A/N Hey this is my first fic! I know right? I entered this in the "Spring Fever Contest" sponsored by the terrific KlrTwiLuver and Coachlady1. Go read their stuff, it is great. Project Team Beta provided me with the wonderful Melanie (mcsc2008) as first-run beta and itsange as second-run. They were so helpful. I really appreciate their input.
So, I came in FIRST PLACE! Yay!
I'm Diving In
Taking my first real dive, not involving scuba certification that is, was the most frightening thing I ever hoped to do. Why did I, Bella Swan, the most accident prone, danger magnet on the planet, agree to join in this crazy spring break adventure to Maui? Oh yeah, I would do anything to see Edward Cullen again.
Alice couldn't have gotten out of the rental SUV any faster if it were on fire and threatening to explode. "Isn't this exciting," she yelled as she jumped up and down clapping her hands. She proceeded to do a little dance in the beach parking lot, arms fully extended in the air, as Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie and I slowly followed.
It was still dark for Christ's sake. How could she have this much energy at five-thirty in the morning? (Yeah, yeah, it shouldn't feel quite that early with the time difference, but still.) We didn't even get coffee. (Bad for diving. 'Cause that's a diuretic don't you know, and we needed to keep hydrated.) Instead we had juice! (Yay!)
We didn't get to drink alcohol last night either because even if we thought we were sober this morning, any alcohol left in our bloodstream could expand once we descended and we could feel drunk again! (Ok, I could understand that a drunk diver would be a bad thing, but I still wanted some liquid courage.) This we had learned during our diving certification classes, what I liked to refer to as "How many ways you can die underwater" class. Who knew something like "lung expansion injury" even existed? But don't worry, that was easily avoided by the number one rule in diving: never hold your breath.
So, I was obsessed with breathing in and out deeply, afraid to pause for even a moment in case the expanding air would crush my lungs from the inside. I had nightmares of coughing up blood as I took my last dying breaths upon reaching the surface. That dream rotated with the one where I came to the surface too quickly and ended up with decompression sickness. Those dreams started after watching old reruns of Sea Hunt in black and white. Someone was always getting "the bends" on that show.
I took dive training with my closest friends, Alice, Rose, Emmett and Jasper, to prepare for our visit to see Edward in Hawaii. Everyone missed him. It was especially hard for Alice and Emmett to not see their brother regularly.
It was really hard for me, too. But since no one knew I had a crush on Edward, I was forced to hide the depth of my loss.
From the beginning, there were things I didn't like about scuba. The bubbles in my face were surprisingly distracting, and I hated the noise. I sounded like Darth Vader to myself as I heard the air coming from the regulator. I missed the quiet of snorkeling. But what I hated most was being the butt of everyone's jokes.
Emmett could hardly contain his laughter when he found out I was the first one to use most of the air in my tank, considering I was the second smallest person in our group and had limited lung capacity. When we all came to the surface, even with his massive chest, he still had a quarter of a tank left. Rose slapped him in that chest and then on the head after realizing he didn't even feel the first hit through his BCD vest filled with air.
While the BCD had protected him from Rose, it's real purpose was to allow a diver to descend or rise to the surface. The air in the vest was added or released as needed and was a counterbalance to the weight of the heavy equipment and the diver himself.
"Don't worry, Swan," Jasper had comforted me, "who cares if you breathe deeply? It's just nerves. The more comfortable you get, the more you will breathe normally. Ya know, this whole thing is going to be really fun, but it's still serious business."
I looked over at him and tried to give him an authentic smile as we floated at the surface with our gear on. I raised my mask to my forehead, wanting to look him straight in the eyes. "Do you really think I can do this?"
From the beginning of our group classes, I had lagged behind, having to be taken by the assistant master diver for one-on-one help, while the rest enjoyed some free time before we all continued to the next skill needed to pass our practical tests.
