((Hey guys, long time no see. Sorry for the wait - things have been hectic. This chapter's a bit shorter than the others, for the smiple reason that it's been a while since I've had a chance to sit down and write. When that happens, things tend to come awkwardly for me. So I just cut this a bit short to save you from the humongo crappiness that I was originally trying to write :P))

Chapter Three

I felt Edward's eyes on me as I finished off a math problem, brushing the eraser shavings from my paper as I looked over the scrawled numbers and equations. I glanced up at him from the corner of my eye and found myself smiling faintly.

"See something interesting?" I asked as my eyes turned back to my paper.

"Nothing more interesting than usual." he answered, and I could almost hear the smile in his voice. I felt him tuck a strand of hair behind my ear, his touch so light I wouldn't have thought he had truly touched me if my hair hadn't moved. "However, that's still far more interesting than anything I've seen in a while."

"Not even your 'distractions'?" I asked, scribbling on another problem. I wasn't sure how smart it was to bring up his…vacation, but, to my relief, he chuckled and playfully ruffled my hair.

"Not even my distractions." he answered, smiling. His face abruptly became serious as he moved to lightly touch my face. I raised my eyes to his.

"You know you're the most important thing in my life, Bella." he said quietly. My heart beat joyously in my chest.

"Now," he said, his mood changing a third time. Suddenly he was all business. "I believe you have some math problems for me to look over."

"No, actually, you really don't have to look at it..." I said, discreetly pulling the paper away from his outstretched fingers. I didn't really want him to look over my messy chicken scratch to see the stupid mistakes I'd undoubtedly made.

"Bella…" he warned, his eyebrows raised.

"I'm a senior – I don't need Big Brother checking my work." I teased, leaning towards him. Perhaps if I could distract him…I subtly put the paper behind my back.

Edward leaned towards me as well, his eyes closed, his face an expression of delight as he inhaled my scent as if it were the most delicious perfume the world had to offer.

I was teasing him. How often did this happen?

He slid closer to me, his nose drifting to my jaw. Needless to say, I suddenly found it very hard to breathe.

"There's something about you today…" he murmured, and a shiver ran down my spine as his breath played across my skin. "You're so deliciously tempting…"

"Tempting…how?" I asked, fighting to keep my voice steady.

"Shall I demonstrate?" he asked quietly, smiling devilishly. His fingers gently pressed to the skin beneath my chin, gently tilting my head up.

"Mmm, I'm not sure I like the sound of that…" I murmured breathlessly, my eyes already closed.

His laugh was almost silent, his arm curling around my waist. I could feel his lips hesitate hardly a centimeter from mine – an irresistible temptation. I leaned in slowly…

Next thing I knew, he had slipped my math homework from my hand, rolled onto his back, and held it above his face as he studied it, a cocky smile on his face. It took a moment for my brain to register what had happened.

"You tricked me!" I gasped, sitting up. He burst out laughing.

"I figured it would be the only way I could get it from you. Someone has to be sure that you don't fail math."


"How can you expect to get into a good college if you're failing?"

I grimaced, reaching forward to tilt his face to look at me.

"I'm not going to college, remember?"

"Unless you have a certain ring on your finger, you are."

I frowned, rolling onto my back again. "Not this…not now." I moaned.

His laugh sounded again as he rolled onto his side, his fingers reaching out to touch my cheek bone. "I'll tell you what we'll do." he said, "Let's go take a walk, and we'll come back to this later."

"A walk?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.

"A walk." he affirmed, standing so fast I missed the movement when I blinked. He offered a hand to me and lifted me to my feet and, once he had, strode in a flash to the door and held it open for me.

I paused in the doorway as the cool wind swept in through the open door. The sun had started its descent towards the horizon by now, and with the fading light came the fade in temperature. It still wasn't too cold; I was quite comfortable with my sweater zippered up. He turned to look at me.

"Are you alright?" he asked me. I nodded and smiled reassuringly.

"Fine." I answered, and moved to join him where he stood at the edge of the porch. With a fleeting, angelic smile he slipped his arm comfortably around my waist and he began pulling me down the steps and across the lawn, headed for the banks of the nearby river.

"Hm…" he murmured softly as he stared at the flowing water, which seemed to have shrunk from its regular banks with the few days without rain. I looked at him curiously, waiting for him to either look at me or say something more, neither of which he did. After a few moments I poked him in the side.

"'Hm' what?" I prodded, and he now looked down at me with an amused smile.

"'Hm' I'm thinking."

"Thinking about what?"

"About our future." he said, his gaze far off now. He wasn't looking at me, he was looking past me, to a time that I could hardly dream about.

"How far into 'our future'?" I queried as I watched him, enjoying the pleasant feeling in my chest as I examined his overly-beautiful face. "My one hundredth birthday party?"

He chuckled. "Not quite that far ahead."

"How far?"

"More like…Spring Break."

I frowned, unsure of what plans he could possibly be making for Spring Break. Unless he was finally loosening up on our agreement and planned to move my 'birthday' up from graduation to the two weeks we had off in May…

The thought made a shiver run down my spine, and his arm tightened around my waist.

"What about Spring Break?"

"Do you ever run out of questions?"

"Well you can't go telling me that you're thinking about something and then not tell me what you're thinking about…"

He smiled faintly and dipped me low, my hair swinging out behind me so that it brushed over the blades of grass. I gasped at the sudden movement, and threw my arms around his neck, clinging to him to dear life. He laughed.

