posted by groovychicklisa
I was woken up by the sun shining in through the window the following morning. I squeezed my eyes shut against the light, and snuggled into Edward's chest under the covers.
"Morning." He mumbled sleepily, placing a kiss on the top of my head.
"Did you sleep well?"
"Better than I have in a long time." I smiled.
"Me too." He turned onto his side, pulling me up a little so that we were eye to eye. "That's better." He kissed me softly, and I pressed myself closer to him, throwing one leg across his hip.
"Mmm." I deepened the kiss, and our tongues danced together.
His hand traveled around my waist and he pulled me with him as he rolled onto his back, so I was on top of him.
There was nothing separating us, our bodies were pressed skin to skin, and I could feel exactly what I was doing to him.
I reached out and found the bedside table, opened the top drawer and… there was a knock on the door. We both froze.
"Breakfast!" Came Alice's cheerful voice from the other side of the door.
"Go away!" Edward called back to her.
"Sorry, no can do. Mom's making pancakes, and they're best while they're hot. Of course, I could always tell her that you're… busy…"
"Oh for the love of all that is holy." Edward mumbled, but I quickly rolled off him.
"We'll be right down." I called, and heard Alice giggle as she skipped down the hallway.
"Ignore her." Edward said, trying to pull me back into bed.
"Can't. They would know." I blushed a little just from thinking about it.
"You seriously don't think that they've figured it out?"
"Fine. Off you go. I'm at least taking a shower before going down there."
I giggled as I rummaged through the bag I had brought with me, finding underwear, some sweat shorts and t-shirt. I pulled them on and got up off the bed.
"That might be a good idea." He just glared at me, and I quickly headed out of the room. "Make sure it's a cold one." I teased before I closed the door. The soft thud of a pillow hitting it made me laugh as I headed towards the stairs.
Everyone but Esme and Rosalie were sitting around the dining table when I got downstairs. The smell from the kitchen made my stomach grumble, and I realized I was really hungry. Esme was indeed making pancakes. And toast.
"Good morning." Rosalie greeted me from the kitchen. Her voice was full of innuendos and Esme elbowed her in the ribs.
"Good morning, Bella, I hope you slept well." Esme smiled at me.
"I did, thank you."
"I hope that's not all you did." Emmett mumbled under his breath, and Esme shot him a pointed look. I blushed. "Where is Eddie, anyway?" He continued in an unaffected voice.
"He's taking a shower." I replied, knowing that Emmett would jump at the possibility.
"Oh, I bet he is." Another look from Esme stopped him from saying whatever it was that he had planned.
I grabbed a plate from one of the cupboards and sat down next to Alice. She actually didn't look as perky as she had sounded, which surprised me. I guessed that she hadn't gotten much sleep, and quickly averted my thoughts from the reason behind that.
"Did you at least have a little fun last night?" She asked, putting an arm around my shoulders and leaning her head against mine.
"I actually did." I hugged her back. "The gym was really nice, and the music decent."
"And the company fabulous." Rose added, putting the plate of pancakes down on the table before sitting down opposite me.
"And that, too." I nodded. "Seriously, Alice, I'm glad you made me go."
"Really?" Alice's face lit up. "Oh, I knew you would be!"
I put a pancake on my plate and dug in.
A few minutes later, Edward came down the stairs.
"Have a nice shower, bro?" Emmett chuckled, and Edward smacked him over the head as he passed.
"Nice, breakfast." He sat down next to me and grabbed a piece of toast before helping himself to a couple of pancakes.
"What are everyone's plans for today?" Esme asked. "The weather's still nice, you should take advantage of that."
"We could bring some lunch and head out to First Beach." Alice suggested. "It won't be nearly warm enough in the water to swim, but it'll still be nice."
Everyone agreed that this was a good idea.
After we had finished breakfast, we all went to get ready. I showered and got dressed quickly and went downstairs to help Esme with the lunch. She and Carlisle had decided that they would join us, since Carlisle didn't have to go into the hospital.
"Need a hand?" I wondered as I entered the kitchen.
"Thank you, sweetie, that's nice of you." Esme smiled and handed me a couple of sodas to pack in the picnic basked she had produced from a closet on the second floor.
"I was wondering if I could have copies of the pictures you took last night?" I asked. "I know Charlie would like to have some of them, and Renée made me promise to send her some. She hates being left out of these things."
"Of course, I had every intention of getting a bunch of copies anyway."
"Thanks, I really appreciate it."
"Don't mention it." She handed me a couple of sandwiches that went the same way as the sodas. "I actually wanted to thank you too."
"For what?" I frowned.
"For what you've done for Edward. He's really been a completely different person since you came along, and I will be forever grateful to you for that." She gave me a look so sincere it almost made me blush.
"I don't know if I've really done anything…"
"Trust me, you have. I don't know if he's told you about what happened when we lived in LA, why we moved here?" I quickly nodded to assure her that he had. "Well, after that, he became quiet and withdrawn in a way he had never been before. You've taken him out of his self-imposed shell. He's even found his way back to his music."
"He stopped playing?" He hadn't told me about that.
