Merry Christmas Eve! As my gift to you all, I decided an epilogue was needed before this journey was completely finished. This is the original (very cheesy) ending I had planned for these two. I hope you enjoy it.
Keep in mind, 90% of this is just my imagining of how this would go.
Man bun dedicated to my amazing bata and friend, Chicsarah.
Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable characters herein. No copyright infringement is intended. The questions and Jeopardy! game play are fictional for the story. No copyright infringement of the game questions or names is intended.
"How do I look?" Rose asked me for about the 42nd time as she fluffed her hair and smoothed her dress.
"Like you're going to bang the third place champion tonight," I said, turning back to the mirror to apply my lipstick and straighten out my boobs.
"What if he is the first place champion?" Rose asked with a laugh, reaching for her small clutch bag to slide her ID, credit card, and phone inside. She always insisted on bringing her insurance cards, too, because "you never know if the night will end in the ER."
"He's going up against Edward and me; he doesn't stand a chance," I laughed, though not altogether confidently. Starting tomorrow, I'd be facing off with the absolute best players this year of Jeopardy! had to offer, including my boyfriend/second winningest Jeopardy! champion of all time.
"Yeah, yeah, smarty pants," she sighed. She looked back in the mirror again, and it was unnerving that a woman as beautiful as Rose wasn't dripping with confidence. Truth be told, she'd always been incredibly insecure about her looks. Despite the smooth hair that she had cut and colored at a high-end salon in preparation for the trip, or a face that was flawless without makeup but looked angelic with just a touch added, or a body that she cared for with long work hours and exercise, Rosalie was not a vain woman. She'd had a lot of bad luck in dating, with men who objectified her or were completely intimidated by the total package. She was beauty, brains, kindness and love. Men couldn't often keep up with her, so instead they belittled her to make themselves feel better.
"Rose, seriously. You look amazing," I told her. She was wearing a deep red evening gown, made completely of satin that curved in and out of the swells of her body like a glove. It had small sleeves that wrapped around the tops of her arms in an off-the-shoulder way. The neck was a scoop neck of layered fabric that showed just a touch of her full bust in a modest but impossibly sexy way. If Emmett, her "celebrity" crush, didn't want her tonight, every other man in the room would.
I'd opted for a navy blue gown, the top made completely of lace with sleeves that went down past my elbows. The skirt was chiffon material that flowed around my legs. I was wearing a simple strand of pearls and pearl earrings, while Rose wore a heavy, faux diamond pendant around her neck. While my hair was up in a loose bun of curls, hers hung heavy, full, and smooth on her tanned shoulders.
"You do, too, B. Let's go find our men," she laughed with a wink.
All of the champions were staying in the hotel together with their guests, paid for by Jeopardy! and CBS. That meant that the Champion's Dinner was hosted in a ball room in the hotel, so we only needed to go downstairs. It wasn't the same hotel I'd stayed in before. It was bigger and the rooms a touch more elegant. Both Rose and my eyes had lit up at the size of our room with a connecting living room area, a huge bathroom, and a balcony overlooking Los Angeles.
When we got downstairs, two suited guards stood at the door taking names before letting anyone in.
"Names, please, Miss?" One of the guards asked.
"Isabella Swan and Rosalie Hale," I responded, and saw Rose working to suppress a big grin as the doors were opened for us.
Inside, it looked like a wedding reception for one of Hollywood's most exclusive. The room was exquisite with tapestry lined walls, huge, gleaming chandeliers, ornate flower arrangements, and tables and tables of food and drinks. Immediately a besuited server appeared before us with a tray of champagne flutes. We graciously accepted them and moved further in to the tables, looking at the place markers to find our seats.
Music from a string quartet played from the other side of the room, the sound of talking and laughter mixed in. I felt lovely and graceful, and it abated a little of the nerves I was feeling for the start of the games tomorrow.
I'd yet to see Edward. We'd arrived only hours ago and immediately began getting ready for the banquet.
