2nd Annual "For My Valentine" A Twilight Love Story Contest

Title: Chasing the Sunrise

Rating: M

Pairing: Canon

Summary: Bella, keeps a diary that she calls Marie. She is a preschool teacher in dire need of a break from some stressful issues she´s been facing at work. What she intended to be merely a vacation, turns out to be something more.

Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong to Stephanie Meyer.

For more information please see contest details at: http://www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/~formyvalentinetwilight



Chasing the Sunrise

January 15th

Dear Marie,

Today was one sad day. Little Jane and Alec didn´t come to school. Their father won custody of them and took them to New York. The last three months´ collecting hundreds of testimonies and researching all the laws and theories regarding every kind of domestic abuse, were for nothing. Maybe not for nothing, at least I was not intimidated at the trials.

It makes me want to scream that a fucking piece of shit like James Hunter eludes justice with such apparent ease. The fact that the man has money shouldn´t mean he can get away with all the disgusting, disturbing, horrible things he did. Poor Mrs. Hunter.

On a happier note, Mike, Jess and Emmett came tonight. Rosalie was at a gala that supports Alzheimer ´s research. That´s a disease that frightens me so much! I cannot imagine forgetting everything and everyone. I shiver at the thought.

We heard Mike and Jess rave about their trip to Nicaragua. I never considered going there. Honestly, I had never given much thought to Central America. Whenever I dream of traveling it is always something like Italy, Greece, Vietnam, Egypt or Marrakesh. Sigh... Oh how I love ancient cultures...

They told us about Corn Island, El Coco Beach, San Juan del Sur Bay, and the island of Ometepe. They made it only about water and sun and they are going back to visit the colonial cities like Granada and León.

Jess talked about the heat, the intensity of the sun, the brightness of the colors and the diversity of wild life. Mike talked about the warmth, openness and mischievousness of the people.

Envy isn´t my sin, but I found myself wishing I had the time to travel as much as they do.

I googled Nicaragua and it does sound beautiful. Maybe… just maybe, one day I´ll go.

January 18th

Dear Marie,

Mrs. Hunter is not giving up. Good for her.

It seems now I have to testify again. Jacob insists that it could be dangerous for me and that I shouldn´t, especially against someone as powerful as James Hunter, but I´ll do so happily. I would do anything to bring little Jane and Alec back home.

At first I was so pissed at Jacob, I could not believe his selfishness, but he has been a Social Worker for a long time and his experience in cases of abuse has not be pleasant. I understand he´s actually scared. To be fair, I am a bit scare, too. I have collected information on James and he is a monster. People tend to disappear at his convenience but I´m not going to just stand by and watch those beautiful children continue to be abused by their father. It´s a wonder he pulled off that "my wife is a crazy drug addict and I´m a saint" stunt.

Emmett called, apparently I´m not the only one who was intrigued by Mike and Jess´travel stories. The difference between my brother and me is that he´s not one to just dream, he acts. He already bought three tickets to Nicaragua. Yes, you understood correctly: three tickets. We are supposed to be leaving on February the 2nd.

Does he understand that I have a job I love and that I can´t just leave on a whim if I want to keep it? No. He claims that he knew I was gonna be difficult and he just bought the tickets so I could not decline.

So now I´m going to Nicaragua. Well, that is if I can get Angela to substitute for me at school. She is in high demand! But I know if she is available she´ll do this for me in the blink of an eye. She´s a great friend.

January 20th

Dear Marie,

Yep. Angela is the perfect name for this lovely friend of mine. She´s an angel for covering for me.

I called Mrs. Hunter and explained about my trip. She said it´s OK since the new hearings are not gonna be soon —or not as soon as she wishes.— They´ll be held in March.

So I´m free to go.

We heard of several amazing destination from Mike and Jess, but we settled for San Juan del Sur Bay and Ometepe, which is the biggest volcanic island in the middle of a lake. It houses sweet water sharks, is formed by two volcanoes and one of them has a little lagoon at the summit. It´s even in the running for a spot in the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

I didn´t know how much I needed a rest until the promise of it came upon my horizon. I have to say I´m so glad I let Emmett and Rosalie talk me into this insane, spur of the moment trip. I had my reservations because I´m not that good at anything outdoorsy or sporty. Plus, you know the money I have been saving was destined to buy the house.

Also, I don´t love the idea of being the third wheel. At least I arranged to travel home on Valentine´s Day; that way I won´t have time to feel pathetic about being alone and my brother and his wife won´t have to toe around my feelings on that day.

