Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Happy birthday! I know it's not exactly what you requested, but it relates to the awesome present I got you ;) Thanks for tolerating my extended explanations of Twilight canon and fanfic storylines. Thanks for telling me Blindward would never say "yummy." And thank you for finally coming around and seeing the benefits you can reap from my fanfic predilection.
ILY *kiss* *hug* *lick*
P.S. erikasbuddy beta'd this, and she says you should check out the blog - muahahaha! ;)
Playlist song: http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=0_mVGN2mtuE
Hide & Seek
His fingers cold, he wrapped them around the mug of steaming coffee sitting on the diner counter. He took a long gulp of the black liquid, hoping to warm his insides as he calmed them. He didn't even try to to eat the pancake in front of him. His stomach was churning too much.
Checking the clock on his phone for the hundredth time, he didn't notice the man sit down until he spoke.
"So, you waitin' on someone?"
Looking up, he saw the friendly face of a man, maybe in his late forties, dressed in a Forks Police Department uniform. He couldn't see a name tag, but he could see the Chief patch sewn onto the jacket.
"Yeah," he said, smiling to himself, "I am." He held out his hand to the man. "I'm Edward. Nice to meet you."
The man shook his hand firmly. "Nice to meet you, Edward. I'm Charlie." Turning to dump creamer and sugar into a coffee mug that magically appeared in front of him, Charlie picked up his spoon and stirred slowly. "So, based on your smile, I'm thinking your waitin' on a girl."
"Not a girl. Maybe the girl." Edward wasn't sure why he was spilling his secrets to the Chief, and he wondered if Charlie could mysteriously make anyone talk. It would definitely be a good trait for a cop, he thought. "If she doesn't call soon, I may lose my mind."
Charlie arched an eyebrow. "Okay, the girl. Maybe she's standing you up."
"No, it's not like that. She's got to find something first. But it's a long story."
Diving into a plate of over-medium eggs and bacon that appeared out of thin air, Charlie smiled. "I've got time for a long story, if you want to tell it."
Shrugging, Edward thought talking about his favorite subject might be a good way to pass the time. He took a deep breath and began.
One of my favorite hobbies is geocaching. That's where you hide a small container and leave GPS coordinates and hints on the Internet to help someone find it. When they find it, they log it on the website and re-hide it for the next person to find. Sometimes you hide small trinkets that people can take and replace with their own. But it's mostly for the challenge of the hunt.
I like the seeking, don't get me wrong, but I love the hiding. I've got caches all over Washington, and I've hidden a few during vacations and work-related trips. Getting a notification that someone's found my cache for the first time makes my day. I try to be creative without making things impossible. What fun would there be if no one found the treasure?
A few months ago, I hid a cache outside Seattle. When I got the notification that it had been found, I went to the website to check out the log like I always do. The message was left by someone who hadn't found one of my caches before.
browneyedgirl: woohoo! FTF! I don't think I've ever been FTF before. TFTC - you hid it very well. I think I'll check out your other caches, too.
I clicked on the username, and I was just...flabbergasted. Hmm, that makes me sound old. Maybe enraptured is better? Her picture was so beautiful. Long chestnut hair tied back, sparkling expressive eyes, a huge smile that made me smile in return. Then I noticed where she was and what she was holding up in the picture. It was where I hid the cache. She was holding up the little toy soldier I'd left in the container. She'd been so excited to be the first to find my cache that she'd taken and posted a new profile picture.
My brother says I never do anything impulsive, so I figured this was my chance. I sent her a PM, never really expecting to hear back.
Glad you liked the cache. From the looks of your profile, you're new to this. Let me know if you need any help.
Okay, so I wasn't exactly the suavest guy ever, but it was a start. After a week, I figured she wasn't going to respond. That next Saturday, though, she did.
I'm off to find two more of your caches with a friend. She hates hiking - says it messes up her perfectly clean boots. It should be fun *eyeroll* I'll let you know how it goes.
I really should have looked behind me before I did my happy dance.
"Edward, what the hell are you doing?" My brother Emmett guffawed.
"Um, I got a message I'd been waiting for," I replied, sheepishly.
Walking over to my computer, he looked at the screen. "Huh, browneyedgirl? Is she hot?" When I clicked on her profile, he nodded in approval. "Yep, totally hot. And totally out of your league, little brother."
Note to self: Hiring my brother was not the best idea I ever had, privacy-wise.
Four hours later, I received another PM.
My friend got too bitchy, so I only found one cache. Send me your email, and I'll send you a pic.
I don't think I ever replied so fast. Fifteen minutes later, I received my first email, and my hand was shaking as I clicked the picture to open it. There she was, smiling and holding up the container. Her smile was the most radiant thing I'd ever seen, and I was a goner. A goner who was never going to get this amazing woman to give him the time of day. That didn't mean I wasn't going to try.
