This was originally written for The Off the Page Contest Bronzehairedgirl620 and Leon McFrenchington held. Now it's just a one-shot I wrote that I'm super proud of!

Disclaimer: SM owns the characters. NS owns the basic story concept. I just like making SM's characters do naughty things. I'm borrowing the basic concept of this story from Nicholas Sparks romantically brilliant mind. I hope I do them both justice. No copyright infringement is intended. It's all just for fun of the contest.

A/N: BIG HUGE thanks to BellaMadonna and KODEA for betaing the shit out of this bad boy. It wouldn't be what it is without them. I'm actually super proud of this story (in huge part to those two lovelies I mentioned above). I worked for weeks on this. Please review and let me know what you think!

The rain began pouring down just as I reached the entrance to the diner. I had discovered this was not an uncommon occurrence in this town. It had been raining on and off since I arrived ten days ago.

More often than not, it was the annoying rain that was an all encompassing mist that seemed to envelope you and come at you from all sides instead of descending directly on top of you. However, today it was coming down in buckets and I had just missed getting soaked to the bone by a fraction of a second.

As I opened the door to the diner, the all too familiar chime of the bells rang out, announcing my presence. I walked forward to the counter and took my usual seat at the end.

After shaking off my coat and placing it on the back of my chair, I ran my fingers through my hair, letting the few water droplets that had made it into the tousled mess that I refer to as my hair fall out. I was in desperate need of a haircut, but after being subjected to a buzz-cut for the last several years, I was welcoming the disheveled mess on top of my head. It felt nice to be able to run my fingers through it.

I got comfortable in my chair and reached for a menu. It was pointless though. I already knew what I wanted. I'd been eating here every morning for the last nine days. My typical breakfast consisted of a couple of scrambled eggs, bacon and wheat toast, hash-browns, coffee, and a small glass of milk. Sometimes I'd eat dinner here, too.

"Good morning, Edward."

I looked up at the familiar voice and smiled. She placed a coffee cup down in front of me, a wide smile on her face. "Why are you even looking at the menu? You order the same thing every day," she teased as she poured me a cup of coffee.

"Good morning, Isabella," I replied, smiling at her playful teasing. This had become our morning routine since I stepped into the diner nine days ago and she first waited on me.

She rolled her eyes at me. "Bella," she corrected, as she did everyday since I refused to call her anything but Isabella. Some how, I felt Isabella just fit her better. Plus, I liked the way it sounded as it rolled off of my tongue.

"You never know, Isabella, I might want to switch it up," I replied to her earlier comment, ignoring the correction of her preference for her nickname.

"So what will it be then?" She asked, setting down the pot of coffee and taking out her little order notepad. She looked at me expectantly, her eyebrows arched.

I tapped my finger against my chin, looking at the menu, faking indecision. "Mm.. I'll take a couple scrambled eggs, bacon, wheat toast, hash browns and a small glass of white milk," I responded, giving her a wink. Isabella rolled her eyes.

"See, I knew it," she stated, a small giggle escaping her lips before she turned around. I watched her rip out the sheet of paper from her notebook, that had my order written on it, and placed it in front of the kitchen, for the cooks. She walked back to the coffee maker, replacing the pot before she headed out from behind the counter and over to a family waiting to place their order.

Subconsciously, I ran my fingers over my jean pocket, feeling the small piece of paper that had been imbedded there since I found it during my time in Iraq, my 'lucky charm', as I had begun referring to it as. My buddy, Jasper, actually discovered the piece of paper. Well, it wasn't actually a piece of paper, but a photograph. Although Jasper had found it, I kept it. Something about it drew me in. I couldn't explain it.

I carried the picture around with me from the time I found it through the rest of my tour in Iraq, and when I arrived back home in Chicago; I still kept it with me. I had been unable to part with it. It had become an extension of me, always in my pocket. I couldn't stop thinking about the picture and its purpose in my life. It was Jasper who had encouraged me to act on my curiosities.

The picture was of a girl with long dark hair, smooth porcelain skin, deep chocolate eyes and a bright radiant smile. The girl looked happy and full of life. The girl in the picture was beautiful. There was no doubt about that. However, that was not the reason I had carried the picture with me. The picture had become my lucky charm through various unbelievably frightening times in Iraq, as well as happy ones. As crazy as it seems, I attribute my success of making it out of the war alive to this picture. It'd brought me a great amount of luck that was for sure. I was generally not a superstitious person; however when it came to this picture I fully believed in its power of luck.

Conversation with Bella, since I had arrived in Forks and stepped in this diner, had been easy and fun from the moment we met. She had a bubbly and energetic personality. She was always smiling and in a generally good mood. I was drawn to her like I'd never been drawn to anyone else. I was the magnet and she was the refrigerator.

