Author's Note: Our inspirations are, as usual, posted in our profile. Keywords are... the Horsehead Nebula (which belongs to Space), and Muse's Starlight!
Disclaimer: If there was any possibility that we owned Stephenie Meyer's books, Twilight or New Moon, or any of her characters, we would not be writing and posting here. We'd rather be sitting on a beach in the Caribbean, sipping smoothies, with Edward on one side and Emmett on the other.
It's Friday, a day which I had recently begun to loathe. It was my first summer with Edward, and so far every single week had ended with an "Edward's Choice Date Night". If it were up to me, I would prefer we stayed in. Snuggling up on the couch, watching movies, lying on Edward's couch listening to music, or quite frankly, lying in my bed pushing limits sounded like a much better plan to me! Edward, however, said that we did that every other night and Fridays belonged to him. I tried to argue, but he always managed to…um…. make me forget what we were talking about. I should be mad at him for doing that, but truthfully, I enjoyed it too much. Thus the wanting to stay in all the time.
Every Friday began differently. Sometimes he would be there, beside me, when I woke up in the mornings, sometimes all I got was a note. I was only ever given an idea of what I should wear or was told that Alice had purchased something just for the occasion. The "Let's-spend-money-on-Bella" thing Alice had going on was something I was usually unhappy about, but for these Friday nights it actually came in handy! On the nights when Alice would get involved, I spent every second I could attempting to pry information out of her. It unfortunately NEVER worked. The most I ever got out of Alice was, "Don't worry, it will be fun." Most of the time she was right.
The heavy stupor of sleep began to lighten; I clenched my eyes shut unwilling to accept another end to a night of perfection. Well that, and I was still tired. All I wanted to do was snuggle up into Edward's chest and sleep. Or pretend to sleep, or possibly not even sleep at all. Yes this was going to be a great morning! However, when I reached out for him, all I grabbed was my pillow. My eyes shot open, and in a heartbeat I was sitting up.
He wasn't there. All I saw was a note on my pillow, a disappointing discovery compared to the one I was hoping for. As I reached out for it, I unsuccessfully tried to stifle a yawn. In spite of the sudden awakening, it took me a couple of minutes to comprehend what the note in my hand actually said. In his gentle elegant script it read:
Dress casual tonight. I'll pick you up at 7pm sharp. No stalling this time.
"'Casual', huh?" I thought as I put my feet on the floor. I realized that the last time he had told me to dress casual was... well… never.
As I walked to the bathroom, I decided to take a shower and mull over the evenings possibilities. If I was dressing casual, it meant we were doing something, and if we were doing something, I was going to need to prepare mentally. Physical exertion almost always ended in a trip to the emergency room for me. I turned the faucets on in the shower, all the way to the red part. Hot… As I stepped in, I yelped. Darn! Too hot! There you go, I thought. Even preparing for a casual outing was a dangerous activity. I rubbed my leg, and stepped in once again after turning the heat down a little. Ah… This felt good! I began concentrating on the possibilities of the evening. Alice was obviously not coming with clothes, so I couldn't interrogate her. Not that it ever did any good, mind you, but it certainly helped to pass the time. As the hot water washed the cloudiness of sleep from my body, my mind began to race with ideas. None of which were anywhere nearly as creative as I knew Edward to be, nor even remotely interesting enough to mention. I sighed as I felt the hot water giving out, down the drain washed both my sleepiness and my creativity. I would have to settle with the distraction of picking an outfit to pass the time.
When I got out, I wrapped myself in a towel and walked back to my room. "What to wear, what to wear?" I sighed in frustration. Usually dressing casual was not a problem for me, but when I was told to dress casual, heck when I was told to do anything, I had a tendency to make it a bigger issue than it needed to be. The many joys of being a woman. I sighed and looked into my closet, immediately pulling out a pair of jeans and a dark blue t-shirt. Why was Edward's note making me nervous? I had a feeling tonight would be very different from anything we had ever done before…
My day droned on while I straightened the house, did some laundry, and prepared an easy dinner for Charlie to eat when he got home. Nothing special really, an e-mail to Renee here, a dance around the kitchen floor with the mop there, oh, and a visit to the first aid kit after the mop dance. My poor toe connecting to the refrigerator was not something I had planned. I wrapped the steak I had marinated in cellophane and was preceding to place it in said fridge, when the phone rang.
