The buzzing of my alarm is brutal. There should be a rule about no alarms on vacations, but I purposely set it for six this morning hoping I'd be up before Bella. I want to be able to get in the kitchen and prepare some of the fruit we bought yesterday and get a pot of coffee going as a thank you for last night's dinner.

I forgot to close the blinds last night, so the brightly shining sun is my natural wake-up call had my alarm not done the trick. Rolling out of bed brings on the symphony of cracks and pops from my body as I take those first morning steps. I throw a t-shirt on over my shorts and head out of my room, rubbing my eyes. Just as I'd hoped, the condo is quiet.

In the refrigerator, I find the berries, cantaloupe and honeydew. I wash and cut them up, arranging them on one of the platters I locate in the cabinet. Pressing a few buttons after adding the coffee to the filter basket, I pat myself on the back that I got it all done in relative silence, seemingly without disturbing Bella.

I climb back into bed and set my alarm again for 7:30 so that I can officially start my day at a more reasonable hour; plus Bella and I agreed we'd be out of the house by nine every morning to make the most of our tourist time.


"Uncle Edwaaaard!"

"Good morning, goofy girl, how are you?" I take a sip of steaming coffee….mmm, heaven.

"I'm so good! I had so much fun at Nanny and Paw's house! I saw Uncle Emmett and Aunt Leelee!"

"I heard that they came to visit you! What fun things did you do while you were at Nanny and Paw's?"

"Oh! They took me to the paaaark and I went swimming in their pooooool and I got to ride my biiiike and they took me to the zooooo..."

"Wow, Bay. Sounds like you were really bored and had a terrible time."

She rolls her eyes and crosses her arms. "Uncle Edward. Stop teasin' me!"

"Okay, okay. You're right, I was teasing. But I'm glad you had so much fun together. And what did you do when Uncle Emmett and Aunt Leelee came to visit?"

"We had hot dogs and corn and Uncle Emmett gave me belly bites!"

I widen my eyes and slap my hand on the table. "Bailyn Grace Yorkie! I am the only one who's allowed to give you belly bites! Why are you letting Uncle Emmett bite your belly? It's mine!"

She giggles hysterically. "Noooo, Uncle Edward this is myyyyy belly," she says lifting her shirt. "You can bite it when you're with me but you weren't here, so Uncle Emmett did it instead."

"Well, I'm gonna call Uncle Emmett and tell him to stay away from your belly, got it?"

"Got it!" She laughs some more. "Where are you? You're not in the blue room or the white room!"

Freaking smart little girl. My office at home has blue walls, my living room has white, and that's where I'm usually sitting when we chat. The condo's walls are a pale yellow. "Nope, you're right. I'm not in my office. I took an airplane adventure and I'm visiting another island in Hawaii."

"Are you all by yourself?"

Smiling,I huff and look up to see Bella shuffling into the living room at that exact moment and giving me a wave. "No, Bay. I'm not by myself."

Bailyn instantly sits up straight in the screen and crinkles her face. "Who's there?"

I catch Bella chuckling to herself as she pours a mug of coffee.

"I'm with a friend. Her name is Bella."

She gasps, melodramatically. "Belle like Belle from Beauty and the Beast! Does she have long hair? Is it brown? Is she wearing a yellow dress?"

"Bay," I try to interject, but my niece is on a mission to meet herself a Disney Princess.

"Does she have a book? Belle likes to read. And did she sing a song? Belle sings lots of songs. And she dances with the Beast..."

Bella is now doubled over with her arms and head collapsed on the counter, listening to me receive the Spanish Inquisition.


"Yeah?" She freezes with a huge smile on her face, her dimples fully on display.

"Honey, her name is Bell-UH, not Belle. She does have long, brown hair and I have seen her reading and I have seen her dancing."

Bailyn starts squealing and Bella has now folded her arms over her head, shaking it back and forth on top of the counter.

