This is a O/s I wrote for the Hot Summer Nights contest. It didn't win, but I worked really hard on it, so I thought I'd post it here. Hope you like it :-)

Disclaimer: I make no claim to own anything Twilight related. No harm intended here.


His skin glistens in the sun as he climbs up the ladder out of the pool and makes his way back over to the lifeguard stand. Drops of water run along the planes of his tone body, some meeting in various points along the way, joining together to form larger ones. The winding journey of each drop has me spellbound. He perches atop the tall white structure as if he has no idea that all the ladies sitting around the deck are ogling him behind their dark sunglasses. He barely even acknowledges any of them. His eyes stay focused on the water. This guy takes his job very seriously. Most of the females lounging on the plush, cushioned chairs come here for the sole purpose of watching this man at work. He is just too damn adorable. No one can blame us for our fascination with him.

I also get some kind of sick satisfaction from the two girls next to me, watching him with so much obvious longing it practically seeps out of their pores. Lauren and Jessica are use to getting everything their hearts desire. Not having a chance in hell with this guy is almost enough to send them into hysteria. His blatant disinterest, however, has yet to deter them. They have no intention of giving up anytime soon. They turn to ask me something trivial only to turn back and find he has disappeared from sight. They sit up straight, trying to look around to figure out where he went.

As if on cue, a head of dark, curly hair emerges from behind the lifeguard stand. He's holding a first aid kit that he uses to help a little boy who apparently slipped and gained a boo-boo on his knee. The mom of the little boy is so evidently flirting with the man that Lauren and Jessica are practically growling in annoyance. He flashes those heart melting dimples at the kid while remaining seemingly oblivious of the woman's attempts to get his attention. I can't stop the laugh from escaping and quickly try to cover it with a cough. Lauren and Jessica are not fooled but, luckily, misjudge the source of my mirth.

"I know, she's so pathetic isn't she? She can't really think a guy like that would be interested in her stretched to hell ass," Jessica states flatly. I have to work hard to keep my expression impassive. The woman's body is practically flawless. If I hadn't heard the boy call her mom, I would think she was just babysitting him. She certainly doesn't look like she's ever carried a kid much less old enough to have a boy of his apparent age. I'm trying to guess exactly how old the boy might be when Lauren butts in with her two cents.

"I bet she's had work done."

"Oh, come on, let's not rip her apart just for talking to the guy. It's not like either of you would pass up the opportunity," I reply, trying to keep the sarcasm at bay. I just couldn't stop myself from pointing out how hypocritical they are being right now.

I'm not surprised when each of them shows me their middle fingers. The crude gesture is nothing new. One would think that attending some of the best schools in the nation would help refine them in some way. If any of our former nuns saw them act this way, they'd slap a ruler right across those skinny little knuckles of theirs. The ladies of faith would then likely turn on me simply for hanging out with these two. As if I really have much of a choice. My mother expects me to be friends with them because she hobnobs with their parents. Ever since I gained a step-father, I've been thrust into this world ruled by social expectations and obligations.

Most of my favorite memories still revolve around the unassuming summers I use to spend with my dad in Forks, Washington. The small town gave me a reprieve from this snotty torture. I miss those days. At least I can still visit whenever I want. That's one thing my mother can't control. She can't exactly forbid me from seeing my dad, and he'd never allow her to keep me away from him.

"Oh my, he's coming this way!" Jessica shrills in my ear, making me wish I had chosen the seat on the other side of Lauren instead.

I glance up as nonchalantly as possible, and, sure enough, he is heading right for us. My hands start getting all clammy. I'm really glad I'm not standing because I can feel my insides turn to mush. Yeah, this guy has that much of an effect on me. I try my best to hide it around these two. I certainly don't want them to know how strongly attracted I am to him. They do not need any more ammunition to use against me should our friendships turn sour. I trust them about as far as I can throw them. Considering I'm about five foot four on a tall day and weigh all of one hundred fifteen pounds, I doubt it's very far. They each have a good ten pounds at least on me, and Lauren is a good five inches taller.

