A/N: Happy Valentine's Day. Thank you for your sweet thoughts for the past few days. We're done.
Betad by the lovely Michelle Renker Rhodes.
Most characters belong to S. Meyer. The rest is mine.
Part 7 – I Love You So Damn Much
We're a couple of days out of Key West, and Bella is taking advantage of the fact that there's no one and nothing around for miles and miles so she can sun herself topless on deck. I watch her from the helm, where I've radioed in our latest position just in case a storm comes in out of nowhere and knocks us off course. I continuously smirked and rolled my eyes at my mother-in-law when she worried out loud - more than once - about the dangers of this excursion. But the truth is, it could've gotten testy had the sea not cooperated with us. Luckily, apart from a few, short storms that came and went quickly, we had great weather.
Once I'm done, I walk over and lean over her. When she realizes the sun's rays are being blocked, she opens her eyes and smiles at me, and I hand her black bikini top to her.
She takes it silently and ties it back on.
"We're almost home," I say, kneeling next to her.
"I know," she smiles wistfully. "But we've still got a little ways to go before I have to cover myself up again."
"I've got a question for you."
I rake a hand down her long, silky hair before meeting her gaze.
"How did your Honeymoon Caribbean Tour compare to the European tour you and The Prick Who Won't Be Named went on a few years ago – the one on which he proposed to you?"
She smirks at me. "Is this what you made me put my top back on for?" With a huff, she unties it and takes it off again.
"I don't want to discuss him with you like that." I wave a hand towards her beautiful, perky breasts.
She laughs, rolling her eyes before closing them again. "Edward, my love, you are ridiculous sometimes."
"Fine. Keep the top off, but answer my question."
Her eyes reopen, and she holds my gaze for a few seconds before sitting up in her chair, her long legs bare and shiny in the sun.
"You've never been to Europe, right?"
"It's very beautiful, full of rich history, culture and art. I saw quite a bit of it, and I loved it, and I appreciated it all. But this, Edward…" – she leans forward and cups my cheek – "the ocean and reefs and underwater worlds that we explore together…this is us, Edward. I wouldn't trade any of it for a thousand Mona Lisas, a million Eifel Towers, or a gazillion Big Bens."
A slow and wide grin creeps over my face.
"He's married, you know, to a co-worker of ours. Lana. I heard they went to Europe on their honeymoon," she grins.
"How do you know about all that?" I frown.
She turns her gorgeous face back up to the sun, closing her eyes. "Mom told me."
She laughs, her back arching off the chair – pretty, perky breasts inching closer to me. "You know she really does love you, Edward. She just likes giving you a hard time."
"Mm," I smirk.
"Anyway, how friggin' unimaginative; he takes his new wife on a honeymoon to the same place he took me on a run-of-the-mill vacation? If I were her, I'd punch him in the balls. But you and I…I'm on an once-in-a-lifetime 'Masen Caribbean Honeymoon Tour' with my Deep Diver!" she grins. "We've explored ancient ruins, jumped off of cliffs, zip-lined through rainforests, dived into sinkholes, lazed on some of the most beautiful beaches, snorkeled around the most colorful reefs, crossed different oceans, and made love absolutely everywhere."
I reach out and gently trace her soft lips with the tip of my forefinger. She puckers and kisses it.
"I love you so damn much, Bella."
Usually, I'm more of a 'show her' rather than 'tell her' type of guy, but now…now, I infuse the words with every last damn iota of feeling inside me.
"I love you too, Edward."
You want a drink, Bella?"
"What do you want?"
"Surprise me! Wait! Actually, just a bottle of water would be great. Thanks."
"Are you sure? I was going to make mango mojitos. I know you like how I squeeze them limes and suck out all the juice from them mangoes."
She laughs. "How do you make even the eating of fruit sound dirty?"
"It's a gift."
I twist off the caps to two bottles of water and return to my wife's side, lying next to her over the thick blankets we've strewn on the deck so that we can comfortably stargaze. Tomorrow, we'll be back in Key West. And though we can watch the stars from the canal running along our back yard, it's not the same as it is out here, in total darkness with absolutely zero light pollution.
"Thanks, Baby," she turns to me with a quick smile before bringing her eyes back to the sparkling, white-dotted, black sky. "Ooh, look! A shooting star!" She squeals excitedly, clapping her hands together. "Did you see that?"
"Yeah," I grin.
"Make a wish!"
"It already came true almost four years ago, and then again almost three months ago."
She turns to me again, smiling softly. "You're such a sweet talker."
"Make up your mind. Am I a dirty bastard or a sweet-talker?"
"A delicious bit of both," she chuckles, and then with a soft sigh, she turns her attention back to the sky.
"Can you believe we were out here for almost three months?"
"It went by too quickly," I murmur.
"Yeah, it did, but…I'm excited to get back home as well."
I reach over and find her hand, knitting my fingers through hers. "So am I."
We watch the stars silently for a while. The light breeze whistles through our hair. The sea's frothy bubbles pop languidly in our ears.
"You said a couple of your wishes already came true."
"That's because they did."
She lifts herself on one elbow and faces me. "If you had one more wish to make, what would it be?"
"I don't know if I should be getting greedy with the wishes here. It was only one shooting star."
She giggles and gives me a shove. "Seriously, if you had one more…"
I draw in a deep breath and shift so that I'm hovering over her, supporting her back with my arm and holding her dark gaze. The stars' reflections look back at me through her deep pupils.
"I…would wish for a very specific answer to the following question: Why did you just pick a bottle of water over your favorite cocktail drink?"
She grins, and my heart jumps. I lay my other hand over her flat stomach, already picturing the life we've created there.
"I love you so much, Beautiful Bella Masen."
She chuckles. "And I love you, my Deep Diver."
A/N: Thanks for taking a trip with me back to Key West. Take care, and enjoy the rest of your Valentine's Day. :)
Link to 'Stories by PattyRose' is on my profile page.