Sorry sorry sorry this took a MAJORLY long time, I've been focusing on other things, I've had exams...this story really was shunted to the back of my mind whilst all the other things I was writing (4 other stories, don't you know?) jostled for my attention.
I hope you've all begun reading my new story Forget Me Not, the first chapter of which will be published as soon as I get it done. If you haven't read it, please do! I hope to get a lot of readers for it :D
Anyway, my eyes are all puffy and I've sneezed more than a billion times today, so here is a chapter which I dedicate to the wonder that is Hayfever! May you all live free of it...ugh.
Disclaimer - I own nothing.
Read on, my brave warriors!
I stared after Edward as he ran out of the room, closely pursued by Jack, sighing as they disappeared around the corner. I struggled not to feel disappointed – other people needed Edward, and who was I to keep him from them? Even so, I couldn't help feel that our evening had ended rather abruptly.
I turned; it was Marie, wearing a sympathetic smile, "Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"It's a little overwhelming, isn't it? Them just running off like that." I just looked at her, silent as she carried on, "You get used to it, after a while. Our dates get interrupted a lot because of it." She sighed, crossing her arms and gazing thoughtfully towards the empty doorway, "But, you know, I wouldn't stop him from doing it for the world."
"Yeah," I said again, neutral, not completely sure how to reply.
She put a hand on my shoulder, "It's ok to feel a little cheated. I always do."
I smiled at her then, "I know."
Marie and I ended up going back to her house; we didn't want to stay at the party when our husband and boyfriend weren't there. There was nothing really much for us to do except leave.
She sunk into a chair in their cosy living room, offering the one opposite to me; I took off my shoes and crossed my legs, folding my skirt over my knees and sighing.
"When do you think they'll be back?"
Marie shrugged, tugging a band into her long auburn hair, "They'll be an hour if he's...ok and longer if he's...erm...not."
Her voice trailed off at the end, but I knew what she meant. I sighed again, "I hope he is."
"Me too," she agreed, dropping her head back against the chair and closing her eyes.
I curled up tighter in the chair, my head on the armrest, missing Edward already.
There was a long, empty beep.
Everyone froze; Jack was intubating, and I had the paddles; we'd been attempting to resuscitate Mr Jenkins for ten minutes now.
Jack and I looked at each other, dread in both our eyes, and then he let go of the bag, rubbing his hand over his face. I shook my head, carefully placing the paddles back on the box. "You call it," I murmured to Jack, who shook his head.
"You do it."
"Someone has to," an intern piped up from behind me; I had to resist turning around and sending them running.
I sighed, my voice trembling as I recited: "Time of death: twenty three forty."
There was stillness for a second longer, then everyone began moving again; the crash cart was rolled out, Jack removed the intubation tube and I took a step back, closing my eyes against the sudden headache.
We'd lost him.
I was shaken out of sleep by a light pressure on my arm, tugging me back into the realm of the conscious, "What?" I mumbled, finding it hard to open my eyes.
"Edward?" I groaned, my vision finally clearing; he was kneeling down beside the chair where I'd fallen asleep.
"Hey," he whispered, his voice soft in the darkness; he stroked my cheek gently.
"Hey," I replied, sitting up a little and stretching. One glance at where Marie had been sitting told me Jack was back too; the chair was empty.
Edward looked a little empty too, "Come on," he sighed, taking my hand and helping me up, "I'll take you home."
It was a silent drive home; I kept sneaking worried glances at him but his gaze remained on the road ahead, the only contact between us his hand holding mine across the seats. We pulled up in front of my dark house – Alice must not be home yet – and I looked at Edward again. When he said nothing I breathed out slowly and leaned over, kissing his cheek gently.
"Goodnight, Edward," I whispered, resigning myself to the fact that this was the end for today; I made to get out of the car.
"Bella." His hand caught mine, holding me still. I turned back to find him finally looking at me, his expression apologetic. He sighed, "I'm sorry."
"For what?" The question sounded absurdly light-hearted; Edward smiled wryly.
