In the matters of twilight, I own nothing. It all belongs to SM.
This is the first story I wrote. I finally decided I would publish it. I hope you enjoy the impossibly sweet Edward!
Paradise. Yeah, I am sure I am in paradise. No, I'm not talking about sandy beaches, palm trees, and blue water so clear you can see the bottom of the reef. I'm talking about the Western Washington sun peeking through the never ending tent of Evergreen trees, the ice cold water of the Hoh river, open blue skies, the fire licking up the blocks of fir lining the fire pit, junk food to last months, a huge 3 room 12 person North Face insulated tent, queen size air mattresses, a thick fleece sleeping bag, 6 Cabela's reclining camping chairs…albeit a little weird since there is only supposed to be three of us…Em packed so it's hard to tell…I digress. And the most important item, beer…lots and lots of alcohol. This is what 21-year old dreams are made of.
My brothers and I decided, before I enter graduate school, that we needed some much needed "man" time. So how do we do this? We go roughing it for a week. No phones, laptops, TVs, fast food. Just Em, Jazz, myself and the great outdoors. More importantly, no girlfriends. Now, I love Rose and Al like sisters, but I haven't had two days alone with my older brothers in the last four years, let alone a week. They are more than brothers to me; they are my best friends and roommates. And what better way to bond with my brothers? Outdoors, with beer.
I decide to make myself useful and unpack the back of my Edge. This trip would be the last time we will all be together for any extended period of time. It seems that my brothers finally decided to commit to their women. Em and Jazz will be residing with Rose and Al. The big move will be happening after our week of camping. One week for camping, one week to help move out my best friends, this vacation was sort of bittersweet.
Eight years ago, when Em graduated from high school and was off to UW, my parents decided to buy a house outside of Seattle. It was a huge thing. The house was three stories, stained cedar, with huge stainless steel beams. Two whole walls are made of glass. The front and westward walls are glass, overlooking a small river and beautiful mountain ranges. Trees for miles surround the home, with its own private drive. Three bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms on each floor, a great room, living room, dining room, basement (turned game room), four car garage, and kitchen.
Why such a big house? Well my parents felt it would be wise to be able to spread us out as far as humanly possible. It's been all of our dreams to attend UW for one reason or another, so my parents were confident we would all live together, in harmony, as we had for the last 13 years (well Em and Jazz for the last 17 years). What they didn't count on as having us three become inseparable. But the space is nice, now that for the last seven years Em has had Rose, and for the last 6 years Jazz has had Ali. Me, well I had Jessica, Lauren, Tanya, Kate, Leah, Jane, Bree, and Heidi…all no longer than a few weeks. Seems like my brothers can find good girls, and I find the money hungry ladies.
Women are all over the only single son of Esme Cullen, famous interior designer and architect, and Carlisle Cullen world renowned child oncologist. Some of the girls didn't even care which Cullen they bagged. As long as it was a Cullen they had clutched in there fake claws. Usually my brothers could sniff out a money hound as soon as they walked in. Bree and Jane were the two I thought I could actually date on a more permanent basis, until I walked in on Bree propositioning Emmett in the kitchen. That was the end of that.
Jane…well her story was a little different. I dated her for a while, and I really liked her. So I took her home to meet the family for Thanksgiving. We ate and broke up into our subsectors of my mom and dad's huge Victorian home. We boys, Rose and Al sat in the living room, scoping out the football games, dad was in his study, mom was dividing the leftover food into takeout containers, and Jane went to use the restroom. All innocent right? Well, we were well into the first quarter of the football game hooping and hollering along with the crowd. Jane had been gone a long time, so I decided I would go check in on her. I walked up to the second floor, and the bathrooms were all vacant. Odd… so I walked up to the third floor thinking maybe she was wandering around. I reach the third floor. No sight of Jane. I walk towards my dad's study. I paused outside and heard muffled voices. Now I knew my brothers were downstairs, and my mom was too. So that left Jane. I was wondering what she wanted with my dad, when the door flew open. My dad's face was bright red and Jane was standing behind him with the buttons of her shirt undone and her mouth dropped a shocked "o". Dad looked at me and pointed to a seat in his office. He looked at Jane with pure disgust and told her to go downstairs. I sat and he proceeded to tell me in great detail what happened with Jane. By the time he was through, I was sick to my stomach, with embarrassment. I quickly apologized and ran downstairs, where my soon to be ex was chatting up my mom like she was her best friend. I remember it like it was yesterday…
"Es, you have got to tell me your recipe for your mashed potatoes so I can make them for E!"
"Well, um, they are instant?" my mother replied.
I stepped into the kitchen where Jai and my mom were sitting on the barstool. I looked at Jai and she smiled.
"Jane, what did you talk to my dad about?" I fought to keep my face neutral. Inside, I was a tornado of emotions ranging from mortification to sadness.
"Well, I have a spot on my shoulder, and I wanted him to look at it!" her sugar-sweet voice chimed.
"Ah, why didn't you wait to make an appointment with Dr. Wilson?" I asked
"Cause silly! Your dad said he would be glad to help!"
"mmm, ok." Knowing full well my dad did no such thing.
"So you know he is an oncologist?"
"A pediatric oncologist?"
"And you are in his home, not at his office?
"Yes…" she drawled, getting suspicious of my tone. I took a deep breath.
"So after he told you he couldn't help you because he doesn't have the credentials because you are in fact not a child, you CONTINUED to take off your clothes and ASK him if he WANTED to see your "problem" up close?"
"Um…" Jane said, nervously looking from my mother to me.
"SHE WHAT?" screamed my mother.
Just then, Jazz and Em came rushing in with Rose and Al.
"What's going on?" Boomed Em
My mom recounted the story and by the time she has finished, Jane was backed against the refrigerator with Rose and Al shrieking in her face, Em and Jazz were looking on with fists clenched, my mom was amused, and I..I was still in shock.
"Help me honey!" screeched Jane
"How DARE you talk to him!" Shouted Rosalie
"You flashed your goods to his FATHER!" Squeaked Alice
"Here is what you are going to do; Al and I are going to drag your fake ass from this house. You will not look at Edward, Esme, Carlisle, Emmett, or Jasper. Keep your eyes on the floor. We will take you into town where you can get a cab back to Seattle. I suggest you call someone now! We will not wait for your ass, and downtown is not nice place for someone dressed like a cheap whore." Ro sneered nose to nose with Jane.
"Baby, please!" Jane cried
"What did Rosalie tell you?" screamed Al
"Jane, it's over."
The next thing I know, Rose and Al had her by her extensions, dragging her out the front door.
I haven't dated since Jane. I haven't wanted to. I can't bring myself to trust anyone else except my family. I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't hear my brothers pull up. I was sitting on the tailgate with the trunk of my SUV open when I felt a large hand on my left shoulder and a still large but slender hand on my right shoulder.
"Hey E, dude, are you okay?" asked Em.
