Prologue

Born into a life of privilege and new money Edward Cullen had the world at his feet. Size eleven for those who are keeping score. His future had been mapped out since he was a sperm in his father's nut sac and he knew it.

Groomed from birth to be his father's successor Edward grew up in a shadow so large, and so scary to a little boy that he struggled to see the sun from between his father's knees even after he surpassed him in physical height. Smothered by a mother who planned and strategized every play date and party invitation, and who vetted every child he wished to spend any time with, he emerged from childhood as a shy, mistrusting teenager with no free will of his own.

As an only child – his mother citing that she'd produced perfection on the first try so a second try wasn't necessary – Edward didn't have the benefit of a sibling to play with or to whisper with at night in the dark. What he did have was twelve different nannies over the course of fourteen years. And from them he learned some colourful ways to describe his parents, his mother in particular. He didn't bother becoming attached to any of the dozen women who stood in for his social climbing mother, he knew better than that. He made bets with his driver how long each one would last and by the time he'd turned ten he began to win those bets, placing his winnings into a jar that he had hidden behind a forbidden packet of sweets in his bottom dresser drawer. He even began to predict what they'd leave over. For Nanny Jane (when he was ten, his first win) it was being yelled at for folding his school shirts in a way that muddled the creases. She'd lasted just four months. For Nanny Beth (when he was eleven) it was having a crystal vase thrown at her head for chewing gum and for Nanny Elsa (when he was thirteen) it was for allowing him to watch ESPN when he should've been practising his vocabulary. Neither of them had seen out a year. They came and went and Edward began to envy their retreating backs and their freedom to call his mother a bitch, impossible to please and his very favourite parting shot of all, a blood sucking parasite from which there could be no escape. Nanny Rhonda had been his favourite and at almost fifteen he'd liked her rack, so her screeched insult had stuck with him fondly.

His last two years at high school had been particularly difficult for the gangly Edward. He'd reached his adult height of six feet two inches but had remained at his tenth grade weight. He was tall enough for basketball but was never allowed to play. He was keen to try other games, especially football, but his mother would never give her permission. He was attractive enough for the girls to swoon whenever he was near but knowing he'd never be allowed to actually socialise with them the invitations to social events dried up when they were constantly refused.

He was smart enough to be invited to join all manner of clubs but none of them were likely to advance his business career once he took over daddy's real estate development business, so they were deemed folly by his mother.

So when he graduated from high school he was a tall, skinny nerd with no friends and he'd never joined in anything extracurricular.

There had never been any discussion about what he'd study at college, or even a discussion about whether or not he'd attend a college. He'd go close to home and study business. No discussion required.

He was allowed to take only business related classes and he was expected to excel at them all. Anything he found tricky, or heaven forbid difficult, he was provided a private tutor for. Therein reinforcing his isolated existence. There never had been any room for average and failure was a dirty word in the Cullen household.

Not allowed to live in a dorm at college he was ferried back and forth to classes daily by the family's endless stream of hired drivers. There was no time for the social aspects of college life either. When his peers were off getting laid and getting drunk Edward was at piano practise or was sat in front of yet another life coach. When he should've been out trying to breech a hymen or two he was stuck inside the Cullen compound learning how to ask for champagne in conversational French.

The ink on his business degree wasn't even dry when his parents announced he'd be starting at the family firm the following Monday morning.

It was in the back of the limousine on the way home from the graduation ceremony that Edward's normally accepting nature began to falter. It was as he was handed the key to his new corner office that the first crack in his psyche began to appear.

It was in the senior staff mensroom on his first official day of work that his tie became too restrictive and his chest began to tighten. With his head between his knees and a sweat breaking out on his upper lip he began to seriously worry that if he didn't get out of the life he was living he was going to go steadily insane. An hour later his therapist agreed.

It was in his father's home study that very afternoon that he was granted three months to 'sow his wild oats or whatever it is you think you should be doing'.

Four days later he was sitting in first class with his first ever beer in his hand on his way to Melbourne, Australia.