Congratulations! Sorry your friend didn't hang in there with you. My brother did the same thing last time I took him with me. If she's single, maybe we should introduce them ;) I really liked the picture, btw. You have a nice smile.
Again, I know I sounded like a complete dork, but it did the trick. She emailed me back, and we began a correspondence that lasted two weeks. We discussed everything about nothing. But I did learn so much about her, too.
Her name: Bella. I must have said it a million times that first day I learned it. She was still my Brown-Eyed Girl, though.
Her hometown: Forks. She moved there to live with her father her freshman year of high school. We'd just missed each other, it seems. My family moved from Forks to Seattle the summer after my 8th grade year.
Her favorite person on Earth: her father. She'd lived with her mother in Florida and came to live with him when her mother remarried. She wouldn't trade those high school years for anything, because they made her realize how great a guy her dad is.
Finally the email came that I wanted and dreaded.
You know I like you, right? We live in the same city for Christ sake. Can we just meet for coffee? Or maybe at least talk on the phone?
"She's kinda forward, that one," Emmett said, reading over my shoulder.
I glared at him. "Since when is coffee forward?"
He sat on the corner of my desk, which he knew I hated. "If she's not being too forward, why all the angst over a simple cup of coffee?"
"What if she doesn't like me? She's perfect, and I'm a geek who..."
"Looks like a freakin' Adonis," Emmett interrupted, "and I say that in the most brotherly, non-homosexual way. Not that there's anything wrong with that." Emmett chuckled. "Come on, you've seen the way the girls in this office...hell, the girls everywhere...fall all over you. You're intelligent, own a software company, and are good looking. Hell, on second thought, I do want you. Come here and give me a kiss."
He grabbed my face with his huge paws, and I struggled away from his puckered lips. "Asshole."
He was right. Not about the Adonis thing, but about me being a pussy. I did want to see her, but I figured I could settle for a phone call. I would be fine if I could just finally hear her voice.
I was an idiot.
Not looking at the caller ID, I grabbed the phone while I continued to code. "Cullen Systems, Edward Cullen speaking."
"Wow, you sound all professional there, Edward." She laughed softly. "It's Bella, you know..."
"Yes," I whispered, "I know who you are." My heart was racing, and my hands shook as I pulled them away from the keyboard.
I don't know what I was thinking. Her voice washed over me like an electric charge. It was so sweet and so sexy at the same time. I could just imagine her, sitting at her own desk, feet propped up, and smiling that huge smile from her profile picture.
"Good. I'd hate to think you have dozens of women you've picked up on the Internet calling your office and can't keep us straight."
"Nope," I said more confidently, recovering from the initial shock, "not dozens. Just you." My mouth was suddenly dry, and I took a drink of Diet Dr. Pepper to wet it.
She sighed softly. "So, what are you wearing?"
Diet soda spewed all over my monitor. "W-w-what?"
"Oh...my...God," she gasped between loud laughs. "You thought I was serious? No phone sex on the first phone date, dirty boy."
Our phone calls quickly began taking up most of our evenings. The cadence of her speech was music to my ears, and her laugh drove me mad. I would purposely antagonize her and send her on an extended rant just to hear the fire in her voice sing to me.
After a few weeks of late night calls, I lay in bed talking to her, and the sadness on the line was palpable.
"Edward," she said softly, "do you not want to meet me at all?"
I did...in the worst way. "I do, but..."
"But you're afraid you'll be disappointed."
"No, no! It's just...I...I don't know if you'll like me," I finally admitted.
She sighed. "I don't think you see yourself clearly at all. Are you pretending to be someone you're not? And don't even say it's how you look. I've seen the pictures you sent me, and I've looked at your profile on your company's website."
"This is the real me. All awkward and geeky."
"I like geeky," she cooed.
My heart raced. It couldn't be true. She was incredible, and she liked me just the way I was. "Really?"
We agreed to meet the following Saturday, but I wanted to make it special. I knew exactly how.
I walked into the server room, enjoying the familiar, soothing cool air. "Jasper, buddy, you got a sec?"
Jasper, my best friend from college and the only one I trust with my servers, poked his head out from behind a rack of machines. "For the boss, always. What's up?"
"Do you have any spare sheet metal from a case mod or something?"
Jasper snickered. "Of course I do. When do I not have sheet metal?"
I handed him a sketch, carefully drawn on company letterhead. "Can you make another cache token for me?"
"Sure thing." He studiously examined the sketch. "Wow, this is awesome. For Brown-eyed Girl?"
Smiling widely, he smacked my shoulder. "About time, dude. I'll have it to you tomorrow."
The next day, custom token packed into a new cache container, I headed for Forks. She told me how much she loved hiking there, and I remembered my favorite place to go when I lived there.