"For a while, yes. And when he started again, he didn't compose anything new." She cocked her head to the side and looked at me. "Not until the day he met you."
"I had no idea." I mumbled.
"I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't have mentioned it. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable in any way; I just wanted you to know that you're very, very important to him. And to the rest of us in extension."
"Need another set of hands, mom?" We both looked up at Edward's voice from the stairs.
I watched Edward intently as he came up to the counter where Esme and I were standing, but I couldn't find anything in his expression that indicated that he had heard our conversation.
It was almost noon when we finally got into the Volvo and Jeep and headed for La Push.
The beach was very different from the last time I had been there. The snow was gone, of course, and the stones – of every color imaginable – that littered the crescent shaped beach were now exposed.
"Do you want to take a walk?" Edward asked as Esme, Carlisle and Rosalie sat down on the blankets we had brought. Emmett, Jasper and Alice had gone down to the water, and Emmett was now trying to grab Alice to throw her in.
He took my hand and we wandered off along the beach. I could see some kids from the reservation kicking a football around a little further away. We passed them and continued along the water.
"It's beautiful here in daylight too." I noted.
"It is." He agreed. "I like it the most before the summer season gets started, it's always crowded then."
"I can imagine." We sat down on a fallen tree, and I briefly wondered if it was the same one we had sat on months earlier.
I leaned my head against his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around me. We sat there in silence, watching the eternal ocean. The tide was starting to come in.
After about an hour, we spotted Alice waving at us.
"I think it's lunch time." Edward pulled me up from the tree. "Have you ever seen a driftwood fire before?"
We had brought sandwiches to eat, but Alice had insisted that we grill marshmallows as well, so a fire would be needed.
"No. Is there something special about it?" He only smiled as we started to walk back along the beach.
Esme handed us each a sandwich and a soda when we rejoined the family, and we sat down next to each other on one of the blankets.
Emmett and Jasper had already finished eating and were gathering driftwood from the beach around us for a fire. When everyone else had finished too, Emmett took a box of matches from his pocket and lit a couple of small twigs that he carefully leaned against the pile of firewood. He repeated the action in a few more places, and the flames quickly rose towards the sky.
"It's blue!" I watched in awe.
"It's the salt." Alice explained. "Pretty, isn't it?" She pulled the bag of marshmallows from her backpack and handed it to me. I took one and pierced it with a wooden stick that Jasper gave me.
We ate almost the whole bag of marshmallows, and then sat and watched the fire. The afternoon passed, but nobody seemed very eager to leave and head back to reality. It would find us soon enough anyway.
Birthdays and Graduations
"What do you want for your birthday?" I asked as Alice and I walked to Computer Science together.
"I've already told you, all I want is for you to come to the party next Friday."
Alice had, of course, taken her and Edward's seventeenth birthday as a perfect excuse to throw a big party.
"And I've already told you that I'm going, and that I'm getting you a present anyway, so please tell me what you want!" We'd already had this conversation a couple of times over the past week and a half, and I knew how it would end.
"Your mere presence will be enough of a present for me."
"Fine." I sighed. "But don't blame me when I get you something you don't like. Will you help me figure out what to get Edward, though?" I had no idea what to give him.
"You know him as well as I do, if not better." Alice objected. "Besides, he'll love whatever you end up getting him."
I knew he would, but still… I wanted to find the perfect gift.
"I just want it to be something special, you know."
"If you want, I can go with you to Victoria's Secret and help you pick something out." Rosalie's voice came from behind us.
"Not exactly what I had in mind, Rose." I would never be able to pull off the whole sexy-lingerie thing, even if I tried – which I had no intention of doing.
"Aren't you supposed to be in Math?" Alice questioned.
"The benefits of graduating tomorrow." Rosalie smiled. "Ditching all the boring classes… well, all classes really, come to think of it. The grades are already set anyway, it's not like they can flunk me for missing the last class."
"True." Alice nodded. "But the rest of us still have to go to all our classes, boring or not, thank you very much, so we will see you later."
"Bye." Rosalie headed off towards the parking lot. "Think about my offer, Bella!" I was still blushing when Alice and I walked into the computer classroom a few minutes later. I was going to try very hard not to think about Rosalie's offer.
Most of the teachers seemed to have started the summer vacation early, and Alice and I spent Computer Science playing hangman on my notepad while Mrs. Gordon graded papers at her desk.
Unfortunately, this mentality had also brought with it dodge ball – the game dreaded by all people uncoordinated – all week in P.E. I had, through a lot of help from Edward and Alice and probably more than my share of luck, avoided any more injuries since the cast had come off. It seemed like coach Clapp was doing his hardest to rectify this before term ended.
All week, I had spent the entire hour in Gym with my back pressed against the wall, desperately trying to avoid getting hit in the head or tripping and breaking something. Edward had made it his personal mission to keep all the balls away from me, for which I was ever grateful. But he could only be in one place at a time, and my time on the floor usually ended with a ball coming at me out of nowhere. I counted it as a victory every time I managed to get off the court without a throbbing head or aching stomach.