"Oh yeah, uh, just thinking"
"Well, you don't look so good."
I heard scuffling in front of me. I looked up to see Rose and Al. Figures, my brothers couldn't keep them away. Then I heard footsteps on the side of my car. I looked around slightly confused. Em, Jazz, Rose, and Al were all in my line of sight. Who else would there be? Alice's head whipped to the left. Rose was now standing in front of Em having a hushed conversation a few feet away. Jazz was still looking at me, concern etching his features. I, well I was very confused.
Before I could as Al what was going on, I heard a voice.
"Hey! Al, Ro, Jazz, Em! Thanks for letting me tag along." Tinkled the voice
My head snapped to the body being partially concealed by Jazz's tall frame. As if she could read my mind, she stepped out of Jazz's shadow and into my line of vision. I internally groaned. A set up. Great. There goes my whole vacation. Wonders of who this girl would make a pass at flitted through my brain. I couldn't fight the scowl taking over my face.
"Well, let's get a move on if we want to set up camp before dark." I huffed.
"E, chill! We have over eight hours till nightfall! And we only have to set up one tent!" smirked Al
What? One tent!
"E, this is Bella. Bella this is Edward. Or as we all and he prefers, E." Jazz said, patting my shoulder.
"Hey" I said lamely.
Bella smiled a bit and waved. Finally Em finished his conversation with Rose and we could unload my car. This was going to be an interesting week, knowing Ro, Al, Em, and Jazz. I don't think Bella knew what she was in for.
It was around eight o'clock when we got everything all situated and the fire going. We were sitting in our camping chairs, Ro sitting by Em, Al sitting by Jazz, and I sat by Bella. I pulled by knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around my jean clad legs as I listened to stories of love, embarrassment, college classes, work, and just about everything under the sun. I didn't contribute much in way of the conversation. But good things never last and I was finally called to the conversation by none other than my favorite spiky haired girl Al.
"So E, tell us about college so far! I never get to see my brother from another mother anymore!" Trilled Al
I groaned. Really Al? Brother from another mother? What will this chick come up with next?
" Um okay…. Well I busted my ass to get my BS in Pre-Med in three years. I have to be ten times better than everyone because I'm so young. Then there is the fact that I am "Carlisle Cullen's son" so again… a lot of pressure. But I love the program."
"Wow…generic E. With the IQ of a genius, you sure aren't verbose!" Laughed Ro.
"Really? You are only what…21?" Questioned Bella
"Almost. I'll be 21…"
"TO-MOR-ROW!" Boomed Em.
Bella giggled. "Well then, I suppose we will have to plan something special! Right Al, Ro?"
"Oh yes, that's why we have all the beer!" squealed Al
I just flung my head back and closed my eyes. Wondering when I would catch a break and get to relax.
Em seemingly felt my pain and decided to end it all. "Well guys, I'm bushed. Ro, let's go to bed."
"Yeah, me too. Al?"
"I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go too." I yawned.
Bella nodded and stood up with the rest of us. As we trekked the ten feet to our tent, Al stopped, about-faced and looked directly into my eyes. I raised my eyebrows at her as she spoke.
" Um…Bella? I sort of forgot your airmattressandsleepingbag at home."
"Uh, you what?" questioned Bella
"So E, can you share? Cause I didn't bring my stuff knowing I would be sleeping with Jazz…same thing with Ro. I didn't think to pack Bella's…" Al trailed off.
I couldn't let her freeze. But part of me was very uncomfortable with this. Yes, to say she was beautiful was an understatement. But I didn't even know her. And now I had to share my air mattress and two which is really one and a half person sleeping bag with a stranger? Well I wasn't going to be responsible for her freezing. But Alice was going to pay.
"Uh, yeah. I can share. I have a two person sleeping bag and a queen air mattress"
"E, you don't…"
"Bella, you won't freeze. It's not your fault Al is an airhead!" I shot at Al.
Al glared at me and smirked. I was beginning to think the little Al didn't forget at all. That this was a set up. I looked to Ro, Jazz, and Em, who were all smirking with Al. Damnit! Finally I rested my eyes on Bella, who wore a pink blush on her cheeks. I motioned for the other couples to get in first, since their rooms were in the back and then I climbed in after Bella.
She kicked off her shoes and climbed in the unzipped bag.
"We can leave it unzipped if you want…" she looked down
"Uh, it won't be warm enough that way. I don't have another blanket"
"Oh ok..." she whispered.
I climbed in next to her and zipped the bag around us. Since the fit was so tight, we were forced to lie on our sides facing each other, practically nose to nose.
"Um, do you want me to roll over?" She asked.
"If you are comfortable this way you don't have to. It doesn't bother me. I always sleep on this side."
She shivered slightly looking up at me. She was cold. I slowly wrapped my arms around her, crushing her tiny body into my chest, forcing one leg between her legs and another under her leg, reveling in the fact that she fit into my body like a lost puzzle piece finally found.
"Is this ok? I don't want you to freeze." I whispered
She sighed and nodded her head, resting it on my chest. My heart was beating furiously, threatening to break out of its confines. Tingles shot up my arms warming my whole body. I looked down at her mocha colored hair pulling her closer to me. She looked up and into my eyes. Bella held tiny smile playing on her pink lips. I smiled back. She dropped her head back down and wrapped her arms around my waist pulling me even closer, nuzzling into my chest. I listened as her breathing became slow and even. I smiled to myself. Matching my breathing with hers, breathing in her soothing scent of campfire and coconuts. I allowed my feelings to swirl around, overwhelming my senses. I barely knew this angel snuggled into me, and I was already falling.
I awoke still tangled in Bella, to the sound of whispering. I kept my eyes closed and my breath even to keep the illusion of sleep, because I really wanted to hear what was being said.
"I told you Jazz!" Al peeped.
"I know you are never wrong Al, but he is my baby brother. I have to protect him. After what happened last year with Jane, he can't take another hit like that. He will swear off women all together. He already claims confirmed bachelor status for life. He is only 21!"
"Bella isn't like that! And I know he is sensitive…he is like my baby brother too, Jazz. I can't believe you would think that I would have anything but his best interest at heart!"
"Aw! They are so cute!" whisper yelled Em
Smack! Must be Ro hitting Em.
"Quiet you buffoon! You will wake them up!" whispered Ro
"Na, Bella is a heavy sleeper." Murmured Al
"E isn't" Jazz and Em butted in at the same time.
"I bet he is awake right now…" Jazz sighed.
Even though Em and Jazz were closer in age, I was closer to Jazz. He knew me better than I knew myself most of the time. But I continued with the sleeping façade, not wanting to relinquish my rights of the night to hold Bella close. I heard Jazz one last time.