I couldn't wait to post the new cache on the website and email her the link.
Cache name: my browneyedgirl
A cache by ikilledtux
N 47° 56.510 W 124° 16.565
In Washington, United States
browneyedgirl: Find this cache on Saturday & I'll meet you there. When you find it, call my cell. I'll be waiting.
Charlie took a sip of coffee and looked at Edward thoughtfully. "That's quite a story, son. Sounds like you really like this girl."
"I do." Edward smiled, hoping his brown-eyed girl would approve of him in return.
The cell phone rang loudly, and both Edward and Charlie jumped in their seats. Edward stared at the phone, his fingers itching to grab it but his mind hesitant to finally know how she felt.
"You better answer before your dream girl gets away." Charlie gestured toward the phone.
Hands shaking, Edward pressed the call button and raised the phone to his ear. "Hello," he said, his voice breaking.
"Edward," Bella's voice sang, "this is the best cache ever! This place...it's beautiful. Please tell me you'll be here soon."
"I'm on my way. Remember, don't open the pouch until I get there, okay?"
"It's right here in my hand, but I'm sorely tempted. Hurry," she said, breathy. "Bye."
"Bye." Edward sat stunned, holding the phone to his ear until the call disconnected.
Leaping up from his seat at the counter, Edward quickly pulled on his fleece jacket and slung his backpack over his shoulder. "It was very nice meeting you, Charlie. I have to go now; my girl is waiting for me."
"Nice to meet you, too, Edward." Charlie grabbed Edward's ticket. "Let me take care of that."
Edward shoved his phone in his pocket and gave Charlie a friendly nod. "Thank you," he said sincerely.
Bounding toward the door, Edward halted briefly when he heard Charlie's voice call out behind him.
"You be nice to that girl now, you hear? She sounds like a keeper."
Racing to the end of National Forest Development Road 2932, Edward could barely concentrate on the road. Between first seeing her profile picture and the phone call thirty minutes earlier, he'd been thinking and fantasizing about Bella Swan for almost two months. He knew this meeting could possibly change the rest of his life.
He parked his SUV at the end of the pavement and climbed out, retrieving his backpack from the back seat. He'd given Bella the coordinates, but he didn't need to plug them into his own GPS. He'd taken this short hike a least a hundred times growing up in Forks, and he'd surprised himself by how quickly he found it again after years away.
Walking into the forest, he began to mentally replay the worst-case scenarios. Bella would take one look and hate him. Or she would find out he was more awkward than she even imagined. Or she would decide they had no chemistry. The possibilities were endless, and they always ended badly.
Emmett and Jasper spent the previous night trying to encourage him, listing all the women who'd thrown themselves at his feet over the years. He countered with a list of women who decided a computer geek with a penchant for Lost and Fringe, no matter what he looked like, was not the man for them.
The evening ended with Emmett and Jasper passed out drunk in the living room while Edward nursed another beer and stared at pictures of Bella on his laptop. She was going to hate him; he was sure of it.
This didn't stop the motion of his feet as they hiked through the trees, his body eager to find her even if his mind wasn't. Fifteen minutes later, he stood a few feet from her, watching her from behind a large Western hemlock.
The meadow was lush with blooming flowers, and Bella sat in the midst of it on a blanket, her legs stretched out in front of her. The rare Forks sunshine streaming down on her, she was more lovely than any of her pictures. Her hair was collected in her familiar ponytail, and it cascaded down the center of her back and swayed with the breeze. Every so often, she'd pass her outstretched hand over the wildflowers around her, and the floating pollen, glowing in the sun, gave her an ethereal appearance.
Edward stepped from the shadow of the trees into the light of the meadow. "Hello, Bella."
Her head snapped toward him, and a bright grin spread across her face. "Edward," she sighed.
His body again taking him where his mind was afraid to go, he walked to her and sat on the blanket facing her. Staring into her eyes, he was lost in their deep chocolate depths, another thing her picture hadn't prepared him for.
"So..." She began to speak then trailed off self-consciously.
"God, you're beautiful," Edward uttered before he could stop himself.
Her laugh was soft. "Thank you. You're not too shabby yourself."
Bella's cheeks flushed pink, and Edward reached to her, gently brushing his fingertips against her heated skin. Her eyelids fluttered closed, and she sighed. Suppressing a moan, Edward cupped her cheek.
"Edward?" she whispered.
Her eyes still closed, she pulled the corner of her bottom lip between her teeth. "We've spent more time talking and getting to know each other than any two people I know." Her eyes opened, and she gazed at him intently. "Can you pretend that we haven't just met and...maybe...kiss me?"
Edward clasped Bella's hand in his and tugged gently until she moved to sit in his lap. "I thought you'd never ask."
