"Showers to Flowers" O/S Contest

Number of Picture Chosen: #02

Title: Road Trip to Love

Word Count: 8,771

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Summary: Bella and her mom take a road trip during the summer before her senior year of high school. She plans on moving to Forks for her last year of school. She and her mom meet up with the Cullens and Hales, and love blooms between Edward and Bella.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

~ooo000ooo~

Bella POV

School is over for the year and I am packing for the road trip of a lifetime, as my mom calls it. She wants to have one last hurrah, before I fly off and leave the nest. However, I don't plan on doing any flying. After we get back from the road trip of a lifetime, she is going to drive me up the coast to Washington. She will be trying to spend every last minute that she can with me. I am going to live with my dad and attend my senior year in Forks, Washington. I really don't have any friends, so it isn't a big deal to go to a different school for my senior year. I am even thinking about attending college in Seattle. So in reality, I will be getting used to the area ahead of time, and my transition to college will be easier.

It doesn't take me long to finish packing. I am a simple girl at heart; so t-shirts, jeans, shorts, bathing suits, under things, tennis shoes, flip-flops, and a few personal products are about all I need. I don't wear make-up nor do anything fancy with my hair, so I don't need a lot of products or hair equipment to drag along. Mom on the other hand, has three times the amount of luggage that I have packed. I am glad our car trunk is large; or I would have to give up the back seat, for the times that I just want to stretch my legs out.

Her excitement is contagious and I am actually looking forward to the trip. We start out early on a Monday morning; and we head up to Flagstaff, and then on to the Grand Canyon. I have seen the Grand Canyon a few times since moving to Arizona, but I never get tired of the splendor. We are going to take a small hiking tour, but even a small one is putting me on edge. I am so clumsy that I can see myself tumbling over into the mouth of the canyon. But mom insists that everything will be fine, and I won't fall in the canyon. I am hoping she is right because I definitely don't want to be right this time.

When we arrive at the tour office, it looks like several people are going to be in the group. Mom hurries into the office to pay our fee; and I stay outside and take in the view, it is unbelievable. I feel eyes on me, and I look around to detect who is making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I see a group of five gorgeous people looking my way. I look behind me to see why they are looking this way, and there is nothing behind me. I wonder why they are looking at me.

The short pixie-looking girl walks up to me, and she introduces herself. "Hi, I'm Alice. Are you going to take the tour today? My siblings, boyfriend, and I are taking it. I have never seen the Grand Canyon before today. Have you ever gotten to take a tour?" she asks, without taking a breath.

"Hi, I'm Bella and yes, my mom and I are taking the tour; but I have never taken a hiking tour before today. However, I have seen the Grand Canyon from a helicopter," I say to her.

"Oh, I bet the helicopter ride would be fun. I will have to remember that form of tour, for the next time I come back," she is saying, as my mom comes out office.

"Well, hello there, are you taking the tour too?" my mom asks her.

"Yes, my siblings, boyfriend, and I are taking it," she says as she points to the four other beautiful people standing a little bit away from the other hikers. Mom seems to take in all five of them, and her mind seems to go blank for a few seconds.

She seems to snap out of it and says: "You all seem about the same age as Bella. You will give her someone else to talk to, instead of her old mom."

"Mom, you are not old; so don't put yourself down. You are fun to be around," I tell her.

"Yes, but a girl your age needs friends her own age, and not her mom all the time," she says to me and then turns to Alice. "Where do you live?" she asks her.

"Forks, Washington," Alice answers.

I choke on the drink of water I am taking from my water bottle. "Forks, Washington that is where I am moving to at the end of the summer. I am going to Forks High for my senior year," I choke out.

She jumps up and down and squeals out, "I will be a senior too. You will be going to school with Edward and me."

I look over at the group and wonder which one is Edward. None of the others has come forward and the boy with the copper hair keeps giving me a funny look. It looks like he is trying to figure something out. The blond boy has not taken his eyes of Alice, so I would guess that he is the boyfriend. The blonde girl looks like she would drown, if it rained; and the big hulk of a guy should look scary, but instead reminds me of a big teddy bear.

I am about to ask her which one is Edward, when the tour guide announces that it is time to leave. We follow along, not saying much. We all seem awe filled, as we take in the majesty of the view. Alice continues to stay close to me during the hike; and even for her small size, she is able to prevent me from taking several spills. She is so agile; that she looks like she is dancing, instead of hiking. I am just glad she keeps me from falling and probably cutting my hands and knees open on the rocks. When we get to our destination to rest for a while, mom takes the opportunity to talk to Alice.

