Author's Note: Yes, it's a long time in the making, but here it is! I apologize for how long this took, but I wanted it to be perfect. And I really like the way it ends. Well, what are you waiting for? Read it already!
When I finally make it to out the dining room, Alice and Rose are at the front door, waiting to surprise the guys. I smile to myself, thinking how lucky I am to be here with everyone.
I take my place next to Alice, who gives my hand a little squeeze.
"It's everyone's first Valentine's together! It's perfect!" she squeals.
I shake my head at her, wondering how she isn't nervous right now. I look over at Rose to see her head shaking slightly, her bottom lip trembling.
Alice stops me before I make a move to go over to Rose, "It's okay, Bella. She's just a little jittery today. Calm down, too. Haven't you learned anything from being my friend?" She gives me a little pout.
I roll my eyes slightly, "Please, Alice. We've been through this before..."
"The girls are going to be shocked!"
The three of us snap our heads in the direction of the door. Alice's eyes widen in realization as she puts a finger to her lips, grabbing our arms and leading us toward the bar.
"Oh! I didn't think anything like this would happen!" Her voice trails off, a far away look in her eyes.
We stay silent for a few moments as we hear the keys jingle in the lock. I feel the tension building in us, wondering if we should show ourselves right away or stay hidden.
And Rose makes the decision for us as she runs out from behind the bar, throwing her arms around Emmett's neck.
"You wanted to surprise me?" She squeals in his ear.
He shakes his head, a wide smile playing at his lips. He grabs her face, giving her a slow kiss, and turns to us, "Shouldn't you two go after your men as well?"
Alice takes the cue first and runs out from behind the bar, "Jasper!" As he turns around, she leaps into his arms, kissing all over his face. He gives a shy laugh, leaning his head on her shoulder.
As I stand there mesmerized by those two couples, I hear a throat being cleared behind me. Jumping, I turn to see Edward in all his glory, crooked smile included. He holds his arms out, inviting me into his warm embrace.
Gently moving toward him, I circle my arms around his neck, pulling him in for a quick kiss. His hands trail little circles on my back, forcing my body closer to his. I relish in the feeling of our bodies so close together and deepen our kiss.
We stay like this for a while, our kisses becoming more passionate. I can't help but moan into his mouth as his hand moves just under the bottom of my shirt.
And all too soon, Alice, who has a smirk on her face, is pulling us apart.
"None of that here, you two!" She says, grabbing our arms and leading us to the tables. "Save it for later--we'd like to keep our appetite."
I give her a glare and realize I'm very tempted to stick my tongue out at her.
Angela and Ben walk into the dining room, holding the appetizers I prepared earlier. Edward leads me to my seat with a hand on my back. As he pulls out my chair, I notice a slight blush creeping upon his cheeks. I start to wonder what he has up his sleeve today...
Once we're all seated, the appetizers are placed in front of us and the lights dimmed. Edward looks over to me, shock clearly written on his face.
"How did you...?"
I place my hand on his, stalling his question, "Enjoy the food, Edward. We'll talk about everything later."
He nods his head at me, with adoration in his eyes, "Of course, my Bella."
We eat the appetizer in silence, the gentle flavors of the dish melting on our tongues. I look at Edward, whose eyes are closed while he tastes the food, and notice a smile playing at his lips.
After a few moments, he looks to me, "The flavor combinations are classical, but somehow you make it magical." He takes my hand in his, lifts it to his lips, and gives it a quick kiss.
I stare into his eyes, losing myself in the moment with him. I couldn't imagine being happier with anyone else.
Angela's hand on my should stirs me, "Are you finished with your appetizer?"
After a quick nod of my head, our plates are cleared. We sit there in silence, looking around the room. At the other tables, they are deep in conversations with their heads close together, smiles gracing their faces. Alice catches my eye and gives me a big smile.
Once our main course is delivered, the bitter aroma of espresso combined with the peppery smell of the cayenne wafts toward our noses. I catch of glimpse of Edward closing his eyes, a deep look of concentration on his face. I giggle a bit, watching him closely, waiting for his senses to realize what flavor combination I used.
Finally, he opens his eyes, giving me a light glare. He takes his fork, gently easing a piece onto it, and takes the bite. His eyes focus on me the entire time, light humor apparent in them. He nods his head in approval and smiles at me.