Isabella Swan started out life as the 'spare'. Hoping for a boy, Isabella was somewhat of a disappointment to her parents when she arrived without wedding tackle.

Blessed with an older sister Isabella was still denied the benefit of a playmate growing up and was sent away to the same exclusive, prestigious boarding school that her sibling had attended. Mary Alice, ten years older and having already drunk the Kool-Aid, couldn't understand why Isabella didn't enjoy the structure and discipline of her childhood years away at school. Mary Alice had thrived amid the deportment and elocution classes and took her future as seriously as her mother did.

Renee Swan was determined that her girls would make good matches and set about moulding them into perfect Stepford wives from birth. With a significant head start on Mary Alice' education she found Isabella lacking in all the things her older sister excelled at.

Disruptive and argumentative Isabella fought her mother and her teachers at every turn. Elementary school was just 'something she had to get through until the serious business of middle and high school came along' according to her mother. Only allowed home for holidays and very special occasions Isabella saw more of her homeroom mistress than she did her own mother and found that by the end of her time at school she didn't really miss her parents all that much and did not look forward to going home.

Academia was a waste of energy for a girl whose only goal should be to make the right kind of marriage according to the Swan parents. But Isabella craved knowledge. She enjoyed the challenge of math problems and the excitement of science and literature. Given no encouragement to excel at anything other than perfectly good posture and a rounded vowel sound when speaking Isabella secretly studied when she was awarded free time. Which wasn't often.

She was caught studying inappropriate things like geography and history one too many times by her mother during the brief period she attended a school close to her home and was swiftly sent to yet another boarding school that specialised in turning out ladies rather than thinkers.

When Isabella was eight and Mary Alice was eighteen and was formally presented to society Isabella was dragged along that summer to watch each of the social engagements that were planned down to the last sandwich triangle by their mother. Hopeful that the pomp and ceremony of the rituals would spark some interest in the younger girl Renee was distraught to catch Isabella hiding under a white linen draped table reading Chaucer instead of meeting and making small talk with the other society girls and boys. She was promptly enrolled for another year at the finishing school far away.

When Mary Alice turned nineteen Isabella was aghast to learn that she'd accepted a match made by her parents to one Jasper Whitlock. From a fine family of his own, and five years older again, he was already well on his way to becoming a lawyer with a knack for unravelling the intricacies of water tight wills that contained codicils.

Mary Alice was pleased with the match and felt an instant spark between her and her new fiancé when they were introduced. Isabella's distain for the whole arrangement puzzled Mary Alice considerably, but she adopted the opinion that her mother shared on the eve of her wedding that Isabella was too young to realise how lucky she'd be to make such a match herself.

Isabella's disinterest in the wedding of her twenty year old sister to a most eligible bachelor was seen as more than enough reason to yet again enrol her at a different boarding school, this one designed specifically for grooming young ladies who were the daughters of royalty and the rich and famous.

Puberty was a nasty business for Isabella. Not least because she was away from her mother and had to deal with it alone at school. She was already tall for her age and she felt even more awkward when breasts emerged and made her feel top heavy. The arrival of menstruation was treated as just something else a young woman must endure by the teachers at the school. Taught to fear it and the mess it could make of fine fashion and the interruption it could cause to social situations, Isabella began to loathe having been born female. She hated ribbons and the awful bows her mother made her wear in her hair as a small girl and she fought the makeup and jewellery her mother, sister and all her peers in the dormitory insisted she wear when she got a little older. Isabella wanted to wear sneakers and hoodies like the girls who went to a local public school, not knee length dresses and cardigans with pearls. She wanted to dye her hair three different colours and have her nose pierced, not sit through hours of lessons on how to achieve the perfect bonnet of curls using a hair straightener and what length of pearls went with what length dress. She wanted to read romantic literature and learn about sex and love, not sit with the girls in her dorm and study the gossip magazines looking for fashion tips and how to perfect a Hollywood pout.

High school was seen as something that must just be 'endured' according to her mother and she learned of her enrolment in yet another boarding school just the day before she was due to begin. She was shipped off with a stern reminder that appearances meant everything and that she would be expected to do justice to her family name, as well as carry herself in a way that would benefit her finding a decent husband.

