A/N: Mmmm. Edward and ice cream... Oh, that was the last chapter! A big thank you to every reader, reviewer & alerter. Every single one of you is flipping fantastic!

Always a big hug and smooshy kiss to my girls. They rock my world and help this fic along. The game on the river was suggested by, and in honor of, my beuootiful Kim. My words are made a little prettier by The Queen. She IS the queen, btw-she can Google shit faster than I can type it in. And her fics rock.

There's a lot going on in this one, I do hope you enjoy it!

If anyone needs a reminder, the Twilight characters are owned by S. Meyers.


Chapter 10


My mind and body were reeling with thoughts of Edward. I felt like I'd been running a fever since Saturday afternoon.

Alice and Jasper got home by 3 on Sunday, squashing the trip to ride the horses. I told the kids that I would have them for a sleepover soon. After a few pleasantries, I told them I had to get back to the farm. I'd left all the work for Tyler and Edward and felt a little guilty about it. At least, that's what I told Alice.

It was true for the most part, but I wanted to see Edward. My boyfriend. That thought made me giggle and feel all giddy every time it crossed my mind. Part of me wondered if he was truly ready to move on. If I had suffered that kind of betrayal, I don't know if I'd be out in the light of day, yet.

I made up my mind that I would follow his lead, but not without a few tiny nudges from me. While it was still early in our relationship, I didn't know how much longer I could wait to be with him. It seemed like he was perfectly content to just kiss and hold me. Other than his obvious arousal when kissing me goodbye on Saturday, it was the only indication that I had that he wanted me just as badly as I wanted him.

The knock on the back door startled me, making me burn my lip on the coffee I had just tried to take a drink of.

"Ow! Dammit." I muttered loudly as I walked to the door. I looked up through the window as I reached for the handle.

Edward in profile, looking at something that had caught his attention. I stared at his strong, stubble covered jaw line, wanting nothing more than to run my tongue over it. Edward's hair was a mess and there was some dirt smudged on his shirt. I watched as a bead of sweat rolled down from his forehead to his cheek making my body quiver. When his head turned towards me and I saw a beautiful smile grow across his ruggedly handsome face.

"Are you going to open the door?" His words pierced through the veil of my lust.

"Hi." I said as he walked through the entry way.

"What's wrong?" he pointed to my finger that was still touching the spot where the coffee had burned me. I didn't even feel it anymore.

"You startled me." I laughed, finally breaking free from my stupor. "I was taking a drink when you knocked." I pointed in the general direction of my cup.

"Oh." he said softly. "We can't have that." Edward took a step closer to me, taking my face gently in his hands. He leaned his head down, lightly pressing his lips to mine.

It was a soft, gentle kiss until I wrapped my arms around his neck. I pressed myself against him, holding him tightly. Edward dropped his hands and gripped my hips, I felt his fingers kneading my denim covered flesh. His mouth opened and mine followed, our tongues dancing deliciously.

"Get a room." A gruff voice said.

I quickly jerked my lips away, staring a hole in the back of Jake's head. I waited until he turned from the refrigerator, then threw daggers at him with my eyes. Edward's arms raised to my lower back, but he didn't let me go.

"Sorry." Jake didn't look very apologetic. "I was kidding. But I thought you ought to know that you weren't alone." He pulled out a chair and sat down. I shook my head trying not to pout.

"How's it going Jake?" Edward asked. "Can I get one of those?" he said to me quietly, pointing at my coffee. I nodded as he pulled out his own chair.

"Great, Edward. How are you?" Jake's voice had a teasing quality to it. I turned in time to see his eyebrows wiggling.

"I am..." I set his cup down and gave him a light kiss. "fantastic." Edward's smile was brilliant.

"You two kids seem to be hitting it off these days." he observed.

"Yes, we are." Edward confirmed.

I sat there watching the two of them, wondering where this was going. Both of them held a determined look, as if they were going to stare each other down. I was just about to intervene when Jake laughed and slapped the table.

"It's about damn time." he smiled. "So does that mean you'll be joining us on the river?"

"Joining you for what?" Edward's eyes were curious and bright.

"Tubing down the Lower Salt. We're getting everyone together for Seth's graduation celebration." Jake picked up his phone and his fingers started tapping away. "It'll be a whole day of lounging on the river."

