The Volvo was packed with suitcases, bed linen and a cooler for me with drinks and snacks. Today was finally here, the road trip to college. We weren't going as far as previously thought. Dartmouth was out, I wanted to stay closer to home, to Charlie. We decided on the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon in the Willamette valley. Once we hit Interstate 5 it would only take 5 hours, well if we drove the speed limit, which I'm sure we wouldn't, so make that about 3 hours.
Edward had rented a Victorian bungalow a block off of campus. It had two bedrooms, one bathroom and a large wrap around porch and sounded heavenly. I knew exactly what I would be doing for the next four years, and I couldn't wait for it to start. I'd decided to remain human for at least some of the college experience and see how it went. Edward was ecstatic, hoping he could make it stretch the entire four years. I agreed to wait for "the change" if he could loosen up a bit on the intimacy issue. Since I was now 18, Charlie couldn't really pass judgment about our being roommates, but I'm sure the number of bedrooms helped some.
Edward was the last Cullen to leave Forks. The others had moved on almost a week ago. Carlisle and Esme were the first. The doctor accepted a position at a hospital in Montana and both he and his wife were looking forward to the assortment of wildlife to be had there. Emmett and Rosalie did go to Dartmouth, but Alice and Jasper decided to travel.
There was only Charlie to say goodbye to.
I helped to "close up" the Cullen house. We placed dust cloths across all the upholstered furniture, made sure everything was turned off and locked up and drove to Charlie's.
He was waiting for us standing in the front door. He filled the frame, and looked so sad I almost started tearing up. It was quick and almost painless. I gave him a hug, he made me promise to phone, he even shook Edward's hand and we drove off. I turned in my seat to wave, and he stayed put, waving back until he was out of view.
Once we hit the freeway, I started to lighten up. I was again looking forward instead of back. I smiled at Edward letting him know I was over my doldrums. "You realize you're going to be a duck, don't you?" I kidded with him.
"If we stop in Corvallis, we could be beavers….Oregon State." He cringed. "Would you like something to drink?"
I shook my head. We were on a sparse track of the interstate. There was nothing to be seen but a large white house in the distance and a Christmas tree farm. The car pulled over to the side of the road, gravel crunching under the tires. "I need a break." I heard him say. Yeah, right. He was around to my door before I knew he was there. We went to the back of the car and opened up the cooler. Water bottle in my hand we started walking aimlessly out to the trees. The bottle was cold from the ice in the cooler, but Edward's hand in mine was just as cold.
I was gazing at the white house imagining the family inside when Edward asked, "Are you alright? You seem distant."
"I'm fine, really. I was just thinking what it would be like to raise Christmas Trees. I mean, you plant the tree, it takes maybe a few years to grow and then you work for maybe two weeks selling them and start over again." I shrugged.
He laughed. "And here I thought you were upset about leaving Forks." He looked around us. "I'm sure they must have to sculpt each tree to make them look right for the holidays." I was still interested in the farmhouse.
"Can you tell who lives there? From this distance, what they're like?" I asked.
"Oh no, Bella." He put his hands up. "New rule, we do not become involved in the lives of strangers anymore." He took my arm and started leading us back to the car. "Rest period over."
A few hours later we drove into Eugene. It was much bigger than Forks, but still a small town. The college buildings were beautiful, literally ivy covered. When we pulled up beside our new cottage I was speechless. This is going to be like a fairy tale. A cute little house, school, Edward, my own kitchen, books, Edward, hard wood floors, tree lined streets, Edward…
Perhaps it was too much, but I couldn't help myself. The drive was over and we were finally here in front of our house…I like that, our house. I picked her up bridal style and carried her over the threshold and inside. I had no idea it would make her cry. She insisted she was just happy. Why do girls say that, it's completely illogical?
I'd found the bungalow on the internet, but it was just as promised, furnished with a double bed and highboy in each bedroom, a small table with 4 ladder back chairs in the kitchen nook, and a small couch and matching club chair in the living room. The basics, we'd shop for the rest. I was actually looking forward to it.
I carried in our suitcases full of clothing and put them in the bedrooms while Bella brought in pillows and linen for the beds. We walked from room to room looking it over and she just kept sniveling. I must have said something, done something. Maybe she was missing her father. I had my arm around her, squeezed a bit and suggested we go out and get a few things while the shops were still open. Shopping always made Alice happier.
We drove to one of those stores that has everything, groceries, sundries, clothing, tires for your car, everything. This one was called Fred Meyer. I'd never heard of Mr. Meyer, but he seemed to have quite the store. I'm very unused to shopping, Alice usually buys everything we need, or I go online and order it.
I don't think I'd been inside a store like this for at least 30 years. They hadn't changed much. The doors opened automatically and I pulled Bella through before they could shut again. She looked at me oddly, but that was nothing compared to her laughter when I procured us a shopping cart. The picture of me pushing a cart was too much for her. I had to stop and wait for the feeling to subside. When she had herself under control we went into the house wares aisle.