"I don't know if she has a yellow dress, but I did hear her sing a song once when we were in the car...I'll have to ask her to sing again for me," I add with a wink, now that Bella has picked her head up from the counter.

"CAN I TALK TO HER?" Bailyn screeches at what I can only assume are approximate bat sonar levels.

I look over at Bella who has a sheepish grin on her face and starts to walk toward the couch where I'm sitting.

I smile at my phone and Bailyn's eyes bug out of her head as Bella plops down indelicately next to me, her face now visible to my niece.

"Hello Bailyn!" Bella pipes up, cheerily.

This poor little girl is completely frozen. She's FaceTiming with Belle from Beauty and the Beast as far as she's concerned. Her life's dreams have officially been fulfilled.

"Bay?" I ask again as a smile slowly overtakes my niece's face, replacing the shock and awe.

"H-hi Belle!" She starts waving wildly.

"How are you, Bailyn? Your Uncle Edward has told me so much about you, sweet girl!"

"I'm good. I'm four. I live in a house, not a castle like you. Is the Beast there with you?" Stream of consciousness takes over her four-year-old mind.

"Yeah honey, he's right here!" Bella pats me on my thigh a few times and I can't resist poking her in her sides causing her to convulse and giggle uncontrollably.

"Where? I don't see 'im!" Bailyn is moving her head all around as if that will change her visual field and allow her to see her favorite furry prince.

"Thank you, Bailyn." I'm still poking around Bella's side and she's now wrestling with me to keep my hands to myself. Finally, I relent and I hear Bella sigh in relief.

"Is Beauty and the Beast your favorite movie, Bailyn?" Bella asks.

"YEAH!" Bailyn shouts. "Do you love your movie, Belle?" She's now jumping up and down on her computer chair. Her face is totally out of the picture and all we see are bony knees up to rounded chin.

"Bailyn," I correct, "it's Bella honey, not Belle." This earns me a smack to the leg and Bella clicking her tongue at me.

"I can be Belle for her," she hisses, to which I shrug in response and raise my hands in surrender. I'm not about to get in between these two girls and the Disney royal identity theft being perpetrated before my eyes.

"Actually Bailyn, my favorite movie is Tangled. I love Flynn Rider!" Bella croons this character's name and I watch my niece get giddier in response. I quirk my eyebrow, observing the estrogen level rise between these two.

"You better not be loving any boys, Bailyn Grace!" I call out to her in a jokingly chastising way. "Flynn Rider," I spit. "You have Uncle Edward and Uncle Emmett...you don't need to be thinking about any other boys, little girl!"

Bailyn is giggling again. "Oh, Uncle Edward...you're so silly to me!"

"Flynn Rider. What kinda name is Flynn Rider anyway?" I mumble loudly enough to egg Bella on.

She narrows her eyes, humor still the main emotion playing on her face. "Say what you want about me, but you will NOT besmirch the name of my cartoon crush." She crosses her arms across her chest. "And if you must know, his real name is Eugene."

My grin takes over my face. "You have a cartoon crush, Clementine? This guy, I hafta see!"

"Who's Clementine?" Bailyn comes down off her princess high and rejoins the conversation causing Bella and me to laugh.

"Just my nickname for Bella, honey. But listen, we need to get going. Can I talk to you again on another day? We have to get ready to go out."

She looks crestfallen but nods. "Okay. How 'bout after naptime?"

Bella and I both burst out laughing. "Hmmm, probably tomorrow or the next day."

She flops into her chair and sighs loudly. "Allllllllright. I love you, Belle!"

Bella 'awws' and replies without missing a beat, "I love you too, Bailyn! Can I talk to you again soon?"

"YEAH!" she calls out, over-the-moon with the attention Bella is giving her. "Okay, BYE!" Bailyn shouts again at the phone.

"HEY!" I interrupt before she ends the call. "What about me?"

Her eyes widen. "Oh yeah, bye Uncle Edward," thus ending our call.