Edward's dad had flown into South Carolina the day before to run Edward's practice for him, after spending the last several months with Edward for them both to get certified to practice medicine in South Carolina. The amount of time, effort, and money that had gone into getting the second Cullen Family Medicine up and running made my head spin, but Edward never wavered in his desire to see it through and to spend his life with me. It took long days and even longer nights, a lot of headaches, and a lot of frequent flyer miles used between Chicago and Columbia, but exactly one month ago, Edward had cut the ribbon on his new practice, having hired Rosalie as his office nurse. He matched her pay from the hospital, but with nine to five hours, she was much happier and less stressed. To say I was proud of them both had been an understatement.
Rose tugged my arm towards a table to the right where she'd found our names. To her delight, we were seated with Emmett McCarty. She thought it was coincidence, but I knew that Edward had put in specific request. Neither Edward nor Emmett had brought a guest, so it worked out that the two of them, Rose and I, and two other contestants and their guests were seated together.
I recognized the names of the other two contestants, Garrett Sanders and Margaret Barnes. They'd both played respectable games, and I was looking forward to meeting them and others tonight.
Rose was practically vibrating in her seat beside me, and it looked like it was taking all of her control to not stand up and wave both arms to Emmett, who I saw entering the room. He looked as shy and timid as he seemed on TV. He was tall and had the broad shoulders of someone who was naturally built large but also worked on his physique. His dark, curly hair was cut short around his head, and the wooden framed glasses perched on his nose made him look like he was one disaster away from jumping into a phone booth and stepping out in a cape. It was odd to see such a large, seemingly intimidating man appear so shy and nervous.
"Relax, Rose. He will find his seat eventually," I whispered.
She sighed and reached for her glass of nearly empty champagne. I hadn't seen her this excited in a while. It made me all the more nervous that he'd somehow let her down.
"Are you from South Carolina? Because you've got me feeling something way down south," I heard in my ear. I couldn't hold in the loud, obnoxious burst of laughter as I turned to look up at Edward. He looked incredible in a perfectly tailored Armani suit, a sleek tie peaking out of the buttoned jacket.
"Not your best work, Nutcracker," I told him as he pulled out the chair beside me.
"Nutcracker?" He asked, setting his own champagne flute down by the multitude of China and glittering silverware.
"Because you look like a ballerina," I said, unable to resist a jab at that silly bun on his head.
A few months ago, Jasper had bet Edward that he wouldn't grow his hair out for the show and wear it in a bun. Edward, never one to back down from a challenge, was all too happy to agree. There was, apparently, only one thing he could do to win the bet overall, meaning he could shave it off again, but he wouldn't tell me what or when he'd be doing it. I wasn't sure what he and Jasper were up to, but I knew Jasper wasn't making a fan of Esme by getting Edward to grow out that silly hair.
I had to say, though, that after giving it a chance, it was growing on me. He looked sexy as hell a few weeks ago when we'd gone to the beach and he'd stood up, his inked muscles shining with ocean water, wisps of his hair pulling away from the rubber band and blowing in the breeze.
My favorite, though, was when it was down and draped around him as he kissed his way across and down my naked body. The feel of the soft ends of his hair as they glided across me made our lovemaking all the more sensual.
He just laughed and draped his arm around me chair, his hand softly stroking my lace covered arm.
The three of us grew quiet, taking in the sights and sounds around us. As the other two contestants and their spouses joined us soon after, we made small talk, but I noticed Rose still looking around the room as Emmett stopped to talk to a few people. He looked uncomfortable and ready to get to his table. Poor guy.
Finally, he approached us and stopped to introduce himself to Edward first. I couldn't be offended. Edward really was a celebrity around here, and everyone wanted to meet him. I'd heard that a few special guests, including a few of the winners from the Celebrity tournament (I was keeping my fingers crossed for an Anderson Cooper appearance), as well as Ken Jennings, himself, would be here.
Emmett shook my hand, and then the other two contestants' hands, as he rounded the table to take his spot beside Rosalie.
"I'm sorry, I don't believe I recognize you," he said timidly as he sat down and faced Rose. "Are you a contestant?" He asked politely, reaching to shake her hand.
"No, I'm hers. I'm with her. She's my guest. I mean,-"
"She's my guest. And my best friend," I interrupted the awkward rambling.
"Ah, nice to meet you. I'm-"
"Emmett McCarty!" Rose all but screamed at him, still not letting go of his hand.
