"Are you awake?" Edward's unmistakable dulcet voice arose me from the last vestiges of sleep.
"No," I groaned, burrowed deeper under the blanket and hid my face in his chest.
I felt his body shake slightly as he chuckled. "Let me know when you do wake up so,"
I shifted in an attempt to get more comfortable, and realised I was on the hard living room floor rather than my own bed. A thousand memories of the night before came flooding back. Some wonderful, some downright embarrassing, some I still didn't quite understand. Overall they were good memories. The best.
I forced my heavy eyes open and soft grey light filtered in through the closed curtains. The sky was calm, very different to the wild storm that had shook me the night before. The atmosphere in the room was calm too. There was no real awkwardness, no regrets. Just me and Edward, lazily greeting the new day.
He began to run his hand up and down my spine and it became impossible for me to feign sleep any longer.
"Alright, I'm awake," I mumbled. I sat up, and I was relieved again that we had remained fully clothed last night. Things would have been awkward if I had been only covered by the blanket right then. I yawned and stretched, raising my arms above my head. I could feel Edward's eyes on me. I winced slightly, and he was immediately standing over me, clearly concerned.
"Are you hurt?" he demanded.
I tried to answer his question, I really did. But I was totally side-tracked by his appearance. His bronze hair was even more dishevelled than usual, falling in his eyes and sticking up in the cutest way. His shirt was still unbuttoned, revealing his perfect sculpted body to me. The top button of his jeans was still open and I could see the elastic of his boxers. For a moment, I was stunned again. How could this beautiful creature really be mine? I remembered how good he made me feel last night, and how I seemed to have the same effect on him. I went from awed to feeling slightly…proud? I suppose that was the word.
"I'm not hurt," I finally remembered to answer him. "I'm just a little stiff from sleeping on the floor,"
"Oh," He looked kind of sheepish as he visibly relaxed and sat back down beside me. "You were in such a deep sleep, I thought you were comfortable,"
I wiped the sleep from my eyes and rested my head on his shoulder. "How are you this morning?" I asked him. Part of me was afraid he was going to be regretful about last night, that his morality would have kicked in in a delayed reaction and he would start acting guilty.
"How am I?" he repeated the question, pursing his lips slightly. "I feel wonderful, amazing, stupendous. There aren't enough adjectives in the English language to describe how happy you've made me,"
His laugh chimed like tinkling wind chimes through the room. It was infectious.
"So no regrets?" I verified.
"Of course not," he replied. "Why? You don't feel regretful do you?"
"No!" I practically shouted. "Not in the slightest. How could I regret the best night of my life,"
"Best night so far," he corrected me. "We've got eternity to have even better ones,"
I tingled at the very idea.
"You're very cheerful this morning," I commented.
"I have every reason to be cheerful. I'm here with my fiancée, the most beautiful person in existence. We have a wonderfully cloudy day to spend together. What more could I want?"
"Our wedding night to be closer?" I hazarded a guess.
Immediately his expression grew more serious. His words were careful. "I must admit that I am relieved? Or maybe proud is the right word? That last night went so well. But there are still no guarantees that I won't hurt you when the time comes for us to be more intimate,"
"Maybe not. But look at it like a rehearsal or a test-"
"A test?" he interrupted me. "In that case it was the best test I've ever taken,"
"See, last night was a pretty good indication of what we're capable of. Stop worrying so much,"
"I can't help it," He was smiling again though, all traces of the ever present worry were expertly masked from his face.
I took in his dishevelled appearance once more. "Have you not moved at all since I fell asleep?" I couldn't imagine what was going through his head while I slept.
Did he feel the same utter peace and contentment I had? Or was he worried that he had compromised my soul or worse that I was hurt?
Edward shook his head. "The storm was pretty bad, Bella. I didn't want you to wake and for me not to be here. I know you sleep more soundly when I hold you. Even if I'd been struck by lightning I wouldn't have been able to tear myself away from the sleeping angel in my arms. Not after last night. Not ever."
There was no doubting the sincerity in his words.
"However," he continued. "As nice as it is being here when you wake and holding you, we really should get up unless you want your father to return home and find us like this,"
Reluctantly, I disentangled myself from his arms.
"If you want to go get dressed I'll tidy up down here," Edward was already gathering the blankets we'd lay on. I left him to it, he'd be much quicker than me anyway.
Upstairs, I wiped the steam off the bathroom mirror to get a good look at myself. My lips were kind of puffy and my eyes were still sleepy looking. My hair was all mussed around my head. But other than that I still looked the same. I don't know why I thought I'd look different somehow. I felt different. Like I was the keeper of a secret. Like I was older.
