A/N: Newww chapter! ^^ Read and enjoy! This is mostly fluff but we also get some furtherance in their relationship :D
"That is the sweetest tattoo I've ever seen in my life," I said, too awestruck to be embarrassed for blatantly checking her out.
"Oh, yeah? It should be. This sucker put me out two thousand dollars and twelve hours under the needle."
"Are you serious?" I asked.
"Yeah, but it was worth it. Because now, in a swim suit," she paused to gesture to her body, "I look damn sexy."
"Are you going to actually surf or just stand here flattering yourself all day?" I asked in a bored tone, trying desperately to keep myself from blushing at the same time.
Bella pouted for a moment, but eventually her lips twitched into a smile. "Yeah, yeah, alright Princess. Enjoy the show!" she called over her shoulder before wading into the surf.
I did, in fact, enjoy the show. It was amazing to watch her break through the rough water beating against the shore. From time to time she would completely duck under an oncoming wave and disappear for a few moments before surfacing again twenty feet further out. Eventually she was beyond the waves. At that point, she sat up on her board and lifted an arm to wave. I chuckled and waved back. She turned a head over her shoulder to watch and rocking and rolling surface, waiting for a sweep to come through that was worth her time. I used the same opportunity to try and anticipate the one she would choose, but failed miserably. Plenty looked strong, large, promising, but all fell through before they reached the shore line.
The one she did take was barely more than a ripple. My brows came together in confusion as Bella quickly lay down on her stomach and began paddling in, staying on top of the ripple as it grew larger and larger. Finally it was a full blown wave, probably a good six feet tall. Finally she came to it's crest, dropped in, and in one fluid motion she was on her feet. Then she was flying. It was amazing! The board glided and danced over the surface like a leaf on the wind. She must have controlled the board with minute tilts and turns of her balance because she could fall down the wave then rise back to the top seemingly effortlessly. Bella zipped up to the crest, left the wave to flip through the air, and came down going the other way. Finally, as the wave got closer to shore she rode to the top and let the wave roll away underneath her, sitting back down.
She held up a fist, pumping it into the air just once. I laughed and clapped, holding up eight fingers. "I'll give it an eight!" I yelled out. Whether she could hear me or not, she must have understood the message because she held her arms out in a 'What the hell!' kind of way.
Looking over her shoulder she must have caught sight of another taker, because she lay down and paddled farther out once again. Again and again she found a wave and rode it, each time getting more and more fancy with her tricks until she was pulling off things that I would never be able to accomplish in a million years. The street behind us got progressively more busy. Eventually people on the sidewalk started to stop and watch for a while, oohing and ahhing as Bella pulled off more complicated tricks. One guy even walked up to stand next to me.
"Damn, she's good. Native?" He asked, like I would know what that meant. I inferred.
"Nah, she's from up in Washington. She moved here a few years ago and picked it up then."
"How long has she been at it?"
"About two years," I said and the guy whistled. "She owns Olympic Surf and Skate Shop farther down the coast."
"I've heard of that place! My budy got his last board there. She your girlfriend or something?" the oddly forward man asked.
"No, just a friend," I mumbled, blushing.
He laughed and said, "Yeah, whatever you say dude. See ya around," he said before retreating towards the water again.
"See ya," I mumbled. I looked up in time to see Bella pull off her highest flip yet. I laughed and clapped, noticing that, upon resettling herself on the wave, she looked my way for approval. I held up then fingers this time, mostly just to humor her.
As Bella dropped off that set as well, I noticed for the first time that the tide has risen a few feet since we arrived. The sand barely six feet below me was now getting regularly saturated. Grinning, I pulled off my capri shorts, obviously not caring if my bikini got sandy, and scooted down. Handful by handful, I scooped wet sand up beyond the water's hungry reach. I began to shape and form in, making haphazard patterns, nothing terribly distinct. It grew from a small mound to a swirling structured sculpture.
"Wow, that's pretty cool," a voice interrupted my zen, causing me to jump violently, knocking down an archway I had made.
"Shit!" I said, more from my surprise than the loss of sand. "Bella, don't do that!"
She was, naturally, laughing her soaked ass off. Her board flopped down beside her as she stood in the surf, hands on her stomach, convulsing.
"I zone out whenever I'm making something!"
"Sorry, sorry, but Jesus, you jumped like fifteen feet in the air!"
"Hardly," I growled out, cheeks flushing.
