and my heart was pounding
hard in my chest as we jogged onto the soccer field and started to walk around to
cool down as the girls began to run slowly over, some of them even walking.
"Is it true what they say about soldiers?" Rosalie asked after she had caught her
breath. I looked her over suspiciously, noticing the twinkling amusement in her
shining blue eyes.
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"What?" I asked, knowing I was setting myself up for some type of
embarrassment.
Rosalie leaned in, "Do they really know how to use their guns?" she asked
suggestively. She wiggled her eyebrows. I laughed and pushed her away from me as
she smirked.
Oh Rose. You have no fucking idea.
When I got home I went to chug another bottle of water and shower. Then I put on
my swimsuit and grabbed my laptop. My tan had been sorely lacking lately, so I
went to lay out in one of our lawn chairs on the patio.
I went to my email, curious to see if Edward's internet connection was working
again in Iraq. I missed him. And while I liked the letters we sent each other, they
made him seem so far away. But emailing, it felt like he was closer and we were
actually talking.
My whole face lit up when I saw that there was a new email in between the
colleges that was from my soldier. Eagerly, I opened the email. I squinted at the
screen and then slid my sunglasses over my eyes so I could read it.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: I Miss You
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:09 p.m.
To: Bella Swan
Imagine my surprise when our internet connection finally comes back up and I see
I have a picture you sent me. Really? An actual sunflower? I rolled my eyes several
times and finally sighed.
Could I get an actual picture?
How's practice going?
From: Bella Swan
Subject: I Miss You More
- 307 -
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:30 p.m
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Well. . .I have nothing to say in response to your eye roll. I suppose it was
justified.
I'll find one later. Patience is an utmost virtue Masen.
Practice is going fine. I enjoy having power.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: I Doubt That
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:33 p.m.
To: Bella Swan
Patience. . .eh, it can kiss my ass for all I care.
You enjoy taking charge? Oh the possibilities
Do you have any particular time you want me to request a leave for? The farther
away the longer I'd get.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Why Did You Not Mention This Sooner?
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:37 p.m
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Get your mind out of the gutter.
Would you care to explain why you failed to remind me that you had vacation
time? It may have been a comforting though about a month ago, you jackass.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Should I Be Glad I'm 8000 Miles Away?
- 308 -
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:41 p.m.
To: Bella Swan
I'm sorry snicker doodle my mind occupies a very nice residence in that gutter.
Would I care to explain? No. Not particularly.
But if you really want an explanation. . .it may or may not have slipped my mind. .
.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Oh Yeah
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:44 p.m
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Slipped your mind?
Seriously?
You annoy me.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: Seven Word Emails Scare Me
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:46 p.m.
To: Bella Swan
Yes. Slipped my mind. . .
I may annoy you, but you love me all the more for it (:
From: Bella Swan
Subject: They Better
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:49 p.m
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To: Sergeant E. Masen
Shut up.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: You're So Cute
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:51 p.m.
To: Bella Swan
Technically, I'm not talking, I'm typing. So, I physically cannot shut up.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
Subject: I Know You're Still On
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:57 p.m.
To: Bella Swan
Okay. That was a joke made very distastefully.
I don't blame you for the online silence.
I'm sorry I forgot to ask you. . .but I'm asking you now if that makes it any better?
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Very Distasteful
Date: 25, August 2008, 3:59 p.m
To: Sergeant E. Masen
I'm not that mad. . .not that I'm taking back that I called you annoying. You are.
But I suppose if you can put up with me I'll let this slide. . . (:
Get off whenever you can, (STOP SMIRKING) I'll take whatever I can get.
From: Sergeant E. Masen
- 310 -
Subject: Can't Blame a Guy
Date: 25, August 2008, 4:02 p.m.
To: Bella Swan
I'll let you know when I get time approved.
I've gotta go catch some sleep, so I have to log off.
Have a good week.
I love you.
From: Bella Swan
Subject: Yes I Can. And I Will.
Date: 25, August 2008, 4:04 p.m
To: Sergeant E. Masen
Love you too.
Stay safe.
I smiled as I pressed send and then closed my laptop. I closed my eyes and lied
back against the chair, letting the sun warm my body relaxingly. It was comforting
to know that while Edward was thousands of miles away, we were both under the
same sun, feeling its warmth.
I wasn't angry with Edward for not reminding me that he had leave and we
wouldn't be apart for a year. On the other hand, I was actually sort of happy. Don't
get me wrong, it would have spared me a few rounds of tears knowing I would see
him sooner than a year. But the fact that he had forgot meant that he had been
completely here during his leave, not thinking about the army when we were
together.
I just liked giving him a hard time. I missed him so much. Joking back and forth
and mocking each other, that's what we did, and to have that back, even for a half
hour over email. . .well it was nice. I was learning to cope. People who loved
someone in the military, they took what they could get, and I was beginning to do so
- 311 -
as well.
Before Edward had arrived I didn't realize how much I was missing. I thought his
letters were amazing and I was just fortunate to be getting those. But now that he
had come I realized how much was missing. For some reason, I thought that
because we had fallen in love I would somehow be in more frequent communication
than before he came. But now, I was starting to realize that Edward had already
been trying really hard in communicating with me through his letters and other
emails before we met. It was a cute thought; didn't make me feel much better, but it
helped.
As I laid in the sun that would ultimately lead to my demise due to the inevitable
cause of skin cancer, I thought about the conversation we just had. I wish we were
able to talk more than we did.
There were so many times I wanted Edward to come home, they all ran through
my mind the instant I read the email. I wanted him home for Christmas with me. I
wanted him at Thanksgiving. I wanted him to see me play in one of my soccer
games. I wanted him to go to prom, or see me graduate. I wanted him home on
Valentine's Day. I didn't want to get my hopes up or start planning for any of the
occasions because it could always change, and that's why I told him to pick. And in
the end it didn't really matter when he asked for time off, I just wanted to see him.
It had been one month and I was already starting to feel something I had never
experienced before. Many women and men before me had experienced it, but it was
completely new to me. And I was definitely not enjoying it thus far. I wished I'd
never have to feel it.
I was sexually deprived.
So here I am; a total virgin. And then here comes along Edward who really, he's so
sexy it's not even laughable. I may not be stellar at math, but I can definitely figure
out the answer to those two put together. So here I am no, a virgin no longer. Sweet.
Yeah, we had an awesome week of sex together, that made me realize what I had
been missing all those years. And now. . .I was back to missing it.
It was a good run.
Sex wasn't the only reason I was eager to see Edward again. But don't get me
wrong, it was a big part of it. Sex with Edward was mind blowing. It was so mind
blowing that it should have a different name completely. And I was really fucking
missing it.