"When is it?"

"The first day of Missy B's vacation." Jake looked up with a smile.

"Vacation?" Edward looked at me.

"I have a week of vacation starting next Monday."

"I should be able to do that. Sounds like a lot of fun."

"It is. You'd be missing out if you never do it." Jake pushed his chair away from the table. "I gotta run. You may continue the canoodling." he snickered.

"Any other plans for your vacation?" Edward asked, stroking a finger down my arm, he picked up my hand when he reached it.

Just like any other time Edward touched me, all coherent thought left. I felt his soft, warm lips on the back of my hand.

"Hey," he said softly. "Where'd you go?"

"Nowhere." I smiled, it felt like my face would crack. "I'm not going anywhere, actually. I planned on spending it around here, except for a day with my parents."

"Hmmm. Okay. Planning on just veggin' around the house or what?"

"There is a fence portion that I want to get fixed and I want to paint the shed." I shrugged.

"Is that all?" he pressed, a small smile playing at his lips.

"Well, I hoped I would get to spend some time with you, as well." I turned our hands so that his was now within lip range, and kissed his fingers. I made sure to open my mouth and lightly lick his skin.

I pulled away as a funky taste took over my mouth. Taking a napkin from its holder, I tried wiping it off my tongue.

"Sorry, I didn't wash my hands." he laughed heartily. I took a big gulp of coffee to wash it and my embarrassing attempt at seduction, away.

Edward leaned forward putting his hand under my hair to hold my neck. He pulled me to him and held me as he kissed me hard, forcing his tongue into my mouth. As the kiss grew, I felt the pressure of him pulling me closer. I rose from my chair and went to sit in his lap. His hand guided my leg to straddle him where he sat.

When I needed air, he pulled my hair to the side to continue. Edward's lips were hot on my sensitive neck, kissing and licking the skin. His hands stroked my sides, grazing the edges of my breasts. I pressed them against his chest and began my own assault on him. I nibbled on his puffy lobe, letting my breath rush into his ear. Just as I shifted my hips, trying to create a little friction, Edward sighed heavily and began to pull away from me.

"I actually came in to tell you something." his voice was thick and gravelly.

I let out a sigh, resting my forehead on his shoulder. I wanted to scream I was so frustrated. I heard Edward chuckle as he leaned away from me, moving his hands to the top of my thighs.

"I have a guy coming out in a couple of days. He's the one who's going to help design the therapy elements."

I leaned back so I could look into his eyes and arched a brow at him. He was refusing me yet again.

"Let's not rush things, sweetheart." his smile was soft as his thumb traced my bottom lip. "Enjoy this." Edward gave me a peck on the lips.

I squirmed a little in his lap then gave in. "Okay." I sighed dramatically. "I am enjoying this, by the way." I draped my arms over his shoulders. "I just want to enjoy this more."

Edward pressed his lips together and started to look uncomfortable. I'd better switch gears.

I had decided to follow his lead, I reminded myself.

"When is your guy coming?" I asked as I got up from his lap.

"Thursday evening. He's going to stay over the weekend."

I kept myself very busy when I wasn't at work. My house had never been cleaner. I even washed the windows and base boards. Edward and I saw each other for at least a few minutes every day, but he was trying to get his place finished before the designer showed up.

I stood watching as he guided the delivery men to the spare room. He'd bought a small matching bedroom set to fill it with.

"Do you have some time this evening?" he asked as the delivery truck pulled away.

"Sure, for what?" I asked, looking hopeful.

"I need linens for this room, and I'd like some assistance in picking out something for Seth." I'm sure he watched my face fall. "Dinner, too." he added.

"We can do that. Where do you want to eat?" I looked down at my holey jeans.

"Somewhere where you can wear those." he pointed at my jeans and wore a devilish smile.

"You like these?" I asked in disbelief.

Edward walked over to me and wrapped his hands over my hips. He bent his head and gave me a searing kiss.

"I love these on you." One of his hands caressed the outer area of my butt cheek.

"Okay." I smiled and returned his kiss.

We were seated on the patio by a beautiful blonde girl, who had eyes for my man. I didn't blame her one bit. Edward was beautiful and sexy. As long as she kept her hands to herself, she could stare all she wanted.