My jaw drops, realizing that I just got totally blown off for the imposter Disney Princess to my left. I look over and her hands are cupped over her mouth and nose, and she's shaking.

"Are— are you laughing at me, Clementine?"

She closes her eyes and inhales, removing her hands from her face. "No. Absolutely not," she whispers with a sly grin. "I'm off to take a shower, Cap'n. Thanks for the great breakfast by the way."

She stands and crosses the room but turns toward me before disappearing in the hall. "Oh, and you've got yourself a date to watch Tangled by the way. Nobody makes fun of the smolder."

"Smolder," I snap, oddly jealous of a cartoon character. "What does that even mean?" I call out to the now-empty living room.



We decide to buy tickets for the six-hour Hollywood tour which takes us all over the island. As we travel from place to place on an air-conditioned bus, there are scenes from television shows or clips from movies, playing on small screens hanging throughout the bus. The idea being that tourists can be watching the clip and then the bus pulls up right to the exact spot where that particular scene was filmed; it's too cool. We're given the chance to step off the bus and wander around a bit to get pictures. Gilligan's Island, Fantasy Island, Jurassic Park, Six Days, Seven Nights and Pirates of the Caribbean are just a few of the locations we get to visit. By one in the afternoon, we stop at a Tahitian restaurant for lunch, which has been included in the price of the tour.

It's a really fantastic experience and Bella gets another chance to sing her Jurassic Park theme song. I even join in with her this time around.

We chose to go to the Smith Family Garden Luau which has gotten rave reviews. We arrive around five in the evening and are greeted by ladies who present us with leis made of small shells. We wander around while the pig is being roasted in the earthen oven, or as the natives call it, an imu. The setting is quite beautiful; we take some fantastic pictures of the sun starting to set over the water. I buy each of us a large mug formed from a coconut shell carved to resemble the face of a monkey. It's filled with coconut milk. Oddly enough, coconut milk looks nothing like milk, but more like water and tastes like a mildly sweet juice. You learn something new every day!

While we wait for our table to be called up to the buffet, Bella decides to buy a flower for her hair so that she can blend in with the party-goers. I stand next to her as she makes her purchase and the elderly woman collecting the money at the table instructs Bella on how she's supposed to wear the ornament.

"Take this and put it behind your left ear, showing it's closer to your heart." The woman makes eye contact with me and nods. "He is your true love, no? You must wear it behind the left ear to show the world you're no longer single."

Bella's cheeks get flushed and my spine straightens a bit.

"Oh...oh no," Bella stutters with a smile. "I'm still single. This should go behind my right ear," she says as the woman helps her pin the orchid securely.

"There. Lovely," the woman tells Bella and then looks at me. "Don't be foolish for too long, boy. Gentlemen see this beautiful girl without a flower behind her left ear, and they'll move quickly to make the switch."

She keeps looking at me pointedly, but my eyes are on Bella, who's facing the mirror at the other end of the table, fixing her hair. I smile at the woman and walk toward Bella.

"Whaddya think?" she asks, her arms out in a 'ta-daa' pose.

"It's perfect...you look great."


The roasted pig is really delicious, as are the roasted vegetables and the Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes. The poi...not so much. It tastes like wallpaper paste. Not that I've eaten too much paste in my life...but if I had to paint an image, I'm pretty sure that poi matches in flavor and consistency that of wallpaper paste...or perhaps even spackle.

Once the stage production begins, Bella and I have already enjoyed several drinks and we're feeling a light buzz. We watch the men do their fire dancing, juggling with lit torches and walking across the hot coals. Then, dozens of beautiful women come out to dance to the jungle beats of music native to Hawaii, Tahiti, Japan and Fiji. I gaze at Bella from time to time and enjoy the beautiful smile plastered on her face. She's mesmerized by the show...and I can't help but feel mesmerized by her.

