***WINNER - Judge's Choice in the Hot Summer Nights Contest! ***

Thanks to marly580 for beta'ing this for me! I was shocked when I won, and it was YOU who made sure my comma's were correct! :) Also, thanks to my Twitter BFF for mentioning Kenny Chesney, and getting this song stuck in my head! It turned out awesome!

Yes, this fic is based on the song/video for Anything But Mine by Kenny Chesney. If you know the song, you'll notice the similarities.

Last but not least - this entry was actually the middle section of a one shot I was already writing when I heard about the contest. I will be moving this weekend, but as soon as I get an internet connection at the new house, I'll post the FULL version of this story as CHAPTER 2. There will be no adding to the story after that. So, if you want to wait for the full version, put me on author alert!

Enough rambling. I don't own Twilight, Anything But Mine (the song), OR Kenny Chesney...but I wish I did! LOL

"Bella! Get your ass moving! You're wasting sun and surf, bitch!" Rosalie yelled from the bottom of the stairs. I loved my cousin, but she was incredibly impatient.

"Hang on, I'm coming!" I yelled back. I pulled the string tight on my shorts, grabbed my flip-flops and car keys, and ran down the stairs.

"Oh, thank God, you finallydecided to grace us with your presence," Rosalie teased. I rolled my eyes at her and found my mom in the kitchen.

"Rose and I are outta here, Mom," I said, grabbing a slice of toast.

"You two have fun, and be safe," she said before kissing me softly on the cheek.

"Love you, Mom," I said with a hug, and left the kitchen.

I walked over to the two-car, detached garage and slipped into the side door. I hit the button for the overhead door to open and hopped into my cloth-top Jeep. The Jeep was my baby. I had begged and begged my parents for it, and they gave it to me as a present for making straight As last year. It was black, with black interior, and had a manual transmission.

I popped my Marky Mark cassette into the stereo as Rose secured our surf boards into the back of the Jeep.

"Good to go," she said, hopping into the passenger seat. I cranked the volume and backed out of the driveway.

About twenty minutes later we were at our favorite beach. I slipped on my running shoes as Rose did the same. We always started our summer mornings off with a jog down the beach. By the end of the summer, we were toned, tanned, and sexy as hell. Or, so we thought.

I always thought Rose looked beautiful. Guys loved the tall, tanned, blonde look. I thought I was pretty average. I was five-feet-seven, had long brown hair, and brown eyes.

After our jog we stopped off at Bob's Burgers, a small little shack of a restaurant situated on the beach, for some rest and rehydration. It was also where Emmett worked.

"Two of your finest waters, please," Rose demanded teasingly. Emmett laughed, shook his head, and handed us two bottles of water.

"So, it doesn't look like it's going to be a good surf day. What do you ladies plan on doing all day?" Emmett asked.

"Anything we want. Duh!" I replied snarkily.

"What arewe going to do today?" Rose asked me.

"I don't know. I thought you were the one with all the plans. I wanted to still be asleep right now," I answered with a pointed glare.

"Belllaaaaa," Rose whined, "it's summer! How can you waste a single second of it in bed?"

"It's only a waste if you're alone," I heard a guy say behind me.

I smiled. I knew that voice.

"Jasper!" I yelled, jumping off the stool to give my friend a hug.

Jasper had moved here from Texas last year. His dad had been a roughneck on an oil rig until he was injured on the job. Now he taught the mechanics class at our high school.

"Hey, Bells," Jasper said, hugging me. "I was planning on trying to find enough people for a beach volleyball game later. You two in?"

"I'm game if Rose is," I answered.

"Yeah, count us in," Rose replied. "You know where to find us when you need us."

"That I do. Thanks for the water, Em. Later, ladies," he said with a nod then headed out onto the beach.

"Well, daylight's a wastin'," I said, turning on my stool toward Rose. "The usual?"

"Yeah, let's go," she said, leaning in for another kiss. When it got almost R-rated, I turned to leave the burger shack. Rose could catch up when she was done sucking face.

I walked back to where the Jeep was parked and pulled my shoes off, dumping the sand out of them. I was grabbing my bag of beach necessities when Rose finally joined me.

"Geez, Rose. You really have a future in the porn industry," I teased as I headed out to our usual spot. Rose grabbed her stuff and followed me.

"You're just jealous. If you had a man, you'd be making out with him in public just as much as Em and I do," she said.

"Even if I had a man, I can guarantee that I wouldn't PDA as much as you two do," I asserted, pulling my towel from my bag and spreading it on the sand.


I pulled off my orange Billabong tee and black shorts and started spreading Hawaiian Tropic along my arms and legs. "Can you get my back, please?"

"Sure. So, are you going to try to find a random tourist and finally drop that V-card already?" she inquired as she spread the tanning lotion on my back.

"Thanks," I said, taking the bottle from her. "And no, you know I'm not like that. I can't just hook up with some random guy." I lay down on my stomach and moved my hair off my back. I was pasty-pale from the winter, and I was bound and determined to get a tan as fast as possible.

"So, did you hear back about the lifeguard job?" I asked.

"Shit yeah, I did. I go in for orientation on Thursday. What will you do with yourself while I'm working?"

"Probably the same stuff I do with you. And who knows, I might even attempt to drown so you can save me and become a local hero," I teased.

"It still sucks that Uncle Charlie and Aunt Renee aren't making you get a job. That's it, I want to switch parents," she whined.

"Dad said he wants me to enjoy my 'last summer of freedom' before I have to enter 'the real world'," I told her. "But hey, you still get to hang out at the beach all day."

"Yeah, and miss prime surfing time," she bitched.

"Yep. Sucks to be you."

We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the beach until we got something to eat around two from Bob's. After that, we met up with Jasper and played some volleyball with kids from school.

Emmett joined us after he got out of work, and he and Rose disappeared for about an hour. They came back all smiles – eww – and the five of us hung out until about seven.

"Hey, guys, I gotta head out. Dad should be getting out of work soon, and I promised Mom I wouldn't be out late," I told them. "Rose, you coming with me?"

"Nah, I'll catch a ride home with Em. Thanks, though," she answered from her seat between his legs.

"Alright, I'm out. Later, guys," I said with a wave.

A chorus of "bye" and "see ya" followed me back to my Jeep. I climbed in and headed home.

The rest of June followed pretty much the same way, but at the end of the month, that all changed.

Saturday, June twenty-ninth, was the day everything changed. Rose was at her post, guarding the beach-dwellers from themselves, and I was lying on my towel reading a book when Jasper found me.

"Hey, Bella, I have a favor to ask of you," he asked sweetly.

He sounded too sweet. This wasn't good.

I sighed. "What is it?" I asked.

"There's a new family renting the house next to mine this summer, and I guess my mom volunteered me to show their kids around town," he told me.

"And why does this have to involve me?" I asked, confused.

"They have twins that are our age – a boy and a girl. I figured that you could show the little lady around, while I show her brother where to pick up prime pussy," he answered with a wink.

"Gross, Jazz. Yeah, sure, I'll show the sister around, I guess. I don't have anything else to do before Rose gets off work. Just let me go tell her what's up, then I'll follow you back to your house," I said. I stood up, brushed the sand off my legs, and gathered my things.

After promising to meet Rose and Emmett back at Jasper's at eight for a bonfire, I jumped in the Jeep and followed Jasper to his house.

I pulled up next to Jasper's Oldsmobile and hopped out. "So that's them, huh?" I asked, pointing to an SUV that was parked in the driveway.

"No, Miss Bella, that's their car. They are probably inside," Jasper snarked.

I huffed and slapped him on the arm.

"Look, if you don't want me to show the sister around, I can go back to the beach and work on my tan," I told him, quirking my eyebrow.

