Hi, Everyone! I am back with another tale to tell and I hope you enjoy it as much as you have my others.
Once again I have My Bella and Hope4More along with me and I can't even begin to tell you how incredibly lucky I am to have them in my corner. They both have awesome stories of their own that you should check out. Thank you to you both, I couldn't do this without you!
Please read the info after the chapter as it has important information about my posting schedule.
See you at the bottom. Enjoy!
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I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I've felt so long
(Erase all the pain till it's gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm close to something real
I wanna find something I've wanted all along
Somewhere I Belong
Lyrics By Linkin Park
June 4th, 2011
My longtime best friend, Alice, and I sat in an out of the way corner of the Miami airport in hard uncomfortable plastic chairs, waiting for our flights to be called. Alice had begged me to sit in the softer upholstered seats out in the main waiting area but I was too afraid we'd be spotted there. Even though we'd been left at the airport nearly two hours earlier, I was consumed with the fear that my parents would discover what I was up to and come back to make sure I boarded the same plane as Alice or worse, drag me back home with them.
Shifting my position in attempt to find a more comfortable one, I thought over the events of the last couple of weeks. Alice and I had just spent two weeks in the Bahamas with her parents and mine as a gift for our graduation and we were now headed off to two different countries. Although as far as all of our parents were concerned we would both be spending the summer together in sunny Acapulco.
However nothing could be further from the truth. It was only Alice who would be setting foot on Mexican soil and enjoying a leisurely summer before heading off to college in August. I, on the other hand, would be going someplace much different. While I had definitely enjoyed my time with Alice, I was looking forward to not being under the constant watch of my parents as well as beginning the adventure I was sure this summer was going to be. I just had to get there without being discovered first.
I began to chew my lip nervously when the airport loud speaker began to crackle with the announcements of more boarding flights. I was extremely anxious to get out of the airport before I was stopped. Hopefully the measures I'd taken to change up my appearance would help if for some reason my parents had discovered my plans and one of their hired goons was lurking around looking for me.
Not only was I flying under a different last name, I had traded the strapless pink embroidered sundress and white sandals I'd been wearing when I'd said goodbye to my parents this morning, for a graphic t-shirt, jean shorts and flip flops—clothes that weren't part of my normal attire and an outfit that my mother would certainly frown upon. I had also swept my hair up into a pony tail and hid my face behind a large pair of sunglasses that Alice had given me. I had even gone so far as to book a hotel room for a day in Miami under my alias name so that I could wait for Alice's connecting flight home in Miami since I would arrive back in the states a day ahead of her. Everything had been meticulously planned and fool-proofed as far as I could see, but at the moment it was doing little to ease my worries.
I jumped in my seat when I heard the words for my flight blast through the airport terminal.
Flight 979 departing for Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic is now boarding. vuelo 979 de partir hacia Puerto Plata, República Dominicana está internado.
"Shit, that's me," I blurted out to Alice in my startled state. My pulse began to quicken as I got up from my seat and turned to face my friend.
"I can't believe you're really going through with this," she said in a cross between a sad and a somewhat shocked tone. She had known me since the first grade, so there really was no reason for her to be shocked. She knew better than anyone once I made up my mind to do something I stuck to it.
"Al," I sighed using the nickname I had given her years before. "Please don't give me a hard time about this. You know how important this is to me."
The look in her eyes as she replied told me she was remorseful, but still sad over my impending departure. "I do. I really, really do. I guess I'm just going to miss you, Bell. We've spent every summer since we met together. Well except that one year my mom sent me to that hideous etiquette school."
I couldn't stop myself from giggling at the horrendous look on her face as she remembered that terrible summer. We had been thirteen at the time and while I had gone to etiquette classes after school, Alice had been forced to go to tutoring for our pre-algebra class. She was a smart girl and got good grades easily in her other classes; math was just not her strong subject and so she was forced to go to etiquette school that summer. Plus she had always been a bit of a tomboy, which her mother hadn't liked at all, and according to the conversation Alice had overheard her mom having with her father, she had hoped the etiquette classes would help cure Alice of what she considered an annoying characteristic.
