Characters are owned by Stephanie Meyer. Soul to Soul storyline is all me.

Chapter 2

Delilah and I made our way out to the truck. I loaded her and then put the dog food in the back with the rest of the feed. After I finished and climbed up in the cab of the truck I looked over at her to see her staring back towards the store. I followed the path of her gaze and noticed Edward and Samson leaving the store and getting into a big black SUV. I gave a huge sigh and looked back at Delilah. I grabbed a cigarette and lit up as I watched them pull away. I exhaled and cranked up the truck.

"Well girl, looks like we got it bad, huh?" I moaned lustfully and pulled out of the parking lot. I wasn't looking for a man. I was happy with it being just Gracie, Delilah, and me. Sure, sometimes I would think about maybe finding someone, but no one's ever really met all of the requirements that I have. I mean, I was a single mom and a lot of the men around here just didn't want to get involved because of that. Most guys couldn't get past the fact that I live with a 135 pound dog. For some reason, when the few guys I had attempted to get to know in the past would come over and see her, they would be horribly intimidated by her. I figured that if that's the case, then they weren't someone that I really needed to get to know that well and weren't worth my time. Then, there was the occasional guy that I would meet in town while out with Delilah and she would have a bad reaction to them. She would put herself in front of me, give a low rumbling growl and wouldn't let them near me. I've learned to trust her judgment about peoples' character. The first time I didn't trust her, thinking that she was being silly, and I soon regretted it. The guy ended up grabbing my arm and trying to force a kiss on me while groping my breast. Needless to say, he never came around me again after a swift kick to the man-sack. But, I digress.

"Well, Delilah, are you ready to go see Dr. Rose?" I asked.

She tilted her head and thumped her tail hard on the seat. I'm so happy that she loves Dr. Rose and the staff at the Vet clinic. I can't imagine trying to drag a resisting Delilah into the vet. I mean, we weigh almost the same and she is so much stronger than I am. I laughed out loud at the mental image that thought gave me. She looked over at me with a question in her eyes. I reached out and lovingly scratched behind her ear.

The drive to the Vet from the pet store only took five minutes and soon we were there. I flicked the last of my smoke out the window as I pulled in the parking lot. When I turned off the truck Delilah started banging her tail into the seat harder, getting very excited. All I had to do was open the truck door and she bounded out and up to the door of the office. I snapped her leash back on and led her inside. Miss Tanya, the receptionist, saw us and called out a happy hello. I signed us in and took Delilah over to wait in one of the hard little chairs that were provided.

It wasn't long before Ben, the Vet Tech, came over and called us into the back. He was very happy to see Delilah. He led us over to the scales and asked her to get on them.

"Come on Delilah, hop on here Sweets!" he said.

Once he got her settled on the scales they finally slowed at 136 pounds. After that we were led into an exam room and waited for Dr. Rose. Delilah took this as a sign to get comfy on the floor and stretched out full length on her side. Let's just say that there was no walking space left. Ten minutes later Dr. Rose came in with a smile to begin the checkup. To look at Dr. Rose you would never see her as anything other than a model or some such thing. She is absolutely gorgeous with long blond hair and violet eyes. When I had first met her, I was a little intimidated by her but she quickly put me at ease. We have become great friends and she loves watching Gracie and Delilah for me if I ever need her to. After a thorough exam she was declared to be in top shape and given a clean bill of health for another year. We said our goodbyes to everyone and headed back home.

Once we got home I backed the truck up to the barn so that I could start unloading all the feed. Delilah wondered over to the shade and lay down to supervise. After a while of heavy lifting, I finally got the feed unloaded and put away. I pulled my hair up into a pony tail and wiped the sweat from my forehead with the end of my tee shirt. I pulled out my pack of Marlboro Light 100's and decided to have a smoke while I was cooling down. I had gotten too hot lifting the heavy bags of feed and knew that if I didn't take a break I would end up getting sick to my stomach. I felt the sweat running down my back and couldn't wait to get in the shower later.

While I fed the horses and mucked the stalls I couldn't keep my thoughts from wondering back to Edward. I was just drawn to the man. I thought again about his muscles moving beneath his shirt and the way his arms felt under my hands when I had fallen against him. I thought about the way his voice seemed to glide over my skin when he spoke, like smooth velvet. I wondered how his hair would feel running through my fingers. Ugh! I gotta stop this I told myself sternly. I have work to do.

I finally finished the last stall and stuck the pitchfork into the fresh hay. I stood up and closed my eyes, just breathing in the scents from the horse barn. It was so peaceful here. I was zoning out for a moment when I heard my name being called. I quickly looked around to see who it was. I could have sworn that it was Edward, but knew that he didn't know where I lived so he couldn't possibly be here. I shrugged my shoulders to myself. "Isabella Marie Swan, get it together!" I snapped to myself. I think all of that heavy lifting must have rattled my brains! After putting all of my tools away I made my way out of the barn and up to the house.

