^^TotS^^

EPOV

The rich smell of coffee and the sound of Bella singing quietly in the other room wakes me from the most solid night of sleep I've had in over two months. I roll onto my back, my arms crossing behind my head, and I smile, just absorbing the magnitude of everything that's happened over the past ten days.

Until that meeting last week, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to rediscover this feeling of total contentment. I watched Bella walk out on me, her spirit broken, my spirit broken. Everything was in shambles. And somehow now, after this time apart, after all the self-reflection— pep talks from different family and friends, and castigation by others— I know we needed to get away from each other to figure out how to first put ourselves back together and then try to reassemble the puzzle of us.

I'm not going to delude myself and say I'm not fearful of a worst-case scenario. People make outrageous mistakes, tragedies happen, loved ones get sick; it's awful, and it scares the shit out of me…but it's life. The fact remains that together or apart, any of those things could happen to either Bella or me and we'd be powerless to stop it. But now, after suffering through what I can confidently say were the most difficult two months of my adult life, I can't imagine not having her next to me for the rest of my days, come what may.

When faced with the hardships, illnesses and occasional sadness of real life, being together will make it easier— lessen the burdens, I think— rather than leave me suffering alone. I'd prefer to immerse myself in the caring, passionate, hilarious and beautiful qualities that Bella brings into my world instead of letting them slip away because there's always a chance it won't last. I realize now that's no way to live. It's taken the painful, hollow feeling of not having her with me anymore, multiple therapy sessions and watching my best friend bury the love of his life to realize that we have to cherish the good times while we have them and not live in constant fear of the "what if."

For the last six years— half my Marine Corps career— I've delivered tragic, life-altering news to far too many people. I've stood next to parents, children, husbands and wives as their loved ones were lowered into the ground because their Marine did his or her job but time had run out. Life isn't fair; it's a horrendous lesson to learn.

I often wonder if I were in the infantry, would it make being a CACO easier? Always in combat, more action than downtime…and unfortunately, more used to cruelty and death. Your skin thickens, you steel yourself with the conviction that you can't let it get to you, or else you'll end up dead, too. If only infantry Marine officers were CACOs, maybe they'd be able to handle the overwhelming sadness better, somehow compartmentalize it and just look at it as another day on the job. It seems horribly cold to be that way, but I suppose that's their only chance at survival and at the very least, holding onto their sanity.

I have great respect for my collateral job; it's an honor to hold this position. I volunteered for it, believed I'd be good at it because I've been on the other side of the door. I know what it's like to have your world devastated and flipped upside down. A walking, talking definition of empathy. I've often been complimented as having said and done all the right things for those who've been left behind, but the residual damage of the horror I've been greeted with at those doors has clearly taken a toll on my psyche. The cacophony of screams that still haunt my mind try to worm their way in when I'm feeling particularly vulnerable or having a bad day. But I know now that I can't— I won't— allow that paralyzing fear to rule my life. Bella is here to stay as far as I'm concerned. I simply will not let my demons chase her away.

I'm done being their victim.

"You look like you're deep in thought," her sweet voice jostles me out of my affirmations. "What's going on in that gorgeous head of yours, Major Masen?"

Bella's standing next to the bed wearing the Stussy t-shirt I threw on the floor last night, moments before I ravaged her against the door. Her bare legs look fucking edible as her creamy thighs disappear under the hem of my shirt. Lucky for me, I know what hidden treasures lie beneath that black cotton. With two steaming mugs in one hand and a plate of English muffins in the other, she smiles as her hair falls forward, framing her face. I roll onto my side reaching my arm out for her to come closer.

"I want to wake up this way for the rest of my life," I say without missing a beat.

Her chocolate pudding eyes widen as she places our breakfast on my night stand before climbing up on the bed, grabbing my hand and straddling my lap.

"Too much?" I ask, sounding gravelly from sleep.

She stretches to reach an English muffin and brings it to my mouth. After she shakes her head, calming my nerves that I didn't jump the gun with my early morning declaration, I take a generous bite. I chew and hum in satisfaction just before she leans in to kiss and lick away the small drip of jam I can feel at the corner of my mouth.