I really love my life. I have great friends, a loving family, a very fulfilling job and enough income to plan a future and yet still indulge in a few guilty pleasures. But the fact is, I desperately need to get out here. I have to admit, I do tend to move in an endless circuit that revolves around my job, my home and my chores. Also, it really sounds beautiful, and I kinda promised myself to maybe go one day, didn´t I? I don´t break promises, not even feeble ones made to myself. Shh! I don´t!

I was kind of hoping to go to Corn Island, because the Caribbean sounds like paradise to me, but since all of us want to go to Ometepe, and we don´t wanna waste too much of our time getting from one place to another, we settled for San Juan del Sur Bay since it is only a few miles from San Jorge (that´s where the lake port is).

January 21st

Dear Marie,

I summoned everyone for a meeting so that we could plan our trip further. We ended up calling Mike for advice. (Hey! It´s a last minute trip, don´t judge! He´s sort of an expert.)

I did my homework. You know me, I have to research everything. It turns out last year some tourists decided they could climb one of the volcanoes by themselves, got lost and didn´t make it. Horrible, but it´s like getting bitten by a bear at the zoo: It´ll only happen if you don´t follow the rules. If you get past the safety barrier, the bear will get you —it´s only their instinct.— If you try to go deep into unknown semi-wild lands by yourself, you´ll get lost.

Emmett wanted to look up hotels, rent a truck and explore the island on our own. "It´s a small island, right?" he asked.

Rosalie and I wanted to book a private tour, since it wasn´t that expensive and the risk of getting lost was big. Since none of us were likely to become Bear Grylls no matter how often we watch Man vs. Wild, Mike agreed with us.

January 22nd

Dear Marie,

Today started out as a very good day. Heidi, that´s Mrs. Hunter to you, brought the twins to school. It was only for a short visit, but it was wonderful to see them. I can´t believe it had only been a week since I last saw them. I missed them so very much.

It saddened me though, to see how much this fucked up situation has affected them. Jane seems a bit resentful —even bitter for such a small child (not that she has no reason, of course)— and Alec was kind of detached, as if he was willing himself not to feel or acknowledge the hurtful separation from their mother and what I´m sure is an unpleasant (understatement) stay with their father.

The afternoon was horrendous.

Jacob decided that he´s in love with me. It shook me to the core.

He wants us to try and he gathers it´ll work if I only give it a chance. He is, after all, the most beautiful person I know: caring, funny, smart, gorgeous, sweet and innocent, strong and very centered. He has no idea how tempting that is. I wish I was in love with him, really, I feel awful for not returning his affection but I love him only as a friend and respect him enough to not toy with his feelings.

Dammit, Marie! What am I looking for? Waiting for? What if I end up alone? Am I making a mistake by turning Jake down? What if I regret it later? What if he won´t be my friend anymore? God! I cannot consider that possibility.

But you know, Marie? I want to fall passionately in love; I want the fluff and the lust -the whole blinding, breathtaking, incapacitating thing I have read so much about. Yeah, yeah... that probably does not exist but while my biological clock allows it, I´ll settle for often-disastrous dates and the occasional physically satisfying yet always emotionally empty sex.

The cherry on the top? February the 14th is mocking me with the absurd amount of commercial displays everywhere my eyes turn.

God! I should just say yes to Jake and get over my ridiculous, childlike dreams. But what if it doesn´t work? His friendship means the world to me, even if right now things are awkward between us.

January 29th

Dear Marie,

I have been so busy. Work, work and the some more work. Last thing I wanted was to write. (!!!) Yeah, I know, that phrase almost seems incoherent.

Jake came to my house today. He has been avoiding my phone calls and it breaks my heart. I miss him. I don´t know what he came for, not that I´m complaining about seeing him, but he was cold and distant the short while he remained standing in my living room, very much at a loss for words.

Everything is ready for our vacation:

Packing? √

Someone to water my fern? √ (Angela is really the best!)

Documents? √

Money? √

Jacob?... sigh... I guess I´ll see when I come back.

February 2nd

Dear Marie,

First impression: Nicaragua is hot! And I don´t mean sexy, I mean dry hot.

As soon as we stepped out of the plane, I took off my scarf and tried to knot it to my purse while pulling my carry-on, a risky business considering my clumsy nature and predictably I bumped into somebody.

And... I stand corrected. Nicaragua is sexy hot.