The value of test scores on report cards was practically nil compared to the importance of lists of extracurricular activities printed on the back of them. Prearranged by Renee all of Isabella's effort was channelled towards popular pursuits like social clubs and volunteer programs that would enhance her overall appeal to prospective husbands. She wasn't allowed to go out for debate teams or anything that would give her real world experiences.

Now at a co-ed school she could see the boys around her who were deliberately pushed to make good grades and she didn't understand why she wasn't. They were encouraged to participate in sports and games and were given the freedom to be social despite the fact that they too would be expected to make good matches later on. Girls from her social group were encouraged to look pretty, speak nicely and be mindless zombies without an opinion of their own. This did not sit well with the rebellious Isabella. She wanted what the boys had. She wanted a career, not babies and to keep house. She wanted choices and to be able to make decisions for herself based on information and experience. She wanted to know who to vote for when she turned eighteen because she understood the policies of those who were running for office, not because her husband told her who he needed her to vote for to better his business prospects. She wanted to experience other cultures and travel to other countries but that was out of the question for a woman of good breeding until she made a suitable match and could accompany her husband on such trips. She began to understand that experience of anything that wasn't directly related to trapping a man was something she was never going to be allowed to gain for herself.

With Mary Alice happily married and living the perfect life her parents had wanted and expected of her Isabella seemed a much bigger disappointment to her parents. When an acceptance letter to a prestigious university arrived with the Swan households post that disappointment turned into outright fury and she was recalled home before graduation to explain herself.

Having applied in secret Isabella had been sure that once she explained how badly she wanted to go her parents would relent. She'd felt sure that her happiness would be their ultimate goal and that if she could convince them that college and a career would make her far happier than being a wife and mother would they'd come to their senses and agree to her attending the college of her choice.

It was a very short discussion. She would not be attending business college, or any other college for that matter.

She was told in no uncertain terms that no, she wouldn't be attending. No, she wouldn't be pursuing a career and yes she would begin the social season with her peers on time, on track and she would do it with a smile on her face whether she liked it or not.

Crushed into submission by the weight of the expectation of her parents Isabella had no choice other than to agree. Her eighteenth birthday signalled the beginning of their search for a husband for her. Presented to society on her father's arm at a gathering that included senators sons, doctors sons and the privileged and spoiled sons of businessmen Isabella did as she was expected and attempted to smile through the ordeal. Introduced to Jacob Black, the son of Governor William 'Billy' Black and bound for political life himself, Isabella did her best to at least appear interested when they were given a chance to speak to one another.

Jake, as he preferred to be called, was a conceited, arrogant asshole who made Isabella's skin crawl with his well practised lines and false compliments. Jake didn't seem to notice or care what her opinion was but he was very impressed by her calm demeanour and by her looks. She'd make pretty babies he thought once he'd delivered her back to her father safe and sound.

Her calm demeanour was nothing to do with accepting her fate. It was all about the death of dreams and an ache in her heart for more. She'd lost that most precious of commodities, hope.

Their engagement eighteen months later was announced publicly in the newspaper and in private by Jake who hadn't bothered to ask Isabella herself, as was the protocol. He'd negotiated the union with her father, his own father weighing in when necessary. It hadn't been all that necessary because both sets of parents knew each other very well and all concerned agreed that the match was perfect for everyone involved.

Nobody asked Isabella what she thought. She didn't want to be married to anyone but most especially to Jacob Black because she thought him pompous and greedy. But most of all she wanted the decision to be hers.

They had been in the same room together just eleven times between their first meeting and their engagement party that was held on the lawn at her family home. They had never been alone, not once, and had never spoken about anything personal at any time. A long engagement was settled on to accommodate Jakes very busy schedule as he made his run for an election and in a way Isabella was both grateful and disappointed.

Grateful for the eight months she'd been granted to still be Isabella Swan and disappointed that for eight months she'd have to dread what was coming.