"I know, Al, I am going to miss you too. It's just a couple of months and then we'll be back home and it will be like I was never gone."
"Just promise me you'll be careful. You do realize you are about to step into a world you've never been a part of, right? I mean what kind of living conditions are you going to have, Bell? I've seen the pictures on the news."
In a last ditch effort to calm her fears, and assure her I'd be fine, I reminded her of the steps I'd taken to do just that. "I know what I'm doing and I know what I am getting myself into. Remember I had to go to that training seminar over spring break."
It really had been far too easy for me to attend given the fact my parents had gone out of town over spring break and had left me home with the housekeeper and other staff members they insisted we needed to keep our household running. I'd never understood why most of it couldn't be done by myself or my parents and had always done as much for myself as I could and could still remember the horrified look on my mother's face the first time she caught me doing my own laundry. It still made me giggle to think about it. You would have thought she had caught me doing something much worse that washing my own clothes.
The airlines made a second announcement that my flight was boarding so I knew I really had to go. Or I was going to end up going to that resort with Alice after all.
"I have to go."
"Okay," she said with a sad look on her face. Trying hard not to pout anymore, she forced a slight smile and then hugged me tightly. "I'm gonna say it again whether you want me to or not. Please be careful, Bell, and call me if you can. And, well, I guess you should try to have a little bit of fun too. Who knows maybe you'll meet some hot guys."
I rolled my eyes at her teasing comment and hugged her even tighter. "I will. You're my best friend, Al, I love you like a sister. I'll see you soon."
"Love you too, Bell."
She reluctantly released me from the tight grip her small arms had on me. With one last goodbye, I turned and walked as fast as I could towards the departure gate.
"Wait!" she called out to me after I'd taken about ten steps.
"Alice," I whined. "I'm going to miss my plane."
"I'm sorry, but I just had to remind you of something."
"What?" I asked her not having any clue what she could possibly be thinking of.
"Spit it out, Mary Alice," I told her using her full name.
"Okay, but don't hate me for saying this."
"Like that's even possible," I said rolling my eyes at her.
"Just remember if you somehow get caught. You didn't get that fake ID or passport from me," she said so fast I was hardly able to make out what she was saying. Luckily I was used to her mouth running a-mile-a-minute when she was nervous.
"I swear on all the shoes in your closet that I'd never give you away," I told her making her gasp in shock over the fact that I'd even remotely think of using her shoes as such collateral.
"Okay," she said softly. "When you put it like that I know we are good. I mean you do know how much I love my shoes so I know you'd never risk them. Sorry, I'm just nervous about this whole thing."
"I know. I'm nervous too, but I promise it will be okay. Now I really, really have to go."
"Stay safe, Bell," she said giving me one last hug.
"You too, Al. Don't choke on your Pina Colada while watching all the hot guys on the beach," I teased to help lighten the moment. "See ya in a few weeks." I hugged her back and then was off to catch my plane.
Removing the sunglasses I had kept on to try and hide my face, I looked up to the departure gate sign to make sure I was headed in the right direction. I also kept looking over my shoulder, expecting to see my parents or one of their so called assistants hot on my ass, ready to drag me back home. It would be just like my parents to send someone to "fetch me", as my mother would say, instead of coming after me themselves. With one last quick glance over my left shoulder I saw I was still in the clear.
Making it to the gate, I resisted the urge to bounce in place and instead curled and uncurled my toes repeatedly to hide my anxiety as I held out my boarding pass to the airline attendant. As I did, I heard the call for Alice's flight and I was grateful she wouldn't be left sitting in the airport alone for too long.
"Enjoy your flight," the airline attendant said as she handed the pass back to me and gave me a pleasant smile.