Two unfathomable green eyes, toppled by a disarray of bronze hair were looking at me from about a foot over mine and a cold hand was clutching at my elbow, steadying me.

"Oh! Sor- ..." I said, as the most delicious crooked smile spread across his face.

My breath was caught in my throat, my heart was racing, my hands were cold, and because it wouldn´t be me if I didn´t, I blushed.

"It´s OK." A velvet husky voice came out of the most perfect lips.

"Yeah...um... sorry!" I found myself mumbling, casting my eyes down and hurrying to catch up with Emmett and Rosalie, who were already waiting for the luggage to slide by.

The guy, as I started to refer to him in my mind the second I scurried away, was waiting for his own bag at the opposite side from us, and as much as I wanted to look at him, I couldn´t have done so without being downright rude, or forward, depending on how you want to view it.

While Rose and I waited for Emmett to get the rental car, I spotted the guy again. I recognized him from his unique hair color. He was standing outside, reading a thin, red-covered book with a backpack propped against his legs.

I stared at him as inconspicuously as I could. I wished I could see his eyes because the color green was indescribable and I wanted to check if I had just imagined that. I could see his profile, though. His jaw was strong and it was very well shaved, his lips were pursed in concentration and even then you could see how full they were.

He was wearing very casual clothes: jeans, a black t-shirt and sneakers. A jacket was hanging from his arm. Rosalie startled me from my open stare moment, delicate as always.

"So... you like that very fuckable guy, huh?"

I tried to pretend I didn´t know what she meant, but my dear sister-in-law is not unobservant at all. She pestered me to go talk to him.

For a second, before I panicked, I was actually considering approaching him. But even if my hands had not been sweaty and cold just thinking about it, I wouldn´t have had time. I´m thankful, because had I had time I would have made a fool of myself. A black Mercedes-Benz parked in front of him and a beautiful, tiny waif of a girl jumped out. They hugged and rocked on the spot while she peppered his face with kisses. "Edward, oh sweetie, I missed you! It has been too long..."

"Yes it has, baby girl... it has..." he answered.

There you have it, my unlucky star shining on me, my ten minute long infatuation came crumbling around me.

I felt ridiculously disappointed. It´s not that I hoped to meet this Edward or anything; it was evident from my clammy hands that I have lost any capacity to talk to cute guys like a normal, self-respecting girl. Nevertheless, I deem it quite ominous that the first guy to fill my stomach with spontaneously generated butterflies in a gazillion years happens to have a girlfriend.

Not that it makes any sense, being filled with butterflies by random guys you bump in to.

Of course, on second thought, I should have known he had someone. He is spectacular. Granted, I used all of the ten minutes to eye-fuck him so my thinking process was 100% occupied in fantasy land, where guys like this came single and loving me.

Pedro, our tour guide, arrived a little late -something he says we have to get used to since everybody here has no concept whatsoever of punctuality- and we went to find some place to eat.

We ate at La Cocina de Doña Haydée, delicious but according to Rose, not good for the looks. I think I´m in love with "tostones con queso" and I´m definitely going to Latin-American restaurants when we return. Why didn´t I before? Oh yeah, I live on pasta, biscotti and coffee.

This has been my longest entry by far this year, hasn´t it? It´s just that the two and some hour drive to San Juan del Sur has been interesting in parts and boring in others (we´re still on the road). We´ve seen a lot of cows and horses. Also, rice, sorgo and sugarcane fields. The amount of mango trees are absurd as we approach Rivas, and Pedro explained that it is indeed called The City of Mangoes.

"City" is a relative term. Aside from Managua, no other department —as they call them— is really what we would call cities.

Managua is a highly disorganized place. The contrast between poverty and relative wealth is everywhere you look. You see a big office building and a dilapidated house side-by-side, or a fancy residential zone next to a very poor one.

The other cities we came across are charming colonial places that look almost exactly as they might have 500 years ago; this is especially true for Granada, and Pedro says León is another good example.

You can only tell you have not actually time traveled because of the cars, a few modern structures, electricity cables zigzagging through the perfectly blue sky, neon and other signs advertizing Coca Cola or Pepsi or something of the sort.

Ohhh we are here already!

***

It looks like my unlucky star deserted me!

We arrived in San Juan at three something in the afternoon.

We are staying at Pelican Eyes. It´s a beautiful hotel that reflects the local culture and art.