"Yeah..." he said, clearly uncomfortable at this gorgeous girl who was off her rocker. I could feel Edward chuckling beside me.
"And she's Rose," I said.
"Rosalie Eustace Hale," she told him as he finally pulled his hand free.
"Eustace?" Edward laughed.
"You signed her employment paperwork," I whispered. "You know her full name."
"Yes, but I don't know why she'd tell anyone her full name," he chortled.
"It's a pleasure for us both to meet you, Emmett," I said, leaning in to Rose to try and get her to get a grip. "We're big fans of yours," I told him, before leaning in to Rose to whisper in her ear.
"Calm down, psycho," I told her, feeling her stiffen before adjusting her posture and sitting in her chair more like a human and less like an anxious chihuahua.
"Your fans of mine? Are you kidding? Everyone here is talking about you two," Emmett said, nodding to Edward and me. "You're the prom king and queen of Jeopardy!" He smiled.
"Oh, please don't tell him that. He doesn't need that head to get any bigger than it already is," I laughed.
"You'd know how big my head is," Edward whispered into my ear. I responded with a sharp jab of my elbow to his gut.
"Wait, are you two-together?" Emmett asked.
"Yes," I answered simply. It wasn't common knowledge but it wasn't something we were hiding. As a first of our kind, there were no rules against contestants dating. It wasn't going to make either of us less competitive in the games.
"Huh," Emmett said. "Huh," he said again, absorbing this new information that he undoubtably thought he could either use to his advantage or needed to worry about.
"But we play our own games. When we get on stage, we are competing against each other. We are not a single entity," I explained to the table, perhaps unnecessarily.
"Good to know," Emmett said.
We quieted down as the lights dimmed down and a spotlight hit the stage.
"Ladies and gentleman, please welcome tonight's host, Alex Trebek!"
The evening flowed quickly, as we ate, mingled, and rubbed shoulders.
I did get to meet Anderson, that grey-haired God, and Ken. He was kind of stuck up but not overall unfriendly. Edward and I talked to Alex, who found it hilarious that the two of us were together.
"I knew there was tension between you two on the stage, but I didn't realize it was sexual," he laughed.
After that, we made our way back to the table, which was empty save for Emmett and Rosalie. Both were sitting quietly, facing the table. Emmett had his hands in his lap, looking nervous. Rose had her arms crossed over her chest, looking frustrated.
"Hey Rose. We have an early morning. Ready to go up to the room?" I asked. She glanced at Emmett, a bit of longing in her eyes, then sighed loudly and stood up, grabbing her clutch.
"See you tomorrow, Emmett," I said kindly, not sure what had the table so salty.
"Have-have a good night," he responded, but his eyes were only on Rose.
"I don't understand," Rose said with a frustrated groan when we stepped into the elevator. "I mean, we sat there for an hour. I didn't know anyone and he didn't seem to care to meet anyone, so it was the perfect chance for us to talk. But nothing. Radio silence," she said, leaning back on the elevator wall.
"He was probably just nervous. You could have initiated the conversation," I said.
"I tried! After I stopped being such a spazz, I asked him about himself. You know what I learned? Everything I already knew from watching the show. He's just so shy. And quiet. And fucking gorgeous," she said.
"Well, we have the Champion's breakfast tomorrow, and hopefully we will all be here for the next few days, so there will be more chances," I encouraged, though truthfully I wasn't very hopeful.
"I guess. Whatever, I'm going to bed. Let me have the room key. You can go up to Swan Lake's room to bone," she said, reaching her hand for the key.
"Oh, come on," Edward said, having been quiet until now.
"No, I'm coming with you," I laughed. "Swan Lake can bone his hand tonight. I'm exhausted and just need sleep," I said, turning to Edward.
"Yeah yeah. Go rest so I can annihilate you tomorrow," Edward said, leaning down to place a kiss on my lips. It was soft and quick, but also perfect. I yelped at the small smack he placed on my butt when I turned to step out of the elevator.
"Sleep tight, love," he called. I turned and blew him a kiss before following Rose down the hall.
The next morning, Rose and I were fixing plates at the breakfast bar when we heard a timid "good morning."
Emmett was standing across the buffet line in a black button down and grey slacks.