Her spiral into depression began the day after the engagement announcement and saw her sitting on the edge of her bed, knees drawn to her chest, rocking back and forth silently. Within five days she was vomiting the contents of her stomach after every meal and at the end of the month she had what everyone around her assumed was a nasty bout of the flu.

Her shaking body and hands began to be noticed at meal times and her pallid and drawn features were commented on at a social engagement six weeks later.

Sent off to the doctor 'just to be sure' she was prescribed something to calm her nerves. She took the entire contents of the bottle within minutes of having them in her possession and was found, foaming at the mouth, on the floor in her private bathroom an hour later when a maid was sent to investigate her absence at dinner.

Her mother assured her father that their daughters fragile constitution was directly related to the stress surrounding the impending marriage and that it was nothing he should worry about overly. Her sister assured their parents that Isabella would be fine once she was married and settled, after all she'd been nervous before marrying Jasper and look how that had turned out. Her doctors assured them all that that was bullshit.

The arrival of her sister at her hospital bed did little to boost Isabella's spirits and the appearance of her very concerned mother left her physicians in little doubt that without a break from them all she was very likely to continue on the downhill run toward a total mental breakdown.

Unable to consider such a thing with the wedding date announced and invitations being printed her parents reluctantly agreed to send her away once more.

And so, with just five months to go until she was to become a wife Isabella Swan found herself on a plane, tucked under a thick blanket in a fine first class seat clutching her passport to her chest and bound for Down Under.


Chapter One

A bus met the two passengers from that flight, and two more from another that arrived just minutes later. Their luggage was stowed in the back of the little minivan and while the sleepy, jetlagged faces pressed against the windows it wound its way through the city, out the other side and through the suburbs towards Crossroads.

They made two shorts stops to collect three more passengers and then they continued on into the quiet stillness of the mountains.

September in Victoria Australia was still cold, especially up in the hills to the East. The flight had landed just after dawn so the higher the bus travelled into the mountains the more fog laid across the road ahead. When the steepness of the mountain levelled out the bus turned off the main road by a large sign stating the direction of the camp itself. 'Camp Crossroads' it said in big black letters. 'Find your path when you come to the Crossroads' is said in a smaller font underneath.

Isabella found herself wondering how many miles there were in eight kilometres and Edward wondered how much longer he'd have to wait before lighting one of the illicit cigarettes he'd purchased before boarding the plane.

"Welcome to Camp How to live up to your Potential," the burly guy sitting in the back seat groaned as they passed by the sign.

There were no gates to contain the property and Isabella found that surprising. She'd taken in very few of the details of her latest banishment. She'd ignored the information because she'd been sure she was being sent away to meet with new age therapists who could prepare her mentally for a marriage she didn't want. She'd assumed she was being sent to a private sanatorium but the property the bus stopped at looked more like a swanky health spa than a nut farm to her.

Edward too was surprised by the relaxed look of the camp. He'd listened when it was described to him and had to wonder whether his father had actually ever laid eyes on it as he looked around what he could see from the bus. He thought he was coming to a corporate conference centre, not a spa retreat. That was how it had been portrayed to him. A place where his father had sent groups of employees for team building exercises and management courses. He was supposed to be there to learn ways to deal with corporate stress but it looked more like a holiday camp to him.

A very tall, very blonde woman greeted the passengers as they trudged from the bus and into the bright morning sunshine. Announcing herself as Rosalie Hale, and as the director and manager of the camp she did a quick head count and then asked the small group to please leave their luggage for the porters and to follow her into the reception centre.

Still clutching her passport to her chest Isabella followed close behind Rosalie. Thinking the best way to do well there was to make a good impression Isabella stuck close to the director. Edward waited until the six others had fallen into a line before joining the end of it. He wasn't bothered about appearances; he was tired and cranky from the flight.

Ushered into a large room inside the reception centre they were offered tea, coffee and all manner of cakes and biscuits after their long journey. Very few were consumed by the very weary travellers. Asking the group to take whatever seat they'd like Rosalie set about imparting the little bits of information they'd need to get through their first day at the camp.

