Saturday, August 18, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 160 - Edward


Lake Crescent... October 16, 2010 at 10:12 A.M.

"You have to put it back, Em." Jasper sighed, rolling his eyes.

"What do you mean?" Emmett asked, looking like a confused child.

"Emmett," I snapped. "You heard the guy back at the dock. It's catch and release only. The trout population is too low. Put it back."

"It's a beautiful rainbow trout, son," Charlie praised him with a chuckle, "but you can't keep it."

"Yeah, but I won't have proof I caught anything..." He paused but broke into a wide grin. "Jazz-man...take a picture on my phone."

Charlie and I turned back toward the lake. We were at the bow, and Billy Black was at the stern with Jasper and Emmett. It was easier to lock Billy's wheelchair in place back there. Plus, the cooler with snacks, sodas, and beer was there, so the boys were as close to that as possible.

The guys were still bickering after pictures had been taken, so I finally turned around. "Emmett, take it off the line and put it back...before it dies!"

"I got it, Sarge." Jasper grinned, snatched the lure from the fish's mouth, and gently set the wriggling thing back into the lake. He smacked Emmett in the chest, saying, "Catch another one. Let's go! Bet I beat you..."

Charlie snorted into a low chuckle, shaking his head. "Was he like that overseas?" he asked.

"Yes," I laughed but then thought better of my answer. "But not in combat. Those two had my back better than anyone." I sighed, shaking my head at some of the memories flashing back. "If you know him, then you know he's got this...I don't know...switch inside. He can turn it on and off. He's that way ninety-nine percent of the time, but then when he needs to, he just...changes. He's got an amazing tactical mind."

"Football," Charlie said softly. "He played his whole life. I imagine that's how Emmett sees it."

"Yeah, me, too."

The boat quieted down for a little while; the only sounds were the wind over the water, the small waves lapping against the side of the boat, and the occasional cast of a line. It was soothing, peaceful. And the scenery was breathtaking. I had to remember to bring Bella out here. Lake Crescent sat nestled inside Olympic National Park. It was surrounded by mountains, and the water was clear and blue. There was more than just fishing to do; as I looked around, I could see swimmers, divers, and sailboats.

After Billy caught a nice-sized trout and the guys took pictures, they took a break, passing around a couple of beers in celebration. Their conversation ran the gamut – sports, the girls, being back, and finally, Afghanistan.

Charlie and I were similar creatures, I discovered. We were quiet, merely enjoying where we were and only speaking when necessary. Mainly, we just listened to the others talk softly.

"What was the hardest part over there?" Billy asked, taking a sip of beer and going back to attaching a different lure to his line.

"Kandahar sucked," Emmett stated. "We went twice, both times for like two weeks. No communication, constant patrols, and the place was a real mess."

"Yeah, he's right. Car bombs, civilians threatened, and a terrorist cell that didn't quit. In fact, they weren't sure, but they may have been the same cell that attacked the roads by the base," Jasper agreed with a nod.

"There's nothing scarier than not being able to trust anyone. Even women and kids were deemed a threat," Emmett added. "They'd send them into a group of American soldiers, and then the bomb would go off."

I grimaced, but it was true. These were the things we couldn't tell the girls. It wasn't because we didn't think they could handle it but because who needed to hear that shit? The girls knew we'd seen ugly and terrible things, and they represented the complete and total opposite of those things. I think we just wanted to keep it that way.

"Finding the insurgents that were attacking our transport trucks was a bitch," Emmett stated after a few minutes. "Thought we almost lost Eddie over that one."

I felt Charlie's stare on me before he said anything. "What happened?" he asked, oblivious to the change in topic behind us as the rest of the guys got ready to cast their lines again.

"Shrapnel," I said with a deep sigh. "It caught me in the chest a few months before we left. In fact, I'm not so sure that didn't set in motion our transfer to MacDill. My LT was a good guy, thought we'd seen enough action, and we'd already lost a few really good men by then." I looked over at him. "I think he saw that I was just...done. It was early on in my relationship with Bella, but..." I shook my head, turning my gaze back out over the water. "All I could think about was getting out of there and to her. My plans to re-up were over."

