A/N: This is a collaboration that I did with shpwhitney, for the TwiGirlsNextDoor School's Out For Summer contest. We not only won 3rd place in the public vote, but won one of the two judges' choice awards. We are very honored, thank you for all that read and voted.
Make sure to check out all the entries: www . fanfiction . net / u / 2898946 / schoolsout4summer
shpwhitney wrote BPOV and I wrote APOV
Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters are property of Stephenie Meyer. This story is in no way an attempt at copyright infringement. This story and all plot lines therein are the property of Shpwhitney and Chartwilightmom.
Brief Summary: Bella and Alice embark on a journey across the country after graduating high school where adventure awaits them. Each new destination is decided by the people they meet along their trip, finding fun, friends and a little romance along the way.
Once upon a time there were two girls.
Yeah, so I'm one of them, but whatever, I'm telling the story anyway.
They graduated from high school with dreams of college a few months away. After waiting those endless, long, summer days, sitting at home and working some dead-end jobs, they decided to pack up and drive across country to see the sights with one month to go before starting their college careers. They had hopes and dreams with this adventure they were about to start. And just possibly, they'd have some fun.
Now that the words are on the page, I write my little signature at the bottom of the page on my first entry before closing my new journal. Placing it in my bag, I zip up and sling it on my shoulder and walk the ten steps from my bed to the door. I turn one last time to take a look at the room that I've spent growing up in, and the next time I will see it will be Christmas, when Bella and I return home for the holiday break.
My phone buzzes in my pocket, and I pull it out and smile.
The text message on my phone from my best friend Bella alerts me that she is leaving her house and will be here in a few minutes.
Yeah, I already know you are on your way, Bella.
I tend to know a lot of things before they will happen, but I normally keep that to myself, not sure how kindly people would take to being told what is about to happen. But Bella knows and tends to ignore my, um, gift?
Anyway, so, Bella.
Isabella Marie Swan is my best friend. We have been best friends since our first day in kindergarten. I knew the moment before I saw her that she would forever be a part of my life. And here we are years later, graduated from high school and on our way to college.
Bella is going to be attending NYU, and I'm not too far away at Parsons. We decided, instead of rushing across the country to get to our respected schools, with our parents in tow no less, to take a month to see the sights that our country has to offer.
Now, like I said, I have this tendency to know what is going to happen before things do.
I know that we will have four major stops before arriving in New York.
I know that we will meet new and interesting people.
I know that both of our lives will be altered forever.
Now that last one—I'm not sure all the details, but I just know that where we go will lead us to this life-changing event. It should scare me, not knowing exactly what this big change will be, but it doesn't. It makes me feel right.
I head downstairs, only to find my mom waiting by the front door, staring at my luggage and a few boxes that I'm taking with me.
"Mom," I quietly say.
She looks to me, her eyes welling with moisture.
"Oh, Mary Alice," she sniffs. "I'm so proud of you."
I rush to her and hug her tight, fighting back my own tears that threaten to escape.
A few whispered words of wisdom, some peppered kisses and staring deep into my eyes, and my mom releases me as Bella's horn blows from the driveway.
"Let me help you load your stuff."
My mom and I load what I have into the back of Bella's graduation present from her mom and dad, a 2008 Nissan Xterra. Seeing that she got a full scholarship to NYU, her parents took her college savings and got her a reliable mode of transportation.
After my mom's almost breaking down hugging Bella, we finally set off. Minutes after passing the town limit of Forks, I whip out our map.
"I had this thought about our trip. Let people that we meet along the way point us to our next destination," I tell Bella.
"Oh, really," she teases. Bella just prefers to let things flow with me most of the time. One of the benefits of being my bestie, I've always got your back.
"Yeah, so I was talking to Emmett the other day, and he said that we have to start out in Seattle."
"Well, I know that he is your cousin and all, but why did you ask him advice?" Bella has never cared for Emmett. Not so much because he is a jock and plays football, but more so because of his romance with Bella's cousin Rosalie.
Bella and Rosalie don't exactly see eye-to-eye. And that is not a reference to Bella's short stature. Not that I can say anything myself; after all, I'm an inch shorter than she is.
"He lives there, he knows the place, and we have never really explored Seattle before," I whine.
Bella huffs before speaking. "So where did the sultan suggest we go in Seattle?"
From the look on Bella's face, I know immediately that I need to explain, so I spend the next thirty minutes telling her all about this tour. Ever since Emmett told me about his tour I've known it was a place I wanted to go. The Underground Tour is a guided tour of Seattle's underground and red light district that made Seattle what it is today.
As I explain some of the things that we would see, Bella's face starts to soften, and I can see in her eyes that her interest is piqued.
"Okay, you sold me."
"Good, 'cause I already bought tickets for tomorrow!" I yell and then start giggling.
Bella laughs along with me as we make our way towards Seattle.
Several hours later, we find a hotel room to check into and call our parents to let them know where we are before showering and getting ready check out Seattle.
The next evening, we are dressed in jeans, nice sweaters and comfortable shoes as we take a taxi to Pioneer Square and find the entrance for the tour. After retrieving our tickets from the call booth, we enter and sit at the bar at the Underground Café to grab a quick bite to eat.
As we are sitting there waiting on our food, the bartender asks us what cocktail we would like. "Jack and Cokes please," I sweetly tell, smiling the whole time.
I turn and see Bella giving me this look, and I know what she is thinking.
"Alice," she hisses under her breath as we watch the bartender fix our drinks.
"Bella," I hiss back. "Don't worry." The thing with this tour is that you are supposed be twenty-one or over and the tickets include cocktails. I figured we could show up and see if they card us. Lucky for us, we look older than we really are.
After eating and sipping on our cocktails, the tour is ready to start. The bartender fixes us a to-go cup each, and we follow the group.
During the tour we learn about how the Underground was created and the hard work that went into preserving it and restoring it, as well as having it designated a historic landmark. The people that created Seattle started here, the working class, the businesses, even the madams and criminals. By the end of the tour, we both were fascinated with the history, as well as somewhat tipsy.
After the tour both Bella and I felt that nice, warm buzz that we received from the couple of cocktails that we drank. We aren't strangers to drinking, but we both know that we have low tolerances and when to stop drinking.
My warm face is assaulted with the wet and cool air of the surface as we leave the Underground. Reaching the sidewalk, we start walking towards Pike's Market when I see a neon sign that calls to me.
"Tattoos and piercings," I mumble.
"What?" Bella asks.
"Bella, come on!" I exclaim, grab her hand and dart across the street.