- 312 -
After the sun went down farther I decided getting a tan was useless. I slid into a
beach dress and grabbed my laptop from under the chair and went sitting at the
counter on a stool with a hunting magazine under his gaze. He had just got home
from work and was most likely on call judging from his attire. He looked up at me as
I walked in through the sliding door and shut it behind me.
"How was practice?" he asked after we greeted each other. I sat my laptop down
and went into the fridge to find some type of drink.
"Fun," I reported, distracted. I couldn't choose between pop or juice. . .or both.
Carlisle nodded in acknowledgement. I went over to the counter with my can of
Sprite. "Were you talking to Edward?"
"For a little bit."
"Anything new?"
"Nothing of interest," I shrugged as I opened the can and was met with a
satisfying pop.
Carlisle didn't say anything for a little bit. We sat in silence, me drinking my soda
and Carlisle looking intently at an article about a dead pheasant. I was about to run
upstairs and change, but when I made a move to straighten up, Carlisle spoke up.
"Do you think you're going to go to the cemetery in October?" His voice was
reluctant, like he was unsure that this was the right time to be asking. I froze and
slowly frowned.
October was my dad Charlie's birthday. This year he would be turning 40. I had
yet to go visit either of them since the funeral, and even then I don't really
remember. I didn't want go and I hated it when anyone mentioned it to me. Like last
winter when Rose asked if I was going to visit my mom for her birthday.
"No," I said with certainty. There was no way I would be going to Ohio this year.
"Bella, you know, Esme and I could go with youwe could help y-" he stopped
talking when he saw me shaking my head profusely.
"No." I repeated. And I did the bitchy thing to do. I walked out of the room without
further discussion, putting a stop to his heart felt attempts. I could hold myself
together; I had gotten pretty good at it actually, but it's hard to stay in one piece
- 313 -
when someone's tugging at you.
Truth was there was only one person who I would go with. And he was on the
other side of the world.
I'm hangin' on another day
Just to see what you throw my way
And I'm hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will be OK
The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, haven't forgotten my way home
I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain(In the pain) there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you
Broken, Lifehouse
-You're gonna love next chapter. Promise. Some of you were wondering why Rose
hadn't been around, but here she is! Who missed her?
-I had my first golf meet today...Bella and I are alike in many ways, but she's a
helluva better golfer than I. In fact, I'm going to wallow in shame.
-Happy early Easter! I think I'll be posting Easter Monday? Unless I end up going
to a meet. (I know; what the hell. Golf on a day off of school?)
- 314 -
-And since I never seem to get around it, thank you for you amazing reviews! I
read them all and smile the whole time. I am so lucky to have ya'll(:
- 315 -
Chapter 29
Peer pressure. We all know what it is; we hear about it on the news or listen to
presentations in schools. The definition of the act is as follows; Pressure from one's
peers to behave in a manner similar or acceptable to them.
For the past week I had been unintentionally, and in some cases, totally
intentionally been peer pressured. I had gotten it numerous times from Carlisle and
Esme. Rose always had to put in her two cents. Even Alice had a comment for me. I
was getting extremely fed up and ready to scream.
After my discussion back in August withCarlisle, I had figured it would be the end
of the topic of my parents. And it was. For the month of September. And then a few
days into October Esme started to casually bring it up. I had been so busy with the
soccer season in full force and a bunch of AP classes kicking my ass that I really
didn't have time for much of anything.
I was still talking with Edward whenever it worked with our schedules. But we
had both learned that keeping busy was best. I dropped everything when he knew
he would be able to call me and he wrote me seemingly thousands of letters. I wrote
back to him and tried to send short little emails whenever I could. And somehow, we
were getting through it. The pain of separation didn't lessen, it just grew easier to
handle.
A week before Charlie's birthday Esme asked me if I wanted to go grocery
shopping with her. That should have been enough of a warning right there. But no, I
was in such a desperate need to get away from Trigonometry that I jumped at the
chance. I thought the conversation about my not visiting the cemetery in Ohio was
postponed, at least until December.
I hate when I'm wrong.
The shopping adventure started out innocent enough. We went to the health
section because Carlisle was currently in phase and roamed through the aisles,
laughing at some of the products. But then, when we moved into the dairy section,
thing started to get curious. Esme was noticeably more thoughtful and it looked like
there was something she wanted to say.
But, whatever she wanted to say, she resisted. And then, oh man, we slowly
arrived into the meat section. Something about that butcher made her feel the need
- 316 -
to speak very freely. Though I had to give her credit, she was much more
surreptitious than Carlisle had been.
"We should pick up some flowers to put in a vase," Esme commented. Eh, normal
enough. We were near the floral section and the flowers looked bright and beautiful.
"Definitely," I agreed, not completely interested.
"Did your mom like flowers in the house?" She asked, glancing at her shopping list
and over at some sliced ham. Her tone was neutral, and it wasn't totally unusual to
mention my parents.
"She loved violets," I answered, picking a loose thread on my sweatshirt.
"Hmm," Esme hummed, still not meeting my eyes even after I looked back at her.
"Maybe you should grab a bouquet before you head down to Ohio next week. I'm
sure she'd like it."
Esme started to push the shopping cart farther along the aisle but I had frozen. I
looked over at her, kind of shocked that she would be the one to bring it up. And I
couldn't decid if her nonchalant commenting irritated me more than Carlisle's blunt
approach.
"Or not," I muttered and started walking past her down the wide aisle. The wheels
of the cart squeaked in protest as she hurried to catch up to me.
"Wait, wait, wait! No fair! I'm in heels!" I ignored her and kept walking, my pace
increasing. "Geez! Where did you learn to speed walk like that? It must have been
Carlisle. . .wait!"
I turned around suddenly and Esme halted, hot on my trail and looked surprised.
"What?" I asked sourly, I was trying not to sound like a bitch, but at the moment I
really didn't care.
"I really think you should at least consider it," she pleaded. I could tell she was
concerned but I was too annoyed to really care. This was one of those things that I
didn't feel like discussing with anyone, much less Esme.
"Why? Because it would have been his 40th birthday? Does it really make a
freaking difference? He's not here and neither is she." I took a breath as my fingers
involuntarily curled to my palms. "Can we please just drop it?" I exhaled, trying not
to get too worked up. Even though it sounded like a question Esme and I both knew
- 317 -
there wouldn't be much more said about this.
And I had hoped that Carlisle and Esme would respect my decision not to go to the
cemetery. But again; I was wrong.
A couple days later Carlisle tried Esme's approach. He failed miserably as well.