"Aw, chill out. I just dropped in to see what you were doing. Are you bored? We could go-"
"What?" I interrupted. Suddenly I realized what it must look like, her mucking about in the water and me alone on the beach, messing with the sand. "No! Not at all! Sorry, I just get distracted really easily whenever I get inspired to make something."
"Oh," she said, eying me oddly. "Well then!" Bella stuck her board tail end int the sand once more then plopped down beside me, her wet skin immediately taking on a thing sheen of sand. "Let's build a castle!"
I couldn't help but giggle. "Seriously? I haven't done that since I was eight!"
She pointed to herself and said, "I'm a kid at heart, or haven't you noticed?"
I pondered that, then eventually concluded. "Fine, but I don't do anything half ass. This thing is going to be spectacular."
And it was.
Four sand fights, two heated technical arguments and two trips to the car for more supplies got us as close as we would get to a finished product. The end result was half sturdy walls, sweeping terraces and balconies, spires and towers and walkways, even a garden and a courtyard, and half a smashed mess. The first bit was intentional, the second half was a product of me nonchalantly tripping Bella (after she had flung seaweed at my face and laughed at me for getting scared by a dead jellyfish, of course.) She hadn't landed on our marvelous castle, but I had when she used her ninja reflexes to grab me and drag me down with her. My rage at the catastrophe was probably drowned out by our uncontrollable laughter. I flung a handful of sand at her face in mock anger.
"Ugh!" Bella sputtered and spat sound from her mouth. "Dude!"
"You earned it! You are directly to blame for the destruction of Aliceopolis!"
"Aliceopolis?" she questioned, trying to find a spot on her body not covered in grit that she could rub against her mouth.
"Yes!" was my stubborn reply.
"Well I'd hate for you to carry such painful memories home with you. Better wash them off!" Before I knew it Bella had picked me up, slung me over her shoulder, and we were running for the ocean.
"No, no, no, no, ack!" Splash. Bella jumped right into the water and under we went, rolling and swirling, tossed about in the broken surf. I came up sputtering, carefully styled spikes of hair hanging limply over my eyes. If I looked half the drowned rat that I felt like, well, I can understood why Bella was still laughing. "You raging bastard face, I hope you know I have no choice now but to kill you," I growled, then 'eep'ed and scurried away as she lunged for me once more.
"I'm terrified, really."
"You should be!" I said, kicking water at her, a shitty grin on my face.
After running amuck on the beach for a while longer, Bella decided it was time for a lunch break. My grumbling stomach couldn't have agreed more. So we walked back to the truck and tossed our towels and what have you in the back. Bella pulled a wife beater on over her bikini and some longer cargo shorts, I donned the clothes I had worn before and off we went walking down the sidewalk, ocean side.
"It's not far," Bella assured me. "Real crappy place, I love eating there."
"Crappy?" I asked with a laugh.
"In the good sort of way!" She grinned, "You know, dingy, quaint, but also real. It's no chain restaurant. The food comes from the ocean and local farms. You'll dig it, I swear."
"I believe you," I said, raising my hands in mock surrender.
"So tell be more about your family," Bella said. "When do I get to meet them? I'd love to see the big bear again."
I smiled and said, "Hopefully soon. They'd all love you. Emmett already does of course, but the rest of them would too. You're kind of a spit fire so Rose would approve, and you seem like someone who would mesh well with Jazz and Eddie. Esme loves everyone and Carlisle will love you just because you're friends with Em and I."
Bella grinned and laughed. "Only the first date and I'm already meeting the family! I don't know shorty, we might need to slow things down a little bit."
I rolled my eyes and shoved at her shoulder, saying, "Oh, shut up. You asked! And since when is this a date! I feel like I should have been told."
Bella chuckled and said, "Pssh, what, this isn't romantic enough for you?"
I grinned and began ticking events off on my fingers. "So far I've been woken up at the ass crack of dawn, built a sand castle, been thrown into said castle, then thrown into the ocean, and now I'm on a forced trek across the state of California!" I paused and seemed to mull things over while Bella rolled her eyes and shook her head. Finally I concluded, "Yeah, romantic enough. I'm having a good time, I suppose!"
"You only suppose? Jeez, I'll have to work harder than this!"
"You can start by buying me lunch!" I chuckled. If I was going to play along I might as well get something out of it, right?
"Excuse me, I thought you were supposed to cover tabs seeing as I'm teaching you all my deep, dark secrets!"
"That was before you asked me on a date, duh," I said, rolling my eyes. "Now you have to! Otherwise I might just not agree to a second!"
Bella tapped her chin, seemingly thinking. "Hmm, deal! That just means we need to do this again. But you have to pay next time!"