When we are in front of the store, I turn to her and take both of her hands in mine. "We need to get our belly buttons pierced."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, remember, this is an adventure. And we've talked about doing this before. Remember our freshman year?"
I know Bella is thinking back to our freshman year of high school. Emmett and Rosalie were seniors. After spring break they returned from a road trip to Arizona, and Rosalie was sporting a new and shiny belly piercing. Since that day, we've talked about getting one; it looked so cool on her.
Bella sighs and studies what we can see in the window. I give her a moment and watch as she takes a deep breath. "Okay. Let's do this."
Thirty minutes later, we find ourselves in the back of the shop in an enclosed room, the piercing room. Aro, the guy in the room who will be piercing us—well, there is only one word for him: creepy. He is taller than the two of us, lean and very pale—like, gothic pale with long black hair that looks so greasy that he can't have seen a bottle of shampoo for a month.
If I had known that we would encounter such an odd person, I would have pulled us to another shop. I should be worried with the grin that he has been sporting ever since we walked in and the luring and creepy way that he has been looking at Bella, but when he offered us a two-for-one piercing deal, I couldn't say no.
Sue me; I like to bargain shop.
I make Bella go first and sit on one side of the table, holding her hand as we watch Aro prepare his equipment. My body shivers when I see him lick his lips when Bella raises her sweater and wiggles her jeans down, revealing her smooth stomach.
Ew, fucking ew. As if she would ever. Ew.
Then after Bella, letting a tear or two fall, it's my turn. Instead of being petrified of what is about to happen, I spaz out with the liquid courage in me and start talking a mile a minute.
"Yeah, we just finished the Underground Tour, and it was awesome, and to believe the cool things that used to be in this city and everyone that lived here and how Seattle has grown then? Yeah. But now we are on our way across the country for college, and we have so many plans, but need to figure out where to go next 'cause we planned to do this trip, but decided to have people along the way tell us next where to go, and here we are getting our belly buttons pierced, and ouch!"
I look down and there, dangling from my belly button, is a shiny hook with a dangle coming down from it, a glossy black guitar with rhinestones in it. I finger it, not really knowing why, only that it is the right one for me.
"You should go to Yellowstone," Aro says with no emotion.
"Wyoming?" Bella and I ask at the same time, turning to look at each other's shocked faces.
"Yeah, I grew up there. It's a beautiful place, peaceful." Aro gives us both a soft smile and starts to clean up his tools. "I recommend Casper, nice town, quite."
I hold back a snicker, hearing the voice in my head that instantly associates Casper with the character and Aro with his paleness.
Capser, the friendly ghost.
The next morning we check out of our hotel and hit the road towards Wyoming. With over a twelve-hour drive ahead of us, we decide to split the driving, so we can spend more time exploring Yellowstone.
It's mid-afternoon when we arrive in Casper. During our long journey here I research on my phone places to stay, picking a quiet little bed-and-breakfast for us. I was even happier to find out when I called to make our reservation that they didn't have any guests at the moment and weren't expecting any for the next two weeks, so they offered us each our own room since we would be the only guests.
Pulling up to Casper Mountain's Bed and Breakfast, the house looks just like any regular house, except that it is alone with no neighbors in sight.
Before even exiting the Xterra, the owners are out the front door and approaching us.
"You must be Bella and Alice," the older man says, extending his hand in greeting. "I'm Peter Kauffman and this is my wife Charlotte."
A few hours later, after a quick nap and a well-deserved shower, we make our way into town to get some dinner. Grabbing flyers on Yellowstone, we map out some sights to see as well as find a horse riding tour of parts of the park.
We spend the next three days exploring and resting. I've never seen such beautiful sights before. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, everything is so green and lush, the vegetation almost dripping with moisture.
But with Yellowstone, everything is a mixture of greens and browns, giving more earth tones to the canvas around us. We see wildlife and sunsets, both Bella and myself reflecting on our lives up to this point. Somehow we make this part of our trip meaningful and reflective.
On the morning of our checkout, we still haven't talked to anyone that offered an interesting destination for us to go. Sitting at breakfast, we are joined by Charlotte and Peter who have let us come and go as we please.
They learned from the small interactions with us that we are college bound and are taking this month before school to see the sights of our country.
"Where are you ladies headed next?" Charlotte asks in a motherly tone.
"We have to be in New York by the end of the month, but we aren't sure where to visit next," Bella explains.
"We made the decision before we left home to ask people and get suggestions on where to visit," I add.
"Peter has lived all over this country. Dear, where do you suggest they go?"
"Make your way through South Dakota," he suggests. "And make a stop in Mitchell and eat something at the Depot Pub and Grill."
As I sit behind the steering wheel of my truck with my best friend passed out asleep in the passenger seat, snoring lightly—although she'd never admit to it—I can't help but be equal parts surprised and elated by how amazing our trip has been so far.
The things that Alice and I have done and the places we've seen in just this past week has been more than I'd done previously in my whole lifetime! Although I'm not a homebody or recluse by any stretch of the imagination, I certainly wouldn't be described as daring or adventurous. However, there is something about this trip and this time with Alice that makes me want to be bold and really start living.
I guess the little pixie is starting to rub off on me after all these years.
After Peter and Charlotte suggested we head into South Dakota and to the Depot Pub and Grill, Alice immediately looked up the address on my GPS and tried to find details on the place on her iPhone. We found out that it was originally a depot for train passengers and freights that had been renovated, and we both thought it would be a cool place to check out along our journey.
Since we weren't in a rush, we stopped in northwestern South Dakota and went to some of the Dakota grasslands. From the moment we stepped out of the truck to the time we climbed back in and continued our journey, I was in awe. Yellowstone was beautiful, but there was something about the tall prairie grass and the rolling hills that just took my breath away. Up until that point, I hadn't even though about using the journal that Alice suggested I use to document our journey, but I had to write about how amazing that experience had been.
After a few hours of driving to our destination, we both grew a little loopy from our increasing exhaustion and decided to find lodging for the night. However, excitement and a local coffee shop had us both wide awake at the crack of dawn, and after partaking in the continental breakfast provided at the inn where we spent the night, we were back on the road.
"Alice, wake up. We're here," I state as we pull up to the Depot. Even though we are still outside, I can tell that this place is going to be interesting. If the noise and people merrily spilling out the doors is any indication, we are in for some fun and entertainment.
"Thank goodness! I'm soooo hungry," Alice exaggeratedly groans out as she literally spills from the car.
As we walk into the place we are immediately greeted with a wave of noise off to the left.