Once again, we eat the meal in silence, stealing shy glances at one another. The beef matches well with the sides on the plate, and I find myself savoring every moment of this dish.
All too soon, our main courses are finished, our stomachs satiated. Edward grabs my hand, pulling it to lips, and places a chaste kiss there.
"That was amazing, Bella. Thank you!" He places another kiss on my hand before silently moving his chair closer to mine. Placing a hand on my neck, he leans his head close to mine, our eyes locking.
Dessert is placed on the table without our knowledge. A squeal from the other table arouses us, forcing our eyes to tear away from one another's. We look around to see Alice holding a spoon and Jasper's face covered in my chocolate cake. Giggling, I watch the exchange as Jasper tries to do the same to Alice and miserably fails.
When I turn back to Edward, he is already holding a little bite of the dessert on a spoon for me. I shake my head, wanting him to be the first to taste it. A little nudge by the spoon, and my mouth opens. The sweetness and bitterness of the cake with the crème anglaise hit my tongue, creating the reaction I hoped for. As the flavors combine in my mouth, I smile at Edward, who is taking his first bite.
His eyes close as he closes his mouth around the spoon, a sweet smile playing at his lips. Before he can open his eyes, I make my move quickly, kissing him, wanting to taste him and the dessert together.
He moans softly into my lips, moving his arms around me, pulling me closer. I relish in the feeling of our upper bodies touching and want more of him. Our lips part, and his tongue tangles in mine. My body ignites, needing him.
We break the kiss slowly, not wanting to move away from one another. Our eyes catch, our smiles wider than before. I can feel the blush creeping upon my cheeks and avert my eyes to the table.
After our dessert is finished, Edward wraps his around me, his mouth close to my ear, "You do know that I will do everything to pay you back for this. I couldn't have asked for a better Valentine's Day."
"Edward, you don't have to pay me back! I did this because I wanted to..."
He looks at me, his eyes full of adoration, "I don't have to. I want to."
He cuts me off by placing his fingers on my lips, "Don't argue with me, Bella. I had plans for you today as well, and you ruined them."
My eyes go wide at his words and I feel horrible. Just as I'm about to apologize, I notice that crooked smile playing at his lips, his body shaking from holding in his laughter.
I playfully smack his arm, pulling out of his embrace. His smile fades for a minute, but then returns when I sit in his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck.
I lean my face toward his, moving away from his lips at the last second. He groans in my ear as he places a kiss on my cheek. I giggle, as I gently nip his earlobe, causing his arms to tighten around me.
"Must you tease me in such company?"
I nod my head, looking around the room. Alice and Jasper have their eyes locked, silent emotions and words flowing between them. No one in the room matters to them anymore. Rose and Emmett have disappeared. I'm guessing they've made their way to the closet downstairs.
"It's only you and I right now, Edward. Relax a little, have some fun."
"I'm very tempted to take you in the walk-in and show you relaxed, Bella."
I stare into his eyes, knowing full well that he isn't joking around. My body shivers, my heart beat increases, and the blush forces its way back onto my cheeks.
"I'm glad you understand what you have done to me. And I will have you in the walk-in later..."
And he kisses me, pulling me closer to him, challenging me tempt him more. I play his game for a while, leaving a trail of kisses on his jaw, gently biting his neck, and tracing my fingers on his back.
Ever so quickly, Edward and I are on our feet, our breaths short. He moves away from me, motioning with his hand to follow. Confused, I speed up to walk with him, but he's too quick for me.
The door to the kitchen is just closing as I reach it. I stop, placing my hand on my door, wondering what went wrong at the table. Taking a deep breath, I walk into the kitchen, only to have myself pushed up against the wall, Edward's body flush with mine.
"What am I going to do with you? Do you feel what you do to me?" His hips grind into mine; I can feel his arousal pushing into my stomach.
My mouth forms the shape of an "o" as I force my eyes to focus on his face. His eyes are full of shame, but there's a fire in them that I haven't seen before. And I find myself intrigued...and very aroused as well.
I pull his face to mine for a passionate kiss, compelling my lips to say what my mouth can't.
"Bella…" He pulls away, his hands on my sides.
I place a hand on his cheek, gently rubbing with one finger, "Edward." Smiling, I move closer to him, kissing him again.