I laughed, unable to respond for a good long while, before I was able to respond with, "Yeah, okay."
Bella just lay a hand on my shoulder and gave me a gentle shake the pulled me aside. "Well, we're here!"
The shop front was small, and the inside I guessed must be deep then, because there was hardly any space there. It was decorated with what I would classify as tasteful graffitti. The paint was chipping in places but the design overall, while it took me a few seconds to work out, spelled the word 'Hanson's.' Bella saw me looking and smiled yet again.
"Appreciating my handywork?"
I looked at her, brows drawn. "What?"
"My handywork! Their sign, so to speak. I was the artist."
My jaw dropped and my head swiveled between the girl at my side to the store front and back again. "No way!"
"Way," she smirked with a smug shrug. "I may have picked up the skills in the tail end of my high school career. More than a few buildings back around my hometown have my work on 'em, and a few trains rattling across the country, too."
"How did you get this job?" I asked, gesturing to the shop front.
Bella laughed and ran a hand through her hair. If I didn't know better, I'd say she looked guilty. "Well... the guy who owns this place is a friend of mine, and his dad happens to be a cop. Well, his dad caught me working on a piece one night and I figured I'd be heading to jail or something. Vandalism and what not. But instead the cop leans in and says he's seen my stuff popping up, and he really likes it. He wanted to know if, in trade for him letting me off, he'd do a piece for his son for free."
"And of course you agreed?" I asked, laughing.
"Duh," she said with a smile and pushed her way inside the shop.
A bell rung to announce our arrival and a boy around our age, early twenties, looked up from behind the counter. He had dark auburn hair, nearly ruby in shade and from what I could see, I thought it was probably his natural color. He had the tall, tan, lean build of a surfer and dressed in beach style. His eyes were a bright blue, ever more unnatural looking that his hair, and a light spattering of freckles dusted his face.
"Hey Shane!" Bella said with a laugh and sauntered up to the counter.
"'Sup, Bellzy!" The boy reached over and brought his hand against hers in some sort of odd handshake I didn't bother noting the specifics with. Next he eyed me then turned back to Bella and asked, "New girlfriend? What happened to old what's her name? The horse face?"
Bella 'tsk'ed and bopped the boy on his forehead while I reeled. Was he serious?
"First, no, Alice and I are just friends. She's doing research at my shop for Marclief, and secondly, Jane and I parted ways after that scuff between her crew and I. So you happy now, Mr. Nosey?"
"I'm never happy," Shane scoffed and turned back to the grill where a few fish filets sizzled. "But I am satisfied! You guys hungry, I assume?"
"Hell yeah we are. Whatcha got fresh?"
"Some kick ass Mahi, is what we got. Want a sandwich or two? On the house?"
"Thanks Shane," Bella said with a laugh and plopped down at a table near the front window.
I followed, still a little shell shocked from Shane's revelation. Bella was gay, then? I mean, I guess in all honesty I wasn't really surprised. Thinking back, it all made a lot of sense, from Emmett's very first comment about her being 'one of the guys' and her nonchalant flirting that before now I had just kind of figured was how she acted. But now...
A little whistle brought me back to attention. "Yoo-hoo! Earth to Alice! You alive in there?"
I blinked away my hazy thoughts and zoned back to Bella, where she sat in front of me, eyebrows drawn in concern. "Oh! Sorry. Just thinking."
Bella grimaced as if she had eaten something sour. "What, about what Shane said? About that, I was gonna tell you, it's just-"
"Bella, I'm in the fashion industry," I broke in before she could get on a roll.
Brought up short and confused, Bella just asked, "What?"
"I work in fashion. I was raised in fashion! It's an entire community, and for fuck's sake, I live in West Hollywood! Why on earth would you worry about how I feel about gays?"
I forced down a smile as Bella actually blushed. Just a little bit, but it was a blush none the less. "I don't know. At first I figured we would just talk at work so I figured, what did it matter whether I brought it up or not, but then we became friends and I was worrying that if it did freak you out you'd be screwed for your project, I guess."
I smiled softly and laughed just the same, "That's very thoughtful... but also very stupid!" I reached forward and flicked her forehead. Indignant she curled her lip at me and rubbed the injury. I continued with, "C'mon! You know I've got more to me than that! I'm not shallow and I'm certainly no biggot. Do you know why?" I asked, waiting for the bomb to go off.
"Why?" She growled out, still put off.
I leaned in and beckoned her closer. Conspiratorially, I whispered, "Because I'm gay too!"