When I'd made myself presentable again I went back down to Edward. He had fixed his clothes so he didn't look quite like he'd just rolled out of bed anymore. Still, I could see how his usually pristine clothes were creased and his hair was sticking up at the back. Already, he had returned the living room to it's former state. He had even folded a blanket on the couch in an attempt to make it seem to Charlie that he had slept there. In a way, it made me a little sad. It was as if the private haven he had created last night was only an illusion. It only existed in my memory.
"I made you breakfast," Edward said softly. "Well, made is a bit of a stretch,"
There was a bowl of cereal sitting on the kitchen table. The milk was already poured and there was a sprinkling of sugar on top, just the way I liked it. I spooned up some and put it in my mouth. A rancid, sickly sweet smell hit my nose and taste buds the same time. My stomach heaved. The milk was sour and I rushed to the sink to spit it out.
"What's wrong?" Edward asked, at my side instantly.
"The milk has gone off," I explained. "Please get rid of the bowl,"
I had a weak stomach. The stench was still making me nauseous.
He threw away the cereal and rinsed out the carton. His eyes were downcast.
"I'm sorry Bella," he said quietly. "I didn't know. It all smells bad to me. It's in date,"
"It's fine Edward," I answered quickly. "Charlie must have left it out in the sun yesterday,"
It was obvious he was angry with himself as he continued to mutter, too low and too quick for me to understand. I raised my hand to his cheek and he stopped talking.
"It's one little mistake. It's no big deal," I told him.
His face softened. He put two slices of bread in the toaster. "I think I can manage this much,"
I gazed out the kitchen window, taking in the sight of the familiar grey clouds. Last night's storm had broken the pressure, removed the heaviness that came with the combination of warmth and cloud. But the still, dense gloominess that accompanied the cloud banks was back in force. That dismal atmosphere was slowly creeping into my mind also. It was time to go back to reality.
I felt Edward's strong arms wrap around my waist and he rested his head on my shoulder. His fingers entwined with my own and I felt my neck flush as I remembered just how talented those fingers were.
"Penny for your thoughts?" he asked. His tone was light, with no trace of the frustration he must be feeling at my mental silence.
"I'm just thinking about the weather,"
"Again?" he questioned. "I thought we cleared this up last night. Don't worry love, the storm is over,"
The toaster popped and I busied myself with buttering the hot bread. "I'm being silly again. Don't mind me,"
Edward didn't seem convinced. "Do you mind if I leave you alone for a couple of hours? I know I should be making the most of being able to come and go as I please with you but there is something I need to attend to,"
"Sure," I replied. It wasn't fair to burden him with irrational moodswings. I could sort myself out while he was gone.
"I can call Alice to keep you company if you want," he suggested.
I declined the offer. If Alice had seen the progression in our physical relationship she was sure to have something to say about it. I knew she always meant well but some things were private.
Edward leaned down and used his thumb to wipe off a drop of melted butter that escaped the corner of my lip. Then he kissed me, a sweet goodbye kiss, that still left me wanting more. Now that I knew magic we could work together, it was even more difficult to restrain myself.
"I won't be long," he promised before disappearing from the room.
His earlier words echoed in my ears. The storm is over. I couldn't help but wonder if he was wrong. What if it was just the eye of the storm?
True to his word, Edward returned a couple of hours later. I heard the smooth purr of his Volvo outside and ran out to greet him. The mere sight of him made me filled me with happiness and it must have been evident on my face.
"You seem happier," he commented as we embraced.
"I'm always happy to see you," I reminded him. "I'm sorry for being moody earlier. I'm not having any regrets or second thoughts. I was just feeling a bit unsettled,"
"Don't apologise," he told me. "You're facing a lot of transition. It's only natural that you feel a tad unsure,"
"I'm not unsure," I corrected. "I'm sure about you, anything else I can handle. I'm just unsettled. There is a difference,"
"How do you feel about going out for a while?" he asked. "Now that we're back to the usual blanket of clouds it'll be nice to go somewhere together in the daytime,"
"Sounds good," I agreed. Didn't he know I'd go anywhere with him? We got into the car and he sped off.
"Where are we going?" I wondered aloud.
"Just our meadow," he answered lightly.
His choice of locations did surprise me and as usual he could tell. "Is that alright with you?" he asked.
"Of course," I reassured him. "I was just thinking it was a bit strange that you chose today to come here. It's the one place we easily go in the sunshine and you wait until it's cloudy,"
"We can come here anytime, all you have to do is say the word," he said. He was avoiding answering what I had said. Then I though of how I had turned down his advances the last time we went there and said no more. Perhaps that was why we hadn't been back here. Or considering out behaviour over the last few days, maybe he thought that if we had come here I wouldn't have had the strength to turn him down again.
As we sped out of the town, I could see the after-effects of the storm were evident everywhere. We the car sent tidal waves onto the sidewalk as we coasted through puddles. Several houses had roof tiles missing and we had to avoid fallen trees.