"You're sure that set I picked is gender neutral?" Edward asked. He was worried it was too girly because it had a couple of subtle flowers in the design.

"Edward there are only a couple of pieces that have that design. It will be fine."

"James and my parents will be using that room." he explained.

"When are your parents using it?" I asked. He hadn't mentioned them coming to visit.

"I'm not sure yet, but my mom mentions it every time I speak with her." He wore such a cute smile talking about his mom. "What about Seth's gift?" he said after taking a long pull from his beer. "You're sure he's going to like it?" he asked, bouncing his knee nervously.

"Edward, yes. Why are you so nervous?" I asked.

"I'm not really nervous, just apprehensive. I don't want Seth to be offended." he admitted.

"He won't be, trust me." I said with a smirk. I was rewarded with a warm smile that told me he did, in fact, trust me.

There was a loud crash from the kitchen and I saw our waitress scramble to get in there. I hoped it wasn't our order that hit the floor. She came right back out with a tray headed right for us, though.

She put Edward's burger in front of him and gave him a bright, toothy smile.

"Is there anything else I can get you?" she asked coyly. I snorted and saw Edward try to hide a smile.

"I think we're all set." he said looking at me rather than her. The man makes me swoon at the most unlikely of times.

"What are they like? Your parents, I mean." I asked after she left.

Edward and I talked about our families while we ate. I learned that his father is the author of several popular kids' books. Pete the Porcupine was his creation. I read some of those books during my teaching internship.

His mother owned a successful book store back in Santa Fe and was dying to leave it in the hands of her assistant so she could come visit.

I talked about my mom's art and my dad's trophy collection. He liked to hunt whenever he could; his prized possession was a mount of huge head and rack from a bighorn sheep.

"He calls it Tom." I laughed.

"Your dad names his trophies?" Edward asked, disbelieving.

"Yes. He has a trout named Tina and a prairie dog named Toby." I snickered. "He names them all 'T' names!"

We were quiet for a bit, and I saw some question running around in Edward's head.

"You know, the same goes for me. You can ask me anything, Edward." As I spoke, his eyes softened.

"I was just wondering about Corrine." he admitted.

"What about her?" I didn't mind talking about my sister. I wished she was still here to meet and get to know Edward.

"Were you identical twins?"

"No. Fraternal." I smiled, remembering her pretty face. "We looked similar, though. I have a picture." I dug into my purse to find it. I gave it a long look before handing it to him.

Edward took the picture and stared for the longest time, as if he were memorizing it.

"She's just as beautiful as you, Bella." he said, handing it back to me. His sentiment made me choke back a sob and I grabbed my napkin, just in case my tears grew enough to fall.

Edward paid the bill and we left for home. Music played softly in the car and we watched the sun set on the short drive. Edward held my hand the whole time, gently stroking the back with his thumb.

This all felt so natural to me. Edward was just...right. Sure, we were still new and still getting to know each other, but I realized that it wasn't nervousness that I was feeling, it was excitement.

I settled back in my seat, held his hand a little tighter and hummed along to the music.


Bella was going to kill me.

I had pushed off her advances twice and could see the longing in her eyes. Hell, I could feel it. It wasn't that I didn't want her; my neglected, sore dick could attest to that. I loved sex and wanted to have copious amounts of it with Bella. I just didn't want to rush into things, and have her decide that I was, in fact, too old for her. I wasn't into being a player and had no interest in one night stands or fuck buddies, either.

I didn't know how much longer I could hold out, though. When she pressed her lithe little body against me or panted in my ear, it was almost my undoing.

I was becoming a Bella addict, craving her company. Every time we talked, I learned something new about her and I only wanted more. The way she talked about her family made me feel like I knew them.

I did my best to push all Bella thoughts aside as I waited for James to arrive. I had offered to pick him up from the airport, but he insisted that he'd get here by himself.

I heard a car's tires crunching on the gravel and went to the front door. I was very surprised to see Bella standing next to her car talking to who I assume was James. He was leaning against her car on his forearm. My blood pressure skyrocketed instantly.

He just pulled in the drive and was putting the moves on my girl? I blew out the front door and stomped down the steps. Both of them turned towards me when they heard me.