"Where are you going when you leave the Grand Canyon?" she asks.

"We are going to Albuquerque, New Mexico and then driving down into Texas," Alice answers.

Mom just gives me a look and it is obvious to me what she is going to ask her. But for once, I don't mind my mom's inquiring nature.

"Would you like to travel together with us? That is exactly where we are headed; and if you don't mind us tagging along with you, it would be safer than traveling separately. That way, you and Bella can get to know each other better; and she will already have a friend, when she starts school in the fall," mom asks her.

"No, I don't mind. Do you mind guys, if we travel together with Bella and her mom?" she asks her companions.

They all say it is fine and then she turns to me and asks, "You don't mind if we travel together, do you, Bella?"

"No, it is fine with me. The way you have been keeping me from falling on the hike, maybe you can keep me from breaking an arm or leg during the trip. I rarely go on a trip and come back unscathed. We always know where the hospital is located when we go on a trip. Most people know where to locate a Wal-Mart when they go on vacation; we make sure we know the location of the nearest hospital," I say jokingly. But in all actuality, I am serious; I know how accident-prone I am.

"Well, in that case; I think it is time that I introduce you with whom, you will be traveling. This is my brother, Emmett; my sister, Rosalie; my boyfriend, Jasper; and my other brother, Edward," she says as she points to each one. Emmett walks up to me and picks me up and gives me a big bear hug and swings me around. Before I know what is happening, Edward is jerking me out of Emmett's arms and placing me behind him. I obviously know that Emmett meant no harm, but I guess Edward doesn't see it that way. Emmett raises his hands in the air and backs away. Rosalie just huffs and walks over to Emmett. I peek around Edward and wave to Jasper and he smiles and waves back. Alice bounces over behind Edward and whispers for me to ignore Rosalie and I whisper back that I have already figured that out.

I don't know if Edward will let me out from behind him or not. He has been getting closer to me as we have been hiking and I can now feel the safety in being close to him. I lay my hand on his back and he feels as cool as Alice's hands have been during the hike. I am beginning to wonder if the beauty and the coldness thing are hereditary. But that isn't the only thing that they have in common. They all have pale white skin and golden eyes, although Edward's eyes turn black every now and then.

Mom seems to be taking everything in and running it through her brain. I can almost see the wheels turning in her head. She is scatter-brained, slightly irresponsible, and acts way too young for her age; but she is very intuitive.

The tour guide signals that is time to return and we all start our way back to our starting point. Edward moves aside, so that I can get ahead of him. Mom walks ahead of me and Alice is beside me. Edward stays close behind me and I can almost tell exactly where he is located. I feel this hum of electricity that is telling me where and how far he is from me. I trip so many times that Alice finally laces her arm with mine; and she steadies me as we walk.

We make it back to the tour office, and I quickly go to the bathroom for a much needed potty break. When I come back outside, mom is telling Alice about our plans to get a hotel room in Flagstaff. We go to our cars, and they follow us to the hotel. We check in the hotel; and we all decide we need a shower, before we consider where we want to eat. We make plans to meet in the lobby in an hour.

I am second guessing my wardrobe now. I wish I had packed a few sun dresses. But never in my wildest imagination, would I have dreamed of meeting up with the most handsome boy on the planet. So after my shower, I throw on my best t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of flip-flops. We all meet up in the lobby at the same time.

Edward seems to gravitate to me and mom just observes, and I know eventually she will have something to say about this whole situation. We decide to eat at Black Barts Steakhouse and Saloon. They have live entertainment. I have heard about the place, but I have never eaten there, before tonight. Once we arrive and get seated, somehow I find myself between mom and Edward.

Mom orders the broiled salmon, I order the veggie kabob, and everyone else orders rare prime rib. Emmett tells the waitress that he wants his steak to be able to moo. I hope he is joking because I can't stand the sight or smell of blood.

When we get our meals, I concentrate on my meal only. I can actually smell the blood from their steaks. I am not sure that I will mention going to another steakhouse in the future. However, the entertainment is great; and I soon forget about what the others are eating, as I watch and listen to the music.

It must not take long for Edward to eat because he is soon playing with my hair. I don't even know if he realizes that I can feel him. My hair is long and it is over the back of the bench seat. But the weird electrical connection that we have is letting me know what he is doing. I look over at him and smile, and it seems to catch him off guard, and he moves his hand away. I didn't mean for him to do that, so I take his hand and place it back.