We decided to rest for an hour or so while we waited for the sun to drop to a more human-friendly temperature, and then headed out.

We had been sitting in a beachfront bar drinking coconut water and Toñas (that´s an excellent local beer) for a couple of hours when the guy, his baby girl and another cute guy came in and sat at table next to ours.

Contrary to my usual reactions, I blanched. Yep, all the blood deserted my hands and face, and despite the heat, I went cold. I seriously don´t remember ever feeling so nervous over anything.

An oral presentation? Taking a very important and very hard test? Needles near me? Maybe.

An unknown man – no matter how yummy the man in question might be - just sitting there talking to his friend and girlfriend? No fucking way!

So, there I was, a tight ball of nerves, when Emmett jumped.

"Alice Cullen?"

"Oh my Gosh! Emmett McCarty!"

Turns out the girl who picked Edward up at the airport was called Alice and that Emmett knew her because he had worked with her and her mother, Esme Cullen.

Esme, I learned, is a renowned architect and Alice is an interior designer.

Alice introduced us to her husband, Jasper, and her brother, Edward. I told you the unlucky star had left! I just hope it doesn´t return, at least not while I´m on vacation.

We introduced ourselves as well. Of course, they were curious as to why Emmett and I didn´t share last names and we explained, yet again: same mom, different dad.

The music was great, sometimes a little old fashioned but very lively. We spent the rest of the evening talking about everything and nothing.

It was so very pleasant and relaxing I could almost forget there´s a real world... yeah, yeah... it was the real world, shut up! You know what I mean.

Oh, Marie! The way Edward stared at me all the time, he didn´t even pretend he wasn´t when caught him. It was very intense and though I should have felt self-conscious or freaked out, all I felt was fascination. Emmett, on the other hand, was a tad uncomfortable with the staring marathon, but the rest of them were quite amused.

When I went to the bathroom, Alice came after me and hugged me. That freaked me a little, I must confess. She was hyper-excited and stated that her brother NEVER got like that over a girl and not because there was no one interested.

"He´s sooo cute, don´t you think?" She went on and on that she knew we´d be great friends and that Edward and I were meant to be.

The guys made plans for a fishing trip early in the morning and soon after that, we called it a night.

To say I was baffled is an understatement. I didn´t know what to think or feel or wish or hope... I think I like him, he seems to like me, but he hasn´t even tried to establish a conversation. Small talk would suffice. When I talked to him, he would answer in monosyllables. I´m... confused.

So here I am, rambling about my teen-like crush on a guy who mutely stares at me.

February 3rd

Dear Marie,

I don´t think I´ll ever understand men.

Today Edward was very different from last night.

We woke up at 5:30 am and headed to the Cullen´s yacht, listening as hundreds of birds serenaded us. The dawn was silver, windy and crisp. The moon and a few stubborn stars were still in the sky as we sailed out the sea. Very beautiful.

It was cold, nothing like Forks or Seattle, but cold nonetheless. I was standing at the railing, hugging myself and shivering slightly when I felt something warm being thrown over my shoulders and someone stand behind me. Thinking it was Emmett, I leaned back. I was about to thank him when a chuckle, that sounded nothing like my brother, alerted me it was somebody else.

I quickly turned to confirm who I thought it was. Edward. Of course it had to be him.

I stuttered an apology and an explanation, but he expressed he hadn´t minded at all. I thanked him for the pashmina and he began a string of questions that didn´t stop until an hour ago before I returned to my room.

It was an interesting day. We -ahem... they- fished all morning. Edward tried to teach me how and I explained to him that if my father hadn´t been successful so far, I pretty much doubted he could, no matter how much more interesting and enjoyable it would be with Edward as the instructor. I can kill fish, three dead goldfish are proof enough, but catch a fish I can´t.

Being near him was dazzling. I wanted to touch him and couldn´t because, even if he ignored everyone but me, other than the necessary contact for the aforementioned fishing lesson, he was yet to do so much as pat my arm in a casual way. My hands ached to smooth the hair from his forehead, to feel the texture of his jaw or the warmth of his fingers around them. I didn´t want to make him uncomfortable, so I keep my lonely hands to myself.

By noon we were starving, micheladas and fruit can only satisfy for a while —so we returned to the shore and ate at the hotel´s restaurant.— Early afternoon was spent relaxing by the pool. Well, I was as relaxed as I could get with Edward insisting on playing "20 million questions."