My worst nightmare materializes when some of the dancers come down off the stage and start grabbing the hands of unsuspecting luau-watchers to bring them up and teach them to dance. I hope to God they'll pass by me and thankfully, my prayers are answered when I'm completely ignored. Then, I watch in shock as this burly male dancer, wearing only a grass skirt and anklets made of leaves, grabs Bella's hand, causing her to squeal in delight.

"Bella!" I call out after her. "You sure?"

As she's being led to the stage, she looks back at me, "Of course I'm sure, this is gonna be awesome!"

My head is bobbing and weaving all over the place, trying to spot Bella in the crowd up on the stage, but it's no use. I think she disappeared behind a screen they have set up on either side of the platform. About five minutes pass and the drum beats start again, as three men and three women selected from the audience— Bella included— take their places along the front of the stage.

I get the feeling that the costume was optional, considering how much of their original outfits four of the six people are still wearing, but not surprisingly, Bella wanted to participate fully, which is why she's standing in front of over a hundred people in nothing but a skimpy grass skirt, some kind of leafy bra, a leafy crown and leafy anklets. Her hair is down and flowing and she has the brightest smile on her face...she outshines them all. She's beyond stunning. And showing off way too much skin in the presence of these half-drunk luau goers, as far as I'm concerned.

My heart rate picks up as I watch her receive instructions on how to move her arms and hips. Coupled with some movement of her feet, Bella suddenly looks like she's been a luau dancer for most of her life. Once again, I'm captivated.

After they've all received proper instructions, it turns into a contest where the best dancers are determined by the screams and claps of the audience. Of course, Bella makes it to the final round, probably because our table has been hollering for her like a bunch of loons, with me being the loudest. Her hips look like they have some kind of motor attached from the way she's able to move them back and forth so quickly. Frighteningly enough, Bailyn does a similar dance, which my sister and mom have dubbed 'the shaky tushie', because her hips shimmy at the speed of light. She and Bella could make quite a team. It's this thought that now has me rubbing at my chest...Bailyn and Bella in the same room together. Seems like an impossible dream.

More screaming wakes me from my reverie and I realize that the contest has come to the lightning round. Bella and her male counterpart, who have both survived all the prior eliminations, are now about to dance on their own without the help of the trained dancers.

Though the guy really knows how to move, Bella completely dazzles the crowd. Her arms are elegant and the way her hips sway slowly and then quickly as the beat increases in tempo, while shaking the flower maracas...it seems there's no contest.

The applause-o-meter and the volume of the screams ensure Bella's win in the dance contest. Any passer-by would think our table just won the lottery by the way we're all whooping about. She comes bounding off the stage with her old clothes stashed in a tote bag and I stand up to greet her with a smile that I hope mirrors hers.

She runs right into my arms for a hug and then pulls her head away from my shoulder and stuns me by kissing me squarely on the lips. It lasts for at least five seconds, because our table-mates are now whistling and cheering us along. Her lips are sweet, like the tropical frozen drinks she's been enjoying all evening. They're plump and moist and I'm doing everything in my power not to open my mouth to attempt to deepen the kiss. She doesn't push it either, but when she comes down off her tip toes, she's gazing at me with a huge grin.

"How'd I do, Cap'n?"

"You were..." I pause, still dumbfounded by the unexpected kiss.

"Dorky, hilarious, horrible?" she questions, trying to fill in the blank.

I shake my head, my arms still around her back while her hands remain on my shoulders. "Amazing, Bella. You were amazing."


Sleep doesn't come easily. I find myself tossing and turning, still thinking about Bella on stage and then... that kiss. I force my eyes closed and throw my arm over my face. The image I conjure up is Bella swaying her enticing hips from side to side, her undulating, tanned stomach rippling gracefully, her long legs through the flimsy grass that covered them. To know that just a few leaves were covering her breasts, barely held together by a tie around her back and shoulders, makes my blood pressure rise. One shimmy too many and everyone would've had a glimpse of her goods.

