AngieNet named this one. Shamatt0403 offered similar. And I couldn't resist.

Prompt #49: Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

"Stop worrying so much. I've done this a thousand times, you know."

What that had to do with anything was beyond me, but before I could protest, in proof of her claim, my Bella lithely swung her leg up to straddle a vehicle that would hence become known simply as the death machine. She reached for her helmet – a rather girlish pale pink that didn't match her personality at all, by the way – and when she placed it on her delicate head, it took every bit of my self-control (fine, what was left of it after having been in the presence of those beasts all last night) to not pulverize my phone.

"Seriously, Edward," she said into the blue tooth headset I'd forced her to wear. "I've been riding since I was in my teens. Jake taught me." And then she laughed for some reason I couldn't fathom (since God still hated me by keeping her mind silent).

Of course, I did not laugh because there was absolutely nothing about her on a motorcycle that could be what I'd call amusing.

Nothing. At. All.

As such, a wrist-thick branch somehow found its way into my hand. I may or may not have given it a little squeeze. Just a little.

Out of nowhere, though, my Bella laughed again. "I can't believe he kept this old thing!" she told me. "This is the exact same bike he and I built the summer before my senior year! Can you believe it?"

Aaannnddd… that wrist-thick branch found its way into the next county.

Whatever. It couldn't be helped.

Because come on! She was my love, not his!

That goddamned mongrel.

I really was going to have to kill him. Soon.

The branch (or limb… ) flew through the air, hurtling end over end, before finally slamming into a distant tree with a deafening crack! A split second of stunned silence followed, wherein the only sound my ears registered was the thump of my mate's startled heart. Her head whipped toward me. "Did you just break a tree?!" she whisper-screamed.

"No," I said… albeit through gritted teeth to keep from yelling. Her lovely eyes widened and I had to fight every muscle in my body to not go to her. Instead, my fingers drilled into the old oak at my back, spilling sawdust at its base.

"Then what the hell was that?!" She was still whisper-screaming.

My teeth clamped together so hard my jaw began to fracture. "It was… a squirrel."

There was another beat of silence. Not even the leaves fluttered in the breeze. But then my Bella's lips quirked up, and with no other warning than that, she threw her head back in a fit of giggles.

I made a mental note to one day explain to my love just how unfunny all this was. Her notion of humor was, frankly, disturbing. And she clearly had no sense of self-preservation, which was just par for the course, I supposed, not to mention the fact that she no compassion or understanding whatsoever of the literal hell she was putting her vampiric mate (me!) through.


"Alright," she said, still giggling as she wiped tears from her eyes. "Let's get moving before you destroy the forest."

"But… just wait a– " I started (stammered). Mid sentence, she shifted her weight, stomping on the kick-starter, and the death machine roared to life and drowned me out. "Ten minutes and then I'll stop and walk around a little," she yelled into the headset. "Don't get too close, okay?"

I didn't bother answering. Instead, from my spot two hundred and fifty yards downwind, I watched, helpless and terrified and half insane, as my willful and highly breakable mate completely ignored my perfectly reasonable pleas, offered me nothing more than a lopsided smile and offhand wave, and then sped off through the forest to lay her trail.

I counted thirty miserable seconds before starting off behind her at a slow, leisurely jog.

And so it went for the next five hours, forty-three minutes, and twenty-one seconds (not that I was counting): her racing through the trees at breakneck speed (well… breakneck by human standards) to scent an arc that led around Seattle and to the Olympic Peninsula, and me trailing carefully behind, close enough to hear anyone who might approach her, but far enough that that red-headed bitch's army wouldn't smell me.

At just before sundown, her death machine finally broke through the tree line to cross the very same clearing in which I'd been dismembered only weeks ago. Pulling in between a stand of pines and a pile of rocks, my Bella (thankfully) killed the engine.

Still careful to not cross our scents, I darted around the field. As I looked out across it, I counted the fresh claw marks and footprints that littered the ground, patterned after mock battles and fights that Jasper had drilled into us decades ago. Sucking in a breath of air, I detected both dog and vampire. No blood, I noted (lamented), so obviously my general of a brother-in-law had managed to teach the mutts something.

"Where'd they all go?" my love asked when I appeared on the other side of her bike to steady it so she could dismount.

I turned my head slightly, listening. At the edge of my range, I could just make out the whisper of my family's mental voices. Somewhere to the far north were the dogs. "Looks like they finished a little while ago."

My Bella tugged her helmet off, dropped it to the ground, and arched a brow. When she spoke again, her voice carried an unexpected timbre that made my dried up veins flare to life and my non-existent heart pound in my chest. "So we're alone?"

Her hair was rumpled and a little sweaty, and there was mud splattered on her legs from the forest floor.

But I didn't care.

At all.

Her question hung heavy in the air and after having spent my entire afternoon a nervous wreck, now that I could see that she was safe and in one piece, I could breath again. And all I wanted to do was grab her and kiss her and maybe (definitely) destroy that godforsaken machine.

One of those would net me unpleasantness.

I settled for two out of three.

"Yeah, we are," I told her, my own voice gravelly from restraint. I thought about that stupid dog and the way his thoughts exploded with fury and jealousy when he realized that we were together. "And you're mine," I added a heartbeat later. I did have enough self-control to censor the emphatic Not his! that I wanted to say, however. Hey, I'm not that creepy, okay.

"I am?" That brow arched even higher, and there was a hint of dark amusement churning in her eyes. She licked her lips, which basically had the equivalent impact as setting me on fire. "Does that mean you're mine, too?"

Mesmerized, I just nodded.

Because I was.

I was hers until every last star fell out of the sky.

And she knew it, too. She knew that what I felt for her was so far beyond simple like that the two emotions weren't even comparable.

The knowledge was written all over face.

And she wasn't running away.

Not really caring where those stupid mutts were, eyes glued to my mate's soft, pink parted mouth like the fixated creature that I was, I took a step forward. And then another, and another, slowly walking her toward the pile of rocks until she had nowhere else to go.

Which, judging by the way she grabbed me the second her back hit stone and pulled my mouth to hers, didn't seem to bother her one bit.

Take that, dog.

Happy Monday!