A/N: Shorty chap this time.
Bella liked this Edward Cullen guy. He was easy to talk to, surprisingly funny given that this should have been a depressing day for him. For that matter, she was pretty sure if not for him, she'd have been crying her eyes out before lunch. Even Disneyland couldn't have kept her from thinking about what's-his-face all day.
For being a random stranger, Edward was engaging as hell. It was like she'd won the stranger lottery. He was interesting too, telling her stories about his obnoxious older brother and sister. They were obnoxious in that wonderful way Bella had always dreamed siblings could be.
They swapped stories about their parents. He thought her mother sounded fascinating. She would have used the words flighty and irritating. The number of personal crises Bella had solved for her mother long distance prohibited her from thinking it was any kind of charming. By contrast, the worst thing he could say about his parents was that his dad told too many bad dad jokes and his mother could get a little too enthusiastic about being perfectly supportive.
"After Kate left me, she flew down because she swore up and down someone needed to cook for me. I'm the one who did the cooking in the relationship."
At Ariel's Grotto, Bella took pictures of him with all the wandering princesses, joking that this was the Disney nerd version of going out with hot women to show Kate what she was missing.
"Now if only they'd do the right thing and acknowledge Princess Leia as an actual Disney princess, Kate would rue the day," Bella said.
"Not going to lie, I think I would actually fangirl." He furrowed his brow. "Now that I think about it, there's a disturbing lack of any female presence representing Star Wars at Disneyland. You can get a picture with Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Boba Fett and Stormtroopers, but not Leia, Rey, or Captain Phasma."
"I mean...Stormtroopers can be women. How would you know?"
"They talk. They never sound like women."
"Stereotype much?" Bella clucked her tongue as though she were so ashamed of him.
So, in spite of the fact Bella's heart had been well and thoroughly broken that morning, she had a fairly good day. They got a good number of rides in. Crowds were reasonable. They caught the tail end of the Play Parade, and Edward proved he could stand in for a Dapper Dan in a pinch.
It was World of Color that did her in.
World of Color was a show in California Adventure. The waters of Paradise Bay danced set to music, color, and Disney's classic moments. Never did Bella feel like more of a wide-eyed child, full of wonder, than during one of Disney's shows.
Jasper loved World of Color. He bounced in place and hummed along with the songs. And, of course, in the more romantic parts, like when they played a portion of "A Whole New World", he'd take her in his arms and sing to her.
Her throat got tighter and tighter. Her eyes stung like crazy, and it was kind of hard to breathe.
Then, Mufasa's death scene from "The Lion King" segued into the Disney orphans with their lost parents which segued into a montage of the most romantic scenes from Disney movies all set to Enchanted's "So Close."
Bella shivered, remembering how many times Jasper had pulled her close, wrapped her in his arms and swayed them to the music, kissing her a princess's kiss right along with Cinderella and her Prince.
She'd have sworn she'd never listened to the lyrics of the song before. It sounded romantic, but…
So close to reaching
That famous happy end
This one's not pretend
Fuck, she was going to bawl.
"I was going to do it right now. Right here."
Bella jumped. She'd forgotten there was someone right beside her. "What?"
Edward wasn't looking at her. He was staring sightlessly at the water, and she noticed he had a box in his hands. She took a deep breath. If he'd planned to propose right at this moment—the height of romance and emotion in the whole show—he was having a worse time than she was. "That's some stellar planning. You have a sense of drama," she said lightly.
He ducked his head, a small, humorless smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "I've heard that before. Usually in exasperation, but I was going for the opposite in this case."
"I hear that's a good thing to do for proposals." She touched the top of the box. "Can I see?"
"Yeah, sure." He opened the box, letting it rest on his palm as she tilted it toward her.
Bella gasped. "Oh, man." She reached out before she thought about it and stroked the stone. She wasn't a jewelry girl, but this ring was simply gorgeous. Even in the darkness of the evening, it sparkled. "Uh...this is the prettiest ring I've ever seen."
"Oh! Oh! He's proposing!" a voice squeaked.