I hadn't known what I would find when I first arrived to Forks. I had come on a whim. I discovered, through two months of research and staring at the picture, where the photo was taken. It was at a local carnival, and there was a very small banner for the Forks High marching band. It didn't take me long to figure out that the city was Forks, Washington. I wasn't sure at first whether or not it was strictly Forks, or if it was Grand Forks, Three Forks or various other cities that had Forks in the name. The picture was ripped and it was hard to tell. None the less, I had figured it out and here I was after one long cross country trip on my motorcycle.

I told myself I was crazy and this was borderline stalkerish, but I had to meet the woman in the picture, my 'lucky charm'. I just had to meet her, even for a brief moment. I didn't even really have to talk to her. I hadn't known if I would find her or not, or how I would even begin to look. I didn't even know if she still lived in the town, the picture seemed rather old.

I arrived around midnight, ten days ago, and was exhausted, so I checked into a motel and immediately went to sleep. The next day I woke up, absolutely famished, and came across this diner. I figured I would get some food and then begin my search, subtly talking to the town's people, trying to gain any information I could without coming off as a stalker.

However, that wasn't necessary. I stepped into the diner and there she was, the woman in the picture. I didn't even need to search her out.

There she was, right in front of me.

It was fate. She was working behind the counter during the morning rush. I felt like I had been kicked in my windpipe, because all the air flew out of me the moment I looked at her. She was simply breathtaking. The picture I had did not do her a bit of justice. It was her though, that I was sure of. The same shoulder length brown hair, deep chocolate eyes and bright smile. She was laughing at something a customer said, her eyes lit up with amusement. Her eyes were even more captivating in person. Now I knew I had to talk to her. I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. As cliché as that sounds, it was completely and utterly true.

Fate was also on my side because there was an open seat at the counter. I took a seat and she came up almost immediately, placing a menu down in front of me and asking if I would like some coffee. She flashed me a big smile and I was a goner. There was no going back now.

We had fallen into a fairly stable routine from then on. I would come in every morning because I had learned she always worked the morning shift. We made small talk mostly. She had asked me what my name was and knew that I wasn't from around there so she was curious about what I was doing in Forks and how long I would be staying. I managed to skirt around that issue, because telling her that I had actually been looking for her just seemed way too creepy.

Bella placed my food down in front of me, breaking me out of my thoughts. "Here you go. Enjoy," she said, giving me a smile.

"Thank you," I replied, smiling back. I took a bite of my food, watching her still as she hustled around the diner. I rubbed the picture in my pocket again. C'mon, don't fail me now. I need your good luck more then ever.

"Would you like some more coffee, Edward?" Isabella asked.

I nodded my head, swallowing my food. "That would be great, thank you."

She refilled my cup then placed it on the counter behind her. Grabbing a wet towel, she began wiping down the space next to me. I watched her intensely, willing myself to just ask her what I'd been dying to ask her four days ago.

I cleared my throat. It's now or never, Cullen.

"Bella?" I asked, my voice coming out much quieter then I intended.

She turned to look at me, a look of surprise on her face. I then realized that I had called her Bella. I hadn't done that once since I met her, even though she constantly corrected me. She was clearly surprised by this, but she smiled.

"It's about time you listened!" she teasingly replied.

I laughed. "It was bound to sink in eventually!" I responded.

I cleared my throat again. "Bella, what are you doing tonight?" I asked her, just jumping right into the lions den.

I watched as her smile faded, and she stopped wiping the counter. Uh-oh. That's not a good sign.

She looked at me and furrowed her eyebrows. "Why?" she asked, tentatively.

"Um, well I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me. Ya know, show me around town. I've been here for nearly two weeks now and have yet to do anything exciting," I answered, flashing my infamous crooked smile. It worked on other girls. I could only hope it would work on her too.

It did. She relaxed her posture and laughed, "Well, I'm sorry, but you're in Forks. There is not a whole lot to see around here."

"Oh there has to be something," I challenged.

Bella stared at the counter, deep in thought. Her eyebrows were furrowed together and she was chewing on her bottom lip. I noticed that she did that often. I hated it and wanted nothing more then to reach over and loosen the grip her teeth had on her lips.

"Okay," she finally said. "I have a place we can go. Meet me back here at 5pm and we'll go." Bella broke her gaze from the counter then and smiled.

I smiled back, trying to stay as calm as possible. However, I felt like I was going to explode from the happiness on the inside.

"Okay, that sounds perfect. Are you going to tell me where we are going or is it a surprise?" I asked.

"Definitely a surprise," Bella replied, winking at me.


I pulled up to the diner at five o'clock sharp, on my motorcycle. I pulled off my helmet just as a big red truck pulled up next to me. Peeking in the window, I saw Bella at the wheel.