"Good morning," I said.
"Morning," Rose mumbled.
"Isabella, are you ready for the game today?" He asked.
I nodded, happy that I'd be facing two other opponents today and not Emmett or Edward.
For the Tournament, they'd film five games today, and then, depending on who won and advanced, five more tomorrow, for two weeks of game play to be aired on TV. The games were decided by a draw of names, and I'd been picked for the first one. Today would be the quarterfinals. The five winners and the top four highest scoring losers from today would advance to the semifinals. Tomorrow, the nine semifinalists would compete and leave three finalists. The last two games would be the finals, and the highest two-day score from the finals would determine a winner.
I had work to do today to make it to tomorrow, and I hoped that Edward and Emmett would, too.
"I am. You?" I asked him.
"I think so. I stayed up most of the night studying. I was so nervous last night. That's why I wasn't very social. I'm sorry for not being very social. It's because I was so nervous," he said, getting louder and more pointed as he repeated himself. He was talking to me, but he was definitely addressing Rosalie.
"I understand. Emmett, why don't you sit with us this morning," I said, nodding to an empty table. Rose didn't say anything but made a point to sit beside Emmett again, even if she wasn't planning to actually talk to him.
Edward found us and dropped a kiss on my head before going to make his own plate. He was wearing a white button down shirt with navy slacks, his hair back in its bun. I'd finally gotten over my shock that he was going to go on national TV with it, but I was sure his mother would never let him live it down.
After breakfast, we were all ushered outside to several cars waiting to take the contestants and their guests to the studio. Guests would be placed in the audience to watch, while the 15 champions would be escorted to await their games. Since I was first, I had little time to spend in my room. I was grateful that I'd only be playing one game today, which meant I didn't have to pack extra clothes.
"Good luck, baby," Edward said. He was in game five, so he'd be in his room all day. I was looking forward to going back there and spending some time with him while he waited.
"Thanks. I love you," I told him as he pulled me in for a kiss.
"I love you more," he whispered on my lips.
"Gross. Get a room," Rose heckled as she walked past with the other guests.
"Rosalie?" I heard, and Edward and I turned to see Emmett motioning for her to come over to him. She walked over and they began talking quietly.
"What's that about?" Edward asked, his arm still wrapped around me.
"No idea," I said. They'd talked more this morning at breakfast, but I'd been too wrapped up in food and Edward to pay much attention. I'd just been happy to see them at least speaking to each other.
Rose turned and wave to me before walking on with the other guests to be lead to the audience area. I waved back, planning to ask her about that little exchange later.
"I need to go to my dressing room and try to focus. I'll see you soon?" I said to Edward.
"K, knock em dead so we can face off in the finals," he said.
"You seem confident that you'll make it that far," I laughed.
"I got a lot riding on it, baby," he smirked, before turning and walking quickly away towards his dressing room.
I made my way to my dressing room. It was much the same as the room I'd had when playing several months before, equipped with more luxuries and food this time, though. Show time was in less than an hour, so I pulled out the new stack of note cards I'd made to prepare and got lost in studying in them.
Some time later, a sharp knock on the door let me know it was show time. I took a deep, steadying breath, hoping beyond hope that this would only be the first of four games for me.
The door wasn't locked, and I pushed it open without a knock. Edward was lounging on the couch, flipping through a stack of papers with his own study notes on them.
"I won, I won, I won!" I screamed, running into the room and jumping onto Edward. He let out a soft groan, dropping his papers to the floor and catching me.
"Of course you did, angel," he smiled. He emphasized each of his next words with a kiss. "And I am so," kiss, "proud," kiss, "of you," kiss.
The last kiss was quickly deepened into more, and I melted into his hard chest as his hands worked their way up and into my hair. His tongue searched mine, and I felt him grow hard underneath me as I ground myself into him.
"Fuck," he hissed as my hands roamed his chest, reaching for the buttons of his shirt.
"One more for old times sake?" I whispered.
He answered by reaching for the bottom of my dress and pulling it up and over my head, leaving my in only my bra and panties.
His mouth found my neck, then my collar bone as his tongue carved a path across my skin. I moaned my pleasure into his ear before my tongue traced the shell of it, causing a violent shiver to shake his body and mine, as we were joined as tightly as possible.