"You better hope she is different Al, I can tell already he is enamored. E does not build walls when it comes to love. It's all or none. That's what makes him so successful in his field, with family, friends, and what will make his future family strong. He is the heart and soul of our family. Don't think for a second that Em and I don't know that its E who keeps it all together. Yeah, he is the last addition, the baby. But without him we are nothing. He gives and he gives. And gets nothing, he asks for nothing. Al, if this girl is just like the rest…! I love you, Alice, but my brother and best friend comes first. If he hurts, I hurt. So you better be sure of this before I let it go further, because you hurt him by way of Bella, you hurt me."
Then Em piped in
"Same goes for me Ro. You girls have a lot of stock in Bella, and she seems chill. And he seems content right now. More relaxed than I have seen him in a long time. I know we are putting a lot on her shoulders and she doesn't even have a clue. But I won't let him be pulverized by another woman. Most women are out for his looks and money. I know he is the "hottest" Cullen, I hear people talk. I also know he is the sweetest and most caring Cullen. Definitely the most trusting and naïve of us. But do they care? No. Cause they want to be his arm candy and want a crack at his bank account. I really honestly don't think she is like that. I can smell those money hungry chicks a mile away. But we all failed with Jane. Yeah it was only a few months, but he thought she was different. And she tried to get in dad's pants. She better know what Cullen she wants. And she better stick with him. Do you even know if she is interested? I swear Ro. If this blows up in his face…"
"Well, I haven't been able to talk to her about it yet, but I have told her a lot about E, and showed pictures. She definitely seemed interested. Bella has a good heart, and about as good of a track record as E. Guys want her body or her money, not her intellect or her heart. She is like a sister to me and Al. And I know she isn't all about the money. Maybe you didn't notice her tank roll up! It's a brand new Hummer! I know you aren't as fashion forward as Al and I so you may have never heard of Renee Swan of RenS Jeans. Her mom owns her own line of designer jeans. Her dad is a hot shot lawyer in Los Angeles, Charlie Swan. She is an author working on her first series. So the bank account isn't or would never be a concern of a Swan. You know Em, there are good girls out there. You and Jazz found two."
"Rosalie, I didn't mean to offend you, really. You and Al are amazing. You two are in a league all of your own. I hope Bella is in that league too. Jazz and I have to protect him, because he knows no bounds when it comes to love. He doesn't shelter off after bad relationships. But this time he quit looking. I hope that is the key to this is that he isn't looking. Love finds you when you least expect it. I know it did for me and Jazz. I love you Rose, I trust you. But like Jazz, my loyalty will be to E, I won't let him be hurt again."
"I know babe, just take it easy on her. She is just as fragile as Edward. She has a giving heart and an endless soul. They are two made of the same mold."
Finally they exited the tent. I sighed in relief as I looked down at my sleeping angel. Only to be surprised to find espresso eyes looking back at me. I wonder if she heard as much as I did. I didn't have to wait long to find my answer.
"Yeah?" my voice still hoarse with sleep
"I know how you feel. It sucks never knowing whether they like you for you or because you're a Swan or a Cullen. It sucks to find someone you care about and then find that they care about your family's value. Sometimes I wish my family name was unknown. That's why I left LA to come to Washington. I figured people wouldn't know me here. But it was wishful thinking. I'm lucky to have met Rose and Al. Now I have Em and Jazz too. I like my makeshift family. I don't put you in the class of Rose, Al, Em, and Jazz because I don't feel the same way about you. I want…no, need it to be more than a friendship. I haven't had feelings like this ever. No way should I have been that comfortable or that close to a stranger. But I feel like I have known you my whole life. I'm not one of those girls, E. So don't be one of those guys."
I was stunned to say the least. Finally someone who gets what I go through, who doesn't want my money, status, or anything else other than me. I have known this girl for less than twenty-four hours and I'm in over my head. It's ridiculous. It's crazy, insane even. It's dangerous. It's love.
I shook my head, my bronze locks flying every which way. Looking deep in her eyes, I tell her the most truthful thing I have ever said in my twenty-one years of life.
We decided to pop our bubble of bliss and join the rest of the crew for activities. As soon as I stepped foot out of the tent, I was scooped up and thrown over my older brother's shoulder as he attempted to give me 21 birthday spankings.
"Em, so help me, put me down right now!" I bellowed as I tried to gain leverage to right myself back on the ground. I heard laughter erupt from the campsite as Bella whipped out her cell phone to take a video of Em's shenanigans. I wiggled my way down his back and locked my calves around his neck as I twisted and threw my weight downwards, tucked my head and flipped Em. Em landing on his ass, I sprawled out on my stomach in front of him.
"What. The. E?" Em sputtered.
The look of pure shock on his face that he was taken down by his much skinnier baby brother resulted in more laughter erupting from the campsite. I stood up, dusting off my shorts and t-shirt.
"Didjya get that last part?"
Her face lit up with amusement, and nodded her head, convulsing with silent laughter. I sauntered towards the campfire smirking to myself and humming Happy Birthday to myself. Plopping down on one of the chairs I looked to Al and Jazz, who were still in stitches over Em's display and my victory over the huge giant. Ro looked highly amused still, gazing in the direction of Em, who was still dumbstruck and sitting on the ground, sputtering to himself.
"Hey, Jazz…what should we do today?"
"Well, it's your birthday, what do you want to do?"
I shrugged "don't care."
I should have known better than that. Seconds after I claimed I don't care, I heard a loud squeal coming from Al.
"Oooh! I know. I know!" I was instantly afraid. Mentally calculating the miles to the nearest mall, hoping it wouldn't be possible to go on an excursion. Jazz sensing my concern, or at the very least, protecting himself from an inevitably miserable shopping day, chimed in.
"Hey Al? We aren't leaving the campsite. We are camping to get away from the city, shopping, well shopping in a mall defeats that purpose."
"Jazz, babe, not shopping! I know we are roughin' it to get away from the city! Anyhoo…if you will let me explain now? 'Kay, great! So…I was thinking we can get the tubes and float the river! Then we can lie out on the rocks for the afternoon…ya know? Get a tan? Bella is looking kinda pale! Then, we can come back, roast hotdogs, eat junk, and drink beer. Celebrate 21 the real way! To top it off, cause today is supposed to be the hottest day of the week, let's sleep under the stars!"
"That sounds perfect actually" Jazz commented as I nodded my head with a smile. It sounded pretty perfect to me. Except for one thing…
"Hey, Al? Well, we only have three tubes. Did you bring yours?" I asked
"Uh no… but your tubes have a bottom on them don't they?"
"And they are oversized. Just perfect for me, Ro, and Bells to sit with you guys"
I nodded. "Well let's get a move on it, the sun is almost directly overhead, so if you want time to sun after floating the river, we have to get the tubes and go."
"Ok. Go get your trunks on and get the tubes. We will get our suits on."
Within a half hour we were trekking down the long trail to the river. Em, Jazz, and I were carrying the tubes and the girls were trotting alongside us. Al and Ro complained the whole way about the dirt and their flip flops getting dirty. Bella giggled at them, stumbling here or there but managing to stay upright. Finally we reached the gravel bar. Em, Jazz, and I continued on to the water's edge assuming the girls were following.