"So sorry, darlin'. Can you ever forgive me?" he asked sarcastically, kissing the back of my hand.

I rolled my eyes. "Come on, let's get this over with. If these two are the fricking Munsters, you owe me," I warned, crossing his driveway into the neighbor's yard.

"Duly noted."

We stepped up on the large wooden porch, and I motioned for Jasper to knock on the door. A moment later, a kind-looking woman with long, caramel-colored hair and jade-green eyes opened the door. She was about my height and had a warm smile.

"Hello. May I help you?" she asked.

Jasper cleared his throat. "Yes, ma'am, I'm Jasper Whitlock and this is my friend, Bella Swan. My mom said you were expecting us," he told her, laying on the southern charm nice and thick. I had to fight not to roll my eyes at him.

"Oh, yes," she said, opening the door wider for us to enter. "Please, come in. I'm Esme Cullen. It's nice to meet the both of you."

"So, Janet said that you would be showing my kids around today?" she asked, ushering us to the bar stools in front of the open kitchen.

"Yes, ma'am. I asked Bella to come, too. I admit, I wouldn't know what's fun around here from a girl's point of view," Jasper told her. I couldn't help the snort that escaped at the thought of Jasper and his "prime pussy."

"Oh, stop with the 'ma'am' stuff. Please, call me Esme," she told him, waving her hand in the air. "That's kind of you to think of Alice. Thank you."

"So, how old are you two?" she asked, pouring a glass of tea for herself and silently offering some to Jasper and me, too.

"Yes, please," I answered. "I turned seventeen in September."

Jasper got tea also. "I'm seventeen as well," he told her.

"Oh, good. The twins – Edward and Alice – just turned seventeen, too. I take it you'll both be seniors when school starts back up?"

We both nodded.

"Good, then you all will have something in common. Let me go find them, and you can be on your way," she said, leaving the kitchen.

"Wow, she's really nice," I told Jasper.

"Yeah, she is. And pretty, too. If her daughter looks anything like her, I may have to show her around myself," Jasper said with a wink.

I rolled my eyes at him and took a sip of my tea.

A few moments later, I heard footsteps behind us. I turned around and saw one of the most attractive guys I had ever seen. Easily almost six feet tall, with the same shade of jade-green eyes as his mother, Edward, I assumed, was gorgeous. His hair was a sandy-blonde color and kinda messy, like he had just woken up or something.

I looked at Jasper, and he had a goofy grin on his face. Alice was a beautiful girl, all right. She looked to be about my height, with short, spiky, black hair. Her eyes were ice-blue, and she had a cute figure.

"Hello. I'm Edward, and this is my sister, Alice."

"Hey. I'm Jasper, and this is my friend, Bella Swan," Jasper said, shaking Edward's hand.

"You really don't have to waste your day showing Alice and me around. Just point us in the direction of the beach, and we'll be happy," Edward said in a clipped tone. "We really don't need babysitters."

Edward's tone irritated me. How dare he assume we were just babysitters? If he didn't want my help, fine, fuck him. I had better things to do today, anyway.

"We were going to offer you a guided tour of the area. Jasper here was going to show you where to find the 'prime pussy,' even. But if you don't want our help, we'll just be on our way," I spat at him.

"No!" Alice yelled. "Don't mind my brother-he's just mad that he got pulled out of bed. I'd love for you guys to show me around, if you don't mind," she said, speaking mainly to Jasper. I saw a summer hook-up in the making there.

I stood there waiting on Edward to say something, but he didn't. Screw this, I'm out of here.

"Jasper, have fun with Alice. If you want me, I'll be where you found me. Alice, it was nice meeting you, and I hope to see you again," I said, smiling to the girl, and completely ignoring her asshole brother. "Please tell your mom I said goodbye."

I turned and left the house in a huff. I stomped back to my Jeep muttering to myself about how much of an arrogant jerk Edward was. Who did he think he was, anyway? Jasper and I had agreed to give up our Saturday to show them around, and he had to act like an ass. I didn't care how good-looking he was. I didn't need that shit.

I slammed the car door shut and jammed my key into the ignition. I was just about to throw it into reverse when Edward came running out of his house.

"Bella, wait! Please!"

I sighed and put it back into neutral and pulled the emergency brake.

"What do you want, Edward?" I asked bitterly.

"Look, I wanted to apologize. I shouldn't have been so rude to you. Can I make it up to you? Buy you a burger or something?" he pleaded.

I wanted to say no. I wanted to still be pissed off at him, but when I looked into his eyes and found nothing but sincerity, I said, "Hop on in."

The drive was silent. Even though I had agreed to let Edward come with me, I still hadn't forgiven him for being so rude.

"It sure is nice down here. A lot quieter than the city," Edward remarked after a few minutes.

"Yeah, until the tourists show up," I jabbed, looking pointedly at Edward. It was probably below the belt, but I was feeling childish.

Edward turned the stereo down. "Look, I'm sorry I was rude to you. Okay? Coming down here wasn't my idea, and I guess I took that out on you."

"What's the matter? Leave a girlfriend at home?" I asked. I couldn't help myself, I was curious.

"No, no girlfriend. I'm just not too excited to sleep in someone else's bed. Besides, I don't know anyone down here. And if I do start any friendships, they'll be over the minute we leave," he answered.

"I get the part about sleeping in someone's house that isn't yours, but you could make friends if you didn't act like such a jerk. And who cares if you never see anyone here again? Isn't that the point of a vacation? To have a little fun?"

"Yeah, I guess. Either way, I'm sorry, and I hope you forgive me."

I looked over at him and saw he meant what he said. He had had a bad morning and snapped at me. I had probably overreacted, anyway.

"Meh, water under the bridge. You are forgiven, Mr. Cullen," I answered.

"Thanks," he said with a smile. "So where are you taking me?"

"I'll take you down to the burger shack for some food, and you can meet Jasper's and my friend, Emmett. Later, I'll introduce you to Rosalie. She's Em's girlfriend and my cousin."

"Cool. So is Jasper your boyfriend?"

I let out a very loud snort. "No, Jasper is notmy boyfriend. He never has and never will," I told him.

"Wow, harsh. What, does he have a third nut or something?"

I laughed. "No, nothing like that. Jasper is all about the pussy. He loves summer because he has his pick of tourist girls. He packs on that southern charm and the girls fucking melt for him. It's a little impressive, actually. If you want to get laid, hang out with Jasper. He'll get you laid," I advised.

"Shit. He was kind of eyeballing my sister. Maybe I should warn her," I heard him mumble.

"Well, unless your sister is looking for some vacation hookup of her own, yeah, I'd warn her," I told him.

He physically blanched from my crass comment.

"Sorry, too much?" I asked with a grin.

"Ali's no virgin, but hell, I don't want to think about her screwing around. Gross," he said, pretending to gag.

I laughed as I pulled into my usual parking place.

"Follow me and I'll take you to Bob's," I said, climbing out of the Jeep.

"I thought we were getting burgers?" he asked, confused.

I smiled. "Bob's is the name of the burger shack we're going to."

Edward nodded and blushed a little, then followed behind me. I looked behind me to make sure he was keeping up and saw him checking out my ass.

"Real subtle, Cullen," I teased.

He just shrugged.

He's kind of cute when he's not being an asshole. I shook my head and kept walking.

Edward caught up to me just as I was getting to the burger shack. I walked up to the counter to give Emmett my order.

"What will it be, my dear?" Emmett asked.

"I want a Pepsi and a burger platter. Cullen's paying," I said, motioning to Edward as he sat down next to me.

Emmett stood up straighter and puffed out his chest. I knew that look. It was the "I'm going to protect Bella's virtue and scare the shit out of some dude" look.

