A/N: This was my one shot that I wrote for mskathy's Haiti project. I want to give a huge thanks to all who participated, whether you donated money or a story, or even if you retweeted the news. This fandom never ceases to amaze me. Special thanks to Bliltxgirl and phoenixhunter47 who beta'd this for me last minute, because I literally finished it at 2am the day it was due!

I had a lot of fun writing something completely different from NPLH and I hope that you all enjoy it because I loved writing it.


Boardwalk Nights

The sun beat down on my back as I stepped out onto the dock of the harbor. There was a slight breeze kicking off the ocean, causing my summer dress to flutter around my thighs. A flock of seagulls flew overhead and I stifled a laugh as my mother quickly ducked down, gripping the edges of her over-sized hat. I was pretty sure she would never forget what happened last time we were here. I smiled at the memory. It had been exactly a year to the day since I had first set foot in this place. Rose had come with us that year, not wanting to go to France again with her own parents. She said the fact that my parents were sailing our yacht up the coast seemed deliciously retro, and besides, she could work on her tan. I was about to turn seventeen then, and it was the summer before my senior year.

"Let's go find us some guys!" Rose exclaimed as she hopped onto the dock, adjusting her sunglasses.

I scurried after her, quickly throwing my hair up into a ponytail. I glanced back at the yacht that had brought us here. Here, being Santa Cruz, California, was where my family had decided to vacation this summer. I was quite surprised that my mother had agreed, normally we went somewhere more...exotic. Last summer was spent at our lake house in the Hamptons, last Christmas we were in St. Tropez...so to be here was, well, you could say a shock.

"Rose, we just got here," I laughed, skipping up next to her.

"Your point?" she asked, flipping her long blonde hair over her shoulders before linking her arm with mine.

We laughed as we made our way to the black town car that was waiting for us. Before I climbed in, I turned back to my parents and gave a little wave. I heard my father shout, "Be safe", as I shut the door. Excitement soared through my body as the car made it's way downtown, heading right to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Now here I was, climbing into yet another town car and heading back to that same Boardwalk. This time it was a different kind of excitement that ran through me. My eyes scanned the scenery and I was surprised that I remembered everything perfectly. We passed Betty's Burgers where Rose threw her strawberry milkshake on a group of kids who wouldn't stop staring at her breasts, nevermind that she was only wearing a bikini top. I laughed out loud and received an amused look from the driver. I sunk down in the seat, pulling my sunglasses over my eyes, and went back to staring outthe window, remembering what turned out to be the summer I would never forget.

"We're getting you laid."

"Rose!" I hissed, frantically glancing over the seat to the driver.

"What?" she asked nonchalantly. "You're going to be the only senior at the Academy who's still a virgin."

I smacked her arm as we both began giggling. In the distance I could see the colorful outlines of the attractions that lined the beach.

I gave a polite 'thank you' to the driver as I climbed out of the car. My parents stayed in the car, as they were going to head down to Monterey, and for that I was thankful. I didn't want to have to explain to them what I was doing here. I stood on the sidewalk, waving, as I watched the car disappear around the bend. I turned around then and found myself staring at the giant underwater mural that covered the facing of Neptune's Kingdom, the arcade. Images of mini-golf flashed before my eyes, but I pushed them aside. Those weren't the images I wanted to see right now.

Green eyes.

My heart began to beat faster as I turned to the left and walked down the sidewalk, until I came to a break in the buildings.

Messy bronze hair.

My feet quickened their pace as I walked through the archway and found myself on the promenade of the Boardwalk. Right in front of me was the giant Pirate Ship swing that signaled the start of the rides. My hand began to tingle as I remembered the feel of his hand holding onto mine. I turned to my left and began to walk down the aisle of rides and games. I passed the Big Shot, the Bumper cars, the Haunted Mansion...all of which held memories of their own. I finally came to a stop in front of the Giant Dipper, the rollercoaster that this place was known for. But it wasn't this old rollercoaster that I wanted to see, it was the ride next to it, the Fireball. It was where I saw him for the first time.

"Come on, Bella. Don't be such a sissy. It's just a ride."

I stood next to Rose staring up at the giant monstrosity before me. We had just finished our fifth run of the Giant Dipper and Rose wanted to move on...onto what looked like a giant swing of death. Rose grabbed my hand and pulled me into the line. I let out a sigh of relief as the iron gate shut in front of us, signaling that the ride was full for this turn. I needed a moment to prepare myself for this.