She looked over at me and smiled, waving shyly. I raised my eyebrows at her as I got off my motorcycle and walked over to the passenger side door. "Interesting vehicle you have here. Is it going to make it where ever we are going?" I asked, teasingly.

Bella rolled her eyes at me. "Yeah, like I don't get that question asked all the time. Just get in, Cullen."

I complied, opening the door and climbing in. I smiled to myself at how easy our teasing banter came to us. It was like we had known each other for years, not like we just met nine days ago.

I buckled my seat-belt and turned to her as she pulled out of the parking space and headed towards the highway.

"So, are you going to tell me where we're going?" I asked as I watched out the window as we drove through what essentially was the Town of Forks. "I thought you were going to show me around Forks? It looks like we're heading to the highway now, and out of town."

"I told you Cullen, it's a surprise. I also told you that Forks is boring and nothing of importance happens here. So, I'm going to take you to one of my favorite places in the world," Bella responded, her eyes never leaving the road in front of her.

I noticed then a folded blanket with a picnic basket resting on top of it in the spot between us. This must all be part of the surprise. I didn't actually care where we were going as long as I was able to spend time with Bella.

We drove in silence, but it was comfortable, like we'd been friends for years. Enjoying the peaceful silence, I let myself absorb the scenery as we sped down the highway.

Fifteen minutes later, we pulled into an empty parking lot and I could hear the crash of waves coming from the distance.

"The beach?" I questioned, as I watched her open her door, grabbing the blankets and picnic basket. I followed suit, opening my door and following her around to the front of the truck.

"Yep, this is First Beach. We're on the Quileute Reservation," she responded, her tone stoic, almost unreadable, and sort of distant. I felt as though there was some underlying reason why she chose this place as the location for our date.

We walked slowly, once again in a comfortable silence, until we reached the sandy beach. I took the picnic basket from her and she laid out the large comforter for us to sit on.

"I wasn't sure what you would like to eat, so I packed a variety of items - some fruit, veggies, chips, sodas, turkey and cheese sandwiches, and some homemade brownies," Bella said, breaking the silence as we sat down. She opened the basket and started pulling the items out.

"That all sounds wonderful," I replied, my voice soft.

We began eating, silence once again falling upon us. The silence, that was once comfortable, was now becoming a little unnerving. We had never had so much quiet between us when we had been around each other in the past. Granted, we had been in a public place and never one-on-one, but there was rarely silence none the less.

I started to get nervous. The picture in my pocket felt like it weighted fifty pounds. I knew I had to tell her about myself, why I was here, and about the photo. I was scared of how she would react though. Would she think I was a crazy psycho? A stalker? A superstitious freak? I wasn't sure, but I was deathly afraid of her reaction. Over the last several days that we had been interacting, I found myself falling for her, and falling for her hard. It seemed rather ridiculous, considering I hardly knew anything about her. However, there were times when I felt as if I had known her for years. Everything just came so natural to us.

"I haven't been to this beach in over two years," Bella stated quietly, breaking the silence. She was staring out at the water, seeming to focus on nothing in particular. She took a bite of her sandwich, still staring out into the distance. She swallowed and bit her lower lip. Her eyes were missing their usual exuberant sparkle and now took on a somber appearance.

I frowned as I looked at her. She seemed so sad and that was the last thing I wanted. I just wanted to reach over and stroke her cheek, hold her hand or give her a hug. But, I knew that would be inappropriate since we had never even really touched before. I just wanted to comfort her and take away the apparent pain and sadness she was feeling.

I wasn't sure if she wanted to talk about whatever was making her sad or not. I wasn't sure if I should urge her to continue or change the topic of conversation. However, she made the decision for me.

"My best friend, Jake, whom I've known my entire life, is a Quileute. He lived here on the reservation. Our fathers are close friends and go fishing here every Sunday. Jake and I were inseparable from the time we were young. We used to make mud pies together as children," she continued, smiling faintly at the memory. She was still looking out at the ocean, but had stopped eating her food.

"Jake was about two years younger than me, but the age difference never seemed to matter. He was surprisingly mature for a guy. Things had always been comfortable between us, and I always knew I could go to him whenever I needed him. The same was true for him. He was utterly and completely my best friend. He was the one person in the world that meant the most to me. We'd been through so much together – first heartbreaks, my parent's divorce, the death of his mother, puberty, high school graduations… We had each other, and that was enough to get us through anything.

"When Jake graduated high school, and turned 18, he decided college wasn't for him and he wanted to get out there and make a difference in the world." Bella took a deep breath before continuing. "So he joined the army." She let her breath out in a whoosh and bit her lip.

"I begged him to reconsider; I was scared for what that would mean. But he was stubborn and told me that he was absolutely positive this was the way he was destined to make his mark on the world." Bella's eyes dropped from the ocean, as her fingers picked absently at the blanket.