Not cool at all.

I grab my cell to check the time and realize it's almost six in the morning. I can see the sun has started to rise through the blinds. Bella and I agreed last night that we'd take it easy today and hang out by the pool. She also mentioned wanting to take advantage of the spa services they offer here at the hotel. I could go for a massage myself, but I need to work out some of the tension I feel in my neck and back first. I haven't been to the gym in four days, no wonder I feel so wound up. I know I'm not going to be able to fall back to sleep at this point; I may as well check out their facilities.

Arriving in the large gym, I realize I have the run of the place. What other idiots would be in the gym at quarter past six in the morning on their Hawaiian vacation? That would be me and only me.

I warm up with a light two-mile jog on the treadmill and then work with some free weights focusing on my arms and back. I eke out thirty pull-ups, but not before I charge my way through one hundred push-ups and two hundred crunches.

Satisfied that I've given myself a decent workout, especially considering I'm on vacation, I decide to run a few perimeters of the hotel's property as a cool-down before heading back up to our second floor condo.



I haven't heard a peep from Edward's room since I woke up an hour ago. He must be sleeping off those beers and tropical drinks we had last night. God, that was so much fun. Being up on stage dancing like a crazy person was so freeing. Even if I made a fool of myself, who the hell cares? I had fun and created memories, two of the main reasons I took this trip to Hawaii in the first place.

I had to have been giddy and high after everyone cheered for me and I was voted the winner of the dancing contest. What else could have possibly possessed me to leap into Edward's arms like that? And then I kissed him! It wasn't a kiss kiss...but it certainly took all the willpower I could muster to not tempt fate and push him further. When I finally got my wits about me and pulled back, he looked happily surprised. I guess that's a good thing. I don't want to force him, but Jesus, did he look scrumptious in his khaki pants and black button down shirt, a few of the top buttons undone and his sleeves rolled to his elbows. Whew. I'm getting dizzy just returning to the image.

The splatter of scalding bacon grease on my wrist brings me back to reality. The strips are almost done; next I'll work on some banana pancakes. Suddenly, I hear the front door open and slam shut. My eyes widen and I freeze, thinking we have an uninvited guest...or perhaps housekeeping has shown up without knocking first?

"Hey." I hear Edward drop his keys on the counter. I smile, thankful it isn't an intruder, but instead my very dashing traveling buddy.

I turn away from the griddle and am met with the most fan-fucking-tastic view...ever. Edward is standing about six feet away from me, wearing nothing but long black basketball shorts, white sneakers and a black baseball cap twisted backwards on his head. His entire body is glistening with the sheen of sweat. The shimmer of his dog tags is heightened because of the repeated heaving of his chest. There's a small white towel tucked in the waistband of his shorts and I'm instantly mesmerized by the rise and fall of his Adam's apple as he chugs a bottle of orange Gatorade.

I think I may die.

He tips his head forward, eyebrows raised, "You okay?" Waiting for my response, he snatches the towel from his shorts and runs it down his face and neck.

I think I reply, "Mhmmmm," but I can't be sure. Right now I'm focused on the bead of sweat that just peeked out from behind his dog tags and is slowly trickling down the center of his defined abs, toward the wisps of hair that gather at his belly button.

"Beautiful day outside; I just ran around the property three times after a workout in the gym." He comes closer to me and pops a slice of banana into his mouth. I'm simply standing there, armed only with a spatula while all my other defenses are down. "What's for breakfast, Clementine?"

Somehow, I collect myself enough to actually answer the man's question and not grunt like a cavewoman. "Pancakes...uhhh, banana pancakes and bacon."

He smiles, kindly. "Smells awesome." He swipes another banana and then scoots away after I chastise him for his thievery. "Do I have time for a quick shower?"

I nod again, still suffering from some kind of intelligence malfunction. "Yeah. I'm just now mixing the batter. They'll be ready to hit the table once you're out."

"Great. See ya in a few."