Carefree Alice, totally comfortable anywhere including in the water, had learned to blow bubble rings during this time. It's similar to a smoker blowing circles of smoke, but she had to take her regulator out of her mouth and let the air escape just so to allow the air to form a ring. It was really cool to watch it rise to the surface, expanding as the water pressure decreased. Me? I hated even taking the regulator out of my mouth. The regulator must be cleared of water before using it again. The first time I did this, I sucked in water and choked. Luckily we were on our knees in the shallow end of the pool, and I just stood up. This is when my "remedial" training began.
Before Jasper could respond to my question, I heard, "Are you in distress Isabella?" I hated that our teacher refused to call me Bella.
I looked over at Felix, and then to Jasper. "Huh?" I said. Jasper gestured at my mask with his eyes. I nodded in understanding and pulled my mask to my neck.
"Sorry," I fake smiled and waved. I rolled my eyes at Jazz. "This is such a stupid rule," I hissed through my teeth. "Everyone puts a mask on their forehead! This," I continued as I pulled at the mask, "is choking me."
A mask on the forehead of a scuba diver meant she was in distress and needed help. She was supposed to pull it down around her neck, or take it completely off. I guess my neck was not long enough since I always felt like it was strangling me. Or maybe it was the stress of learning to dive that made it hard for me to breathe. Either one. Previously, I had tried to just hold it as I made my way to the side of the pool but gave that up after dropping it twice. I then had to endure more humiliation while someone else retrieved it from the bottom of the twenty foot pool.
"You'll be fine," Jasper laughed as he side hugged me, "and this will be the most memorable spring break ever!"
The thoughts of our training swirled though my head. I had passed the written test with a hundred percent, of course, but still wasn't confident despite making it through our practical open water test with a pass.
It still seemed kind of extreme to die scuba diving just so I could spend my last moments near Edward. I'd never given much thought to how I would die. But dying in the place of someone I loved seemed like a good way to go. Dying participating in a dangerous sport that I'm not even that passionate about? Not so much.
But then I saw him, standing next to the boat launch in the predawn light, looking down at a clipboard. His shoulders looked wider than the last time I had seen him, over ten months ago. He wore shorts that hung past his knees and a long-sleeved t-shirt that looked worn and thin. At that moment, the first rays of dawn slipped into the sky, and Edward looked unworldly, maybe even glowing.
Someone called to our group to sign release forms and get our wetsuits. I lagged behind, still staring at Edward. As if he could feel me looking at him, his eyes moved up to see me. He gave me a wide, slightly crooked smile and gave the "man greeting," raising his chin in acknowledgement. I broke into a wide smile and felt my cheeks flush. Yeah, this was totally worth it. Die happy! This was my new motto!
Edward started crossing the parking lot toward me. If this were a movie, he would have been slightly in slow motion, cool music playing in the background and this clip would be seen and replayed by fans repeatedly. I realized too late that I was still staring and Edward was now standing right in front of me.
He gave me a smirk and pulled me into a gentle but firm hug. "Bella," he breathed next to my ear. "It's been too long."
Hmm, no kidding. I was so desperate to see you again I flew across the Pacific after finally finding an acceptable excuse.
"Don't remind me." I pulled back to look at his face carefully, memorizing the changes-the new tan, a few freckles on his cheeks, the small spots on his nose that had peeled from a sunburn.
"Are you ever going back to Dartmouth, or are you staying here?" The thought of him here, so far from Washington, made me ache. When he was in school, he visited regularly. After staying in Maui and being estranged from his parents, Edward never came home.
His eyes darkened and he let his arms drop to his sides. I regretted asking immediately. "Did Carlisle send you to interrogate me? Stupid me, thinking you were here for a fun vacation."
"No! He didn't..." I sputtered and tried to find words. Fuck. I looked down and fidgeted with my fingers. "I was just wondering," I whispered. "We all miss you."
He nodded and looked down, moving his hand through his unruly hair. As I watched him do this, I was struck by how it caused me pain. It had been so long since I had seen this simple habit, since I was in his presence.