It´s totally beyond my comprehension what´s so interesting about my life that he kept wanting to know more. Oh and he threatened to continue! What´s left to know that does not include my sex life or personal routines? I do not know. God! Don´t let him ask me anything embarrassing.

Each time I tried to turn the tables and inquire about him, he insisted on it being his turn -though I don´t remember agreeing to that- and continued.

I asked Alice what was with the interrogation and she giggled, shrugged and stated that Edward had no clue what he was doing.

"I told you, he has never reacted like this to anyone!" She exclaimed, as if that cleared anything.

Rose thought he was weird and probably some psycho stalker, but that he was cute enough to temporarily overlook this, and that Emmett would certainly kill him if he tried anything funny. I know I should be annoyed but just like with his staring last night, I´m only reveling in his attention.

Later we went to the beach and swam for a while. One would think the water is warm in this tropical place but it has the hint of a chill. Pedro says that a little to the north there are other beaches with warmer waters.

The sunset was magnificent; first the sky was tinted gold from the sun out, an undefined and intense blur surrounded by orange clouds, with light strokes of pink. As the sun slowly descended it turned into an iridescent pink orb and the neighboring clouds became violet, purple and the same shell-pink of the sun outlined them.

Venus started shining before the light was completely gone and soon the stars followed.

After dinner, we made a small bonfire and Pedro told us some scary, Nicaraguan stories while we drank Gran Reserva.

As we said goodnight, Edward cupped my face and softly brushed my lips with his, stroking my cheek with his thumb. I gasped as the tender gesture unleashed the overwhelming need to touch him that I had been carrying the whole day. I pushed my body closer to his and slightly parted my lips to deepen the kiss. But as my body reacted, he retreated with a soft, "Sleep well, Bella."

February 4th

Dear Marie,

Today was a good day.

We went La Flor Beach, only a few miles from San Juan, to see the baby Paslama turtles hatch. It´s incredible, they are so tiny and awkward that one feels compelled to help them, but they explained to us that the struggle they go through is an important part of their survival because they need to burn the baby fat or otherwise they would float in the water and be exposed to predators. It´s heartbreaking that from the hundreds of tiny turtles that we watched go into the ocean, only a few precious ones will survive.

The Cullens didn´t come with us. I missed Edward. Is that normal? To miss someone you have only known for a couple of days?

Despite the enchanting little turtles and the beauty of the wild reservation, after no more than four hours I found myself wanting to go back to San Juan. I alternated from antsy to deflated, and this fact did not escape Rose´s notice. She kept eying me speculatively, but didn´t say anything. Her silence was alarming in itself.

When I returned to my room there was a note and a beautiful fruit basket from Edward.

Bella,

Would you like to have dinner with me?

Edward

I didn´t understand the formality, he could have called me on my cell phone and asked me, but I love it. How corny can a girl get?

I called him and we agreed to meet at the bar of the hotel for drinks. There he was, already waiting for me with a glass of white wine, looking more beautiful than should be allowed. I felt sort of relieved when I saw him.

Rosalie agrees that he is handsome and "definitely fuckable," but she doesn´t get my view of him.

"He´s not that gorgeous, Bella! That´s you infatuation talking." I disagree.

We went to a small beachfront restaurant and watched the sunset while we waited for our food. We ordered ceviche and a seafood soup that appeared to contain every life form under the ocean. It was opulent, exquisite and very satisfying.

After dinner, we walked hand in hand down the beach and just talked. Edward told me he was in Nicaragua checking on his various investments and looking for new ones. Alice and Jasper are his partners. He claims that Alice is the one with the instincts.

He told me about his father, Carlisle, being a doctor and how he admires that he works pro-bono most of the time and that he is his eternal role model. He told me that his mother is loving, pampering and yet fierce in regard to her children, and that she loves to make everything beautiful and everyone happy. Edward also said that he has a special relationship with Alice, that she´s the person who knows and understands him best and that he loves Jasper for his obvious devotion to her as much as for his stoic character, soothing personality and ruthless protectiveness of the family.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is not meant to last and that it would be unwise to get too involved. But Edward is kind, intelligent, witty, selfless, confident, full of values and a weird mix of humble and arrogant that renders him disarmingly charming... sigh... Obviously, I´m losing this battle to keep my distance from him, emotionally that is, physically I´m not even trying... Au contraire...

