My submission to The Canon Tour's Twilight Round. All the thanks in the world to my wonderful beta ajasperforme for all of her hard work and Solar for having the competition, like she says, have you been fic diving for vamps lately? Or something like that. Thank you for all of the reviews that were posted while this was still anonymous, I loved each and every one...

Where It's Harder to Live


I will gather you at 9 for a day trip. Please eat a large breakfast; you'll need it.


We had been having a magical summer. There was always something Edward wanted to show me, something he wanted me to experience, or something he wanted to experience again with me. His attention was always on what I was doing. Fairs, swimming in a secluded part of Lake Chelan, free concerts—whatever piqued my interest, he was willing to enjoy with me. We had made trips to Port Angeles and Seattle visiting historical museums, art demonstrations, and an aquarium. We couldn't see the entire aquarium; the sharks were a bit too rambunctious with Edward's proximity. He'd promised a trip to an amusement park on a cloudy day when my boot cast had come off. He'd even sat and watched me eat several meals at new restaurants.

Not only spending our days going to area attractions; we also spent a great deal of alone time together, playing in the backyard for hours on sunny days and exploring the surrounding acreage.

When I woke to his note I was curious. He usually gave me some kind of idea to where we would be going or what we would be doing. After my morning routine, Edward knocked on the backdoor by the kitchen while I was eating; fifteen minutes before his time.

Looking up, I smiled. "Come in." Coming to stand next to me, he leaned down and pressed his lips to my hair. "Good morning, Love. Did you sleep well after I took my leave this morning?"

"Hmm," I moaned.

Sitting in front of me, he pulled out some papers and a small, long cardboard tube. "Not to start the day off on your bad side, but I brought some college applications."

"Still on Plan B?" I asked. "I'll think about it."

Edward still banished the idea of me becoming immortal; I was still gaming on Alice.

"What do you have there?" I asked pointing to the cardboard tube.

"Presents," he grinned.

I groaned; he knew my stance on gifts. The tube had my interest piqued; I knew I wouldn't say no to whatever it was.

Pulling what looked like a rolled up poster from the cylinder, he stood in good spirits.

"Just a keepsake," he stated. "I was looking online for something and ran across it. I think you'll like it."

He spread out a poster I immediately recognized.

"No way," I yelled.

We had seen several movies since returning from Phoenix, either renting or visiting a local theater. In crowded theaters, Edward could still get us privacy- no one dared to come near him. Though it saddened me to see people avoid him, he brushed it off. "All I need or want is you."

We enjoyed the films or found them lackluster and made out in the back of the theater or on the couch like the teenagers we were.

Two weeks prior, we had seen TheMarchofthePenguins. Munching on popcorn in Port Angeles' not quite crowded theater, Edward stole several small kisses to my neck and cheek during the previews.

He shook his head and snorted when I asked if he ever had penguin.

As the movie started with "There are few places hard to get to in this world," I was captivated; spellbound by the yearly voyage of the Emperor penguins of Antarctica. I cried when some of the chicks perished in the harsh climate. I sobbed when a chick was attacked by a Skua bird. I ended up in Edward's lap as he tried to calm me. I bawled when a mother tried to steal another chick after hers died.

I continued to cry as the film ended with Morgan Freeman saying, "And they will march just as they have done for centuries, ever since the emperor penguin decided to stay, to live and love in the harshest place on Earth."

Lying on the table was a new theatrical poster with a number of autographs at the bottom.

"You got me an autographed poster," I bragged, jumping from my chair to hug him.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you" I chanted, peppering his cheek with kisses. He gave me a crooked grin, "You are very welcome, Sweetheart."

After him pointing out the three autographs, I resumed my breakfast.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"It's a surprise," he grinned, reading Charlie's paper. "A new version of PrideandPrejudice is coming to theaters in a few weeks; the reviews look promising."

As I stood to clean up my dishes, he took them.

"I'll do the wash; you can finish getting ready."

I ran upstairs, brushed my teeth and searched under my bed for a pair of shoes.

"Flip-flops or Chucks?" I asked, and then heard his voice up the steps. "Your boots would be better."

He had purchased me, against my will, a pair of trail boots. They were leather, webbing and mesh. Practical for a hiking aficionado; expensive and unreasonable for someone like me.

"I don't know where they are," I lied; maybe he didn't know where they were hidden.

"They are in the linen closet under the brown, scratchy blanket," he indicated standing in my door. "Where they have been since you received them."