"I'm sorry your evening was ruined. I'm sorry I had to run out like that. I'm sorry I'm being so depressive and silent." He sighed again, "I'm not always like this."
I bit my lip, wondering if I should ask what happened; whether Mr Jenkins was...I didn't want to think it. Something about him made me think it would be better to just leave it, so I just kept it simple. "I know," I smiled gently, squeezing his hand, "It's not your fault. This stuff will happen; we'll just have to work around it. I don't mind."
"Of course I don't." I smiled again, trying to be reassuring, hoping that he didn't think this evening's events would make me any less willing to be with him. It certainly seemed like something Edward would come up with. In some ways he was much too like myself. "I'll never mind, Edward," I said seriously, "So don't you think for a second that I will."
His eyes brightened a little, his small smile growing, and he jerked his head to the right, "Come on, I'll walk you to your door."
I nodded, pulling on the door handle, straightening up into the evening air, shivering a little as it bit at my skin. I pulled my cardigan a little tighter around my shoulders and hurried to Edward, falling into step with him as we walked down the pavement and up the stone steps to my front door.
We stopped, both turning to face each other; I twisted my fingers together, leaning back against the wall and kicking my leg up against it. Edward smiled crookedly at me, and as the silence lingered I felt the blood rush to my face, unable to look down and break his gaze, but unable to say anything.
"Goodnight," he finally murmured; I nodded quickly.
A beat of silence, in which I rubbed my palms together, unsure what to do since he was standing in front of the door handle, and unsure what he wanted to do. His eyes were still on me, unmoving; then I shivered as the cold night wind ruffled through my thin cardigan, and Edward shook his head slightly. "Sorry," his voice was still quiet, "I'll go. Goodnight, Bella."
I watched him turn, slightly confused at his opacity, then replied, just as quietly, "Goodnight, Edward."
I was about to put my key into the lock when I heard him sigh softly behind me: "Bella..."
I looked around to find him closer than I expected. My gasp of surprise was immediately cut off as he leaned down and kissed me softly, his lips the lightest of pressures on mine. His arms wound around my waist, then he broke the kiss, smiling lightly, "I'll call you tomorrow?"
I nodded fiercely, my arms clutching his neck – I had no idea how they had got there.
"Alright then." He nodded and stepped back, "Goodnight, Bella."
He really did go then; I watched him until he got into his car, blushing still as he gestured for me to go inside. I knew he wouldn't leave until I had closed the door. I twisted my key in the lock and pushed myself inside, forcing the door closed so I wouldn't go back out and insist he take me home with him.
That would definitely be too much.
Still, I smiled happily to myself, he was calling me tomorrow.
"Alice!" I called, rushing out of my room whilst pulling on a cardigan, "Have you seen my shoes?"
"Here they are!" she popped out of nowhere, holding up a pair of black high heels with a massive grin on her face.
"No, Alice," I skidded to a halt in front of her, "I am not wearing those."
"Oh, come on," she pushed them at me, "It's your two month anniversary! You can't not wear heels!"
"Alice, I'm wearing a dress, what else do you want from me?"
"Edward'll appreciate it," she sang, waving them up and down dangerously close to my face, "Please please please?"
"Please please please please please please please?!"
I endured her wandering around after me for five minutes longer, then I groaned, "Fine, Alice, fine! Give me the damn shoes!"
I slipped them on, feeling my balance decrease rapidly, tottering as I grabbed my bag from the kitchen table and Alice commanded, "Stand still!"
I did as she said, trying to hold myself steady whilst she looked me up and down, "Perfect." She grinned, "Edward will be stunned."
"You always say that," I grumbled, falling onto the sofa; Alice giggled.
"That's because he always is."
Before I could reply the doorbell rang, and Alice clapped her hands, "That must be them!" She ran out the door and down the stairs, me carefully following her, taking my steps as slowly as I could – I spotted my pumps by the door and bent down, picking them up and slipping them in my bag slyly. What Alice didn't know wouldn't hurt her.