"Jake believed in fate. That God had a greater plan for us, and events in our lives happened for a reason." She once again raised her eyes to the ocean, a ghost of a smile played across her lips. "I always teased him about it, but he firmly believed it was true. Truthfully, I admired him for his faith.

"Two years after enrolling in the army, Jake was sent to Iraq to fight in the war there," Bella paused slightly and I felt my heart rate pick up a little as I took in her words.

"I was devastated. Jake however, was ecstatic. I'd never seen him so excited about anything." She glanced sideways at me for a moment, before her eyes returned to their perusal of the ocean.

"That was what he had been waiting for, his chance to make his mark on the world. I didn't want to burden him with my worries and concerns, so I pretended to be excited with him. All the while I was plagued with a constant fear and worry about him. Well, that proved useless, because after being in Iraq for 14 months, Jake got word that he would be coming home within a month. I had never been so excited in my entire life for anything! I couldn't wait." I watched as Bella closed her eyes tightly for a moment and I saw a tinge of pain in them when they reopened.

"I spent the next month making arrangements for his return and planning so many different activities for us to do. I even planned a road trip down to California because it was something we both wanted to do." She glanced at me again, her lips pinched up in a tight smile, before she was drawn back to the ocean.

"Two weeks before he was scheduled to arrive home I got a call from his father, Billy, telling me that Jake had been wounded." Bella continued to tell her story, the voice that had begun so detached, was now laced with so much emotion I felt a lump form in my throat. Tears began to stream down her cheeks and she finally turned to look at me fully.

"Jake was pronounced dead two days later. It was just ten days before he was supposed to come home." She raised shaking fingers to press against her lips, before dropping her hand and wrapping her arms tightly around herself.

"I cursed God! I cursed fate! How could death be Jake's fate? What kind of God would do that? He was only twenty-one!"

By now, she was sobbing and I reached over and pulled her to me, wrapping my arms around her as she nestled her face into my chest. Her body was raking with sobs and I began rubbing her back in soft soothing circles. I could feel her tears seeping through the fabric of my shirt, but I didn't care. She could blow her nose on my shirt for all I cared. She needed comfort and I would give her whatever she needed.

I wasn't sure how much time had passed but eventually her sobs quieted and she pulled away. Looking at me then, her eyes were swollen and her cheeks wet. I placed my hands on both sides of her head, wiping away the wetness with the pads of my thumbs.

Bella bit her lower lip, darting her eyes away from me and looking down at the blanket we were sitting on.

"I'm sorry," she whispered sheepishly as she looked back up at me.

"Don't apologize," I whispered back, releasing her face from my grip. I dropped my hands to my sides and continued to keep eye contact with her.

"You know I'm a marine," I stated after a few minutes of staring at each other in silence. It wasn't really a question because I had already told her that when I first arrived in Forks.

She nodded her head. "I know," she whispered.

"I was also sent to Iraq. I arrived home just two and a half months ago, after a two year tour." I watched her face as I revealed this information.

"I figured," she said, sighing. "I don't know why I brought you here or why I told you this story. I haven't been here in two years because it's just brought me so much pain to think about Jake. Being here, where we used to make mud pies as kids, on his reservation, just brings back so many memories." I saw the unspoken sadness behind her words.

"But, since you walked into that diner nine days ago I felt a part of me come alive again, the part of me that died when Jake did. I didn't even realize it died until you sat down at the counter and I poured you that first cup of coffee." I saw that sadness begin to dim as a new light entered her chocolate brown eyes.

"The closer I got to you, the more I could feel it; a crackle of electricity just surging through my body. It was like my heart had finally started beating again." Her eyes implored me to understand.

"I don't mind telling you, but I felt completely ridiculous at first. I didn't even know you, so how could I feel this way about you? I definitely don't believe in love at first sight, but what other explanation do I have?" Bella diverted her eyes for a moment and gave a little sniff. "My best friend, Alice, told me I wasn't being ridiculous. But, she's a hopeless romantic so I expected nothing less from her."

She paused for a moment and I could see a wealth of emotions flit across her face – sadness, doubt, apprehension, skepticism, and finally hope. It was hope that shined brightest when she again met my eyes. "Alice believes in fate just as Jake did. She said that you were sent to me for a reason and that maybe that reason was to repair the broken pieces of me that Jake's death left behind. The more I saw you, the more I believed that it could be true." She gave a choked little laugh. "When you asked me out, I didn't know what to do. I had been hoping since that first day, that you would."

I just watched Bella's face as she voiced all the things that I had been feeling for the past nine days.

