Sorry for the wait--it's been a busy week! I hope you like this chapter...and the next one is going to be soooooo romantic!!! Stay tuned for the next few chapters!!!! :)
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Chapter Twelve: The Best-Laid Plans
We drove toward Seattle. What usually was a four-plus hour drive I made in the Vanquish in a mere ninety minutes, despite Bella's wide-eyed glances at the speedometer. Arriving before noon, I steered the car to the docks. The sun was just about to break through the thin clouds as I parked the car in front of the valet stand at The Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle. After pulling the trunk release, I tossed the waiting valet my car keys before walking around the front of the silvery car to open Bella's door, placing my hand under her right arm to help her out of the low-slung sports car.
Bella stumbled slightly as she stood, and I kept my hand under her elbow until she regained her balance. Once she seemed stable, I let go and strode to the trunk and gathered what we needed, then turned to Bella.
She seemed stunned as she looked at across the marina, the hundreds of bobbing masts apparently overwhelming her. "Where are you taking me?" she asked, fear tinging her lovely voice.
"This way, my lady," I teased, extending one arm toward the docks while easily juggling the remainder of my load in my left arm. Bella smiled tightly, following me with obvious reluctance as I led her down the slanted ramp and, turning right, to a private slip halfway down the dock. Bella came to a complete stop, her jaw slack as I boarded the fifty-foot Hunter sailing yacht.
(NOTE: Yes, I know that in Breaking Dawn, Bella mentioned never seeing Edward's expertise on a boat, but I had to have a romantic sail in here....)
Tossing my armful onto the well-padded leather bench outside the cabin, I turned to escort Bella onto the small sailboat. She was still standing, mouth agape, on the main dock. I flashed out of the boat and to her side in an instant, worried by her deep shock.
"Bella?" I questioned, my hand reaching for her warm one hanging limply at her side. "Won't you come aboard?" Was she scared of sailing? Did she have a phobia of water, or oceans? Did she get seasick? Why was she so pale, so still? Was she even breathing?
As I looked anxiously into her eyes, the precise color of milk chocolate, Bella swallowed noisily and let out her breath with a loud whoosh, color flooding back into her cheeks. She took in another noisy breath and squeaked, "Okay...." Her voice was barely a whisper. But she allowed me to take her hand and gently help her onto the boat where I seated her on the long leather-covered bench opposite the one where I had laid my burdens.
While Bella sat there, stunned into silence once again, I pulled out a bunch of keys and proceeded to unlock the cabin of the Hunter, bringing downstairs the majority of what I had brought from the car's trunk. Opening the basket, I placed several items in the refrigerator before placing several bags and boxes on the bed in the forward compartment. In a short moment, I had reappeared on the deck beside Bella, gently seating myself next to her stiff form. Carefully I reached forward and took her hand in mine once again.
"Bella?" I questioned again in a low voice. "What is it?" I couldn't see why she was so shocked, so frozen. What had happened? What had I done? How badly had I scared her?
Bella shook her head slowly, opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again, still silent. Her eyes bored into mine, and they were wide with fear and...anger?
"Is this yours?" she finally choked out.
"Is what mine?" I asked, stalling for a moment to work out the reason behind her strange reaction although I was beginning to glimpse a possible explanation.
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