He kissed me, really kissed me —and it was so much better that most of the sex I´ve had.— The taste of his lips was delicious and his touch was soft and intense at the same time and I wanted him to ravage me, but every time I tried to move forward he slowed down. The brush of his fingertips across a nipple made me moan and even when he groaned and shivered with evident desire, he moved his hand to my waist.

I didn´t know what to make of it, so I declare myself exhausted and in need of sleep.

I cannot believe the intense need I have for Edward. It´s like I´ve been denied water for days and then only offered a drop at a time.

February 5th

Dear Marie,

Today is our last day in San Juan del Sur and I´m feeling kind of nostalgic. These have been great days, but tomorrow I´m gonna be going to Ometepe and Edward will stay here, working.

I have been chanting in my mind It´s only a summer fling, it´s OK that is over... It´s only a summer fling, it´s OK that is over...It´s only a summer fling, it´s OK that is over...It´s only a summer fling, it´s OK that is over... It doesn´t work!

We went horseback riding and canopying (Canopy is a demented extreme sport! You have to slide across the trees on a zip line) and since I had never done any of that, I was a little apprehensive. Edward offered to ride with me both times and I just couldn´t resist the chance to be close to him, no matter how terrifying the activity.

Riding a horse turned out not to be so scary at all; it´s actually a lot of fun even if it´s a bit exhausting. But being pressed to Edward´s back, taking the opportunity to feel his abs through his T-shirt and smell the intoxicating scent of the skin of his neck made any muscle cramps totally worth it.

Canopy on the other hand is, indeed, terrifying and yet still exhilarating even if, for safety measures, I was forced to ride alone. It was a four hours circuit and they were not about to leave me behind, so I just had to do it.

I´m glad I did it. You feel as if you´re flying and from each station you get amazing panoramic views of never ending expanses of vivid green woods and the ocean. As the route took us directly through the trees, we witnessed many wild animals within their environment. Monkeys, squirrels, parrots with amazing blue, red, yellow and green feathers, and many other birds that I don´t know the names of.

It was a treat to watch Edward so happy and excited. It was evident that he truly enjoys these kind of activities. I commented on this and he said it makes him feel free, like he can leave his worries behind him.

I think I´ll sleep now, that´s one of my ways to deal with frustration and I´m more than a little disappointed that our goodbye consisted of, "Please take good care of yourself in Ometepe, Bella. It would kill me if anything were to happen to you." As intense and sweet as that was, I was hoping for a very different kind of intensity.

Yeah, yeah, pervy me. I should be glad to have found a gentleman and I am. Shh... I am!

Perhaps it´s better this way. I like him too much as it is and since this is it...

February 6th

Dear Marie,

The view of Ometepe from San Jorge was awe inspiring. It feels as if you can touch the island by just reaching out your hand.

The hour long journey by ferry to Moyogalpa was a little turbulent. We climbed to the top deck and there were two children daring each other to remain standing through the bumpy ride. While the father encouraged them, the mother seemed ready to jump and catch them if they fell.

We are staying at Charco Verde. It is rustic in comparison to Pelican Eye, but it has a charming feeling about it that really appeals to me. Following Mike´s advice we brought a heavy supply of insecticides and bug repellent, so before unpacking I fumigated both of our rooms.

Rosalie and Emmett wanted to go kayaking and mercifully there were only two kayaks available. I just laid on the lake shore and attempted to read. After the sixth time of rereading the same paragraph, I gave it up as a lost cause. My disobedient mind refused to be logical and went relentlessly back to Edward.

It was almost noon but the profusion of trees provided a beautiful shelter from the sunlight and the heat, and since there was a group of people on the path, I decided to distract myself by making the whole tour around the small lagoon the place was named after.

I walked carefully because I didn´t want to invite my unlucky star back. Soon I was left behind by the other tourists. It was so pleasant and calm that I didn´t think anything of it. The birds sang, the water running produced a sweet lulling sound, tiny insects crawled about the ground, and lots of yellow butterflies fluttered around me, making me think of Mauricio Babilonia from "A Hundred Years of Solitude"

I was enjoying the route very much until I realized I was hungry and thirsty and hadn´t thought to bring a bottle of water. I searched my purse and found a pack of saltine crackers and nibbled on them for a while. That, of course, made my thirst problem a little more evident.

As I was chastising myself for my idiocy, the heat and humidity started to feel like a lead blanket on me. I decided I had to rest for a moment and sat by a tree to catch my breath.

I must have dozed off or fainted, because the next thing I remember is opening my eyes to a set of very green, very concerned ones.