Wordlessly, Edward stood, his hands holding my bare thighs up as he held me in the air. I reached behind me and pulled my bra off, letting my breasts fall free and tighten in the cool air of the room.
Edward laid me down on my back and gently tugged my panties off, leaving me naked before him. His eyes looked deeply into mine, and where months before we were merely fucking in these rooms, where we met and started a rocky foundation, we were now making love, two people in a solid relationship. I knew before, of course, but it was reaffirmed for me in that moment that we were everlasting. He was it for me. He was and always would be my soulmate.
Edward removed the rest of his clothes and eased onto his knees on the couch, spreading me so that he was nestled between me.
"Are you ready, my love?" He asked gently.
"Always," I told him, feeling him settle down and slowly, so slowly, sheath himself inside of me.
We both moaned when our bodies met, and I felt full and complete as I always did when we connected.
Edward pushed in and out of me slowly, never breaking eye contact as his thumb found and began to rub me just so.
It took what seemed only moments before we were crashing together, legs shaking and chests heaving. He spilled into me as I pulsed around him, and I cried out at the miraculous sensation.
"Fuck," he moaned, as he often did when he came.
We smiled then, and, checking the time, snuggled together when we saw that still had two hours before his show.
"Crap, Rose! I forgot about Rose!" I said, realizing the time meant my show was long over and she'd be leaving the audience area to find me. I pushed Edward to get off of me so I could stand.
"Crap crap crap," I said, standing and running to the bathroom to clean up.
"Bella," Edward called.
"I'm such a shit friend," I said, going back to the room to get dressed.
"Bella," he said again.
"She's going to be so mad at me," I whined.
"Bella!" Edward said, snapping me to attention.
"What?" I asked, breathless from my mad dash around the room.
"Rose was planning to stay in the audience for Emmett's show. He was in the second taping. They are probably just letting out now," Edward said.
"Oh. Oh, yeah," I said, remembering that she'd mentioned after breakfast that she was going to stay in the audience for the first two tapings.
"Now put your bra on straight. Your shirt is thin. Don't want you distracting the competition even more than you already have," he said, looking pointedly at me and then to the notes and his discarded clothing in the floor.
"Oh, like you minded," I laughed.
We kissed one more time before parting ways. I walked out just in time to see Rose coming through the studio doors.
"Good game, B. Emmett won, too. Looks like we just need ballerina Barbie in there to win his round and you three are one step closer to facing off," she said.
"That's great!" I said nervously, trying not to let on to what I'd just been doing.
She looked at my hair, then sniffed me.
"Ew, you and Edward just had sex!" She said dramatically.
"Shhhhhut up!" It was one thing that people knew we were together. It'd be another if the Jeopardy! execs knew we were defiling the couches in every room here.
"You two are so gross. Can't take you anywhere," she mumbled.
"Whatever. Let's go get lunch at one of the studio restaurants. Maybe we will see Ellen or someone from the Big Bang Theory," I said.
The next day, Emmett, Edward, and I would all be competing in the semifinals in three separate matches against two of the other winners and four wildcard contestants from the day before. These three games would narrow down the three finalists.
Rose and I stayed in my dressing room until my game, and then she stayed in the audience to watch Emmett's, since he was going last in the semifinals.
To no one's surprise, the three of us each won our respective matches and would go on to play the finals that night.
We got a three hour break to eat/study/nap/whatever we needed to do before the biggest match of our Jeopardy! careers.
We decided it best to spend apart in our own dressing rooms. Rose said she was going off studio for a bit to do some shopping but would be back for the games. I didn't blame her; this studio got really boring with all of the down time between matches.
I curled into the couch and turned on the TV. Reruns of yesterday's games were playing, so instead of the endless note card studying, I decided to study my opponents. I knew Edward's game play just about as well as my own.
Emmett's I wasn't as familiar with. He wasn't as fast as Edward, but when he did buzz in, he rarely ever missed a question. Where Edward tended to jump around the board in search of the Daily Doubles and higher amount questions, Emmett chose from the same category until it was done. It made him more predictable but also allowed him to get into a grove that was harder to stop.
