Summary: Daredevil, Edward Cullen, thinks he's mightier than the storm, until an expert shows him otherwise.
Edward laughs to himself as he flops down on his board and starts paddling out.
The new lifeguard is so uptight.
Yeah, there’s a storm coming in. Duh.
That’s why he’s out here, looking for bigger waves.
It isn’t mandatory evacuation, so that chick can lecture him ‘til she is blue in the face, doesn’t mean he’s missing this chance.
He can handle himself.
He’s been swimming, and later, surfing this water since he could walk, he’s been in bigger storms.
He hears the whistle from the shore and shakes his head.
He has to give her points for persistence.
The whistle sounds again, sharp and shrill, and Edward frowns.
That was a bit more urgent.
He’s past the breakers, so he turns and sits up on his board, scanning the shoreline.
He squints a little against the sun in his eyes, despite the darkening clouds rolling in.
Shielding his eyes with his hand, he sees the new lifeguard sprinting toward the water, buoy in hand, whistle blowing.
"Shit," he curses, turning to scan the water around him.
He’d been so caught up in being a prick to her, and picking a good wave that he’d been ignoring his surroundings.
Years of experience kick in when he sees the empty board floating about forty feet away from him, caught up in the foamy wake of the outer breakers.
He turns around quickly and drops onto his board, paddling as hard as he can, looking for the person that should be on that empty board.
Suddenly, his brain kicks in, letting him know it’s a youth board.
There’s a kid out here, and he or she needs help, now.
He pops up again at a strange sound, an erratic splashing.
"Over there," he breathes out, angling his board toward the sound.
He's sweating, arms burning.
He hears another sound, rhythmic splashing this time, and realizes it's the lifeguard swimming out.
His whole world narrows to these sounds, to his heart throbbing, to pure adrenaline coursing fast and hot as he sees a head, dark hair plastered to it, and under it all, a panicked cry for help.
"Hang in there, help is coming!" Edward yells out, hoping she can hold on.
Her head goes under and he starts to flop off his board to dive for her when a tanned body flies by him, and disappears under the water.
When the new guard comes to the surface with a young girl, no more than twelve, held tight against her chest, Edward's eyes lock on hers, the moment snapped tight between them.
He blinks, and it passes.
"Here, bring her over here." He straddles his board, and reaches out, and the lifeguard paddles over with one arm, tucking her lifebuoy under the young girl’s arms to help her float.
She's dazed, coughing, but it looks like she'll be alright.
He pulls her up, plenty of room on the longboard, and watches as the guard pats her back.
The guard talks to the girl in this soothing, calm voice, despite the way her lungs must be burning from the dead sprint of a swim she did out here.
"Hey. It's okay. You're okay. Yeah, cough it out, get that water out. Can you talk? Yeah? I'm Bella, what's your name?"
Edward's mouth goes dry, watching Bella connect with this young girl, whose name turns out to be Emily, and no, her mom doesn't know she came out, but the waves looked so great and she just wanted to try some big ones.
The new guard—Bella—flicks her gaze to Edward on that comment, and he has the sense to feel a little guilty.
He's pretty sure his surfing caught the eye of Emily and made her think she could handle it, too.
He should have been more careful.
He ducks his head, lets his legs sway in the warm saltwater as Bella checks her vitals on the board, makes sure she's okay to switch over to her own board and be towed in.
Edward follows them in, not sure what else to do.
He wants to see it through, he guesses.
When they reach the shore, he chucks his board and flops down, damp skin collecting a layer of sand as he does.
He rests on his elbows as Bella takes Emily to the guard station, heart still going a mile a minute in his chest.
He's guessing she is more than a little grounded, but at least she's alive.
Edward watches Bella with new eyes for a few minutes as she walks, arm careful on Emily’s shoulders.
It's not like he doesn’t know lifeguards actually save people's lives.
It is right there in the job title.
He’s glad that he’d been there, even if he didn’t do much to help.
He still had a small part in saving that young girl’s life, and it is an overwhelming feeling.
In all the years that he’s been swimming and surfing, he’s never been so close to a rescue, never seen how fierce and determined a guard can be when a life is in jeopardy, though.
It was exciting, invigorating and a little bit scary.
But most of all, it was really hot.
Or maybe it was Bella that was really hot.
Maybe both, come to think of it.
"Thanks for the assist out there." Bella is standing over him, water dripping onto the sand and a little on Edward's bare skin as well.
He takes a long look from her legs all the way up to her face, enjoying the trip quite a lot.
"Yeah, sure. Sorry I was a dick earlier. Just wanted to surf, y'know?" And Bella is either blushing a little or she's sunburned.
It's hard to tell.
Edward cuts a glance down his own body, tanned brown from hours in the sun, cut and lean from hours on a board.
When he looks up at her, he’s pretty sure he catches her taking her own little tour.
She shrugs unapologetically, sinking down into the sand next to him.
She's got her knees pulled up, arms crossed over them as she stares out into the ocean, which is getting choppier by the second.
The dark clouds on the horizon are billowing closer, more menacing now.
The beach is all but deserted, the wind picking up. "It's cool. I get that a lot."
It makes Edward frown a little, and really feel like a dick more than ever.
"She okay?" Edward gestures at the station, where Kate, the guard captain, is talking with her.
"Little freaked out, but fine."
Bella narrows her eyes, never leaving the horizon.