I harrumphed and argued, "Why can't I wear my Chucks?"

"Wear what you want, but your Keen's would be better for you and your feet."

My cast had come off a little over a week ago; I didn't have to have a plaster cast thankfully. I vehemently refused to allow Alice to purchase a special ordered brown cast to coordinate with all of the new clothes she had purchased for me. I had a suspicion it is hidden in a closet at the Cullen's home.

I put on my flip-flops and carried the boots with me.

"Always so stubborn," he smiled and took the boots from me.

We drove about an hour into Edmonds and then took a ferry into Kingston. After the ferry ride, we were at a car park at the top of a mountain range an hour later.

While I changed shoes, he removed a backpack and two lightweight rain coats from the trunk.

I was awed by his knowledge of the mountain range. "Mt. Shuksan is the highest point, but we are going down to smaller, Mt. Baker."

Grabbing my hand, we walked a little ways before going off the trail.

"Tell me if your leg gets tired or weak, and I'll carry you," he advised.

When I had my boot, he still made sure I could go anywhere I wanted. Embarrassing, but it made me giddy to be carried everywhere.

"How long is the hike?"

"Almost ten miles, but I'll carry you most of it."

"Ten mile circle?" I asked.

"Ten miles one way," he answered.

As we walked, we talked about what the upcoming school year would be. He would be taking most, if not all of the classes I took. I wanted to pull a fast one and sign up for Home Economics when Edward said he had taken it. Alice was his explanation.

"What was your favorite part?"

"Watching Alice eat the egg soufflé we made," he grinned. "And the look on her face when she saw she couldn't regurgitate it at school. She had not fed in over a week; she sat for hours with nothing but egg soufflé on her stomach."

"And least?" I asked.

"Modeling the shorts we made," he said bashfully.

"You made shorts?" I inquired.

"The assignment for the month was to buy fabric and sew what came to little more than boxer shorts. I made the mistake of letting Alice buy the fabric," he continued. "I didn't find out until it was too late. I was the only male in the class; the girls had solid colors or cute patterns for girls. Alice stuck me with a New Kids print?"

"New Kids on the Block?" I giggled.

"For a month I had to go at a human pace sewing shorts with this ridiculous band on them. All of the classmates and the teacher cooed and teased me. At the end I had to model them," he stated, shaking his head. "Alice laughed it up and took pictures and showed them to everyone."

"Where are the pictures?" I laughed, turning to see he had a hard look on his face. "They were destroyed along with the shorts."

Little did he know, Emmett kept the shorts and pictures hidden. I had yet to see them, but Alice said she would get them when she is in New York.

Every time he was in our company, Carlisle would softly sing, "Oh,oh,oh,oh,oh."

"So will you go?" He interrupted my reminiscing.

"Sorry," I stated blushing. "I was daydreaming."

"A video game conference in Las Vegas in November," he reminded.

"You think Charlie will let me go to Vegas with you when I'm eighteen for a week?" I asked.

"Weekend," he stressed. "Carlisle has a fascination with video games; he and Esme will go."

"Sun-drenched Las Vegas," I stated.

"We stay in the hotel it's held in," he stated. "They will have a demo version of Play Station 3."

With Emmett and his help, I could handle myself well on a couple of their game consoles.

After almost two hours of hiking downhill, my leg was weak and starting to hurt, but I wanted to walk on my own for a few more minutes.

"Do you want me to carry you?"

"Not yet," I mumbled, but he stopped me.

"Bella, don't try to out do it. You're leaning on your left side trying not to put pressure on your right," he countered. "Let me carry you, please."

"This is embarrassing," I stated as I agreed-it really did hurt.

He gave me the backpack, which was heavier than I thought.

"What is in here?"

"Essentials," he answered.

After lifting me onto his back, he walked at little more than a human jog.

"You promised me an amusement park," I reminded, pinching his ear.

"Alice is looking for a perfect day," he stated. "The last weekend of September looks promising."

I noticed we had made a half moon shape for a half mile trek. "Why did you not go in a straight line?" I asked.

"There are on goings in the path young ladies should not be exposed to," he muttered. My face burned at the implication his words caused. Wild animals in a forest, I could imagine. But my imagination was not enough, "Wouldn't the animals run when they sense you?"

"I don't think it is appropriate to speak to you about it either," he sighed.

"So, it's not mating animals?" I asked as my blush burned down to my navel.

"Far from it; can we drop it?"

"Just tell me," I said.