"Mmmmm, apple butter," she whispers. "Never too much, to officially answer your question. But even if I was a little bit hesitant— which I'm not— you would've won me over because you had apple butter in your fridge." She presses her lips to mine a few times. "I love you in ways I never thought possible, Edward Masen, but finding that jar of apple butter completely tipped the scales in your favor. There's no going back, now. You're stuck with me."

I dust my hands up her thighs, snake my fingers underneath the t-shirt and raise an eyebrow at her.

No panties.

"Looking for something?" she says coyly, rising on her knees while tugging the sheet down my body. Once it clears my hips, Bella leans forward and places a soft kiss on my temple. Her movements knocked my hands away from her waist, but I find her hips again and squeeze.

"Thank you— mmmm— for breakfast," I croak as she licks the shell of my ear and continues to trail wet kisses down my jaw and neck.

"It was," nibble and lick, "my pleasure."

God, this woman owns me. I've got chills running through my body as she finds all my sensitive spots. She's had the road map for a while.

"Speaking of your pleasure," I promise, my hand moving to seek the wet warmth between her legs just as her teeth scrape my nipple.

She sits back up while dancing her hands across my chest before they reach my eager cock. Her eyelids flutter when my thumb flicks her clit and my other fingers tease her slippery entrance.

Bella shudders, tearing my t-shirt from her body at lightning speed while I continue to slide my fingers through the slickness. The hunger in her eyes tells me we're about to get down and dirty. She moves forward up my body to position herself before slowly sinking down with a loud sigh. My head falls back onto my pillow after she encases me within her hot walls.

Rolling and grinding her hips while I help by thrusting upward, we find our rhythm and don't stop until my name falls from her mouth, her chest flushed and panting from excitement. I sit up, wrap my arms around her and tip her backwards, her head now hanging off the foot of the bed.

I plunge back in, having missed being inside her for even those three seconds. My arms are anchored under her back with my hands over her shoulders should I pound so hard that I send her flying into my bureau. No thanks; we've got no time for concussions.

"Fuck, you feel good," I growl before sucking her taut nipple into my mouth, teasing it between my teeth. My hips pump and swivel faster as I chase my high. Once Bella starts milking me, it's all over. I come so hard my ass is tingling, and I'm certain sparks are shooting up my back.

After catching my breath, I pull Bella's body toward me so that the blood is no longer rushing to her head. She giggles once she's fully flat on the bed again and nestles herself in the crook of my shoulder.

"Now what was that earlier about wanting to wake up to this for the rest of your life?"

I huff and tighten my arm around her. "Good plan, right?"

She places a kiss on my chest, whispering, "I think 'good' is an understatement."

A few minutes later Bella sits straight up, looking around the room frantically. "Edward…where's Max?"

I burst out laughing, I can't help it. "Did you just realize he was missing?"

"Oh, my God, is he all right?" she cries out, horrified.

"Relax," I sputter, trying to be more serious for her sake. I try to pull her deliciously naked body back down again, but she's not budging. "He's perfectly fine. He's been quarantined because of the move overseas. He's actually staying with Emmett and Rose. Once the quarantine is lifted, the vet will come to the house to check him out and he'll be good to go."

Sagging in relief, she collapses back onto me. "And you're allowed to have a dog in here?"

"No, unfortunately, pets aren't allowed in the BOQs, but Em and Rose will keep him until I get into different housing. They have his brother, Jake. We got them both as puppies from the same litter. Max'll have a blast being back with him."

"Well, that makes me feel better. I can't believe I didn't realize he was gone last Saturday when I was here." She sighs, dragging her fingers down my chest.

I squeeze her tighter, kissing the top of her head. "I'd like to think I was a good distraction that afternoon."

Her eyebrow rises to a point, joining the knowing smirk on her face. Her warm hand finds my cock and she starts to stroke. "So…can I interest you in another," she clears her throat, "…distraction?"

^^TotS^^

"What's up?"

"Hey! Any chance we can drag you horny fuckers out of bed to have dinner in public tonight?"

Bella gasps while I roll my eyes. Automatically punching the speaker may not have been the wisest choice.

"Charming, Emmett. Bella can hear you, dumbass."

"Hey Bells! When're you coming to see us?"

She smiles at me with a shrug as we turn into the parking lot of Pineapple Park.

"I guess I'm seeing you tonight, Emmett," she replies, cheerily. "Where do you want to go?"