I rolled my eyes. Boys are dumb.

"Emmett, this is Edward Cullen. Edward, Emmett. Edward and his family are renting the house next to Jasper's for a few weeks."

"Emmett McCarty, nice to meet you." He extended his hand for Edward to shake. I could tell Em was squeezing hard by the grimace on Edward's face.

"Emmett!" I yelled. "Stop being a douche and get my food, will ya? Edward, did you want anything?" I asked in a huff.

"Just…whatever you ordered," he replied, putting his hand in his lap. I shot a glare to Emmett. I'd get Rose to kick his ass later for me.

"I have to warn you; Bella likes her burgers good and bloody," Emmett said with a smirk.

"I want mine medium rare. Keep the heartbeat there, just slow it down," Edward told him, smirking at Emmett's defeated look. Score one for Edward!

"Don't mind Emmett, he seems to think he has to protect me. It's really annoying. He sees me as his little sister or something," I told Edward when Emmett left to put in our food order.

"Do you really like your burgers 'good and bloody'?" Edward asked, mocking Emmett's voice.

I laughed. "Nah, Em was messing with you. Actually, I like it medium rare, so he's probably thinking I told you to say that," I answered, rolling my eyes.

Edward just nodded.

"So, is this what you do all day? Eat burgers and piss Emmett off?" he asked with a smile.

I shook my head and smiled back. "No. Usually I eat burgers, lie in the sun, chat with Rose – then I try to piss Emmett off," I replied.

"I see. So, what else is there to do around here?"

"Really, I kind of stick to my same-old, same-old. You'd probably have more fun hanging out with Jasper because he runs around all over the place. I just kind of hang out at the beach all day, lie out in the sun, surf when the waves are decent, and bug Rosalie when she's lifeguarding. Other than that, I don't do much but read books. I'm actually pretty boring," I told him.

"Wait, you know how to surf?" he asked, sounding impressed.

"All of that rambling and you pick up on the surfing?" I teased. "Yes, I surf. I'm not fantastic at it but it's fun, and it's a total adrenaline rush."

"Don't let her fool you; Bella kicks ass on a board," Jasper said from behind us.

"Hey! You found us!" I said, giving Jasper a one-armed hug.

Alice sat down on the other side of Edward and Jasper sat to my other side.

"So, what's this carnival thing you mentioned to my mom?" Alice asked.

I looked questioningly at her. I hadn't realized she had heard us talking. I hoped she hadn't heard Jasper telling me about how hot her mom was. That would be embarrassing - for Jasper, anyway.

"Mom mentioned that you told her about a carnival when she came up to get me," she said, answering my unspoken question.

I let out a small sigh of relief

"The Fourth of July carnival is awesome," I started. "It's a huge carnival that lasts all week, and there's a huge fireworks display on the Fourth. They take a boat out into the water and light them off from there, and no matter where you are on the beach, you can see them perfectly. We usually go over to Jasper's to watch them; that way we avoid the crowds."

"Yeah, and the rides they have are usually pretty cool, too," Jasper added. "We also have a big bonfire at my house every night."

"Just make sure Bella's dad isn't there. Last year, he busted Rosie and me half naked. I swear the man has sex radar or something. It's no wonder Bella's a virgin," Emmett warned.

I shot Em a nasty glare as I blushed profusely. Like I really wanted everyone to know I was a virgin. Asshole!

"Bella's dad scares the shit out of me. It doesn't help that he carries a gun," Jasper added with a shudder.

"Is your dad a cop or something?" Alice asked.

"Yeah, a county sheriff," I answered, elbowing Jasper in the ribs. "He isn't as bad as these guys make him sound. He's just protective of his little girl."

"Whatever, dude. He's scary," Emmett mumbled and walked away to help another customer.

I shook my head.

"So, what else is on the agenda for today?" Alice asked.

I looked out over the sand and saw the swells rising.

"I was thinking about going into the water for a little bit," I told them. "What did you guys want to do?"

"Alice asked about shopping. I thought maybe I'd show her where the mall is," Jasper replied.

"You are going to the mall?" I asked sarcastically. I knew Jasper hung out at the mall. The mall had girls. Lots of girls. Jasper hunted for "prime pussy" there – often.

Jasper flipped me off and then asked Edward if he wanted to join them.

"Nah, I'll just stay here with Bella, if that's okay with you," he said, looking to me for confirmation.

"Fine by me," I answered with a shrug.

"Cool. So I guess we'll meet up at my place a little before eight for the bonfire?" Jasper asked.

"Yeah," I answered as I grabbed my trash and headed toward the trash can. "See ya."

I waved to them, and headed back to the beach.

"I just have to grab my stuff from the lifeguard stand, and we'll be on our way," I told Edward.

"Are you a lifeguard?"

"No, my cousin, Rosalie, is. I stashed my stuff there before I left."


I got to the lifeguard stand and saw Rose sitting up top of it, looking bored.

"Hey, Ro, anyone drown today?" I asked jokingly.

"Shit no, not on my watch," she replied.

She looked down and saw me with Edward.

"Well, what do we have here?" she asked, eyeballing him.

"Edward Cullen, meet Rosalie Hale - the best damn lifeguard around," I teased.

"Best-lookin', you mean," Rose corrected and hopped down from the stand.

"So, you're the poor sucker Bella has to show around all day? I feel bad for you. Bella's boring as hell," she quipped, elbowing me lightly in the ribs.

I stuck my tongue out at her and she tried to grab it.

"Bitch, if you weren't on duty, I'd kick your ass," I warned playfully.

"Right. You'd have to catch me first!" she taunted as I made a face at her.

I saw Edward physically shaking from trying to hold his laughter in.

"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, chuckles. I could kick your ass, too," I warned him.

"She could, too. I've seen her do it," Rose added.

Rose and I busted out in a fit of laughter.

"Relax, Cullen. I'm just busting your chops," I assured him, patting him on the back.

"She could, though," Rose said, looking him dead in the eye. Why she was trying to intimidate him, I don't know.

"Okay, enough of the dickery," I told her. "Can I get my stuff?"

Rose looked out at the rising swells and pouted. "Yeah, sure. Get a big one for me."

"Thanks," I said, and ran up the ramp to the lifeguard post.

I came down a few minutes later, changed into my wetsuit top and bikini bottoms, with my surfboard under my right arm and my towel in the other.

"I'm going out now. You don't mind waiting up here, do you?" I asked Edward.

"I was thinking of going into the water, too. It's hotter than Hell out here," he answered and took off his shirt.

My jaw dropped at the sight of Edward shirtless. He wasn't overly muscular, but had a defined six-pack and decent pecs. He wasn't nearly as muscular as Emmett, but it didn't make him any less nice to look at. I had to snicker at his ghostly-pale skin, though.

"Here," I said, throwing him my bottle of sunblock, "you'll need this, Casper."

He rolled his eyes at me and I made a face back at him.

"Keep an eye on city boy, Rose. Make sure he doesn't drown in the big, bad waves," I told Rosalie, strapping my board to my ankle, and taking off down the beach.

I hit the water running and laid my board down. I paddled out several yards on my stomach until I saw the swell building in the distance. I sat up, straddling my board, until it got closer. I used arms and legs to turn myself around, and began paddling furiously with my arms until I felt the wave touch the back of my board. I quickly jumped to my feet and balanced myself on the board. Like a newbie, I wiped out, falling off my board, and into the ocean. Pissed that I biffed a great wave, I resurfaced quickly, and grabbed on to my board to float for a moment to catch my breath. I watched my beautiful wave as it neared the shore and crashed into the beach.

"Fuck!" I yelled, slapping my board. I shook my head in disgust and climbed back on my board to paddle back out and wait for another wave.

