Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RomanticVamp Week 18: A Swim

Romantic Vamp

Mod note: Better a few hours late than never!!

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Romanticvamp's Choice: Picture 1

A Swim

I still didn’t understand why I was hiking through this damn forest.

The only explanation I could come up with was that I had finally lost my mind. I usually came up with undeniably good excuses and held my own for days until my friends and husband gave up on me.

Yet here I was, trekking across some muddy, treacherous trail while the darkening sky overhead threatened to cut off all light.

Let me explain exactly why I choose to skip out on these spontaneous nature “vacations.” First of all, I was not in the perfect shape like the rest of my companions. Sure I worked out, but that didn’t mean I could handle the straight uphill treks with a backpack that weighed more than me on my back. It usually brought me to the edge of passing out. Second, as my bloody, scraped palms and banged up arms and legs could attest to, it was dangerous to my health. I was not coordinated and clumsier than a newborn foal. Not exactly wilderness survival material.

I cast a glance over my shoulder to where my four friends were following patiently. They all looked rather entertained, despite the fact that I kept eating mud and making friends with the ground. In fact, that was probably what was keeping them entertained. Jasper looked like the proper rugged camper, carrying both his and his wife’s backpacks, hiking boots and all. The one not carrying her weight was bouncing along behind him, singing whatever songs she was in love with currently, looking somehow fashionable in her jeans and sweatshirt and matching hiking boots. I love Alice, I really do, but right then, I didn’t appreciate her energy.

Behind them, Emmett and Rosalie were sneaking affectionate kisses and inappropriate gestures. Emmett was carrying not only his own pack, but the food supply for all of us as well. He looked entirely too happy to be on this trip, but then, Emmett had always loved being out in the wilderness. Even Rosalie looked happy. And gorgeous. Rose was the only person I knew who could wear designer getup and go camping.

Unfortunately, my backward glance meant I wasn’t looking where I stepped. My foot caught on some plant and I once again fell to the ground. I pushed myself into a sitting position, screaming profanities.

“You’re okay, Bella. Let me see.”

I glared up at my husband.

“I’m okay?! I most certainly am not okay, Edward Cullen! I would be fine if I wasn’t on this stupid trip!”

He had the audacity to smile at me and chuckle.

“Are you laughing at me?!”

I heard our friends fighting back laughs behind us.

I shoved myself onto my feet, brushing off dirt and sticks as I did. They were still too busy laughing to do anything about helping me. Not that I wanted their help anyway. I stormed past Edward, perfectly content to leave them behind.

“Bella, love, do you know where you’re going?” he called after me.

I froze, furious and clenching my jaw. He quickly came up behind me, trying to press a kiss to my dirty cheek. I yanked away and pointed him ahead of me. He sighed and obeyed my pointing finger.

A few hours later, we had reached the magical clearing Edward was looking for. I sulked off to a faraway tree where I could sit and repair my bruised ego among all the other bruises and cuts. The boys were all setting up tents while Alice went about starting a fire. I couldn’t believe I was thinking it, but I wished I was home having a girls’ weekend with Rose and Alice while our guys camped. I would’ve even let them drag me shopping for hours on end.

Eventually they all convinced me to join them around the roaring fire Jasper and Emmett had gotten going. It looked rather dangerous to sit very close to. I ate the dinner we made and even roasted some marshmallows for s’mores. Still, I refused to talk to any of them, despite their best efforts. I wasn’t good at much, but being stubborn was a gold-medal sport for me.

I was still nursing my wounded pride when I decided to crawl into mine and Edward’s tent. I left the others to sing ridiculous camp songs and do whatever it was they did. I glared at the joined sleeping bags and pulled mine apart, zipping myself into it.

Let Edward keep himself warm tonight.

I wasn’t sure how long I laid there staring at the domed ceiling of the tent, but I did eventually succumb to the exhaustion of the trek here. My dreams were full of lush mattresses and clean rooms.

“Bella. Bella, wake up. Wake up, love.”

“Mmmpf, go away.” I swatted at the dirt monster climbing into my fluffy white bed.

“Wake up, baby.”

I pried my eyes open. Edward was hunched over in the tent, flashlight aimed at the floor. He smiled at me sheepishly.

“Are you kidding me?” I growled.

“Come on. I want to show you something.”

“Edward,” I warned.


I stared up into his green eyes, pleading with me. I sighed.


He helped me out of the bag and into my shoes. We snuck out of the tent. Our friends were fast asleep – or at least being quiet about what they were doing – as we made our way past the remaining embers of the fire and into the forest. Edward kept his arm around my waist, leading the way with his flashlight beam.

“What are we doing?” I hissed.

“This is the reason I picked this place in the first place. The clearing is gorgeous, but this . . . this is better.”

I furrowed my brow at his evasiveness and resolved to just go along with it. We moved in silence. He was careful to keep me upright and prevented any further harm from happening to me. After a while, he paused.


“Yes, Edward. Just show me whatever it is.”

So I can get back to sleep.

He smiled, his face lighting up like a little boy. I forced an answering smile onto my lips. It was encouragement enough as he pulled us through the remaining branches.

I gasped.

I was standing in a huge, perfectly round meadow, full of wildflowers and long swaying grass. It was almost like I was standing in the middle of a movie set. Somehow, my crazy husband had lined the entire circumference with electric lanterns every few feet. It cast a romantic light across the already gorgeous setting and reflected like stars off the small, clear pond off to one side.

“Edward! When did you do all this?”

“When you sulked off into the tent, you gave me the perfect opportunity, love.”

I stared at everything in awe. My husband was crazy. A romantic, but crazy. What guy would actually think to do something like this?

“Care for a swim?” he asked.

All I could do was nod.

He led us over to the edge of the water. There were even folded towels waiting. He quickly removed his clothes, folding them and setting them next to the towels. Before I could remove my own, he did it for me. Each article was pulled away with a gentle reverence that left me breathless.

When we were both naked, he lowered me gently into the pond. The water was cool, but not uncomfortably cold. I treaded my way out to the center while he climbed in behind me. We moved around each other in lazy circles, enjoying the quiet of the night and the stars above us.

I saw him duck under the water. I knew what was coming before I felt his hand around my ankle. He pulled me under, yanking me toward him. When we were face-to-face, he pushed my hair back and kissed me. I had to remember not to inhale the water.

We eventually surfaced, trading even more soft kisses and swimming around. His fingers were gentle on my skin as he tipped me onto my back, holding me afloat there.

“You know, I might be convinced to make this trip again.”

He chuckled. “Yeah?”


“I love you, Bella.”

“I love you, Edward.”