Feeling somewhat relieved, I let out a long whoosh of air as I made my way onto the plane. Glancing down at my boarding pass, I searched it until I found my seat number.
Taking a few more slow long breaths, I began to calm slightly as I made my way to my seat. Once I located it I sat down after plopping my backpack into the empty seat next to me. I was hoping that no one was booked to sit in it as I was really hoping to be able to sleep. I had been up all night tossing and turning with worry that my parents would discover what I was really planning to do this summer.
Resting my head on the back of the seat, I closed my eyes thinking about what it was I was about to do. I was hell bent on doing something meaningful and exciting with my summer this year. While every other girl in my high school graduating class was off to some posh resort in Mexico, I was headed to The Dominican Republic to help with the humanitarian relief efforts going on to recover from the damage done to the northern coast of the island by a category three hurricane.
It was a long standing, time honored rite of passage that when you graduated from Saint Maria's, the well-to-do all-girls private high school I had gone to, you headed off for the summer with all the girls from your class to some uppity resort in Acapulco, Mexico. It was supposed to be a time to let loose and have fun before you went off to college in the fall. Not for this recent high school graduate.
Sure I felt guilty that I was ditching Alice. We had talked about that trip since the first day of our freshman year. But the nearer graduation day came, the more I knew that was not how I wanted to spend my summer. I was tired of the fake girls, with their fake boobs and their fake nails and their hair colors that came out of a bottle, not from their DNA. They weren't all like that but those who weren't were few and far between. Even those who hadn't altered their god-given bodies, still had fake personalities that thrived on what they had that was better than what someone else had.
Alice and I, along with a few others, were amongst the minority who were more down to earth. Our manners were real and not a phony act we put on, and our boobs and hair color were the ones we had been destined to have the day our mothers conceived us. However there was still one big difference between Alice and myself. Alice saw her wealth as a means to do what she wanted in life. While she wasn't stuck up or fake, the girl had developed a love for shopping once she had outgrown her tomboy tendencies. I often teased her, saying she had more shoes than Jimmy Choo did. But even though Alice saw her parents' money as a way for her to be able to do whatever she wanted in life, she didn't let it make her into something or someone she wasn't like so many others we knew had.
Me…well, when I was little I loved all the indulgences that came with being Daddy's princess. I loved the fancy parties the other girls my age threw, the frilly dresses, the obnoxious amount of dolls and other toys I had, and yes the racks of shoes I'd accumulated. But somewhere along the line as I grew up, I saw just how fake and pretentious it all was.
Al has since then told me I was an anomaly. My parents had more money than they knew what to do with, but I wanted no part of the flashy socialite life they had planned for me. The only perk I saw to their wealth was that I was able to attend any college I wanted no matter the cost. In fact, if all their money ever got me was a top notch education, then I was fine with that. My education was something that was incredibly important to me, which was why when the acceptance letter I'd gotten to my first choice of schools came back in January, I was quick to register for classes. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. I wanted to make a difference in the world. A real difference. And not the way my parents thought it was acceptable to do. Not where you wrote a check for some cause and then looked the other way thinking you had done all you could. I wanted to actively participate in something that would make a difference in peoples' lives.
I thought I had gotten extremely lucky last summer just before school resumed. Our school had been having a fundraiser for a huge earthquake that had destroyed part of Chili and the Red Cross was not only having a blood drive, but they were also seeking volunteers to go help with the relief work that needed to be done. Knowing that I wanted to be a nurse and help people, I saw an opportunity and gathered the information I needed so that a few weeks later when I turned eighteen, I could sign up to spend this entire summer volunteering. However upon turning in the required paperwork once I'd turned eighteen, I learned that a weeklong training seminar was required before you could be officially registered. I had been unable to complete mine until this past spring break in order to keep it hidden from my parents. Now, when the rest of my graduating class was on their way to sun, sand, bronze skinned boys and no doubt an obscene amount of tequila, I was on my way to the hurricane ravaged island of The Dominican Republic. Sure I'd see the sand and sun and might even get a chance to have a swig or two of tequila, but while they slept at night in soft cool beds in their air conditioned rooms, I'd be on a cot in a tent. And truth be told, I was looking forward to it.