After several more tries, and much more success with staying on my board, I paddled back toward the shore. Tired and thirsty, I headed back up to Rosalie.

"Looking good out there," she said, throwing me a water bottle from her perch on the lifeguard stand.

"I biffed that first big one, though," I muttered, opening the bottle.

"The rest of them looked pretty good. Don't beat yourself up; it's the first time you've been out all summer."

"I guess. Where's Edward?" I asked, toweling myself off.

Rose climbed down from the stand. "He's still out in the water," she said, pointing in his direction.

I raised my hand to shield my eyes from the sun, looking for him. I spotted him going under the water, then rising again a few feet away.

"He was watching you like a hawk the whole time you were out there," Rose said, looking over the top of her sunglasses at me.

"Yeah, so? He's a city boy. He probably hasn't seen surfing up close before. Besides, I wasn't the only one out there," I said with a shrug.

"Whatever, Bella. I was spying on him with the binoculars. He was watching you."

"Shh! He's coming. Just...stop, okay?" I pleaded.

Rosalie rolled her eyes and climbed back up to her post.

"Wow, Bella, that was really cool," Edward said when he got to me.

"Thanks. I was a bit rusty out there. It took me a few waves to get the feel for it," I told him, trying to act nonchalant over his praise.

"Well, I thought you looked great out there. Do you think you could give me a few lessons while I'm here?" he asked.

"Yeah, I think that could be arranged. Not today, though. I'm wiped out now."

"No, that's cool. We'll be here for two weeks. I've got plenty of time," he assured me, grinning.

I looked at him, reallylooked at him, and realized just how good-looking he was. His hair was wet and dripping droplets down his broad shoulders. I watched them fall, mesmerized, and traced them with my eyes as they slid down his pecs, over his abs, and down to the waistband of his swim trunks.

I heard Edward clear his throat and knew I'd been busted checking him out. My cheeks flushed and I refused to make eye contact with him.

"Um, we should probably get going. I need to get showered and changed, and I'm sure you have other stuff to do, too," I stammered, bending down and gathering my things.

"Yeah, I guess it is getting late," Edward said.

"I'll see you later, at Jasper's," I yelled up to Rose.

"Yep," she replied. "You going, Edward?"

"I don't know...it's a long way for me to go," Edward teased.

At the confused look on Rose's face, I said, "His family is renting the house next to Jasper's."

Understanding filled Rosalie's face and she nodded. "See you guys later, then," she called with a wave.

Edward and I said our goodbyes, and headed back to my Jeep.

"Need any help with that?" Edward asked when I started loading my board.

"Nah, I got it. Thanks, though."

Edward silently climbed into the passenger seat as I arranged all my stuff in the back so it wouldn't blow out on the way home. When I was finished, I climbed into the Jeep, pulled my sunglasses down over my eyes, and pointed us in the direction of Edward's house.

"Sorry it was so boring for you today. I really do suggest hanging with Jasper tomorrow. He's always on the move."

"Bella, you really have nothing to apologize for. If I wasn't having a good time, I would have told you."

I thought back to how rude he had been to me earlier in the day, and realized he was probably right. He seemed to have no trouble at all expressing his feelings.

"You really were amazing on the board, too. The way you move with the water, like in sync with it, or something. It's a beautiful thing to watch," he praised.

I flushed at his compliment and thanked him.

We talked about random things, mainly about the carnival and local attractions, the rest of the trip back. Conversation flowed freely, and all trace of the grumpy asshole from the morning was gone. I found myself enjoying my time alone with Edward, and was a little bummed when we got back to his house.

"Thanks for today, Bella. I really had a nice time," Edward said as he got out of the Jeep. "I guess I'll see you later?"

"Yep, I'll be here," I replied with a smile.

Edward just nodded and tapped the side of the Jeep. I watched him go into his house, and let out a long breath as he disappeared inside.

What a fucking day.

"Mom! I'm home!" I yelled, slamming the front door.

"I'm in here!" I heard her call from the living room.

"Hey, Mom," I greeted, plopping down on the couch next to her.

"Really, Isabella, is it necessary to slam the door when you come in?" she chastised.

"I'm sorry, Momma. I'll be a good girl," I told her in a high squeaky voice.

She laughed at my ridiculousness and nudged my shoulder playfully.

"You smell like salt water. Were the waves good today?" she asked, continuing to fold the laundry and laying it on the coffee table.

"Yeah, not too bad. I biffed the first big one, though. It was embarrassing."

"Well, honey, it's the first time you've been out this summer. I'm sure it takes a while to get a feel for the waves again. I'm sure you'll be back wowing the tourists in no time," Mom said with a grin.

"Thanks, Mom. Rose said something like that, too." I appreciated my mom's support. She hadn't been thrilled with the idea of me surfing, at first. Now, she accepted it and even encouraged it.

"Want some help with that?" I asked, motioning to the basket full of clothes.

"Sure, if you want."

We sat in comfortable silence while we finished folding the laundry. When it was done, I grabbed some of my stuff and headed to my bedroom.

"Hey, Bella," Mom called just as I was getting to the bottom of the staircase.


"Who are the Cullens?" she asked.

I stood there, dumbfounded. How did Mom know about the Cullens already? Our town wasn't large, but it wasn't small, either. It usually took more than a couple hours for gossip to get around, and not too many people talked about summer renters.

"They are renting the house next door to Jasper's," I answered, going back into the living room and setting my pile of clothes on the back of the couch. "Why?"

"Oh, I met a man in the grocery store earlier today while in the meat department. He introduced himself as Carlisle Cullen. When I gave him my name, he asked if I had a daughter named Bella. He said you were helping Jasper show his kids around today," she told me.

"Yeah. Jasper found me and asked if I would help him out," I told her. I went on to explain how Edward had acted like a jerk, but then apologized, and how we hung out most of the day together.

"I think Jasper has a little crush on Alice, Edward's sister. They're both really attractive kids. I think I'll get a complex if I hang around them too long."

"Oh, Bella, none of that. You're absolutely beautiful," she said, laying a hand on my cheek and smiling proudly at me.

I blushed under her stare. "Thanks, Mom. Anyway, like I said, Edward's pretty cool when he's being mellow. He was impressed that I could surf, too. He asked me to give him a few lessons while they're down here," I told her, standing up and grabbing my laundry again.

"Are you going to?" she asked from the couch.

"I might, if he can keep his attitude in check. If not, I'll just have to drown him," I teased.

Mom just smiled and shook her head at me.

"Either way, we'll get to meet them tonight, I'm sure," Mom said, just as I was about to ascend the stairs.

I turned around and shot her a confused look.

She smiled. "Your Dad and I will be joining you at the Whitlocks' tonight."

"Of course you are," I muttered under my breath, heading up the stairs.

Fuck. My. Life.

"I don't see why I have to ride with you guys," I whined, crossing my arms across my chest. Did I sound like a petulant five-year-old? Yes. But dammit, riding with your parents just wasn't cool. Dad had insisted I ride with them to Jasper's house to save my gas. I guess since he paid for it, I should have listened and just shut up. But instead, I was pouting in the back seat of my mom's car.

"So what's this about a new boy you've been hanging around with?" Dad asked.

I shot daggers into the back of my mom's head. Leave it to her to fill Dad in on my social life.

"It's nothing, really. Some new people are renting the house next to Jasper's for a couple of weeks, and I was hanging around with their son today," I told him.

"Is he a good kid?"

"I guess so. I only hung out with him for a few hours."

"Well, he better behave himself, or he'll have to answer to me," Dad warned sternly. The line between Charlie being in "dad" mode and "cop" mode was thin when it came to me and boys.

I rolled my eyes. "He'd have to go through Emmett and Jasper first, Dad. Don't worry, he was a perfect gentleman," I assured him.