"It sounds like these people know how to have a good time!" Alice calls out as she starts to walk over to investigate the cause of the ruckus with me following her.
Once we get through the people congregated around the bar, we find that the noise is coming from a rather rowdy game of pool that is taking place.
There are a bunch of people watching the game, but at the center of the scene are two men who looked very similar and dressed alike, so I assume it's a game between two friends or relatives. They are both tall and muscular with rust colored skin and jet black hair, cut short. They are wearing jeans, t-shirts, and black leather jackets. Off to the side but more central than the other spectators is a man who is shorter and appears somewhat younger, but it's clear he's associated with them by his dress and physical appearance. Alice and I watch the game for a little while, seeing as how everyone else has already created such a great energy around it.
Alice being Alice is equally vocal in cheering on both players when they make their shots and in taking slight digs at their skills when they aren't so fortunate. They seem to take it in stride and look up at us a few times with smiles on their faces or slightly shaking their heads.
"Let's go find a table," I shout over the noise after a while. "I'm starving, and the sounds your stomach made earlier makes me think you are too!"
It's a good thing that we'd looked at the menu online in the car because after not even five minutes of sitting down we are having our orders taken. Our food comes quickly and we eat in complete silence as we devour our food. When I realize that we don't have any mustard on the table like so many others I decide to go up to the bar to request some.
As I get off the stool to return to our table with my mustard in hand, I run into a large mass that is incredibly warm and covered in leather. As I look up at the person who is now laughing, I realize it's one of the guys from the pool table.
"Sorry. I didn't see you there! I'm not usually that clumsy," I state bashfully.
He doesn't need to know that's a lie.
"It's okay. I actually came over to ask if you ladies wouldn't mind having some company at your table."
He must see the hesitant expression on my face, because he shakes his head and continues. "I know that sounded like the beginning of a pickup line, but we really just want to hang out and get to know you a little. Don't take this the wrong way, but it's a little clear that you aren't from around here."
I'm not offended, because, well, he's right. I invite them over to our table and introductions happen quickly and surprisingly easily. We learn that the man I've bumped into is Jake and that he's accompanied by his older cousin Sam and his younger brother Seth. If the leather jackets aren't enough, they confirm the fact that the motorcycles we passed on our way in belong to them. We quickly find that we have something in common, because although they're from Rapid City, South Dakota, which is farther west, they're on a road trip of their own, making their way to Grand Rapids, Michigan by bike for some type of bike convention. We quickly hit it off and they are genuinely nice and funny guys. There's no physical or romantic attraction for myself or Alice and they are always perfect gentlemen, so it makes our interactions natural and comfortable.
When we tell the guys about our trip and our plan of getting help in choosing our next destination, they're more than happy to offer us suggestions.
"You ladies should come to Grand Rapids with us! I know it's not an auto show or anything, but the bike convention and the types of machinery you see there are truly amazing!" Seth states excitedly and matter-of-factly.
I look at Alice and realize that she's just as confused as I am as to why he thinks we'd be interested in an auto or bike show before I follow Seth's gaze down my body towards my stomach.
I laugh slightly as I pull down my knotted shirt, which has started to rise, so that it covers my bellybutton once again.
"Oh, no! We aren't motor heads or anything. I just got this bellybutton ring in celebration and honor of the new car my parents got me as a graduation present," I state as I unconsciously run my hands over the piercing through my shirt.
When Alice suggested we get bellybutton rings, it was easier for me to say yes than to decide which type of ring to get. However, when I saw this one, I knew it was perfect. It was a tiny, old-fashioned car, and although I'm not particularly knowledgeable in that area, I liked that it would be a nice way to show my love for my new truck, especially seeing as how we'd be spending so much of our summer seeing the country in it. It just seemed to fit.
"Hey! Speaking of cars, I actually have a great place for you ladies to go! You should stop by the Retro on Roscoe festival in Chicago. We actually went last year because they have a kick ass antique car show, but they have tons of other activities too," Jake states as he continues to steal some of the fries from my plate. He thinks I haven't noticed.
"Oh, yeah! That's a great idea. You ladies would love it; they have a cooking competition, games, art exhibits, and a really amazing musical parade float section that highlights local musical talent. It's a really great time," Sam agrees.
"I think it sounds like an amazing idea, and it would get us a little farther to New York. What do you think, Bella?" Alice asks, slightly bouncing in her seat at the prospect of going.
"Yeah, I'd love to check it out. I love to cook, and we both love music, so it seems like there would be a lot to do. Besides, even if we hate it we'd still be in Chicago! I'm sure we could find plenty to do," I respond, whole-heartedly liking the idea of this next destination and the adventure it might provide.
Before we leave the Depot, we exchange Twitter and Facebook information with the guys, who make us promise to contact them if we're ever in the area again. Once we get to the car and sit there to look up information on the festival, we are even more convinced that this is a place we need to go.
"I can't wait to get a taste of the dishes at this chili cook-off! Maybe I'll get some ideas on how to perfect mine for when we go home for break and make it for Charlie," I say as I sit back and relax in the passenger seat since Alice is going to drive for the next leg of the trip.
"Oh, please! Your chili's already amazing! In fact, I'm sure if you were a Chicago resident you'd be a shoo-in to win the whole thing," Alice states matter-of-factly as she looks for something to listen to on the radio that's not by Lady Gaga.
I like her as much as the next young person, but a little variety would be nice.
"What I'm excited about is this Parade of Bands. It's really cool how they highlight local talent. Plus, can you imagine how hot it will be to see a literal parade of musically gift guys float by? It's like a buffet of man meat!"
"Oh, my goodness, Alice! Only you would think of such things!" I manage to get out in between laughing at my silly best friend. "I have to say, though, that's definitely a good reason to drive thirteen hours," I agree while slyly looking at her to gauge her reaction.
"Hey, as long as we can stop at a Starbucks for caramel fraps, cinnamon scones, and a bathroom, I'm happy!"
"Make mine a white chocolate mocha, and we have a deal," I agree. And off we go.
After thirteen hours, a stay at the Howard Johnson, and more Starbucks stops than I can count, we make it to Chicago. Since we know that we'll probably be staying overnight since the festival runs all day, we find a nice little inn not too far from the street where all the activities will occur. It takes Alice nearly an hour and a half to get dressed since she claims that she has to look perfect for the "myriad of musical men," and another half an hour for her to convince me to wear the sundress she's picked out for me instead jeans and a t-shirt.
"Why do I need to get so dressed up for a street festival! It's not like the Obamas or Oprah are going to be here!" I moan out as we walk towards the festivities.
