A/N: *waves* Hello! So, I'm back with a new story. As always, putting up a new story always makes me nervous, but I'm hopeful that you'll like it. I will let you know that this is a slow burn, so there won't be any rushing into the romance. Updates will be every Sunday unless something comes up. Huge thanks to my beta, Heather, for her awesome beta skills.
Bella – 2001
"Bells!" Dad called, and I looked up from the book I was reading on the couch and out the open back door. "Come out here for a sec!"
Heaving a sigh, I got up after placing my bookmark in my book and made my way outside and toward the dock where my dad was standing with a man around his own age. I grinned when I saw it was Carlisle Cullen, my dad's old college roommate. Dad and Carlisle tended to go on sailing adventures once a year, but I was usually at my mom's when they went, so I hadn't seen Carlisle in ages.
I rushed over to them and gave Carlisle a quick hug, not even realizing that there was another person beside him.
"You remember my son, Edward," Carlisle said, and I did a double take because the tall, gorgeous man beside Carlisle was nothing like the Edward I remembered. Granted, I hadn't seen Edward in about five years, but he'd definitely grown up. He was even cuter than Justin Timberlake, and that was saying something because Justin was my ultimate crush and the cutest boy I'd ever seen until now.
"Hey," Edward said with a nod, and I felt the blush on my cheeks brighten.
"Why don't you show Edward around while Carlisle and I talk?" Dad suggested, and I wanted to kill him. I was awkward enough around boys that I knew, so I wasn't sure I'd even be able to talk to Edward without drooling or making a fool of myself.
"Okay, um, follow me," I said, leading Edward toward the back of the house.
"So, uh, this is the living room," I began after we walked in the back door, and I quickly gave Edward a tour of the house, stumbling over my words and blushing the whole time.
Eventually, I led him back out to the porch where we sat in awkward silence, watching as our dads talked to each other.
"Do you dive?" he asked me after a few minutes, and I nodded my head.
"Yep. Dad taught me at an early age. He's a professor of archeology, but his true love is marine treasure hunting, so he got me diving as soon as I was able to swim. Do you dive?"
He nodded his head as well. "Yeah, but it's not really my thing."
"So, why are you guys here?"
He rolled his eyes as he told me that his dad had found some information on a shipwreck that his dad and mine had been obsessed with in their younger years.
My interest was immediately peaked. I loved doing research about shipwrecks, and it was even more cool getting to dive down and see the remains of them.
"Which ship?" I asked him.
"The Sirène," he said, and my jaw dropped.
"No way! Your dad found it?"
Edward shrugged a shoulder.
"He thinks he has."
"That's so cool," I said, and it to me it was, but Edward didn't seem all that interested.
"I guess," he said, crossing his arms over his chest and staring at his dad.
"The Sirène went missing in the 1700's from France. Supposedly, it was on its way back to France from the British Virgin Islands. Rumor has it that there was a heart shaped brooch in its coffers that is known as the Treasured Heart. The heart is a huge ruby with emeralds and dia—"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know," he said, with an eye roll. "I've heard it all before."
"You don't believe it?"
"It's a rumor, kid. You can't believe everything you hear," he said in a harsh tone, and I shrunk back in my chair, letting out a huff. I was sixteen, not six, and I wasn't stupid.
"Whatever," I muttered before picking up one of the old magazines that dad had left lying on the outdoor table, and I began to read about the best fishing spots in the southern United States, doing my best to ignore the cute jerk next to me.
I looked up from the magazine when my dad and Mr. Cullen walked over to us, laughing with huge smiles on their faces.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay here tonight, Carlisle?" Dad asked, and Mr. Cullen shook his head.
"Nah, we've got the boat," he said before shaking my dad's hand and motioning for his son to join him.
With a wave my way, I watched as Edward and his dad walked away, and I turned to look at my dad.
"What's going on, Dad? Edward mentioned that his dad found the Sirène."
Dad nodded as he informed me that Carlisle was pretty sure he'd found the ship's location down near the British Virgin Islands, and he had invited Dad to join him.
"If you're going, I'm going," I told him, arms crossed over my chest. There was no way I was going to miss out on this.
"Bells," Dad began with a sigh. "Your mother is expecting you for the summer."
I let out an ugly snort at his words. "Oh, please. She'll be thrilled not to have me around. Besides, she's got a new boyfriend, and I'm sure she'll want to spend all her time with him."
Dad let out a sigh as he stared at me before telling me that I would had to call my mother and let her know I didn't want to visit her in Phoenix.
"Fine," I agreed, rushing inside to do just that.
The conversation with my mother went exactly as I expected. She did her best to sound upset and put off that I didn't want to visit her, but there was a note of relief in her voice as well.