"Miss," I heard a female voice call while at the same time I felt a hand tap me on the arm. I opened my eyes and found one of the flight attendants standing next to me.
"I'm sorry, am I in the wrong seat or something?" I asked as I reached for my backpack and tugged on the zipper to the front compartment where I had stuffed my passport and boarding pass.
"No. I just wanted to inform you that we'll be taking off soon and you can't leave your backpack unsecured in that seat next to you. Airline policy states you have to store it in the overhead compartment."
"Um, sure. No problem," I replied to her.
You would think as often as I'd flown in the past I would have thought of that. Of course I'd never flown before where I was sneaking out of the country without my parents' knowledge. It wouldn't matter to them that I was eighteen and legally an adult. They'd still try to use whatever leverage they could to get me to adhere to their wishes.
I dug through the items in my backpack until I found my iPod and Sudoku puzzle book and pen. I sat them on the seat and stood to put my bag in the overheard compartment. After trying to stuff it in the small space with no luck in one direction, I pulled on it to get it loose from the position it was stuck in and tried a different angle.
I was still trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to maneuver it into the undersized space when I was startled by a smooth velvet voice saying to me, "Here, let me help you with that."
Large hands with long slender fingers reached up to grab my bag. When his hand touched mine a jolt of energy shot through me, causing me to jump and the sudden movement sent my sunglasses tumbling from the top of my head to the floor.
"Shit. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," he apologized.
"It's…um…okay," I replied. I stood there staring at him somewhat dazed and slightly stunned by my reaction to his touch.
I shook my head briefly to clear it from the fog I felt like I was in and bent to pick up my glasses not realizing he was already in the process of doing the same thing. Before either of us had time to react, the back of his head was colliding with my chin and I found myself falling backwards and landing on the floor of the plane. My hand immediately went to the spot where the two had connected and I rubbed it, trying to ease the dull throbbing sensation that was occurring.
"Oh my god, are you okay?" the stranger asked.
I looked up at him and saw him rubbing the back of his head and staring down at me. I couldn't help but notice he was probably the most handsome man I had ever seen. Judging by the look of sincere remorse on his face he knew how to behave like a man too. If this had happened with one of the pimple faced, squirrely immature high school boys I constantly refused to date back home, they'd be instantly spewing some lame line about how I needed to watch what I was doing. But instead he was concerned about whether or not I was okay.
"Yeah, I think so," I relied softly.
If I had to guess I'd say he was anywhere from three to five years older than me. Looking at him a whole slew of adjectives began racing through my mind trying to pick one that did him justice. Handsome really didn't even begin to cover it. Everything from sexy, hot, pretty…Could you even classify a man as pretty? Even gorgeous just didn't seem to fit.
His facial features made him handsome, but they were also warm and kind. I took them all in as I kept my eyes glued on him. His skin had a warm golden tone to it like he had spent some time in the sun, and then there were the soft laugh lines around his eyes and the long lashes that framed them. Not to mention the light layer of stubble that was scattered across his cheeks and jaw that gave him just enough of a rough around the edges look to keep him from having a complete pretty boy appearance. I couldn't help wondering what it would be like to run my fingers over it.
On top of all that there was his hair color which was one I had never seen before. It was this unique shade of rusty brown and was tousled as if he'd just gotten out of bed and had forgotten to comb it. I wanted to reach up and run my fingers through it.
Geez, what was wrong with me? First his stubble and now his hair? I had never had such a hard time resisting the urge to touch someone before.
I could feel the familiar warmth creeping up my neck to my face and instantly knew I was blushing from the realization that he was watching me just as intently as I was him. Actually warm might have been an understatement 'cause I was sure feeling hot all of a sudden.