"I don't know, Bella. I just have a feeling that this is going to be a great night, and I want us to look our best! Besides, you look hot, so shut up and let's get going," Alice practically screams as she grabs my hand and forces me to pick up the pace.
Once we make it to the actual festival I can't help but share in Alice's enthusiasm. Being from a small town like Forks, you don't see things like this too often. Although we have homecoming parades and harvest festivals, they are very low on attendance and sources of entertainment. I mean, if you've seen one diner-sponsored pie eating contest, you've seen them all. This, however, is like a city within a city!
Although there's a main street where the larger events and a lot of the information and maps are being distributed, things are happening on at least five streets and for at least six blocks on each one! On our way to get maps and a schedule we pass by an entire child-friendly tent with balloon artists, arts and crafts, and face painting. Although the chili cook-off has a specific tent, there are also small stands at which local eateries are giving out samples and selling merchandise. After only ten minutes in this section Alice and I end up with two bags of cookies and fudge and have tasted the most amazing pizza in the world.
We pull ourselves away to continue to the chili cook-off which has already begun. Although the cooks are up on a platform with separate burners and prep stations, diligently making their chili for the judges, pre-made samples of their chili are being passed around and it's all amazing! Voting stands are set up, and it takes everything in me to pick a favorite. Alice says she thinks my chili is just as good as my favorite, but that doesn't stop her from eating three bowls of it. Since judging won't happen for another few hours, we walk back to the center of the main street where the parade is scheduled to begin.
By the time we get there the sidewalks are already packed, and it takes a lot of polite yet forceful shoving to get to the front of the crowd.
"Oooh! I'm so excited, Bella! I can't wait for this parade to start!"
"You'd think that Justin Bieber was showing up with the way you're acting!" I tease her. I'm one of only a handful of people who knows about Alice's love for the Biebs.
"Shhh! Don't say those things out loud!"
We continue to tease each other back and forth like the sleep-deprived girls we are until we hear music and the sound of a large processional off in the background. A few minutes later, we see the first float round the corner and the first band can be heard. They seem to have a Maroon 5 type of vibe, only the singer is no Adam Levine. They're okay though. As the parade continues, it's clear that they have gathered a rather eclectic group of bands. There's everything from an '80s rock cover band to a hip hop group a little similar to Wu Tang but with instruments. The crowd loves it, especially Alice. She's always had a thing for bands. As the parade starts to come to an end, it becomes clear that the last band's float is supposed to be the finale, as they have a bigger space and more instruments and decorations. They also seem to have a lot of crowd support as the volume of screams gets louder and louder.
"Their music's really good!" I yell to Alice over the noise. They have a kind of Kings of Leon/Muse thing about them, but with a somewhat bluesier lead vocalist.
As I look over at Alice, I can tell that she probably hasn't heard a word of what I've just said. She's swaying to the music and locks eyes with someone on the float. From my angle I can't get a good look at anyone on the float, but apparently she can, because her focus hasn't wavered.
I don't know how or why it happens, but one minute I'm bopping my head to the music with my eyes closed as the float passes right by us, and the next minute I look up to see a squealing Alice being hoisted onto the float by a young man with shaggy blonde hair. I think it's the lead vocalist and guitarist, but I can't tell because of the amount of people and the fact that the float has already passed by. All I can see is that Alice is still dancing and looking happier than ever.
When the parade ends I call Alice, and finally on the fifth ring, she answers.
"Alice! Are you okay? Where are you? Should I call the cops?" I yell, slightly panicked by the fact that I'm now alone in a large city that I don't know my way around and my best friend has just been kidnapped by musicians!
Before I can get too freaked out Alice replies, "I'm in heaven, Bella. I just met the most amazing guy!"
I don't think it's possible for Alice to surprise me anymore, but this takes the cake.
"Are you crazy? You don't know that guy. He could be a murderer!"
"I know it may seem crazy, but I have to get to know him better; I have a good feeling about it. I promise you that I'm safe and that I'll explain later. Go have fun, and I'll see you soon!" she says right before I hear the call end.
I'm seriously thinking of naming my first child John Hughes. Oh, don't worry, there is good cause: my obsession with watching Ferris Bueller so many times that I can recall every line in my sleep.
Hence the reason I am more than excited to come to Chicago.
I never thought I would be here, let alone standing on a float and dancing during a parade.
And if I don't name my first child John Hughes, how can I pay him honor for letting my obsession lead me to this float, dancing with the blue-eyed boy of my dreams?
I continue to dance, getting as close to this guy, this blond, shaggy-haired god that I spotted as soon as the float was in eyesight. I just couldn't take my eyes off him. And when he pulled me onto the float, my heart melted at his touch.
"Hi, I'm Jasper," he says, holding me by my waist as the float comes to a stop. The music has stopped too, but I don't hear anything, my vision locked to his ice blue eyes.
He unplugs his guitar and slings it around his back before hopping down off the float, reaching back and giving me his hands to help me down.
When I land, he uses the hand that he is holding mine to pull me into his body. And in Bella fashion, I blush. "Thank you."
Before letting go of him, I lean up and kiss him. And it is meant to be chaste, a thank you for pulling me onto and for helping me get off the float.
But instead of just a simple and sweet kiss, Jasper holds me tighter, pulling me closer, his strong arms encasing me in our bubble as he deepens our kiss.
And instantly, my panties are wet.
Wetter than when I made out with Riley at the freshman dance in high school or when Ben went down on me after prom.
My phone starts ringing, causing our kiss to end quicker than I want.
I raise a finger to Jasper and step away from our spot next to the float, but keep my eye on him as he removes his guitar and helps the band pack up their stuff off the float. "I'm in heaven, Bella. I just met the most amazing guy!"
"Are you crazy? You don't know that guy. He could be a murderer!" Bella screams on the other end. I roll my eyes, like I would ever put myself in that situation on purpose.
I sigh and try to put my thoughts into words to ease her. "I know it may seem crazy, but I have to get to know him better; I have a good feeling about it. I promise you that I'm safe and that I'll explain later. Go have fun, and I'll see you soon!"
I know that sending Bella off on her own isn't the "best friend" thing to do. But I know that she can take care of herself and that very soon she will have herself occupied, forgetting all about me.
Jasper sees that I've ended my phone call and comes back over to me, taking my hand in his. "Are you sticking around?" I notice that he has taken off the button-down shirt he had on during his performance and is left wearing a tight, black t-shirt with the words "Save Ferris" in white.
And it's official; I'm in love.
"Yeah, I just had to tell my best friend where I was."
Jasper smiles. "You aren't from Chicago, are you?"