Rose sat up on the metal railing, stretching her legs across to the other divider. I tried to pay attention to her talking, but my eyes were set on the ride. Now that everybody was sitting down, the oversized circular ring had started to move. It began to rock back and forth, like a giant pendulum, slowly building height.That didn't seem too bad. I smiled at Rose and that was when the screaming started. My head whipped back to the ride and I felt my heart drop to my feet. The ring of seats was now swinging so high that it could almost be considered inverted. Not only that, but once the swing reached its peak, it paused and the entire seating area spun completely around. Oh hell no!

"There's nothing to be afraid of," a velvety voice chuckled next to me. "It's actually quite exhilarating."

I turned toward the voice and found myself staring into the most piercing green eyes I had ever seen. I blinked rapidly and his face came into focus. He was beautiful, there was no other way to describe it. He smiled then, a crooked smile, and I felt my knees growing weak under me.

"Would I lie to you?" he asked, with a twinkle in his eye.

Rose leaned over my shoulder, "Probably. You work here, you're paid to say shit like that."

He laughed and it was music to my ears. I watched as he lifted his arm and ran his fingers through his hair, causing it to stand up in all directions.

"That is true," he chuckled and then leaned forward. "But just between us, they don't pay me enough to lie." He winked at me and my heart fluttered. He pulled back and pushed some button on a scary looking contraptionand the ride began to slow. He turned back towards us. "I'm Edward," he said, looking directly at me.

I opened my mouth to respond but Rose beat me to it. "We can read." She gestured to his name tag on his blue polo shirt.

He grinned, sheepishly as I smacked her on the arm. "Rose!"

Her eyes bugged out of her head and she mouthed, "What?" as she rubbed her arm.

I felt more than saw Edward lean towards me, "Well now I know her name, but what about yours?"

"Bella," I answered in no more than a whisper.

He flashed me that crooked grin before turning back to the ride that had now come to a complete stop. He walked away, busying himself with making sure everyone got off safely, before coming back to us. He opened the gate and checked our wrist bands, winking at me as I passed. Rose pulled us to some empty seats and climbed on, our feet dangling below us. I reached above me and pulled down the restraint until I heard it click, and then I pulled it down a few more inches - just in case. I watched as other people situated themselves and I began to feel uneasy. Trying to calm myself, I closed my eyes and pictured myself on the yacht deck with a book.

"Open your eyes, Bella. Trust me."

My eyes slowly opened as the memory washed over me. The weird thing was, even though I had just met him, I did trust him. And I kept my eyes open the whole time, even though it scared me half to death. I stood before the Fireball, it was empty, no riders...and no employees. For the first time since I arrived I really looked around. Except for a few people, the place was deserted. I glanced down at my watch; 9:07am. I sighed. The Boardwalk didn't open until ten. I didn't want to stand in front of the ride like some impatient teenager, but I also didn't really know where to go. Reluctantly, I began walking back the way I came, my mind drifting to Edward as it so often did. After Rose and I left the ride that day, we didn't see Edward again until two days later when we all went back for the Friday night concert. Santana was playing that night, and all my father could talk about was how he saw them play when he was my age.

I stopped in front of the empty stage that stood alone in the sand. I could pinpoint exactly where I had been standing when I felt that soft touch on my arm.

I spun around, tangling my feet in the blanket that Rose and I were standing on. My arms flew out, looking for anything to steady me. I gasped when I looked up and realized it was Edward's shoulders that I had grasped onto. His face broke out into a grin.

"I was hoping I'd see you again," he said.

Edward stayed with us throughout the concert, chatting between songs, and I couldn't deny that my attention was more on him than on the stage. I brought my hand to my chest, closing it against my shirt. I could remember the current that ran through my body when his hand brushed up against mine and the stomach full of butterflies when he asked for my cell number at the end of the show. Grinning to myself, I continued down the Boardwalk, glancing into the shops as I passed. Before I knew it, I was leaving the Boardwalk and walking down Beach Street towards the Santa Cruz Wharf.

I remembered thinking that he wouldn't call and then my surprise when he actually did. I remembered how easy it was to talk to him, but then how nervous I was when he asked me to have dinner with him. My sandals echoed on the wooden planks of the Wharf as I walked, remembering Edward picking me up that night and realizing that I wasn't joking when I said I was staying on a yacht.

"But a yacht?" he asked for the sixth time that evening as we drove down Beach Street in his car. The windows were down, letting the nice ocean breeze filter in.

I giggled, "Yes, Edward, we're staying on a yacht. I don't get what you can't comprehend about that."

He looked over at me as he stopped the car, reaching out to retrieve a ticket from the machine, allowing us to continue onto the wharf. "It's not that, it's just...I don't know. Most people stay in hotels when they visit."