Before the evening is over, I end up leaning into Edward and watching the show. Mom just gives us a knowing smile and then turns to Alice. "What time are we planning to leave in the morning? I want to make it to Albuquerque in time to go to the aquarium tomorrow afternoon, and I want to go to the BioPark zoo the next day," she asks Alice.

"We will be ready to go whenever you want to leave. We are early risers, so just tell us when you will be ready; and we will be also," she says.

They decide on a time; and we pay, leave and head back to the hotel. I don't want to leave Edward's presence, but I really have no choice. I can't figure out what is wrong with me. I have never felt this way about someone.

As I get ready for bed, I feel his presence is close. I don't want mom to get suspicious, so I don't say anything. After she falls asleep, I get up and unlock the balcony door; and I go back to bed. I soon hear the door slide open and then close, and I feel him get even closer. I do not know what he is going to do; and I am about at the point of passing out because I just realized that I am holding my breath. All air leaves my lungs, when I feel his hand in my hair. He strokes my hair and I feel him get close to my ear, as he starts humming a beautiful lullaby. My body instantly relaxes and I feel myself succumbing to his ministrations. I slowly drift off to sleep, and I feel safer than I have ever been in my entire lifetime.

Morning dawns early, and I jerk awake; I am afraid that he is still in the room, and my mom will catch him. But to my surprise, he is nowhere to be found. Instead, there some beautiful white flowers on my pillow. Before I can hide them, mom walks out of the bathroom. She is toweling her hair dry and takes a look at me and then the flowers.

"Your flowers are pretty. He gives you some white freesias and that means he is quite intuitive, for a young man. Both mean innocence, but alas, I am not sure how much longer that will be true," she says cryptically, as she continues to get ready.

"Mom, what are you talking about? How do you know he gave me flowers?" I ask her, while turning a bright shade of red.

"Well, you certainly didn't give yourself flowers and you probably didn't even know what kind of flowers they were, until I told you. Plus, they were lying on your pillow and you were still sound asleep this morning. The balcony door is somehow unlocked, and he could have easily slipped in here and placed them on your pillow. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out, and a blind man could see how you two were drawn to each other yesterday. Both of you orbited around each other and you just met. I can't put my finger on it, but that group of kids is different; they aren't normal. The other two males act exactly toward their companions, as Edward acts around you. He knows where you are every second, and keeps you at a safe distance. He stays close enough that he can swoop in and save you, if it was necessary. I may be a lot of things, Bella, but unobservant is not one of them. Now hurry up and get ready. Your beau is waiting for you," she says, as she starts running a brush through her hair.

I am too shocked to comment, and so I begin rushing around the room. I get ready as quickly as possible. The flowers have a little water vial attached to the end of the stem, so I don't have to worry about putting them in some water. I repack my suitcase, and I am ready to leave about the same time as my mom finishes primping. We head to the front desk to check out and then on to our car, to place our suitcases in the trunk.

Before we make it out of the front lobby, Edward appears out of nowhere; and he grabs mine and mom's bags. He then follows us to the car, and places them in the trunk for us. I notice that they are all applying some sort of cream to their arms and faces. I guess they must be allergic to the sun, by the way they are coating the cream on the areas that would be exposed to the sun.

Mom thanks him profusely, and I quickly thank him; and I then jump in the back seat, while clinging to my flowers. I know it will be a pretty long trek to Albuquerque, and I want to stretch my legs out and get a little reading done. I carefully prop my flowers up in the floorboard; because if I put them anywhere else, they will get crushed or shrivel up in the hot Arizona sun.

We stop at McDonald's to get a quick to-go breakfast, and then head out onto the open road. I stretch out in the back seat and stick my feet out the window. I think better of having my flip-flops hanging out the window, so I pull my feet back in and remove the shoes. I resume my position, and pull out my worn copy of Wuthering Heights. We seem to make it to Albuquerque in no time, and I think we set a record or something. We had followed Edward's car because he said that he had a radar detector. It must have worked because we didn't get caught; and we were definitely speeding.

The group decides to get some fast food for lunch, and then have a sit down dinner after the aquarium tour. We have a great afternoon at the aquarium and for some reason; the marine life doesn't care for the Cullens and Hales. Whenever they approach a tank, whatever resides in that particular tank will move away from them. At first, I begin to think it is a coincidence. So when it happens every single time, it confirms my suspicions of them being different. Mom gives me a knowing look, and I just roll my eyes at her. I don't want to encourage her. It is one thing that I know they are different; it is a completely different situation for her to know.