James pushed off the side of the car and started limping towards me.

What the fuck? Limping?

That slowed my pace as I tried to figure out what the hell was going on and backtracked on the rage.

"Hi! You're Dr. Cullen?" he called out.

I stepped over to him and stood next to Bella, who had walked next to James.

"Yes." I stuck my hand out dumbly, not noticing that he had his right arm in a sling. He offered his left hand and gave me a clumsy shake.

"James Chasseur." he introduced himself.

"Nice to meet you." I offered. "Umm, forgive me, but you don't look so good." I pointed at his sling.

"Do you mind if we go in and sit?" he asked. "I'll tell you all about it."

Bella, James and I went into the house and sat on my new living room furniture. I stood back up and offered something to drink. I had made a pot of coffee in anticipation of his arrival. I balanced 3 cups and sat back down once they were passed out.

"You have a lot of potential here." James said. "Unfortunately, I am only able to help supervise." he chuckled. "I was in an accident recently and am still recovering."

"What happened, if you don't mind talking about it?" Bella asked.

"My daughter, Katrina, and I were in a car accident. We were hit in the passenger side, near Kat's door. The impact threw the car and we hit a parked truck. My leg was pinned when the front end crumpled. I was able to wrench it free in order to get my daughter out of the car." James got quiet for a moment. "The car caught fire, and that's how I burned my arm," he lifted his injured arm, "getting Kat out."

"That's awful. How is your daughter?" Bella asked.

"She wasn't hurt too badly. Thankfully, she came away with only some bruises. Her more serious injuries are on the inside. It shook her up pretty bad. She went from being a precocious, rambunctious seven year old, to being nervous and a shadow of her former self." he said sadly.

"Your wife wasn't hurt?" Bella asked again. I felt uncomfortable about asking these personal questions, but I was glad that Bella, with her sweetness and kind consideration, was able to carry the conversation.

"My wife left us a long time ago." he said, his voice void of emotion. "I'm sure she has no idea what we're going through right now."

"I'm sorry." Bella quickly apologized.

"No worries," he smiled. "I have full and total custody of my daughter, and other than this incident, we're very happy. She's with my parents right now." he added.

Bella stood up. "Why don't I make dinner for us all. You two can talk about your business and come up in about an hour or so?"

"That would be great. I'm starving." James smiled at her.

As I watched Bella walk out, I suddenly realized, that while they had been talking in the driveway, I hadn't properly introduced them.

"I don't know if she told you, but Bella is half owner here." I told James.

"You did mention in one of your emails that you had a partner."

"Do you feel up to a walk around the place?" I asked.

James and I went to his car to get a small camcorder and notebook. He handed the paper and pen to me and we took off towards the barn.

He filmed various parts of the barn and yard, having me jot down notes along the way. Close to an hour later, we had washed up and were on our way over to Bella's house.

I tapped on the glass and turned the knob, allowing James to walk in first. Bella met us and offered James a seat.

"Dinner is almost ready. Make yourselves comfortable and I'll be right back." Bella kissed my cheek and left the room. I sat across from James and noticed the curious look on his face.

"Did I forget to mention that Bella is my girlfriend?" I chuckled.

"Damn, buddy. Was that before or after you became partners?"

"After. It's kinda complicated, but our partnership is clear cut. The therapy side of the business is all mine. Bella does have a couple of boarders, but mainly this is just her family's property, her home."

"Lucky bastard." he muttered as Bella walked in looking sexy as hell in her tight pants and top.

"Don't I know it." I muttered back.

"Know what?" Bella asked as she set a plate of pork chops on the table.

"How lucky I am." I smiled up at her.

James stayed through the weekend and we ordered the equipment that I needed to install. He helped to design some of the elements and we discussed what I would have to build. Or have Emmett build. I called him to join us on Sunday in case he had any questions for James.

Monday morning rolled around and I met Bella as she came out her back door. We took care of the horses and packed my car for our trip up to the drop in point on the river.

I had on a pair of swim trunks, a t-shirt and an old pair of sneakers. I had never done this before and wasn't sure what to wear, but when we arrived, I saw that everyone was wearing pretty much the same thing.

Until the girls took their t-shirts off.