Edward sees the freckles, stark little brown dots scattered all over her face, ears, across her shoulders.
He can't stop looking at her profile, and the adrenaline still pounding through him is not letting up.
"You were amazing today. I've never seen anyone swim that fast against the waves before."
A little half-smile on her mouth, Bella shrugs, brushing off the compliment. "Used to swim in high school, college."
"Well, it was-" He barely keeps himself from saying that it was hot as hell, not sure how she would take that.
Edward gets to his feet, too much energy for him to sit still any longer. "Listen, I'm gonna go grab a beer. You wanna come? My treat. An apology?"
Bella cocks her head, looks up at Edward, fingers still locked together.
She keeps looking, and he looks back, runs one hand through his wet hair.
He can't stay quiet, it's not in him.
"The bar—McCarty's? Right up the beach, no dress code." He grins.
Bella nods, getting to her feet, wiping sand off her backside.
She stands there looking at him.
He can’t move.
Doesn’t lean down to get his board, doesn’t do anything but look back into her eyes.
"I want to check something before we go."
"Yeah, sure. That’s-"
Bella’s hands land suddenly on his chest, followed by her mouth, damp and hard against his.
It startles him at first, but he’s a quick learner.
He snakes out his arms, grabbing her hips, pulling her closer, turning the kiss deeper, tasting salt on his tongue, right before she pulls away.
Licking her lips quickly, Bella is definitely blushing now.
"Right. So... Now that we settled that. Did you wanna get that beer?"
Edward’s hand comes up to his mouth, fingers brushing for a moment before dropping.
His smile is so wide it almost hurts. "Yeah. I’d really like that."
She stops suddenly and turns to look at him wide eyed.
"It might help if I knew your name."
She jerks her head up the beach and Edward snatches up his board quickly and follows; the need to kiss Bella again—and soon—rushing through him like a riptide.
The bar’s not too crowded, just the right amount of people, it still feels intimate.
They make their way to a secluded booth in the back.
If Bella notices the way Edward’s fingers dip into the waistband of her shorts as he guides her to the table, she doesn’t say anything.
There’s an electricity buzzing around them and he can’t help the way it makes his heart stutter in his chest.
He hasn’t felt a connection like this in a long time, if ever.
Judging from the way she tucks herself into his side, he’d say she feels it too.
As the night wears on, he finds himself more and more taken with Bella.
As it turns out, they have a lot in common.
Not just the surfing, and all around love of the water.
They were both born and raised in California, and only left for college.
They’re pressed together now in the booth, close as can be.
Both flushed and grinning from the alcohol, or maybe just from the company.
He hasn’t been able to take his eyes off her for more than a few seconds since the kiss they shared earlier, his mind is going on repeat.
He wants to kiss her again, to feel the hot swipe of her tongue, her smooth lips as they melt against his.
To feel the way her body fits right against his, the way it feels so perfect, like she was made to be in his arms.
He realizes with a start that she’s stopped talking, only watching him just as closely.
His mouth goes dry at the sight and suddenly he can’t wait another second to taste her lips again.
He leans forward catching her mouth in a burning kiss.
She kisses back, her fingers threading through his hair.
She’s practically in his lap now, it’s overwhelming how intense it is.
He never expected to feel like this for someone he just met.
But as they hurriedly make their way out of the bar, he can’t bring himself to care.
"My place," she mumbles against his mouth in between kisses once they’re back on the beach. "This way."
He’s barely containing the urge to lay her down in the sand and take her right here, in fact, he’s almost convinced that’s exactly what he should do, given the fact that she’s still in those tiny teasing scraps of fabric.
He’s never wanted someone so badly in his life.
They’ve only made it a few hundred yards—in what he hopes is the right direction—when he starts to slow down.
His inner turmoil quickly rising to the surface.
He wants to do this right, doesn’t want this to be just a one night stand or some fling.
He’s managed to feel more for her in one day then he’s felt about any other woman he’s ever dated.
"Bella," he breathes.
She pulls back, studying his face.
But he has to be sure, he has to know that she wants more, too.
His eyes darken, he looks at her intently, her breath stutters to a halt.
She’s never seen such longing from a man before, such open, honest need.
Her fingers reach up, graze his lips and they part, drawing in exploring fingers.
"We can’t," he says, voice just above a whisper.
She shakes her head, denial clear in her stance, her expression, her eyes.
He catches her hand, draws it away, holds her at arm's length.
She returns his stare, lets him see her, see what she wants.
Him, only him. "Yes," she says. "We can."
He kisses her hard.
Cool calloused hands drift achingly slow up warm tan thighs to a barrier of red bikini bottoms.
With gentle fingers he teases the scrap of fabric to one side, finds her wanton, hot and wet as his thumb circles teasingly across the tiny bud of desire that leaps upward at his attention.
Her eyes search out his in the faded half-light of the moon.
"Edward," she breathes into the whispering breeze.
He smiles and slides a finger inside her heat and she bucks against his thrust.
"Bella," he answers softly. "My beautiful Bella. Come for me."
With a look, with a touch, a breath against her skin, he tells her that she is the most important thing to him now.
He’s never met anyone like her.
He wants her, wants this.
His hands slide against naked skin.
He has disappeared into a world that consists only of this moment and the next, of holding her gaze steadily as he moves within her, as his fingers bring already sensitized flesh to further arousal.
And here he thought he was only going to catch waves today.
It’s looking like he just caught something a whole lot better.