Bella and Edward sat up straight. They'd been bent forward with their heads close together so they could hear each other over the noise of show. They both stared as a woman at the table next to them stood up, yelling loud enough to get everyone's attention. "He proposed! A proposal!"
Cheers and shouts broke out around them. Someone hugged her. Clapped her shoulders. Someone else thwacked Edward on the back in congratulations, all set to the ending number of the show. It was a chaos of cheers, whoops, hollers, water, fire, lasers, and light. It was way too noisy for Edward and Bella to set the record straight. She caught his eye, and his bewildered face turned into a grin. He laughed. She laughed. They both rolled their eyes and pretended, for a few minutes, that they were newly engaged.
Disney magic at work. Oh well. It was better than crying.
It was a solid forty minutes before they were able to make it to the exit of the park. People kept stopping to congratulate them. They were festooned with buttons of celebration. At some point, Edward had slung his arm casually over her shoulder, and rather than feel so wrong, it felt okay. Natural. He didn't mean anything by it.
There was an odd sense that this moment belonged to them. Like they were together. Not romantically. Not in the same way friends were, but they were a package, united in the face of mutual heartbreak. He was hers and she was his. It was just one of those weird, mutual moments.
But, at the gate, as they slipped out to the entrance plaza, his hand fell from her shoulders. The spell was broken. Disney magic indeed.
Bella sighed, wrapping her arms around herself as they headed in the direction of the trams. Then, she gasped, and hurriedly took the gorgeous engagement ring she'd slipped on her finger at some point off. "Look at that. I'm a thief. That'd round my day out pretty well. Getting thrown in jail."
He chuckled wryly. "Oh, yeah. It's not like you have a park full of people who witnessed our engagement or anything." He took the ring she offered, slipped it back into the box, and put the box in his pocket.
"So, that was interesting."
He shoved his hands in his pockets. "Hey, that was probably a happier ending than I was ever going to get. Imagine what would have happened if I'd proposed before she went on the cruise. If she was feeling detached enough to do what she did, it wouldn't have ended well." He rolled his shoulders, his light tone not matching the hurt in his eyes. "You know someone would have ended up catching it on their cell phone, and I'd have gone viral as the asshole who got shut down at a Disneyland proposal."
Bella didn't know what to say to that. Before she could think of a response, he sighed. "Sorry. I didn't mean to go there."
"Hey." Tentatively, she put a hand on his arm and gave it a squeeze. "Don't apologize to me. Venting isn't a bad thing."
He hummed, glancing at her. "That goes both ways. I shouldn't be dumping this on you today of all days. Today had to suck for you."
"Parts of it sucked." She smiled. "But none of the parts with you."
His eyes met hers, and there was a surge of weird energy between them. She was feeling a lot of things right then—confusion, anger, heartache among them—but for a split second, she was breathless.
The tram drove up and they had to wait through the shuffle of people. There were exactly two spots left on that tram, one right in front of the other. Edward held her door open before he took the spot in front of her.
They spent the short tram ride to the parking structure in silence, and Bella was glad for the distraction thinking about Edward caused. She'd take it over thinking about Jasper. She was still in fuck-that-guy mode.
When they got off the tram, Bella was quick enough that she got to hold the door open for him. He smirked and thanked her. They fell into step next to each other again. "So," she said.
"So," he said.
They were almost to the escalators. "I'm on Mickey," she said, indicating the level of the structure she was parked on.
His smile was rueful. "Goofy." Not even the same escalator.
She rocked onto the balls of her feet. "So, Facebook friends?"
He laughed and nodded. "Yeah. Definitely." He hesitated a moment before he stepped closer to her, pulling her into a hug. "I'm sorry Han Solo is such a prick."
"Ah, what do you expect from a half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherder anyway?" She smiled as she let him go, pretending her heart didn't hurt. "I'm sorry Princess Leia is an asshole."
"Yeah." He reached out and gave her hand a squeeze. "Thank you for today."
He let go of her. "I'll see you."
That thought made her strangely happy. "Yeah."
A/N: I am SO late for work. But! I posted, so I got my priorities straight. Hehehe.