All coherent thought flees as he stops directly in front of us. My eyes dart around everywhere in a vain attempt to avoid making eye contact with the large hunk of man meat that is blocking out the sun, casting a large shadow over me. I watch in silence as Lauren and Jessica try every trick in their books to try to get his attention. He seemingly humors them for a few moments before his eyes lock onto mine. It's so sudden that I don't have time to look away before his dark blue orbs meet my plain brown ones. I can practically feel the sneers from the girls on my right, but I can't make myself care at this moment. He flashes me a dimple-filled smile, and I'm a goner.

"How are you ladies doing this fine afternoon?" he asks us, although his gaze is still fixated solely on me.

"Much better now," Lauren says clearly trying to use a seductive tone. She's posturing so as to make her body look as good as possible in her tiny bikini.

"Well, let me know if you need anything, I'll be around for the rest of the day." He rewards us with another toothy grin before turning and heading over to another group of people. I wipe a little bit of drool from the corner of my mouth.

We linger poolside until the sun makes its descent into the horizon. I gather up my belongings slowly, wanting to prolong my ogling time. The sexy lifeguard is walking around the water's edge, making sure there isn't anything lingering in the pool. Lauren and Jessica get impatient and leave without me, which is exactly what I was hoping. I'm sure they're no less excited to get away from me as I am to see them leave. Most of the time, we only hang out because it's expected and not because we genuinely like each other. Well, Lauren and Jessica have been best friends since birth. I'm simply a means to an end. Our mothers want us to socialize, and I can get them close to the players on the baseball team my step-father, Phil, co-owns.

"Hi there, short stuff. Looks like it's just you and me left this evening." His voice scares me, causing me to let out a very unladylike squeak. I hadn't realized everyone else was already gone. I guess I took longer than I intended to pack up my things.

"Oh, I didn't notice. I'll get out of your way so you can close up the pool," I respond, hoping he asks me to stay.

"You, pretty lady, are most definitely not in my way," he whispers as he leans closer. I swear I'm no more than a puddle of goo thanks to his proximity and his sexy as hell voice.

"That's good," I stutter.

"Emmett, make sure you check the chemicals in the reservoir," a male voice calls out from the shadows by the shed next to the pool. I'm startled by the voice because I really thought we were alone.

"Sure thing, Garrett," Emmett responds and turns back to me. "Come with me?" he asks, holding out his hand for me to take.

I don't even think first. I just let him take my hand and lead me into the darkness that lingers on the edges of the reach of the lights surrounding the pool area. My brain vacated the premises it seems. I'm normally much more articulate than I'm being now. Typically, I would give any man who approaches me some kind of lecture on the values of feminism and how chivalry is dead. I tend to contradict myself during these tirades, but it's been proven to be a very effective method of getting the guy to run for the hills. I'm not a mean person or anything. At least I don't think I am. I've just found that nearly all men disappoint me. Ever since moving out here to sunny Florida, I've been bombarded with compliments and propositions. I quickly learned that most of them were only interested because of the man my mom married. Trusting the male species isn't exactly easy for me these days.

We walk around a small building and through the door on the other side. Emmett proceeds to do his thing, using small glass tubes and little dropper bottles. I have no idea what he's doing, but I'm captivated by the man, so I watch intently anyway. I like the way his forearm muscles move with his actions. Every part of his body is tone and hard. I desperately want to touch each inch of him. I shove my hands into my pockets to keep me from reaching out and doing just that. He's working, and I don't want to disturb him. The process of whatever he's doing looks tedious. The last thing I want is to inadvertently mess him up and cause him to have to stay even later. I'm sure he's ready to head home after his long day of work.

So, I stand there quietly watching him and fantasizing about what those glorious arms of his are capable of doing. I'm pretty sure he's strong enough to hold me while he remains standing up and pounds into me. I shake my head of those thoughts. He's way too good looking for a girl like me. Just as I think that, his eyes dart in my direction. His gaze penetrates into my soul and seeks out the source of all my insecurities. I feel filleted, laying open for his perusal. How he can read me like an open book is a mystery. For some reason, I want him to see it all. He needs to know how broken and fragile I am. I don't want him to find out after he's become important to my survival. He relaxes his stance and begins to put away the supplies he was using to test the water. After he places the cap back over the opening in the floor, he turns to me and brushes a few stray hairs out of my face.

I want this moment to last forever. No man has ever looked at me the way Emmett does. His hungry lust is turning me into a sentimental fool. One look into his emotion filled eyes leaves me feeling completely vulnerable. If he asked me to leave everything I've ever known and follow him to the ends of the earth, I know I wouldn't even hesitate.