Dad just grunted, and conversation died after that.

A few minutes later we pulled up to the Whitlock house. I couldn't stop myself from stealing a glance next door to see if Edward or Alice were outside.

As soon as Dad had the car in park I was out the door. "I'm going to find Jasper," I told my parents before I slammed the door shut and ran up to the Whitlocks' front door.

I knocked on the door and waited for an answer. A moment later, Janet, Jasper's mom, opened the door with a smile. Jasper's mom was a beautiful woman. She was a little taller than me, with long, blonde, curly hair and very dark blue eyes. Jasper was a spitting image of her.

"Bella, dear, hello," she said, giving me a hug. "Come on in. Jasper's out back."

"Thanks," I said, slipping past her and making my way to their back door.

I slid the patio door to the side to see Jasper sitting at their large patio table, talking to his dad.

"Hey, Jazz, Mr. Whitlock," I said, closing the door behind me.

"Hello again, Bella," Mr. Whitlock said. "How many times do I have to tell you to call me Mark?" he asked with a smile.

"Sorry. Mom and Dad are here. I don't want them thinking I don't have manners," I said with a shrug, plopping down next to Jasper.

Just then my dad made his way out on to the deck.

"Charlie!" Mark said happily, getting up to shake my dad's hand.

"Hey, Mark, how's it been?"

They walked back into the house – to get drinks I assumed.

"So, how was it hanging out with Edward all day?" Jasper asked.

"Fine. He mellowed out, and we actually had some fun," I told him.

"Yeah, Alice ripped his ass after you stormed out of their house. What did he say to you when he went outside?"

"Just that he was sorry for being rude and that coming down here wasn't his idea."

Jasper nodded. "Alice said that he was whining that he didn't want to go on vacation this year because he was going to miss some sort of music camp. According to her, he's some sort of musical genius or something."

"Really? I wouldn't have guessed that he was into music. He never mentioned it," I said.

A moment later, my parents and Janet joined us on the patio.

"I invited the neighbors over. They should be here soon," Janet announced.

"Will Mr. Cullen be joining them?" my mom asked sweetly.

Ohh...I think Mom's hot for Cullen!

"Why, yes, Renee, he will be," Janet answered with a sly wink. I think Mrs. Whitlock had a thing for him, too!

We all sat around chatting for a few more minutes about random things. Soon the Cullens appeared at the side of the deck.

"Hello again, Jasper, Bella," Esme said, making her way over to an empty chair. "How was your day?"

"Good," Jasper and I answered at the same time.

"The kids seemed to have fun, too. All Edward could talk about was you surfing, and Alice kept going on and on about all the small shops you showed her today, Jasper. Thank you both so much for that."

"You're welcome," Jasper replied.

"Yeah, no problem," I said with a nod.

"I want to apologize for my son's behavior this morning," Esme said, looking to me. "He's not happy about having to leave home this summer. I heard he was quite short with you."

"He was, but he got over it after I threatened to kick his butt," I teased.

"'Atta girl," Dad said, raising his beer. I rolled my eyes.

"Well, you do that, dear. Edward needs a good ass-kicking once and a while," she said with a smirk.

"Where are the kids, anyway?" Mark asked.

"Taking their sweet damn time, apparently," Carlisle answered. "I swear, Ali spends more time in the bathroom primping than she does at the actual place she's going to!"

"Oh, sorry to have been rude," Janet spoke up. "Carlisle and Esme Cullen, meet Charlie and Renee Swan, Bella's parents."

"Nice to see you again, Carlisle," Mom said.

"You two have already met?" my father asked, confused.

"Yes, dear, I told you this earlier. Carlisle and I bumped into each other at the grocery store. Do you even listen to a word I say?" she asked sarcastically.

"I got sidetracked when you mentioned Bella and a boy," he teased.

"Daaaad," I whined. "Stop being so...'Dad' about everything. When have I ever given you a reason to worry about my behavior with boys?"

"Since the day you were born and I had a daughter instead of a son," he mumbled under his breath.

I rolled my eyes and sighed. Dads...sheesh!

Jasper grabbed my arm and insisted that I play Frisbee with him. I was grateful that he was saving me from my dad and his talk of boys.

"Thanks, man. Dad was getting intense," I said, throwing the Frisbee in his direction.

"Yeah, I thought you needed out of there," he joked, catching it.

I laughed and continued our game.

A little while later, Edward and Alice emerged from alongside the house.

"Hey, guys!" Alice yelled right as I released the Frisbee. Jasper wasn't paying attention and it hit him on the side of the head.

"Ouch! Damn, Bells!" he hollered, rubbing the side of his head.

"Sorry! Pay attention!" I yelled back.

Alice rushed to his side to inspect the damage. "You're not bleeding, so I think you'll live," she joked.

"Nice throw," Edward cheered.

"You could be next, you know," I retorted, quirking an eyebrow at him.

He shook his head and smiled.

"So, what did we miss?" he asked.

"Just Bella's dad going totally mental about you two hanging out today. I'd watch myself when you go up there, if I were you. He keeps a gun under his driver's seat...for emergencies," Jasper told him with a straight face.

Edward kind of looked like he was going to puke.

"Goddamnit, Jazz! Stop trying to scare him! I swear you're worse than Emmett!" I yelled, kicking sand in his direction.

Jasper just shrugged.

"Don't freak out, Edward. Jasper's just being a dick. Dad was not freaking out," I assured him. "You guys might want to warn your dad, though. I think my mom and Jazz's mom have the hots for him."

"That's nothing new," Edward mumbled.

"So, where's this bonfire I heard about?" Alice asked, looking around.

"I think Dad was waiting on Emmett and Rosalie's families to get here, but it looks like they're late - as usual. I'll go see if he'll start it now," Jasper said, taking off towards the house.

"I'll come, too," Alice said, running to catch up with him.

"So..." Edward said, rocking back on his heels.

"So..." I replied. "Uh...Frisbee?"

"Sure, but I'm not great at it," Edward admitted.

"What's there to be good at? You catch it; you throw it back. Five-year-olds can do it," I teased, running away from him.

I ran a few yards away from Edward and tossed the Frisbee. He had to run to his left a bit, but he still caught it.

"See? Easy, huh?" I asked snarkily.

"I can catch...I just can't throw," he said, releasing the Frisbee.

It came right to me and I caught it easily.

"Yeah, you're really bad at this."

"Just throw the damn thing!" he yelled.

"Yes, sir."

We played for a little while longer, and Jasper's dad started a fire in the sand several yards from where we were. I thought I'd mess with Edward a little bit, and started tossing the Frisbee closer and closer to the water. A few times he had to run in the surf, getting his shoes wet.

"You're doing that on purpose, aren't you?" he asked.

"Doing what?" I implored, feigning innocence.

Edward shook his head and tossed it back.

The next time I threw it, the wind caught it and took it out a bit further than I had meant it to. Edward had to run into knee-deep water to get it.

"You're going to pay for that, Swan!" he yelled.

"Yeah, sure," I challenged.

All of the sudden, he came charging at me. I realized a moment too late what he was planning to do, and didn't run away from him fast enough. I felt his arms around my waist as he lifted me off the ground. Before I could even try to struggle away, he was in the water. As soon as it was deep enough, he threw us to the side, landing us both under water.

I surfaced, sputtering. "What the hell?" I asked, laughing.

"I figured if you were going to get me wet, I would repay the favor," he said with a smile, pushing his wet hair out of his face.

"You suck!" I said, splashing water up at him.

He ducked under the water quickly and pulled my legs out from underneath me. "What was that?" he asked when I resurfaced again.

"Maybe I shouldgo get my dad's gun. Jasper wasn't kidding when he said it was under the driver's seat," I teased.