"Jazzy! I need you to put sunscreen on my back and shoulders! I can't reach!"
"Me too, Em, I want to tan…not burn!"
I turned around with my brothers and the sight stopped me dead in my tracks as my jaw hit the stones below me. I'd seen Al and Ro in bathing suits and tiny clothes before. No big deal. It isn't like that for me. Yeah they are beautiful, but for all intents and purposes they are my older sisters. It was Bella. She stood with her shorts and tank shed in a white bikini with rainbow colored polka dots. He mocha brown hair pulled off her shoulders, large aviator shades covered her eyes. I had to ride down a rough river, in a tube, with her sitting between my legs? The universe was out to get me, or was giving me a really great birthday present. I wasn't quite sure yet. My idea was solidified when she looked, well I think she was looking anyway, hard to tell with her sunglasses shielding her eyes, at me.
Grinning and tilting her head to the side " Hey E? Help a girl out will ya? "
I rushed over her to help her with a big grin on my face. I don't know what it was about that girl, but she elicited feelings I hadn't experienced since I was seventeen. And I'm pretty sure I liked it.
I was in a trance, taking extra care to warm the cool lotion in my hands before I spread it over her delicate shoulders. I could kid myself and say the act of rubbing suntan lotion on her back was completely innocent, but I am not one to lie. What started out as a quick innocent job turned into a heated massage with light moaning, heavy breathing, and my shorts tightening.
"Hoo! E, that's hot! Who knew baby bro E had game?" boomed Em
My reality snapped back and I realized my brothers and their significant others were staring unabashedly at the display between me and Bella. I looked to see her rose colored blush take over her face and trickle down her neck. I'm sure my face mirrored hers as I felt the embarrassment take residence in the pit of my stomach.
Bella smirked up at me whispering "I can return the favor later" and strolled away leaving my jaw amongst the pebbles and my eyes popped wide open.
The icy water of the Hoh river ran over my toes as I traipsed out the middle of the river with my tube, Jazz and Em flanking my sides.
"So! Listen up girlies!" shouted Em, myself and Jazz shaking our heads at this choice of words, waiting for Ro to coming running through the water just to smack him.
"'Scuse you? Em, don't make me run in these flip flops! I will hurt you!" threatened Ro as Jazz and I laughed.
"Sorry, Rose..." Em muttered "Anyway, as I was saying…." Em pointedly looking and Ro
"Come out and join us! Water feels great!" Em chattered
As soon as Ro and Al stepped in to the ice water of the river loud squeals and curse words erupted. Jazz and I had to hang on to each other as not to fall in the rapid of the river as we broke into hysterics. We knew Em was in for it later. But I had a feeling Jazz was too, since he didn't warn Al. Bella marched over to me, looking back at the girls and drawled
"Come on! It won't get any warmer in that spot…unless you pee!" I laughed harder at Bella's musings as Ro and Ali shot her a look of disgust.
"Pee on my bathing suit? Come on Bella! This isn't a sale item from Old Navy!" Al scoffed
Bella shrugged "Take it away Captain Em, I'm ready for the rapids!"
"Alright, well then. We will help you girls in the front of the tubes. Hang on to the handles please! I don't want to chase a runaway tube…Al!" Em shot Al a look and was returned a nasty glare. "So, hang on and then we will jump in. Sorry in advance for kicking, shoving, or inadvertent capsizing of the tube."
"Em I swear, if you get my hair wet or kick me…!" growled Ro.
Em ignoring Ro, gave us the go ahead to help the girls up. I picked up Bella swiftly and placed her on the tube, feet dangling in the water. Then I jumped in placed a leg on each side of her, leaned forward, grabbed her waist, pulling her tightly to my chest. I leaned back wiggling around to find comfort in the process grinding up against her backside, groaning softly at the sensation… this was going to be a long ride.
"Comfy?" I asked
She nodded her head as I pushed off the gravel bar and into the current. And I was right about it being a long ride. The current was so swift it was like driving a low riding car over too high speed bumps at 30 miles per hour. She bounced around the tube as she held onto the safety bars with me. I would have gladly taken her in my arms, but ride was so rough I had to hold on to the bars in order to stay in the tube. As the water began to calm, we floated to the nearest gravel bar to hike back up to our clothes. We waited as the others floated down moments later. Em and Ro holding up the back. One look at Ro and I howled. There she was, arms crossed, and a deadly scowl placed upon her face, hair and suit soak and wet. She had sunglasses placed over her eyes, but the firm scowl on her face promised the fire of anger in her eyes.
"Uh-oh, Ro? What happened?" I chortled
"Your dumbass brother thought it would be cute to capsize our tube as soon as we hit the current! I had to ride the whole way soak and wet, looking like a drowned rat! Oooh Em, just wait!" as she stomped off in the direction of our abandoned clothing up stream.
Jazz and I looked over at Em and shook our heads. He may be the oldest but he sure doesn't act it. Al and Bella had hands covering their mouths to keep the snickers at bay. Em looked as though he has seen a ghost. He knew the force that was Rosalie Hale. He snapped out of it and took off running. As he was jogging, he was shouting out words of apology, we could hear muffled curse words in the distance.
"Ro! I feel like a lobster!" whined Em when we arrived back at the campsite after hours of splashing around and sunbathing.
"Karma, bitch! You shouldn't have capsized the damn tube!" Sniggered Ro
"E has a nice tan and I'm crispy!"
"E always tans, you always burn. Really Em? You know this. It's your dumb ass's fault you didn't put on sunscreen!" chided Jazz.
Em plopped on his camp chair wincing in pain from the contact of the chair to his burn, pouting.
"Well, it's almost dark, so if we want to drag everything out to sleep under the stars, we should get on that." Jazz yelled as he strode away to the tent grabbing his air mattress and sleeping bag. I went over to grab mine as Em made yet another cardinal rule mistake.
"Hey Ro! Go get our stuff will ya! I am comfortable!"
I was in the tent with Jazz at the time, and our heads shot straight up, and my gaze met his horrified gaze.
"Oh, shit!" we muttered at the same time as the yelling commenced
"Who the hell do you think you are Emmett Alexander Cullen? You tell me to go get our stuff? You don't TELL me to do shit, Em! You ASK. And after you almost drowned my ass earlier, you have the balls to order me around? Your ass will sleep on the ground tonight! I will go get my stuff! Have fun kissing dirt!" screeched Rose as she stomped towards the tent. Jazz and I looked at each other in a panic, scooped the mattresses up and tried to get the hell out of dodge. We stumbled over each other rolling out of the tent, sprawled out on our stomachs in front of Ro. She squatted down so she was hovering over us.
"Jasper Ryan Cullen, Edward Anthony Cullen?"
"Yes, Rosalie?" We gulped.
"Did you hear what just happened?" her voice low and deadly.