My body shivers in anticipation as his closes the gap between us. His large hands caress my cheeks gently, and I can't help noticing the difference between his gentle touch and his tough exterior. A man his size should not be able to touch me so softly. He makes me feel cherished, yet I know I should stop him. He has the ability to crush me physically and emotionally. I'm so scared of relinquishing any power over to him. I didn't use to feel this way. Before I had my heart ripped out the first time, I was trusting and naïve. I liked being cared for and giving the man I thought loved me complete control of my heart and body. That was a long time ago, however, and I am no longer that girl.

"You can trust me, shorty. I will never hurt you." He speaks as if he knows exactly what I am thinking.

"I'm scared," I confess, hopelessly giving him all the information he needs to destroy me.

"I know, little girl, I know," he answers before pulling me to him and kissing me with a passion I never knew existed before his lips first touched mine.

"Please," I murmur as his lips move from my mouth to my neck. I don't even know what I'm asking for at this point.

"Don't worry, I'm going to make sure you never doubt how much I want you, all of you," he responds huskily. I can tell he's quickly losing control, and I relish the way he's responding to me. I feel so powerful as I watch him come unglued. "I need you, but I don't want to do this here. Can we go back to my place and continue this?" he asks, sounding as if he can't catch his breath.

I can't help the way my body tenses at his words. He immediately pulls back a little and holds my face so that he can search my expression for a reason for my unexpected reaction. Whatever he finds causes him to soften his stare. He embraces me tightly and just holds me for several long minutes as I try to get a grip on my emotions. Once he feels me relax, he steps back and reaches for my hand. This time, I meet him halfway.

We head toward the parking lot without another word spoken. He opens the passenger door of his Jeep and helps me jump up into the seat. His lips brush against mine for just a second before he closes the door. I try to still my hands as he heads around to the driver's side. When he hops in, I give up and just clinch them into fists in an attempt to keep my fidgeting to a minimum. Of course, he notices anyway and reaches over, pulling both of my hands into one of his. I'm distracted momentarily by the feeling of his strength. It's like a palpable thing with him. He doesn't even have to flex or anything to show off how amazingly strong he is both inside and out. I can't believe I'm the one he's taking home with him.

When we arrive at his apartment building, he motions for me to stay seated while he jumps out and runs around to open the door for me. His arm wraps around my waist, pulling me from the car. He's half carrying me as we make our way toward the stairs. His apartment is on the fifth floor, but he insists on taking the stairs because he swears it's faster than waiting for the elevator.

"I can't wait to get you into my bed," he explains as he leads me up to his place.

Words escape me, and I find myself simply allowing him to pull me up the steps and through his door. His home is unsurprisingly much like a stereotypical bachelor pad. He even has the cliché paintings of half-naked bodies hanging on the walls in the hallway that leads to his bedroom. Before he takes me there, however, he whisks me off to the kitchen and gets me a glass of water.

"I want to make sure you stay hydrated, little girl. I don't plan on taking it easy with you tonight, and I need to make sure you're taken care of at all times. Promise me you'll let me know if I do anything that makes you uncomfortable, though, okay?"

I nod in response knowing he can see the answer in my eyes without me having to say a word. He watches as I drink until there is nothing left, and he takes the glass from me, setting it in the sink behind me. My breath hitches as he rapidly closes the distance between our bodies until we are pressed tightly together. His hands cup my face tenderly as he looks me over reverently. I can't get enough of feeling his skin against mine. My hands find their way into his hair and begin massaging his scalp. His eyes close and he graces me with a huge smile.

"I don't think I could ever get enough of you. Even with you standing here touching me, I want to be closer. I've never felt this way about anyone before. I need you to know that." His words melt one of the barriers around my heart, causing me to instinctively pull away. The motion is subtle, but he notices it.

"You can trust me, little one."

With that, he sweeps me into his arms and carries me down the hall into his room. I think I should protest this at least a little bit, but I can't seem to make myself. I'm afraid he'll see my reluctance as a sign to take me home. I don't want to jeopardize this chance to be with him. I've always done what my mother expects of me. Going along with her has always been easier than trying to go against her. She may seem rather flighty most of the time, but my mother is most assuredly focused on every single move I make.