"Yeah well, sorry," Edward said uncomfortably. I didn't know he could be uncomfortable. He was always so self-assured, so in control of his life. "We can talk later. We've got to get ready and loaded into the boat now."
What else could I say? Let's forget about this dive and go talk like best friends, just you and me? Let's blow off everyone else? Instead, I walked toward the boat, toward my friends who were already there, chatting happily and gathering around Edward.
The ride to our dive site, Molokini Crater, was only about thirty minutes. Off the coast of Maui, it stuck halfway out of the water, looking like a crescent new moon. It was one of the top dive sites because the crater protected the water from currents, so vegetation and sea life was abundant, and the visibility was great.
The boat ride over was exhilarating and beautiful with the sun reflecting off the sea. Too bad we were distracted with last minute instructions by Irina the dive shop owner, who was joining us. She would lead our party, and Edward would be in the rear, thus making sure no one strayed from the group. (Thoughts of the film "Open Water" came to me. Stupid Emmett thought it would be fun to rent this and have a watch party before our trip. Idiot.)
We were each paired up with our "dive buddy." I tried not to show how thrilled I was to have Edward and gave him a shy smile. Since everyone else was part of a couple, I could have anticipated it, but it also would've been my luck to end up with that bitch, Irina.
Ok, I really didn't know if she was a bitch. I just hated her for hiring Edward. He had come here for summer school to continue his fast track in pre-med, hoping to enjoy some free time on the beach. Only, he didn't go back the following fall.
I remembered Alice crying on the phone in our shared dorm room as her brother Emmett told her how their parents had screamed and yelled at Edward over the phone when he told them he was taking time off from school. Always the procrastinator, Emmett was still at the house in Forks when this had happened. Alice and I had moved into our dorm the moment they were open, so we were already at U-Dub.
We all heard about the big confrontation later, drinking shots of tequila and trying not to cry, as Em detailed how Dr. Cullen had flown to Maui and argued with Edward. He cut him off from all financial support, vowing to figure out some way to take away his trust fund too, which their grandparents had left for each child. They didn't have access to the money until they turned thirty anyway, so Edward had nothing except what had been left in his bank account. I guess Carlisle was afraid he would still be there when his trust fund kicked in.
Edward started to work full time leading tourists on dives and moved into a spare room at Irina's home since he could no longer afford a place on his own. Bitch. Yeah, that's why I hated her. Edward was living with her, and I couldn't stop myself from imagining their relationship taking on a sexual nature, too. Even though she was at an unidentifiable older age (Thirties? Forties? Not fifty, surely!) she was classically gorgeous, long and lean, and perfectly tan. I had noticed how she behaved with such familiarity around him and how her touches seemed almost intimate. How could he resist her?
I was startled from my reverie by Seth, another helper on the boat. "This is your tank," he said. "It has the smaller female BCD." I looked at the vest-like equipment attached to the tank of air, allowing my fingers to follow the mouthpiece hoses up to where they were attached to the tank. One was the main devise; the other, nicknamed an octopus, was a secondary hose to share with another diver in case of emergency.
"Will you make sure I have this connected right?" I asked.
He smiled warmly. "Already done. I know most places make you do your own equipment. But, don't worry, this is like valet diving. We do everything for you. All you have to do is put it on and go in the water." Yeah, that's all.
"We're almost there. You better start putting on your wetsuits," Irina called over her shoulder from the front of the boat where she drove.
I froze but then instantly relaxed as I felt a hand caress my hip. "If you need help putting that on, just let me know," Edward whispered into my ear. He then continued to move past each person commenting to each in turn. The words he spoke to them were louder and generic. "Go ahead and put on your dive shoes, too," or, "We have drops to keep your mask from fogging up if you don't have any with you," and, "Be sure to drink water and keep hydrated."
What did Edward mean by that comment to me? In all the years I've known him, I'd never really been sure of our relationship. Yes, we were best friends, closer to each other than to anyone else in our gang, but I sometimes thought Edward wanted more. Then, just when I thought he would take it to the next level, he would pull back.