"Yes" We whispered.
She grabbed the collar of our shirts and pulled us a little closer "Good. Let it be a lesson to you. DON'T FUCK WITH YOUR GIRLS!" as she dropped us stood up and waltzed into the tent.
"Woah, shit" I gasped.
"I know" agreed Jazz.
We stood up, brushed the dirt off, untangled our mess of mattress and sleeping bags and darted back towards the camp fire, learning a valuable lesson, never tell…always ask.
We spread the mattresses out for privacy, well privacy for the two couples anyway. Hearing them would not make for a fun evening. We joined a very pouty Em, an amused Al, a furious Ro, and Bella absorbed in a book.
"Okay, in honor of E's birthday…the big 2-1! We are going to play a drinking game" as Al pulled three fifths of Stoli out of the cooler.
"This is no ordinary drinking game though. This is Alice Style Truth or Dare!" She bounced up and down smiling.
"So the rules are as follows. It's normal truth or dare for the most part. If you have a truth you do not want to indulge you take a one shot. If you have a dare you don't want to do, its two shots. If the person accepts the truth, the asking person takes a drink of beer. If the person does the dare, the asking person takes two drinks of beer. Easy rules, so it's easier when you're blitzed!"
I had to admit I was a little excited about this. Truth or Dare Al style is always amusing in the least.
"Okay, birthday boy, you are up first!"
"Hm. Okay. Em truth or dare?"
"E, really? Dare! Do your worst baby brother!"
"I dare you to sing Hit Me Baby One More Time, wearing Ro's shorts and t-shirt, with her heels, while giving her a lap dance"
"Got it!" Em yelled as he ran back to the tent to riffle through Ro's clothes. Al ran back to the tent for her iPod and dock returning with Hit Me Baby One More Time blasting through the speakers. Em emerged from the tent in a pair of daisy dukes that he couldn't button and a little tank top that barely covered his chest. His feet were hanging off the back of Ro's strappy heels as he sashayed over to Ro, who had tears streaming down her face, clutching her sides, gasping for air as she laughed. Em's voice started singing loud above the music, as he grinded on Ro, popping to the beat every so often. Then he turned around and shook his ass in her face, arms up in the air as he belted out the chorus. Al had to turn the music off and get him to stop because we were all in hysterics from the sight.
"All right E, drink up!"
After what seemed like hours of playing, two naked runs around the campground by Jazz and Ro, Truths of favoritisms, most public sexual escapades, and general embarrassing moments, Em passed out on the ground, Jazz and Al drunkenly giggling and attempting to roast marshmallows, we decided to call it a night. I surprisingly was not as drunk as Jazz and Al, nowhere near as smashed as Em. Bella, Ro, and I were fairly sober, due to the fact of we figured there needed to be some responsible people at the campsite, in case of an emergency. Ro and I have always been the tame ones, and apparently Bella fits in that group as well. Ro retreated to her mattress and sleeping bag, stepping on a passed out Emmett, and climbed in. Apparently he was still paying for his sins against relationship laws. I walked side by side with Bella, wondering what to do now. I let her climb in first and get comfy before I climbed in. We were both lying on our sides, facing each other, faces turned to the sky.
"It's so beautiful out here E; you hardly see the stars in Seattle, with all the lights and buildings."
"I know, it reminds me that in this hectic world, there is peace somewhere. I always have an escape if it gets to rough, somewhere to think, to appreciate the world without all its complications. To reinforce the belief that somewhere there is purity. With all the crap that comes with the "real world", it's refreshing to have a place to go."
Bella nodded her head in agreement and turned her gaze from the stars to my face as I turned to look at her.
"Although, now I don't think I have to escape so far. I found something just as pure right in the city."
Bella smiled and let out a tiny yawn.
"Let's get to sleep, we have a hike tomorrow." I yawned
Smiling, I wrapped my arms around her crushing her tiny frame to my chest, positioned much like last time, matching my breathing to her slow and even breaths, letting sleep take over.
We woke up fairly early the next morning, wanting to get our sleeping gear set up again and get on the trail to the cliff before the sun was overhead and scorching. Half way up the trail, Al began to whine about her new hiking boots cutting into her legs, so Jazz carried her on his back the rest of the way. About 20 minutes from the top of the trail Ro tripped over a stray tree root and fell smack dab into Em, almost knocking him over. It would have been amusing, if she hadn't slightly hurt herself in the process. I took the first aid kit out of my pack and wrapped her ankle. Em finished the hike with her on his back too. Bella and I lagged behind the other couples; Jazz and Em were athletic, as was I, so we moved quicker than the girls. They were at the top of the trail, Bella and I a good 50 yards behind them. She had been keeping a good pace the whole time, but I could tell she was getting a little fatigued. Not wanting to push her too hard, I squatted in front of her and told her to get on. She giggled and hopped on my back. To catch up to the others, I took off running. She was giggling in my ear the whole way, breathing on my neck. I felt my heart grow and my pants tighten simultaneously. I was relieved when we hit the end of the trail and stepped onto the cliff. Em and Ro were sitting on the edge of the cliff facing East, Jazz and Al were facing west, so I let Bella down and walked to the tip of the cliff overlooking the river.
We spent the afternoon getting to know each other, lying out in the sun. I was waiting for this perfect girl to have a fault but as far as I could tell she was just as amazing on the inside as she was on the outside. She was beautiful in an understated way. We shared stories about our childhood, high school, college, interests, anything and everything we could think to talk about. The sun was setting over the trees, the sky lit up with reds, oranges, vivid pinks, and purples. It was time.
"Okay guys, you ready?" I asked
"Oh yeah!" Em cheered.
"Okay on the count of three, jump!"
Every year, we hike to this cliff, with the calm of the river down below. At sunset, we jump off the cliff into the water and walk back to camp.
I took Bella's hand as I whispered "Hold on tight"
"One" Jazz shouted taking Al's hand
"Two" Em Boomed taking Ro's hand
"Three!" I yelled as Bella and I jumped off the tip of the cliff, plunging into the cold water below.
As we emerged I heard laughing and cheering all around. It was easily our favorite camping tradition. I let myself bob up and down in the water as Bella did the same right in front of me, looking into my eyes, with a radiant smile lighting up her face. My breath caught in my chest as I looked at her, her pale skin glowing in the muted sunset light. Her gaze shifted from my eyes to my lips as mine did the same. I wrapped my arms around her waist as I leaned down, her eyes fluttering closed; she leaned into my embrace, running her fingers up to my chest, as my lips met her lips. I sat frozen for a moment enjoying the tingling sensation of having her lips on mine. I slowly started to move my lips with hers in a sweet kiss. With that kiss, I could feel all my doubts fade to nothing; I knew she was the one I could trust my heart with. She wasn't there to get what she could and then move along. This girl quickly captured my heart, and if it felt this good, I didn't want it back. I finished the kiss with a quick peck to her lips as I grinned against her lips. I finally looked up to see Al and Ro with smug smirks and Em and Jazz with shocked faces. I raised an eyebrow at them and turned my attention back to where it belonged, on Bella.