"You don't scare me," he said, walking closer to me.

Considering the tricks he had just pulled on me, I was hesitant of his advance, and took a step away from him.

"You don't scare me, either," I told him.

"Oh yeah? Then why are you backing up?" he asked, smirking.

I rolled my eyes and made my way out of the water with Edward close behind me.

"Ugh! Now I have wet sand in my shoes," Edward whined. I looked down and saw him wearing sandals.

"So take them off," I instructed.

"Why would I do that?" He seemed completely perplexed as to why anyone would go shoeless on a beach.

"So you don't get sand in your shoes," I countered, the "duh" obvious in my tone.

"What if i step on glass? Or a crab? Or a crackhead's discarded needle?"

"Seriously, Edward? Where do you think you are, exactly?"

"Back home, you wouldn't go without shoes on the beach. Even though it looks clean, you never know what's lurking below the sand," he said, sitting down to dump the wet sand from his shoes.

"Wow, that's lame. Where do you live, anyway?" I asked, sitting next to him.


"I've never been that far north. Is it nice there? I've always wanted to see the Sears Tower," I told him.

"I like it. But then again, I've always lived in the city. It's too quiet down here."

"Well, if I ever make my way to Chicago, I'll look you up so you can babysit me," I joked, nudging his shoulder with mine.

"I really am sorry about this morning. You aren't going to let me live it down, are you?"

"Probably not," I said with a smile, rising to my feet.

Edward put his shoes back on and stood up. "Looks like your other friends are here. Maybe we should head back?"


We walked in comfortable silence for a few steps. I saw Edward watching my feet as we walked.

"What are you doing?" I asked, completely confused as to what was fascinating about my feet.

"Why do you curl your toes like that when you walk?" he inquired, noticing how I grabbed the sand with my bare toes.

"I like the way the sand feels under my feet," I answered with a shrug.

"And you're not afraid of stepping on something?"

I laughed. "No, Edward, I'm not afraid of hurting myself. I've lived in this area all my life, and the sand is pretty clean. You get the occasional cat turd, but that's about it."

"That's gross," he commented.

"It is. But seriously, you need to lighten up. Take your shoes off and enjoy the beach, city boy," I advised with a smile.

"Bellsy!" Emmett bellowed as we neared the fire. He came running at me and grabbed me as he got to me, throwing me over his shoulder.

"Emmett, you fucking ape! Put me down! Daddy, help!" I squealed.

"You're on your own, there, Bells," Dad yelled, laughing.

Some protector he is!

I started pounding Emmett's back and he just laughed.

"Hey, Jasper, is there a fly on my back? Something tickles," he taunted.

"Looks like an angry hornet to me," Jasper quipped.

I reached down Emmett's back, grabbed the waistband of his underwear, and yanked hard.

"Ow! Bella! Not cool!" he yelled, setting me down on my feet. "Rose, did you see what she did to me?"

"Serves you right for acting like a Neanderthal!" she answered.

I walked past Emmett as he was digging the wedgie out of his ass and sat down on the blanket next to Rosalie.

"Way to go, Bella," Rose cheered. "Way to show Emmett who's boss."

I just shrugged and smiled.

"Looks like you were having fun with Edward out there," she said, looking over at Edward, who was talking to Jasper and Mark.

"Yeah, he's actually kind of cool to hang around with," I told her.

"Uh huh. You like him, don't you?" she whispered.

"What? No! We just hung out today! Sheesh, Rose!" I huffed.

"You can't deny he's easy on the eyes."

"Whatever. Yes, we hung out. Yes, he was fun to hang out with. End of story."

Emmett came over and plopped down behind Rosalie.

"You so owe me a new pair of undies. I think you ripped mine!" he whined.

"Undies? Really, Emmett? Are they pink and lacy, too?" I teased.

He flipped me the bird and snuggled Rosalie to his chest. She just rolled her eyes and let him hold her like a giant teddy bear.

"Mind if I sit here?" I heard Edward ask behind me.


He sat down and tried to brush the sand off his still-wet feet.

I laughed. "You know that's a losing battle until they dry, right?"

Edward just shrugged.

"You're not cold, are you? I didn't think before I threw us in the water," he apologized.

"Nah, I'm good. Thanks, though."

Silence hung between us. I sat, idly listening to the chatter around us. The parents were all grouped toward the other side of the large fire, Esme and Carlisle fitting in well with everyone. Jasper and Alice were sitting on a big blanket off to my left, deep in quiet discussion. Emmett was still snuggling Rose, whispering something in her ear that made her smack his arm playfully.

I turned back to Edward. "So, what do you do in Chicago?"

"Go to school, come home, and hang out with friends. Nothing special, really," he answered with a shrug.

"Wow, sounds exciting," I deadpanned.

"Yeah, I'm not a really interesting person," he told me, looking kind of uncomfortable.

"Hey, I didn't mean it like that. Sorry, I was kidding."

"It's okay." He took a deep breath. "Truth is I'm kind of a music nerd."

"How so?" I asked, even though I knew he was mad about missing a music camp. I didn't want to come off like a creepy stalker, so I let him tell me, instead.

"I love music. It pretty much consumes my life. Mom had me taking piano lessons since I was six, and I'm really good at it. I love it," he admitted.

"There's nothing wrong with being talented at something, Edward," I assured him.

"Yeah, well, it's not always that easy. If I was a girl and gifted at music, it would be okay. But boys are supposed to like football and baseball, and not spend their Saturdays locked in their music room playing Bach all day," he said cynically.

"Says who?" I scoffed.

"Society, I guess. I've been labeled gay, socially awkward, and nerdy…" he trailed off.

"Well, if it helps, I don't think you're nerdy or socially awkward. And it's still to be determined if you're gay or not," I said, bumping my shoulder to his and smiling.

He looked at me, seemingly stunned, then shrugged and shook his head.

"You're quite something, Miss Swan."

"You ain't seen nothing yet, city boy."

We spent Monday surfing with Emmett, and around noon, Edward, Jasper, and Alice joined us as well.

I tried to give Edward a surfing lesson, but he kept falling off the board. His biggest issues were keeping his balance and his knees buckling. It looked, to me, that he was afraid of the wave – something he vehemently denied.

We all parted ways around four and decided to meet up at the carnival later that night. I drove home quickly and showered. Mom was kind enough to give me twenty bucks, and I was on my way.

I met up with Rose and Emmett at the skee ball booth, and we waited for the others to get there.

"So, it looked like Cullen and surfing don't mix," Emmett said with a smug grin.

"Lay off him, Em. He didn't grow up around it like we did. I remember a time when your beefy ass couldn't ride through a wave, either," I snapped.

Emmett put his hands up in defeat. "Yes, ma'am."

I rolled my eyes at him and gave the carny working the skee ball a ticket. He handed me my balls and I began rolling them up the slide. Unfortunately, they kept landing on the ten holes, and my score was really lousy.

"Here, let me try," I heard Edward say from behind me.

"Oh, hey, I didn't even hear you guys come up," I said, pushing my hair behind my ears.

"You looked pretty focused. Step aside; let me show you how it's done."

I smiled and bowed, allowing him to take my place. He handed his balls to me and I giggled. All I could think was: I'm holding Edward's balls.

Edward didn't seem to notice my perverted inner monologue, and sailed his first ball right into the fifty hole.

"Nice," I complimented.

"I'm not even warmed up. Another ball, please."

I handed him a ball, and he landed it right into the tiny one-hundred hole in the top left corner.

"Wow, impressive."

"Thanks. So, Miss Swan, what animal would you like when I win?" Edward asked.

"Well, aren't you cocky?" I teased.