"Hey Bella, it's Mike. What are you up to?"
"Oh nothing really, just making dinner, and then I will be getting ready to go out."
"Oh…" Mike's voice was thick with jealousy. "Where are you going?"
"I don't really know actually. It's all a big surprise, but at least its casual."
"Well…that's nice, I guess." He sounded possessive, much like he had when I'd just gotten to Forks. I was about to reply, when I heard his mood change and his excited voice sounded through the phone. "Hey, if your plans cancel, a bunch of us are going swimming at First Beach tonight if you want to come." I laughed silently as he referred to Edward as "my plans".
"Thanks Mike, but I think I'll have to pass."
"Oh, alright. Have a good night then" I heard the pout in his voice, which immediately made me think of the kids in Renée's kindergarten-class.
"I will," I said, and with that we ended our conversation.
Mike is a good guy, but he never gives up. I was relieved Edward wasn't here for that phone call. Aside from wanting to end his vegetarian streak with Mike as the main course, he would have grumped the whole night muttering things like vile, undeserving, and parasite. This, I could all do without for the evening, thank you very much.
As I finished up I could hear the sound of tires on the gravel outside. Before I could even put the dishtowel I was holding down, I heard him knock on the door. An idea suddenly popped into my head. I very slowly finished wiping down the counters and meticulously folded the towel and hung in over the faucet. Then slowly walked to the hall, took a seat on the stairs and began putting on my tennis shoes. As I was tying up the laces another knock came harder. I snickered, I couldn't help it, but it was too late. He had heard me. Stupid vampire hearing.
I didn't even have time to move before Edward was towering over me, with a peculiar look on his face. He bent down placing a hand on either side of me, trapping me in my spot. I was stuck, pinned between him and the stairs. He had a glint in his eye that gave his mood away as he said, "I thought I told you; NO stalling." He tried to glare at me, but his glittering eyes gave him away.
Trying to hold back my laughter, I replied, "Did you now? I must have forgotten. It was so long ago, it must have just slipped my mind."
"You say you forgot huh?" his words slowed and lowered to just above a whisper, his face inching closer to mine.
"Um, yes, I forgot. It was a very long day, after all." My heart began to pound, exploding out of my chest. I could feel my pulse pounding harder; I could feel it in my eyes, my neck, my lips. My vision blurred, as he lowered his head sliding his lips along my jaw. "What was that?" he breathed against my cheek. His breath swirled into my nose causing my body to tingle from the tips of my toes to the ends of my fingers. "I, uh, said I forgot."
"Is that so?" He moved his mouth just above mine, every syllable brushed against my lips sending all the heat in my body to my face. My mind began to swirl, every part of my body yearned to make contact with his. I was losing this fight. "Yes," I breathed back as our lips connected. I wrapped my arms around his neck and leaned back against the stairs, pulling him into me. As his lips touched mine, I could feel the, all too familiar, desire in me increase yet again, and I felt myself clinging to his body, unwilling to let go.
Edward gently pulled away and said with a smile. "There will be time enough for that later."
"You promise?" I chided back. He didn't answer, just smiled and took my hand, helping me to stand. Always the perfect gentleman. He led me to the door, which still stood open from his recent breaking and entering. As we stepped into the thick warm night air, I saw Emmett's monster of a jeep parked in front of us.
"Where are we going in that?" I said with a nervous glance at the gigantic red vehicle.
Edward gave me an overbearing look. "Just wait and see."
"Nah-uh," I answered. "The last time I got into that jeep, we played baseball in the middle of nowhere! I'm not getting in." There was a momentary grimace on his face, and I regretted bringing up that terrifying night. The look however quickly changed into a devious smile.