Edward turned, and our eyes locked on each other from across the deck. What was his expression? Was it longing? I felt myself blush and grow weak. Damn him. I could feel the desire ignite deep inside me. He had to know he did this to me. I bent over to pick up my gear. Hmmm ... wetsuit indeed. I guess that was appropriate.
Edward helped steady me on one leg as I put on a fin. For me, this would be difficult on dry land - let alone attempting it on an anchored boat moving with the ocean - with a heavy tank on my back to throw off my balance.
"Ready?" he asked as I finally pulled the strap in place.
I nodded. Ok, mask on, hand covering it and the regulator in my mouth. Now, take the giant step into the ocean. Deep breath. Take the giant step. Giant step. Shit, I was still on the boat.
"Something wrong?" Seth asked.
I shook my head no and automatically tried to smile even though he couldn't really see my mouth.
When we learned how to enter the water with our equipment, Felix mentioned how important it was to step way out so that our tank wouldn't hit the edge of the pool and in turn, hit our heads and knock us out. Swell. Even getting in the water was risky. It was aptly named the giant step.
I closed my eyes and stepped off the boat's platform with what I hoped was the biggest God damn step there ever was. Shocking cold assaulted every part of my exposed skin. Even though the water was a comfortable temperature, it was a jolt after sweating in a wetsuit in the warm Hawaiian sun, burdened with equipment and my nerves as I waited for my turn.
The air in my BCD vest brought me to the surface immediately, and I gave the required ok sign to the others. Edward was immediately at my side, and the signal, a thumbs-down, was given for the whole group to descend. This action always made me think of the Romans who gave a thumbs-down to the Christians, who were then killed. I hoped this wouldn't be an omen.
The ocean, at the surface, was always more turbulent than it looked. Just small waves caused us to move around more than expected. It was a reminder of how powerful the sea really is. I raised the release button attached to my vest and pressed it deflating the vest slightly and allowing me to descend into the water.
I submerged, and something was wrong. Water was leaking into my mask. I hadn't secured it to my face properly. Shit! I added air back into my vest and returned to the surface. Crap. I pulled at my mask and moved my thick hair away from my forehead, away from the mask. This has been a problem in the past, without a proper seal, water seeped into the space where my hair got caught at the mask's edge.
I adjusted the mask, sucked in through my nose and created a strong seal. Just then, Edward appeared at the surface next to me.
"Hey, girlfriend," he said easily, charmingly, and I instantly relaxed. "Whatcha doing?" He nodded toward the water and said, "Come on; let's go."
I know he used the word "girlfriend" casually, the way Rose or Alice would say it to me. Still, the longing was there. I wished I was his real girlfriend.
I smiled and followed him, descending into the water. Here, with him, my fear disappeared. It's unbelievably beautiful! The water was so clear that I could see forever. They said it was one-hundred-plus visibility. The rest of the group was far below us, their bubbles rising around us. We continued to descend slowly following the rope connecting the boat to the anchor below, clearing our ears periodically.
My worry of doing this was gone. If I were above the water, my jaw would drop in wonder at the beauty down here. But, since I didn't want to drown, I kept it firmly clenched around my breathing regulator.
Edward tapped me and gave me an ok sign. He was asking me if I was ok, not telling me he was. I returned an ok. He brought his DVD camera up from where it was dangling by a cord, and started to tape me. I gave an exaggerated eye roll that I thought he could decipher even with my mask on.
I waved, wanting to do whatever Edward wanted. He then gave a motion with both hands, index fingers sliding next to each other. It's supposed to look like two swimmers moving in the same direction. I nodded as I mimicked the sign and began swimming next to him towards the group.
I felt the excitement of everyone. Rose pointed to the fish that were amazing in shape and color. Long, skinny vibrant blue fish were everywhere. Others were bright yellow and fat. The coral swayed gently in the slight current.