Bella wore just a bikini top and a tight ass pair of shorts. I think when she bent over in front of me, it was on purpose. I walked up behind her and gave her ass a smack, the curve of her cheek fitting nicely in the palm of my hand.

"Eeek." she squealed, standing up. I laughed and kept right on walking towards the rental shack.

We got tubes for everyone and tied them all together in pairs. Emmett and Rose were going to be in the front, Jake and Seth's were tied to Rose's tube, Jasper and Alice were tied to Jake's and Bella and I were tied to Jasper's. It would allow us to move around if we wanted to be near a different person, to talk to-or fuck with, I soon discovered.

Before we got in the water, everyone was passing around the sunscreen. The guys all took their shirts off, so I did as well.

"Turn around." Bella said, after giving me a quick kiss. Her warm hands did nothing for the coolness of the sunscreen and I jumped as she didn't hesitate one iota before slapping it on. She laughed then said, "I owed it to you for that smack on my ass."

"Like you didn't enjoy it?" I said smartly. I could already see that today was going to be full of flirting and messing around.

"You're right, I did." Bella had tipped up on her toes to whisper in my ear. I turned around to grab her but she had already slipped away. I caught up to her at the river's edge and scooped her up. I leaned forward like I was going to throw her in.

"NO!" she screamed, clinging to me.

I nudged her head with my own to get her to lift it up for me. "I'm not letting you go." I assured, before kissing her passionately.

"Yeah, every time I see them together, their lips are locked." Jake said loudly as he and Seth walked past us.

I sat Bella on her feet and gladly covered her back and shoulders with sunscreen. After tying the two coolers to our train, we all climbed into our tubes and pushed off from the edge.

The water was cold as my ass slid down in the tube, but I quickly got used to it. The day was clear and bright and the temperature would surely hit 100 degrees. I let my hand drag in the water as I took in the sights.

Emmett called out for a beer and I looked at my watch.

"It's barely eleven o'clock." I whispered to Bella. She laughed at me.

"Tubing on the river is usually a big party. You should see this place on the weekend."

Just as she finished speaking, I heard some whooping coming from behind us. There was a small group of tubers, some of which had paddles and they made to go around us.

The shenanigans started soon after that. Jake began throwing skittles at everyone, it turned into us trying to catch them in our open mouths. As soon as Alice swallowed a bug instead of a candy, it turned into a free for all.

I grabbed a beer for myself and Bella from the cooler that was tied between us and Jasper. I found a bag of chips and began to feed them to Bella.

I sunk my ass a little lower in the water to hide the hard on she was giving me. Her lips wrapped around my finger more than once to suck and lick the salt off. Every time she did it, or even just licked her lips, I felt my dick straining against my swim trunks.

I was in need of some distraction, so I wouldn't blow in my shorts. The last time Bella had my finger in her mouth, all I could see was her on her knees, looking up at me with her mouth full.

I saw an eagle perched on a tree, not far from the river's edge and found my distraction technique.

"I spy something...regal." I said to Bella in a low voice. She looked momentarily confused, then started scanning the area.

"Jake?" she laughed, but kept looking.

"Wha-at?" Jake answered. I had forgotten how voices carry on the water.

"We're playing 'I-Spy' and I'm looking for something regal. You were my first thought!" she giggled.

"Fuck you, too, Bella. I am regal. And majestic." his face broke into a bright grin just before Seth leaned over to kiss him.

The eagle took flight, giving up a squawk and Bella's eyes immediately latched on to it.

"The eagle!" she pointed, looking proud of herself.

The game continued, getting closer to the gutter with every question. When Alice 'I-Spy'd' her happy place, Jake shouted the answer loud enough for the whole river to hear.

"Jasper's disco-stick!"

Alice turned red, but didn't deny it. Jake started looking around, rubbing his hands together like an evil superhero.

"I spy a sweet little spot. Just right for kissing." he offered.

We all looked at Seth, wondering which spot exactly he was talking about. Suggestions were made: lips, neck...Emmett yelled 'Seth's disco-stick', but Jake kept shaking his head.

"Those are all my favorite spots," he winked at Seth. "The one I'm talking about belongs all to Bella." he paused. "Though, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity." Jake looked at me with a brow arched.