As I hobbled towards the bleachers that day - I had managed to trip when I had tried to jump out of the way of a ball coming my way, and had managed not only to not avoid getting hit, luckily on the arm, but had also twisted my ankle a little – I consoled myself with the fact that this was the last class of the semester. The graduation ceremony for the seniors was taking place the following day, and there were no classes even for the ones of us not graduating.
"Is your foot OK?" Edward asked a little later, when coach Clapp had blown the whistle to indicate that the class was over.
"Yeah, it's fine." I wiggled it a little, and felt nothing – the ankle seemed fine.
"Meet you outside in fifteen minutes?" Edward asked, and I nodded. We went our separate ways to the changing rooms.
I got changed quickly and was the first one out of the gym. I leaned against a tree as I waited for Edward, and when he got out we headed towards the parking lot.
"How does it feel to be free?" He wondered.
"Amazing." I replied. School was finally over, and summer could really start. Not that the weather was cooperating; it was cloudy and the temperature hadn't reached the sixties since our trip to the beach the day after prom. But still.
"We should get going." Edward noted. We had reached the car, and he opened the passenger door for me.
We were going to Port Angeles to get Rosalie's graduation present. She wanted a new, digital camera, so we had gotten together with Alice, Jasper and Emmett to buy her one. Edward and I had also gotten presents for Emmett and Jasper together; tickets to a concert in Seattle with a band I had never heard off, but that they apparently liked.
Edward started the car, and Three Doors Down immediately boomed from the speakers. I turned the volume down a little as he pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards the highway.
"What do you think I should get Alice for her birthday?" I asked after a while. "She won't tell me anything that she wants, and I have no idea."
"I'm sure she'll love whatever you get her." Huh. Where had I heard that before? Twin intuition?
"I know, but I suck at the whole presents shopping thing. I have no idea where to start." Feel free to take that as a hint…
"Do you want to stop by a few places while we're in Port Angeles?" He wondered. "You might at least get some ideas."
"Sounds like a plan. We're not in a hurry to get back, anyway." Maybe I could get an idea about what to get him, too.
When we got to Port Angeles, we parked at Radio Shack and got Rose's present before heading down East Front Street. I decided that Necessities & Temptations would probably be my best shot at finding something for Alice, and as we passed by Port Book & News on our way there, I got an idea for Edward too.
Amazingly enough, I managed to find a great gift for Alice after only half an hour in the store. I held it up for Edward to look at.
"What do you think?" It was a simple, silver chain with a pendant in the shape of a heart, a green stone glittering in the center of it.
"It's really nice, I'm sure she'll love it." Having gotten his approval, I decided that I might as well buy the necklace. I paid for it, and the sales clerk gift wrapped it for me.
"Do you want to go to the bookstore before we head back?" I wondered as we left the shop, my birthday present idea slowly forming in my head.
"Sure." He checked his watch. "We've got time, I don't have to be home until dinner at seven."
I kept an eye on him as we browsed the bookstore, checking what books he looked at while I searched for… something. I wasn't quite sure what yet, but I was pretty certain I would know it when I saw it. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to be in the store.
"Nothing catch your eye today?" Edward noted as he paid for a paperback edition of Dubliners.
"No." The plan had, however, continued to develop in my mind and I was suddenly eager to get home.
We walked back along East Front Street, and were soon on the highway heading towards Forks.
"Are you staying over tomorrow after the celebratory dinner?" Edward asked as he pulled up outside Charlie's house. We were going to some fancy restaurant in Port Angeles to celebrate Emmett, Rosalie and Jasper's graduation the following night. Esme had insisted that I come, since I was "practically part of the family". It had been nice hearing her say that.
Since the prom, Charlie had been a lot more easy going when it came to me spending the night at the Cullens', and I was a regular house guest there by now, staying over most Friday and Saturday nights. Charlie had started complaining that he hardly ever saw me anymore, which was probably true. I did feel a little guilty, but not enough to give up my nights with Edward. Charlie could deal.
"I think so, I'll just have to check with my dad."
"OK." He reached over and kissed me before I got out of the car. "Pick you up at nine thirty tomorrow?" The graduation ceremony started at ten.
I watched as he drove away, and then went into the house, heading straight to my bedroom and turning on the ancient computer that occupied my desk. Since it took forever for it to start, I went downstairs and prepared for dinner in the meantime. When I had finished making a salad and put the chicken in the oven, I went back upstairs.
I quickly logged on to eBay and started searching the site. Since I wasn't completely sure what I was looking for, it took a while. Eventually, I found something promising; a first edition leather bound copy of Great Expectations, which I knew was on Edward's top ten list. I was in luck too, the auction ended fifteen minutes later. I quickly put a bid in and waited anxiously to see if I would win.
And I did. I sent an e-mail to the seller, asking if they could send the book as soon as possible, since it was a birthday present. It had cost a little more than I had planned on spending, but I had surprisingly enough found a job for the summer in Mike's parents' store, so it wasn't that big of a deal.
Feeling very content with myself, I headed back downstairs to finish dinner before Charlie came home.