He was very pissed off with Emmett for leaving me to wander alone —as if I´m a child— and with me for not taking care of myself as he asked.

Through a haze of confusion I inquired about his being here and he mumbled that he came to see me.

Shocked as I was, it still makes me very happy that he is here and that his grumpy disposition didn´t last that long.

After Edward made sure I ate -my love for tostones grew exponentially as I discovered that eating them with creamy jalapeno sauce is heaven- and drank orange juice -for potassium- more than was actually necessary, we headed to "Punta Jesús María." The place in itself was rather ordinary but the view is absolutely wonderful. This is a very narrow extension, some 800 feet, of the sandy land into the lake. You can observe from the very tip, three imposing volcanoes: Ometepe´s Maderas and Concepción, and the Mombacho all the way across the lake, in Granada. It´s something you have to see to understand.

Tomorrow we'll climb the Maderas, so I´d better go find something to eat and go to sleep if I want to wake up at five in the morning to make it on time.

February 8th

Dear Marie,

It was impossible to write yesterday. I was extremely exhausted. I´ll just try to summarize everything that happened since last I wrote.

The night of the 6th, Edward came to my room and brought me dinner, explaining that from six to eight in the evening, We had to remain inside or in total darkness because a million "zayules" (that´s a mosquito that does not sting but bugs. A lot!) were mysteriously attracted to any source of light and made things rather uncomfortable.

After we ate our dinner, Edward placed our dishes on a table and started kissing me immediately, this time he didn´t pull away and didn´t stop at that. I don´t know what made him change his mind but I´m glad for whatever it was, because —Oh God!—Edward is gifted.

The way he ghosted his hands and lips over my skin, then gave me a taste of what was to come by brushing my clit at the same time that he flicked my nipple with his tongue only to continue with his subtle caresses, drove me slowly insane with want. He took me to the point of almost begging before giving me a little more. Where he was thoughtful and almost torturous in his seduction, I was aggressive and impatient. I just needed him.

He kept telling me how much he wanted me, how out of control he felt around me, that he wanted to be near me all the time and had needed to touch me like this since we bumped into each other at the airport.

I´m sure I could climax from his husky, velvety voice alone. I´ll have to put that theory to the test.

When we finally came together, I had to stifle a scream. I felt so full, it felt so good and he had teased me for so long that I almost immediately felt my walls quivering. His low grunts, our desperate pleas for more... more... more... and again his voice, "Bella, Bella... you feel so good..." His breath fanning over my face as he thrust relentlessly into me, had me soon on edge.

Edward gasped and moaned as he felt me contract around him..."Yes... baby, yes..."

I get goosebumps at the memory...

I didn´t get a chance to recover because he was not done and the constant stimulus quickly started to built a new orgasm within me. It almost felt like too much. I couldn´t recognize the raw voice coming out of me and as it mixed with his own sounds of pleasure, I came again, harder and longer than ever before. The only coherent words that passed our lips were each others names.

As I said, he is gifted.

***

Getting up yesterday was a bit of a challenge.

We had planned on going to Altagracia at the other side of the island to see the sunrise. As it was, we barely made it on time to start the ascent of the volcano.

That was exhausting, hard and absolutely worth it. The way up the 4593 feet to the summit is fraught with slippery rocks and mud due to the almost constant fog and sometimes it´s so steep you are actually climbing, but the density of the trees is helpful. There are stretches of vertical rocks that had me convinced I could not continue, but Edward and Emmett encouraged and helped me. Alice and Rose were surprisingly agile. Rosalie only complained when she broke a nail. I´ll have to listen to her and join a gym.

We came across some beautiful petroglyphs but we couldn´t stay too long to admire them. We made two stops after that for rest, food, drinks and sightseeing. From these stops you can see the lake and the Concepción. It´s amazing.

Thanks to me, we reached the peak in four hours and then descended the crater to the lagoon. I´ll just stop trying to describe so much beauty. There are pictures for that!

Going down was almost harder than going up. I wondered if it wouldn´t be easier to just slide down, it was so slippery!

Back at the hotel, I barely had enough strength to wash off the mud suit the Maderas designed for us and find nourishment. We are supposed to climb half way up again to go to San Ramón Falls the day after tomorrow. I don´t see how I´m doing that again anytime soon.

***

Today was not as exhausting as yesterday. There are several water springs on the island so, we rode our horses —Jasper insisted on renting us horses for the entire stay— to visit one. It was nice and very therapeutic.