As I took the path from the barn to the house I looked up at my house and thought about how I had ended up here. It was really a large log cabin I had built when I moved out here to the ranch a few years ago. It has a sprawling open floor plan that has lots of windows to let in the natural light. I figured that three large bedrooms would be plenty for me and Gracie. I once again thanked God for my luck. I had won the lottery when I was 20 years old and I took home seventy-five million dollars. After the first rush to spend wore off, I was quick to settle down and find a nice large piece of land to build on. I loved being out in the country here. I didn't tell anyone in town that I had won the lottery. It just made things that much harder when getting to know new people. You never know if they like you for you or just for your money. Everyone here just thought I supported my self from a small inheritance from a distant relative. I wouldn't have it any other way. I had learned my lesson the hard way.

I let myself and Delilah in the back door and took off my boots with a sigh. It felt so good to get them off of my hot feet. Delilah made her way over to the kitchen to eat as I went into my bedroom. I headed straight to the shower. I quickly yanked off my clothes and stood looking myself over in the mirror while I was waiting for the water to get hot. I looked over all of the imperfections of my body as I turned to the side so that I could see my phoenix. It looked as if the phoenix was going to fly up over my right shoulder with his wings spread wide and flames licking at his body. I remembered the hours in the chair of the tattoo shop with fondness.

I am addicted to tattoos. I freely admit it. The buzz of the gun, the smell of the shop, all of it. That could be why I am already wanting a new one. "Ha!" I snorted. You don't even know what you want Bella!" I couldn't help laughing a little as I realized that I was having a conversation with myself. Then I turned a little so that I could get the best view of the dragon. I couldn't help but run my fingers over it. The colors are so vibrant and I just love them. Last but not least, I traced the butterfly on my chest thinking about what it meant to me: Renewal. Rebirth. Changing your stripes and starting over, so to speak. I had definitely had a renewal when I had left home and moved halfway across the country, just Gracie and me. Leaving my home back in south Texas had been hard, but it was something that I had to do for myself.

With a sigh, I reached in to test the water and found it was the perfect temperature. After climbing in the shower I stood there for a few minutes, letting the hot water beat on my shoulders and back releasing the tension there before I got my hair wet. As I lathered up my hair, I breathed deeply to smell the wonderful strawberry scent of my shampoo. It was heavenly. I rinsed it out and put in the conditioner. I left that in while I scrubbed my body clean and then shaved. After rinsing out the conditioner, I found myself once again standing with the water pouring over my head and body, relishing the heat.

I was just floating through random thoughts about my day when I heard someone call for Samson. I jumped and jerked my head around. I rushed to turn the water off while I strained to hear if someone was outside. I grabbed a towel, quickly drying off. I put on some old jeans with a red short sleeved pullover and made my way to the front door to look out. There was no one there of course. I felt as though I was loosing it a little. I decided that I was thinking to much about Edward and was just hearing his voice in my head.

I shook my head as I put my socks and shoes back on. It was time to go pick Gracie up from school, and I still had to fix supper when I got home. Calling Delilah to me, we went out to the truck and got inside. I made the short drive to KidzTown and took Delilah inside with me. We were greeted by the highly excited squeals from all the kids. The good thing was that they were used to Delilah coming in to visit and knew to make a line without having to be told more than once. I stood back and watched Gracie take Delilah by the collar and walk her down the line and let the kids pet and love on her. I slid my camera out of my back pocket where I had stashed it before leaving the house. I carefully aimed and took a few candid shots of the kids with Delilah. Alice loved getting the pictures and would post them on the bulletin board for the parents to look at.

Gracie finally finished her rounds with the kids and went over to her cubby to get her backpack. She ran up excitedly while clutching a painting in her hands.

"Look, Momma! I painted a picture of you and Delilah!" she chirped out while waving the picture at me.

"Sweetie, it's beautiful!" I told her before grabbing her up in a hug.

Gracie happily latched onto my fingers as we told everyone goodbye. We chatted about her day as we went home. I looked in the rear view mirror at her and thanked God for blessing me with her. She was such a great kid, with rare meltdowns. She could be a little stubborn but would listen to reason if it came down to it. I, of course, thought she was brilliant! Of course I wasn't biased at all!

When we got home, Gracie followed me into the kitchen to talk for bit while I fixed supper. I let her help with a few easy things that she could handle and we made a quick supper of baked chicken in Italian dressing with some corn and green beans. Delilah wondered in and lay on the rug in front of the sink, with Gracie sitting beside her using her for a prop, while I moved around the kitchen preparing the food.

After Gracie and I finished eating and doing the dishes, I went out to the back porch to enjoy a smoke. Gracie and Delilah went into the yard to play a bit before bedtime. I lit up and felt the craving ease as I savored the first lungful of heat. I loved sitting in the porch swing in the evenings, smoking a cigarette, or three, while all sunk back into the fluffy cushions as I enjoyed the view.

The majestic view of the mountains in the distance is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in my life. I often get lost looking at the white tips of the mountains that seem to be melting down to the hazy purple color of the rock itself that turns into the foggy green of the foothills.

I often load up either Luna or River, one of my horses, into the horse trailer and go out to ride the trails in the foothills. It's a short, slow ride as Delilah rambles along beside us, but it is so relaxing. The fresh air, the warm smell of the horse and the glimpses of wildlife in the distance are enough to ease any stress that I might be feeling.

