All things related to the Twilight Saga are the sole property of Stephanie Meyer &/or her publisher. Things I own...two dogs w/ beer names (Guiness and lie).

Alrighty, this is my first multi-chapter fic and I'm a total nervous Nelly. For all of you who have encouraged me, held my hand via Twitter, or just made me laugh when I needed it...THANK YOU & this is for you...I really hope you're not disappointed;)

To my first beta and kindred spirit L-BB, I so couldn't have done this without you. You have been supportive and amazing through both my o/s and this. Your friendship is a true blessing...I 3 U BB!

To my second beta and fellow Robnabler 2littleladies-Through Skype and Twitter your words have hit home. I really appreciate you stepping in to help me grow as a writer and person. Your new friendship is soooo important! Oh, and I could so take you;)

I suppose the three other outstanding people I want to thank would be elusivetwilight/elusivekoolaid, LambCullen/Lambiexx, and Roselover24...Ladies you are all an inspiration and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support.

Now, on to the story...think Indiana Jones w/ boobs...sort of!

Bella Swan & the Tablet of Truth

Chapter 1

The Cave

The cave was damp and cool, putting it at odds with the seasonal warmth just outside the mouth. Weighted down with gear, Bella pointed her flashlight in the direction of the south wall where the dig's mammoth scaffolding stood. Taking a moment to appreciate the paintings her team was preserving, she pondered how many generations of people had called this shelter home. Shaking her head, she continued to pan around the open space until the darkness of the cave swallowed the glow.

"Felix, where do you need me today?" she asked.

The hulking shape of the dig foreman lumbered behind her, narrowly missing the trench that contained several students digging contentedly through the sandy soil. He was a bit of a mystery to everyone on site. Hired by the benefactors of the project, he kept their identities a closely guarded secret. In addition to his enormous size and propensity for intrigue, his voice held the slightest hint of an accent and he wore oddly tinted glasses no matter where he was. They wrapped around his face, effectively hiding any real glimpse of his eyes. Combined with his voice and size, the effect just made him seem creepier. Something about him always made Bella uneasy.

"Your area is roped off about 50 meters back," he barked, giving his statement the feel of an order.

"Thanks. Can I get some floods back there? I'll never be able to find anything with this little lantern."

"Yes, fine," he responded, and then turned back to the cave opening to snap orders at one of the many students milling about.

After a short time, Bella finished setting her site up with the proper lighting and began roping and marking her grid. She was nothing if not meticulous in her duties and the OCD she was teased about mercilessly growing up was a true benefit now.

Archaeology was a practice in patience, solitude and perfection. Bella often lost herself in the soil, forgetting the world around her in order to delve deeper into the knowledge hidden beneath mountains of sand, clay, and rock. This was her meditation, her escape from the pressure of parents, colleagues, and superiors. This was home.

Headphones on, she hummed quietly to her favorite tunes while continuing her careful digging well into the evening. Taking time to record her data with painstaking detail, she checked her finds against both her sketch of the area, and her catalogue.

So far she had found nothing out of the ordinary: a few shards of chiseled flint, animal bone, and petrified dung. They were searching for pieces of a long-dead culture that scholars had precious little information on and it seemed she'd have to dig through more ancient crap, quite literally, to come up with anything of value.


From a few meters away Angela, Bella's friend and colleague called for her. Angela immediately recognized the specific hunch of Bella's shoulders and look of deep concentration etched on her dirt-smeared face. Her friend was so caught up in the thrill of the chase that she didn't even hear her name as Angela continued to raise her voice.

Angela was the opposite of Bella in almost every way possible. She was outgoing, outspoken, and tall, very tall. The only real similarity was the color of their hair and eyes. Angela had taken to calling Bella her "mini me" and Bella never tried to deny it. The five inch height difference was extremely pronounced when the two women stood beside one another. They were the closest of colleagues and friends, both of which they treasured and worked hard to maintain. Of course, when they were on the same dig it was quite easy. The strings of their friendship were strong enough to withstand long-term separation because once they were reunited it was as if no time had passed at all.

Angela shook her head, sighed, and laughed at her friend's lack of attention before walking close enough to touch her.

"SHIT, ANG! When the zebra's in the zone, leave her alone! Damn it, you could have said something." Bella panted and laughed.

Angela knew the shock of being snuck up on always left Bella temporarily without her verbal filter, which honestly only worked half the time anyway. She would concede that she was lucky Bella quoted Madagascar and not Boogie Nights this time.

"Bella, my dear deaf friend, did you really just quote an animated movie? You spend far too much time alone, woman. Back to the matter at hand, I did say something, a lot of somethings in fact, but as per the norm you were so wrapped up in what you were doing that you zoned the rest of us out. It's time to call it a night and come eat. I doubt you've eaten anything all day," Angela sighed.

She knew Bella well enough to know that once the dig latched hold of her she wouldn't stop for anything. It had fallen to her more times than she cared to count to make sure Bella ate, drank, or bathed for that matter. Bella was quite simply impossibly involved in her work. Good for the dig, bad for her friend's nonexistent personal life.