"Does she know?"

"Hmm? Oh, yeah," I said with a nod. "I video chatted with her that very day. She tore me a new one for letting my guard down." I grinned at his soft laugh. "I knew right then that she was it for me."

Charlie smiled, gazing down at the water. "Are you asking my permission, Edward? She's a grown woman, and she certainly can keep you in line..."

I laughed. "She can. That's for sure," I chuckled. "I'm not sure when, but eventually...yes, I'll want your blessing."

He grinned, shook his head, and met my gaze. "I watch you with her, you know," he said softly and, I noted, with a sad smile gracing his face. "You look like you want to jump in front of a speeding bullet for her. Like you want to protect her from everything."

"I do. She's all I have."

He nodded, his brow furrowing a little. "For the most part, yes. I just want her happy, Edward. You seem to do that for her. As long as that continues, then we're good. Got me?"

"Yes, sir."

"She had to grow up quickly with her mother," Charlie sighed, shrugging a shoulder. "Bella was the responsible one. Always so serious. Now it's like...she's been set free. Take it from someone who let just a little bit too much life pass them by... Don't wait too long. Happiness is fragile."

I smiled at him. "I won't, sir. Thank you."

He eyed me for a moment as he reeled in the line. "Let's grab a beer, son. And then we'll go in, grab some lunch, and see if we can't beat those boys. Surely the fish will bite when we get back. We'll drop anchor in a different spot."

Grinning, I nodded, reeling in my own line. "Sounds good."


"Hold it up, Charlie." I laughed, trying to center him, the big-ass fish, and Billy in the picture.

It had taken him and Billy to reel the damn thing in. It had fought them so hard that the bow of the boat had dipped. I was pretty sure that it had tried to wind its way through some rocks under the water. Jasper and I were afraid that the line would snap before they got it into the boat.

"Send me that when we get back," Charlie said, looking over my shoulder.

"The girls asked for one of all of us," Jasper reminded me. "So don't forget to ask the dock manager when we get back."

"Yeah, somethin' about a wedding scrapbook," Emmett added, stowing away all our gear.

I wiped the sweat from my forehead with the sleeve of my T-shirt, realizing that I really just stunk. Badly. It was sweat, fish, and beer, thanks to Emmett, who'd thrown me one that had exploded.

"It's time to go, I think," Billy said, looking at his watch. "I promised Sue we'd have you back in time to scrub up a little before rehearsal."

Charlie grimaced, causing all of us to chuckle.

"Nervous, Charlie?" Jasper asked, giving his shoulder a squeeze before tugging up the anchor.

"No, just ready for this...hoopla to be over," he sighed.

"The hoopla is in the honeymoon," Emmett told him with a laugh and a waggle of his brows.

I laughed at the red that bloomed over Charlie's face. It was very much like his daughter that way. He gave us all a dangerously-raised eyebrow, because his honeymoon had been a gift from the six of us to him and Sue. We were sending them to Vegas for a week. We figured they could do it all there – gamble, sight-see, and catch a show. We'd approached them with it just the day before, after getting back from the shooting range. Bella and the girls had done all the research. She had conspired with Leah to secretly get work off for both Charlie and Sue, and Leah had even called and canceled the reservations they'd had at a cabin close to Forks and La Push. To say that they'd been surprised would have been an understatement.

Once Charlie realized none of us were intimidated by the glare he was trying to shoot us, he smiled ruefully, shaking his head.

"Let's get you back," Billy told him, turning his chair and locking the wheels as Emmett started the engine. "The quicker we do this, the quicker it'll all be over."


"Okay, babe. Your clothes are here. I'm going to head downstairs."

I tugged back the shower curtain, giving Bella a smile. "Thanks. Tell your dad I'll be out shortly."

Bella closed the door behind her, and I shook my head at just how beautiful and easy we were. She'd smelled way too clean to touch when I'd joined her in the bathroom, but now that was all I could think about.