"Not cocky, Bella. Confident," he said, as he landed another ball in the top left one-hundred hole.

"I want the panda," I told him, no longer doubting his skills.

His next two balls landed in the fifty and one-hundred holes. He was surely on track to get the high score for the night. When he was finished, Edward had racked up six hundred points.

"High score!" the carny shouted.

"Wow, Edward, that was awesome!" I praised, hugging him before I could even think about what I was doing.

Edward wrapped his arms around me as well, and I enjoyed the moment. It felt nice to be in his embrace, and I could smell aftershave, deodorant, and Edward's own unique scent. It was a lovely mixture that I wanted to keep smelling. However, the moment was broken, and I realized what I was doing when Edward suddenly tensed under my grasp.

"Yeah, well, it's all in the wrist," he said, taking an uncomfortable step away from me.

"Pick your prize," the carny instructed.

"A panda for the lady," Edward said.

"Thank you, kind sir," I joked, and just like that, the awkwardness was forgotten.

Edward tried to show me how to properly roll a skee ball, but I really sucked at it. He said his superior skills at the game made up for his lack thereof on a surfboard. I couldn't disagree.

I looked around to see that my friends and his sister were no longer there. I was so wrapped up in Edward, I hadn't noticed.

"Shit, I wish Rose would have told me she was leaving. We'll never find her now," I griped, surveying the area.

"Actually, Jasper said something about meeting them over by the rides when we were done."

"Oh, thanks. We better go, then," I said, picking up my giant stuffed panda and walking toward the rides.

"Here, let me carry that," Edward said, taking the panda from me.


We found everyone over by the Scrambler, and I couldn't resist the urge to run up to the line.

"Come on, Edward. This one's my favorite!"

Edward stood behind me in line with the others filing in behind him. Soon, it was our turn to enter the cars.

"Do you want the inside or the outside?" Edward asked, holding the door to the car open.

"You better take the inside, or you'll crush me," I told him.

We entered the car and waited for the carny to start her up.

I felt the jerk of the motor starting, and anticipation bubbled in my stomach. A moment later, the spinning started, and I giggled as I slid into Edward, unable to fight the centrifugal force.

"Sorry," I hollered to him.

"You're fine," he answered with a laugh.

After the Scrambler, we all went our separate ways. Edward and I rode all the rides, played almost all the games, and laughed a lot.

Before I knew it, it was nine forty-five, and we were meeting up with the others at the entrance. Since I had to be home by eleven, I decided not to follow the others back to Jasper's.

"Are you sure you can't make it, Bells?" Rose whined.

"You know how my parents are. And besides, when have I ever broken curfew?"

"Fine. Same time tomorrow?" she asked.

"Yeah, just no dripping water tomorrow, please."

"I make no promises," she teased, giving me a hug.

"See you guys tomorrow," I said, fishing my keys from my purse and heading toward my Jeep.

"Bella! Bella, wait up!" Edward yelled. "You almost forgot your animals," he said with a laugh.

Along with the giant panda, Edward had also won me a smaller teddy bear and a turtle.

"Oh, thanks! I can't believe I almost forgot!"

I took the panda, teddy bear, and turtle from him. I sat the bear and turtle on the floor and buckled the panda in to the passenger seat.

"See you tomorrow, Bella," Edward said.

We stood there for an awkward moment. I wanted to hug him again, but wasn't sure if I should. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just did it. I was pleasantly surprised to feel him wrap his arms around me.

"Bye, Edward," I said, stepping out of his embrace.

"Bye," he said, giving me a small wave and rejoining the others.

I got home to find my mom and dad up watching TV.

"Guys, I'm home!" I yelled, slamming the door.

"Isabella! Really…enough with the slamming," my mom scolded.

"Sorry. Hey, look what Edward won me," I said, showing her my animals.

"How sweet of him. Look, Charlie. Edward won your daughter some stuffed animals at the carnival," she said, nudging my dad's shoulder.

"How very John Cusack of him," Dad deadpanned.

"Don't worry, Dad. I doubt he'll be on the front lawn with a boom box anytime soon. Emmett and Jasper have him scared of you," I said, reclaiming my goodies from my mom and heading toward my room.

"Good," I heard him say as I started up the stairs.

I entered my room and plopped down on my bed. I rested my head on top of the panda's and realized it smelled like Edward. I was so glad he had offered to carry it.

I fell asleep that night snuggled with my giant Edward-scented panda.

The rest of the week followed in the same fashion. Rose would wake me up, we'd hang out at the beach – or the rest of us would hang out while she and Emmett were at work – and then all meet up at the carnival at night.

My parents allowed me to stay out until midnight on Wednesday, so I was able to join the others at Jasper's and watch the fireworks – curled up in Edward's arms.

Edward spent pretty much all of his time with me, and I felt myself getting closer to him. I felt bad that I hadn't been spending much time with Alice, but she seemed pretty cozy with Jasper, so the guilt subsided fairly quickly.

The more time I spent with Edward, the more I realized how funny and intelligent he was. We didn't talk about school or college much; we just lived in the moment. We knew our time was limited, and we were going to make the best of it.

The worst part of it was that I realized that I was quickly developing feelings for him. It was why I never hung out with tourists. They left and went back to their lives, and I stayed behind.

I think Edward was starting to feel the same way. He was always finding ways to touch me – a nudge of the shoulder, softly brushing hair out of my face, or just straight out hugging me.

A band was playing on Friday night, the last night of the carnival. I usually didn't stay to listen since I had to be home at ten, but Mom and Dad were letting me stay out as late as I wanted that night. It was times like that I was grateful they had so much trust in me.

"I still can't believe Mike Newton is in a band. Weird. Are they any good?" Emmett asked.

"I've heard them play a few times; they aren't too bad," Jasper said. "If you don't mind cover bands."

"I think it will be fun," I chimed in.

"It's five dollars per person," Jasper said.

"Shit! I blew the rest of my money on food," I pouted.

"I've got a ten in my pocket. I can pay, if you want," Edward offered.

"I couldn't…"

"Bella, please. Let me pay for you," Edward said, stepping close to me, and pushing my hair behind my left ear with a smile.

"Yeah, okay," I said, entranced in his stare.

Edward paid for us, and we waited just inside the entrance to the pavilion for our friends.

We spent the night dancing like maniacs during the fast songs, though I usually sat out the slow songs.

Toward the end of the show, another slow song came up. I was sitting at the table drinking some sweet tea when Edward sat down next to me.

"Want to dance?" he asked nervously.

"It's a slow song. I don't know how to slow dance," I told him.

"Nonsense. It's easy. Come on, I'll show you," he said, taking my hand and leading me on to the dance floor.

He wordlessly took my left hand, and wrapped his other arm around me, pulling me close to him.

"I'm afraid I'll step on your toes," I told him.

"I'll live," he said, swaying us side to side.

After a moment, I tightened my grip around his neck, and moved closer to him, resting my head on his chest.

"This is nice," I murmured into his shirt.

"Yeah, it is," he said softly. "I can't believe I only have a week left. I didn't want to come here. Now I don't want to leave."

I nodded and fought back the tears.

I couldn't deny it anymore – I had officially fallen for Edward Cullen.

After the song ended, I started to step away from Edward, but he wouldn't allow it. I looked up to see his eyes swimming with unshed tears. Without a word, he leaned down and placed a soft kiss on my lips.

"I love you, Bella."

I had to laugh at the situation. Here he was, professing his love for me, but he was leaving in a week. Nothing would change that.

"Yeah, I love you, too, Cullen," I tried to say sarcastically. If I acted like this was just a joke, it wouldn't hurt as much. Right?

Edward apparently sensed what I was doing, and let out a small, forced laugh and hugged me. I took one last, long, sniff of his shirt, and released him from my grip.