"No," I reply. "My best friend and I are on our way across the country to New York."
He grins and squeezes my hand. "I have to help the band pack, but then I have to take you somewhere. You game?" Jasper is beaming at me, his smile covering his face, his dimples in full force, weakening any brain function that I have.
"Okay," I dreamily answer.
Jasper finishes his duties quickly, which include carefully placing his six-string in his own case. Holding my hand, he leads me down the street to his open Jeep. He places his guitar in the back before helping me in.
As we drive, we talk about our lives. He tells me about his family, how close they are, and how his younger brother is his best friend. He mentions that he is a college student, but we move from subject to subject so quickly that he never gets to tell me where.
I tell him about the journey that Bella and I have been on, the fun things that have led us to Chicago.
Before I know it, we are pulling into a residential area.
"Where are we?" I ask, trying to read the street signs in the dark.
"Shut up!" I squeal.
Jasper's grin is in full force. "I figured you would know what is here."
"Are you kidding me?"
Jasper then pulls into the driveway of a large stucco house with a manicured lawn and three-car garage.
"Don't worry," Jasper says, placing his hand in mine, reassuring me. "I'm housesitting for my uncle and aunt this summer while they are touring Europe."
"Oh," I brilliantly say.
"But that's not the whole reason we are here." He points across the street.
I can see there is a driveway, covered on both sides by thick woods. Landscaping lighting lead up to what must be a hidden house.
"You wanna see it?"
"Fuck yes!" I whisper yell.
Jasper laces his fingers in mine as we rush across the street, trying to be all stealthy about our actions.
He motions for me to be quiet as giggles start to spill from my mouth. "Shhh."
I steady my emotions, and we make our way up through the quiet driveway; with each step I'm more and more excited.
It seems that we are walking forever as the woods around us open up, and the hidden house is revealed to us.
"Oh. My. God." I whisper.
"Yeah," Jasper parrots my thought.
Before us is Cameron's house from Ferris Bueller. It's smaller than I thought it would be, but it looks exactly the same.
Jasper comes to stand behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist, holding my back closely to his front. Leaning in, he whispers a few facts about the house. I know some of the things he is telling me, but I'm surprised with all that he knows.
Eventually we retreat back down the driveway and back across the street to his aunt and uncle's house.
Jasper pulls our joined hands, unlocking the front door and leading me inside the house.
"Wow," I whisper. The house is stunning, like something out a movie, tastefully decorated.
"Yeah, my aunt Carmen is an interior designer. Talented, isn't she?"
I hold up my other hand, pinching a small space between my fingers. "Just a bit."
Giggling escapes my mouth as Jasper tugs on my hand and pulls me quickly through the mostly dark house. I can see a lamp on in the hallway, some light coming from a room on the right, and one lone lamp that is in what appears to be a living room. He doesn't stop until we reach a set of French doors, leading to what I assume is the backyard.
He turns and smiles at me before opening the door. I release his hand as he takes a step through the door, disappearing into the dark.
"Alice," he calls me.
Staring into the dark, only the lamp just behind me casting a safe glow of light around me, I'm tentative when I answer as I take a step out the door. "Jasper?"
Suddenly everything in front of me turns on, a flood of soft white light filtering through the air, and I'm stunned by the beauty in front of me.
A swimming pool.
Jasper comes up, holding his hand out to me.
"Care for a swim?"
It doesn't take long before I'm stripping down to my boy shorts and bra and diving into the pool. Even with the warm air, the heated water feels wonderful against my skin.
A splash behind alerts me that Jasper has joined me in the pool.
I giggle as he chases me around, and we splash each other. The smile on Jasper's face is intoxicating, and I want nothing more than to kiss him.
We both still, and Jasper swims calmly before diving under the water, making his way towards me.
I continue to stand in the water, hoping that he will take me in his arms and not wanting to run from him. He steadily makes his way underwater to me, stopping within reach of my body. I look down and watch as he fingers my belly ring.
Suddenly he launches forward and nibbles at my stomach before surfacing and wrapping me in his arms.
"You know, fish are attracted to things that are shiny in the water."
I give Jasper a quick, chaste kiss. "Oh, really?"
Jasper kisses me chastely this time, grinning like the cat that ate the canary, "Hmm, I think you taste better wet."
A small moan escapes my lips. My body reacts naturally; my arms tighten around his neck as my legs wind and find their position on his waist. His skin feels slick from the water, but warm and comfortable, even though he is toned and solid, holding me up without any effort.
And then I feel him.
My hips move, grinding into him, causing Jasper to moan, my name slipping from his lips.
Jasper suddenly grasps my hips, stilling me. "Shit, you gotta stop, Alice."
"Why, when I know you'll give in?" I whisper. "You want me."
Jasper pulls me tighter against his body, his erection positioned at the right spot, only his boxers and my boy shorts preventing him from pushing into me. "That might be, but I plan to take my time getting what I want."
With that, Jasper kisses me, his mouth working against mine, his tongue sliding between my lips and mingling with mine. He is still holding tightly to me, moving us through the water until my back is flush against the side of the pool.
He begins to grind against me, his hard cock rubbing against my clit. "Fuck, yes," I mumble.
"Alice, are you…" Jasper's words trail.
I tug at Jasper's hair on the nape of his neck, stilling his head and forcing him to look me directly in the eye. "I'm sure, Jasper."
Jasper lifts me up, setting me on the side of the pool, hopping out seconds later and dragging me over to the covered sitting area. There are several large chairs, but one huge sectional with oversized throw pillows.
He leads me, pulling me to the couch, where he sits, leaving me directly in front of him. His whispering kisses start on my bellybutton, teasing the ring that now dangles there. His strong hands brace my back and ass as they move to unhook my bra, pulling it from my body. Jasper's mouth latches onto my nipples, sucking and biting, switching back and forth, my body arching in response, pushing my chests into this face.
His fingers hook into my boy shorts, nudging and sliding them down my legs. I want Jasper to know that I want this, I want him, and this between us is just as it should be. But my brain can't function with the pleasure he is sending through my body with his fingers and mouth.
"Yes," I mumble; it's the only word that I can speak.
Now, I've felt this intuition my whole life, but never in one moment like this one. I feel more confident about this situation that I'm right where I need to be—for me, for Jasper, for my future.
Sooner than I expect, Jasper has me on my back on the couch, and he is naked and hovering over me. Somehow in the lust bubble surrounding us, I missed him getting naked as well as putting a condom on.
My legs spread, wrapping themselves around Jasper's waist as he situates himself at my entrance.