"I'm craving fried cheese tempura. I vote for Sam's at the Legion Gate."

I nod before Bella responds. "Sounds fine to us. Seven o'clock good?"

"Perfect. Okay, back to the bedroom for the two of you!"

"We're being very social, I'll have you know," Bella retorts. "We drove up to Nago and are visiting Pineapple Park and the Churaumi Aquarium."

"Wow! I'm impressed. I figured Edward would've tied you to the bed to make up for lost time."

Bella starts laughing, and I cut in before this gets any more ridiculous.

"Quit worrying about our sex life and go impregnate your wife, will you?"

"I'm working on it. Just give me one good typhoon that puts us on lockdown and that'll do the trick. Poor thing can only take so much special Emmett-love, she needs to be able to walk in the morning, y'know?"

"Nice, Em. I'm hanging up now," I say, scrubbing my hand down my face and ending the call while he's still cackling in the background. "Sorry about that. He's a fucking lunatic."

Bella snorts. "He's harmless— hilariously brash— but totally harmless. I love him."

"You love him," I question with a pointed look.

"I do," she sings with confidence, "But I'm head over heels in love with you." She leans across the console, puckering her irresistible lips. "Now, let's go immerse ourselves in the world of pineapples before I have to give you a thirty-four and a half to ease your mind."

My ears perk up at her unexpected offer. I grab her hand as she starts to lift herself out of the car. "Well, now wait a second. Can't we talk about this?" I'm only half-kidding.

My whiny response leaves her laughing. God, I love that sound.

^^TotS^^

The Pineapple Park experience is half informative and half total indulgence. While riding around in a golf cart around a motorized track, we listen to an English-speaking narrator explain what we're seeing on our journey through the pineapple field. We observe the fruit in all different stages of growth until the ride comes to an end, and then walk through the building where we see the pineapples getting processed and canned. The first two parts of the park tour take up about fifteen minutes at most, it's the final leg of the tour that can be as quick or as slow an experience as we want; we're opting for slow.

"I can't decide which one I like most," Bella giggles, downing her third shot of pineapple wine. "I may need to buy a bottle of each."

"Check this out, spritzers and juices, too." Bella follows me over and starts filling little cups of samples to try.

After taste-testing all the drinks they offer, we find ourselves in an enormous showroom where they have every conceivable pineapple-flavored food. Pineapple pound cake, pineapple wine cake, pineapple chocolate, pineapple pie, even pineapple cheese...the variations are endless, and the free samples are everywhere.

When I look over at Bella, she's already found herself a basket and has four treats inside, and she's eyeing a fifth.

"This cheese will taste so good with the sweet wine we tasted! Barrel number two, I think it was."

I shake my head. "You know, I lost about six pounds in the last two months. You're going to make me put it all back on again."

She gives me a sympathetic look. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to feed you properly."

"I'm sure it was a combination of that and depression," I murmur, sneaking another sliver of pineapple pie. "Here, we need this, too." I grab a packaged pie and turn to Bella to put it in her basket, and I find her with glassy eyes.

"What?"

"I'm sorry you were depressed."

I shrug. "Weren't you?"

"Well, yeah…but I hate that I did that to you." She shakes her head in regret. "We made such a mess of things."

"Hey." I pull her close. "We did it to ourselves and to each other. But we live and learn. I think we're on the same page now, right?"

She rises on her tip-toes and kisses me soundly. "That we are. And when did you get to be so smart?"

"Pretty sure it was the numerous verbal ass-kickings and countless sessions with the shrink," I snort. "Thank God for Tricare, or I'd be broke after all the appointments I've crammed into the last six weeks."

She faceplants into my chest as she chuckles along with me. A few seconds pass before she lifts her head to meet my gaze and mouths the words, "I love you."

"I love you, too," I say softly with a quick peck. "Let's finish up here so we can go hang out with the whale sharks."

^^TotS^^

BPOV

The Churaumi Aquarium not only has thousands of colorful fish in undersea tanks to explore, but it also has a manatee pool, sea turtle pool, a dolphin lagoon and a diving show. After wandering around some of the indoor exhibits, we find ourselves marveling at three whale sharks swimming gracefully through the water alongside several manta rays.