We decide to go to The Artichoke Café for dinner. I order artichoke ravioli, and mom orders the free-range chicken dinner. Of course, the rest of the group orders rare steak. I don't have live music to distract me tonight, but Edward's hand caressing my hair seems to keep me calm. For some reason the smell of the blood is not bothering me as bad as it did the previous night. I take a look around the table, and notice that Jasper seems to be concentrating on something. He notices me looking at him; and he seems to lose his concentration for a minute, and a quick wave of nausea hits me.

No, it couldn't be him that is keeping me from getting sick. However, I don't distract him again, until the plates are removed. I then ask them where they are going, once they arrive in Texas.

"We want to take a tour of the Civil War museums, battle locations, and anything pertaining to the Civil War," Jasper answers in a strong southern accent.

"It is almost like we planned this trip together. We have ancestors that fought in the Civil War on the confederate side; and since we are not that far from Texas, I thought it would have ideal locations to tour," mom tells him.

Jasper seemed to have an unknown look on his face. "What were some of the names of your ancestors that fought for the Civil War?" he asks her.

"Well, my maiden name is Higginbotham; and I know my great-great-grandfather Higginbotham and his brothers fought, and only he and one of his brothers survived. Then, on my mother's side, the only one I can recall anyone talking about was a Whitlock and he was a great-great uncle. I don't remember the first name, but he disappeared somewhere around Galveston, Texas in 1863," she says.

You could hear a pin drop at the table; I didn't think they were breathing. What did she say that was so startling? Jasper's eyes water up and it makes me feel like crying. Edward seems to sense my distress, and he moves his hand from my hair to my shoulder and pulls me back into him.

All of a sudden, mom says: "Jasper, his name was Jasper Whitlock. He was Granny Marie's big brother, but I never got to meet her; she died long before I was ever born. That is Bella's middle name, by the way. Her full name is Isabella Marie. Alright guys, I think it is time we get to the hotel; because we need to get an early start in the morning," she says and then gets up to head to the car. She seems completely oblivious to the frozen, non-breathing entities at the table.

"Guys, snap out of it. I need to go, and I will not leave you sitting here like this," I say and I get nothing. We are five frozen statues and me sitting at a table. I turn to Edward and give him a kiss on the cheek, and they all come to life. Well, alright then, I now live in a fairy tale; and my kiss can bring people to life. Realization lights up their faces and they quickly get moving. We finally make it out to the vehicles and head to the hotel.

When we get there, I take my flower inside; because I need to fill the little tube up with water. Mom makes sure that we have a balcony and winks at me after she checks into the hotel. Well I see no need to wait for her to go to sleep, before I unlock the balcony door. But I would like to take a hot bath first, before I let him into the room. When we get inside the room, mom asks, "Have you ever taken a look at the old family photos, Bella?"

"Yes, I have glanced at them. Why are you asking?"

"Granny Marie had several of her brothers and she even had one of him in his Civil War uniform. They always said that I got my eye color from her. They said she had the bluest eyes and so did her brother. The picture is not in color, so you can't see his eye color," she says.

"I am still not following you, mom. What does my great-great-great uncle's eye color have to do with anything?" I ask, anxious to get in the tub.

"Never mind, I will tell you later. Go get in the tub, first; and then, I will take my shower," she tells me.

I grab my items out of the suitcase and head into the bathroom. After a good soak, I dry off, get dressed, and head back out into the room, where mom is watching some comedy on the TV. "Go on and let him into the room, there is no need for him to be standing out there until I go to sleep," she says as she gets her items and goes into the bathroom.

I walk over to the balcony door and unlock it; I open it up and say: "Come on in, it seems mom has the same type of radar for you that I have; or she has a sixth sense or something."

He sheepishly comes into the room; and he looks so uncomfortable that I shut off all the lights. The TV gives off enough light that I can see to get around the room. The way Edward moved around in the dark last night, I don't think he needs any kind of illumination to be able to see. I sit down on the bed, and I finish towel drying my hair; I pick up my hair brush to get the tangles out of it, and Edward removes the brush from my hand. He then sits down on the bed behind me, and carefully runs his fingers though my hair to remove most of the tangles. After most of the tangles are removed, he begins to gently brush my hair. This is how mom finds us, when she exits the bathroom.

"Ok, kids, keep the noise down and don't do anything that I wouldn't do," she says as she climbs into bed and seems to quickly fall asleep.

I think I could light up the whole room with how red my face is getting. I place my head in my hands and groan.

"You know; your mother is unique. I have never met anyone quite like her," he quietly says.