As he pushes deep inside, my whole world comes into complete focus. I can see my future with Jasper, dating, marriage, babies. And as the thoughts rush through my head, I know I should be scared, especially if any of this comes out of my mouth, but I'm not.
If anything, I feel…centered.
My back arches off the couch as Jasper continues to thrust, his movements drawing my body to new levels of pleasure.
"Yes," I groan as my walls start to pulse around him, pulling Jasper with me, his own orgasm flowing through his body.
After collapsing on the couch together, we snuggle together in a naked tangle, Jasper holding me close. "Alice?"
I'm almost scared to hear what he has to say. I don't want him to promise me anything; I know that we will meet up again.
"I know it sounds weird, but can I give you an address to go to in New York as your last destination?"
Hmm, not what I was expecting.
I sigh. "Sure." In the back of my mind, I get another flash, seeing Jasper again, soon, which only makes me smile.
I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to kill Alice for abandoning me, but the other part is just happy that she's okay. Since I know that there is no changing Alice's mind when it's set on something, I decide to take her advice and try to have some fun.
After going back to see who's won the chili cook-off and finding out that the person I voted for has come in second place, I decide to go look for that antique car show the boys told us about.
I have to admit, although I'm not a big car person, there are some truly extraordinary pieces of machinery on display. A few I recognize from films, such as an all white car that I come to find out is a1968 Ford Torino GT. Others, however, were clearly made before even my parents were born.
As I continue my perusal of the cars, one catches my attention. I don't know the make or model of the car, but I'm pretty sure it's the same type of car on my bellybutton ring.
A plaque mounted next do it states that it's a 1934 Buick 66C Convertible Coupe. It just so happens to be the same color burgundy as my bellybutton ring. Although my new truck is more of a slate grey, I thought I'd get a red bellybutton ring as a sort of homage to my old red beast of a Chevy. Even to my untrained eyes, it looked sleek and quirky and was simply a thing of beauty.
"Well, I must say, you are a very nice addition to my presentation," says a deep, yet seemingly amused, voice from behind me.
"Oh! I'm sorry. I was just trying to get a better look," I stutter out as I whip around to see whose car I'm loitering against. When my eyes finally land on the figure and then the face of the person who's startled me, I realize that I was wrong before. This is a thing of beauty.
Maybe it's the classic car show, or the fact that the first thing I see as I turn around is the outline of mouth-watering pecs and biceps outlined by a black t-shirt, but I swear the man who greets me is James Dean reincarnated. His jaw is so sharp that it could probably bend razors, and the scruff I see there seems to give credence to that theory. His skin is what could only be described as sun kissed, and it makes the clove green of his eyes and the red hues in his hair stand out. He is simply swoon-worthy.
Man, do I need to stop reading Danielle Steele!
"No need to apologize at all, please. I'm Edward, by the way."
"Hi. I'm Bella. It's nice to meet you," I state, still somewhat mesmerized by his face, voice, body…everything.
"So, do you have a thing for classic cars, Bella?" he asks as he sidles up beside me, leaning against his car.
"Not really. I mean, I think that they're absolutely amazing to look at, but I don't know much about them."
"Hmmm. So what made you take an interest in Betty here?" he asks with a kind smile that seems to cover me in comfort and warmth.
"Betty?" I laugh. "How did she get that name?"
"Well, my great-grandfather was given this car by his dad, and I guess even back then it was a trend for men to name their cars. I think Betty was like the most popular name of that year, so that's what he went with."
"Oh, wow! So this car's been in your family for a really long time!" I state, looking at his profile as he stares forward with a fond look.
"Yeah. It was one of only two hundred fifty-three produced, and there's a rumor that it may be one of only eight that still exist. It's kind of become an heirloom for the men in my family. My dad first started restorations in 2004, and he let my older brother and me help. I've been in love with Betty ever since. We've been doing this show for about three years now."
"That's really cool. So, how did you come to be the keeper of the car over your older brother? Was there a really intense game of rock-paper-scissors?" I ask slyly. He throws his head back and laughs, and it's one of the most amazing sounds I've ever heard.
"No. We both love Betty, but my brother just happened to get more into music as he got older, while I continued with a love of cars. I'm mostly an observer, and I enjoy coming to these shows as much as I like participating. I think it's because I'm a very visually stimulated person, though. I like to look upon beautiful things," he says as he slowly turns towards me with a slanted grin that could probably make a nun blush.
As we continue our conversation, he tells me a little more about his family. He tells me that he was born and raised in Chicago and that his parents are happily married and have been for twenty-two years. He has only one older brother, whom he refers to as Jay, and they are extremely close, being only two years apart. Just as I start to tell him about my life in Forks, someone announces that the auto show is closing down for the night, and that all owners can return tomorrow morning to retrieve their vehicles.
I start to get a little sad at the idea that I might not be able to continue spending time with Edward, but before I can come up with a solution, he says, "So, I know this may seem a little forward, Bella, but would you like to go with me somewhere? I'd really like to spend more time with you."
And although part of me is still reeling from Alice's reckless behavior of leaving with a guy she didn't know in a place she didn't live, I can definitely understand it as I simply answer, "I'd love to."
Edward leads me over to a sleek and stylish silver Audi TT, and once we get in he tells me that we are heading over to Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park before they close for the night.
Once we're there, I'm instantly mesmerized by the sight. It's beautiful in the dark of night to see this large and palatial structure in the middle of something as natural and calm as a park.
Once we settle on a bench directly in front of the fountain, I continue to tell Edward about my parents and how I'm on a road trip with my best friend before heading off to college. I even tell him about our destination suggestions idea.
When I tell him that I'm going to NYU to study art history and literature, he gets really excited, almost giddy, but I can't really tell why. I just assume it's because NYU is looked upon as being an amazing school in one of the most famous cities in the world. In turn, Edward tells me about his love of photography. He says that he plans to study it in school.
Before I can ask what school he'll be attending, the park guards come around to inform everyone that it's nearing closing time, and we suddenly realize that we've been talking for hours.
"It's so beautiful here, simply breathtaking. Thank you for bringing me here, Edward. Thank you for these past few hours. They've been amazing," I say softly while looking at the cascading water and the lights illuminating the structure. When I finally look towards Edward, I can see the lights also illuminating his face, and the intensity of his stare leaves me a little breathless.
"Thank you, Bella. This has been one of the best nights of my life. I hate that it's coming to an end."
I don't want it to come to an end either. In fact, in this moment, I can't imagine ever leaving this man. It's a feeling that both surprises and frightens me. My one experience with a relationship ended badly when my boyfriend of a year began cheating on me with the stereotypical school slut. I haven't opened myself up to love or romance since then. But looking into Edward's eyes, I decide that I want to take a chance on him.