However neither of us seemed to be able to pull our gaze off the other. From where I was sitting, I could see that his eyes were a brilliant shade of green and were focused on me in an intense stare as if he was memorizing everything about me. Most people in my life had always seemed to just look around me or past me, like I was nothing or no one; I had never stood out. But he looked at me as if…well almost as if he was having the same thoughts about me as I was him. Like he thought I was beautiful. No one had ever looked at me like that before. It was entrancing, exhilarating and scary all at the same time, causing a wave of goose bumps to cover my skin.
"Excuse me, is everything ok here?" the flight attendant asked, breaking the trance we both had been in.
"Yes. I was just going to help…" He paused and looked down at me, waiting for me to supply him with my name.
"Bella," I replied.
"I was just going to help Bella up. We had a little mishap while trying to get her bag in the overhead compartment. I'm sorry if we disturbed anyone."
"No you didn't bother anyone, but you do need to take your seats. The Captain is about to start the engines and begin our taxi to the runway."
Apparently in all the commotion of us trying to get my bag situated, we had missed the call for everyone to be seated and to buckle their seatbelts. No wonder the attendant had appeared to be annoyed with us.
"Hi, I'm Edward Cullen. Let me help you up," he said as he stepped forward and held his hand out to me.
Grasping his hand and allowing him to pull me off the floor, I felt that same surge of energy pulsating through me as I had when his hand had touched mine before. But all too quickly it was gone when he released my hand due to the crunching, snapping sound of plastic breaking reaching our ears. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what had just happened. We both looked down so fast we nearly bumped our heads again in our rush to see the twisted shattered remains of what once were my sunglasses.
"Fuck," I heard him mutter softly.
I saw the flight attendant coming up the aisle toward us again and had this sudden fear she might throw me off the plane. That was the last thing I wanted and it caused me to blurt out, "Um, don't worry about it. You better find your seat, here she comes again."
I nodded in the direction behind him and turned to give my backpack a hard shove, which finally got it into the space provided. I then picked up my stuff, after nearly sitting on it, and sat down in my seat as fast as possible. To say I was shocked would be an understatement, when after helping the attendant pick up the broken pieces of my glasses and getting ordered by her to find his seat now, Edward sat down next to me.
"You really shouldn't be so worried about her. She doesn't bite ya know," he said in a teasingly sarcastic way.
"Oh, um I'm not afraid of her."
"Are too. I can see how nervous you are. You're about to chew a hole right through your bottom lip." He paused for a minute and then got this devilish grin on his face. "Oh, you aren't one of those teen runaways or a fugitive are you?" He stopped again and snorted as he looked over his shoulder and glanced around like he was a spy about to make some top secret discovery about me. It was actually quite funny and I might have laughed if I didn't really have something to hide. Even if what I was doing was completely legal and within my rights to do so—well aside from the fake last name I was using—I still feared my parents showing up at the last minute and having me removed from the plane.
Edward leaned closer to me. So close I could feel his warm breath on my ear. "You know like a modern day Bonnie without her Clyde?" he said with his breath fanning across my neck and causing sensations in me I had never felt before.
"Um, what? Are you crazy? I think you should find your real seat," I told him. He had some sense of humor, and I imagined he could be quite a great source of entertainment on the flight. But I was exhausted and wanted to sleep. Plus I knew if I were him, I wouldn't want to go through the embarrassment of having to get up and move in front of everyone if the attendant realized I wasn't in the seat I was supposed to be in. And with the evil glare the attendant had given us the last time she told us to sit I was certain she would not be nice at all if she had to tell him he was in the wrong seat.
"What? Don't you want me sitting here? Is someone else sitting here? Or are you afraid your boyfriend back home will be upset over you sitting next to another guy?"