"Sorry, Mom. I'm sure I'll be back before the summer is over, and I'll spend a week with you then if that's okay?"
Mom agreed, and I let out a whoop after I hung up the phone before rushing to tell Dad that Mom was cool with me not visiting.
Three days later, Dad and I were boarding Breaking Dawn, the boat, well yacht really, owned by Carlisle. And boy, was it a beauty. It was a hundred foot yacht, with four large staterooms, four and a half bathrooms, a huge living room, kitchen, and large decks.
Esme, Edward's mom, greeted me on the deck with a hug, which I returned, before she told Edward to show him where I'd be staying, and he begrudgingly agreed.
As I followed him down the stairs below deck, I noticed that he had a scowl on his face.
"Why didn't you just stay at home?" I asked him as he showed me to the cabin I'd be staying in.
"My folks want me here, so here I am," he said bitterly, and I rolled my eyes at his surly tone. It sounded like he'd rather be anywhere else than here, and I figured he'd rather spend his summer on a beach somewhere, partying with other frat boys because there was no way that Edward Cullen wasn't a frat boy.
I could barely contain my irritated sigh as he pointed to the room the that was mine. I dropped my bag on the bed before making my way back to the deck where my dad was talking with Edward's parents.
"Are you hungry, Bella?" Esme asked, and I shook my head.
"I'm good, thanks," I told her before making my way toward a deck chair and pulling my discman out of my pocket. Avril Lavigne's newest album had just come out, and I'd been listening to it on repeat for days, and I had a feeling I was going to need angry girl music to get me through the next seven days.
Three days into our trip, I was catching some sun on the deck with my headphones on when I heard Carlisle tell Edward that he needed to be nicer to me, and I scowled. I didn't need anyone to fight my battles for me, and I was silently cursing my dad.
Edward had been distantly polite to me, sometimes even rude, so I had mentioned it to my dad. Obviously, had said something to Carlisle, and now, Edward was going to think that I couldn't stand up for myself and that I needed my daddy to fight my battles for me. Not that I cared what he thought. He was just a selfish college jerk. One that I wasn't remotely crushing on at all.
I did my best to ignore Edward and his dad talking, but I found myself pausing my CD so I could hear what they were saying.
"Seriously? I haven't been mean to her at all," he said, crossing his arms over his chest, and I saw him shoot a glare my way out of the corner of my eye.
"I'm not saying that you've been mean to her, but you've been a bit dismissive," Carlisle said, holding up a hand when Edward went to speak. By now, I was totally watching them but trying to pretend that I wasn't.
"Just try to get to know her. We're all on this boat for the next couple of months. Everyone needs to get along."
"Fine," Edward growled before mumbling that he didn't have time to babysit any kids, and I glared at him.
As if he'd felt my eyes on him, he turned to look at me, and I stared right back. With a shake of his head, he turned around and made his way toward the stairs that led down below.
It was going to be a long freaking trip, and I was ready to just get to where we were going so that I could get off this yacht and get some space from The Jerk, as I was now calling him.
"How you holding up, kiddo?" Dad asked me on our fifth day at sea, and I shrugged a shoulder.
"I'm doing okay," I told him, but Dad wasn't buying that for a second.
"Uh huh," he said as he sat down across from me in the stateroom I was using for the trip. "This is the longest you've been at sea at one time, and we still have a couple of days to go."
"I'm just ready to get there," I said with a sigh as I flopped down on my back on the bed and stared up at the ceiling.
"Edward seems to be acting nicer," Dad commented, and I rolled my eyes because it was all an act that Edward was putting on. Whenever the adults were around, Edward acted nice and pretended to be interested in what I had to say, but as soon as they were out of hearing range, he went back to ignoring me.
"Yep," I replied.
"Are you regretting spending the summer with me?" Dad asked, and I sat up and shook my head.
"No way. I can't wait to get into the water and dive! I mean, how cool would it be if we really found the Treasured Heart? That would be freaking insane!"
Dad let out a laugh before agreeing with me.
He and Carlisle had stayed up late most of the nights since we'd left, trying to find the most accurate place to dive once we reached the Virgin Island Shelf near Jost Van Dyke Island in the British Virgin Islands.
Dad and I sat around talking for a while, something we hadn't done much of on this trip, and before long, I was yawning and trying to keep my eyes open.
"Bed, kiddo. I'll see you in the morning," he said, giving me a hug and telling me he loved me.
I was out quickly, lulled to sleep by the motion of the boat, and when I woke up the next morning, I felt better than I had the past couple of days. I could always talk to Dad about things, and he always made everything seem so much better.