"It doesn't have to end," I whisper as I close my eyes and lean in until my lips softly touch his. The kiss starts off as soft and gentle, as we tentatively explore each other's mouths.
As we get more comfortable, however, the kiss becomes more sensual, with our lips and tongues becoming bold in seeking each other out.
I moan as Edward runs his hands down my back and places them right about the rise of my ass.
Oh, how I want those hands to continue going south.
Just as I have that thought, Edward pulls away with a groan.
"As much as I hate to stop right now, we should probably take this somewhere more private," he says as he grabs my hand and leads me back to his car.
He makes to open the passenger side door for me, but I simply shake my head and motion towards the back door. At first I'm worried that my being so bold as to suggest a romp in the backseat will make Edward think less of me, but the panty-dropping smile he gives me as he opens the door erases that fear.
As soon as we get in the backseat and close the doors, all of our previous reservations leave as we move towards each other. Our kisses become passionate and aggressive, with Edward's hands becoming bolder, now grabbing and kneading my ass in the most delicious ways.
I finally indulge in the fantasy I've had since I met him and run my hands over his taught stomach and lean, muscled chest. Edward must like it, because he leans back and takes his shirt off before resuming his kisses. As his mouth leaves mine and begins to softly suck on my neck, I can't help but want to be closer to him.
Pushing him back so that he's flush with the seat, I straddle his lap as I pull my sundress off. Edward practically growls as he looks at my body, and he gently caresses my stomach as he takes in my bellybutton ring.
"Now I can see what drew you to Betty. This is so sexy. I know this isn't the best place or time, but I want you so bad, Bella."
At this point we're both panting heavily as I writhe in his lap and take pleasure in the effect I can feel I was having on him. "I want you too, Edward. I've never felt this way before, but I don't want to stop."
At my words, he licks a path from my neck to my collarbone, and down to my left breast. His kisses are sensual and teasing, and I am so needy for more of his touch. As soon as he takes my left nipple into his mouth, I cry out, "Oh god! Don't stop, please."
His warm, wet mouth and pouty lips are doing things to my body I didn't even know were possible, and I never want it to end. By the time he switches over to my right breast, I can feel that I am soaking wet.
I lean back from his touch and start to tug at his belt buckle. Soon, he's tugging his pants and boxers off while I remove my underwear. I am so caught up in what Edward is doing to my body, I haven't even noticed that somehow both of us have already lost our shoes along the way.
As soon as we are completely naked, Edward goes back to licking and sucking on my breasts. His hands join the party once again, but this time he use one finger to slowly run up and down my slick folds.
"Damn, baby, you're so wet. You feel amazing. I can't wait to feel you wrapped around me," he groans out. His voice has gone from deep and honeyed to husky and rough, making my body shudder and my thighs clench.
I feel like I'm going to combust and decide that I want him right now. Feeling bold, I reach between us to stroke Edward's cock, earning an equal shudder from him.
After feeling him continue to grow in my hand, I look into his eyes as I slowly slide down and allow him to fill me.
We both moan out loud at the feeling of finally being joined, and almost immediately Edward's hands are grasping my hips as I start to move.
"Oh, Edward. So good," I mumble out. I can barely think, much less form complete sentences as I move above him. Our movements are fluid and almost rhythmic in their compatibility. The feeling of our chests pressed together as we pant and moan into each other's necks is better than I could ever describe.
"Oh, shit!" I breathe out as Edward changes the angle of his body and begins thrusting into me deeply. He's now lying back a little further, allowing him to hit the most delicious spot inside of me. Add that to the fact that he's also stroking my clit in tight, strong circles, and I feel like my entire body is on fire.
I'm screaming and clenching around him within seconds, and after three deep and hard thrusts, he joins me.
As we lie panting against the back seat wrapped in each other's arms, I've never felt more content. I know that there is so much more to know about Edward and for him to learn about me, but in that moment I feel like we are whole.
We stay there all night, sometimes talking, but mostly just relishing in being together. When we do talk, we find out that we have a lot of shared interests, and I feel my heart open up to him just a little more. As the sun begins to rise, I tell Edward that it's probably time for me to head back to the hotel. I hope that I will find Alice there.
The car ride over is quiet, and I can tell that neither one of us wants or knows how to broach the subject of our having to part. At the fountain, we promised to keep in touch via Facebook and other social media, but after what we've just shared, it doesn't seem like nearly enough.
As we pull up in front of the inn, I try to stop the tears from spilling out of my eyes. As I look over at Edward, I'm touched to see he's doing the same.
We look into each other's eyes for a long while, before recognition seems to flash in Edward's eyes and he pulls out a pen and paper.
"Bella, can you do something for me? I know that technically New York is your last stop, so you don't need a suggestion for tourist locations, but can you promise to go to this place when you get there?" he asks as he hands me a folded piece of paper. I'm partly confused by his plea and somewhat saddened that he hasn't written something like his phone number. Something about his expression makes me take the paper without question, though. "Sure. I can do that."
We've already agreed not to say goodbye, so with one last sweet and lingering kiss, I get out of the car and watch Edward drive away.
When Jasper brings me back to the inn the sun is up and I guess that it's near eight in the morning. I don't tell him goodbye, I just kiss him and take the piece of paper with the address that he wants me to have.
I'm happy, even though Jasper is driving is off and away from me. I know I'll be seeing him soon.
But my mood instantly changes the moment I open the door to our room.
Curled up in a ball on the bed is Bella, who looks up at me with a puffy face, eyes rimmed red and tear-stained cheeks.
"Bella?" I ask as I rush over and throw my arms around her. "What happened?"
Bella can only mumble, and through her sobs I make out that she met a guy, he's perfect, and she had sex with him.
"Oh, honey. Shhh," I coo, trying to soothe her. As I hold her, she continues to cry, but slowly calms. The only thing I can think that would cause this kind of reaction in her is that she is feeling guilt, massive amounts of guilt for letting herself open up and enjoy someone.
"Look, I know that you've been hurt before, but if this guy seemed as bad as Tyler, would you have opened up to him like you did?"
Bella shakes her head.
"Bella, you deserve to live life, not to hide and be scared to take risks."
I move her up to have her looking directly into my eyes.
"And you did that, with this perfect guy. You survived."
"But what if I don't ever see him again?" she sniffles.
"Bella," I start. "Trust me, you will."
