Chapter Eleven: Preparations

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I hope that you like my story so far. I have some pretty awesome plans for Edward and Bella's perfect summer between Twilight and New Moon, so I hope you're enjoying it!!! Please continue to vote, comment, share, and become a fan!!! Love you guys!!!!

--Cassandra :)

 Chapter Eleven: Preparations

I picked Bella up early on Friday morning, helping her carefully into my Volvo in plenty of time for her appointment with Carlisle at the hospital. Bella grinned widely at me as I closed the passenger door. Within the same second I was sliding into the driver's seat, and Bella was still smiling so infectiously that I couldn't help returning her grin.

Bella's heart jumped erratically, her eyes glazing over for a few seconds as she sucked in a deep breath to calm herself.

As I backed out of Charlie's driveway, I leaned toward her. "So, are you excited about today?"

Shaking her head to clear it, Bella smiled as she answered, "I can't wait to get rid of this horrible thing!" and she motioned to the clumsy plaster cast encasing her leg.

"I don't blame you," I laughed. "But I was referring to the rest of our day, actually."

"How can I possibly be excited when I have no idea what I am going to be doing today?" Bella grumbled. Her dislike of surprises was certainly unchanged.

"I assure you that today will be well-worth some excitement on your part," I informed her with a superior tone.

Bella wrinkled her nose in mock-annoyance, but I was flying today, and she could tell. I was the one who was alight with anticipation for this day's events, not least of which was the removal of her cast, a constant reminder of James' attack on her in Phoenix ten weeks ago. But I also had an incredible day planned-one that would remain seared in her memory-even her sieve-like human memory-for her entire life. Today was going to be that good. I couldn't help smiling to myself, humming a tune from the 50s under my breath.

Bella smiled at my excellent mood, settling contentedly against the soft leather seat as I drove faster than the surrounding cars to the hospital where Carlisle waited for us.

An hour later, Bella walked by my side as I courteously helped her back into the Volvo, her right leg paler and thinner than her left, but otherwise, Bella was perfectly normal. Carlisle had warned her to take especial care, extending his non-verbal warning to me as well to be very careful with Bella for the next few weeks as the danger of a re-break would be higher for the next month. Bella had promised him, and Carlisle sought my silent nod before he escorted her out of the ER, a rather fatherly smile lighting his serene countenance. He winked at me as he waved; Alice must have alerted him to my plans for our day together.

"So, where are we going?" Bella asked, obviously delighted to be free of the cumbersome leg cast that had caused her to be more clumsy than usual.

"That's for me to know and for you to find out," I teased, leaning toward her with a mischievous smile as I noted her look of genuine annoyance.

I well knew Bella's general opinion of surprises, but today would be so special, so wonderful, that she would love every second of it. And there was the added bonus of driving any and all thoughts of Mike Newton right out of her mind as I planned to "dazzle" her beyond anything I had ever attempted before.

I drove with my usual haste to our family's home nestled deep in the Olympic forest in order to start our day off properly. Alice had assisted me with my plans as her creativity was highly useful ... at times. Bella said little, enjoying the drive with the windows down, inhaling the fresh summer breezes on this overcast day. The clouds were thinning, and Alice's predictions for a sunny afternoon on both sides of the Sound seemed to be right on the money ... as usual.

I pulled the Volvo around to our large garage and grinned widely as I heard Bella's sharp intake of breath. Parked in the driveway, sparkling in the diffused sunshine, was my silvery Aston-Martin Vanquish, drool-worthy in every way (if vampires could drool, that is), with Alice perched jauntily on the hood. I backed the Volvo into its usual spot in the garage, then whisked around the front of the car to open Bella's door. Her jaw remained slack, her mouth gaping and her eyes fixed on the beautiful car that had always remained covered, even in our garage.

"W-w-w-w-whose is th-th-that?" she stammered.

"Mine," I replied coolly as Alice slid gracefully from the hood and danced over to Bella who remained frozen in her seat, her eyes still staring unblinkingly at the classic British sports car ... my dream car. I shrugged for Bella's benefit although I doubted she noticed. "An indulgence...." I allowed my voice to trail off.

"Wow," Bella mouthed, unable to get enough break to speak the word. I couldn't help laughing at her mesmerized gaze as I offered her my hand and helped her from the Volvo, her eyes never leaving my "other" car.

I leaned close to her. "Breathe, Bella," I reminded her in her ear with a satisfied smirk.

On her feet next to the Volvo, Bella at last broke her gaze by blinking several times in rapid succession, taking a deep breath and swallowing loudly.

"Alice will show you to her room so you can change," I said. "I'll meet you back here in a few minutes."

Bella shook her head slowly, still in disbelief, but she allowed an enthusiastic Alice to take her by the hand and tow her to the house. Once Bella was out of sight, I ghosted to the trunk of the car, popped it, and examined the interior which Alice had packed according to my specific instructions. Inside were two carefully laid-out garment bags which encased our evening clothes as well as a tightly packed picnic basket, candles and matches, a satin coverlet which would be our picnic "blanket," fluffy towels, my iPod and battery-powered speakers, plus a small duffel bag each. Even our evening shoes were tucked into the corner in their respective boxes. Everything was ready.

I heard the back door of our home open as Alice escorted Bella inside. Within a few seconds I was also entering the house and flew up to my room where I changed into board shorts and a long-sleeved polo shirt. Donning sunglasses and a Mariners baseball cap with a wide brim, I thrust my sockless feet into tan dock shoes and disappeared downstairs, laughing silently as I passed Alice's room in which Bella was objecting to the bikini, sandals, tank top, and shorts outfit that Alice had purchased for Bella especially for this occasion.

Mentally I sighed, too-I had seen what Bella would look like today in Alice's vision; her unassuming sexiness would definitely test the limits of my self-control this day. But I knew that Bella would love the romantic outings I had planned with such loving care, so I quieted my reservations and, stopping at the living room sofa to kiss Esme goodbye, I ran back to the garage to eagerly await Bella's appearance.

A very long seven minutes later, Bella and Alice reappeared, Alice dancing at a morose Bella's side. Through her sunglasses, Bella shot me an accusing glare, and I folded my lips tightly to keep a smile from appearing.

"Where are you taking me?" Bella asked, accusingly.

"Several places," I replied with a winning smile which widened as Bella's breathing hitched; I must be "dazzling" her again. Clearly admiring, her eyes softened as she took in my clothing. She had never seen me so casually dressed, and never in board shorts.

"You're going to LOVE it!" insisted Alice, with an uplifted expression. "I helped plan the whole thing! Bella, you are the luckiest girl on the entire Pacific coast!!"

I laughed as Bella rolled her eyes at Alice's hyperbole, but I also didn't think my sister was exaggerating ... much. This day was going to be absolutely stunning ... nearly as stunning as Bella herself.

Always the gentleman, I came to Bella's side and handed her into the passenger seat of my Vanquish before settling myself behind the wheel, Alice waving goodbye excitedly behind us as we roared down the driveway.


Please let me know what you think!!! And I'm working on the next chapter already, so I promise not to keep you in suspense too long! I have a little research to do, first, though.... <grin>


Cassandra :)

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