"That was such a rush!" Bella giggled
"What part, the jump or the amazing kiss?" I questioned with a smirk.
Bella blushed bright pink and smiled "both, we should do it again!"
"Nothing would make me happier." I laughed as I released her to make the swim to shore.
The rest of the week flew by. We spent most of the days off in pairs, swimming, hiking, sunbathing, anything and everything that was offered in the great outdoors. At nights, we would stick together to play games, drink, have cookouts, and enjoy bonding time. The last night of camping was particularly sad, for me anyway. The girls were itching to get back to take a proper shower, us guys? We could care less. When we returned to Seattle, it was time for Em and Jazz to go out on their own with Ro and Al. Granted, Ro and Al practically lived with us anyway, but at least I saw my brothers and "sisters" everyday. Now, who knows when I will see them? Starting medical school was exciting and frightening at the same time. The work load would be intense; my dual area of interest, Pediatric ER and Pediatric Surgery.
"So E, what are you going to do with that 6 bedroom all on your own?" Chuckled Jazz
"Oh, ha. I was just thinking about that. I don't know. I'm not going to rent any of the rooms out. So I guess it will be just me." I mumbled; saddened by the fact that my best friends were moving on.
"6 bedrooms! Oh my word!" Exclaimed Bella
" And a game room, pool, hot tub, study, library, music room, family room, den, dining room, chef's kitchen and 6 bathrooms. All overlooking a river and the mountains. It's a beautiful house, and if my office and Em's building weren't on the other side of town, we would be living there." Rose interjected.
Bella's mouth opened in amazement.
"Same goes for us, but our offices are in Down Town and the Cullen house is on the outskirts of Seattle." Al commented
"We should have one last hoorah at the Cullen house! Tomorrow, 'cause we need to start moving Monday. The movers are scheduled to move us both, since our new places aren't that far apart."
"Sounds good to me, Jazz can you schedule the cleaning crew for Tuesday then?" I asked
Conversation lulled for a bit as we all thought about the impending move. I felt a tiny hand rest on mine rubbing soothing circles on my palm. Then a giant hand resting on my shoulder.
"Hey, E? Dude, are you alright?" murmured Em
"Oh, yeah, I'm good. Just thinking." I mumbled
"I'm going to miss you E, it's been good having you around the last four years. Before you know it you will be moving on and have what Jazz and I have with Al and Ro. You're my best friend, that won't change, whether we live across town or across country."
"Yeah E. You were the mediator between Em and I countless times. I think we would have killed each other long ago if it hadn't been for you. You are so important to us, and a few miles won't change that. Remember back when you were a freshman in high school? That was the first year without the both of us. We were both at the U. You were just fine, kickin' ass and taking names. I think we missed you more than you missed us. You have this uncanny ability to read people, and you always knew what to do. We came to you for everything even though it was Em and I that lived together. That won't change. I know we are all best friends, but my very best friend is you."
I was shocked to say the least. I felt a strong stinging sensation and swallowed the lump in my throat. "You guys are my best friends too. I will miss the hell out of you. The house won't be the same." I choked out.
"As you can see, Bella, you date one brother, you date them all. They have an extremely close bond. I have never seen anything like it." Rose smiled.
"It's so cute!" squealed Al.
That effectively broke the intense moment as we all roared with laughter. You can always count on Al for accidental entertainment. I knew that my brothers and I would still be close, even not living in close proximity, but that didn't make me any more thrilled about being on my own in the quasi-mansion.
"Well, I hate to break up this love-fest but it is late and we need to pack everything up tomorrow, so I'm turning in. Night Al, Ro, Em, Jazz, and Bella"
"Yeah, I'm going to turn in to. G'night guys!" Bella shouted over her shoulder as she jumped up to follow me into the tent.
I slid in the sleeping bag, facing the tent wall as Bella climbed in behind me. I felt tiny arms wrap around my waist and lips resting on between my shoulder blades. Bella's legs resting next to my legs as she held on to the middle of my body tightly, stroking my stomach lightly. She stretched up as far as she could and began whispering into my neck, since she couldn't reach my ear.
"E, you are without a doubt the most amazing man I have ever met in my life. The simple fact your family adores you so much, contests to what kind of person you really are, more than anything else. You have an incredible soul, you are selfless, caring, trusting, funny, considerate, smart, dedicated, and I could go on forever. You are insanely gorgeous. You have the most expressive jade eyes, the most innocent crooked smile, the most beautiful cheekbones, the most chiseled jaw, the sexiest mess of auburn locks. You are dazzling inside and out. Whoever gets you for eternity is one lucky woman."
I turned gently to face her, wrapping my arms securely around her, looking deep into her eyes. This girl totally turned my life upside down in one week, and I wasn't complaining a bit. I had such an intense connection with her; I wondered what it would be like when we got home. I have spent every waking and sleeping moment with her, and I didn't want to feel the tug of my heart when she had to leave.
"Bella, you have turned my life upside down, in the most amazing way imaginable. Whenever I look into your espresso eyes, I see purity. When I am surrounded by your coconut smell, I feel at ease. When I run my fingers through your mocha hair, I think about how lucky I am to be near you. You have a beautiful soul, and you have an amazing heart. Whoever gets you for eternity is one lucky man. Will you give me a chance to be that man? You have my heart, can I have yours?"
She looked at me with gleaming eyes "I can't give it to you freely when you stole it the first time you looked at me. I don't want it back; I want you to keep it. I trust you with it E, more so than I have ever trusted anyone before."
"I'll keep it safe, Bella."
"I'll keep yours safe too, E."
I leaned down to give her a soft sweet kiss. I would spend forever showing this girl what she means to me.
So this was it. The last of the boxes were stacked high in the moving van. Em and Jazz furnished their new places with the help of our mom. All the furniture in my house was bought specifically for the space, most of the furniture was oversized, plus Al and Ro preferred to start new. I was okay with that, the less I have to shop, the better. Jazz and Em were giving the last of the directions to the crew, Ro and Al were waiting at the homes to let the moving crew in. It was just my brothers and I.
"Well, this is it! On to the next part of life. Enjoy the house to yourself, E! Par-Tay!" Boomed Em.
I smiled weakly at him. I was really going to miss all the noise my two older brothers produced on a daily basis.
"Have fun with the girls! It's not like they weren't here enough, you know what you are getting yourselves into!" I chuckled.
"Alright, time to go Em. If you need anything E, just call. I'm sure you will see enough of us. We both live near the U, so drop by whenever! Love you, little E."