"You know, this aquarium was the first in the world to have whale sharks in captivity."

"No kidding? Go little island of Okinawa," I exclaim. "That's a pretty fantastic accomplishment that they can boast about. Oooh, it's like their own little tip of the spear story!"

"I suppose it is," Edward chuckles looking back at the tank, his face a reflection of the crystal blue water. "Pretty awe-inspiring, isn't it?"

"Definitely." I soak up a few more minutes of the silent majesty we're witnessing before pulling Edward's hand toward me as I start backing up. "Come on, the dolphin show is starting in about twenty minutes."

We managed to scoot our way across the park in time to see the dolphins flip, twirl and leap in and out of the water, wowing the crowd with all of their adorable tricks. Afterwards, we make our way to the underwater dolphin and diver show.

Of course we don't understand a word of what the host is saying, but it's fun to watch the dolphin follow all sorts of directions and perform the tricks it's mastered. About ten minutes into the show, the dolphin positions itself vertically in the water up against the tank so that we're viewing the profile. The trainer who's swimming with the dolphin taps the lower part of his belly and my eyes practically pop out of my head.

"Ummm, is that a—?"

"Uhh, yeah," Edward stutters back. "That right there is some dolphin dick."

I scan the crowd and see the shocked looks on the faces of many adults, most of whom have children sitting with them in the audience.

"Mommy, what's that red thing that just came out of the dolphin's belly?"

"Is that another trick?"

"I think that's his pee-pee!"

Edward and I have to stifle our laughter as the dad sitting next to us groans and tries to cover the mouth of his curious son who's speaking at the top of his lungs.

"Daddy, it is! It's his pee-pee!"

"Thank you, Sebastian," his dad whispers. "Can you lower your voice please, buddy?"

I bury my face in Edward's shoulder while my body wracks with laughter. A few minutes later the show is over. I'm wiping the tears from my eyes and realize that the Americans in the crowd are just as stunned as I am, while the Japanese patrons are completely unphased by what just happened.

Edward turns to me, humor all over his face. "Well, that was fun! I wonder what other kind of genitalia we can check out today!"

^^TotS^^

"Emmett, I'm so glad you had a craving for this place, this meal has been sensational!" First we started with fried cheese tempura which came with a pineapple dipping sauce. Emmett insisted we ordered two of those appetizers and it was a good thing we did, because he ended up eating a whole plate himself while Edward, Rosalie and I shared the second plate.

"Told ya their salad was rockin'," adds Rosalie. "I mean, wasabi dressing with fresh corn on top? Who does that?"

"Well, I know why Bella's happy," Edward says leaning over to kiss me. "Mushroom soup followed by a filet smothered in mushroom gravy? It's like this place was made for you!"

I smile because he really does know me so well. "We might need to come back here tomorrow," I laugh. "There's no such thing as too many mushrooms."

Once we finish eating, Edward brings up the holidays. "I know it's a few months away, but are you guys hanging here for Christmas?"

"We haven't thought that far in advance," says Rose. "We considered trying to get down to Australia since we didn't get there in July." We all fall silent remembering exactly why their trip got canceled. "But nothing's definitive yet."

"Well, I ask because I want to fly the family out here. I think Mom, Lauren, and Bailyn would love it."

"Did you ask them yet?"

"No, but I figured you'd want to know and possibly be around if Bay was here."

"Hell yeah!" Emmett jumps in. "She'll go nuts. This will definitely make up for not showing up to Cali with— well, you know." Emmett scrunches up his face rather than address the elephant in the room.

I reach under the table and squeeze Edward's knee. I know Bailyn gave him a tough time when I didn't come visit. I swear I'll make it up to that little girl. He turns to me with a wistful smile.

"What do you think? Did you have plans for Christmas?"

I shake my head. "I'm staying put. My parents are coming out here, though. Meeting your family sounds perfect to me."

Emmett smacks his hands together. "Well then it's settled! Hell, I'll tell my parents to come out here, too, so that Bay can have both families together."

"Riley and Kalia will be here next month. I think it'll be great to have everyone in the same spot for their sakes, as well."

"All of us together," Edward says, threading his fingers through mine. "That's how it should be."