"Four out of the seven of you are probably horribly jetlagged so for you today will just be about settling into your rooms and getting some sleep," she said kindly as she began to hand out a folder to each visitor. "For those that haven't travelled quite so far feel free to explore the grounds." She moved to the front of the room and took a small remote control from the lectern that had been pushed to one side. After pressing a button the white screen on the wall lit up and displayed a large map. "Inside your folder you'll find a copy of this map but I'd like to run through it just quickly before you all run off," she told the group. "Now, we're sitting on around a hundred acres here so there's plenty of space if that's what you're looking for," she began. "You'll find there are very few structures or routines here, so if you come across an activity you'd like to take part in just join in. or if you're after a more relaxing stay with us you'll find there are many quiet places to lose yourself. Think of it more as a retreat than a camp," she said encouragingly. Turning back to the map she began to point to various markings. "Where the bus is parked is the only way in and out of the property so the buildings and their distances marked on your maps are all in relation to the front of the camp. The building we're in right now houses the administration offices and we have a visitors centre too so if anyone is expecting visitors that's a good place to arrange to meet. We have a small medical clinic should anything befall anyone or you come down with something, but it's best to alert a staff member as soon as you can if that happens. Our doctor is only part time but can get here in just a few minutes if we need him out of hours. We've also got a small convenience store that opens out to the back for emergency bits and pieces like toothpaste and aspirin and things but we also have a few snack foods and things like newspapers and cigarettes for those of you who smoke. Its open only during the day and you'll find a list of the times in your folders. There is no smoking in your cabins or in the dining hall but feel free to do as you please in any of the outdoor spaces or under the awnings by the gym and pool. We have a permit for alcohol to be consumed on the property but we don't sell it here. Unfortunately the liquor store won't deliver, and the local takeaway food places won't come this far out, but there is usually someone heading into town and they aren't above being bribed to bring something back," she chuckled. "There are two pubs in town and you'll find details for their opening and closing times in the local business directory in your cabin. Same goes for the supermarket and places like the hairdressers and the pharmacy. Now, the food here. The dining hall splits the camp in two as you can see," she motioned towards the screen and the group nodded as one. "On the left hand side of the camp is the corporate sector and on the right is where you'll be staying in the private cabins. Everyone eats in the central dining hall so you'll be mixing in with the corporate pirates," she chuckled. "Nothing is out of bounds to either group and you'll share the use of the pool, gym and the spa area. The opening times and information about how to book services for the health spa are in your folder. The dining hall is open day and night though there are specific meal times. Outside of meals feel free to take advantage of the snacks and drinks in the chiller cabinets in the main dining room. They're refilled every morning so take what you like. Please don't feel that you have to eat in the hall for every meal if you don't want to. There are kitchenettes in your cabins if you prefer to cook for yourselves but you can just as easily go into town if you'd like. There aren't any rules about that so come and go as you please. All I ask is that you sign in and out so if we need to do a head count for any reason an absence can be counted," she said kindly. "Any questions before we head over to the cabins?" she asked.

Isabella had about a hundred questions buzzing around in her brain but didn't have the energy to actually voice them. Where were the shrinks offices located? Where would her therapy be conducted? How many group sessions was she expected to attend? How often would her parents be calling to check in on her and had they given their permission to come and go as she pleased? What was the legal drinking age in Australia and if she wasn't a citizen there could she drink without getting arrested?

Edward had no questions. He was away from his normal life and that's all that mattered to him. That and lighting his first ever cigarette and finding the nearest bed.

No questions were posed so they walked as a group, Bella right behind Rosalie and Edward bringing up the rear. Winding their way along the shrubbery lined paths Rosalie pointed out the various amenities. "That's the dining hall," she said pointing to the left of the path at a huge building encased almost entirely by glass. "The gym, pool and spa are down a little further at the end there," she said as they continued along the path. "Friday nights we show movies in the gym and Sunday afternoons there are organised games for anyone interested."

"Games?" the big guy directly in front of Edward asked in a similar accent to Rosalie's. "You mean Monopoly and shit?"