"Oh. Um…there's no boyfriend. I only thought—"
"No worries, Bright Eyes," he said with a smirk turning up one corner of his mouth, forming the sexiest lopsided grin I'd ever seen. Then with his smile growing impossibly wider he held up his boarding pass for me to see and said, "This is my seat."
I knew I must have turned several shades of red so I just nodded quickly and turned to look out the window. I had never been so happy to have a window seat in all my life.
Over the next several minutes we both remained silent as the plane made its way down the runway and its accent into the air. Despite the fact neither of us said anything it appeared as though we were both sneaking peeks at one another.
Eventually after catching each other a few times, we both busted out laughing.
"So tell me, Bright Eyes," he said as he turned to face me. Wait, what did he just call me? His eyes were dancing with curiosity and that same smile was twitching on the edge of his lips. God how does one man have so much charm, I thought.
I was so dazzled I almost didn't hear the next thing he said. "How does a guy go about finding out which part of the island you are staying on so he can offer his apologies and replace your glasses?
I was just about to respond and tell him it wasn't necessary when he added, "Even though eyes as bright and pretty as yours have no business hiding behind anything."
Now how the hell was I supposed to respond to that?
Her eyes grew wide as she contemplated how to answer my question. Her breathing sped up and she was blushing again. The warm pink tint that colored her cheeks was beautiful. This really caught me off guard since I had never paid much attention to someone blushing before, let alone the fact that I thought it was beautiful. But it was—she was and there was just no denying it.
She must have been aware of her reaction because she tilted her head forward, allowing her long hair, that even pulled back in a ponytail, fell perfectly to form a cover on the side of her face and blocked it from my view. I wanted to reach over and brush her hair back so I could see her, but I somehow resisted thinking it would probably freak her out.
"Um," she said hesitantly as she glanced up at me sideways while pulling her ponytail around to her other shoulder, giving me a clear view of her pretty face again. "I…uh…don't mean to be rude and I appreciate your help with my bag, but…um I'm not really comfortable telling you where I'm staying. I mean, it's just that I don't really know you."
I nodded in understanding, and I guess when I thought about what she was saying I really did understand what she meant. There were a lot of nut-jobs in the world we lived in and you heard on the news all kinds of stories about girls and young women disappearing while on vacation. So I really couldn't blame her for not wanting to tell me.
Only for some reason I couldn't let it go. It wasn't so much about where she was staying or even about replacing her sunglasses, although I did feel as if I should; it was about her. I wanted to know more about her and I couldn't even explain why. I usually didn't even flirt with a girl I had just met, which made the instant attraction I felt for her a bit shocking to me. I'd always tried to get to know them first. Some girls might take flirting from a stranger the wrong way and would be put off, but for some reason not only had I openly flirted with this girl, I was asking where she was staying.
I knew she was going to the same place as I was since it was a direct flight. In fact I was even more curious as to why she was going there. From what my dad had said when we last spoke, there was a good portion of the northern side of the island that was uninhabitable right now due to the hurricane. He had said that the whole northern coast took a direct hit as the hurricane skirted along its coast before heading back out to sea. And since we were landing in an airport on the southern coast I was really curious as to where she was going on the island. Surely if she had a vacation planned for the area that had been damaged she would be aware of the conditions there and would have canceled. Wouldn't she?
I made a mental note to ask her about it after I told her a bit about myself. Maybe if we talked a little and she felt more comfortable she would tell me where she was staying or at least what part of the island she was going to. At least that way if she wasn't aware of the hurricane damage, I could help her make sure she either got a flight back to the states or help her find a way to arrange accommodations on the southern half of the island where she could vacation. Hell, if I had to I'd stay with her and personally make the arrangements myself.
"Shit," I mumbled so softly I thought no one had heard me. Now where had that thought come from? Make the arrangements myself?
"I'm sorry did you say something?" Bright Eyes—err—Bella asked.
I looked at her and noticed again how beautiful her eyes were. So warm, expressive and bright I could gaze into them for hours. They say the eyes are the window to a person's soul and if that was true, she had to be a truly remarkable girl.