Though again, I had to give him credit for trying. And that's completely
metaphorical, realistically there was no way I was happy with either of them.
Carlisle gave it a shot when I asked him for help. It was the dumb Trigonometry's
fault really. I just wanted to know one thing about a triangle. But Carlisle, he jumped
on the chance to share his knowledge with me. He grabbed a stool and slid next to
me. I grimaced as he enthusiastically launched into a lecture about the fucking
triangle.
For the next twenty minutes I listened toCarlisle tell stories about the glory days.
Well, not really listen per sayI was actually really trying to finish the homework
and block out his exuberant tales. After he finished recounting college and assuring
me I would love it, he made a smooth transition to medical school while I silently
groaned and pulled out a biology textbook.
"Oh Bella, you will love college," he sighed wistfully and promised me for the
nineteenth time. I sighed as well, but there wasn't anything wistful about it.
I gritted my teeth and nodded, not taking my eyes off of the boring page in front of
me.
"Where'd your parents go college again?"
Damn Trigonometry.
I ground my teeth harder together. With Esme's conversation still fresh in my
mind I was more prepared forCarlisle's comment. It's not like I didn't know where he
was going with this.
"Don't go there," I mumbled trying to sound light.
Carlisle sighed, his perky college telling attitude going away. "Could I at least ask
why you don't want to go?" he asked exasperatedly and earnestly.
"You could," I allowed, "but I'm not going to answer." I flipped through a few
pages, not bothering to look over at him.
- 318 -
"Why? Why are you so sure that this wouldn't be good for you?"Carlisle vented, his
voice getting more heated and frustrated.
"I do not want to be having this conversation Carlisle," I said firmly.
He sighed again. "I don't get you. You can devout yourself to a soldier and open
yourself up to that pain, but you can't go and say hi to your parents."
I got defensive. My head snapped up and I met Carlisle's gaze. "Those are two
completely different things and you know it. I would appreciate it if you would let
this be and trust that I know what I'm doing. You're not helping. You're just making
it harder. It would be awesome if you would stop."
"I just want to know what you think you have to lose,"Carlisle insisted.
He struck a particularly sensitive spot. "What do I have to lose? Everything! Do
you know how hard it is to move past something? I've moved on. And if I go and visit
them and talk to them like I actually believe they were here, it would just give me a
false hope that they are going to come back! But they aren't. They wouldn't even be
able to hear me. Happy?" I asked, adrenaline beginning to course through my veins
from the argument.
Fortunately,Carlisle could see how upset this was making me and he was
frustrated as well. He was a reasonable man, he knew when he wasn't going to get
anything accomplished. He moved to stand up from his stool as I watched him
emotionlessly.
"You're wrong. You haven't moved on." And then he walked slowly out of the
room, not glancing back. Normally I always got the last word, but now all I could do
was silently watch him leave.
And that was the end of it. You'd think.
Then again, I really don't know why I expected Rose to go without commenting on
the situation. I guess I was just hoping. The next day I drove her home from soccer
practice, just like always. We had a huge game next week against the other high
school in the city. We had a bit of rivalry going on. . .so our coach had kicked our
butts. I had thought I would get to listen to Rose complain about it but she had a
different agenda.
"What the fuck Bella? Why are you totally fighting with Carlisle and Esme?" Rose
exclaimed as soon as we got into the truck and shut the doors. I raised my eyebrows,
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unimpressed. She continued to stare at me as I checked the mirrors and backed out.
"I'm not. It's just some small disagreements."
Rosalie snorted incredulously. "Bull fucking shit. That's not what I heard."
"What did you hear?" I exclaimed, looking both ways across the road and then
giving her a look as I waited for a car to pass. "I didn't know you and Esme were
playing phone tag!"
"Oh shut up. Mind telling me why the fuck you are being so fucking rude?" My
mouth fell open as she continued to drop the F bomb.
I looked over at her pointedly. "Could you go like one sentence without needing to
go to confession? That'd be great." We were both tired from the practice, each of us
equally irritated with life.
"Holy shit! So here I was, all excited for a road trip to Ohio. I mean, I was
prepared for you to be sad, I got that, it's normal. But none of us get you Bella!
You're not sad; you don't want to talk to them or even think about them, like a
normal person would. I don't know how to deal with your complete disregard!" She
vented exuberantly her voice growing more and more frustrated as she went on.
"Then don't deal with it!" I snapped as I pulled to a stop at the red light. I
strummed my fingers against the steering wheel.
Rosalie huffed. "You don't need to be a bitch to the rest of us because Edward isn't
here."
I was positive she was trying to piss me off. And boy was she succeeding. "What
the fuck? This has nothing to do with him! This has to do with you guys stick your
noses in my business!"
She gave me an offended look which I only saw out of the corner of my eyes. "We
need to stick our noses in your business because the only person you will listen to is
thousands of miles away! We all get that you miss him. But you have other people
here who love you that you shouldn't ignore, just because our names aren't Edward
and in my case, don't have a penis doesn't mean we don't care about you!"
"Even if I hadn't met Edward I wouldn't listen to you." I wasn't purposely trying to
be a bitch at that moment. I was actually trying to point out a relevant fact.
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Rose narrowed her eyes. "So you can honestly tell me that if Edward really wanted
you to do this and was giving you the same argument the rest of us are, you would
ignore him and be a fucking bitch?" She arched a perfectly thin eyebrow in my
direction.
"I'm not being a bitch!" wellmaybe a little. "I just want you guys to leave me the
fuck alone! In case you've noticed; you're not helping."
She appeared unaffected by my tiny explosion. "So you'd tell Edward that?"
I shut my mouth and stayed silent. Instead I glared out the windshield. I wasn't
going to lie to her too.
Rosalie exhaled, taking my silence as the answer she wanted for her question.
"Yeah. Exactly."
I dropped her off at her house without another word. Rose was annoyed with me
and I was really fucking irritated with her. I was tense and defensive for the rest of
the day and well into the day after that. And it finally was looking like I would be
able to slide past the date without any more helpful hints.
As Rose slid out of the car and was about to shut it, I spoke, without looking in her
direction. "If you honestly think I'm not sad and that I don't think about them, you
don't know me at all," I said simply.
Speechless, Rose shut the car door slightly gapping at me as I pulled out of her
driveway.
When I got home from a late soccer game the day after that I went to check my
cell phone, the mail box and my laptop. There wasn't an email from Edward but
rather Alice. I smiled when I saw who it was from. I was glad that she would be fun
to hear from, a nice change from the rest of my family and friends.
Hey Bella!
How have you been? I'm going to get straight to the point.