We pull apart, our hands never leaving each other's body. I don't want to stop touching him, but the clock is against us.
Static rings over the speakers and Alice's voice booms in the kitchen, "Rose and Emmett, will you please stop whatever physical activity you're doing in the supply closet and report to the bar? And Edward and Bella, stop touching! Aren't you supposed to be prepping for tonight?"
I close my eyes, blushing. Alice knows all.
Edward laughs, grabbing my hand, "You heard the lady, Bella. Get to work!"
Music plays over the sound system while we prep. We work together, moving our bodies to the music, calling out items that we need, and singing the lyrics. Our prep work is finished before we know it, leaving us with an hour to spare.
Arms wrap around my waist and I sigh in content. I can feel Edward's breath on my neck, his hands caressing my stomach.
"I just need to check something downstairs. I'll be right back."
With my eyes closed, I nod my head. And a just a second later, they fly back open, realizing he can't go down there.
He stops at the top of the stairs, turning slowly toward me, that crooked smile adorning his face.
"I'm not going in the walk-in, Bella," he says, winking.
I narrow my eyes at him, wondering how I can stop him from moving any further.
He chuckles, moving closer to me, "What is it?"
I struggle to find the right words to say, when something comes to mind. "What if Emmett and Rose are still in the supply closet? Shouldn't you give them a little privacy?"
He laughs loudly; the sound is heaven to my ears. Looking back to the stairway, he whispers, "I don't think they like privacy that much..."
As he starts to turn away, I again struggle to come up with another excuse. And I fail horribly.
I stand there, waiting for what seems like an eternity for him to come back. Nervously, I fiddle with my hands, wondering what is taking him so long.
And finally, I see him walking back up the stairs with some items in his arms and a confused look on his face.
"Something wrong, Edward?" I take a few things from him, placing them on the counter.
He shakes his head at me, moving to the reach-in to unload the rest of the food in his arms. Once everything is perfectly placed, he looks up at me, "I think they moved out of the supply closet and into the bathroom. I heard some weird noises coming from there and I don't think I want to know."
I let out a breath, the laughter building inside of me. Edward gives me a confused look, but I shake it off. The smile returns to my face and I kiss him on the cheek.
"What are you so happy for?" He asks, standing to grab the rest of the food.
"I can't be happy to just be here with you?"
He laughs lightly, placing the items in the cooler, "Are you ready for tonight? This will be one of the longest services you've ever done."
"I'm a little nervous, but I'm sure everything will go smoothly. Or have you not noticed how well we work together?"
He smiles at me, taking my hand, "I've heard they're jealous of us."
"Extremely jealous, Edward!" Alice says, pushing him away from me. "I need you downstairs for a girls' meeting, Bella."
After pulling me down the stairs and dragging me back up through the stairs that lead to the bar, we're both out of breath.
I snap my hand out of her grasp, glaring at her.
"What? Do you now want to hear what I have to say?"
I sigh, "No, but can't you move slower? I swear I almost fell three times."
"Actually, it was more along the lines of ten times, but who's counting?"
I narrow my eyes again, "What is it this time, your majesty?"
It's her turn to glare at me, "Oh, you're so lucky I like you, Bella..."
Laughing, she turns to Rose, "Well, shall we share the plan?"
Rose nods her heads, her smile wide. She places three margaritas on the bar, "Ladies, an afternoon drink never hurt anyone. And I think we're going to need it tonight."
I'm not about to argue, so I take mine, sipping slowly. I eagerly await the information I'm about to receive.
"Oh, there's nothing really to tell, Bella. We just wanted you to have a drink with us," Rose says, putting an arm around my waist. "To us!"
We tap our glasses together, laughing. As we enjoy our margaritas, Alice and Rose compliment me on the lunch that I made. I feel myself blush over their words and thank them in turn.
"I think it's time to the open the restaurant, ladies," Jasper says, walking toward the door.
I thank Rose and Alice for stealing me out of the kitchen, giving each of them a hug, and head back to the kitchen.
Soft music plays on the speakers, setting the mood. It has a nice beat, telling me it will be a fun night working in the kitchen with Edward. I imagine us moving around one another smoothly, dancing for a few seconds, and then cooking again. A smile creeps upon lips as I walk behind Edward.