A week later, we are in New York and settling into our colleges. I help Bella unload all of her belongings, which include a large trunk filled with her books. I make sure to help her unpack, spending a few hours putting up pictures and decorating the empty walls of her dorm room.
Bella hasn't been the same since we left Chicago, and all of my hand holding and leading her around is starting to get on my nerves.
"Edward hasn't posted anything, not one peep. What the hell am I supposed to think?" Bella complains after I remind her to think positively.
I keep myself around her as much as possible. I know that once school starts, we won't have as much time to just hang out. With orientation starting in two days, I know I need to do something to draw Bella out of this emo-state and back to the land of the living.
So I make a decision. Bella and I meet up for breakfast, trying out another new café to make our own. Sitting across from me with a huge coffee and a bowl of fruit in front of her is Bella, who looks the same—depressed. Her eyes are empty, and I know that she is still heartbroken over this perfect guy.
"He hasn't, has he?" I ask, knowing what the answer will be.
She shakes her head.
It's time to turn this around. "Bella, can I tell you a little story?"
She nods and looks at me, and I can see a spark of hope still left in her.
"When we were in Chicago, do you remember the guy that pulled me up on the float? Well, we went out, and I did get to know him, and you know what? I never felt so connected with someone in my life. Boom, right off the bat, everything from the physical to the emotional.
"And you know how I get those feelings about things sometimes? It happened. Well, it really happened when he was buried in me giving me the most intense orgasm, but that's not the point."
"Alice," Bella scolds me for being a little too open about my sex life.
I roll my eyes at her and continue. "Anyway, I knew that everything would be alright."
"I just do," I answer and tap my head. "And you know what? He gave me this address, here in New York; told me to make it my final destination. I've been holding back going, wanting to be here for you, but something tells me that today is the day."
I stand up and pull the paper from my pocket. "Bella, it's time."
I look up at Alice with equal parts curiosity and annoyance. Alice's optimism and fervor for life are two of the qualities I love the most about her. However, I'm not really in the mood to see the glass as half full or to carpe diem.
"Alice, time for what? Time for us to go on some wild goose chase? It was fun when we were on vacation, but we've made it to our destination and need to get ready for the real world. Besides, who knows where he's telling us to go?" I reply sullenly as I finish my fruit bowl.
"Come on, Bella! Don't be like this. I know you're sad, but you just have to trust me like you always do! This adventure will do you some good! Have I ever steered you wrong?" she asks with a smug smile on her face, because she already knows the answer to that. You just don't bet against Alice.
Hearing her talk about her note also brings to mind the one I received from Edward, the one that I've been carrying around unopened for the last week. The one that's currently in my pocket.
"What's that face? What are you thinking?" Alice asks me, her smile now turning suspicious.
"Nothing, nothing! It's just that…well, I also told Edward about our unique way of mapping out the road trip, and he also gave me a sheet of paper with a place to go when we reached the city," I reply sheepishly as I show her the folded piece of paper.
"What? Bella! You've been pining away over this guy for the last week when you had some clue or connection to him the whole time? Why haven't you said anything?"
"I was scared, okay! The first thing I did when I got settled in was find him on Facebook and send him a message, basically pouring my heart out and I've heard nothing! I didn't want to take any more chances! Besides, you're just now telling me about your note!"
"I didn't tell you about mine because I was so worried about you and your transformation into Eeyore! Besides, it never felt like the right moment."
By this point we're leaning towards each other from across the table, and we're not using our inside voices. After noticing the looks we're receiving from other patrons, we settle down a little and Alice's face goes from agitated to elated.
"You know, now that I think about it, this is perfect timing for both of us! We can go to my place first, then look at your paper and go there! Best case scenario, we find out something to lead us back to our mystery men, and worst case scenario, we end our awesome summer vacation road trip the same way we started it. It's a win-win!"
Before I can blink, she's throwing money on the table and snatching me out of the chair with almost Herculean strength.
By the time we reach the car, I know there's no point in arguing with her by the determination I can see in her face. Besides, I would be lying if I said I'm not curious now.
We plug in the address on Alice's piece of paper, and then we're off. Surprisingly, the place we're heading to isn't far from our current location, and even with New York traffic, we make it there fairly quickly.
I become a little hesitant once again when we pull up in front of an apartment building, but Alice is already out of the car before I can voice my concerns. Not wanting her to go alone, I take a deep breath, open my door, and follow after her.
"I'm so nervous, Bella, but I'm also excited. I can't explain, but I know this is going to be life-changing!"
Not sharing her enthusiasm, I hang back a little as we ascend the stairs. Once we're outside the apartment bearing the number written on the piece of paper along with the address, Alice knocked…repeatedly.
After about five minutes a tall, blonde, and quite handsome man opens the door. If the fact that he looks vaguely familiar doen't alert me to the fact that this is Alice's Jasper, the ear-piercing scream that she lets out does.
"Jaz! Oh, my goodness! I just knew it! I knew we'd see each other again!"
He doesn't have time to respond past a gleeful laugh because suddenly they're attached at the mouth. Although I'm happy for Alice, I also don't want to see her make out with this dude. Not only will that make me kind of a creeper, but it just reminds me of what I'm missing.
As I turn to go wait for her by the car, I hear a throat clear behind them. And then the most amazing sound ever floats out of the door as I hear my own personal James Dean say, "Well, well, well. I was wondering what was taking you so long."
Not allowing myself to really believe until I see him, I run past the lip-locked pair through the door and there stands Edward in all his clove-eyed, sun kissed glory.
"Wha…How…?" I can barely speak as I take in the fact that he's here. But as he smiles at me, I realize that all I want to do is be in his arms again.
I run up to him much like Alice did with Jasper and kiss him on those lips that I've been dreaming about.
"God, Bella. You have no idea how much I've missed you," he says as he holds me tight.
"I missed you too. I tried contacting you on Facebook. Why didn't you respond?"
He just pulls back and stares at me intently as he responds. "I was just waiting to see if you would keep your promise."
I know in that moment that nothing else matters, except the fact that we're here and together.
As we all settle down and complete the introductions, I find out that Alice's Jasper is also Edward's brother Jay and that Edward will be joining me at NYU's orientation because he's starting there as well, studying photography just like he told me.
Jasper is starting his junior year at NYU, and he's majoring in business management with a minor in music. He says the business management degree is really so that he can handle the business end of the band responsibly before they make it to the big time.
As it finally settles in that this is real, I look over at Alice, who winks at me with a knowing smirk on her face. All along she's known that this trip was going to mean amazing things for our future, and what a trip it's been. I can't wait to see what else the future has in store for us with these two at our side.