I know this probably isn't something you want to hear, and Edward made me
promise I wouldn't say anything, but I can't. I lost my parents too Bella and I know
how you feel. But in some ways I have no idea what's going through your mind.
Losing your parents is difficult, it's awful and tragic. The only way I even came close
to getting through it was by going to the graveyard and talking to them. It really
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does help. I wish I was as lucky as you and were able to go and visit them. I'm not
saying go visit the cemetery for me; if you are going to go, you have to want to go.
But I really think that you should listen to your friends and family Bella, they know
what they're talking about.
You aren't the only one who has lost someone. Think about Carlisle, do you ever
see his parents? Or what about his younger sister? Don't you think he knows
somewhat how you feel? People die everyday Bella, and I'm not saying that your
parents weren't very special people, it's just a fact. And as a result of those deaths
people have figured out ways to deal with them and they want to help. Just let
people help you. I haven't led you astray ever; trust me on this. Don't shut people
out, Carlisle, Esme, Rose we are all your support system. Please just give it a shot.
Edward is going to Kill Me,
Alice
I sighed and shut the laptop after I finished reading the email. I slumped over to
my bed and fell face down into it. I laid there for a minute, just exhausted, mentally
and physically. I was way too tired to be mad at Alice. I was just done.
What Alice said was true. What Carlisle and Esme said was true. What Rose yelled
at me was true. All of them had good points and logically I should just get it over
with and listen to them. Some part of my mind knew that it could possibly make me
feel better. But the other half was just simply unwilling to accept it.
Memories that I had been fighting for the past four years started to come back to
me in an overwhelming flood. I had been trying so fucking hard to move past, to stay
with the now. But all the well wishers over the past few days were just tearing down
the defenses I had put up, and I didn't feel like it was going to in any way benefit
me. They didn't know how hard I tried to make everything better.
I turned my head so that it was tilting to the side. I sighed and closed my eyes. For
just the slightest of moments, I was no longer lying on my queen sized bed in
Carlisle and Esme's house.
Instead I was years back, relaxing in my small twin sized bed in my quiet little
room back in Ohio. It was time for school. I was 13. Junior high. . .well I wasn't quite
sure what I thought about it yet. I had just started voicing my concerns to my mom
about the classes and teachers and my friends just the night before. She had
listened while correcting her papers yet still giving me her complete attention. I felt
better when I went to sleep and it carried on to the next morning.
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I could smell the coffee brewing. Dad had always started it for Mom so she
wouldn't have to wake up earlier. I heard the sound of rushing water as my mom
showered. I curled my legs closer to me and burrowed under my fleece tie blanket
my mom and I had made last year.
I remembered getting out of bed and dragging the blanket with me. I covered it
around me like a cape to keep my body warm and slowly trudged down the stairs.
Charlie was sitting at the table. He was already dressed in his uniform, his hair still
damp from the shower he had taken previously. There was an opened Diet Coke
sitting next to him as he scanned the newspaper. I normally wasn't one to be mushy,
but I felt like kissing him good morning. I walked over and gave him a feather kiss of
the cheek my lips brushing against his clean, close shave. I smiled as I smelt his
shaving cream and he grinned back at me looking up from the newspaper.
With my blanket still wrapped around my body, I sat down. We had small four
person table in a nook of the kitchen with my cereal. I was just about to dig into the
Captain Crunch with my spoon when my mom walked down the stairs to the kitchen.
I was barely awake but my eyes bulged out when Renee walked in.
"Mom!" I exclaimed, horrified. Mom's hair was damp from her shower and
wrapped around her body was a towel. And that's about it. I hadn't been awake till
then.
She laughed warmly at my horrification and went to pour herself a cup of coffee.
"What?" she giggled. My mom had the best laugh in the world.
"I think she looks good," Dad smirked. My mom turned sassily over to him with
her raised eyebrows. Then she grinned and gave him a wink before going back to
stir her coffee.
I made a gagging face. "Coming from the man who won't allow me to say the word
bra," I complained. Charlie looked over at me, his eyes twinkling like they always
seemed to.
"Foundation garment!" He scolded, doing so just to tease me. I rolled my eyes and
went back to the Captain.
"Bra!" I challenged.
"You're a bra!" Renee grinned as she looked over the rim of her mug and grinned
at me. Her eyes shined just like Dad's.
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"Your mom's a bra," Charlie threw in. Mom and I both looked at him with our
eyebrows raised as far as humanly possible. It had been a joke between me and
Mom, the saying "your mom," I smirked when I realized Dad had been listening in on
that the whole time.
"My mom needs a bra" I trailed off, faking a grimace over in my Mom's
direction. She rolled her eyes exaggeratingly.
"Foundation garment!" Charlie went back to correcting. I grinned over at both of
them. I loved my parents to death. It was weird at 13 to be such good friends them,
but my parents thought that I was mature and as a result we had a very good
relationship. I was their world and they would have given me anything I wanted on a
platter had I asked. I loved them so much that I would never.
Our family was amazing. I never imagined my life to be anything other than what
it was then. I got my teasing ways from my Mom and my sarcasm from my Dad and
together, all three of us had the best times in my opinion. The thought of change
never crossed my mind. I didn't know what I would do without them.
And suddenly I was back in my room. I wasn't 13 years old; I was no longer just
starting in Junior high. I didn't have the curiosity about the future, high school,
boyfriends and the rest of the world. I was 18 with a totally different life. I was
focused on college and my future and I had found someone I love immensely. It's
insane to think about what a difference five years was. You can just be turning 13
one day and then suddenly you're in your senior year of high school.
I wished I could go back and tell the young girl wrapped in her blanket what I
knew now. I wanted to tell her how she could have better dealt with the nearing
death of her parents. But I couldn't; I was that young girl just more evolved, yet no
less scarred from the past.
I knew I was so fucking fortunate to have Carlisle and Esme. Most orphans my age
would have ended up in the foster care system because couples want small children
to adopt. But Carlisle and Esme are some of the kindest people I know and they took
me into their house saving me from that kind of life. They weren't dumb and I knew I
should be listening to them. But my emotions were far too controlling for me to act
on rationality.
I heard a throat clear from by the door frame. I wasn going to apologize to Carlisle
or Esme, whoever it was. But I was too tired. I lifted a foot in the air and gave a
grunt of recognition before my leg fell back against the bed with a soft thud.
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"Not exactly the welcoming I had pictured. . ."
My head whipped back as the voice ran through my mind and was recognized. My
body sprang up, darting to look at the person leaning against my door frame. My
eyes widened hugely.
"Edward?"
Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
How to Save a Life, the Fray
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-Told ya he wouldn't be gone long.