Even her husband has attempted to make her see reason where I am concerned. During one of her more outlandish demands, he spoke up, advising her that he didn't think that forcing me to get a nose job was a good idea. He only made that mistake once. Luckily, my dad heard about that one and put an end to it. Now, Phil just gives me sympathetic smiles whenever Renee starts in on her latest and greatest scheme to mold me into the person she wishes me to become.

"Where are you, baby?" Emmett asks, pulling me out of my thoughts.

"Just thinking about my mother's constant attempts to turn me into the perfect daughter," I respond hesitantly. The last thing I want is to point out my imperfections to this god-like man.

"Gorgeous, you are perfect just the way you are. Don't ever let your mom or anyone else try to tell you otherwise. You are by far the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Please, don't ever change even one hair on your head." He seems so sincere, and I desperately want to believe him.

"I can't make that promise," I admit quietly. If my mother presses hard enough, she can get me to agree to almost anything. She knows all my weaknesses and the right buttons to push in order to get her way. Unless my dad intervenes somehow, she usually finds a way to get what she wants. I know she has the best of intentions. Although misguided, she does these things out of love.

"I'll just have to see what I can do about that," he replies as he brushes his lips with mine.

I am soon pulsing with desire for this man. I've never wanted anything as much as I want him right here, right now. My yearning has me forgetting all about my insecurities. The man consumes me with just his touch. I want to feel him claiming me as his own. As if sensing my overwhelming need for him, his caresses morph into passionate gropes as I surrender to his body's commands. Slowly, he undresses me. Starting with my shirt, he works his way down to my shorts. Finally, I am standing there in only my bathing suit. Although it is nothing he hasn't seen already, he pauses long enough to take in everything from my red painted toes to the top of my head. He makes me feel truly cherished and beloved. I feel like the only woman on earth as he gazes at me longingly. Just when I think I can't take another second without him touching me, he reaches out to untie the knot at the back of my neck. He watches unblinking as the top of my bikini falls forward revealing my breasts to him.

"You are so utterly breathtaking," he whispers in my ear as he unties the back knot, exposing the top half of my body completely.

As if sensing my anxiety, he quickly pulls off his shirt and reaches to remove his shorts. Since he's wearing swim trunks, I know there is nothing under them, and, suddenly, I want to be the one to expose him to my view. My hands stop his and move to the waist band of his pants. Trying not to rush, I mimic the pace he set when undressing me and unhurriedly pull them down his legs. When they fall to the floor, he steps out of them and uses his foot to toss them to the side. With the same measured rate, he rids me of my last article of clothing.

Standing there naked before him, I feel beautiful. He makes me feel beautiful. The look in his eyes is pure lust as he stalks closer and kisses me once more. His tongue thrusts into my mouth and dominates mine. A moan escapes my throat as he begins to explore my exposed flesh. Nothing goes uninvestigated as he takes his time lavishing my skin with attention. By the time he makes his way from my feet to my face, I'm rendered putty in his hands.

"I'm going to make sure you in no way feel unwanted ever again, little girl," he vows as he finally claims me in the way only he can.

I awake to gentle kisses on my shoulder and can't help the huge smile that spreads across my face. Waking up in Emmett's arms is the best feeling in the world. Nothing can take away this blissful feeling.

"When are you going to introduce me to your parents?" Emmett asks out of the blue and effectively proving the thought I had only seconds ago wrong. That question just totally killed my bliss.

"Um…I thought guys hated meeting the family," I hedge, trying to stall. I know why he's asking and it isn't the first time.

"Bella," he states forcefully and I know I'm in trouble because he never calls me by my name. "We've been together for over three months, and I'm tired of feeling like your dirty little secret."

"No! Emmett, you have to know that's not the case. Not at all. I'm just scared of how my mother will act around you," I finally admit both to him and myself. At the core of it all, I'm terrified my mother will ruin what we have.

"Look at me," he commands. I do because I can't deny him anything. "They can't change the way I feel about you, baby girl. Nothing and no one could ever do that. You're stuck with me, my dear," he declares sincerely.

"I like the sound of that," I state as I crawl on top of him intent on showing just how much I treasure him.

For the first time in a long time, I have hope. With Emmett at my side, I feel strong enough to face anything, including my mother. If she does manage to destroy this, she can never take away the memories I will forever cherish of these hot summer nights spent with Emmett.

Insouciance