"I was so afraid to let myself go. I knew that I'd already fallen for you and there was no going back, but I was still afraid. But then I heard Jake's voice in my head, telling me he would always love me but that I needed to move on; that he wanted me to be happy." A wistful smile played on her lips. "He told me I couldn't continue on, being a shell of the person I once was. I needed to get back to being me." Bella stopped talking and sucked in a long breath of air after her long winded confession, averting her eyes once again as her face was suffused with embarrassed color.

I reached up and stroked her cheek, tilting her face up until her eyes once again met mine.

"Don't be embarrassed," I whispered, staring deep in her eyes. I gave her a reassuring smile. Bella closed her eyes and leaned into my hand still stroking her cheek.

It was now or never. I had to explain to her about the picture. God, I hoped she wouldn't end up hating me and running away from me screaming. But, she had made this huge confession to me, now it was my turn. I hoped my story would bring us closer together.

"I have my own confession to make," I started. Bella's eyes flashed open to look at me intently. I took a deep breath. I pushed all the food aside and moved closer to her. I grabbed her hand and interlaced my fingers with hers. I could feel her making small circles with her thumb against my palm. She gave me a smile, urging me to continue.

"Please let me get everything out before you say anything - no matter what you might be feeling," I stated, looking deep into her eyes.

"Okay," Bella whispered, nodding her head. She frowned slightly, but I gave her a reassuring smile.

"I won't go into a lot of details, because frankly, it's hard for me to talk about and I'm sure you don't want to hear them anyway, but my time in Iraq was both one of the best and one of the worst times of my life." I took a deep breath before continuing.

"Much like your friend Jake, I believed that serving my country in the Marines was my destiny; my way to leave a mark on this world. I enlisted when I was eighteen and have been a proud Marine since then, and even though I am now no longer on active duty, I truly believe once a Marine always a Marine." I gave her a small smile. "When I joined, I was thrilled and immediately engrossed in military life. I met my best friend, Jasper, when I enlisted. When I found out I was going to Iraq, I was thrilled to learn that he would be going the same time as me." My eyes lost their focus and I relived my time.

"The time there started out well. There wasn't a lot of action, like you might think. It was a lot of just sitting around. Then one day, about three months in, Jasper and I were walking through the compound, when I saw something blowing along the ground. I reached down and picked it up." My thoughts quickly returned to the present and I swallowed hard before I could continue. "It was a picture. I didn't know the person in the picture, but instead of throwing it away I just stuffed it in my pocket. Not really thinking of it again." I paused again as I let my thoughts drift back to Iraq.

"At night we played poker to relax. Well, after finding that picture, I had an amazing lucky streak. I won six nights in a row. I had no idea why, but I was definitely welcoming it. As the days passed I kept winning at poker to the point that everyone thought I was cheating and made me quit playing." The smile that memory involuntarily evoked was quickly quashed by the next.

"Then a week later, during a routine patrol in our Humvee, we struck a land mine." I couldn't prevent the grimaced that formed on my mouth. "That Humvee was hauling me, Jasper, and two other men. Their names were Mike and Tyler. We were all thrown from the vehicle. Mike and Tyler were killed upon impact. Jasper had a broken arm, but I walked away unscathed. It was a miracle.

"A few nights later I was hanging with Jasper in our tent, while he rested his arm, when I pulled the picture out of my pocket. I had forgotten it was there. Jazz asked me about it, so I showed it to him and told him when I found it.

My eyes focused again on her face. "Much like your friends, Jake and Alice, Jasper believes in luck and fate. He said there was a reason why I found it. He called it my 'lucky charm'." I gave her a crooked little smile. "I never believed in all that superstitious mumbo-jumbo. But, as time wore, and I kept surviving violent attacks over my fellow men, I started thinking that maybe it was.

"I came home after my two year tour completely unharmed. It had to be luck.

"Upon arriving home I kept that picture in my pocket." I stopped my confession for a moment, to take a deep breath. Bella was still looking at me intently, taking in every word I said.

I looked down at our intertwined hands and with my other hand rubbed my pocket where I knew the picture was. Since I started my confession, the picture felt even heavier in my pocket.

"I still have the picture with me," I whispered, looking up into her waiting eyes. I slowly reached in my pocket, pulled it out and slowly turned it over so she could see it.

Bella let out a loud gasp and brought her free hand up to her mouth. She looked at me with wide eyes. "Me?" she whispered. I could tell she wanted to say more, but she held fast to her promise of not speaking until I was completely done explaining my story.

I nodded my head. "Yes," I whispered back. I saw a tear seep out of the corner of her eye as she reached for the photograph. Surely she was remembering the time the picture was taken and I was 100% certain the person in the picture with her was Jake. How else would the photograph have gotten to Iraq?

"After I got back home, I tried to forget Jasper's words about the picture being my lucky charm. I even tried to get rid of it, but I couldn't. I became more and more curious about the picture and the beautiful girl in it," I stated, giving her another smile. She smiled back, but her eyes were still glassed over from her tears.