-When I said you'd love this chapter; I meant the end. Next chapter is going to
blow your fucking minds. (; I think since I have the day off today, and I'm so excited
for you to read the next chapter, and I just love ya'll, that I'll be posting within a
couple days.
-Bella's parents were killed in a car crash. This is why no one in her family drives
a car. Trucks all the way.
-When I said blow your fucking minds, I meant: guns, reuniting, LEMONS, tears,
cuteness and much more. One of my favorite chapters I've written.
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Chapter 30
Honestly, it had been a pretty shitty week. So when I see Edward leaning against
my door frame dressed in uniform my first reaction is to blink. There was no way
Edward could be here right now. So many thoughts raced through my mind as I
stared at him through wide eyes.
"Edward?" I asked again. I would have been the first to know that Edward was in
the country.
"Hey doodle," he said in what seemed like a slightly amused tone. His trademark
crooked smile was on his face. "I'm really here," he added softly, urging me to
believe my fantasy was real.
That moment could have gone three ways. Two of the three ways would have
made me look like an idiot. I could continue to gap at him in disbelief for 20 minutes.
I could run to him and realize that he was in fact, not here. Or I could hope that he
was here and throw myself at him and hoped that he would catch me and I wouldn't
hit the wall.
So, I jolted out of bed and closed the distance between us. I launched myself at
him and he caught me as I wrapped my arms and legs around him and squeezed him
so tight with all my limbs. When I smelt his smell, not cologne, but of soap that
brought out his natural scent I believed he was here.
Edward's arms wrapped around my waist tightly once he saw that my legs would
not be slipping from around him anytime soon. I buried my face into the crook of his
neck. I blocked all the questions swirling in my mind, there would be plenty of time
for them. But Edward was here. I didn't know how long or why, but all that mattered
was that I had my arms around my soldier.
"I missed you so fucking much," I whispered against his warm skin. I sniffed and
exhaled. He seemed to realize that I was crying the same time I did. I buried my face
wet with tears further against him.
"I know baby, believe me. It's been shit for me too," he whispered fiercely. I felt a
kiss on the side of my head. I smiled against him tentatively. I was so glad to hear
his voice. "Don't cry Bella, shh," he hushed. One of his hands started to run up and
down my spine comfortingly. "I'm here now, don't cry."
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Finally after at least four minutes I composed myself. I pressed my lips together in
a teary smile as I pulled slightly away from his neck. I needed to see his face. But
more than that, I needed to kiss him. I just needed to feel him so fucking badly;
before I woke up from this dream.
I leaned forward and pressed my lips firmly against him. His lips met mine
passionately and within in seconds our mouths were opened. I touched his tongue
with mine tentatively, nervous that I was going to do something wrong. Edward
returned the kiss with vigorous energy, silently encouraging me. Before long we
broke apart our chest heaving from the lack of oxygen. I caught my breath before he
did. I leaned down again and pressed my forehead against his, my eyes closing.
After moments of just basking in each other's presence I needed my questions
answered. I wanted to stay in that perfect moment together with him of reunion. But
unfortunately my curiosity beat the shit of my sentiment. So, hesitantly, slightly
unwilling to break the perfect silence I whispered, "How long?"
Edward knew what I was asking. He knew I knew that he knew, so he didn't
bother to beat around the bush. I couldn't go long without knowing and already
starting mental preparation.
"Three days," he whispered back regretfully. I nodded against him and squeezed
my eyes further shut. When I took a deep breath and exhaled I was fine.
"Where are Carlisle and Esme?" I asked. I knew it had been one of them who knew
about this and didn't tell me. I just wanted to make sure they were out of ear shot.
"Dinner party, Carlisle dropped me off and picked her up," he answered. I nodded
and opened my eyes. I wasn't surprised to find his stunning green eyes staring back
at me. They were questioning and unsure. I smiled slightly. The army may have him
for most of the year, but for the next three days. . .he was mine.
I unwrapped my stiff legs from around his waist and lightly fell to the ground. I
released him around his neck. My right hand slid down his arm until I found his
hand. I laced my fingers through his. I grinned shyly up at him with just enough
confidence to make it work. "Come on," I requested, pulling him over to my bed.
Edward grinned conspiringly and laid me back against the bed. Then, still in his
army uniform he pressed down against me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and
pulled his lips to mine.
It felt good to touch him. I moved my hand up and down his clothed chest. We
kissed each other hungirly with such a firece passion. It had felt like ages since we
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had last been together. I distractedly realized I had no idea how to get his uniform
off of him.
Edward continued to kissing me, his hands traveling up to my breasts fondling
them over my soccer shirt. He moved his kisses to my neck and his hand slipped up
under my shirt. I moaned softly. When he stopped and looked me in the eyes. He
seemed uncertain; it had been awhile. Yet his confidence never seemed to waver. He
pulled my shirt over my head gently and my hair fell back around me.
As soon as my shirt was off and I was left in a very unsexy plain bra I went back to
try to get off his numerous layers of clothing. I growled in frustration, making
Edward smirk at me.
Pushing him away I demanded with annoyance, "You take off your own damn
clothes!" Edward let out a hearty laugh and leaned down to kiss me lightly on my
already swollen lips.
He moved off of me so he was able to get his uniform off. It wasn't hard to miss his
rather tented pants. I giggled at the sight, loving the effect I had on him. He raised
an eyebrow as he slid out of the camo. "You figure out your own bra clasp then," he
challeneged. I rolled my eyes and went to do just that.
He was down to his boxers before I figured out the clasp.
Edward looked down at my freed breasts and then tenderly reached out and softly
squeezed one, rubbing his thumb over my nipple. I let out a moan and bit my lip as
his eyes went back to mine. It felt so fucking good to be touched.
I slid his boxers off of him and he made quick work of the rest of my clothes untily
we lying on the bed next to each other. We could take our time later, but right then
we both needed it soon. He took a nipple in his mouth and rubbed the other with his
thumb making me arch my back and clench in pleasure. Then that hand found its
way down between my legs. My eyes fluttered closed. When he got to my outer lips
and found I was already wet, looking at me lustfully he slipped a finger into me. He
groaned as he felt my clenched walls. He added another finger and slowly began
pushing his fingers in and out as he moved his thumb over my clit. I moan and
squirmed in angonizing pleasure.
I tightened my walls involuntarily around his fingers as my legs began to quake.
My mouth opened but nothing found its way out. "Are you ready?" Edward asked,
his eyes blazing with lust. I nodded (or thrashed my head...it was really a matter of
opinion,) and he made his way up my body and placed himself at my entrance.
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He looked down at me as he is propped up on his hands hovering above me.