I took a quick shower and made my way to the galley where Esme had breakfast sitting on the table. I grabbed some bacon and eggs, along with a slice of toast, and spent the next twenty minutes, eating and talking with her.
Esme was so nice and so easy to get along with, and she was the perfect epitome of a mom. She was incredibly sweet and loving, and I wished my mother was more like her. My mother was flighty and forgetful, barely remembering to pay her bills on time or remembering when my birthday was.
"Are you planning on college after high school?" Esme asked me as I helped her clean up breakfast.
"Yeah, I want to study maritime archaeology," I told her before explaining that I'd already picked out some of the colleges I wanted to go visit.
"Most of them are in Florida, so I wouldn't be too far from home, but there are a few schools in the Pacific Northwest."
"Sounds like you have it all planned out," she said with an easy smile, and I shrugged, telling her that it was something I'd been thinking about since junior high.
"I wish Edward was that together," she confided. "He's going into his sophomore year, and he has no clue what he wants to study. I realize that he doesn't have to declare a major just yet, but I hope he finds something that he loves."
"I'm sure he will," I told her, but I wasn't all that sure. I couldn't picture Edward studying anything at all. Well, nothing of academic importance. I was sure he spent most of his time studying the female form.
Once the kitchen was clean, I made my way up top toward the stern of the ship where the lounge chairs were. I sat down in one and closed my eyes, deciding to soak up the sun, but that didn't last for long. Dark clouds were rolling in quick, and Dad hollered for me to get inside.
I hated being on a boat during a storm. I loved the ocean, and I loved boats, but I hated being at sea when there was a storm. Storms caused the waves to grow larger and the water to become rougher, making me fear the boat would crash or sink.
I rushed down below deck and into my room, grabbing the life vest in the closet and turning around when I heard footsteps coming down the small hallway.
"You okay?" Edward asked, leaning against the doorjamb, and I noted there was actual concern on his face.
"Storms unnerve me a bit," I admitted, biting my lower lip and figuring that Edward probably thought I was a giant baby.
"Well, it doesn't look like it's going to be a bad one. It seems like the storm is far enough away that we'll probably only get a few swells with some rain and thunder."
I hoped he was right, but I flinched when a loud clap of thunder echoed across the sky.
"Why don't watch a movie or something?" he suggested. "It might help you take your mind off the storm."
I was game for that, so we made our way to the living room area, and he opened up a cabinet that held all kinds of movies.
"Pick one," he said, so I wandered over and looked through the shelves before finally settling on one.
"Is The Emperor's New Groove, okay?" I asked.
Edward nodded, so I put the movie in to play and then sat on the opposite end of the couch that he was on.
As we watched the movie, the storm outside picked up, and I could have sworn there was an electric current in the air. My fingers were itching to reach out and touch Edward, take his hand or run my fingers through his hair, and I had no idea why. Maybe being stuck on this boat for the past six days had finally driven me insane.
All of a sudden, a large crash of thunder clashed nearby causing me to jump. I felt a warm hand on my shoulder and looked over at Edward, my eyes wide with worry and a slight bit of panic.
"We're fine," he said, and I nodded my head, desperately hoping that was true as the boat began to rock harder and the waves in the ocean swelled.
"You kids okay?" my dad hollered, and Edward couldn't remove his hand from my shoulder fast enough.
"We're fine," Edward replied before standing up and telling me he was going to go check on his mom, and I was left sitting there, staring after him.
When he didn't come back after a few minutes, I turned the movie off and made my way toward my room.
I shut the door and climbed onto the bed, laying down and wrapping my arms around one of the pillows.
I was lying there in the dark, listening the waves and the storm outside, wondering why the hell I felt so rejected. It wasn't like Edward and I were even friends, and I know that he just saw me as an annoying high school girl. Despite all that though, there was still that sharp pain of rejection when he'd yanked his hand off my shoulder like he'd been burned.
At some point, I must have fallen asleep because I woke up to my dad shaking my shoulder.
"What?" I asked, my eyes still closed.
"Storms over," Dad said, and I opened my eyes and looked at him. "Carlisle's cooked up some dinner if you're hungry."
I told him I'd be up in a few minutes, and once he was gone, I used the bathroom and washed my face. I took a few deep breaths, bracing myself to see Edward, and made my way to the galley.
Dad and Carlisle kept up a steady stream of conversation, outlining the plan for tomorrow once we arrived at our destination, and I did my best to pay attention. However, most of my time at dinner was spent glancing over at Edward who had yet to look my way, or so it seemed.
"Let's turn in early tonight," Carlisle suggested. "We're going to have a big day tomorrow."
a/n: Well, there it is. The first chapter. Please let me know what you thought, and I'll see you next Sunday!