"So, I started doing some research and discovered that the banner in the background was of the Forks High marching band. That was when I knew I had to come here. I had to see the girl in the picture, just for a moment. I had to see what she looked like in person. I had to meet my lucky charm." My eyes wandered over her face before locking again with her eyes. "You."

I saw the wonder in her eyes, but still she didn't speak.

"When I arrived, I hadn't really planned on speaking to the girl in the photo. But from the moment I stepped foot in the diner and I saw your breathtaking smile, my world was turned upside down. I knew I was only fooling myself if I thought I could just see you and then walk away." I raised my hand to caress her cheek lightly.

"Each day I would come into the diner just so I could see you. I was convinced it was best for me to just be another patron in the restaurant, and just stick to harmless banter. But, the more I talked to you, the harder I fell. I knew that I needed to spend more time with you. I needed to see you outside the diner." My thumb moved lightly over her bottom lip.

"That electricity you spoke of, I felt it too. It's like a magnetic pull. I still feel it. The closer I am to you the more intense it is. I've never felt anything like it. It's so hard to describe…" My voice trailed off as I got to the end of my confession. I stared at Bella anxiously awaiting her response. She was still holding my hand, so I took that as at least somewhat of a good sign. She wasn't running away screaming… Yet. I let my hand drop to take the picture from her unresisting fingers.

"Wow," Bella whispered. She turned her head from me and looked out at the ocean. There was silence between us for a few minutes and I felt my heart pounding in my chest. I thought for sure she had to hear it. I had never been so honest with anyone in my entire life. I was nervous for what was to come next.

"Ya know," she turned back to face me. "I should be afraid of you. The rational part in my mind says that you must be a stalker," she stated, looking me in the eyes.

Her eyes sparkled and I knew then that she was just teasing me. I let out a breath of relief. She didn't hate me. If she was teasing me, that meant she was still comfortable with me.

"I mean, the whole thing sounds absolutely absurd. But, I just can't bring myself to care," Bella continued. "That was an incredible story and I feel flattered that you sought me out." Her lips twitched with a smile. "The rational part in me is being overshadowed by this intense feeling I experience every time I'm around you. I just can't ignore this aching need inside me," Bella whispered, her breaths becoming shallow at the end of her sentence.

I noticed then that our heads had subconsciously drifted closer together. Bella's eyes flickered to my lips then back up to meet my eyes again. I let out a ragged breath and licked my lips.

My heart thudded intensely in my chest, echoing in my ears. The magnetic energy between us was crackling with such an unbelievable power I thought I might spontaneously combust. It intensified as the distance between our lips slowly closed.

Bella's eyes fluttered shut and I could feel her sweet breath whoosh out and prickle my lips. My tongue jetted out and I lightly licked my bottom lip as my own eyes fluttered closed and I pressed my lips gently to hers.

A low groan rumbled in my chest from the feeling of her soft luscious lips.

I moved my body closer to hers as my hand reached out to tangle into her soft hair. Lifting my other hand, I placed it on the side of her jaw, my thumb rubbing soft circles over her cheek.

Bella let out a soft sigh, as she parted her lips and her tongue run lightly across my bottom lip, asking for entrance. I groaned granting her mouth access, parting my lips.

The kiss started out soft and then intensified as our tongues began to dance around. I put everything I felt for the last nine days into it. Except now, my feelings were intensified by a hundred because I now knew those feelings were reciprocated.

I felt Bella's fingers reach up and intertwine into my hair. Her nails scratched at my scalp lightly and I let out a deep moan that I couldn't contain. So many emotions were coursing through me. It'd been a long time since I had kissed a woman, let alone anything else, but I knew that I had never felt anything like this before.

I was trying so hard to take it slow with her because I didn't want to rush into anything she wasn't ready for, but with every soft tug of my hair and nip of my bottom lip I was feeling my control slipping.

Bella tugged harder at my hair, making our bodies press together the best they could in our current sitting position. Bella must have decided that it wasn't close enough because she climbed into my lap, wrapping her legs around my waist. Our chests were pressed tightly together and a moan escaped my throat from the feeling of her breasts pressed against me through her thin t-shirt. The sun was beginning to set and a cool breeze began danced around us. I could feel her nipples harden as they rubbed against me and I had to suppress another moan.

Untangling my hand from her hair, I moved down to her waist. I rubbed soft circles on her hip, and then proceeded to her lower back. I let my fingers trail along the hem of her shirt, before getting up enough nerve to let them slip under and caress the soft skin of her lower back. I moved my other hand away from her jaw placing it on the other side of her back under her shirt. I rubbed up and down her back and sides. Letting my thumbs come up, I gently pushed up under the sides of her bra to rub the skin there. Bella let out a sigh and deepened our kiss even further.