^^TotS^^

The next few weeks pass in a whirlwind of bliss, but a heaping dose of reality, too. My parents are happy to hear that Edward and I found each other again and are spending so much time together in the midst of real life as opposed to just vacation dreaminess. Edward said he spoke to his mom and sister as well— who are also thrilled— but they agree to allow Edward and me to Skype with Bailyn and be the ones to let her know I'm back in the picture.

My birthday gift arrived shortly after the weekend of the festival. Edward had compiled a photo memory book of our trip to Hawaii. He captured all the best moments we shared. Our hike up Olomana, the USS Arizona, the Fern Grotto, our trip to Kilauea and zip-lining in Maui. He also included our more intimate times like self-portraits of us swimming together, me sleeping peacefully in our bed and a few pictures of us dancing and even kissing. His promotion, the Fourth of July and shots of the whole gang were there, too. He confessed that Rosalie and Riley— who had Nalani's camera— both contributed a few of the group pictures for the album. There couldn't have been a more perfect gift.

Edward's job keeps him incredibly busy and we really only get to see each other once or twice a week if we're lucky. He manages to do an occasional drive by of my classroom so that we can eat lunch together while my kids are in the cafeteria. On days when we're unable to see each other during the week, we make sure we speak on the phone to at least exchange "I love yous" before we lay our heads down at night.

The weekends have been completely ours, though. We've been up and down this island, from the Ryukyu Glass Factory, Okinawa World and Shuri Castle in the south, to glass-bottom boat tours, snorkeling excursions and camping with Rosalie and Emmett up north at Okuma.

We've Skyped with Riley and Kalia who are arriving in two weeks and can't wait to be back together with all of us. Riley said it's been a difficult road for the last couple of months without our support. He reported the trip to Fiji was a meaningful one, and Kalia's dad made sure she knew that though he's been absent from her life since she was born, he's willing to be there for her if she chooses to stay in contact with him. So far, they've only exchanged an email or two, but it's something, and Riley is thankful for that. For my part, I've made sure to write to Kalia a couple of times a week. I've tried to keep it light, because when I've asked her anything about her feelings, she's clammed up. I'm hoping that once she's back with us, Riley will find some relief knowing we're all here for the both of them as they attempt to heal a little bit more each day.

^^TotS^^

"Guess what tomorrow is!"

"The day before the typhoon hits? Speaking of which, I'd feel better if you stayed with me on base when things get locked down. Do you mind?"

"Ooooh, a sleepover during the week?" I tease, "That could be lots of fun. Do you really think it's going to be a big deal, though? The last two kind of flaked out on us."

"I don't know. This storm's a hell of a lot bigger than those were, and it seems like we're directly in its path. I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings. Do me a favor and pack a bag and bring it with you to school tomorrow, just in case. We're already at TCCOR-2."

"Oorah, Major Masen, will do. But do you know what else I'll be packing?"

"Is this a guess-the-lingerie-of-the-day game?"

I guffaw. "No, dear, but that does sound like fun. No! It's National Fluffernutter Day!"

"Stop it."

"I'm totally serious! The eighth of October is National Fluffernutter Day. You can Google it!"

He snorts. "I believe you, wackadoo. Okay, I'll run to the commissary and make sure we have enough provisions to celebrate your holiday in style."

^^TotS^^

Edward knew what he was talking about. When I wake up the next morning, Kadena reports that the Joint Typhoon Warning Center has upgraded Okinawa to TCCOR-1, effectively cancelling school for the students, but faculty still has to report. Before I leave for work, I pull in my furniture, plants, wind chimes and mini-barbeque from the porch and the front landing. And, as instructed by my super-planner boyfriend, I make sure to pack a bag for a few days not knowing what to expect from the storm.

A few hours later, I'm watching the palm trees bend and thrash in the wind as I work on next week's lesson plans. Just before noon, Mr. Kubrough comes over the loud speaker:

"Teachers, Kadena weather says Typhoon Sanba has increased in strength and we've officially entered TCCOR-1C. Winds are gusting up to forty-eight knots. Please gather your personal belongings. We plan to have everyone out of the school and on their way home within the hour. Thank you."

I do a little happy dance because I get to spend the rest of the day with my man. Maybe we'll finally be able to Skype with Bailyn if we don't lose power. I figure I'll give Edward a call to let him know I'm on my way to his place shortly.