"You're stunning," he whispered reverently.
With much effort I managed to form words, "I love you so much," I whispered, as I
placed my hands on his muscular warm back.
He pushed inside me and I gasped as I probably always would at the sensation. He
continued to push in, inch by inch both of us savoring the feeling of finally being
reunited. "Am I hurting you?" he asked, looking down at me with concern in his
green eyes.
"If you stop now I will punch you," I threatened in a throaty whisper that was
entirely promising. Edward, with a smile opened my legs wider. He started moving
slowly in and out of my tight wet heat. I moaned deeply and pushed my head back
against the pillow.
Edward groaned from above me. I watched him as he looked down where we were
connected. He watched as he slowly disappeared inside me. It was increbily erotic.
I felt his eyes back on me, and I looked up to meet those green eyes. I saw
pleasure in his eyes, and found him extremely attractive this way. Hungrily I pulled
him down for a kiss, exploring his mouth with my tongue. I moved my hips up to
meet his thrusts, which picked up speed. He allowed my tongue to keep exploring as
it started to match his cock moving inside her.
Edward left my lips and began nipping and sucking on my neck and then moving
down. He took a nipple in his mouth, his teeth grazed the peak, gently biting down.
The slight pain increased the pleasure. I closed my eyes as I was overcome with
pleasure and Edward sped up his thrusts until one final thrust hit an extremely
sensitive spot. I clung to him as I came and vaguely heard him shouting my name.
God damnit I would never get used to the sensation. That amazing love.
Edward fell back on the bed next to me, gasping for air. I was in midst of the same
struggle. I inhaled deeply and repeatedly trying to get under control my
breathlessness caused by my ecstasy.
"You don't get that everyday," Edward said in a breathless exhale. I nodded in
agreement, gulping down air.
"I'd certainly hope not Sergeant," I replied once my breathing was totally under
control.
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"Alright Miss Smartass," Edward smirked. I grinned sassily back at him.
Edward took the last of his needed breaths and finally had stable breathing. "I
missed you," he whispered seriously. I propped my head up on my elbow and stared
over at him. I smiled softly and ran my hands through his short hair. I missed his
longer locks but had to admit he looked very sexy with the new cut.
"How'd you get here?" I asked curiously, staring not at his eyes back watching my
fingers stroke his hair.
"Carlisle picked me up from the airport," he answered.
"Why are you here?" I asked. I knew there could be wide spectrum of answers and
I honestly wasn't sure what I was hoping it to be. Something not bad would be nice
though.
I looked into his eyes, but as soon as I met his stare he looked away. "Have these
gotten bigger?" he asked off handedly. I looked down as he ran fingers lightly in
circles around my breasts, palming them gently with such sensuality I shivered. I
wanted to roll my eyes.
"Yup. 'Cause I forgot to tell you I was pregnant," I retorted sarcastically. Edward
smirked and rolled his eyes, completely used to my antics. I thought I might have
actually been able to scare him for a second.
"You can't blame a guy for asking," he defended.
There was no way I could be irritated with him given the situation. But I could be
just a little exasperated. "I can blame said guy for not answering my question."
Edward sighed and slid his wandering hand to rest comfortingly on my hip pulling
me closer to him before meeting my eyes. "I'm here because we need to go to the
cemetery Bella."
And that is the event that led up to my current predicament. I wanted to protest
half heartedly against Edward's demands but I knew I couldn't. Especially when he
used the "Bella, I flew half across the world. We are going to do this," as his
argument. I really couldn't disagree with that reasoning.
In the back of my mind I knew that Rosalie, Carlisle and Esme would probably be
a little pissed off that I was only listening to Edward. I didn't want to hurt them, and
truth be told after I read Alice's email I was ready to give in. I had been intending to
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apologize to Rose the next morning and hope she'd road trip it with me. They were
all right with what they had been saying, I was just to proud of person to admit that
I needed their help and support.
This morning, after waking me up gently from my sex induced coma Edward told
me we needed to start driving. I groggily had glanced at the clock to see that it was
just a little past eight in the morning. I knew we had more than a seven hour drive
ahead of us. And for once I was glad we weren't taking the motorcycle. Instead, I
curled up in the passenger seat with a pillow and blanket I insisted on bringing.
I felt bad for sleeping and wasting time with Edward. But if the man was going to
keep me up for rounds upon rounds of love making then he sure as hell could let me
sleep for three hours. Not that I was complaining about our quality time the night
before.
Once I started to wake up due to the uncomfortable position I was laying in,
Edward stopped at a Caribou and ran in to get me coffee. I smiled contently for over
twenty minutes as I sipped caffeine into my blood stream.
"Why didn't you tell me you were coming?" I asked him after I took a sip of the
steaming liquid and it made its way down my throat.
Edward looked hot.
I'm not even sure if I thought everything he wore was sexy because I had missed
him so much, or he really was just that attractive. Currently he was wearing a pair
of washed out jeans and a gray and rather muscle hugging sweater.
And glasses. And God damn did I love a man in glases.
I couldn't believe I fell in love with a man not knowing he was far sited. Evidently
he had been wearing contacts throughout his leave because he had forgotten his
glasses back in Iraq. But due to our early departure that morning Edward hadn't had
time to put in contacts. So here he was with his black wire framed glasses that were
literally the most distracting thing ever. I just kept gawking when I looked over at
his sexy face. . .and muscles. . .well, his entire body in general.
"Because," he sighed and shifted his arms so that one hand was on the wheel and
the other one fall between his legs, my eyes followed the movement before they
snapped up and he started talking again, "I wasn't sure until yesterday that I would
even get the time approved. Jasper was assigned a mission and as a result out unit
operating power was low so there was no way I could go. But his mission ended
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earlier than expected and when he arrived at base he had a soldier from a different
base that would be housing with us for the next few days. As soon as I got the green
light I booked a flight." I watched as Edward frowned, still staring out at the road, "I
didn't want to get your hopes up because there was about 90% chance that I
couldn't come. I couldn't do that to you. Besides, your face was worth it." He looked
over and winked at me with a grin.
Having him made the past two and half months without him completely worth it. I
could hardly remember any of my suffering when he was next to me. I felt so strong
in my conviction; Edward was worth it.
I noticed that when Edward was talking about his life over in Iraq he was very
serious. When he was talking about Emmett that was one thing, but when he started
talking about missions and those higher in command his voice lost its joking touch. I
decided that Edward really respected the men and women around him.
"Why now?" I'll admit, even as I was asking it I knew it was a loaded question.