"You should have been living with her for your whole life. Even though I have lived with her, she still shocks me by the things she does and says. She knows you are different, Edward, and your frozen state at dinner proved it to me tonight, as well. I still don't have a clue what she said that set you off. All she was talking about was our ancestors, and that should not have shocked you into a frozen state. I think she has figured out more than I have, at this point," I quietly say.

"She has and that means that my family is going to have a conversation with you and her soon. We have secrets that can't be revealed," he says as he finishes up brushing my hair.

"I figured, as much. We would never reveal your secrets," I say, as I grab the remote and switch off the TV. I then crawl under the covers and scoot over to the edge of the bed. I feel Edward's hand in my hair and I hear him begin to hum the soothing lullaby. I want to stay awake to be near him, but his gentle touch and beautiful voice lull me into a restful sleep.

In the morning, I am greeted by some sprigs of lilac that are lying on my pillow. I think their scent is what woke me up. I looked over at mom and ask, "Ok, walking flower encyclopedia, what do these flowers mean?"

"I can't help it that I went through a flower phase for a while. Lilacs mean first love. Now get your rear in gear and get moving. We need to pick up some breakfast, before we head to the zoo," she says as she drags the covers off of me.

I hop out of bed and carry my clothes to the bathroom. After dressing and watering my flowers, we head out to grab a bite to eat and then we are ready to visit the zoo.

During the day, I notice that the animals that are not out in the open air shy away from Edward and his family. At different intervals and with certain animals, Edward and his family's eyes would turn black and my mom and I would rush them by the habitats. The bears seem to excite Emmett, and the wild cats bring out a look in Edward that I had never seen before today. Although in reality, I had only known him for a short time.

Around noon, we stop to eat at the Cottonwood Café and then we finish out the trek around the park. We stop in the Jungle Shop, and Edward buys me a mountain lion stuffed animal. The others giggle, but I am not sure what the joke is behind the mountain lion. I happen to like it and I remember how he looked at the ones in the zoo. They obviously mean something to him.

I am exhausted from walking around in the heat at the zoo and I suggest we go back to the hotel and order room service or something. I really didn't feel up to having a drawn out evening meal. Right now, my only desires are a cold shower and a good foot massage.

Everyone agrees with my suggestion and we head back to the hotel. After my shower, I put on my night clothes, which consist of a tank top and shorts. I have no plans of leaving my room and Edward has already seen me in my night clothes twice. I went on and unlocked the balcony door and I ask mom what she wanted for me to order for her. She glances at the menu; and tells me what she wants, as she heads into the bathroom for her shower.

As I order our meal, I hear the balcony door slide open; and I look over to encounter a freshly dressed Edward, whose hair was still glistening from his recent shower. I shake my head to clear it, as I try to continue ordering our dinner. However, when I get off the phone, I hope that I didn't forget anything. Edward's beauty is such a distraction and he doesn't even seem to realize it.

After our food arrives, I try to offer him some, but he cringes back from my offering. I guess he is not a vegetable lover. That is when mom asks, "When are you going to reveal you are not human, Edward?" I drop my fork at her words; I knew they were different, but I never considered that they were not human.

"Alice says to tell you that it will be soon. The time is not right, yet," he says.

"Are you going to tell me what you know, mom? Obviously you have gotten further in your musings, than I have. I would like to be in on what you know, at least. Even if we have to wait for what they are going to tell us," I say to her.

"I tried to hint to you last night about your distant uncle Jasper and eye color, but it seemed to go over your head. The rest you have already noticed, I can tell," she says, as she eats her dinner.

Uncle Jasper, she was talking about seeing his pictures and that he was supposed to have blue eyes. Well, the only Jasper I know is Jasper Hale and he has golden eyes and a strong southern accent. He wants to tour the Civil War areas in Texas. It can't be, can it? I look to Edward, as my fork drops from my hand again; and he has an apologetic look on his face. I shake my head and try to make sense of where my thoughts are going. No, it can't be. Jasper Hale can't be my Uncle Jasper. I push my plate away; I have suddenly lost my appetite.

Edward pushes it back to me and says: "You need to eat; you expended a lot of energy today with all of the walking that we did." He picks up the fork and begins to feed me. I let him feed me because he looks so sincere about his concern for my welfare. Then, my mind realizes that if Jasper is that old, then how old is Edward? His speech is from a different era, he is polite, gentlemanly, and his name is old-fashioned. I just look him over closely.

He squirms at my perusal and says: "You are going to have to tell me what are thinking because I can't read your mind."