I laughed with him before explaining, "Oh believe me, my mother wanted to. But Charlie, my dad, went on about how much he spent on the yacht and how there was enough room for all of us and it was better than a five star hotel...yada, yada, yada."

"And is it?" Edward asked inquisitively as he maneuvered his car into an empty spot.

"I actually prefer it. It's more relaxing and familiar. With all the traveling we do, it's nice to stay somewhere where you feel like it's a part of you."

He reached over and squeezed my hand before getting out of the car. He moved so quickly that I had just removed my seat belt when the passenger door opened and Edward's hand came into view. I smiled up at him as he helped me out, shutting the door behind me. He didn't release my hand as we walked up to the restaurant. I was headed to the dorr when Edward pulled my arm slightly.

"This way."

Confused, I followed him around the back of the restaurant to the base of a staircase with a chain across and a sign that said, Employees Only. Paying no regard to the sign, Edward stepped over the chain.

"What are you doing?" I whispered, terrified at getting caught.

"Bella, come on. Trust me."

His eyes pleaded with me and I felt myself cave. Edward gently lifted me over the chain and we walked up the stairs, hand in hand. I gasped when we reached the top. I was guessing the upstairs part of the restaurant was some sort of bar area and we were on the balcony that wrapped around the outside. Set at the curve was a table for two. Edward smirked at me as he led me over.

"Edward, how -"

He held up a hand, "Now before you go complimenting me, I need to come clean." My heart froze, scared of what he was going to say. "During the summer, it's extremely difficult to get seating here, even with fair notice. This table up here is normally reserved for employees, as the sign said. But for tonight, I pulled a few strings. I hope that's okay."

I was a little confused. Employee table. How would we get served here? "What -"

"Edward, you're here," a male's voice sounded from behind me.

I turned in my seat to see a tall blond boy coming out a side door to the bar. He walked over to us, smiling.

"Jasper," Edward greeted happily as they exchanged some sort of handshake. He looked over at me then, "And this is Bella. Bella, my best friend, Jasper."

"Ahh, so you're the reason," Jasper said as he extended his hand to me.

"Reason?" I asked as I shook his hand.

"The reason for me laying my ass on the line and risking possible termination."

I gasped as Edward hissed, "Jasper!"

Jasper chuckled, "Let me grab you some menus. I'll be right back."

As soon as Jasper was gone, I rounded on Edward. He held his hands up in protest. "He's kidding, Bella. Well, kind of. I mean, we aren't supposed to be up here, but I know the owner and he won't fire Jazz over this."

"Edward," I sighed.

Edward reached across the table and slid his hand over mine. "Really, Bella. Everything's fine. And besides, the guy owes me a favor." He smirked, winking at me before leaning back in his chair.

This time I walked in the front of the restaurant. The lady at the hostess stand gave me a warm smile before leading me to a seat at a window over looking the ocean. When the waiter arrived I ordered coffee and a spinach omelette. As I gazed out over the water, I thought back to that night. We must have stayed at that table for three hours or so, just talking and getting to know each other. I told him about my parents and my school, about Rose and my dreams of studying journalism in college. Edward in turn told me about growing up in Santa Cruz, about how he was working full time at the Boardwalk during the summers trying to save for college, where he planned on studying politics and government, probably somewhere local due to costs. His eyes positively danced as he talked about college and I could tell how important it was to him. From there, our conversation easily flowed to likes and dislikes, friends and whatnot. I was still surprised at how easy it had been to talk to him, and how relaxed he had made me feel.

As I enjoyed my omelette, I couldn't help but look around in hopes of seeing Jasper. During that first date with Edward, Jasper had been nothing but sweet to me, making me feel even more comfortable in their company. He had even refused the tip Edward tried to leave for him, saying something about 'using it for gas money to cart his ass around.' I laughed to myself at that memory. But ultimately, it had to end.

"Did you have a nice time?" Edward asked as he walked me up the dock towards our yacht, our hands entwined between us.

"I did," I quickly responded. "The food was delicious."

He nodded. "They really are the best place to eat down there."

We both fell silent as we approached the slip. I bit my lip, not wanting to say good-night.

"Can I see you again tomorrow? I mean, I don't want to take you away from your family -"

"Yes!" I answered a little too eagerly. He chuckled lightly as he tucked a lock of hair behind my ear.

"Well, thank you, Bella." His voice lowered as he stared intently into my eyes. I could feel my heartbeat pick up, almost to a pounding rhythm. Was he going to kiss me? Please God, let him kiss me. But would I be bad at it? Would he laugh?