The stairs took even longer, and I had to press myself against the wall as Alice rushed past with Jasper in hand, throwing me a, "Have a good time, Bells!"
I rolled my eyes, steadying myself again just as Edward appeared; the hallway seemed to light up as smiled. "Hey."
I grinned too, every other emotion but pure happiness fading away, "Hey." I made another attempt at getting down, tumbling over the last few stairs but managing to step gracefully off the last one. Pleased I hadn't injured myself, my smile grew as I reached him.
He wound both his arms around me and hugged me to him, "Happy anniversary."
"Happy anniversary to you," I replied, my arms around his neck.
"You look beautiful," he leaned down and kissed me softly, then stepped back and took my hand. "Aren't those a little high?" he chuckled, gesturing to my feet; I had forgotten about them, and I rolled my eyes at him, letting go of his hand and reaching into my bag.
"Oh, that. Alice."
I pulled out my shoes and prepared to take the heels off, but Edward's hand on my arm stopped me, "No, don't." He grinned crookedly, "They look great on you."
"Edward, don't be stupid, in these I'm a walking death trap!"
"Would it be weird if I said I enjoyed catching you?" he asked playfully; I flushed before shaking my head, stuffing my pumps back in my bag.
"If I break my ankle, Edward, you're going to be the one bringing me peanut butter and finding the television remote under the sofa." He chuckled again, an arm going around my waist, his lips lightly pressing against mine.
"I'll take my chances." He stroked my cheek as I blushed, then let me go again and intertwined our hands, "Come on." He led me out to his car, and it was only when I was buckling my seatbelt that I realised I had no idea where we were going.
"Yes?" he smiled, as he shut his door and put his key in the ignition.
"Where are we going?"
He laughed, "It's a surprise, Bells, and the definition of surprise is that you don't know what it is."
I crossed my arms and slid a little further down in the seat, crossing my legs, "I don't like surprises."
"I know. Which is exactly why you're getting one."
He chuckled at my pout, as my bottom lip automatically pushed outwards at his refusal to tell me where we were going – I knew there was nothing I could do save tickle him to death to get him to tell. And that would not be appropriate, since we were in a car. A moving car.
I growled to myself, only increasing Edward's mirth, as the darkening streets flashed by, the London lights seeming like strips of bright light zooming past. I had never been good with maps, nor with the city itself, so very quickly I found I had no idea where we were; in hindsight, that probably was Edward's intent.
When, suddenly, the road widened to three lanes and the houses filtered away into dense brush and trees, I gasped, "Edward! We're on the motorway!"
"How observant of you; however did you guess?"
I ignored his sarcasm, "We're going away? For the weekend? In the country?"
He nodded in confirmation, his expression abruptly changing to one of nervousness, "Well...yes...is that ok?"
I sighed, covering up my sudden excitement at being alone, with Edward, in the country, for an uncertain amount of time. This was coupled with horror at the fact that I had no idea that this was going to happen, and that I had not planned for it at all. What was Edward implying this meant? I didn't know.
"At least I know what the surprise is now."
"Aha," Edward replied, "But this isn't the surprise. Where we're going is the surprise."
I groaned, "Edward, if I didn't like you so much, I would be close to murdering you right now."
He chuckled, taking one hand from the steering wheel and placing it on mine, lifting it and kissing it gently, "That I'm counting on."
We continued driving for an hour, mostly in silence, as Edward concentrated on the dark road and I attempted to read the road signs – with not much success – in order to find out where we were. The most I gleaned was that we were in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by towns and places which I had never heard of before. It was, in truth, incredibly aggravating.
Finally, as boredom completely took over, I settled for sleeping against the window, letting the peaceful oblivion take me until Edward gently shook my shoulder, "We're here."
The car was suddenly stationary, and I made to get up, sleep still clouding my mind, managing to hit my head on the ceiling as well as choke myself on the seatbelt. I sat back down, hacking, and Edward shook his head, rubbing the top of mine, "Bella, what are you like?"