Looking about I spotted something that appealed to me, it wasn't Dresden, but it would do. I held up a cobalt blue plate and asked her opinion. "How about this one?" She shook her head and explained that food didn't look appetizing on colors like blue or green. She chose a simple pale yellow plate. "The color of good butter." I said. I got the look again. "It's something my mother would say, back when butter came in a wooden box."
Next we placed a set of silverware in the cart. We were getting a set of 4 of everything. Bella said we didn't need any more than that and I had to see her point. We went a few aisles down and she chose bath mats, a shower curtain, a few pots and pans, and a toaster.
We had a pretty good haul and I suggested we purchase these items, put them into the car and come back for the groceries.
We reentered and went to the grocery section of the store. Bella chose to carry a hand held basked this time and we searched up and down the aisles for what she referred to as staples. I took the basket from her as she places the items inside; Peanut butter, disgusting, strawberry jam, white squishy bread with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever, pop tarts that looked like pieces of card board, milk, cans of soup…don't get me started, chips ahoy cookies…"ahoy?", I should get her a cook book.
In the dairy aisle an odd thing happened. I sensed one of my own kind nearby, but when we turned the corner there was nothing and the feeling subsided. I didn't say anything to Bella, as she was having such a good time on our simple errand. The check out lane was short and I paid close attention to our surroundings just in case.
A red headed boy was bagging our groceries and kept making eyes at Bella. He told her he was a student at the University and maybe they'd have a class together. What a nerve he had! I reached over Bella's shoulder to hand the cashier my charge card and glared at the adolescent imp. He didn't offer to carry the bags out for us, which I believe is policy.
The back of the car was fairly full with our purchases and we drove back to our house. Most of the items went straight into the kitchen. Bella was positively glowing while putting the things away just where she wanted them. Four glasses near the sink, silverware in the drawer below that, dry goods in the pantry, milk in the fridge, I grinned at the thought of her in an apron.
I walked to the one bathroom and placed 4 towels on the counter so she could decide where they should go. I struggled a bit with the suitcases. They weren't heavy, hardly, what I mean is I put hers in her room and I put my own things in the other. Bella was sure to make friends at school, and when they came over to visit or to study I didn't want anyone to see my things in her room. I know old fashioned, deal with it.
As I was leaving the room, Bella came bouncing around the corner. In the split second I had before her arms went around my neck, I noticed a spoon in her hand. She pulled me down as she went up on the tips of her toes and put her lips to mine. The girl is so soft….everywhere, and smells so sweet. Then my sweet got forceful, held me in a tighter grip and pushed her tongue into my mouth. Strawberries.
I stood up straight thinking this would end the kiss, but her grasp held and her feet came off of the floor. She then inhaled and took my breath away.
"That is very much against the rules." I scolded. "Need I put all of this in writing and make you sign it?" She pouted. She's been doing that a lot lately…okay, because she knows it works. "I can't have you close to my teeth and that's the simple truth, would you like me to rip open a can of soup to prove my point?" She laughed. Anyone else would run screaming and she laughs. I'm used to it though. I hate it when I have to pull away from her because she gets the wrong idea.
I dropped her onto the tiny couch. It's not so small that it's a loveseat, but certainly not a full sized couch. She was flat on her back, but had to bend her knees some to fit. I hovered above her, my body to the side of the couch and held her shoulders down. I gave her that lazy look that makes her breathing increase and her heart beat faster, she's so enticing. "Why must you be so exquisite that I have to beat bag boys off of you with a stick?" She was squirming playfully, but became very still as I gently pulled her knees apart and climbed onto the couch over her.
I tried to keep my hand from shaking and brushed her bottom lip with the tips of my fingers. "Open, love." That didn't sound like me. She licked her lips and opened for me. I tilted my head to one side and tasted her meticulously. She had her hands clenched tightly in my shirt, but behaved. After a bit I figured I'd better let her come up for air and I rested my forehead against hers. "Definitely strawberries." I panted and smiled down at her.
Bella closed her eyes and sighed, "Would you like to go for a chocolate chip cookie?"
"Hmmm, no thank you, but would you mind if I just…" I held her securely around her back and twisted us both so I was lying on my back and Bella was atop me. This was new, and something I'd thought about many times. I loved the feel of her little frame pressed on me. The couch was even shorter for me, one of my feet against the arm rest and the other setting on the floor. Bella started shifting to get more comfortable, I thought…I should know better by now. I think my eyes rolled into the back of my head.
Until that "what is appropriate and what is not appropriate" list was written down and the ink was dry I was going to take what I could get. He is so beautiful, and if this isn't an opportunity screaming at me I don't know what is.
I squished one of my knees between the back of the couch and Edward, the other rested against his other side as I started grinding into him. He's always talking about instincts, well these were mine. I'll apologize later, this feels so right. He squinched up his eyes and put his head back for a moment. I'd obviously caught him off guard. Any minute now I'd get the red flag.