I drop the spatula on the counter, pull open the freezer door and promptly stick my head in it. I need to cool the hell down. That man is too damn tempting for his own good. Maybe I should go work out some of this pent-up energy in the gym. Run a few hundred miles...yeah...that might help to distract me from the gorgeous calendar pin-up image that was just standing in front of me.



I hear the bell ring but I'm not fully dressed yet. Thankfully, Edward answers the door.

"Hello. I'm here to give Ms. Newton her massage."

"You're the massage therapist Bella requested?"

"I don't know if she requested me specifically, but my schedule was free, so they sent me up. Is there a problem, sir?"

I'm quickly towel-drying my hair, wearing only a pair of cotton panties. I need to throw on a shirt and shorts to go out and greet him. Why does Edward sound so pissed? What the heck is wrong with the guy they sent up to do my massage? It doesn't matter to me who they sent, as long as he or she knows how to give a delicious massage.

I run a pick through my hair, pull on a pair of denim shorts and my pink USMC tank top and step out into the living room. I walk into something resembling a pissing contest, but I have no idea why.

"Hi, I'm Bella," I extend my hand to the large Samoan man standing in our living room with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder and his massage table tucked under his left arm. His name tag says Haku.

"Hello, Ms. Newton, I'm Haku. The spa sent me up to do your massage," he adds with a smile, "Where shall I set up?"

"You could just do it right here," Edward pipes up, causing me to scrunch my face in confusion while Haku furrows his eyebrows.

"In the middle of the living room?" I ask. "That's a little weird, don'tcha think?" I turn toward Edward.

"Not that weird," I hear Edward mumble to himself.

"Follow me, Haku. You can set up in my bedroom back here." I walk the masseur to my bedroom and give him a few minutes to organize his equipment.

Back in the kitchen, I find Edward reading a magazine while sitting on one of the stools at the bar counter. He's flipping pages furiously; there's no damn way he's reading that quickly.

I open the fridge to grab a bottle of water for myself and offer one to Edward as well. He declines but doesn't stop staring at me. "Everything all right?" I question, taking a swig of water.

"Yeah. Fine. Good. Why?"

I narrow my eyes. "Just curious. You seem...uhh... a little tense there, Cap'n." He shakes his head in denial. "Are you heading down to the pool now?"

"Nahhh, it looks like it's getting a little cloudy out there. I think I'll stick around."

I peek over his shoulder toward the windows and balcony which seem to be baking in the late morning sun. "You sure you listened to an accurate weather report? Looks fantastic out there right now."

"It's cool. I'm gonna check on my office emails, make sure I'm not missing anything that needs my immediate attention."

"Oh. Okay...well, if the sun is still out when I'm done, do you wanna go down to the pool with me?"

He nods rapidly. "Yeah. Sounds good. I'll be here."

I give him a smile and walk back to my bedroom to enjoy every ounce of luxury that comes with a full body massage.



I'm pacing up and down the hallway like one of those expectant fathers outside the delivery room from back in the day. It's virtually silent, except for a sigh or a groan here and there. Those sounds...those fucking sounds make me want to bust down the goddamn door.

This fool is making her moan?

And I'm allowing this to happen under my roof?

Well, it's not technically my roof, but shit...I helped pay for it. And if anyone is going to make Bella moan, it should be me. Christ, listen to me. I run my hands through my non-existent hair for the twenty-seventh time in the last fifteen minutes.


My hands involuntarily ball themselves into fists as I hear Bella moan again in appreciation over whatever that giant is doing to her in there. I check my watch and see she only has another forty minutes or so until this clown is done with her. Forty minutes. I think I can make it...that is, if I don't have a fucking stroke before the timer goes off.

Is it too early to start drinking? I check my watch just to be sure...almost noon. Fuck it. Who cares...it's five o'clock somewhere, right?

Beer and Angry Birds. That'll keep me good and occupied.