Bella leaned back in her seat, away from me, brows raised. "Seriously?"
"Totes and hoes," I said with a smirk, fiddling with my nails. "Surprise!"
"Why didn't you tell me?" She asked, still shocked.
"Why didn't you tell me?" I countered with a slight glare, which she returned. We sat there searching each other's expressions in an angry way until Shane brought out two baskets of food and set them down in front of us.
Shane snickered out, "Wow, you can practically smell the estrogen in the air here. I'm gonna go hide behind the counter again before you two start shredding each other."
"Fuck you," Bella grumbled out, but the spell was broken and she dug into her sandwich. I, following suit, did as she did. One bite in and my mouth exploded with joy.
"Holy shit," I gasped. "This is the most delicious thing I've ever consumed!"
Bella couldn't help but laugh, and whether it was at my wide eyes or the crumbs covering my face or my expletives I wasn't sure. "I know right," she said around a mouth of food. "Shane is a wizard."
"Damn straight!" could be heard shouted from the depths of the kitchen.
I dug into another bite and sighed longingly. "Mother of God, I will never eat anywhere else for as long as I live."
Bella just laughed again and shook her head.
"And for the record, since you're not actually paying for this, it doesn't count."
"Hey now!" She called out indignant. "I am still providing you with lunch! Paying or not is irrelevant!"
"Nope, you skipped out on a very important piece of this! It's damn unacceptable Bella. Damn unacceptable." I tried to keep my serious face in check but she was making it hard to hold the laughter in.
Finally she just scoffed. "Keh. Whatever. Dinner then?"
I looked at her through narrowed eyes, smiling all the while. "Hmm... I suppose! As long as you can find another place with food as good as this."
Shane swept by again with refills. "Hon, there aren't any other places as good as this."
Bella shot a straw wrapper at him.
"So where to now?" I asked as we reemerged into the bright afternoon light. The temperature hovered at around eighty, nice and comfortable.
"Back to the truck! Then we're heading farther up the coast to our next activity."
"Which would be..." I trailed off, questioning.
Bella just scoffed at me and ruffled my hair, to which I responded with a light punch in the shoulder and quick motions to reorganize my 'do.' "Telling you would ruin the surprise!"
I rolled my eyes and decided to let her have her fun. "So tell me more about your family!" I asked.
She seemed surprised but launched into it nonetheless. "Yeah? Alright. Well, my mom and dad divorced when I was little. I spent the school year with my mom, Renee, in Phoenix and then the summers with my dad, Charlie, up in Forks. My Mom got engaged to a guy named Phil when I was a freshman in high school so I decided to let the kids be kids and move up with my dad." She joked with an easy smile on her face. "That and the fact that they wanted to move to Florida and I didn't want to leave my friends in Phoenix when I already knew people up in Forks, y'know? But yeah, anyways my mom's a scatterbrain but the nicest woman you'll ever meet. Bit of a spitfire, though. My dad is chief of police in Forks, real traditional and stoic, I guess. Bit introverted."
"They seem really different," I said with a smile, thinking of my own mom and dad who fit together like puzzle pieces.
"Hence the divorce," Bella answered with good humor. "They're still on good terms, though. My mom is local, actually. She lives up in Santa Barbara, comes down every now and then."
"What does she do?" I asked, curious.
Bella paused a bit, then sighed. I anticipated something bad, but instead she said, "She's an artist. An... affluent one."
My eyes widened and I couldn't help but ask, "How affluent?"
"Around seven or eight figures, affluent," she sighed out, frowning.
"No way!" I said, putting on the breaks. It took Bella several paces before she realized I had stopped.
She chuckled and said, "Way. It always drove me nuts as a kid."
"How so?" I asked, brows drawn. Between Carlisle, one of the foremost doctors in the country and Esme, a recognized interior designer, we had never wanted for money. I always loved it though, I felt as if it had opened doorways for me.
"Well, I'm not one to indulge, I guess," she said with a soft smile. "I prefer a simple life style, and its hard to be simple when driving a Ferrari and wearing Prada clothing, and traveling to Europe every other weekend just for fun. Wealth was never something I strove for."
I considered that, then nodded. "I guess I get what you mean. For me I always looked at our financial status as a means to improve myself. I used it to take art classes and learn new languages, to travel and learn the world, kind of culture myself."
Bella just shrugged and said, "To each their own!"
A/N: Awww, aren't they so cute? S'gonna be some big time drama in the next chapter, I'm quite pumped! Let me know what you think?