I roused myself from my reverie and realized that I had sat there and smoked several cigarettes while lost in the view before me. I gathered up my smokes while I called for Gracie to get off of her swing and Delilah to come back from where ever she had wandered off to.

"Delilah, where have you been girl? Did you go visit with Luna?" I asked her. She replied with a low bark as we made our way back inside for the night.

I went around turning off lights and locking up everything before making my way to the bedroom. I stopped to peer into Gracie's room and noticed that she had thrown off her covers again. I tiptoed over and placed them gently back over her. Standing there, I felt the love for this small person overwhelm me once again. She was so peaceful, laying there on her side with her stuffed wolf toy clutched to her chest. After saying a short prayer of thanks for being blessed to be her mother, I left the room and made my way to my own room. I looked longingly at my king sized bed before heading to the bathroom to brush my teeth and use the facilities.

After I finished up in there I grabbed my new silver MacBook from the nightstand and settled against the big fluffy pillows on the bed. I checked my email and caught up on a couple of fan-fiction stories that I'm following. I love reading and have discovered the wonderful world of fan-fiction. There are some truly talented people who write on there and it is very interesting to see the different prospectives on the characters from some of my favorite novels. As I closed the window on the screen, I once again started thinking about Edward.

"Hey Delilah, do you think that Edward has a website up yet?" When I looked over at her she gave a thump of her tail as if to say, "Sure he does, why don't you check." I gave into the urge to look up his shop. It didn't take long to find it using Google. As it came up I was enthralled with all of the photos of his work.

"Wow, Delilah, look at this. He's an amazing artist!" Just looking at the different tats made my skin itch for a new one. I smiled widely to myself just thinking about having Edward's hands somewhere on my body while I was getting inked. I wonder if that strange electric buzz feeling will still be there the next time we happen to touch. I was nervous but excited to find out. Then I wondered how he would react to Gracie. I hoped that he would be OK with her coming to the shop with me.

Shaking myself out of that little fantasy, I bookmarked the website. I noticed that he had an e-mail address listed with his contact information. I debated with myself about sending him an e-mail. Finally I looked at Delilah and asked her, "Hey Delilah, should I e-mail him or not? Do you want to go see Samson?" I swear sometimes that Delilah is the smartest dog on the planet! She actually jumped up and gave a playful bark. That would be a yes, I believe. I brought up the e-mail window and tried to think of something to say.

Subject: Visit

Hi Edward,

I was wondering what day would be good for Delilah and I to visit you and Samson in the shop. Drop me a quick note to let me know when its convenient for us to come by. Hope you have a great night.

Bella

After re-reading it a couple of times and deciding that it was as good as it would get, I clicked the send button before losing my nerve. Of course as soon as I clicked that button a case of the nerves hit me and I had to go have another smoke to calm down before calling it quits for the night.

When I got to the front porch, I sat in my favorite spot on the swing and lit up. After taking a lungful of calming comfort, I exhaled slowly while looking up at the sky. I couldn't seem to stop my knee from bouncing nervously as I watched the cloud of smoke move hazily through the late June night air.

"UGH! This is crazy!" I huffed ! "Why am I getting worked up over this? I mean he did ask me to come by, right? Right!" I argued with myself. "Great, now I am talking to myself again."

Isn't that supposed to be one of the signs of being mentally unstable I thought. Not just talking to yourself but answering back? Great, now I'm going crazy, I couldn't help thinking.

I sat there and just kept the image of Edward in my mind. How his hair fell half way down his back. How hard the muscles in his arms felt when I grabbed hold of him. How snug fitting his jeans were. How he was just so big standing there next to me. How his eyes seem to have depths that have as yet been undiscovered. I mean, his whole body was like my own personal wonderland that I hoped to be able to explore at my leisure.

Trying to get control of my thoughts, I took one last draw from my smoke and put it out in the small bucket of sand that I used as an ashtray that sat on the banister. I contemplated the stars for another minute before going back inside to bed.

When I got the door locked, I turned to find Delilah standing there. Her head easily reaches above my waist and it makes it so convenient to pet her. I gave her a good scratching before slapping her gently on the flank so she would move. I walked slowly back to the bed and decided to check my e-mail one last time.

My heart sped up and my hands got a little sweaty when I saw that there was a reply from Edward waiting in my Inbox. Taking a deep breath I opened it.

Hi Bella,

I'm happy to hear from you. Samson and I would love for you ladies to come visit us any day that you want. I'll be opening the shop at 2 everyday but Sundays and Wednesdays. I'm there by 12 though so just let me know when you would like to stop by. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Edward

As I finished reading the e-mail I let out an embarrassing squeal. I couldn't believe how happy getting a reply back from him made me! I think I'll go see them Thursday. Since today is Tuesday that would give me time to let him know and build up my nerve to get there. What a great day this has been, I thought to myself as I got comfortable in bed and settled down to go to sleep. The last thought crossing my mind before I drifted off was that I was looking forward to getting to know him.

A/N Thanks to all who are reading this little story of mine. Please drop a review and let me know if it's good enough to keep going or not. :)