"Good tacos, Señor Masen," Bella giggles while sipping her glass number who-the-hell-knows of sangria.

"My pleasure, Señora Newton. And thanks for helping me clear the table." I finish loading the dishwasher and start the cycle.

In her tipsy state, Bella makes her way over to the living room couch where I decide to join her.

"Let's play a game, Cap'n!" Bella rifles through the drawer in the coffee table and brings out a deck of UNO cards.

"Oh, you're in for it now, Clementine. I'm ruthless when playing UNO," I snicker, shuffling the cards.

"Well, I happen to be a great UNO player myself," she retorts. "Care to make it interesting?"

My interest is piqued. "Go on."

She drums her fingers across her lips and says, "Strip UNO!"

My eyes widen, knowing this is only the sangria talking. "Bella, maybe we should dial it down a bit. Strip UNO, really?"

"No dialing down necessary. We've spent the last few days seeing each other scantily clad wearing bathing suits…what's the difference? Plus, the stripping only has to happen when one of us wins a round...and, AND, though the person who wins gets to tell the other person what article of clothing to shed, the shedder gets to ask the winner any question under the sun and the winner has to answer truthfully."

I nod, impressed. "Wow, you've put quite a lot of thought into these rules, haven't you?"

Bella wiggles her eyebrows. "Whaddya say, sir? Sound like a plan?"

"I'll deal first."


Bella wasn't lying; she's a killer at UNO, which is why I'm sitting here in only my boxer briefs. She's still wearing her top, but without her pants. I've done my best to keep my eyes above her waist. She's wearing the most sinful pair of pale yellow panties. I have to keep drinking my beer so that I don't start panting at the sight of her.

We started the game up on the couch, but have migrated to the floor and are sitting side by side.

Even though she's won so many rounds and I've lost my clothes, the good part has been her revealing some truths when I ask her questions.

As with every other drunken game I've ever been involved in, the questions start out fairly clean and innocent, until we take a sharp right turn at Dirtyville and we're currently wading waist-deep in the Lake of Naughty Secrets.

"Come on, Clementine...out with it. When and where was your first time?"

She sighs, takes another gulp of sangria and begins. "Okay...well, honestly, my first time was with Mike. I was twenty years old and he'd taken me to Myrtle Beach for a long weekend. He made it really special," she shrugs with a smile and takes another drink. "And I haven't…" she trails off.

I blink several times and look away for a moment. "Wow. You've only ever been with…that's..."

"Stupid, I know. Especially for this day and age," she interrupts.

"NO!" I shake my head, "I wasn't going to say that at all...I think it's awesome. You knew what you wanted, so you waited for it and treasured it while you had it. That's really special, Bella. You should be proud of it. It suits you. That's the kind of person you are." I grab her hand and squeeze her fingers. "Seriously. Don't ever be ashamed of that."

She smiles and we continue to slap down the cards until I win the next round. "Oooh, look at that! Lose the shirt, Clementine."

She giggles through another sip of sangria and peels her shirt up and over her shoulders, dropping it on the couch behind us. And here she sits, with her matching yellow bra. It's lacy; I can't fucking turn away.

I take in a deep breath and wait for my question. "Okay, hit me. What's my question?"

We're shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip...our legs are stretched out together under the coffee table.

"Okay, soooo, my question is..." her lips are twisted to the side of her mouth, pondering. "Oh, I've got it!"

I chuckle at her exuberance, "So, go for it!"

"Have you ever regretted hooking up with anyone?" Bella asks quietly, then takes another quick sip from her wine glass.

I twist my head from side to side, thinking about my past hookups. Have I ever regretted them? I'm hemming and hawing in my mind. "Umm, I don't think I've ever truly regretted hooking up with anyone. There may have been times where it meant more with one girl than with another...but no...I don't think I've ever regretted a hook-up."

"I was hoping you'd say that."