Well, of course, he can't read my mind. But wait, should he be able to read it? Can he read other people's minds? Today has been the longest that mom and I have spent with them and they always seem to be having private conversations amongst themselves. "Can you read other people's minds?" I ask.

"Yes," he quietly answers.

"Then what is wrong with my mind? Can you read my mom's mind?" I ask.

"Nothing is wrong with your mind, you just seem to have some kind of block or shield protecting it. It is quite nice to be near a quiet mind too. As far as your mom's mind goes, yes, I can read it," he laughs out.

I can only imagine what goes on in her mind. The things that come out of her mouth are unbelievable, at times.

"Hey, don't laugh at my thoughts. I figured out a lot about you, didn't I?" she asks.

"Yes, you did. Your mind is unique and intuitive. I have never come across anyone quite like you before, and it is very refreshing," he says.

We finish up our meals and watch a little TV. We get comfortable sitting on the bed and he places my feet in his lap and begins to massage them. "Are you sure that you can't read my mind?" I ask.

"No, why do you ask?" he inquires confused.

"Because I mainly wanted only two things when I got back to the hotel room, and they were a shower and a foot rub. Obviously, you could have no control over the shower, but you are now giving me a foot rub. Thus, the question I ask on mind reading," I say.

"No, it is common sense on my part. You have been on your feet all day long and I can see red spots on them, where blisters are trying to form. So, I want to ease your discomfort, and the way to do that is to massage your feet," he says rather smugly. He is obviously proud of himself for finding a solution to a problem, without the ability to read the person's mind.

I just give him a smile and lie back and enjoy my foot rub.

I must have fallen asleep to his gentle caresses; because I wake up the next morning tucked under the covers, and not remembering going to sleep. On my pillow are some beautiful red flowers and I look quickly at my mom for her to start talking.

"Those are anemones; they mean anticipation, unfading love, and protection from evil," she says, as she continues to get ready. Well, I like the anticipation and unfading love part; but I don't want to have the need to be protected from evil. But if evil is out there, Edward is who I want protecting me from it.

We both get ready to go and are soon checking out of the hotel. I have quite a bouquet started and I wonder how I am going to protect them in the car. Edward shows up beside me with a clear plastic container that I set the flowers down into; and now, they will be protected.

We plan on stopping at a rest area between here and Amarillo, Texas. He gives me a quick peck on the cheek and we all get in the vehicles. I resume my spot in the back seat, and hold my book in one hand and my other hand is on my cheek where I was kissed. I can still feel the tingling sensation that his kiss had given me.

When we stop at the rest stop, it is eerily quiet there. I am glad to be able to stretch my legs. I slowly make my way to the restroom because my legs have gotten stiff from the ride this morning. Before I can exit the restroom, I hear a blood curdling scream that sounds like it is coming from my mom. I rush out of the bathroom, and I am instantly behind Edward.

"Let her go, she is not just some random meal. You can go find food elsewhere," Emmett says.

"Why should I go find food elsewhere when a perfectly good meal is right here in my hands," a man I have never seen before says. He is holding my mom from behind, and he is running his nose up and down her neck.

As I am peeking out from behind Edward, I see Jasper step forward and tear off his shirt. Everywhere that had been covered with his shirt was sparkling, and I can see faint crescent marks all over his torso.

"I say turn her loose or you will be dead before you can finish your last meal," he growls out with deadly authority. The guy starts shaking and quickly throws mom at Jasper. He then runs quickly runs off. Jasper catches her; but at the same time that she hits Jasper, we all hear a couple of loud snaps. She screams out in pain, and Jasper lays her down on the ground.

Edward is instantly beside her, and begins to examine her. He announces that she has broken her leg and arm. He tells Jasper to go find some straight sticks and then Edward picks up Jasper's torn shirt and begins to rip it into strips. After Jasper gets back with the sticks, he sets her arm and leg; and he says that the nearest hospital is a small facility in Santa Rosa. He proceeds to gently pick mom up and lays her in the back seat of the car, and I get in the front passenger seat. He throws his car keys to Jasper, and then gets in the driver's seat of our car.

It takes us very little time to make it to the small hospital, but I am frozen in the front seat. My mind is trying to make sense of all that had just transpired. Jasper opens the back door and gently picks mom up and carries her inside the building. Edward gets out of the car and comes around and opens my door. He really takes in my condition then; and he picks me up, and sets me down in his lap in the back seat of the car.

"Love, talk to me. Are you alright? Should we get you examined too?" he asks, as he gently runs his hands over my body, checking me for injuries. The stress in his voice seems to jolt me out of my shocked state.