Alice was taking pictures constantly with her underwater camera. It's surprising how the sound of the click carried so far. We continued like this, reveling in the world around us, and Edward got plenty of video of us all.
Eventually, we gathered as a group. Irina motioned us toward a rock and pointed to the area beneath an overhang. A small shark was, I don't know, sleeping? He wasn't swimming but just kind of laid there, swaying a bit in the water. I was sure I would freak out if I saw a shark, but I was not afraid. It's really cool.
We moved on. You could tell we're getting pretty comfortable with this scuba thing. Even my breathing seemed more relaxed. This reminded me to check my air tank. We were at seventy-five feet, and at this depth, air was used up more quickly due to the increase in pressure. I've used about a third of a tank. That's good. We needed to turn around at half a tank, at the latest.
I swam and enjoyed the beauty of the ocean. The "Darth Vader" noise didn't seem to bother me anymore. It's like ignoring the sound of people talking in a crowded room. I tuned it out and just took pleasure in swimming.
Irina gestured to everyone, trying to gather us for a group picture. I laughed to myself at how relatively easy it was to understand each other down here using our hands and pre-established signals. The dive masters had slates they could write on if they had to, but I hadn't seen them use them yet.
We positioned ourselves close together, adding or releasing air from our BCDs so we could stay near each other, trying to find equilibrium. This was supposed to be one of the hardest things to do as a new diver, according to our teacher back in Seattle. From how we were hovering and adjusting ourselves awkwardly, I think he must have been right. Nevertheless, Irina got several photos and video, which she took from Edward so that he could be filmed with us, and I felt like this was one of the best moments I would ever have in my life.
Irina gestured for us to continue, and the others followed her direction. I waited for Edward as he reclaimed the camera. I knew he was supposed to stay at the back of our group.
Alice and Jasper were still with us as he tried to take photos of her bubble rings. Even Edward wanted video as we watched the air rings expand as they ascended.
Jasper made a sudden movement to change his stance from his upright photo-taking posture to stretch into a prone swimming position. He was next to me, slightly higher, and as he kicked to move away, fear griped me as I watch his fin smack me in the face. My mask was nudged, and the watertight seal released and let in some water. I moved my hand to hold my mask in place and stopped the leak, eyes wide as I watched the water slosh in my mask. As his fin moved back down continuing the kicking motion, it caught on the hose leading to my regulator and pulled it out of my mouth.
Oh no! My arms flailed looking for it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered practicing making a slow sweeping motion with my arm to catch the hose and bring the air back to my mouth, but my body didn't seem to remember that, and I was terrified, moving without purpose.
I had to get to the surface! It was the only thought I had, but I was frozen with fear. I began to kick, but I didn't move more than a couple of feet when I felt myself being held. I looked at the hands gripping my thigh. It's Edward! What the hell was he doing? Couldn't he see I was in trouble?
In an instant, we were eye level, and a regulator was being thrust near my mouth. Air! I grabbed it and did a poor job of clearing it of water. I started breathing and choked as I took some of the sea into my lungs along with the air. I wanted to take it out and cough, but I wanted to keep it there too. I felt myself slipping into a state of horror, not knowing what to do. I still wanted to burst to the surface. Tears slipped over my lashes, as if I needed more water in my mask.
Then I felt Edward. He was so close our masks almost touched. He had one hand firmly on my regulator as kept it in my mouth despite my coughing. The other was on the side of my head. I finally looked past the mask and into his eyes. His look was steady and serious, and I could feel it reach every part of my body. His hand moved gently against my face. He tried to soothe me.
It worked. I no longer gasped even if I still took in air rapidly. I only coughed occasionally.
Edward held out the slate to me. On it was written "breathe." He pointed, and we started to slowly move back towards the anchor. I kicked and hit his leg with my knee. We were too close. He placed a hand on my leg and shook his head no. He tapped his chest so I knew now that I was just along for the ride. He would bring me back safely. His kicks were steady and slow, and they brushed against my legs gently. It's embarrassing how enjoyable this was. At least this distracted me from my previous panic.