I watched three games before I realized what time it was. They'd be coming to get me in about 10 more minutes to go to the stage. I'd wanted to see Edward before to wish him luck, and I knew I needed a dose of reality from Rose to help my nerves.
These two games were going to be unlike any that I'd played before, even the one yesterday and the one today. These two determined the overall champion of the game for this year, and it might not seem like much to some, but to me, it was what I desperately wanted. It wasn't common for a female to ever make it to this leg of the competition, let alone win it. I was out to show everyone, myself included, what I was capable of doing.
I knocked on Edward's door once before it swung opened.
"Hey, I was just coming to find you. Wanted to wish my girl good luck," he winked, holding out his arms. I stepped into them and wrapped my own around his back.
"Can you believe how far we've come? I feel like we've come full circle in almost a year. It was nearly 11 months ago that we met here," I sighed, thinking about the long fall months we spent apart and the wonderful winter and spring months we'd spent together. He'd moved shortly after telling me he bought the office in South Carolina, and while we'd opted to not live together yet, a lot of our time was spent together and with overnight stays.
"It really has been a whirlwind year. I wouldn't trade it for the world. And just think, when I win that quarter million later, we can use it to look for a house when we get home," he smiled.
I was too gleeful at hearing him refer to South Carolina as our home that I let his little jibe about winning go. Last month, after officially opening his office and settling in to stay, he'd taken me to a tattoo parlor. To go with the multitude of ink on his body, he'd gotten a small outline of the state of South Carolina on it, a tiny red heart around where Columbia would be on the map. He told me his heart would always be there now.
It was cheesy and adorable and we'd had awesome sex afterwards.
"Let's go kick Rose's boyfriend's ass," Edward said.
"Where is Rose?" I asked. She was supposed to be back at my dressing room fifteen minutes ago. They'd given her a guest pass to ensure entry and exit from the studio when she pleased.
He just shrugged, so we walked down the hall to look for her in the audience.
I noticed as we passed Emmett's room that the door was cracked opened. I decided to wish him luck, too.
I knocked once before pushing the door open.
"Hey Emmett, I just wanted to wish you good-oh! Shit, sorry!" I said, realizing Emmett wasn't alone. That's when the leggy blonde with her face attached to his turned around and I realized she was my leggy, blonde best friend.
"Hey, B," she smiled, wiping delicately at her lips.
"Hey," I laughed. "Much as I hate to interrupt-whatever this is, it's almost call time," I said to Emmett. They both looked at me with goofy grins.
"I'll, ah, let you-finish?" I said awkwardly before closing the door.
"Let them finish? Bella, they were just making out. Pretty sure they were finished. Poor Emmett, going on stage with a raging boner. That's easily in my top five most embarrassing moments," Edward said with a laugh.
"When did you go on stage with a boner?" I asked.
"The first show of the day after I'd spent be night with you last year," he whispered in my ear.
The first show went quickly, and we were all pretty close together by the end. Emmett held the lead, seemingly having found a surge of confidence I'd either never noticed in him before or he'd never had before. I guess a make out session right before with my hot roommate helped a little.
I was in a close second, trailing only by $1,000, and Edward was in third, $200 behind me. We got a thirty minute break to go change our clothes and freshen up, appearing as if this was a new day for a new show.
When I returned from changing my shirt, I took my spot in the middle podium since I was currently in second place. Emmett stood tall but nervous to my right, and Edward, for the first time ever, appeared somewhat nervous to my left. One hand was already on the buzzer, the other in his pocket. He was fidgeting and bouncing from foot to foot. I'd never seen him like this. He'd acted like this wasn't that big of a deal to him, though I knew a big part of him wanted to win.
We hadn't talked much about how we'd take it if one of us won. It'd be tense, for sure, but surely we were strong enough to get through it. Suddenly I felt nervous that we weren't. What if I won and he couldn't handle it? What if he wasn't prepared to lose to me again? Surely not, though. He started dating me after I'd ruined his winning streak.
But this was different. This was major and important. This was something we both really wanted. I wondered if his nerves were for the same reason as mine.
The producers cued us in, and the show began before I could worry too much more.