I broke the kiss, trailing soft kisses across her jaw and down her neck. She was panting hard and her chest was heaving up and down. She let out another sigh and whimpered in my ear, "Touch me more, Edward", before nipping lightly at my ear lobe.

I groaned and felt all of my control dissolve. Pulling my lips away from her neck, I looked at her face. Her eyes were heavy lidded and her lips were swollen from our kissing. Her eyes met mine and she licked her lips. She was a vision, absolutely stunning.

"You are so beautiful," I whispered, my eyes never leaving hers.

I crashed my lips against hers, forcing my tongue back into her mouth. She let out a moan as my hands traveled from her sides to her chest. I cupped her soft breasts with both hands, over her bra, my thumbs rubbing circles against her nipples. They hardened even more under my touch. Bella let out a small moan, arching her back so her breasts were pushed harder into my hands.

With one hand still caressing her breasts, my other hand reached around to unclasp her bra. It lay loosely off her shoulders giving me greater access to her naked chest.

I brought my hand back around, taking her into my hand. She was so soft and supple. She fit perfectly into my hands. Bella began grinding herself slowly into my now achingly hard erection, our lips only leaving each others to take in small shallow breaths.

I flipped us over so she was lying with her back against the blanket, pushing the cooler and food out of the way in one swift movement with my arm. I took a moment to calm down. There was no way I was going to rush this.

I looked down at her and felt my lips curl into a smile. She was simply radiant. Her hair was spread out all over the blanket and her eyes were clouded over with desire. I'd never seen a more sexy being in my entire life.

Bella smiled back at me as I settled myself between her legs. She wrapped them around my waist, pulling me closer to her.

"Oh god," I whispered, my eyes rolling to the back of my head, from the feel of the heat radiating from between her thighs. Although we still had all our clothes on, it already felt so good.

As she grinded into me, I leaned down and kissed her gently. I kissed a trail from her lips, down her jaw line to her neck, stopping and sucking lightly on the sensitive skin. Her soft hands went up under the hem of my t-shirt to rub up and down my back. She dragged her nails around my sides and up the front of my chest before raking them down over my nipples then back around to the hem of my shirt. She tugged up on it lightly, urging me to take it off. I released her skin from my lips so I could sit up onto my knees. I crossed my arms down over my stomach, grabbed onto the hem of my shirt and pulled it off in one quick motion, throwing it off to the side.

As I was pulling my t-shirt off, I hadn't noticed that she had also sat up and pulled hers off, as well as the bra that had been hanging loosely from shoulders. I licked my lips and I took in the shape and contours of her body. She was simply perfect.

I leaned down again to kiss her lips once more before kissing another trail down her neck, except this time I continued my exploration further south. I kissed the soft skin of her breast before taking her nipple into my mouth. My hand reached up to tug gently at her other nipple, flicking it gently between my fingers.

Bella wrapped her fingers into my hair, once again lightly scratching at my scalp. I let out a moan against her nipple, causing her to arch her back and let out a moan herself.

I continued my trail down her stomach and dipped my tongue into her belly button, her hands never leaving my hair. I sat up slightly when I reached her jeans, so I could look up at her.

"Are you sure, Bella? We don't have to do this. We can stop now," I whispered to her. I meant it. I would wait as long as she needed to. She made eye contact with me and shook her head.

"I don't want to stop. I want you to touch me," She whispered, bucking her hips upwards.

I continued to study for her for a minute, just to make sure this was really what she wanted before I snapped open the button on her jeans and pulled them down her smooth legs. I tossed her pants to the side before returning to the spot between her legs.

I kissed her lips sweetly again, before I snaked my hand down her body to hover just over her panties. I hesitated for a moment, but she bucked her hips up again before whispering, "Please, Edward", urging me to continue. I loved hearing my name slip out between her lips. I knew it was a sound I would never grow tired of.

I obeyed, taking two fingers and rubbing her through her panties. The fabric was soaked, causing a moan to escape my lips. She instantly let out a small sigh before whispering, "More."

I groaned. She was going to be the death me.

I hooked my fingers under her panties and quickly pulled them down her legs.

When I tossed her panties into the growing pile of clothes, I took a minute to admire her naked form. I still couldn't believe how breathtaking she was. And she was here, with me. The same girl I had been looking at in the photo for months was here with me now. It seemed so surreal.

"You're perfect," I whispered.

Bella smiled up at me and before I could lean down to kiss her again she sat up on her elbows and arched her eyebrow at me.

"Edward," she spoke softly, a smirk playing on her lips.

I looked at her slightly puzzled for a moment. "Yes?" I asked tentatively.

"You're wearing too much clothing," she stated, letting out a little giggle.

I looked down at myself, laughed and gave her an amused, crooked smile and nodded. "So it would seem."