Everyone's eyes turned to me and I laughed.

"Thank you, Jake." I splashed some water in his direction before looking at Bella. "That would be anywhere." I waved my hand over my body, smiling. It was all Bella's.

"I need more, Jake." Bella said, looking at me intently.

"If I was a vampire, it would be my favorite spot to snack on." he replied.

Bella pulled at the slack in the rope that tied us together, pulling me as close as she could. She heaved herself up to lean over and I felt her warm tongue run up my jugular, ending with a searing kiss under my ear.

"YES!" Jake hollered.

I pulled Bella the rest of the way out of her tube, sitting her crossways over me. I brought her closer to me, leaning back a little. My intent was some graphic PDA with her mouth.

Instead, the always eager Bella leaned into me as well, and we flipped out of my tube into the water. Jasper laughed so hard I thought he would bust a gut.

"Smooooth, Cullen." he said. I walked over to him and flipped him into the water. When it was all said and done, every one of us was in the water and soaked from head to toe.

We switched tubes every so often, but were all back in our original spots when we arrived at the end point.


Everyone came back to our place for a cookout. Jake insisted on running the grill. We kept it simple with hot dogs, veggie burgers and a few salads.

We had Seth open his gifts after we ate. Everyone got him something related to his profession, of course. I hadn't any idea what to get the guy, since I barely knew him. I thought a new set of scrubs would be fitting, and with Bella's help, chose a pair that had kittens on them when we had shopped for linens.

She swore he would love them. And he did. Seth giggled like a teenaged girl when he opened it.

Everyone was tired after the long day of fun. Both the Whitlock's and McCarty's had to get home to relieve their sitters. Jake and Seth said they had more celebrating to do.

"Maybe you guys have more games to play as well?" I heard Jake say to Bella. He kissed her cheek and she shrugged.

"We'll see." she answered.

"Today was a lot of fun. Thanks for including me." I told both Jake and Seth.

"It wouldn't have been the same without you, Edward." Seth said. He leaned in to give me a hug. "And thank you for the kitties. I love 'em!"

"Do you have to rush off?" Bella asked me after they left.

"No." I smiled. "I'd like to take a shower, but Em won't be back until around ten tomorrow."

"I have an idea." she smiled. "You can use Jake's shower, while I use mine."

I should have thought about it longer than I did. But, my skin was itching from the water and sun and the sunscreen. I needed to get it off.

As I soaped up in the shower, I realized that Bella was on the other side of the wall doing the same thing. I finished up quickly and borrowed a pair of shorts from a pile on Jake's bed.

I bypassed Bella's room without even looking in the open door. If I saw her, I'm not sure I could continue walking by.

I sat in the dim living room to wait. Even alone, the air was heavy. Full of tension and longing. I glanced over my shoulder when I heard her soft footfalls on the stairs.

My breath caught in my throat when I noticed that Bella still had a towel wrapped around her.

"Oh good," she sighed. "you're still here."

Bella sat next to me, laying her head on my shoulder. Her hair was still wet and it clung to my chest. Her finger burned a path up and down my arm as she stroked it.

"Bella." I said quietly. "Sweetheart? I'm gonna get going."

Her deep sigh drove a stake through my heart. I had no way to convince her that this was all about me and my baggage that I was dealing with. I wouldn't put all that weight on her, that's why I was waiting. And I didn't think she would understand that.

I kissed a very sad Bella good night and left for my house. I heard the door shut loudly and knew that she wasn't happy with me.

I spent the rest of the night staring out my window at hers.

I laid in my bed letting my mind race over the past few months of my life. Looking back at the life Kate and I shared, I realized that the only thing we actually shared was a name and a house. Everything else had been a front for lies, deceit and unhappiness.

Here I was now and I had everything. Friends that were more like family, a new career path and Bella. She was honest and pure, forthright and genuine. And I think that I am falling in love with her.

The realization hit me, knocking the breath from my chest. I had almost everything that I wanted, right here, a few steps from my door. Anything that I didn't have yet, I'm sure would follow soon enough.

A/N: Sounds like Edward has his mind made up. Things are getting pretty tense between these two, I see it blowing up soon. What do you think? I'd love to know! Thank you for reading

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