One moment I was standing in front of the vehicle with my arms crossed over my chest and Edward walking towards me, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in the passenger-seat, the seatbelt in place, and Edward was in the seat next to me starting up the monster of an automobile.
"You were saying?" he said with a sly smile.
"Hmpf!" I pouted, as he backed out of the driveway.
I looked over at his stunning form. It was… shaking? Now I noticed his face too. He was trying to suppress his laughing! "Edward!" I cried out, as his laughter roared through the air. "If you could just see your face," he managed to choke out as he looked at me. "How anyone can look so offended and so beautiful at the same time is beyond me."
I felt my cheeks grow hot. No matter what, he always managed to make me blush. "If you think flattery is going to get you anywhere, you're wrong," I said and looked out the window. He just laughed more, and turned on the radio.
I couldn't stay mad at him for long, especially when one of my favorite songs of all time softly hummed through the air. I couldn't keep quiet any longer. "I love As Time Goes By!" I sighed blissfully. Edward took his eyes off the road and looked at me with a puzzled expression. "You do?" he asked. "Yeah," I breathed as I leaned back and devoured the music, letting it soak the atmosphere of the jeep as we moved in a blur through town.
When we had gotten about 10 miles out of Forks, Edward suddenly made a sharp turn and the Jeep bumped along a dirt road. I felt my hands grip the seat purely on reflex, and my teeth were chattering as my entire body bumped up and down. Edward's chuckles could be heard the whole time, but unfortunately the vehicle never moved smoothly enough for my teeth to stop chattering, let alone shoot a remark at him. I had to settle for angry glares.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he stopped the Jeep, and I quickly unbuckled and got out. I didn't want to take the chance that the roller coaster ride would start up again. My legs were wobbly from the excessive shaking I had endured, but just as I was about to fall over, two strong, cool arms caught me.
"You really should have waited for me to come around," he said into my hair.
"Oh, so you mean I was too fast for you, for once?" I laughed as I looked up into his sparkling eyes. What was he up to now? I pondered, as he made sure I sat down on the trunk of a fallen tree a little off the road. He walked back to the Jeep, and in the blink of an eye he was sitting next to me again, a big bag and a backpack lying at his feet, and Emmett's Jeep safely locked in the distance. I shook my head. "OK, so what are we doing now?" I asked, but something in the pit of my stomach already knew. He grinned excitedly.
"Now… we run."
I groaned, but knew it would do me no good to protest. I assumed my ritual position on his back with my head buried into his shoulder, so that I could avoid seeing the world fly by us at super speed. Even though it wasn't a long trip, I could tell by the slight change in temperature that we were heading up the mountains. I hadn't been up in these mountains since I was a little girl, when Charlie wanted to take me fishing at a mountain lake.
The wind steaming past us slowed but had not stopped completely. "We're here," he said as he carefully unlocked my tightly wound fingers from his neck. I opened my eyes and got my first glimpse of my new surroundings. We were standing in the middle of a great field, higher in the mountain range then the one we had played baseball in. We could climb to the mountain's peak in just a few moments from here. A light, warm breeze blew across the open space. It was a moonless night, and through the darkness the stars opened up the mysteries of the heavens before us.
"I have never seen so many stars before!" I gasped, in awe of the beauty stretching across the sky before me. Edward was busy pulling things out of the two bags he had carried up here.
"It's because there is no moon, and the stars aren't being overshadowed by its light. We can see them here like they are meant to be seen."
"What are you doing over there?" I asked, craning my neck to try and see around him.
"Come see for yourself." He had turned and smiled at me. I walked over to where he stood.
"A telescope? Are we star mapping tonight?"
"That's just for now. The real surprise comes later," he smiled, and gave me a swift kiss on the forehead. "Come have a look." I bent down and peered into the eyepiece.
"That's the Horsehead nebula," he said, pointing to the sky. "You can only see it this well when there is no moon. Beautiful isn't it?"