"Carlisle brought up that you have never been back to your old town when we
were fishing. I realized I had never really heard much about your parents, but I
dismissed it when I saw you in your bikini. Don't look at me like that! You're fucking
gorgeous. Anyway,Carlisle started emailing me about a month or two back
wondering if it would be possible for me to get some leave around the time of your
dad's birthday. I told him I doubted it, but he insisted that I was the only one who
could convince you to go. Well, when he threw that in there I knew I had to try at
least," Edward finished. I fell against my head rest and thought about this. Edward
remained silently as I mulled the idea over.
After a couple minutes of silence he asked me with soft concern, "You don't have
to do this. If you don't think you're up for it, just tell me. I don't want to make you do
anything. You know that right?"
With a heavy sigh of regret I nodded, "It's time. I know it is. You told me that we
could get through anything together, and I trust you."
Edward gave me a smothering look full of love and devotion that gave me
butterflies before looking back at the road, the corner of his lips turned up the
slightest. I waited for a second, silently working up courage. "I never told you about
my parents. . .did I?"
Edward glanced over at me for a second before looking back at the highway. I
could see he was worried about where this was going but he tried to remain open.
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"No you didn't."
"Well, when I was 13," I started out, fully intending to tell him what happened. But
as soon as I started to speak the pictures flashed through my mind simultaneously,
each one more painful to take than the previous. I blinked rapidly, fighting back the
overwhelming need to just cry. I wanted Edward to know though, so I tried to keep
going. "I-I. . .my parents. . ."
"Shh," Edward soothed as I choked back the words. He reached over and snatched
my hand tightly with his free one. He began to rub the familiar soothing circles on it
while he spoke. "Not right now Bella. We can talk about it later, or soon. But not
right now. Let's get through the day first." I nodded and clutched his hand tightly.
Neither of us said anything further, instead I just stared out at the flying landscape.
After a silent hour in the car we stopped to eat lunch. I hated how everyone said
they hated fast food, but really, they secretly loved it; they just didn't want to seem
like a pig. We grabbed some food at Wendy's. Edward deserved some wholesome,
greasy, fat, unhealthy food. And let's be honest, I had dropped the seven pounds I
gained post Edward depression and I deserved a damn cheeseburger.
We ate fairly quickly because Edward wanted to keep going to get to Ohio within
the afternoon. Once we were back in the truck and our stomachs were full,
conversation seemed to flow much easier. So for the rest of the ride to the cemetery
I caught Edward up on the stuff that had been happening which I hadn't had a
chance to write about yet. And after that he told me what had been up in Iraq that
he didn't have time to tell. I knew he was editing to worry me less, and I was almost
grateful for it.
I was surprised that Edward seemed to know where he was going perfectly. I
wasn't much help until we were about an hour out. He had gotten directions from
Carlisle but when we got into the local area I needed to help him navigate. I tried to
not think about where we were because I knew there was no way I could handle the
memories to come crashing back.
Fortunately for all the parties involvedwellin this case that was really just
Edward and Iwe made it to the cemetery on the outside of town without any
breakdowns. I was proud of myself for keeping it together. Edward and I were both
surprised at my willingness to hop out of the truck and start trekking through the
tombstones. I guess I had just been putting up a fight for such a long time that it
wasn't worth it anymore. I didn't come this far to argue with Edward.
So, hand and hand with Edward we found our way to the back of the cemetery,
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right under a giant maple tree where my parents were buried. The trees scattered
around the plot of land had all turned various fall colors and I had to admit that it
was almostpretty.
"What do I say?" I whispered to Edward when we were standing in front of the two
granite stones. I read Charlie and Renee's name on the polished rock and just stared
wordlessly at it. If I didn't know myself better I would have said I was nervous.
Seeing their names carved into the granite took my breath away. I knew they were
gone, but it didn't stop the anger from having to be in this situation in the first place
drift through me.
"Say hi," Edward answered quietly. I looked at him with a raised eyebrow silently
saying really.
Edward sighed. But to his credit he did managed some patience as he talked to
me. "Bella, it's been five years, they'll be happy to hear from you. Say whatever the
hell you want."
"Real nice. Swear in front of my parents. Great first impression," I complimented
sarcastically.
"Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Swan. My bad," Edward said, looking at the headstones
sheepishly. I longed for Edward to truly be able to meet my parents instead of talk to
stone. My mom would have loved Edward. My dad would have respected him
greatly.
"They can't hear you. . ." I told him. I don't know why I told him that, it's just what
I had been thinking for years.
"Yes they can Bella. They can hear us and they can see us. They've been watching
you," he explained, still maintaining some amount of patience.
"Then why do I need to come all the way to Ohio to talk to them? It makes no
sense, especially since you said they can always see me," I argued. I couldn't stop
glancing at the gleaming stones. But, I could stop my thoughts from traveling to
what I was standing near; what was under the grass.
Edward sighed again. "Just try it. Please?"
"Fine." I didn't move though. I stayed frozen next to him.
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Edward waited for about two minutes before speaking again. "Okay, come on, let's
go," and with that he urged me to follow him as he walked on the invisible line
between the graves. Once we were right next to the head stones he stopped walked
and slid his hand out of my grasp. "I'll be right back here," he promised quietly
before retreating in his steps to stand back.
I sighed and read over the words on my mom's stone. I decided it wouldn't hurt to
humor Edward. "Hi mom," I said quietly. Before I could rethink my actions I
squatted down next to her. It was surprising to find that I wasn't feeling foolish.
"Hey dad," I added, looking over to my right. "Um, I'm doing fine, which Edward
says you already know."
And then I was at a loss for words. I didn't know what I was supposed to say. I'd
never done this before. It felt like I should be getting some sort of response. I don't
know exactly what I'd thought would happen, just an acknowledgement really. I
mean, everyone thought this was a good thing for me to do, but there had to be a
reason, some magical thing.
I glanced uncertainly over at Edward. He had shrugged into a sytlish brown
leather coat that defined his arm muscles but he left it unzipped. He seemed
strangely comfortable here, his hands folded and hanging in front of him, casually
looking around at his surroundings. I waited until I caught his eye, and then I gave
him a panicked, what now? look.
Edward received the look and gave me look, silently telling me to relax. "Tell them
about your dashing boyfriend," he winked. I rolled my eyes but turned back to the
graves. The squatting was uncomfortable so instead I fell onto my butt and sat
crossed legged on the cold grass between them.
"Dad, I know you forbid me to date, so just ignore this next part," I said to the
stone on the right before angling my body more to towards my mother's.
I figured if I was going to talk without receiving an answer I was at least going to
do it thoroughly. "I met a guy mom. His name's Edward," I lowered my voice, not
wanting this to turn into me flirting with Edward, "he's a sergeant in the army, just
like your dad.