We met up with everyone, and I said my goodbyes. Edward walked me to my car.

"I had a really nice time tonight," he said when we finally got back to the Jeep.

"Me, too," I told him.

I shuffled my feet and stared at the ground. Suddenly, he enveloped me in a tight hug. I hugged him back tightly, and broke away quickly.

Without a word, I unlocked the door and slid into the driver's seat. I pulled away from Edward without looking back. I didn't want a chance for him to see the tears streaming down my face.

Thankfully, my parents were in their room when I got home. I yelled through the door that I was back and collapsed onto my bed, crying into the chest of my Edward-scented panda.

If Edward and I were spending a lot of time together before, we were inseparable the last week he was in town. We spent every moment we could together, knowing that time was quickly slipping away from us.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up from the most delicious dream. I was dreaming that Edward was in my room, snuggled up next to me.

"Isabella Marie Swan, get your lazy ass out of bed, pronto!" Rosalie's loud voice said, startling me awake.

"Fuck you, Rose," I said, throwing the pillow over my head.

Suddenly, the blanket was ripped from me and the pillow thrown on the floor.

"Dammit, Rose! I said not right…"I trailed off angrily, seeing Edward in the corner of my room, shoulders shaking from his effort to contain his laughter.

"Fuck!" I squealed, diving for the blanket. Edward had just seen me in one of my dad's old police tee shirts and my underwear. I was beyond embarrassed.

"Edward! Out! Rose, why didn't you warn me? Fuck!" I yelled.

Edward lost the battle and was now fully laughing at me.

"I tried to get you up! But you wouldn't budge, so I sent Edward up. You wouldn't get up for him, either. It's not my fault you're such a hard sleeper," she said and stomped angrily out of my room.

"What are you doing in here still?" I asked Edward.

"Enjoying the sight," he responded with a smirk, taking in my barely-covered body. I tried to pull the tangled blanket over myself to no avail.

"No, please, don't do that. You look too cute like that," he said.

"I think you should go so I can get dressed. Mom is a crack shot, and that's no joke," I warned.

Edward took one last lingering look at me, and left my room.

I sighed and flopped on my bed.

Fuck. My. Life.

Sooner than I wanted it to, Friday came. Edward was leaving the next day.

I had asked my parents if I could stay the night at Jasper's house. All my friends were, since the twins were leaving the next day. Thankfully, my parents cleared it with Mark and Janet, and I was allowed to stay. It wasn't that they didn't trust me, but I was a teenager staying the night at a boy's house. They erred on the side of caution.

I sat on a blanket by the bonfire in between Edward's legs. He was softly stroking my arms as Jasper played his guitar and sang. All week we had been sharing small, chaste kisses. When we walked around, we held hands. I knew that if Edward was able to stay, I would be his girlfriend. But no, he was heading back to Chicago.

"Can we go for a walk?" he asked softly.


Edward stood and took my hand, helping me to my feet, and we set off down the beach hand in hand.

"I'm really going to miss you," Edward said.

"Please, don't," I pleaded. I didn't want to talk about him leaving. I didn't want to think about it. I wanted to pretend that it wasn't happening.

Without warning, Edward pulled me close and kissed me tenderly. I felt his tongue along my bottom lip, and I opened my mouth to him. I wrapped my arms around his neck and never wanted to let go.

We stood there kissing until we needed to break for air. I leaned my head on his chest and cried. I didn't even try to hide it this time. He was my first love, and he was leaving me. The pain was too much.

"I could say that I wish I hadn't run after you that first day, but I'd be lying," he said, rubbing my head and placing soft kisses atop of it.

"Yeah, I'm glad you decided you needed a babysitter, after all," I said with a sniff.

I felt Edward chuckle softly under me. "I'm glad, too."

We stood there for a few more minutes just holding each other, both of us seemingly afraid to break the contact. The wind blew off the ocean, and even though it was mid-July, I felt a chill ripple up my spine.

"Let's get back to the fire," Edward suggested, and pulled away.

We walked back to the fire just as we had walked away – hand-in-hand.

"Guys, it's time to get up," I heard Janet say.

I squinted at the light in the room and looked to the window. It was still dark out. I tried to tell myself that it wasn't tomorrow yet – the sun wasn't up. But logic took over, and I knew I was wrong. The time had come. Edward was leaving me.

I tried to roll over, but two strong arms squeezed me to a warm, soft, body. Edward. He and I had fallen asleep on the fold-out couch in the living room.

"I don't want to go. Do you think I could live in your garage? I doubt anyone would notice," Edward joked.

I couldn't laugh. I didn't see the humor in him leaving.

"Come on, kids. I know it's rough, but Esme and Carlisle have already called. They want to leave soon," Janet said softly.

I sighed and pried Edward's arms from my waist.

"Where you going?" he asked groggily.

"Just to the bathroom. I'll be right back," I told him and placed a soft kiss on his forehead.

He looked up at me sadly and I had to go. I didn't want to cry in front of Edward again.

I ran to the bathroom, locked the door, and melted into tears as I sat on the toilet lid. Deep, hard sobs racked my body. He couldn't be leaving, he just couldn't. I'd never felt anything like this for anyone before, and for him to have to go wasn't fair. I wanted to scream and yell and throw things, but I couldn't. I just cried. I must have been in the bathroom for a while, because Janet knocked softly on the door and asked if I was alright.

"Yeah, I'll be right out," I told her, blowing my nose and flushing the toilet to hide the sound. I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I looked like hell – my eyes were red and puffy from crying, and my cheeks had obvious tear tracks down them. I splashed water on my face in a feeble attempt to hide the evidence of my breakdown.

When I reentered the living room, the bed had been put away,blankets neatly folded and resting on the back of the couch.

"Ready?" I asked Edward.

He took a deep breath and nodded.

We walked solemnly out of the Whitlocks' home, Alice and Jasper behind us, and Emmett and Rose behind them.

"It was nice to meet you," Edward told Janet politely.

"It was nice to meet you too, Edward. Take care of yourself," she said.

"Oh, Janet! I'm going to miss you!" Alice said, rushing for her and enveloping her in a tight hug.

"I'll miss you too, sweet Alice."

The two of them separated and Jasper tucked Alice under his arm.

"I'll try to call and write as often as I can," Edward promised. I knew it was a promise he was going to break. This was just a summer romance. A fleeting moment in time that we'd both remember for years to come. He was my first love, and even though I hadn't given him my virginity, I knew I would never forget him.

Edward pulled me into a soft kiss full of love and longing. Carlisle beeped the horn, and I knew our time was officially over.

I struggled to fight back the tears, and felt Edward doing the same. Edward pulled away from me and motioned for Alice. They walked to their car and solemnly got into the back seat.

As Carlisle backed out of the driveway, Edward kissed his fingers and pressed them onto the window. My dam broke and I allowed the tears to flow freely down my face. I kissed my fingers and raised them into the air, mimicking Edward's gesture.

I felt strong arms around me and looked up to see it was Jasper, silent tears sliding down his face. I began sobbing even harder, and he gently led me over to Rosalie.

"I love him, Rose. And now he's gone," I cried into her shoulder.

"I know, sweetie. I know."

I turned and watched the Cullens drive further and further away, until their car disappeared from sight. I cried into my cousin's arms. Edward was gone.

So, do you hate me now? Just remember, there IS more to this story. Do they ever get their happy ending? Hmm...maybe...or, maybe not! Guess you'll just have to read the full version, huh? LOL

One last note...my other one shot The Adventures of Jamie and Jacki is nominated for an Emerging Swan award for best original character. It's a tale about 2 friends and their wild night at a 100 Monkeys concert. There's even some Jackson Rathbone in it! Check it out!

Until next time...