Before I even know what's happening, Bella is up on her knees with her left leg swung across my hips. She's sitting on my lap, not quite on my semi-aroused cock; her hands are resting on top of her thighs.

I know neither of us is drunk, but I also know that we're nowhere near sober. Somehow it doesn't matter though, as Bella leans in and touches her lips to mine.

At first contact, she just stays motionless in the kiss, but then pulls back the slightest bit and captures my lower lip in between hers. It's soft...gentle and slow. In the most delicate way, her lips tug on mine over and over until she sweeps her tongue across that same lip. Bella's tongue is asking permission for mine to join the dance.

It's this invitation that has me no longer reclined back but now sitting up straight and leaning into her. My hands reach for Bella's face and cup them around her cheeks. I'm overwhelmed. Our lips are coming together over and over. She tastes so damn sweet. My thumbs are sweeping along her cheekbones as my heart beats boldly in my chest. Pull...suck...lick...

Bella whimpers as our tongues drift in and out of each other's mouths. I feel high as a kite. I've been studying this girl's lips since she collided with me in California. All the studying in the world didn't prepare me for the real thing. Her fingernails scratch at my scalp, turning me on even more.

With Bella on my lap, taking charge and kissing the hell out of me, adrenaline pumping through me; it's exhilarating. Our kissing feels so natural, like we've rehearsed it many times before.

But we haven't. It's new, it's exciting and it's happening, and I don't want it to ever stop.

Bella pulls away for only a second and finds my eyes. "Too much too soon?"

I shake my head. "Not a chance."

Apparently, I answered well because she grants me another brilliant smile and leans in for a second searing kiss. It's tender, her plump, juicy lips like the freshest fruit on my tongue.

My eyes are still closed as I feel her lift herself from my lap. I'm looking up at her, my sleepy, buzzed eyes at half-mast; they mirror hers, I'm sure.

"Sweet dreams, Edward," she whispers with another smile and walks to her room. As I hear the bedroom door close, my head flops back on the couch. Talk about bridging the gap!

The question now remains, what will the next step be? When will it be?

I pick myself up and gather my bottles and her wine glass, depositing them in the sink. I glance at her closed bedroom door and smile, shaking my head. Sweet dreams, indeed. Tomorrow starts a whole new chapter.

I've never been more excited than I am tonight to set my alarm and start the new day.

A/N: Forgive the little delay again, please. Though I warned you in the last update, I had an even better excuse aside from all the others I listed last time...I had emergency surgery on Sunday! Not that big a deal, hiatal hernia...I'm fine and recuperating. Moving slowly, taking care of the three mini Yummies by day, thank goodness the Major sweeps in after work donning his Superman cape and takes over for the rest of the evening. Anywho...Christmas decos are put away, Corasaurus Rex's birthday has come and gone and my parents are on their way back to New Jersey...in other words...no more distractions and I should be back to my two weeks or less updating schedule from now on! *crosses fingers*

Big thanks, as always, to Team Cabana who turned this sucker around in less than 72 hours. Love and hugs to LaMomo, Born, Cejsmom & Jules.

Last Call is as complete as it's ever gonna get! So go ahead and PDF, download, FLAG or whatever it is you do...it is done, done, DONE! So much love is pouring in for my first story...I'm so excited that TotS has brought in new readers and you guys have been pimping Callward again. That guy...sigh...I miss him, too.

Last Call Girl T-shirts sign-up sheet is still open in The Cabanaboy's Playground group on FB. PM me or come join the fun over there if you want a little piece of Call Girl history! The price is hovering around $21 and that includes the shipping cost!

Thank you to all who are reading, reviewing, rec'ing, pimping, tweeting, favoriting, alerting and lurking here at TotS! So glad you are falling for Spearward & Adventurella! Can't believe we hit over a thousand reviews with only seven chapters. I'm trying to get to reviews, but for the reasons above, I was definitely delayed this past time around. I hope to do a better job to respond after this chapter!

xo, Jen