Turning and scowling at him Rosalie shook her head, "No, not Monopoly and shit," she huffed. "Games, physical games. Basketball and volleyball. Sometimes soccer and if we get enough takers we'll run an indoor cricket game."

"Cool," the big guy grinned and turned to Edward as they walked. "You up for sports, dude?" he asked.

Edward had no idea if he was so he shrugged. Whether it was what the big guy wanted to hear or not Edward didn't know, but he turned around and kept walking all the same.

"Keep in mind as you're moving around, especially at night, that we're surrounded by the bush here. We often get kangaroos and wallaby's in the open spaces and we've seen a snake or two, so don't stray from the paths once it gets dark," Rosalie informed the group. "The lighting is automatic, so don't worry, but stick to the paths is my advice."

The path wound around to the left behind a grove of tall trees and then a small grouping of cabins came into view. Reading from her clipboard Rosalie began to assign the visitors their cabin numbers and their keys. "Isabella and Angela?" she asked and handed over a key each to the two girls and told them they were to share cabin one. "Emmett and Edward?" she asked next and handed over a key each and informed them they would be sharing cabin number two. Ben and Tyler were given the keys for cabin three and the last lone female, Jessica, was given the key to cabin number four and told that her roommate had been delayed and would be arriving the following day. "Go on in and I'll come around and answer any questions you've got," Rosalie told them as the pairs began to make their way to their assigned accommodation.

There was nothing exciting about the cabin for Isabella. She'd lived two thirds of her life away from her home and was quite used to unfamiliar places and people. She'd been forced to share with roommates from the age of six so the awkwardness that she should've felt just wasn't there for her. It was for Angela though.

Being the more confident of the two with the situation Isabella held out her hand and introduced herself. "I'm Isabella," she announced, producing the nice rounded vowel sound her mother would've approved of.

"Angela," the other girl said softly as they shook hands. "I'm a bit nervous," she admitted as the two women began to look about the place. "This is my first time away from home."

Smiling knowingly Isabella could sympathise. Her first time away at school had been awful. Never truly comfortable anywhere at all she knew how to fake it well. "I usually unpack right away," she told her fellow inmate. "I like to put familiar things in my line of sight," she suggested. "It helps," she said with a soft smile.

"Great idea!" Angela exclaimed and went to check out the rooms that were out of sight.

The cabin was similar in its layout to some of the dorm rooms Isabella had shared at boarding schools and so she settled in quite quickly. True to Rosalie's word a porter had delivered her luggage and after allowing Angela to choose which of the two small bedrooms she wanted Isabella emptied the contents of her single suitcase into the provided dresser in the other bedroom. She was a dab hand at unpacking. She stowed her things in the same places, and in the same order, that she had in dorms all over the world. It made packing it all up again at the end of her stay easier. Between the two bedrooms was a bathroom and Bella put her meagre toiletries into one of the two drawers available. There was a washer and dryer beneath a counter in the bathroom so she took a few minutes to familiarise herself with those before taking her carryon bag back into the communal room. It was one large room with a kitchenette at one end and a living room at the other.

Angela came out of her room and into the living room smiling. "I'm all unpacked," she giggled and Isabella thought that she might just be proud of herself for having achieved that small task. "I came off an international flight," Angela said as she began to look for somewhere to plug in her phone. "I hope you don't think I'm rude but I need to sleep for a bit."

"I don't think it's rude at all," Isabella said as she stared at the wall socket in despair. Her cell wasn't going to plug into it either. "I've been awake for thirty nine hours now so I won't be far behind you," she said as she put the phone down with a shake of her head. "We'll have to ask about an adaptor later," she mumbled as she made her way to the doorway of her bedroom.

"Yeah, later," Angela agreed as she too went towards her bed. "Sleep well, Bella," she mumbled as she crawled beneath the sheets.

"You too, Ange," Isabella all but whispered as she slid into her own bed. She'd never been allowed to shorten her name before and she quite liked the way Bella sounded she thought as she closed her eyes.

Edward wasn't given a choice which of the two bedrooms he wanted to occupy because Emmett, who as luck would have it was the big guy with the grin from the conga line, claimed the one on the left without discussion.