Tilting their heads in the same direction once then once again, the third time was the charm, and their lips softly brushed together. Feeling her hands wrap around his neck caused shivers down his spine, and he encircled her waist tightly with his arms.
Their lips met again, this time harder, and Edward took her full bottom lip tenderly between his. Bella opened her mouth in a soft sigh, and their tongues met, hesitantly tasting each other. As they kissed more deeply, he slowly removed the tie from her hair, freeing the silky locks and running his fingers through them.
The slow kiss ended, and they looked warily at each other.
"Disappointed?" Bella asked sheepishly.
"I'm pretty much the opposite of disappointed." He feared her reaction but needed to hear it anyway. "You?"
Her fingers began stroking the nape of his neck. "Oh, hell no. I'm just wondering if I should be mad at you for denying me that for so long." Her shy smile told Edward she was anything but mad.
"Ready to see your surprise?" Releasing her, Edward's long arm reached out and grabbed the pouch.
"You know the suspense has been killing me, right? Hand it here," she demanded, bouncing excitedly in his lap.
He watched as her nimble fingers snatched and untied the pouch, the "only for browneyedgirl" note still pinned to it. Opening the pouch wide, she turned it upside down, and the token landed in the palm of her upturned hand.
On each side of the token was etched a Celtic knotted heart. On one side were the words, "Look after my heart." On the other, "I've left it with you."
As the silence stretched, Edward worried he'd said too much. Bella continued to flip the token over and over again in her hand, running her fingers over the etched metal.
Suddenly, her arms were again around his neck, her face buried in the crook of his neck. "This is so incredible, Edward. Thank you so much."
Filled with relief, he kissed her forehead. "I'm very glad you like it." He tilted her head up to look into her eyes. "I like you a lot, you know."
"I hope so," she said, smiling, "'cause I've gotten quite attached to you as well."
Leaning down, he kissed her, moving against her gently until her lips parted and granted him access. Wrapped up in each other's arms, it was a few seconds before they realized it had begun to spit rain.
"Come on, Brown-eyed Girl, let's get out of here before the bottom falls out."
Springing to their feet, they began collecting their things. Just as Edward folded the blanket and shoved it in Bella's backpack, he saw her picking up the cache container.
"I took something, so I have to leave something." Digging into her pocket, she pulled out a small toy. Edward recognized it as the toy soldier from his cache she first found.
Walking to her and wrapping his arm around her waist, he kissed her temple. "Are you sure you want to part with that?"
"I think maybe it's time to let it bring someone else some luck."
Placing the tiny soldier into the container, Bella walked to the center of the meadow as Edward followed. They reburied the cache in the same hole, leaving the same small stone to mark the spot.
Holding Bella's hand, Edward led her back through the woods to his SUV. Just as they settled into their seats, the downpour began.
"So, Bella," Edward said, turning toward her. "Where's your truck?"
"I left it at my dad's and had him drop me off here. I was kinda hoping I wouldn't leave alone." She winked at him and smiled.
"That's pretty brave." Taking a lock of her hair in his hand, he twirled it around his finger. "What if I'd been an axe murderer?"
"Well, my dad said he remembered your family...and he checked you out. Plus, he insists that I have a concealed carry permit," she said, patting her ankle.
Trying to push the thought of Bella dressed like Angelina Jolie as Laura Croft out of his mind, Edward wondered about the background check. "Your dad checked me out?"
Brushing her hand along his jaw, she blushed slightly. "Please don't be too mad at him. It's a cop thing. He worries about me. If we go to the diner, you might get to meet him. He likes to hang out there because the waitress always pays special attention to the Chief."
Edward's mind flew back to his friendly breakfast companion. Shaking his head and laughing, he started the SUV's engine and U-turned back toward town.
Bella was again flipping the token in her hand. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," he said, covering her knee with his splayed hand. "Do you want to go to the diner? Or maybe we should check on your truck."
"By 'check on your truck' do you mean make out like teenagers at my dad's house until he comes home?" she asked, smirking.
Squeezing her knee, he shyly peered at her. "Maybe."
Bella covered his hand with hers and smiled wickedly. "It's a good thing he's working a double shift then."
Cache name: celtic honeymoon
A cache by ikilledtux loves browneyedgirl
N 53° 22.198 W 006° 10.758
In Leinster, Ireland
A microcache in the gardens, the first of a dozen caches hidden on our honeymoon. Hidden among the roses because those are browneyedgirl's favorite.
Geocaching: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Geocaching
FTF = First to Find
TFTC = Thanks for the Cache
PM = Private message
Case modding: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Case_modding
Western hemlock tree: http://www. statesymbolsusa. org/Washington/treeWesternHemlock. html
Angelina Jolie as Laura Croft: http://www. moviesonline. ca/AdvHTML_Upload/tombraider-reboot. jpg