"No, I am trying to process everything that happened. I am not physically hurt, but my mind can't seem to catch up to what I witnessed," I say.

Alice walks up and hands me a bottle of water and says that mom is being x-rayed and should be in her room in a few minutes. That seems to snap me to attention because mom needs me; and I am out here wasting time thinking. There will be time later to figure everything out. I take a drink of water, get up out of Edward's lap and head into the hospital. I follow Alice to mom's room, and she has already returned from getting her x-rays.

"Well, what are we going to do, kiddo? I don't want you to have to tend to me all summer. There is no way I can continue on with the road trip," she sadly says.

"If you don't mind me suggesting an idea that I have already discussed with mom and dad, we would like to fly you to Forks, Washington; and you will stay with us until your pain subsides and we can continue the trip. Then, we can rent a van that would accommodate a wheelchair, and we would continue on with our vacation. It is early in the summer and we have plenty of time for you to get some rest and still be able to tour Texas. If that is still what you want to do," Alice says.

"I don't want to put anyone out. I don't want to be a burden on anyone," mom says.

"You won't be a burden. Our mom, Esme, is a stay at home mom and would love the company; and dad is a doctor, so he would be able to make sure that your injuries are healing sufficiently. Plus, we can't separate now; Edward and Bella have become attached to one another and they would experience severe pain if separated," she says.

I know I am attached to him, but why would I experience pain at our separation? I have only known him for a few days. I give her a skeptic look.

"Bella, I want you to just think about leaving Edward. Put it in your mind that you are going home to Phoenix and see what happens," she tells me.

Alright, I make up my mind that I am going home. The instant I decide on that course of action, a sharp pain shoots through my chest and I fall to my knees. Jasper and Edward fall to their knees also, clinging to their chests. I need to get this under control, before a doctor walks in and thinks we are all having heart attacks.

The thought of never leaving Edward fills my mind, and the pain is instantly gone. Edward and Jasper recover as quickly and I feel guilty for causing them pain. I need to start taking things at face value around them, and stop questioning anything that has to do with Edward.

Mom worriedly looks amongst us to make sure that we had all recovered from our little episode. "I agree to come to Forks, it is obvious that Bella is now part of your group and I still want to spend some time with her this summer. But I can't afford to be flying around the country, I have budgeted for this trip; and I am afraid that airfare was not included in my calculations," she says.

"Don't worry about the money and don't even try to argue over it," he says to her. He then turns to me and asks, "Bella, can I speak with you out in the hall?"

I tell him, OK, and follow him out to the hall. He gets down on one knee and says: "I know this is short notice, but I will not be able to resist you when you move into the house. You are my mate; and as each day passes, I am finding it more and more difficult to not claim you as my mate. I am from a time where you were married, before you consummated the union. So, would you please marry me? You can have any type of wedding that you desire, in the future. Please say yes and make me the happiest man on Earth."

I didn't see this coming, and I am really at a loss for words at the moment, "We don't even know each other well. You say you are from an old-fashioned time and I don't even know your age," I say.

"There will be plenty of time to talk and get to know each other. Do you ever plan on leaving me or is there anyone one else in your life?" he asks sadly.

"No, I never plan on leaving you; and no, there is no one else in my life, and I have a feeling that I will never want anyone, but you. But marriage has always been a sore spot in my life, my parents' marriage did not work out so well," I say.

"We are not your parents, and I really need this to happen. I need you, Love. I can't wait much longer, and I want to do this right," he begs.

I look into his eyes, and I can't imagine a world where we are not together. If he needs this so badly, then I will give it to him. "Yes, I will marry you," I say and he stands up and hugs me.

Before anything else is said, Alice comes out of the room and she is holding a piece of paper. "You will need to get your mom to sign this paper, before you can get married," she says as she hands it to me and runs off mumbling something about a notary. I glance at it and it is a parental permission document.

Mom doesn't take any convincing, at all. She seems to have already anticipated it. Since she had also hit her head during the altercation, they are keeping her overnight for observation. Alice and Jasper say that they were going to stay with her, then Alice hands Edward a small box and me a larger one. His eyes get big when he sees it and then she shoves us out the door to get moving. I take a peek in mine and all I see is white see-through fabric, so I quickly shut it back.

There are no waiting periods in New Mexico; so we obtain our license and are married by noon. That is when I find out that Edward's box contains rings. Alice is a regular boy scout. She seems prepared for everything. I was pretty sure what item was in my box; I was just too scared to take a good look at it. Edward asks if I want something to eat, but I tell him that I am way too nervous to eat. So we head to a hotel and check into a room.

