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streaks of sunscreen

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Jacksonville is too fucking hot, Angela decides.

Of course, it’s a nice change from the constant cold rain of Forks—but to say that it’s better to be standing on the side of a highway next to a broken down truck in the burning Florida sun is better than doing it in the rain is a bit of a stretch.

“I don’t really know what I’m looking at here, Jake,” Bella says, chewing her lip anxiously. She scoffs at whatever Jake responds with. “I don’t have a good enough data plan to Skype right now.”

Angela sighs an reaches into the truck to grab the sunscreen. They were wearing shorts over their swimsuits, but no t-shirts, since they had been planning to drive straight to the beach. Bella’s shoulders were starting to pink, and they wouldn’t be moving any time soon, based on the smoke coming out of the engine.

She squirts some sunscreen onto her hands and moves to stand behind her tragically pale girlfriend. Rubbing sunscreen onto Bella’s shoulders, even when she’s distracted by a phone call with her long distance best friend, is a special sort of intimacy. It’s one Angela is almost surprised to share, even after all this time.

She pushes the wisps of Bella’s ponytail away from her neck long enough to put a good layer of protection there. And maybe her fingers linger just a little, enough that Bella trails off in the middle of her sentence. She would feel bad, but it’s not like Jake can reach through the phone and fix the truck, so…it doesn’t really matter.

Jake must ask a question, because she shifts on her feet and laughs awkwardly. “Sorry,” she mutters. “It’s, um, really fucking hot.”

Angela laughs lightly. Her fingers drift away from Bella’s neck to the small of her back. It’s mostly covered, since Bella favors high-waisted bikini bottoms. No skin can be left uncovered, though, so she goes to work. When she rubs her fingers under the waistband, Bella glances over her shoulder, raising a single eyebrow and blushing so deeply that Angela worries her face is already burned.

She kisses the red cheek closest to her and waves a hand for her to return to the phone call. She needs to cover Bella’s legs, anyway.

“So, it could be a belt? Easy to fix?” Bella asks hopefully.

She laughs softly. Bella is honestly lucky that the truck has lasted as long as it has. If the only problem is a belt, she’ll brush her teeth with sunscreen.

Jake must agree—Bella groans in response to whatever he says.

“I’m gonna call a tow,” Angela says. She’s pretty much covered Bella’s backside now, and there’s no point in continuing to glare at the truck in the Floria heat.

Bella frowns at her but nods, apparently understanding the logic.

It’s lucky that Phil swung for a decent car insurance plan that includes roadside assistance. It only takes about two minutes of hold time before Angela gets to speak with someone, which feels like a personal best.

“Wish you were here, kiddo,” Bella sighs into the phone. “Looks like I won’t be able to visit for a while. Unless it is just a belt. Hey, I can dream!”

Angela laughs again. A tow truck will get to them within the next hour. In the meantime, she grabs their beach umbrella and opens it up. She probably looks a little silly, standing there carefully balancing a giant rainbow umbrella, but any kind of relief from the sun is worth it. In silent agreement, Bella moves until she’s underneath it, too.

“I’ll call you when I know more,” she promises. “I’m pretty sure my phone is about overheat, though, so I’m gonna hang up.”

They’re close enough together now that Angela can hear Jake answering, though she still can’t distinguish the words. Bella keeps the volume of her phone so low it’s a miracle she can hear it.

“He says he loves you,” Bella says, winking at Angela.

“Still not bringing you back to Forks,” she replies.

Jake must be able to hear her, because his warm laugh comes though clearly.

“We both love you, too,” Bella tells him. “Talk soon.”

They stand in silence for a moment after the phone call, looking sadly at the smoking truck.

“Well,” Bella says. “Edward always hated this truck.”

“That’s because he was stupid.”

She snorts. “Sure, sure.”

“Are you trying to tell me you weren’t every lesbian’s wet dream in this baby?” She gestures broadly between Bella and her truck. “It’s not my fault he didn’t have taste.”

She laughs more than the joke probably warrants, which makes Angela smile. She has the cutest laugh.

“It will be okay, though,” she says, nudging her side gently. “Even if she’s on her deathbed. We’ll get you another sexy truck.” Genuinely—Renée still doesn’t charge her much for rent and she has enough saved that she could probably get a pretty good used car without taking out a loan.

“Admit it,” Bella jokes. “You’re only dating me so I can help you move all the time.”

“I’m actually dating you so I don’t have to move. And I’m hoping we can fuck on your tailgate.”

They both dissolve into giggles again. “You have to stop,” Bella begs. “It’s too hot.”

By the time the tow truck arrives, they’ve made a mini camp on the shoulder of the road, sitting on their beach towels. Angela is holding the umbrella while Bella reads her book aloud. They’ve already finished the six pack of water bottles they’d brought along, and the breeze combined with their sweat is only kind of helping with the heat.

“Thank god,” Bella mutters when she finally gets to climb into the cab while the driver hooks her truck up.

“Air-conditioning might be the most important of mankind’s inventions,” Angela muses.

“I’m going to take the world’s coldest shower,” Bella says. She wiggles her eyebrows. “You could join me, if you want.”

Angela leans back in the seat, closing her eyes as the cool air works its magic. Bella in the shower wouldn’t quite be Bella at the beach, but it was definitely something. She hums softly and taps her thighs. “Maybe I will.”

Yeah. She would.