Bella reached out and unhooked my belt, then undid the buttons of my jeans, quickly tugging them down my legs. I kicked them off and gently urged her to lie back down again.

I positioned myself once again between her legs, my boxer-covered erection just inches from her slick, wet heat. I placed my hand over her, lightly running my fingers up and down her slick folds. Her mouth parted slightly and she let out a soft moan, her eyes closing tightly. I slipped one finger inside her, pumping in and out of her as I pressed into her swollen clit with my thumb.

"That feels so good, Edward," she panted. Her eyes flashed open and she made eye contact with me, before snaking her own hand down my front and slipped it inside my boxers. She wrapped her soft hand around me, her thumb grazing over my tip before stroking me.

"Oh, my God," I moaned out, as I rested my forehead against hers. My eyes closed tightly as I took in the immense pleasure her touches gave me.

She let go of me for a brief second before pushing my boxers down my legs, my erection springing free. I kicked them off, hoping they landed in the general vicinity of pile of clothing next to us.

"I want you so badly, Bella. I've never felt this way about anyone in my entire life," I confessed to her as I positioned myself between her legs. My forehead was still resting on hers as I looked into her lust filled eyes.

"I want you too, Edward," she whispered, bringing her lips up to kiss me. I parted my lips so her tongue could slip inside. She massaged my tongue with her own as my fingers trailed down her stomach and gently rubbed over her again. I groaned at the feeling of her arousal against my fingers.

She wrapped her little hand around me again, urging me closer to her center. I felt the tip rub against her slick folds and a deep groan was released from my throat.

"Edward, I want to feel you inside me," she whispered, pulling her lips away from mine. I opened my eyes to meet hers.

I positioned my hands on the blanket, beside her shoulders. I hovered myself just over her body, as to not crush her from my weight. She wrapped her legs around my waist, and pressed downward urging me closer to her. The tip of my erection slipped just inside her slick folds, eliciting a moan out of the both of us from the sheer pleasure.

I looked into her eyes and with one swift motion I slipped inside of her, not breaking eye-contact. I groaned at the feeling of her tightness surrounding me. I saw her eyes roll back, and she wrapped her arms around my neck, lacing her fingers through my hair.

I held still for a moment, waiting for her to adjust to my size, wanting to savor this moment forever.

Bella opened her eyes, to gaze into mine as I slowly started to rock back and forth. She pushed her hips up to meet mine with each thrust, our bodies moving together in a synchronized rhythm. We fit perfectly together, like we were made for each other.

For a while the only sounds that could be heard were our soft moans and the crash of waves behind us. This moment was perfect and I never wanted it to end.

Bella's panting began getting shallower and closer together; I knew she must be close, and I knew I wasn't far behind.

"Bella," I panted out as I thrust into her harder.

She moaned out my name and dug her fingers into my back.

"I'm so close," I moaned out. "You feel amazing."

The sounds of our moans blended together as I snaked my one hand down in between us to knead her sensitive nub. "Come with me, Bella," I whispered in her ear, kissing her neck.

I rested my forehead on hers as I pushed into her one last time before I felt her insides quiver around me, signaling her release. She screamed out before pushing her lips to mine. The feeling of her release around me provoked my own and I kissed her back forcefully, quieting my groans.

After we came down from our highs, I rolled off of her and onto my back. I pulled her close to me so she could cuddle up to my side. Turning my head, I looked over to see her staring up at me, a wide grin on her face. I smiled back and kissed her forehead.

"Hi," I whispered. Not knowing what else to say.

Bella wrapped one of her arms around my waist to snuggle up closer. "Hi," she whispered back, letting out a little giggle.

"That was…" I started, trailing some of my fingers up and down her back.

"Amazing," Bella finished, her own fingers running up and down my torso, tracing the outlines of my stomach muscles.

We laid there in silence for a few moments just staring up at the stars before I felt a shiver rack through her body. "It's getting pretty chilly out here," I stated quietly. The sun had now completely set and the only light was from the stars above.

I reluctantly sat up to gather our clothing, handing her all of her clothing before putting on my own. We dressed in silence and packed up all of our belongings before heading back to the car.

When we were in the car and headed back to the highway, I took Bella's hand in my own and pulled it up to my face so I could kiss her knuckles softly. She looked over at me and I flashed a crooked smile. She smiled back.

"What do you think about coming over to my house and letting me make you some dinner? We never did get to finish eating what was in that picnic basket," Bella said, her eyes focusing back on the road, but a smile still playing on her lips. She kept her fingers intertwined with mine.

"I'd love that," I answered, my eyes never leaving her face.

I knew this was the beginning of something truly special and I couldn't wait for the adventure to begin.

A/N: Please review if you liked this story! I love hearing reader thoughts, even if it's just a few words. Thanks!