"It's so…colorful. I've never seen anything like it." Every possible color in the universe existed in that spot. Whirling masses of stars and color spread across the inside of the lens, and I stayed there, transfixed by its beauty.
"Come lay here with me." Edward's warm voice grabbed my attention, and when I looked up from the telescope I saw him lying on his back on a blanket he must have spread out while I was looking at the nebula.
"Why Edward, what kind of a girl do you think I am? If I didn't know any better I would think you were trying to seduce me," I chided with the cheesiest southern accent I could muster. He moved in a blur, grabbing my arms and pulling me down on top of him.
"And if I were?" he smoldered.
"Well, I guess I wouldn't complain." He took my face in his hands and I could feel my cheeks burn.
"You drive me mad. Do you know that?" he whispered, his lips seconds from my own.
"A girl can try."
I fell into his lips, releasing my ever-increasing desires. My fingers twisted in his hair. He ran his fingers down my spine, the pleasure causing a moan to escape my lips. He moved his hands to my waist, and as we kissed I could feel his fingers graze against the exposed skin at the bottom of my shirt. I was no longer in control; all sense of reason had flown out into the night air. I wrapped my legs around his waist and moved my hands to his chest for support as I trailed my tongue across his jaw and down the side of his neck. His head arched back and a small growl escaped his perfect mouth. My lips landed at the base of his neck tracing patterns in his burning skin, but before I could continue, I found myself lying on my back beside him, straining for breath.
"I am sorry Edward…I didn't mean to-," I panted. As usual I had let myself go, leaving all my inhibitions behind, and let the passion guide my actions. I knew how hard this was for him. My lack of self-preservation was a torture to him, and the fact that I couldn't even give him a chaste kiss without throwing myself at him, left me with all encompassing guilt. The torment I put him through was torturing me, but the way every cell of my being yearned for him made it impossible to resist.
"What am I going to do with you Bella?" He smiled at me, but there was a heavy strain in his voice.
I smiled back, my face burning with heat. All was forgiven in that instant. We lay there for hours, wrapped up in each other's arms, staring at the stars. He pointed out constellations and planets. I listened, fascinated by every word that escaped his lips. As he told me of Greek gods and star-crossed lovers, I fell into a world that I never wanted to leave. I was slowly tracing patterns across his stomach, dreaming of never leaving this spot. It must have been close to midnight by now.
"It's time," he said, getting out from under my grasp and offering me his hand.
"But I don't want to leave yet," I pouted, taking his hand and standing up.
"Oh, we're not leaving. It's time for the surprise." He had lifted me up into his arms. I knew it was time for more running, so I went to position myself on his back, but he stopped me.
"I want to look at you. I can't see you back there." I blushed at his words as he wrapped my legs around his waist and held me close to him, never once diverting his eyes from mine. The world around us began to blur. Higher we climbed. He was breathing slow and steady, never taking his eyes from mine. My heart began to pound. Easy Bella…I said over and over in my head. I had already pushed the limits tonight.
He stopped and I slid down his body to the ground, our eyes still locked. As my feet hit the rocky earth beneath me, I saw a streak of light shoot across the sky behind Edward…then another and another. I tore my eyes from his gaze, though he didn't move. The sky erupted in a torrent of light.
A meteor shower.
From the mountain top, I could see for a hundred miles in every direction. I turned in wonder, looking north, west, south and east. It felt like the shooting stars were close enough to touch if I just reached far enough. Golden sparks rained down on our silhouetted forms on the peak of some distant mountain. I came full circle and met his electric golden eyes, magnifying the sparks flying through the atmosphere.
As he leaned down towards me, his gaze pinned to my lips, I saw a shooting star crossing another one's path above our heads. Make a wish, Bella, I thought to myself. There, underneath the beautiful heavenly display of stars and meteors, alone on the top of the world, I wished for one thing, and one thing only; that I would get to spend forever with my one and only, my best friend, my soul-mate… Edward.
And then he kissed me.