"Hey, baby. You guys get dismissed?"

"Yep, just got the green light. I'm packing up and can be out of here in about ten minutes. What's your ETA?"

"I have to stay for a little while longer and make sure all my Staff NCOs account for all my Marines then I can get home. Do you want to come to my office and grab my key? I don't want you sitting in the parking lot with the heavy, damaging winds."

"I'll be fine!" I scoff. "I can just do some reading while I wait for you."

"Bella, humor me. I know I'm in therapy to stop obsessing over every little thing I can and can't control about your health and well-being, but I can at least take charge of getting you safely into a building with four solid walls. For me…please?"

I roll my eyes out of love, listening to his pleas for my safety.

"Fine, fine, fine. You win. I'll be at your office in a little while."

"Thank you," I hear him sigh in relief. "I promise our typhoon adventure will be a memorable one."

^^TotS^^

I'm startled awake by a blaring robotic voice in the hallway of Edward's building. When I sit up and try to get my bearings, I find Edward next to me sound asleep. I stand up to look out his window and see the fierce winds whipping the palm branches as the sky darkens by the minute.

I tune into the announcement as it repeats to hear that we've entered TCCOR-1E. The winds are above fifty knots at this point.

"Look at you," I turn, hearing Edward's voice still gruff from sleep. "Sensational."

I realize I'm scantily clad in only a black tank top and lacy black panties. I pull my lip between my teeth and walk around to his side of the bed.

"You were awfully stealthy just slipping into bed with me for an afternoon snooze."

He props himself up on one elbow. "Well, you looked too peaceful to rouse, so I figured I could catch up on some sleep, too."

I look at the clock and realize it's only quarter after four even though the darkness looming outside tells a different story.

"We should try to Skype with Bailyn today."

Edward shakes his head while he crooks his finger beckoning me to come closer. "It's the middle of the night where they are, baby," he rasps, his hand now wrapped around my thigh and traveling due north. "I have a better idea."

Without warning, Edward with his Marine Corps-honed Herculean strength spins me around and lifts me onto the bed so that I'm kneeling on his pillow, hovering over his face with my back up against the headboard. He pulls me close before I hear and feel the suction of his deep inhale. The dampening cotton patch on my panties pulls away from my slickened skin as he nuzzles me, his tongue darting out to taste.

Oh, Jesus.

"Mmmm," he growls. "Do you know I've been thinking about this all damn day?" His palms are grasping my hips and pulling me down. "I can smell the desire on you, Bella."

I whimper when I feel him nibble the sensitive flesh where my inner thigh meets my ass. I can feel his face moving beneath me just before he starts dragging his tongue up and down my panty-covered slit. His mouth pulls at my skin and I can't stop myself from rolling my hips and practically grinding myself on his eager mouth.

"That's it, baby," his muffled words only spur me on, and I find myself biting my own fingers and then trailing them down my chest to pluck at my nipples. "Ride it…ride my face."

Edward uses his thumbs to pull away the fabric and spread me open further as he continues to lap at my sodden entrance.

He hums and sucks and slurps and I can't even focus anymore; it's all too much. My orgasm hits and I find myself screaming. I have to pull myself away from his mouth because I'm worried my boyfriend could suffocate at this point. Selfishly, though, I need to impale myself on his cock which is bending toward me like a sunflower leans into the damn sunlight.

Still on my knees, I manage to yank the lace down my legs, tossing my panties God knows where. I fall forward and engulf him in my mouth, swallowing as much of his length as possible before moving to the main event.

"Fuck, baby, your tongue…yesss."

Less than a minute later I just can't wait anymore. I lick my way up to the head, circling and teasing him with my tongue one last time and then walk on my knees until we're lined up perfectly. I look over my shoulder at him with a sly grin. His mouth and chin are still glistening from my orgasm. With his eyes trained on me, he smacks his lips together, his tongue rounds the outside of his mouth as he continues to feast on my juices.

I sink down on him and still my body, relishing the stretch and fullness as I accommodate him. My body shudders just before I begin to rise and fall, hearing his hisses of pleasure from behind. He always told me reverse cowgirl looked good on me, and Christ, does it feel spectacular.