My motivation never wavered, but by the end of the first two rounds, I was still in second place, this time to Edward. Emmett hadn't held as strong this round, though if he got the final question right and wagered enough today, coupled with what he won in the show before, he still had a chance.
I calculated what I'd need to wager-which was now a lot-to beat Edward. I'd have to wager almost all of my winnings from today to stand a chance. But if he did the same, if he wagered it all and got it right, then he'd win by a huge, unbeatable margin.
The Final Jeopardy category shown up on the screen as Alex announced it.
"'First Names' is the category of Final Jeopardy! Players, make your wagers," Alex said to us.
I realized then that I probably had a good chance given my track record, and playing it safe now wasn't an option. I wrote down the total amount of money I'd won in this second game, deciding that for as lucky as I'd been in this game, maybe my luck would carry me just a little further.
"We crown a new champion when we return, folks," he said, and then the producers signaled the start of the one minute break before the show would "start back."
Two people popped up to place dividers between each of us. Edward looked up and winked at me over the partition, turning back as the producer signaled that filming was beginning again.
"It's anyone's game at this point. Perhaps the most important question these players will ask themselves today is the one that answers this:
This name, meaning 'beauty', is also a pseudonym for Pauline Phillips, famous for her advice column.
Ten seconds, players. Good luck," Alex finished.
I smiled, knowing the answer immediately. I couldn't see Edward or Emmett, but I had I feeling they both knew the answer, too. It would all depend on how much they wagered.
"Alright players, times up. Emmett, as you're in third place, we'll start with you. You wrote down, 'What is Abigail?' Yes, Abigail Van Buren of the famous Dear Abby column. Let's see what you wagered," Alex said.
Emmett had wagered only a small amount. It put him in the lead, but not enough of one to beat me, as I knew now that my answer was right.
"Isabella, we come to you. Did you get it right?" He asked. My answer flashed onto the screen.
"Yes, you did. And what did you wager? Oh, wow, all of it," he said. The audience gasped as they realized I was now in a major lead.
"Edward, if you got this right and wagered it all, you could beat Isabella. Let's see if you did. Your answer is...Bella?" Alex said, confused. I know my face must have registered my shock. Even a few people in the audience chuckled, realizing that just like the last time we'd faced off, Edward had written down my name instead of the correct name. At least last time the names had been similar. This time, the names weren't even close.
"Well, I guess that name, ah, does mean 'beauty', but unfortunately, it's not the one we're looking for. Let's, um, let's see what you wagered," Alex said.
"Will you marry me?" Alex read, but I could barely hear it now because my heart was beating so hard in my ears. I felt someone tugging on my arm and turned to see Edward smiling at me, pulling me from my podium. He led me to the front of the podiums, the audience all staring on in shock.
Alex, wisely, stayed quiet as Edward bent to his knee and pulled a small box from the pocket he'd been fidgeting in the entire time.
Opening it, he revealed a large, round solitaire diamond, but all I could see was the sparkle in his beautiful eyes.
"Isabella Swan, my life, my love, my complete undoing at this game," he said and I laughed through the tears that were starting to fall from my face. "My Champion, my everything-will you marry me?" Edward asked.
I could barely get out a "yes" before the audience erupted in the loudest cheers I'd ever heard.
"Well folks, Edward's wager is considered a zero, so with a two day total of $54,000, Isabella Swan is our new Champion. Congratulations, Isabella," Alex said.
"Congratulations, baby," Edward whispered in my ear before picking me up and spinning around with me in his arms.
"You threw the game. You let me win," I said to him.
"Oh, Bella. You might be the champion, but I'm the winner," he winked. So cheesy.
"Oh, by the way...I won the bet," he said with a grin.
And there on the Jeopardy! stage, where I'd won more money than I'd ever know what to do with, where I'd met the man of my dreams-that's where the start of my forever began.
And that, my friends, is the end.
I wish you all the happiest of holidays, whichever you celebrate, and a Happy New Year!
Please keep in your thoughts the family and friends of last week's six day champion, Cindy Stowell. She competed in August, knowing that she was dying of stage four colon cancer. She died on December 5th, just eight days shy of her first show appearance airing. All of her winnings are being donated to cancer research. She is the first ever posthumous winner of the show.