I wrap my arms around his waist, squeezing his gently, pulling my body to his. There is a part of me that wants to forego cooking to meet him in the walk-in. And yet, another part tells me to wait, for the passion that is there is only building.
I gently untangle my arms from his waist, moving behind the line. After tying the apron around my waist, I set-up my station and wait for the tickets to start pouring in.
The printers start quickly, spitting out tickets. Edward and I wrestle over who will grab the first ticket to call out. As the ever gentleman that he is, I win the first ticket battle.
"Table 8, one carpaccio, one lamb medium, and one t-bone rare."
Edward moves quickly on starting the appetizer, while I take out the meat for the main courses.
Emmett and Alice come into the kitchen, their faces red.
"It's a mad house out there! I can't believe the entire restaurant is packed this quick," Emmett says, wiping his brow with my towel.
"Don't use that for your face!" I grab the towel from him with two fingers, placing it in the dirty bin.
He scowls at me, grabbing the appetizer from the line, and moving slowly out of the kitchen, "You're going to be using it later! I don't know why I can't use it!"
"Table 10, one ahi tuna, two tenderloins medium rare. Emmett, she can use it because her sweat is not disgusting. It's more along the lines of sweet..." Edward says all this in one breath, smirking.
Emmett grumbles something on his way out the door, while Alice giggles and waits for her appetizer.
"It really is packed out there, you two. Can you handle it?" She grabs a gnocchi from the dish that I'm plating up.
"We can, Alice," Edward says, while grilling the lamb. "And don't let that appetizer get cold by just standing there..."
She winks at me, grabs another gnocchi, and leaves.
As we move around the kitchen together, I notice the tickets keep piling up. As fast as Edward and I move, we just can't get the number to go down. Thankfully, Alice and Emmett are plating up the desserts on their own.
It's an hour into service, and we've already served the first seating. After an extremely short break, the tickets start coming out again, forcing us to realize what a night we really are in for.
Edward starts grabbing tickets, reading them off quickly. I struggle to keep up with his words, and find myself falling behind.
"Bella, where's the other entree for table 19?"
I pull my eyes away from the salmon that I'm searing to stare directly in eyes. And I see in his face that he knows I forgot to make the pasta dish. I feel my face turn red and the back of my throat starts to burn.
"I'm sorry. I..." The words are choked in my throat.
His eyes are full of concern, "Bella, are you okay? You look a little lost."
I smell the salmon burning, quickly removing the pan from the fire. Mentally swearing at myself, I turn back to meet Edward's eyes. I nod my head at him, silently telling him that I'll be fine.
He has other plans for me, however. Gently, he leads me to the back of the kitchen where the makeshift chairs are. He places his hands on my shoulders, forcing me to sit. After a chaste kiss on the forehead, he whispers in my ear, "Take a breath, Bella. Sit here for as long as you need. I have everything under control."
I'm in a daze as I watch him behind the line. He moves with grace as he grabs the food from the reach-in, placing it in a pan. As it sizzles, he moves to the other side, making appetizers. His feet never leave the floor, but it looks as though he is floating.
"Close your mouth, Bella."
I didn't know my jaw was hanging open. As I bring my eyes up to meet Edward's, the look on his face is incredible. His eyes show passion, his mouth is twisted into his crooked grin, and his jaw-line is chiseled. I want nothing more than to run to him, wrap my arms around, and kiss him.
I'm met with open arms as my body slams into his. My arms wrap around his neck, pulling his face down to meet mine. Our lips meet forcefully, as our hands start to roam each other's body. Our kisses are passionate, demanding, and needy. Our tongues meet quickly as electric currents race through my body.
And suddenly I start to smell something burning. We untangle our bodies to find the tenderloin blackened in the pan. As we start to laugh, we realize we have an audience.
Alice and Emmett are standing there, their jaws dropped. I can feel the redness adorning my cheeks, and bury my face in Edward's chest.
"Wow," comes out of Alice's mouth softly.
Emmett just stands there, his jaw still drooping. I laugh at his expression, moving toward my station again.
"I'm ready, Chef," I say, looking at Edward.
He smiles, handing me another piece of tenderloin, "Then get to work, Chef!"
I nod my head at him, giving him a smile, "Yes, sir!" I salute him and turn to the stove.