"Do you think that I would ever drop you?" he asked, his golden eyes amused, "Or are you so used to falling that this is a natural reaction?" I frowned at him.

"Haha, very funny. I thought I was the one asking the questions, here."

"Alright, alright." he pulled me back to a standing position again, where I collapsed against his chest. His arms automatically wrapped around me, trapping my body against his. I looked up at him, still awaiting my answer. "Well, I was thinking that during Spring Break, we would take a little field trip to Jacksonville."

I looked at him quizzically. "Jacksonville?"

He raised an amused eyebrow. "You do recall those ticket vouchers my parents gave you for your birthday, don't you?"

"Oh, yeah. Of course I do." I blushed faintly at my own empty-headedness.

"Well, when's a better time to use them than Spring Break?"

He smiled his glorious smile and dazzled me with a soft look of his eyes. A flush rose in my cheeks and my stomach did a few flips at the thought of uninterrupted alone time…

"Hm…" I murmured, smiling in what I hoped was a coy fashion, "I think that would be fabulous idea…"

"Good." He said softly, and began to slowly incline his neck towards me. Of their own accord, my hands began to slip up his chest to his neck…

There was a solid thunk and his head jolted towards mine, soundly bumping foreheads.

"Ow!" we shouted in unison.

"What the hell??" he grumbled, pulling away and looking around. I ignored my disappointment for the time being and felt him stiffen slightly beneath my fingers.

Something hard and grey came flying through the air, and Edward's hand snapped up to catch it. When he opened his palm again, a smooth stone sat in his palm. Tossing the stone up once or twice, his raised his face to the wind, searching it for a scent.

"That's strange…" he murmured, "I don't…"

He abruptly twisted, his hand flying up again. Something slapped against his skin, and then another stone was there.

"That's it." He growled – and then the wind changed. His eyes flashed in recognition, and a second later, he was gone.


There he was, half an inch from me only a minute before. Now, in point-zero seconds flat, I'm alone. The wind continued to blow, picking up in intensity and tossing my hair wildly, knocking the branches of the ancient trees together and rattling the leaves, leaving an eerie chill on my bones. I tried his name again and – for a moment – there was no answer. Then something came crashing out of the undergrowth with enough force to make the nearby ground shake, and it was a moment before I could realize that it was Edward and his large bear of a brother Emmett.

"Oh!" I yelped as they landed hard on the ground, Edward seeming to have just discovered and thereby tackled his brother. They wrestled and rolled on the ground for a few moments before Emmett was finally able to roll over on top of his 'younger' brother, pinning him to the ground and locking his arms behind his back. Edward growled and struggled, but a grin lit up his face.

"Afternoon, Bella." Emmett said, grinning as well, though his face was strained and the muscles in his neck bulged as he fought to keep his brother trapped on the ground.

"Long time no see." I answered with a laugh. The sound was shaky, but I was genuinely happy to see Emmett. "I thought you and Rosalie were vacationing."

"They were." Edward said, finally buying some purchase and – with a movement that was quick as a flash – flipped both himself and his brother over, forcing him to come down hard on Emmett's chest and knocking the breath out of him. Though vampires didn't exactly have to breath, the shock of the blow caused Emmett to release his arms, and soon Edward was on his feet, brushing leaves and dirt off himself. "But it would seem that my brother, here, decided to spy on us."

"I wasn't spying!" Emmett objected as he too stood, "I was just…leaving you two alone while making sure that nothing got…er…inappropriate."

I found myself blushing at this statement.

"Very funny." Edward said, but his lips had set into that thin-lipped frown that came with his annoyance. "Why are you here?"

Emmett flashed Edward a meaningful look before speaking, and I caught Edward's eyes widen and heard his teeth clink together.

"I was just coming back to grab some things from the house and I smelled your scent. I figured I would drop in." he answered, the picture of nonchalance as he shrugged innocently. I raised my eyebrow. I could tell by the way that Edward was fighting a frown that Emmett wasn't telling the truth – or not all of it, anyway.

"And dropping in would include throwing rocks at us?" I asked sarcastically. Emmett smirked again.

"Like I said, trying to keep things PG."

"It hadn't even reached PG-13 yet…" I muttered sourly. "And are you going to tell me what you just told Edward, or not?"

Both vampires stiffened and exchanged a quick glance. I smiled in triumph.

"Ha! You're hiding something. I knew it!"


"Edward." I said, my voice hard. I gave him the flat look that I always had when I saw past his pretenses. I could tell from the spark in his eye that he knew that he wasn't getting away without telling me what's going on. With a sigh, he looked at me pleadingly.

"Not here, alright?" he asked softly, both his arms slipping around my waist as he stared down into my eyes. "Later."

"Edward…" I whined, the persuasive powers of his eyes taking hold of me yet again as he leaned in, his lips hovering a few centimeters from mine.

"Please?" he whispered. I couldn't resist those eyes – I never could. If I was ever going to live with him, I was going to have to somehow find a way to combat that…but I had a feeling that I never would.

"Fine." I said, giving in. "But you're going to tell me."

"Eventually." he said, smiling as he touched his lips to my forehead.

From a few feet away, Emmett gave a rather loud cough, and both of us snapped back to reality. I had completely forgotten that the other vampire was there.

"Can we, ugh…go inside, now?" he asked, looking at the ground before looking up at Edward, and finally to me. He pointed to the sky. "It looks like rain."

With a sheepish grin, I followed the two brothers inside, Edward's hand firmly in mine.