He took a small step towards me, closing the tiny gap that had been between us and I lost all thought. One arm slid around my waist while the other cupped my cheek. Very slowly, he lowered his head down to me. I closed my eyes in anticipation. But nothing could prepare me for the feel of Edward's lips on mine. I had been kissed before, but they were just pecks, nothing like what Edward was doing to me now. His lips felt like satin as they moved almost hesitantly with mine. My hand gripped the hair at his neck as his tongue gently slid past my parted lips. I sighed, reveling in his taste. I never wanted to let go. This was what first kisses should always be like. Perfect.

I did see Edward the next day, and the day after that and the day after that. Honestly, I think I saw him every day I was there that summer, except for that one day. The day after our first fight.

"They fucking hated me, Bella!" Edward shouted, pacing back and forth.

"No, Edward, they didn't. They just -"

"They what? What, Bella?" he turned to me, his eyes blazing.

I looked down, fiddling with the hem of my dress. "I don't know."

"I do," he said in a small voice. My head snapped up, not liking the flat tone of his voice. I could see his profile as he stared out into the ocean. The moonlight reflected off his skin, making him look harsh, like he was cut from metal.

"They want to see you with someone more...suited for you. Not someone who could be your pool boy."

"Edward!" I gasped. "My parents are NOT like that."

He turned towards me. "Bella, come on! What was all that talk about my future and where did I think I would be in five years? And what about your father and all that shit about loans and applications and how I'd better be prepared for rejection? And had I looked into community college?"

"He was just trying to help -"

"Help? Bella, he was pointing out my lack of financial status."

"He was not!" I exclaimed. This was not at all how I thought the evening would go when my parents suggested I invite Edward. They were curious about this person who was taking all my time.

Edward leaned on the wooden railing. He was back to staring at the ocean.

"Why are you with me?" he asked in a quiet voice.

"What? Edward, -"

He cut me off again, "I'm not like you or your family."

"I know -"

"I don't have money, I probably never will." He turned back towards me. "So why are you with me? Are you bored? Am I an experiment? Something you can look back on and laugh at?"

I could feel the tears prickling behind my eyes. How could he even ask me this? After all we had talked about, all we had shared.

"- bored little rich girl getting her kicks with the local -"

He didn't have time to finish as my palm connected with his cheek. His eyes were wide and full of surprise as he stared at me. I stepped back, shocked at what I'd done, tears streaming down my face. Without a word, I turned and walked back into the restaurant.

I paid for my breakfast and exited Stagnaro's. The wharf was beginning to fill with people as I walked past the open fish vendors. I came to a stop in front of Marini's, the candy shop where Rose and I would always go for something sweet. I pushed the door open and the smell of warm chocolate filled my nose. Sitting on a stool at the counter, I waited patiently for my turn to order. I looked at the stool to my right, and suddenly I was seeing another day, another time.

"Bella, can I talk to you?"

Rose and I had just ordered our apples when Edward burst in the front door, almost running over to me.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Rose snarled, spinning around on the stool and stepping between us.

"Bella, please?" he pleaded, trying to bypass Rose.

I placed a hand on her shoulder, moving her to the side so I could see him. My heart clenched at the sight of him. He looked miserable, not to mention there was a pinkish mark on his left cheek.

"What do you want, Edward?" I asked in a steady voice, surprising myself.

"Can I talk to you, please?" His eyes flashed from Rose back to me. "Alone?"

"Oh, I don't think so," Rose spat.

"Rose, it's fine." She looked at me. "Really." I slid off the stool and followed Edward out the back door. As soon as the door clicked shut, he began apologizing.

"Bella, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean any of what I said. Please, believe me."

"Then why did you say it?" I asked in a small voice. I wanted to believe him, I really did, but some part of me just couldn't.

He sighed, running his hand through his hair. "I - It- God!" He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Yesterday I found out my father had gotten laid off from his job last month. Things haven't been the greatest around the Masen household, but I never expected that. He sat me down and basically told me that with the economy and job market the way it is now, it didn't look hopeful for him getting a job anytime soon. They had to dip into their savings to help pay the bills. That savings account was going to be my college fund. It wasn't big, but it was something, and I knew it meant a lot for my parents to contribute. Now with that gone...I'm sorry, Bella. That's no excuse. I shouldn't have taken it out on you."

"Edward, I -"

He took a step towards me, gently cupping my cheek. "This summer has been...amazing, for lack of a better word. Meeting you, spending time with you...I don't want that to end." He tilted my head up until I was staring directly into his green eyes. The emotion that radiated back surprised me, but not as much as what he said next.

"I love you, Bella."