"Oh I was just talking to myself."
"Do you do that often?" she asked with her eyebrow raised in a curious manner as she waited for my reply.
"No. But it is the only way to be sure you get the answers you want," I told her and returned the smile she gave to my response. She then turned her head and began staring out the small window, but she still had a slight smile on her face. I knew I had better get talking fast or the silence between us would become too much and trying to talk might become awkward. Not to mention this was only a two hour flight.
"So," I said trying to regain her attention.
"So," she repeated before she placed her elbow on the armrest of her seat and planted her chin in her hand. She then turned her focus back to the window.
"Have you ever been to The Dominican before?"
Instead of a simple yes, no or even a 'that's none of your business', she returned my question with one of her own. "How do you know that's where I'm going?"
"It's a direct flight. That's where we're all going, Bright Eyes."
With the statement my thoughts again turned to why she was going there. I had recognized a few of the other faces on the plane as I searched for my seat. I couldn't put names with the faces but they were familiar enough that I knew they were going to help out with the relief work. I had been helping my parents wherever they were each summer long enough to know that there were others who spent their entire summers doing the same thing I did. Some were doctors and nurses like my parents and others were teachers who had the summer off, or just your everyday people who wanted to give their help anyway they could. Didn't really matter who they were, it was what they were doing that was important.
Funny thing was, the more I looked at Bella, there was something familiar about her too. Like I had seen her face somewhere before. She was younger than me, but not by more than three years or so. Maybe she had visited my college's campus. There had been several tours go through towards the end of the year, or perhaps she had volunteered somewhere before and I had caught a glimpse of her then. I couldn't pinpoint it so this made me even more anxious to find out more about her.
"Okay. So we're all going to the same island. Again, I'm really not trying to be rude, but like I said, I'm just not comfortable telling you where I'm staying."
Yet again as she repeated what she'd said a few minutes ago, I couldn't let it go. "Well, how 'bout I tell you about me and maybe that will help." She didn't say yes, but didn't say no either. She only sort of shrugged indifferently, so I began to tell her a little about me hoping it would ease her mind a bit. "I just finished my four years of pre-med and this fall I'll be starting med school. My dad is a doctor and I've wanted to follow in his footsteps for as long as I can remember."
She didn't reply but I took it as she was waiting for me to continue so I went on telling her how my mom was a nurse and how my parents worked together alongside agencies such as Doctors without Borders, The Red Cross and others that assisted those in the most need of care, and how for the last several years I had spent my summers with them helping out wherever they were in any way I could. I also told her how seeing the difference they made in people's lives only instilled my drive and desire to become a doctor even more, and how I hoped to one day make a difference the way my parents had.
"Where do you go to college?" I asked.
A few moments went by and there was no reply from her. "Brigh—," I stopped myself thinking since she didn't want to tell me where she was staying, it might seem weird to her that some random guy she just met had tagged her with a nickname. "Bella, are you in college? What are you studying?"
I leaned forward and got a closer glimpse of her face and saw that she had fallen asleep. I wondered how much she had heard and if I had bored her with my ramblings about myself so much that she had fallen asleep, or if she had already been so tired she hadn't been able stay awake.
Standing, I got out my Hopkins medical magazine from my carry on and after sitting back down I began to skim through it, looking for something to catch my eye. After not finding anything, and yawning a few times, I leaned forward and slid the magazine into the seat pocket in front of me and then sat back while trying to relax. Letting my head fall back against the seatback, I closed my eyes, hoping to catch a quick nap until we landed. My roommate and best friend Emmett had been offering for the past two years for me to stay with him at his family's vacation home in the keys. However the location of my summer plans hadn't made it possible before, but this year knowing I was going to the DR and would be flying out of Miami, I had agreed to go with him for a few days. We'd flown down to Miami three days ago to see the "sights" as he had put it, and he had kept me out late each night. And true to his word, he'd done just that. I had seen the inside of more clubs, half naked bodies of bikini clad women and had consumed more alcohol in those three days than I had in my entire life. Don't get me wrong, it was fun to let loose and I'd had a blast with him, but I was paying for it now by being exhausted and still fighting some lingering after affects.
