Thanks again for coming along on this crazy little ride. Don't forget to check out Risbee's Twi25 o/s called Glimpses.

Location: Volterra, Italy

Prompt: Italy

After enduring over eight months apart, with weekend visits and constant phone calls as their only source of connection, Edward and Bella were relieved to be reunited. Though Charlie had been somewhat disappointed by her decision not to come home for the break between first and second year of college, he also wanted his only daughter to see the world and since Italy was her dream, who was he to discourage her?

So, when Bella approached Charlie about visiting Europe, he handed over the money he had left over from Renee's estate and told her to enjoy herself. Bella was shocked at his generosity, but it was Edward who convinced her to accept the money from her father. Renee would have wanted her to have it, he argued, as Bella looked at her boyfriend uncertain.

After Christmas, Edward and Bella had talked at length about doing something together for the summer months that they were both free of obligations. Of course, since he knew Bella dreamed of going to Tuscany, Edward suggested it immediately. They spent the next few months making plans, booking hotels and arranging their finances to make the trip feasible. With the extra funds from Charlie, their dream trip would easily fall into place.

On the third week of their trip, Edward and Bella found themselves at a local Bed and Breakfast just outside of Volterra, Italy. They had rented a small 3 room villa with a little patio and sprawling views of the lush Italian countryside, and they couldn't have been happier. The trip had far exceeded Bella's expectations, and the travel companion wasn't too shabby either.

As Bella rolled over in bed, the bright orange sheets clinging to her tired body, she looked at the beautiful man beside her, still surprised that she was his.

In hindsight, Bella knew she was screwed the moment Edward pulled over his car in Rochester and picked her up. There was just something about him that called to her and though he was older and clearly wiser, Bella felt a connection with Edward that she had never felt before. He listened to her, encouraged her and loved her unlike any other.

Bella climbed carefully from the rickety old bed, which made far too much noise for their liking during intimate moments, and grabbed a t-shirt from Edward's drawer. She made her way into the kitchen and began making them a simple breakfast of cappuccino, brioche and croissants with jam. Bella laid out everything on the patio table and was about to go wake up Edward, when he approached her from behind and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing her neck softly.

"Well, this is a nice surprise," Edward remarked as he took a seat and pulled Bella onto his lap.

"I figured we should eat something before heading out today. I don't want to be caught hungry and in the middle of nowhere like yesterday." Bella blushed a deep shade of red as she remembered hiking to Monte Forato. It had been a spur of the moment decision and they weren't fully prepared, nor did they expect to stop part of the way through to make love in the dense woods, only to be found part coital by a tour group. Needless to say, the hike was never finished and Bella never got the photos she was hoping to get though Bella had spent a lot of their time taking pictures of their surroundings and all the sites they saw, which were numerous.

"I thought we could do the cooking class that the Villa was offering today?" Edward suggested as he offered Bella a bite of his chocolate croissant. He couldn't quite get over the fact that breakfast in Tuscany was a lot more like dessert back in the United States. Edward was sure he had gained about ten pounds since they arrived on Italian soil, but Bella certainly wasn't complaining.

"Or it's supposed to be really nice and warm today, so we could just lounge by the pool?" Bella winked at Edward and he held her tighter against him, wanting to be as close to her as possible. "I have that new bikini I got in Florence to wear."

"Staying by the pool it is," Edward agreed as he kissed Bella simply against her lips. "Or we could go to the beach. I think Maria said there was a beautiful beach in Cecina, which is about an hour away."

"Let's stay here for a few more days, and then we can make our way to Cecina and stay there for a bit. There's still more of the countryside I want to capture before we head over to the sea." Edward easily agreed and as they finished their breakfast, he couldn't believe his luck.

A year ago, if you had told Edward that he would have met the woman of his dreams along the side of the highway, hitchhiking her way to Seattle, he never would have believed it. Today, however, with a ring burning a hole in his luggage, just waiting for the right moment to propose, he couldn't be happier.

Bella was nothing like what he thought he was looking for in a woman, but she was infinitely better. She was stubborn, independent, smart, beautiful and above all, his. Edward first thought about proposing as they stood at the base of the leaning tower of Pisa, but were interrupted a group of Chinese tourists who begged Bella to take their picture. Then there was their first night in Arezzo where they had made love on the balcony of their hotel room under the stars, not caring who could see them, just that they were together.

The more time passed, the more anxious Edward became about proposing. He had already gotten the Chief's permission before he left Seattle, and had recently gotten a new job teaching music appreciation for a private school in Seattle, not far from the UDub campus, so things were beginning to fall into place, except one.

So, as Bella changed into her swimsuit, Edward quickly fashioned a little sign out of some cardboard that was not unlike the 'Seattle or Bust' sign that Bella had on her backpack the first day he met her a year earlier. As he reached for the little velvet box in his bag, Bella stepped out of the bathroom in the tiniest bikini ever, and Edward stumbled as he tried to get down on one knee, holding the sign between his teeth and the ring in his hand.

"What on earth are you doing?"

"Proposing, albeit I'm doing a crappy job." Bella's hand flew to her mouth as she stared down at the only man she could ever envision loving and smiled brightly. "What do you say? If we run, we run together."