He darted through the little cabin excitedly before snatching up his duffel bag from the living room floor and choosing a room for himself. Edward stood in the centre of the room and just stared. He'd never seen anyone that big move that fast before. He barely had the energy to walk let alone skip about like the big guy was.

He was just about to take his own suitcase into the other bedroom when the big guy came back out and stuck his hand out in front of himself. "Edward, right?" he asked. "I'm Emmett but everyone calls me Em so I'll call you Ed. You a smoker?" he asked, nodding toward the pack Edward had put on the counter as he'd come inside.

It had felt so rebellious while he'd stood in front of the counter at the airport and asked for them. It had seemed such a grown up thing to do, to buy cigarettes knowing how socially unacceptable it was these days. It had been a whim and now that he'd been asked about it he didn't know whether to admit that or to lie and say he was a long time indulger. "I think I want to be," Edward said with a shrug when he couldn't think of an appropriate response.

"A rebel, that's cool," Em had shrugged. "You'll have trouble getting that brand here," he said as he took a pack out of his jeans pocket. "These should be a pretty close match though," he said, tapping his own pack with his finger. "You one of the ones who came in from an international flight?" he asked in a rush.

"Yeah," Edward managed to mumble before Em was off and running again.

"Cool," Em shouted again as he went back into his room. "I'll unpack and let you get some sleep. Jetlags a bitch." Edward thought that was the end of the conversation and went into his own room. As he began unpacking Emmett's booming voice came through the connecting wall loud and clear. "So you're a Seppo, right?"

"A Seppo?"

"Yeah, a septic tank."

"Um, I've no idea what that is," Edward said, confused.

"Oh," Emmett laughed. "Septic tank, a yank, an American."

"Um, yeah," Edward agreed though for the life of him he'd never heard the term used before.

"Cool," was Emmett's only comment, and one he seemed to like to use frequently and so Edward let it go at that. He was a Seppo and apparently that was cool.

It was Edward's first ever time living away from home and he found the entire experience thrilling. He could choose for himself where he put his things. He could mix socks and shirts in a single drawer if he wanted to and he could spend every day and night in casual clothes if he felt like it. He could sleep late and eat food that was bad for him. Hell, he could drink whatever he wanted whenever he wanted and he could smoke! He could hardly wait.

He explored the bathroom and placed his electric razor on the counter and stared at the socket on the wall. Nobody had told him the plugs weren't going to be compatible. For the first time in his life Edward stared at himself in the mirror and wondered what it would be like to not be clean shaven by breakfast every morning. Grinning to himself he slid the shaver into the drawer.

Thinking back to what Rosalie had said about the animals that were likely to be out and about Edward moved back into the living room. "Do you think that snakes would come indoors here?" he asked as he watched Emmett tipping his duffel bag directly into the top drawer of the dresser without bothering to sort anything into piles.

"I suppose they would if it's cold outside," he replied idly as he threw a tattered magazine onto the bed along with an ancient toothbrush and a comb that had seen better days. "It's usually spiders that'll turn up in the shitter but I guess snakes'll go for your bed or something if they're cold."

"Is that all you brought with you?" Edward enquired, looking at the three items on the bed and the half drawer of clothing.

Shrugging Emmett bounced onto the bed and took the magazine into his hands. Flicking through it quickly he came to the page he was looking for and turned it around so Edward could see. "With funbags like this who needs anything else to keep them warm at night?" he chuckled and turned the book back around to stare at it.

Edward had never seen a girly magazine and so he cringed at the picture he'd been shown. Turning and going back into his own room he stripped the bed covers back to the foot end of the bed and did a thorough check before climbing into it. Lying there, sleep already doing its best to claim him, he thought about what Emmett had said. Seppo, shitter and funbags were new words. He didn't like the idea of spiders at all and snakes terrified him, but for some reason Emmett's easy going nature was kind of appealing in a roommate.

The last thing he heard before falling gratefully into sleep was Emmett leaving the cabin and wishing him a good sleep.


A/N: Thank you for reading.

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