"We're in France for fuck's sake. Let's go enjoy the local cuisine and scope out the smarmy French bastards who are sure to come on to you in their native tongue." Angela wiggled her eyebrows suggestively but knew her friend's reaction to that statement would be total dismissal.

Right on cue, Bella let loose her signature eye roll, huff, and sigh. Angela had her friends number, knew when to use it, and Bella never disappointed.

"Angela, could you, just this once, not go there? It was once and he was NASTY!" she exclaimed.

"Fine, I won't go there. But get your dirty ass out of that hole so we can get back to the house and freshen up. I'm starving and there is a glass of wine in some quaint café with my name on it."

After scrubbing the grime of a cave floor off of her body, Bella dressed in a light summer dress and sandals, happy to be free of the practical clothes and gear of her day. Stepping out of her room in the cozy cottage she and Angela shared with two other women, she felt clean, light, and famished.

As they made their way to the center of the village Angela decided on Café Le Jardin, one of only three eating establishments in the town. They picked a table outside and ordered their dinners while discussing the site.

"So, did you find anything of interest today? We've uncovered more of the paintings but the new stuff is far more advanced in both complexity and technique. Without dating we don't know for sure but they can't possibly be from the same time," Angela mused.

"That's crazy. Can you point it out tomorrow? I don't have an artist's eye like you, but I might be able to approximate dates for you. I didn't really find anything out of the ordinary today. Some seriously petrified animal shit but seeing as how it's a cave I expected that. I do have a lot more digging to do and there's an area just a little further down that seems more promising." Bella sat back after taking a big bite of her food, feeling extremely relaxed. She was enjoying the company and the copious amounts of wine they were both inhaling.

"Oh, did you hear they hired another archaeologist?" Angela asked.

"What the hell do we need with another fucking newbie? I just know it's gonna fall to me to train their sorry ass too, just wait and see."

"My understanding is he is hardly a newbie, so I doubt training will be necessary. Aaaaaaand, he's supposed to be seriously HOT! Beth told me, and I quote, 'He is so beautiful it hurt to look at him'," Angela said with a giggle, wiggling her eyebrows for added effect.

"Whatever. Beth would think Eric Yorkie from back home was hot. She's a sheltered girl, it's sad really. Besides, beautiful or not, he will be here to work and I won't be taking the time to get to know him. He's welcome to all the Beths, Laurens, and Jessicas he can handle. I'll just stay in my little earthen holes and dig to my heart's content," Bella replied.

"Bells, do you ever plan on letting go and realizing that not all guys are like Paul? I mean it was, what, three years ago?" Angela moaned.

"What does this have to do with the new guy, Ang? Yes, it was three years ago, and all he did was solidify my already preformed notion of how crappy being in a relationship can be. In time I might like to have a dude to hang with again but right now it's just a distraction I don't need. END. OF. DISCUSSION!"

Paul had been Bella's last relationship and her most serious to date. He wasn't a particularly likeable guy but they had their passion for work in common and the sex wasn't half bad. Looking back, Bella realized there were a lot of signs of his infidelity but being so wrapped up in her studies made it easy to ignore.

She had never really given her heart to him, so when she walked in to find him screwing her step-sister Leah over her favorite leather reading chair, all she felt was anger. She was terrified that they might damage the chair and sorry that she was too late to warn her sister about his philandering ways. Kicking him out, she wished Leah luck, and cleaned her chair until it no longer smelled of fast food and sex. Each wipe of the chemical laden rag brought a sense of relief knowing she had one less annoying complication to deal with. Her heart and emotions were still firmly in place and in no danger of failing her any time soon. But the sting of rejection at the hands of such an asshole would haunt her for a very long time.

"Fine, so no action between you and Mr. Beautiful. I was hoping to live vicariously through you, seeing as how I have Ben, but I'll drop it. It's late and we should probably get back and get some sleep. Not only do we have the new guy starting tomorrow, but Felix is leaving and will be gone for two weeks. That means the thankless job of showing this "god among men" will fall on your capable shoulders," Angela laughed.

"Just fucking great! Didn't I tell you I'd have to baby-sit the newbie? SHIT!" Bella stood and stretched before setting off at hard pace for the house and her nice comfortable bed. Her day tomorrow would be filled with less of what she loved and more of what she loathed.

"Fuck my life, I'm sure the asshole won't even appreciate me wasting my time," she slurred into her pillow. Within seconds of that irritated curse, the wine took her under and only the soft sounds of her snores could be heard.

So there you have it, chapter 1! Chapter 2 will be up fairly soon and then my regular posting schedule will be every other week. I'm not sure what day specifically I will update yet, as I am so new to this, but when I get a good feel for it I will let you all know...that is if anyone decides to read. LOL!

NOW, show me you care and hit the little review button below *bats eyelashes and twirls hair*. THANKS FOR READING!