He looked at his dive computer thoughtfully and then removed his regulator. I was stunned by how calm he was, so unafraid. He then took my octopus and used that. Of course, with both of us breathing from one tank, our air was depleting too rapidly. It's because I was still breathing heavily.
We were connected to each other as we used each other's tanks. He hovered above me, slowly swimming, and I relished the position we were in. It was sexy. Unfortunately, this did not help my breathing regulate. I thought it increased!
We arrived at the anchor rope and started to ascend. When we got close to the surface, at maybe twenty feet, Edward taped his watch and put up three fingers. Ugh! I knew we were supposed to do this "safety stop," but I was so ready to leave the water. I nodded reluctantly and tried to focus on relaxing.
Edward seemed upset. I saw his eyes closed and his hands in fists. I don't understand. I thought we were past the crisis? I touched his cheek, and he opened his eyes. They were full of emotion. He grabbed me and held me close. (Ok, as close as you can be with all the gear on.) But he held me tight and didn't let up on this hug. We stayed that way, his hands moving to caress me. It could have been a second or an hour, but I guess it was three minutes because Edward released me and gestured to ascend to the surface.
As soon as I could, I grabbed my mask, and pushed it to my forehead. I childishly enjoyed that I was allowed to do this 'cause damn it I was in distress! I felt my lungs struggling to fill as I gasped for air. I don't know why I was doing this; I guess I was relieved to be alive.
"Oh hey. Sorry, I thought you'd be a bit longer," Seth said from the boat, turning to look at us. He looked like he was just sunning himself. "Let me help you ..." His voice trailed off, and his eyes widened.
"What happened?" He saw that we were using each other's reserve regulators. They were easy to spot since they were a bright orange and not the usual black.
"She's Ok. She got her regulator knocked out of her mouth and got a little nervous," Edward said.
"Hah!" I gasped. "I fucking panicked." I started pulling off gear and tossing it angrily into the boat. I tugged at the fin straps, trying to stay on the ladder that kept moving with the waves.
"Get off, you stupid ..." I burst into tears.
"Calm down. You're ok," Edward whispered to me, but he was emotional. His fingers replaced mine and easily released the fancy fin button, and handed them to Seth. He got the vest unhooked too, and I've never been so glad to be rid of the heavy gear.
I sat on the first bench I found, my elbows leaning on my knees. Edward was there in a moment. Gosh, he got his gear off fast. He grabbed me and pulled me into his lap, hugging me.
"I hate diving! I never wanted to do this in the first place," I cried.
Edward pulled away and looked at me. Oops.
"Why did you do this then?" he said evenly.
I looked down and mumble, "Uh, well, everyone was doing it." It sounded stupid even to me.
His eyes were flashing with anger. "So this is what? Peer pressure?" he hissed. "If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?" His voice rose in volume.
"Um, maybe," I murmured, looking at my fingers in my lap.
He had one hand pulling through his hair. "I can't believe this! I have never met anyone more prone to life-threatening idiocy." He looked at me, his eyes wild. "If anything had happened to you ..." Then he did the last thing I would have imagined.
He grabbed me and kissed me. Hard. His lips were like heaven as he pressed to mine urgently, and I kissed him back deeply. All the times I imagined doing this paled in comparison. Apparently, I had a really shitty imagination. Or maybe I just never could have guessed at what bliss this would be.
We separated for a moment to gasp for air. This whole trouble breathing thing seemed to be a theme today.
But then we're startled from our embrace by a loud yell. "Whoa! That was great!" Oh no, Emmett! I stand up quickly. Thankfully, he seemed to be referring to the dive, not our kiss.
"Hey Swan, get low on air again?" he guffawed. In just a few seconds, everyone was floating around the ladder, talking excitedly. "Had to come back early?"
Edward stalked over to the edge of the boat. "Shut up, Emmett."