I didn't know how much time had gone by, but I was just about to doze off when I felt a light thud on my arm near my shoulder. Turning my head to the right and looking down I saw that Bella had shifted in her seat as she slept and her head was now resting on my arm.
Unable to tear my eyes off of her, I took in everything about her. She was incredibly pretty and in a completely natural way. She wasn't all made up to be something other than what her natural features gave her.
First thing I noticed was her eyelashes as they rested against her skin. The contrast between her dark lashes and the lighter tone of her skin had caught my attention and then I saw they were long full and slightly curved at the ends. She had a light smattering of freckles and a bit of a pink tint across the bridge of her nose and apples of her cheeks. It appeared as though she had recently spent some time in the sun. Not only did her face have a touch of sun warm glow to it in addition to the hint of pink, but her arms and legs had a warm golden color to them which was too natural looking to be one of those tans that come out of a bottle, or spray-on tan places. From there my eyes traveled to her plump pink lips and I wondered what it'd be like to kiss them as my eyes then wandered over the rest of her small frame.
She was small, but had soft curves in all the right places. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes to clear the thoughts that began to fill my head while looking at her. Forcing my gaze back to the relaxed expression on her face, I was again stuck with the notion that I had seen her somewhere before. But I shook it off if for no other reason than the fact that she was tanned said there was no way she had been in Baltimore recently. The only reason I had begun to tan was due to spending the last three days in Miami. This spring had been cooler than normal so if she by some chance had been up north, I doubted that she'd have been lying out in the sun.
Watching her sleep I found myself willing her to wake up so she would open her eyes and I could see them again. It was strange to feel this attraction or whatever it was I had for her. I'd had girlfriends before, not many, but a few, and I had never been inclined to watch them sleep. Heck if I was around and they were sleeping that usually meant I was sleeping too. And having sleepovers was not something I did often.
For a few minutes I allowed myself to hope that maybe she was going to volunteer too. It would be nice to have someone close to my own age to talk to when there was time. You didn't find many in my age group looking to spend their summers helping out those whose lives had been destroyed by natural disasters, political unrest, or famine and poverty. I had asked Emmett to give it a shot a handful of times over the last two years we'd been sharing an apartment just off campus, but he had always turned me down. But I knew it wasn't for everyone so I never held it against him.
The thing was, as nice as it would be to have someone to talk to and hang out with for the summer when there was time, I was also attracted to her and that was the part that worried me. At the end of the summer I'd be headed back to Baltimore and she'd be headed back to Miami or wherever. Because of that, no matter what kind of attraction either of us might have for one another, it could never go beyond a platonic relationship. If by some chance she was volunteering for the summer, we'd be friends and then say our goodbyes come August. Resolving to hold myself to the conclusion I'd just come to, I closed my eyes one last time hoping to get some rest before the long days and hard work began.
Life is a bit busy these days so I will be updating every other Friday in order to make sure I can keep up with life and my writing.
As always there will be pictures posted on my blog to go with several of the chapters and under the page titled Somewhere I Belong you can find pictures of all the characters as they appear in the story. Don't worry if you don't see one of your favorite characters there yet, I am adding them as they make their appearance in the story. You can also see the amazing banner that EmilyMarie15 made for me.
Teasers will be posted on the blog on every other Monday. So the first teaser will go up on Monday the 23rd, followed with the next chapter on Friday the 27th. The blog link is on my profile page.
If you aren't already doing so, you need to hurry on over to My-Bella's profile page and check out the story we are currently working on together. Beneath the Surface is amazing and has an Edward like none I've ever seen!
Thanks so much for coming along with me on this journey. I can't wait to see what you think.