The week passed slowly, finally it was the 20th. Just as Alice had said, the family had nothing planned for Edward's birthday. I was so excited for this. I could hardly wait. Carlisle was to come home from work today, go to the kitchen and place a medical case inside the pantry for me to find. He warned me once I opened it to act fast because Edward would no doubt pick up the scent quickly. Dr. Cullen had been so helpful; he even suggested that the blood be warmed for the full effect. He'd do this at the hospital just before delivery. Thank goodness, how would I have handled it, put it in the microwave? Yeesh!
Six of us were watching the Mariner's game on TV; they were actually ahead for once. I think Esme was upstairs looking over some blueprints. I heard the Mercedes come up the drive and continue on to the garage. Okay this was it. I needed to get to the kitchen, alone. Earlier I'd filled Alice in on the plan. She just about knew all of it anyway; I just filled in the blanks. She was supposed to help my exit.
"Is there any Pepsi left?" I casually asked getting up from my seat.
"Sure Bella." Alice improved.
"Like anyone else would drink it." Quipped Emmett.
Edward started to get up just as Adrian Beltre hit a grand slam home run. Someone up there was definitely on my side today. He paused to watch while the others cheered. "I'll just help myself." I said and walked quickly to the kitchen.
Carlisle and I passed each other in the doorway to the kitchen; he winked at me and continued on further into the house. He was mumbling something, no doubt keeping my secret from prying minds.
The Cullen's house is filled with beautiful things and the kitchen is no different. I pulled a crystal champagne flute from a leaded glass cabinet and went for the pantry. There was the medical case. It looked impressive like the ones that hold organs, ewww, maybe I shouldn't have thought about that. I set the case on the counter and decided I'd get the Pepsi after all. It could settle my stomach and maybe we could make a toast. Okay, this is getting weird. It's not easy to pour a carbonated drink into a tall, thin glass. Just try it sometime.
I had my drink already poured; the second flute was ready at hand. Now I needed to get the case open and fill the other glass. I stopped and wondered how long I had before Edward came unglued…. 5 seconds…2 minutes? I should've asked Carlisle, oh well, there's nothing to do now but try. I clicked opened the metal fasteners on each side of the case simultaneously. Okay…..go!
The good doctor had put my blood into an easily pourable container. I filled the flute almost to the top with the bright red substance and still had a lot left. I put the extra back into the case and closed the lid. It was thicker than I'd have thought. I left the glass sitting on the counter, stepped in front of it, blocking it from view and picked up my glass of Pepsi and waited staring at the kitchen entrance. I didn't have to wait long.
Edward came through the doorway with such concern in his eyes it hurt. "Bella, what happened?" He stopped obviously confused when he saw me just standing against the counter with my glass, but he knew better and was eyeing me up and down searching for an injury.
"Happy Birthday, Edward." I smiled. God I'm nervous, am I shaking? I wanted to pinch my nose as I could smell the blood as well, but that wouldn't exactly be attractive. I stepped aside and took up the second glass. Holding them both in front of me one in each hand, the color difference was distinct. "Everything's okay, I thought we could make a toast." Uh oh.
He looked at the flute like it was a time bomb.
"Bella, that's….um..." he stuttered. It was awfully quiet in the other room. What happened to the ballgame?
"Yes, it is." I handed his glass out to him. Would he take it? "I found out it was your birthday….will you…I mean, it's warm." I hoped my eyes weren't pleading. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Wow, this is either very good or very bad.
When he opened his eyes it seemed he was fighting a battle for decision. I was starting to feel foolish holding his glass out to him. After about 30 seconds we could both hear Emmett from the TV room, "I'll take it if you don't want it!" No fancy vampire hearing necessary. That broke the ice. Note to self, thank Emmett later.
We both grinned at the same time; Edward shook his head slightly and took the glass from me. Looking directly into my eyes he said, "I can't describe the millions thoughts rushing through my mind at this moment, but my mother taught me to accept a gift graciously. Thank you, Bella." He held the glass up to the light. "Crimson in color," passed the flute under his nose, "A delectable aroma of sweetly scented red iris freesia."
We clicked glasses and I just had to say it, "Many happy returns….?" I giggled. I took a sip of soda staring at him and waiting for him to do the same. He looked….embarrassed? "What is it?" I asked.
"I just didn't ever expect to do this sort of thing in front of you. I thought it would…repulse you." He looked questioningly to me.
"No. Please, try it. After everything I'm dying to know what you think." I added coyly.
He nodded put his lips to the glass and took a sip. Wait, did his eyes just roll back into his head? Half the glass was gone. What would he think? "Well, say something already." Oops, did I just say that out loud? Yep.
He gave me the lethal crooked grin and said, "A full bodied flavor, a more austere, less fruity style. Nicely balanced crisp acidity." He threw back the rest of it. "Refreshing and satisfying, a good choice on any day."
"Very funny, no really, what do you think?" I asked.
Those whiskey colored eyes burned into me. "You are selfless to a fault, it is constantly amazing me. It is…intoxicating, as I knew it would be."
He leaned towards me and I swear he purred. Not a little kitten purr, but a great big, low lion like purr. Okay, it gave me chills. Let's go see the finish of the game." I started to walk out of the room but looked behind as he followed me out. "By the way, there's another cup of that in the case over there on the counter. I'd hate to see it go to waste." I continued on into the living room and sat down by Alice. Edward hadn't come out yet. I asked her, "Can you hear, is he opening the case?!"
"Are you kidding? He's ripping the lid off!" Emmett snorted.