A woman's voice broke me out of my revere, asking me what I would like. I quickly told her and was soon handed a small white bag full of goodies. With one last glance towards that back door, I left Marini's. I had forgiven Edward, of course. Why? Because I knew he was sorry and also because I was in love with him, too. The smile on his face when I repeated his words back to him still warms my heart to this day. He had to get back to work then but we made plans to see each other later that night. We ended up going out with Jasper, his girlfriend, Alice, Rose and Garrett, one of Edward's co-workers. Afterward, Edward came back to the yacht with me while Rose went to a party with Garrett, Jasper and Alice. My parents were in Monterey for the night and I remembered being extremely nervous about being alone with him. Especially when I realized where the night was heading.

"We don't have to do this, Bella," Edward whispered against my lips. "I will wait for you, always."

We were laying on a blanket under the stars on the deck of the yacht. Somewhere in the middle of our conversation about my horrible bowling skills, Edward leaned over and kissed me, and we had yet to stop. I looked up at him propped above me, his body laying half on top of mine. His shirt was unbuttoned and I bit my lower lip as I trailed my fingertips down the smooth contours of his chest. He shivered, and the muscles in his stomach tightened under my touch as he gazed down at me. My hands came to a stop at the button of his jeans and his breathing hitched.

"I want to," I answered as I brought one hand around the back of his neck and pulled him back down to me.

"I love you," he breathed out right before his lips met mine.

When I was fully exposed before him I could feel my shyness beginning to overtake me. As Edward's eyes roamed up my naked body I saw the love there. It was the way he gently kissed every scar, caressed every curve, that let me know I had made the right choice. I gasped when he entered me, gripping his shoulders as I waited for the pain to subside. Edward was patient, stilling inside me as he placed gentle kisses over me, whispering his love in my ear.

"Are you okay?" he asked, concern laced over his features.

I nodded. "Yeah. Are you?"

He laughed softly. "I'm perfect."

He began moving then, slowly, cautiously, always gauging my reactions. We were both virgins before this, and both extremely nervous. But it was exactly how a first time should be: slightly awkward, slightly painful, but also sweet and full of love.

I could see the Boardwalk from my position on the wharf. It was open and the rides were in full swing. My little trip down memory lane must have taken longer than I'd thought, but there was one memory that I had yet to think about and I could feel it creeping up on me as I made my way back.

"Promise me you'll call," I begged, sobbing into his chest.

"Every single day," he whispered, running his hands up and down my back, trying to soothe my tears.

I pulled back so I could see his face. My heart broke even more at the sight of tear tracks staining his cheeks. He brought his thumb up to my face and wiped away a fresh tear.

"I love you, always."

"I love you, too."

We kissed then, a bittersweet kiss. I tasted the salt of my tears, or maybe they were Edward's, as we explored each other for the last time.

I heard my mother call me from the deck and I reluctantly pulled away.

"Goodbye, Edward."

"Not goodbye, see you later." I looked up at him, doubtful. He smiled, my crooked smile, and kissed my forehead. "Trust me."

Edward did call...for awhile. Then one day when I went to call him, I was met with "the number you are trying to reach is no longer in service". We still e-mailed, but eventually those became few and far between, but we were both to blame for that one. It was our senior year, I knew how busy I was and I could only imagine how it was for Edward, who last I heard was working another job besides the one at the Boardwalk. I thought about him often, he was my first in so many ways, and while I had hoped it would last, deep down I knew better. But when my parents announced they were returning to Santa Cruz for a weekend in the summer, I decided to join them, just to see...

I walked around the Boardwalk, randomly searching the places I knew he had worked. After awhile, I decided that it was time to go. He wasn't here, maybe it was his day off, and I was okay with that. It would have been nice to see him, but a part of me knew it was a long shot. As I made my way to the exit, I saw a familiar face. Eric was his name, and I remembered him working with Edward at one of the rides last year. Figuring it wouldn't hurt to ask, I walked up to him.

He didn't recognize me and I wasn't surprised. They probably saw thousands of people come through here each day. But when I asked him if Edward would be working today, I couldn't stop the smile on my face as he answered. Another wave of excitement ran through my body as I walked out of the Boardwalk and caught a cab back to the dock. I headed to my room on the yacht and plopped down on the bed, my mind reeling at the possibilities. Reaching over to my nightstand, I removed a letter from inside the top drawer. As I read over my acceptance letter to Yale University, Eric's voice echoed in my head.

"Edward Masen? He doesn't work here anymore. He's gone, off at some early admission college thing. He got accepted to Yale."


A/N: Thank you all for everything you've done. This fandom is incredible and I am proud to be a part of it!

I haven't decided if I'm going to add more to this or not yet, but it is something that I keep thinking about. Not sure about a chapter fic, but maybe a series of one shots? Let me know what you all think!