"Goddamn, Bella." His moan spurs me on further as I increase my pace while swiveling my hips. His hands grip my waist possessively just as mine reach down, one to flick at my clit and the other to cup and tug his balls.

"HOLY shit!" he gasps, starting to buck under me. I know playing with his balls and rolling them between my fingers will cause him to come really fast, so I speed up rubbing my bundle of nerves as that familiar tingle starts down below.

Suddenly, he sits up, his sweaty chest pressed up against my back. My head lolls back onto his shoulder when his hands fly to my breasts, tugging and pinching my nipples.

I'm coming, moaning without shame while he's kissing and biting at my shoulders, bouncing us on his mattress. We've lost all sense of rhythm, but who the hell cares? The shocks and struts on this bed sound like they're going to need replacing once this typhoon is over. If this is what we'll be doing for the next day or two, these springs are going to be screaming for mercy.

Moments later, Edward flops backwards, his arms above his head. Though my legs feel like Jell-O, I manage to lift myself from his lap, turn and collapse onto his chest as we both try to catch our breath.

When hyperventilation is no longer an issue, I move to kiss him since we skipped that part before this session of afternoon delight started.

His soft lips find mine and our tongues begin to slide in and out of each other's mouths. Our heated kisses are wet with saliva and the lingering taste of my arousal. I don't know how much time passes with us licking and nipping, breathless, desperate to convey our passion.

When I pull away, my eyes finally focus on his. "So, this is how we celebrate a typhoon in style, huh?"

He laughs, rolling us over before brushing my sweaty hair out of my face. I notice that his bedside clock is no longer lit. "I think we lost power during that workout, Clementine. We sucked all the energy from the building."

I click my tongue. "Well, whatever will we do in the dark? Monopoly by candlelight? Strip Uno, perhaps?"

He leans down, planting a soft kiss on my lips. "Oh, I think we'll come up with something to stay busy."


Military Terms:

Infantry - Marines specifically trained to engage, fight, and defeat the enemy in face-to-face combat; thus bearing the brunt of warfare and suffering the greatest number of casualties.

Animal quarantine - Whenever a military member PCS's overseas, they're required to have their pets (cats, dogs) quarantined to ensure their health before allowing them to be among other pets/people, etc. They're also quarantined in preparation to return to the States after the tour is over.

Tricare - Health care program for all members of the military and their dependents - aka health insurance.

TCCOR - Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness. On an average day, we're at TCCOR-4; meaning destructive winds (50 knots+) could strike within 72 hours. This is the minimal condition. When a typhoon is headed toward Okinawa, Kadena Air Force Base, in conjunction with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (located in Pearl Harbor, HI) will issue advancing conditions in order to prepare people for the storm. In this chapter, TCCOR-2 means destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 24 hours. TCCOR-1 means destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 12 hours. TCCOR-1C (Caution) means destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 12 hours. Actual winds are between 34-49 knots. And finally, where the chapter ended TCCOR-1E (Emergency) means actual winds of 50 knots or greater are occurring and all outside activity is prohibited aka, lockdown. If the military police find anyone outside of their homes, they can be arrested.


A/N: Oh, these two and their Strip Uno. Yes, I'm sure you'll stay plenty busy. Speaking from experience (and as a newleywed at the time), when the cable goes off, and then you lose power, and it's just you and your Marine for a couple of days, yeeaaaaaahhh, you're plenty busy. ;) So, they've had enough drama for a while, I figured they deserved a carefree chapter. And that reverse cowgirl Hallmark moment was a special request from my home girl, LayAtHomeMom.

Much love and thanks to Team Cabana, as always: LaMomo, Born, Cejsmom & Jules. To all of my readers and those who take the time to review, I so appreciate it. I'm desperately hoping my life will calm down soon enough for me to write back to you. Sigh. I read every word you send me, and I thank you all so much.

ALSO, super thanks to the lovely person(s) who nominated me as your, "Favorite Potential Best-Selling Author" and Tip of the Spear as your, "Drop Everything and Read" Fic for the TwiFicFandom Awards. I believe voting ends tomorrow (Sat, 11/2). If you'd like to check out the nominees and cast your votes, go to: triple w dot twificfandomawards dot blogspot dot com .Just go ahead and squish those spaces and add the dots!

xo, Jen