I am so scared and nervous that I am shaking. Edward takes me in his arms and carries me into the room and sets me on the bed. He then proceeds to go in the bathroom and starts a bath.

When he comes back out of the bathroom, he says: "Go take a relaxing bath and calm yourself. I will not do anything to hurt you and I will not do anything that you don't want me to do. We will go slowly."

He takes my hand and leads me into the bathroom, and he sets the box that Alice had given me on the vanity. Then, he leaves the room, shutting the door behind him. I wonder what I have gotten myself into. I slowly remove my clothes and get into the tub. The hot water does actually relax my muscles and I do feel somewhat calmer now. I get out of the tub and dry off. Unfortunately, it is time to look in the box that Alice has provided for me. I pull out a white see-through scalloped gown with matching tie-on panties. I guess it could be worse. I put it on and brush out my hair.

As I peek out the bathroom door, I see a gorgeous Edward lying across the bed in just his underwear and he is staring at the TV. I don't think he is actually watching it. He turns his head to look at me and his eyes instantly go black. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing. He gets up from the bed and stalks toward me. I think I know how those animals at the zoo felt yesterday. I take a cautious step back and he is in front of me in a flash.

"Oh, no, you don't run, Love. You are mine now," he says as he moves my hair to the side and runs his nose up and down my neck. He places his cool hands on each side of my face and brings his lips to mine. He slides his tongue over my lips and when I gasp; his tongue enters my mouth and begins its exploration. Our tongues dance together and we kiss until I need some air. He seems to sense this and he begins to kiss down my jaw, and onto my neck. Without his lips leaving me, he picks me up and carries me to the bed. He then gives me a peck on the lips, and he lays me down in the center of the bed.

He crawls up my body and is hovering over me. His lips return to their passage down my body; and as they near my breasts, my gown is ripped from my body with one flip of his wrist. He then licks my nipples and blows a cool breath over them. They both shrivel into tiny peaks and he hums in satisfaction. He takes one in his mouth and uses his fingers so play with the other one. I have never before felt the sensations that he is creating in me. I feel a vibration coming from his chest and it sounds like he is purring. He then switches breasts and is now sucking on the other one. I run my fingers through his silky hair and pull him to me.

He then begins kissing down my stomach; and before I can tell him the underwear is tied on, he has them ripped off too. He spreads my legs and kisses the inside of my thighs. I feel his fingers touch my folds and he then spreads them. His cool lips and tongue begin to explore my core and clit. He soon has me writhing underneath his ministrations. He inserts his tongue into my core and then he begins sucking on my clit. While doing this, he inserts one finger into my entrance and then he adds another one. I can feel sparks begin to build in my center and my body automatically clamps down on his fingers. He gently bites down on my clit, and the sparks explode from the center of my body outward. I scream out his name in ecstasy.

He is instantly hovering over my body, and he has brought my knees up with his arms; I can feel his cold hardness at my heated core, and realize somewhere along the way that he has shed his underwear. I am still in total bliss as his manhood starts to enter me. "That's it, Love. Take me into your luscious body. You belong to me now and I am yours. You are so tight, Love. Oh, you feel so good," he growls into my ear. He pauses when he reaches my barrier, but then with one swift thrust he bursts through it.

He kisses away the few tears that I shed and he remains still. I notice that his coolness is helping the pain subside quickly. So within a few seconds I thrust my hips up into him, signaling that it is alright for him to move. He gently begins to thrust into me and I wrap my legs around his waist. He places his hands on each side of my face and stares intently into my eyes. Even though no words are spoken, I feel as if I am getting plenty of information. He is letting me know that he loves me, he will never leave me, he will protect me, and finally that I am his and his alone.

His thrusts steadily build and the look of pure bliss and adoration crosses his face. His purrs turn to growls, which seem to turn me on even more. My grip on him tightens and I feel myself coming to completion a second time. He rises up and places my legs over his shoulders; the new position seems to be enough to send me over the edge, and he quickly follows with a growl saying, "Mine!" I feel the cold streams of his semen filling me and I have never felt surer about anything. I belong to this man and he belongs to me.

I may not know what the future holds, but I do know that we will face it together. There is a big world out there, and now I have the assurance that I will never have to face it alone. I would have never imaged that a trip of a lifetime would turn into finding a love of a lifetime. There is a lot to contemplate, but right now all I want to do is snuggle into the cool, strong arms of my love, my life, and my future.

A/N: Thanks for taking the time to read my story!