"Emmett and I were hunting in the area a couple days ago," he started morosely after a too long pause. "I killed a bear, and the carcass is lying where we were headed. I don't want you to see it."

"You don't bury them?" I asked.

"No, we rip them apart and leave them for scavengers," he stated smiling. "Circle of life."

"Hold on a bit tighter," he stated as he took off running faster for a few moments. He slowed to a stroll and put me on my feet, placing a blindfold over my eyes and headphones over my ears. Listening to Chopin, he put his arm behind my knees and swept me off my feet and ran for another minute or so. He sat me down once again and removed the backpack.

After a few moments, he turned me and lifted my head.

Removing the headphones first, I heard water rushing loudly, like we were standing next to large river.

He moved behind me and whispered, "Close your eyes." I felt his fingers in my hair and the blindfold fall from my eyes. I sensed his mouth next to my ear as he whispered, "Open your eyes, Beautiful."

Opening my eyes, I gasped. We were standing in a meadow a hundred feet from a two hundred foot, thin waterfall.

"Picnic by a waterfall; good surprise?" he asked.

I looked down and noticed the backpack was actually a picnic basket. He had already laid a blanket.

I swiveled around to him and commanded, "Kiss me." He kissed me so deeply our souls seemed to connect.

He rolled up his pant legs, and we slowly, carefully played in the shallow end of the pool. We played in the sand, doing silly things like burying our feet. It was cool and refreshing against my calves and with the sand between my toes. Mist floated up and played against my skin. Edward wouldn't let me go further than about ten inches in.

I kicked my foot towards him splashing him. He leaned towards me, smiling wickedly, "You will pay for that."

I grinned and turned away from him, looking up at the waterfall. The fall was no wider than six feet, but taller than any building in Forks and the surrounding areas.

"How high is it?" I asked.

"A little over two hundred feet," he stated.

It was magnificent. Rocks and sand surrounded the pool. "It's beautiful," I laughed, but the laugh became a squeal when cold water began running down the back of my hair.

Edward laughed behind me. "Payback."

I bent down to splash him with my hands, but lost my footing and toppled. Edward had a hold of me before any of my clothed parts were drowned. Pulling me out of the water, he placed me in the soft grass beside the pool and grinned crookedly at me.

"It's not fair," I pouted as he kissed my temple, my nose, my chin, and then my lips in quick motions.

We sat on the blanket as I ate a sandwich he had packed.

"I managed to get the recipe; I hope it's good," he stated of the recipe for the sauce on my sandwich. He had, with Esme's help, replicated the sandwich I had fallen in love with from a new restaurant in Port Angeles.

"It's amazing," I stated. "Just perfect."

After a bag of chips, he pinched off pieces of a brownie and hand fed them to me. A cookie and coke later, I was in heaven.

"It's good, right?" he asked as we lay on the blanket tangled in each other with my head on his chest.

"It's not quite perfect," I mumbled.

"And what, my lady, would make this perfect for you?" he asked.

"Kiss me," I demanded. He kissed me deeply. He whispered, "I forbid you to not have a perfect day."

I wrapped my arms around his neck to signal him to come closer. "Something out there is listening to you."

We kissed for what seemed like hours, and turned out to be, before my bladder screamed at me. After making him promise not to listen, I walked a few dozen yards into the woods and relieved my full bladder.

As I was walking back, a bird squawked loudly above me. The next thing I knew, my bottom was on the ground, my arm scratched up from a briar bush it grazed on my way down.

"Ouch," I pouted, dazed and looking at my arm. Instantly Edward was in front of me, his eyes darkening. I had my hand wrapped around my arm as I asked, "You don't happen to have Band-Aids, do you?"

He pulled up his band t-shirt exposing a grey undershirt. I forgot all about my bleeding arm and everything else as I saw slivers of pale toned abs. He ripped a couple strips of fabric from form the shirt. I came back to reality when he pulled his shirt down.

"You should go; I'll deal with this," I stated while he bent down to inspect my arm.

"Don't be ridiculous, Bella; you're hurt," he stated, folding one strip into a square.

"I don't want you to be uncomfortable," I stated as he wrapped my arm several times with the strips.

He looked into my eyes, dazzling me.

"And they will march just as they have done for centuries, ever since the Emperor penguin decided to stay, to live and love in the harshest place on Earth."

Congratulations to (1st) duskwatcher, (2nd) kimmydonn, and (3rd) latessitrice!

Please support The Canon Tour. PM if you need any directions to get there...