When the car reached the end of the path, Edward had me out of the passenger seat and on his back before I could blink. I could get a definite sense of impatience from him. I supposed he thought that the familiar beauty of our meadow might raise my spirits.
We sped into the murky green forest and I breathed in the damp, mossy air. The sky grew even darker; it was now a charcoal grey.
Edward halted to a sudden stop quite a few feet from the opening to the meadow. We were still nestled among the tall green tress. He helped me down and I felt a drop of rain hit my face. It had been weeks since I'd felt the rain on my skin and looked upwards to let the mist fall on my face.
Edward watched me, his expression somewhere between amusement and admiration. Already the light drizzle was growing heavier. My disappointment grew with it. It was highly unlikely that he would be tolerate me staying out in the rain for no good reason. I waited for him to suggest heading back but instead he took my hand and led me forward.
"I brought you here today to show you something Bella, to promise something," Edward spoke in my ear. There was a sincerity in his voice that overwhelmed me and made my heart swell. "I can't control the weather. And as much as I'd like to, I can't control what the future holds for us. I can pray for calm days, for warmth, for clouds but I can never be sure. What I can be sure of is the love that exists between us. And you can be sure that even in the most extreme conditions that it will prevail. I will always be your port in the storm and your shelter when it rains,"
So overwhelmed by the depth of Edward's words, I hadn't noticed that we had taken the final few steps through the forest and into our meadow. I scarcely saw the rich colours of the surrounding trees or the vibrancy of the wildflowers. All I saw was love.
Tears began to stream down my face and after a moment I realised that was the only moisture that was touching me. But I could still hear the pitter-patter of raindrops and it was darker than usual in the meadow.
I cast my eyes upwards. I was staggered.
High above us, at the level of the treetops, was a canopy to keep us dry. Dozens of umbrellas, artfully arranged over the small meadow, prevented any rain from seeping through. There were sturdy black umbrellas, pretty parasols, large golf umbrellas with block colours and rainbow striped beach umbrellas. They fit together seamlessly and what little light there was reflected through the fabric, casting an ethereal glow onto us.
It was breathtaking.
"How did you do this?" I squeaked the first thought that came to mind.
"I had a little help," he replied nonchalantly.
He confirmed it with a laugh. "Do you like it?"
"I'm speechless. I love it! I don't have the words to describe how wonderful this is." I cried.
Edward picked me up and spun me around by the waist, caught up in my jubilant mood. "So these are the kind of gifts you like?"
"Absolutely," The gesture, and the meaning behind it, was incredibly touching.
"I meant every word Bella. This isn't just an empty gesture," He spoke more seriously now.
"I know that silly," I reached up to ruffle his hair. "That's one of the many reasons why I love you,"
He sat down fluidly, pulling me onto his lap so I didn't have to sit on the damp grass. He cradled me in his arms, keeping me safe and dry. We listened to the heavy rainfall yet not one drop touched us. Edward hummed a familiar tune and we basked in the luminosity of simply being together.
I felt secure and protected. It was comfortable. Occasionally, Edward would place kisses on my hair or my forehead or my hand. It made me feel loved. The reckless passion that had been overtaking before last night was sated for now. Sweet, chaste tokens of affection were enough for now.
We were silent for a while. I listened to the lull of his humming and the rainfall. I gathered Edward was listening to my heartbeat.
We talked a lot too, in soft hushed tones. A little about the wedding as he was so anxious for me to have some input. He still wouldn't reveal the location of our honeymoon. He told me some more stories about vampires. Not the kind he used to tell me to try frighten me. He was just preparing me for my new life.
We looked past the immediate future too. He told me about places he'd travelled and sights he'd seen that he wanted to share with me. I couldn't imagine anywhere more perfect that where we were at that moment.
I knew more than ever that Edward and I were secure in our relationship. We loved each other and nothing could come between us We lay under the beautiful, makeshift awning and all I felt was bliss. . Come rain or shine, fire or ice, clouds or blue skies, we would weather the storm.
Hope ye enjoyed the fluff! I don't need to be told it was cheesy, I know it was but I like it anyway. I had to physically restrain myself from putting some Rihanna lyrics in there.
That was the final chapter and I'm sorry it was so short and that I left you all waiting so long. For those of you who enjoyed the lemony side of the last chapter, you might want to check out the all human one shot "Don't You Want Me?" It's on my profile.
I have toyed with the idea of adding more to this, set after BD, but for now I'm gonna say it's complete. The post Eclipse part is over and we all know what happens next.
I want to thank you all one last time for being so supportive of this fic, even through delays and some not-so-great chapters. I appreciate all your reviews, alerts and faves more than I can say. Please review this chap and even if you normally don't I'd love to hear your thoughts on the story overall.
I am working on some new stories and they will be up soon.
OK, I'll shut up now if this was a speech the music would have cut in ages ago.
So thanks again, happy reading and writing and bless you all!