That´s all I´ll say for now, Edward is taking a bath and I think I´ll join him.

February 13th.

Dear Marie,

The last days have been filled by Edward. Sure, we´ve done other things besides each other, but the main theme was him. And not only because the sex is devastatingly divine; I have also found that with Edward everything looks, tastes and feels better.

I, Bella Swan, legendary for my capacity to trip over my own feet, have climbed two volcanoes (one of them 1.5 times) in five days and loved it, for crying out-loud!

Right now, I´m at a small hotel called "Finca San Juan" near Altagracia. Edward is considering investing in Ometepe and Alice says this is the option with the most potential. Where Edward finds the energy for work is beyond me.

Tonight we had a magnificent show of hundreds of fireflies twinkling and hovering just above the grass around our feet and an astounding star-studded sky over our heads. It was surreal.

Sex had a desperate edge to it today. It was not rushed or rough but it was certainly not slow and tender. He looked intently into my eyes the whole time... "Open your eyes, Bella... look at me baby... look at me," he whispered as the pleasure made me roll my eyes.

I had to struggle to keep them open, but I was rewarded with the sight of Edward´s bliss as he came a moment after me.

He´s asleep now.

I know I should sleep too, since tomorrow we´ll try to catch a sunrise before I have to leave. We have been trying and failing to see the sun rising for days, because it was either too late or the clouds didn´t allow us to see the sun.

I don´t want to leave. Especially not tomorrow, but I have to. I´m due for work on Monday. Besides, I knew this was not meant to last forever.

My mantra of It´s only a summer fling, it´s OK that is over is not working any better than it did in San Juan, but I persist. What choice do I have? I have winter waiting for me at home to remind me that this particular summer is over.

February 14th

Dear Marie,

We saw our sunrise. It was sublime, but it was tainted by sadness.

I can´t believe I´m on a plane going back home after he asked me to stay.

"Bella, I´m not ready to let you go. Not yet. Please, stay..."

It was physically painful to disentangle from his embrace. Stupid real life! Stupid job! Stupid responsibilities!

I´ll sleep now... It´s either sleeping or crying... I don´t want to be institutionalized or attract attention so, sleep it is...

My brilliant plan to feel less pathetic by traveling today totally backfired.

February 15th

Dear Marie,

I´m at work —I should be working so I´ll make this short— and all I want to do is go back to Edward, but here I am, being responsible.

Yesterday, I returned to my empty apartment, with nothing in my heart and head but all the reasons I had to stay in Nicaragua, at least for few more days.

There were messages waiting on the machine but they could wait a little longer.

I threw my bags on the floor, sat on my couch and cried. No, I can´t believe it either. To be crying over a guy I knew for less than two weeks is not like me, but Edward is not just any guy.

When I tired of my tears I realized I was hungry and I ordered Stuffed Portobellos, Greek Salad, Mushroom Ravioli, Tiramisu and Cheesecake from Alberona Pizza and Pasta. I know, I know... but it was fucking Valentine´s Day. I needed comfort food and didn´t feel like choosing.

I put my greca on the stove and decided to take a bath as I waited for the coffee.

Since I was feeling overindulgent with myself, I opened a bottle of white wine to accompany me while I bathed. It was a good decision, the familiar scents and ambiance of my bathroom gave me some comfort and the wine relaxed me.

I didn´t want to receive my food wrapped in a towel so I reluctantly emerged from my tub and finished putting on my PJ´s as the bell rang.

I took my food to the table and decided to listen to my messages. There were three from my Mom, one from Heidi, one from my Dad, two from Jake and one from Rosalie. This one nearly gave me a heart-attack.

Before I could process what had sounded like blah blah blah blablah, because it didn´t make sense in its impossibility, my bell rang for the second time since my arrival.

At the second ring, Rosalie´s message translated into English in my head.

Forgetting I was indeed wearing the ridiculous snoopy PJ´s Rosalie hadn´t wanted me to wear, I ran to the door and opened it to the crooked smile and green eyes that were ever present in my mind.


A/N:

Song for this story: Sand in my Shoes by Dido

All the places mentioned in this story exist. You´ll be able to see pictures in my blog when I´m allowed to reveal my identity. In the meantime I recommend you google San Juan and Ometepe because they are reaaaally breathtaking.

I want to thank Project Team Beta, particularly Jessica and Vicky, because they are great! Thank you!

Oh! Readers, please review! I need to hear from you!