Em's face fell as he noticed Edward's anger and then my tear-stained face. "What happened?" he asked, full of concern.
"Nothing, I'm fine," I lied.
I endured worried concern from everyone and tried to downplay what happened as I was gathered in repeated hugs. Edward stayed on the periphery, watching me. Thankfully, he didn't contradict my watered-down version of the story.
Rose stood in front of me, and grasped my shoulders. "We'll just head back to shore and skip the second dive. We all agreed."
"What? No! That's where the huge turtles are." I looked around from face to face. "Seriously, I'm fine. I'll just stay up here and relax on the boat. Please, please don't let me ruin this for you," I pleaded.
I sat watching the divers go into the water. I was surprised to see that Seth was going on the second dive, Edward elected to stay with me. Everyone thought that was really sweet of him. Except Seth. He gave a sly, knowing smile, wagging his eyebrows at us before he lowered his mask and jumped in. Yeah, he saw that kiss.
That kiss. I had been thinking about it to the point of distraction. No one had ever kissed me like that. I was no prude. I'd been kissed. I'd had sex with a couple of guys. But that kiss was amazing, better than sex, even. Every nerve in my body had exploded.
Edward turned towards me as the last of the divers disappeared under the surface. He walked over and pulled me up to him from where I was sitting. He held me close.
"I'm tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella." His eyes were gloriously intense as he uttered this.
"Then don't." I placed my hands on either side of his head and pulled him to my mouth. He moaned, parted his lips and began to search my mouth with his tongue. He tasted wonderful. I shamelessly pushed my body to his so that there was nothing between us. Edward was hard! Oh my God.
My hips pushed toward his, and my head fell back, eyes closed as I savored the feeling. He started to trail open-mouthed kisses down my neck. "Bella," he whispered into my skin. He put one hand behind my head and pulled it back to him, kissing me with desperation.
Then he stopped kissing me, and said, "I thought I lost you." I could barely hear him as he spoke softly. Then his eyes squeezed shut, his face contorted in pain, and a sob broke out of him.
"Open your eyes; look at me. I'm alive." I lifted his face with my hands. "You saved me, Edward."
He looked at me, sadness etched in his face, "I've wanted to be with you for so long. If you'd have drowned, I never would have had the chance."
What? "You wanted me?" I looked at him, trying to be sure I heard his words correctly. "Then why didn't you ever ... " I didn't know how to finish the sentence.
He was full of sorrow. "When you moved to Forks, I was dating Tanya. By the time we broke up, you were dating Mike. After your post-prom breakup with him, it was ... I don't know ... too late?"
"Too late?" I asked. "To date?"
"I knew I was going to Dartmouth in just a few months. I know long-distance relationships don't stand much of a chance." He hung his head and continued so softly I could barely hear him, "I couldn't stand it if you broke up with me, Bella."
"So you didn't date me 'cause I might break up with you?" I yelled. "At some unknown time in the future?"
"It sounds really stupid now when you say it out loud."
I wanted to stay angry with him. I wanted to scream and yell. But what I kept coming back to was this; he had wanted to be with me for years. I stared at him with all these thoughts running through my head. I shook my head slowly. "How can someone so smart be so dumb?"
"Please forgive me, Bella," he pleaded. He held my face gently, like I was breakable, and I couldn't take it anymore. I threw myself at him, kissing and pulling him closer. He stumbled backwards, stopping against the center area where the empty tanks were strapped down.
I placed my open palms against his chest as I kissed him again. His muscles were hard and strong. I've never really had the chance to feel him like this before. Maybe my dive scare made me brave; maybe Edward had made me bold. For whatever reason, I reached back with one hand and untied the string on my bikini top at the back of my neck. Still damp, it fell easily, and I hugged him, and relished the feel of our bare chests against each other.
Edward groaned, "Oh God," and bent down to envelope my nipple with his mouth. His hand was on my other breast, palming and gently rubbing it.