Talking with Charlie had been scary, but a good thing. I hadn't truly intended to ask him for his permission because I wasn't ready to ask Bella to marry me just yet. I needed some time to get settled, time to get my future at school lined up. But Charlie had readily offered his blessing, and something about that seemed to have lifted a weight that had been on my shoulders.

I dressed quickly, walking down the hall to Bella's bedroom after running a towel over my wet head. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I put on my shoes, glancing up when Bella leaned in the doorway.

"Ready?" she asked.

"Just about," I sighed, crooking a finger to her. "C'mere."

She crossed the room, and I pulled her to stand between my legs. She looked simply delicious dressed in a denim skirt that hugged her ass and showed off her beautiful legs and a pretty blue shirt that made her breasts look incredible.

"Your hair's still wet," she whispered, running her fingers gently through it.

"Not for long if you keep doing that," I told her, smiling up at her sweet giggle as my hands caressed the outside of her thighs and around to her ass.

All I wanted was to kiss her. Hard. Technically, that wasn't really true. What I wanted was to fuck her senseless on her childhood bed, floor...against the closet door. She was beautiful and sexy as she smiled down at me with her teeth latching onto her bottom lip. I wanted to do things to her that would have Charlie taking back any blessings and good will that we'd developed the last two days.

Urging her by cupping her bottom, I pulled her into my lap so that she was straddling my thighs, causing her sweet, small skirt to ride up just a little.

"They'll come looking for us, baby," she giggled, cupping my face.

"I missed you today," I said, as if that explained why I was probably about to break a million of Charlie's rules. "Just a kiss?"

"We're so gonna get busted, Edward," she warned me, but she was leaning in at the same time.

"I'll take my chances," I breathed against her lips, finally giving into what I wanted.

Fuck, I'd really missed just losing myself in her. And we'd only been in Forks for two days. As much fun as I was having with our friends and Bella's dad, I missed being completely selfish with my girl. And that shit had only taken two weeks.

Bella's tongue raked across my bottom lip, and I slipped my fingers into her hair, turning her head. Heavy breaths pushed out against cheeks as our mouths opened. I tasted, claimed her, my hands gripping her hips. I moaned when her chest pressed to mine at the same time her hips rolled heavy and slow. Unable to help myself, I ground her down over me again, instantly regretting it because I grew hard at the feel of her heat, the sound of her sexy little whimper, and the taste of mint and Bella.

Our kiss broke, but our foreheads stayed pressed together. I locked gazes with warm, lust-filled but slightly amused dark chocolate brown.

"What was that all about?" she panted, brushing one more kiss lightly across my lips.

I shrugged a shoulder, nuzzling her nose with my own, up one side and down the other. "I miss getting those whenever I wanted," I told her, smiling at her giggle.

"Hmm, I see," she mused dramatically. "Well, Sarge...can you survive one more day?"

"I sincerely doubt it," I chuckled. I wrapped my arms all the way around her, leaning in to open my mouth to the sweet-smelling skin of her neck. "I'm a spoiled man, Isabella. And I like it that way..."

She buried her laugh into my neck, whispering, "I'll try to spoil you later, Sarge. Okay?"

I wanted to kiss her all over again for using that name, but as I leaned to do just that, a commanding, booming voice echoed up from the stairs.

"Kids! Let's go!" Charlie called. "We've got to be at the rec center in twenty minutes to meet everyone."

His voice made us both jump, which in turn made us crack the fuck up. I helped Bella to her feet, and stood up to make sure we didn't look like we'd just been manhandling each other. Using Bella's mirror, I ran my hands through my hair and then reached for her hand.

I stopped her just at her door. "You look beautiful, baby," I told her, thinking if she looked amazing in a casual skirt, then the dress she was supposed to wear tomorrow may just drive me crazy.

She kissed my cheek, saying, "Thank you, Edward."

"You're welcome," I said, guiding her down the hall. I kissed her temple. "And I really did miss you today."



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