"I know you didn't want me to be in a serious relationship so young. But believe
me Mama; he's such, such a good person. I love him so much. I know if you had the
choice you would have picked him for me. . .maybe you did, in which case you're the
best. He treats your baby. . .he treats me like a real man should. You taught me
what I should look for, and I think, even if you haven't been here, you've still been
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watching me grow up. Thank you for making me into the girl I am today, someone
worthy of his love. I know it sounds serious, but don't worry about me mom.
"I know what you're thinking. . .a soldier? But trust me; he's the best thing for me.
It sucks that he has to be in Iraq. I wish you were here, I know you would have
known what to do. I feel so lost without you and dad, but he's there for me. He's not
going anywhere; he's going to stay with me. You won't be meeting him anytime
soon, wherever you are. We're going to have a long, happy life. I wish you could see
me now mom and dad, you guys would be so proud of me. I hope. I miss you both so
much. You were the best parents and I was incredible lucky that you were there for
me."
I finished my talk with my mom and ignored the slow stream of tears falling from
my eyes. I reached my hands out on each side to press them against the stone. The
granite was chilled from the autumn air, but once my hands were against what was
left of themI felt better.
I looked back at the granite headstone on my right, "Guess who placed 2nd in the
state golf tournament last year Daddy," I smiled and sniffled, using the sleeve of my
sweatshirt to wipe my watering eyes. "I miss you teaching me. You were the best
coach I could ever ask for. And Mom, I'm set to be valedictorian this year. I have a
4.3 GPA. You always wanted me to do my best and I hope you are both proud." I
sniffled again and continued to talk about what was happening in my life.
It felt good to talk to them. After awhile I almost forgot that they weren't really
there. My heart seemed to lose the weight it had been carrying for the past four
years.
My life had been decent, I had thought I moved on over the years and I wasn't
going to deny that I wasn't happy. But I hadn't realized that the place in my heart
that was aching for my parents had never dissolved. I had just gotten distracted.
Now though, I feltwhole. I was too stubborn to admit that I was magically cured
and this visit had suddenly fixed my life. But I couldn't deny that my life felt more
complete.
"I promise I'll visit before we leave again," I vowed. Then, with a sense of
acceptance that it had taken me years to gain, I stood up. Edward looked over at me
and could see my tears immediately. But instead of rushing over to me and coddling
me, he gave me a soft smile. I could see something I had never really believed in his
faceit was pride.
Edward watched unmoving as I slowly made my way over to him. Once I was
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standing next to him I let my head fall on his chest. He wrapped his arms around me
wordlessly and held me flush against his body.
"Thanks," I finally said quietly. My face was pressed against his chest so the sound
was muffled. I felt him place a kiss on my head. He knew that I was thanking him for
everything. "I needed that" I admitted. Anyone who knew me would know that I
was truly grateful. I was a proud and stubborn person and to admit that I was wrong
is something I rarely ever did.
"That's my girl," he mumbled, his voice still ringing with pride. After a few
moments of no sound or movement he spoke again, "Come on, it's getting dark. Let's
get to the hotel." I looked around. I hadn't remembered that it was the fall and it
was getting darker at about six o'clock. I guessed it was around 5:45 due to the
darkness beginning to set over the cemetery.
"Can we come back tomorrow?" I asked quietly, raising my head to look into his
eyes. He was still wearing the glasses which framed his eyes that melted my heart.
Edward looked pleased with my request.
"You amaze me," he informed me, pulling me under his arm as we started to walk.
I smiled. He wiped the tears remaining on my cheeks with his free hand. My eyes
fluttered closed as his skin lightly ghosted over mine. I opened them again when he
kissed my temple. Edward was wrong. He was the one who amazed me.
The cemetery was plotted strangely. There is the land where all of graves are and
then you have to follow a path winding around to the parking area. You couldn't see
the cars when you were standing anywhere in the graveyard. So when we arrived
back at the truck I didn't think much of the two cars that were parked near.
Edward on the other hand pulled me closer to him and looked around with grave
suspicion.
What happened next were a very adrenaline/fear filled couple of minutes. One
second I'm under Edward's arm and the next there are hands grabbing my arms
from behind and yanking me out from Edward's arms. I yelped in surprise and terror
as the hands pulled me farther away from Edward.
I saw two other men, nothing standing out about either of them approach
Edward's front. His head whipped back to my direction in panic. Thankfully the
person who had yanked me stopped moving, now he had my hands locked behind my
back in a very tight grip. We were about two yards away from Edward. I struggled
and looked to Edward for helpor assurance. I can honestly say that had I not been
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so exhausted I would have reacted in a completely different way.
And then my eyes widened as Edward reached behind him to the hem of his pants
and ripped out a black hand gun within seconds. He handled it with expertise and
instantly he was extending his arms with the gun in grip at the other two men while
he slowly crept back towards where I was. I heard a clicking noise as Edward's
fingers moved on the gun.
"You have a gun?" I exclaimed. I wasn't frightenedmore surprised and relieved.
It sort of made sense, because people in the law enforcement usually liked having
weapons. But I had no idea Edward had been keeping a gun in his boxers.
How had I not noticed that?
For some reason, I didn't feel an urgent sense of danger. I couldn't explain it, but I
just didn't feel like my life was in mortal danger. Maybe it was because Edward was
next to me with a gun which he clearly knew how to usebut I figured if they
wanted to kill me, why not already have shot me? Don't get me wrong, I was scared
shitless; just not feeling the mortal danger.
Edward's panic subsided and he was appearing very calm, in a strange yet bad ass
way. "Um. . .yes?" he answered, not sure what response I was looking for.
I looked at him curiously. "Why?" Not that I wasn't glad he had it.
I could feel the confusion of the three men that were currently threatening our
well being as we continued our conversation. Maybe I should have been more
scared, but reallyI was just exasperated. That's not the right emotion when there's
someone whose about to possibly harm you and currently holding you captivebut
my life just went like this. I had come to accept it.
That and I had faith in Edward that could possibly be described as completely
idiotic.
"Protection?" he answered, trying to be vague.
"Do you shoot people with it?" My eyebrows furrowed.
Edward took my question as an opportunity to flex his arms that were extending
the gun. He glared at the man (I assumed it was a man) holding me, just for good
measure. "If I have to," he replied. As of now, Edward was completely in charge of
the situation; I would have been really fucking scared
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"Oh." That made sense. "Why don't I have a gun?"
Edward momentarily let his head fall back in exasperation as he groaned quietly. I
don't think I was helping his intimidating factor. I was about to say more when all of
our heads sna