"Aghh," escaped me, and I was lost in my desire for Edward. I wanted him so badly. I gripped the tie at my hip and allowed my bikini bottom to fall at my feet.
"Bella, your killing me," he moaned as his hand moved between my legs. "Ugh, this is too fast," he said with a hoarse voice.
"No ... please don't stop," I murmured. He looked at me and moved a finger, feeling how slick I was. I gasped and pushed my hips toward him. His mouth found mine, and we were insatiable. He started to pulse his finger where I needed it until I screamed and my legs gave way, shaking, but Edward kept me steady with his arm around my waist.
When I regained my equilibrium, I reached down to his waistband and pulled down. His erection escaped, hard and pulsed against me. I hitched one leg up to his hip, opening myself to him.
"Bella, we have to stop."
What? I looked at him incredulously.
"Our first time should be romantic, not on a bench." He closed his eyes, trying to regain his self-control. "We haven't even gone out on a date, baby."
"We've been best friends for years, Edward." Kiss. "I think a boat in Hawaii sounds romantic." Kiss. "I want you," I pleaded. "Besides, the bench has a pad." I smirked as I backed up to the bench and pulled him down on top of me.
He held himself, slightly above me, groaned and dropped down, but then froze. "Shit, I don't have a condom."
"I'm on the pill," I said quickly. "I've never had sex without a condom; I've got to be clean."
He paused as he took in this information. "I am, too," he said, his voice husky with lust. "I've never done it bare."
I pulled him down, and he gave up his resistance. He positioned himself at my entrance, and pushed in slowly.
The feeling was unbelievable. Sex had never felt like this for me.
"Bella, you feel so good," he gasped and pushed until he was fully sheathed. He pulled almost all the way out, and we both moaned as he entered me again. This motion continued in harmony with the movement of the boat as it rocked from the waves. He continued to caress me, moving from my thigh to my hip. His other hand gripped the edge of the wooden bench, keeping us steady. This made it so different from any other time I've had sex.
Our movement increased, and I felt myself tensing. He entwined his fingers with mine and brought our hands above my head, then trailed kisses from my jaw to my ear. "At last," he said huskily.
I yelled as I found release, and Edward soon followed, collapsing onto me. We were slick with sweat, and he smelled incredibly sexy, like the ocean. Every previous experience I'd had paled in comparison.
Edward began to kiss up my collarbone towards my neck. "You're amazing. I can't believe I waited so long for you." He sat up and brought me up along with him. "We need to get dressed; I have no idea how long they've been gone. You made me lose track of time."
We found our swimsuits and dressed. I smiled shyly. Where do we go from here, I wonder? Will things be weird now?
He walked up behind me and slipped his arms around me. "Bella," he breathes, "You're here. You're alive. You're everything to me ... everything."
"Edward," I said and smiled to myself, "I'm happy to be alive but am even happier that we found each other." I turned around in his arms to face him, and my smile turned sad. "Where do we go from here?"
He lifted me and swung me around. "I'll jump into this relationship with you." He smiled and kissed me deeply again.
"Really?" I looked at him and felt like I could breathe easily for the first time ever. "Well, I'm diving in!" I grabbed his hand and pulled him to the edge of the boat. We looked at each other and did just that.
The ocean I previously hated, now felt wonderfully cool and inviting as it cradled us. Edward pulled me to him, and I held him with my arms at his neck and my legs wrapped around his hips.
"Best spring break ever!" I laughed. And we spent the rest of the time waiting for the divers like that, laughing and kissing.
However, I still wondered what the future would bring for us. Would Edward return to school? Should I stay in Seattle?
As I looked into his sea green eyes, I knew we would figure out something.
I would love to hear your feedback. Especially regarding the diving sequences. I wanted to include actual dive terms but hope I did not confuse someone who is unfamiliar with the sport.
Yeah, I do dive. My learning experience was similar to Bella's, without the major incident. (Just some minor ones.) Molokini crater was GREAT!