I stepped over to Em and Jazz, both giving them hugs. I smiled and wished them luck. I stayed in the driveway watching their cars disappear down the drive. For what seemed like hours, I stood staring at the driveway. Finally, I turned towards the house and made my way to the steps. I approached the door, opening it slowly, stepping through the threshold of the door. My eyes scanned the living quarters. It looked as if it was any other day, nothing was moved or missing, but the atmosphere changed dramatically. I couldn't hear Em's laughing or Jazz's guitar. Only my own breathing could be heard. It was eerie, the silence was unsettling. I briefly considered asking my parents to sell this house and I could get a condo in the city, but the pictures on the walls screamed the memories this house held. Pictures of us three through the last four years decorated the walls and shelves of the home. Memories in the form of pictures of Ro, Al, Jazz, Em, and I littered end tables, mantles, and shelving units. The flat screen Em begged for hung proudly in the living room. Every surface told a story, I could almost hear the echoes of laughter.
I wandered around aimlessly for a long time. I found myself looking through the endless guest bedrooms, the library, study, and Em and Jazz's old rooms. Everything looked normal, except their rooms were clean and uncluttered for once. Pictures still lined the walls, beds were made, all they took were their clothing, and even then they left some clothes. It was as if they would stroll through the door any minute. I was feeling pretty pathetic, standing in the middle of what used to be Jazz's old room, missing my brothers. So lost in my thoughts, I didn't hear anyone knock or call out to me. I just felt two tiny arms circle my waist from behind and lips pressed just below my shoulder blades. I knew by the electricity shooting through my entire body it was only one person. Only one person could elicit such a response. Bella.
"Hey, you okay? I knocked, and then called your phone when you didn't answer. The door was unlocked, so I let myself in and called out. What's wrong?"
"Oh babe, I'm sorry. I was just lost in my thoughts, I didn't hear you knock or call my name. My phone is up in my room, on the next floor. Just a rough day, ya know? It's pathetic I miss them so much, but they are both my best friends, and I have never truly been on my own. I went from my parents to my brothers, now it's just me. It's sorta scary I guess."
"Ah, honey. It's not pathetic at all. I'm going to miss Ro and Al a lot too. Listen to us talk; you would think they were a lot farther than a 20 minute drive! But Ro and Al were my first friends and first roommates when I came to Washington. They are like my sisters, so I know to an extent how you feel."
"Yeah, I guess you do. So how about your first official tour, since you couldn't make it to our party last night?"
"I'd love to."
"Okay, well let's start at the front door."
Bella nodded her head and we headed down stairs.
"So this is my front door, beautiful right?" I chuckled, earning me a smack on the arm and a giggle.
"Let's get down to business, first stop, the living room. This room is where all the TV watching happens."
"Next, we have the den. We really don't use this room, ever."
"Then we have the kitchen, we don't really use this room either." I chuckled
"Wow, your house is already amazing. How can you not use the kitchen! It's a professional chef's kitchen!"
"Heh, none of us can cook, so…"
"The things I could cook in this place!"
"You can cook me something anytime" I chuckled again, reveling in her excitement over our much underused kitchen.
"Next on the EC home tour we have the dining room; we use this room maybe two or three times a year. For family gatherings and such. Em and Jazz use it more, special dinners and things for Ro and Al."
The dining room, as much of the house, always made me wonder why on earth college men lived in this place. The dining area was a monster of a room, with buffets, a wine chiller, a china hutch, a huge table, and a large modern chandelier. It was easily one of the more elegant rooms my mom has ever designed (she said so herself), but it was modern enough for three young adult males to feel comfortable in. The furniture was all black with brushed nickel accents, as was the chandelier. The walls were a crisp white with huge vertical black stripes and a red accent rug for color. It one of the walls was completely made of glass and had sheer red curtains lining the outside edges. It really was a work of art, and now that I had Bella, maybe I would be able to enjoy this room a little more.
We arrived at a door on the far end of the first floor near the stairs. The house had such an open layout, the door was almost looked out of place. The only balancing factor was the other lone door, leading out to the garage, on the other side of the house.
"Ok, so this will conclude the tour for floor one. Let's go underground! Mwah ha ha!"
"Really E? You are such a dork." Bella laughed
We walked down the stairs and into the basement. The basement was every man's dream room. A huge plasma screen adorned the far wall with a brown leather sofa sitting in the middle of the room. The walls were a warm mocha color, reminding me of Bella's hair. Around the plasma screen, we had a built in installed to serve as wall sized entertainment center. That built in housed a Bose sound system, a Playstation 3, Xbox Elite, a WII, an extensive collection of DVDs and video games. The corner of the room across from the stairwell contained a small wet bar, complete with a custom made "Cullen's Bar" neon sign, which was a birthday present for Jasper's 21st birthday. Surrounding the couch were two, two person cream colored leather bean bags. This was by far my favorite room, hold my music room.
I led her back up the stairs and two the next set of stairs leading to the second floor balcony and guest rooms.
"This floor has one guestroom; we call the beach room, because mom decorated it like the beach, in blues and whites. Jazz and Em's rooms are on this floor, as well as the study. Each room has an adjoining bathroom. There is only one lone bathroom, on the bottom floor near the den."
She was captivated by the library. We owned all the classics, many first editions, as well as a collection of history, business, and medical texts. The study wasn't too amusing, just a comfortable work space with a large desk, massaging office chair, a plush white leather couch and bookshelves housing a plethora of equipment such as a printer, and every office supply you could think of. It reminded me much of what I would assume a therapist office would look like.
"And now we are on our last leg of the EC Tour experience, this floor is by far the most important floor. It has one guest room, my music room, and my bedroom. I tried to get the library up here, but my mom said we needed to have more than one room up here. As you may have noticed most of the rooms have one glass wall, and this floor is no exception. Let's check out my favorite room first."
I led her to my music room, my pride and joy. This was the one of the only rooms in the entire house that had two walls made of glass. Soft blue sheer curtains bordered each side of the large glass walls, a matching blue painted the walls with a large cream colored horizontal stripe painted in the middle. The room was split in half, half was the recording piece and the other half held my prized possession, a beautiful black grand piano. The floors were a pale oak hardwood floor and my piano sat on a think cream colored area rug.
"Oh my, E, this room is amazing! Do you actually record your own pieces?"
"Yeah, I used to compose a lot more, but I haven't had the chance. This room was put in when Em moved in, for me when I eventually moved. I used to spend most of my summers, from the time I was 14 to 17, when I actually moved in, here in this room."
"Play something for me, something you made."
I nodded and led her through the plexi-glass door, to my piano. I didn't need music for this particular piece, I created it the summer I was 15 for Esme and Carlisle's anniversary. I began to play, remembering all the memories my parents have had, before and after I came along. This was one of my favorite pieces of all time, because of all the love that encompasses the notes. However, I felt that this wouldn't be my favorite for long, since I had another song brewing that had the potential emotion to trump this song. I hadn't composed a song since I composed songs for Em and Jazz's birthdays two years ago. When the last notes struck, I leaned down and rested my lips against Bella's lips, moving them gently. I gently cupped her face and slid my hands into her wavy mocha hair. Her hands moved from resting gently on my forearms to my messy locks. I tilted my head slightly swiping my tongue across her bottom lip. Bella opened her mouth slightly accepting my tongue, massaging her tongue with mine. She nibbled on my tongue lightly. She tasted amazing, so sweet and warm. I spent a few more minutes kissing her sensually before I pulled away with a gentle peck to her lips.
