Well, I finally finished this story- and it's my sweet sixteen :). Happy holidays everyone!
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, or any of Stephenie Meyer's characters.
"Be careful with the piano ― not too high, Rosalie! Edward would be so upset if we damaged it." Esme's directions came from the bottom of the stairs, where she observed Rosalie and I braced on either side of the piano as we carefully maneuvered the aged instrument around the curve of the banister. The piano's weight was no problem for our iron strength, but navigating it down the steep staircase without dropping it proved quite challenging.
"Like Edward won't be upset enough at the prospect of staying in the garage," Rosalie remarked, her full mouth twitching into a smirk.
"The garage is only temporary," Esme reminded her, fighting a smile in response.
"I feel awfully bad putting him out," I said, biting my lip as we reached the bottom stair. It wouldn't be a shock for him, though — I doubted anything ever took him by surprise. Already knowing his gentlemanly mannerisms and likely reaction, I wasn't too worried about taking his room.
"Think nothing of it! He spends most of his time in the garage anyway, fixing up all those cars." Once assured the piano had arrived safely and visibly intact on the ground, Esme turned toward the open front door, her arms full of books and music. "It's almost dark out — no one will suspect anything."
We followed Esme through the moss-festooned oak trees to their cavernous garage, home to the Cullens' five luxurious cars and now, to Edward.
Once the three of us had moved everything to the garage — Carlisle and Jasper had offered to help, but we insisted on them continuing their intellectual discussion — and Esme had arranged the area to moderately resemble a living space, I sat down on the hood of the nearest Bentley. My attention drifted, thoughts of all the events that had led me here and how impossible it had seemed to me that such a haven existed at all surfaced in my mind. I could barely believe my own luck at being accepted here, and to know I had Jasper with me simply added to my incredulity.
The subdued squeal of tires turning into the driveway woke me from my reverie. Car headlights flashed silently across the opening of the garage, blinding me temporarily with their brightness. I imagined what this must be look like to them, coming home to find an unfamiliar vampire perched on the hood of their car. Especially for Emmett, who unfortunately lacked any sort of warning to begin with.
Edward jumped down from the driver's seat, a crooked grin spreading across his face.
"Who the h—" Emmett began to exclaim but was quickly cut off by a stern look from Esme. The entire Cullen family plus Jasper had assembled on the porch behind her, watching as Edward made his way towards me. Emmett, completely clueless, went to stand by Rosalie. Whispering in his ear so fast the words blurred together, she quietly filled him in on all that had happened in the last few hours.
I rose soundlessly off the car, balancing on the fender so I was eye level with him. He was the Cullen I was most anxious to meet, and I felt a friendship forming between us before we had even spoken.
"Do you really see the future?" He asked in a low voice, barely concealing his interest.
"Just like you read minds," I answered, smiling with all my teeth.
His eyes widened, their golden shade evidence of his recent hunting expedition. He glanced around the garage, understanding mingling with curiosity in his expression.
"I guess I know why all this is here," he commented nonchalantly, his mouth fixed in the same smile.
"I'm sorry to put you out—" I began in earnest. He raised a hand to stunt my apology.
"It's all right," he said grudgingly. "I suppose it will be more convenient for me, having the piano and the cars in the same place."
I allowed myself a single giggle before I bounded forward and hugged him around the waist. I realized how I must appear to everyone else, easily excited and overly enthusiastic, but my outward emotions didn't begin to reflect how jubilant I felt on the inside. Only Jasper knew for sure, and I was glad of that intimate secret between us.
Edward, taken aback by my physicality, uncomfortably patted me on the back. Sensing his awkwardness, I let him go.
"Thank you," I said. Thank you for everything. The last unspoken part I directed at all the Cullens, even though they couldn't hear it.I would trust Edward to pass it on.
After the initial excitement had worn off, the Cullen family dispersed from their spectator positions on the lawn and porch. I watched from my resumed position on the car, amazed at how quickly they seemed to have adjusted to our presence.
I heard a light footstep behind me. As I turned to face him, it occurred to me that perhaps the Cullens' departure into the house was meant to give Jasper and me some privacy. Whatever the reason, I was glad for some time alone with him.
He stood in the wide doorway, the moonlight illuminating the golden strands in his hair. I know it seemed counter-intuitive to compare him to an angel, but nothing else seemed adequate enough to describe him standing there.
I jumped down from the car, landing lightly on my feet, my arms held out to him. He moved closer, his eyes fixated on my face. Instead of folding into my embrace, he lifted me back onto the car hood, his hands still around my waist.
"I've tried not to think about this too much for fear you might see it in one of your visions," he began, his mouth curling into a smile. "But I've wanted to ask you about this for a long time."
I immediately closed my mind, trying desperately to keep this a surprise for myself as well. However, I didn't need any gift to predict what he was planning as soon as he knelt down on one knee.
I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to stifle the exclamation of delight. Yes, yes, yes… I already had my answer before he even asked the question.
"Alice," he began, his eyes never wavering from my own, "you are all I've ever wanted out of life. You're the only thing that makes this existence bearable."
A small squeal escaped through my fingers. I felt a swell of emotion in my chest, exactly where my heart should be.
"Will you marry me?"
He barely had time to finish his sentence before I threw my arms around his neck, practically knocking him over with the force of my euphoria. I subconsciously recognized this was the third time today I had shown my enthusiasm in such a manner.
"Oh Jasper!" was all I could gasp.
"'Oh Jasper' what?!" He cried.
"Oh Jasper, yes!"
His arms had created an inescapable snare around my waist, and we sat there on the greasy floor of the garage, aware only of each other and the future that lay ahead.
Jasper slowly moved forward, our lips touching silently. I soon lost myself in the ecstasy of such a moment, conscious only of his mouth on mine. When we pulled away, I noticed a sparkling diamond set into a thin golden band encircling the third finger of my left hand. I gently fingered it, admiring its majesty in the dim light of the garage. This setting wasn't exactly what I had imagined for his proposal, but the happiness I felt flowing through my dormant veins was enough to make me forget where we were and the struggle that had led us to find each other. I only saw Jasper.
Plans for the wedding were already circulating through my mind as he leaned in to kiss me again.
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