And it begins again. We take turns calling out the tickets and repeating them out loud. Our bodies moving in sync as we dance around each other, keeping up with the food. Every so often, we find ourselves flush against one another, stealing sweet kisses.
The tickets are no longer backing up; the printer is starting to die down a bit. I check my watch and notice that it's already past ten. I give a sigh of relief, hoping this night will end quickly now.
And, alas, it doesn't. We get another rush around eleven, forcing us to not drag our feet. We're both exhausted now, but our movements are the same.
After another two hours, it's finally time to close down. I untie my apron and unbutton my chef coat. The heat is the kitchen is unbearable now; I'm glad I decided on a tank top underneath.
Edward follows suit, baring his tank top as well. I stop my jaw from dropping and force myself to look away. We have to break down the kitchen first. And I keep repeating that mentally as he moves toward me.
His hands grab my waist, picking up my slowly until my face is level with his. The emotions are clearly written on his face as he kisses me deeply.
Gently he sets me down, moving toward his station. We break down the kitchen quickly, cleaning in a comfortable silence.
Just as we finish, Jasper walks into the kitchen. He's holding some papers in his hand, extending them toward Edward.
As he scans the papers his face has an unbelievable look, "We did 500 covers tonight?"
Jasper nods his head, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Edward turns to me, "We did 500 covers tonight, Bella! Just the two of us!" And he picks me up, swinging me around, laughing. "This means we celebrate!"
The happiness is infectious as we make our way to the bar. Everyone is celebrating after an extremely hard day of work.
After a couple of drinks, we all decide to call it a night. Thankfully, the boys have decided to close the restaurant tomorrow for much needed rest and alone time.
Alice stops me as I make my way toward the stairs, "He'll love the gift. Trust me."
I give her a hug, kissing her on the cheek, "Thank you, Alice. I'm so grateful to have you as a friend."
Downstairs, I feel jittery as Edward walks into the locker room.
"Finally, peace and quiet. And I don't have to share you with any stoves tomorrow," he whispers in my ear as he pulls me close.
I laugh, gently pulling out of his grasp, "No, not the stoves..."
His confusion is clear on his face as I grab his hand, leading him toward the bathroom.
"The bathroom? Oh no! We're not doing anything where they've been..." He tries to pull out of my grasp, but I stand my ground.
"Edward, it wasn't them in the bathroom. Look inside," I say to him as I open the door.
I push him forward and he's greeted with an extremely happy Alaskan Malamute puppy. She wags her tail, jumping up, whining to be pet.
I wait nervously for his reaction. And then he bends down, lifting her in his arms, cooing to her.
"You bought her for me?"
I nod my head, a small smile at my lips.
I sigh, "Because I know about Nakita and how much you loved her. I wanted you to have that again. I know what you went through and how hard it is to cope after that happens."
Gently, he puts the puppy down, who starts whining immediately for attention. He gathers me up in his arms, kissing all over my face, before kissing my lips. He pulls back, staring me straight in the eyes, "She beautiful, just like you."
I blush at his words, kissing his lips.
"You should name her, you know."
I shake my head, "She's yours. You name her."
He closes his eyes for a second, thinking. Looking down at her, his smile grows. He picks her up, kissing her head, "I think I'll name you later, little pup. There's something I need to do first."
After setting her back down, he takes my hand, leads me out of the bathroom and closes the door. She starts to whine a bit, but settles down after a few moments.
He leads me to the walk-in, opening the door for me. The entire cooler is filled with red roses; petals are strewn about the floor.
"This is where it all started..." He walks in, pulling me with him.
He turns to face me, the fire in his eyes noticeable, "Bella..."
"Edward," I say, as I bring one hand up to cup his cheek.
His eyes bear into mine, "I love you."
My heart jumps in my chest, beating loudly. Emotions overflow me and I realize this is completely real. And it feels so very right.
"I love you too, Edward."
And as he lifts me up again, kissing me passionately, I couldn't be happier.
And I have Alice to thank for everything.
I want to thank all my readers out there. You're the best! Because of you, I wanted this to be perfect. Thank you again!
I don't know if there will be another story anytime soon, but expect some one-shots from me. I have a couple in my head about this story that happens after this ending.
Please let me know if you enjoyed it!
Much love to all you wonderful readers out there!