"I hope you don't include that in every tour, Mr. Cullen."
"Of course not. Actually, you are the first person other than my family, Al and Ro included, that has ever heard me play. I do it for me, not because I want to be recognized. I like to record, so I have personal gifts to give."
She smiled sweetly "Well then, I hope someday I am on the receiving end of your special gift, you are an amazing musician."
I smiled back and nodded to the door "let's continue the tour, one more room left."
I stood up and led us out to the main hallway. The last room happened to be my room, and I was a little nervous to be showing her my bedroom. I found myself racking my brain to see if I had cleaned it recently. I knew the cleaning crew comes tomorrow, so I was hoping I remembered to at least pick up after myself. I prayed I didn't leave my dirty boxers lying around as I opened my door and pulled her inside. I quickly looked around to survey the scene. Thankfully, my room was cleaner than normal.
"So this is my room."
I took her in as her eyes ran across the room. Like many other rooms, I had a nice view of the river and mountains, one whole wall was glass. Charcoal gray sheers bordered the windowed wall; ashy wood floors lightened the rather dark motif. Mahogany missionary style furniture decorated the large room. The walls were painted a light gray. My bedspread was white, black, and charcoal plaid. I would have never been able to put this ensemble together; thankfully my mother is a heaven-send and insisted she could not have her sons decorating their own house. She took in all the pictures of my family adorning the walls in white matte frames. Then her eyes rested on my bedside table and I heard a quiet sigh. There was a new addition to my room, a white frame sitting proudly on the table nearest to my bed, next to a lamp. It had three pictures of me and Bella; one was of us sitting on the tip of the cliff from behind. I had one arm around her, her leaning into me with her head on my shoulder, my head resting on hers, watching the sunset. The second picture was a picture of us sleeping, noses together. The last picture was a picture of a sweet kiss with the campfire in the background. Em and Jazz put it together, most likely with the help of Ro and Al, as a late birthday present.
"Your whole house is amazing. Your mom did a wonderful job of matching your personalities with the décor. No wonder she is famous for her trade."
"Thank you, she is really amazing, both as a mom and as a professional. I couldn't ask for a better family really. I love them so much."
I took her hand to lead her down to the bottom floor, to the living room. I plopped down on the loveseat taking her with me and turned on some soft classical music.
"So how does it feel to have the house all to yourself?"
"It's so lonely already. And it's only been, what? Five hours? I'm used to the noise and the presence of other people."
"I know what you mean. I escaped the condo this morning after Ro and Al moved. It was so quiet it was unnerving! I missed them so much, so I came here to visit, thinking you might be feeling the same way. After five years of living with those girls, it's hard to have a three bedroom condo on my own. I'm thinking about moving and getting a smaller place."
Before I knew what I was doing, I blurted out words that would change my life forever. "Move in here, with me."
I almost slapped my hand over my mouth to stop the word vomit spewing from me. I liked the idea, a lot. But, it's really soon. I have known this girl for a little over a week, but I was already enamored with her. The day I was without her, I felt a strange pain in my chest. I almost called my dad, but I figured it was just heartburn. But it subsided as soon as I talked to her that night. Now it was time for damage control. I couldn't scare her off. It would tear me apart.
"Oh god...I'm sorry Bella, please-" I begged
She put her fingers to my lips and shushed me. "I think it's a great idea. You have this big house, which you own, and my condo is much too large for just me. Plus you have that wonderful study that would be perfect for me to work in during the day while you are at school. It's a great solution to our loneliness, and to be honest, I missed you a lot."
"I missed you too. So you really want to do this? To move in here? You can have your pick of the three remaining guestrooms if you want."
"Yeah I really do. As for the rooms, we can decide later, we'll go with what feels natural."
"Okay so when do you want to move?"
"Anytime is fine, really. I have a month to month at the condo since the girls decided to move. After our lease ended this month I asked for a month to month agreement because I didn't know how long I would keep it."
I smiled "How about now?"
She giggled and reached up to peck my lips, nodding her head excitedly. I called Em as we were climbing into the Hummer, to get the moving van to stop by the girls' condo after they were done unloading at Jazz's house. When we reached the condo Em and Ro were just getting out of the car.
"Didn't take you long to replace us, Edward!" Em laughed
I laughed sheepishly as I looked at Em. "Sorry Em, but I upgraded."
"Don't I know it, little E. Well let's get her moved, nothing is packed and the moving van should be here within the next couple of hours. Al and Jazz will be over to help when they are finished."
"Our apartment came furnished, so all Bella needs to pack is her clothing and other personal items, all the furniture has to stay. Em was almost finished unpacking his clothes, so we brought some boxes over."
"Thanks Ro, I think we have some boxes left in the storage closet too."
"Alright! Let's get to work!" Em shouted over his shoulder gripping an armful of boxes.
We spent the next few hours packing up Bella's clothes, books, and other personal belongings. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face that this wonderful woman would be joining me at my home. The rest of the group was surprisingly unsurprised at this new development. Al even commented on the fact it took us so long to come to this decision. She apparently foresaw this event occurring. She has some uncanny ability to predict, for lack of a better term, future events. You don't bet against Alice, unless you want to lose.
Before we knew it we were on our way to our new home. Well, new for Bella anyway. While we were driving, I wondered what room she would choose. None of them really screamed Bella. I found myself hoping she would pick the one on my floor, but I doubted it, since it was the smallest guestroom in the house. I was broken out of my thoughts by someone softly shaking my shoulder.
"You looked like you were a million miles away. What were you thinking about?"
I answered honestly, looking her in the eyes "You."
She answered my honest reply with a bright smile.
"So, you have already been on the grand tour, and we need to find homes for your things, so let's start with the bedroom. If you could pick any bedroom in the house, apart from Em and Jazz's of course, which one would you pick?"
"hm" Bella sounded thoughtful " I would pick the one on the third floor…" my smile grew a little bit "… you know the one? The one with gray walls, beautiful mahogany furniture, light ashy floors and a breathtaking view of the river and mountain ranges?" My smile continued to grow until I was sure it my face would break in half. '
Bella looked up at me with a shy smile on her face awaiting my response to her musings.
"Of course you would pick that room. After all, it is the best room in the house apart from the music and game room. Plus, it comes with a complimentary snuggling partner, at your service for as long as you would like to have him."
She giggled gleefully as she wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me down to her level. She lifted her head up and gently brushed my lips with hers on her trek to my ear. She whispered so softly, I could barely hear "Forever."
I whispered back "Forever."
I absolutely adore a sweet/romantic Edward! How about you!