I simply narrowed my eyes at him through my coughs, "Where are we?" I insisted.
"You'll find out soon enough." His smile was positively irresistible, and I had to turn away, pressing my answering grin down with my fingers as I stepped out of the car. Edward had gone to the boot – I could hardly see him in the darkness – and he returned with two cases, one of which looked oddly familiar; I gasped.
Sure enough, it was my suitcase, looking as if it was packed full to bust. It looked as if someone had to sit on it to get it closed. I sighed. "Did everyone know about this apart from me?"
"Happy two month anniversary," he chuckled, clicking the car keys so it locked with two beeps, "I hope this was a good surprise."
I wobbled a little on my heels as I shifted my weight, "Are there more surprises?"
"Oh yes," he stated, grinning evilly, "Many more."
The look in his eyes was such that it made me shiver, wondering what exactly he meant. Two days away in the country...normally I would have been terrified, but with Edward it just felt...normal. As if something like this would happen every day.
I hadn't told him I loved him yet – just like he hadn't told me. I knew I felt it; I'd known since the very beginning, but I'd never found the right time to tell him. Found the right time to tell him just how utterly and completely in love with him I was.
It wasn't as if this trip was completely inappropriate; we'd spent so much time together that I felt as if I knew him better than I knew myself. With Edward, everything felt as if we'd been together since forever. I couldn't even begin to remember what my life had been like without him. I loved him – I loved everything about him; no, fear of commitment was definitely not what was twisting my stomach into knots.
The fact was: Edward and I hadn't spent the night together since that first night – the one when we'd both confessed. Each date we'd made it a little further – to my door, then the bottom of my stairs, then my flat door, then my bedroom door...but any courage I had always seemed to fade as he kissed me gently, and I couldn't bring myself to completely invite him in. I knew he would never take liberties with me; I would have to be the one to ask.
So, obviously, tonight was very different.
There was no way we would be sleeping in different rooms tonight.
Edward carried the suitcases through the darkness whilst I followed carefully, all the while wondering just what Alice had packed for me, and how inappropriate that was. I couldn't even bear to think what skimpy nightwear she slid in – all the while cackling evilly, of course – and whether I was going to be forced to live in this dress because everything else was super-short.
I couldn't see exactly where we were, but I could hear gravel crunching beneath our feet, so obviously we were on some kind of path. I followed where Edward lead, and suddenly he stopped dead, making me walk into him. "Careful," he cautioned, "There's steps here."
"Thanks," I answered grudgingly, knowing I would almost certainly have fallen over them if Edward had not said anything. My shoes made seemingly loud clacking noises on the wooden stairs, echoing through the night; I winced, hoping I hadn't woken anyone. "Edward..."
"Shh," he answered; I heard a door creak, "Come on."
I followed him through what I thought was the doorway, then just stood, wondering where the heck I was. Edward chuckled, set down the cases, then moved away; suddenly the whole of my vision was flooded with light as he flicked a switch, and I gasped.
"Surprise," he grinned; I was standing in the middle of a beautiful living room, with big, old-fashioned, cushion chairs, patterned blankets hanging over their backs; a large fireplace set in black marble; swinging lights in the form of one chandelier hanging over our heads, and a light brown carpet encompassing it all, spreading to all sides of the room. It was deliciously warm, with pictures hanging on the walls; I could see Edward, Alice, and whom I assumed to be his parents, smiling out from various frames, set all about in between the windows. The ceiling was low and rough, great wooden beams running across it, set in the plaster.
It was, in all, a typical English country house, which smelled of wood and freshly-cut grass.
"Edward...this place...it's wonderful!"
"We used to come here in the summer," he told me, "And in the winter...and the spring and autumn, actually." He laughed, "We used to spend all our time here. I asked my mum and dad whether we could borrow it for the weekend."
"Edward..." I looked down at him, unable to keep from smiling, "Wow."
He grinned too, "Happy two month anniversary."
I held out my arms and his smile grew; he walked over into two strides and wrapped his arms around my waist, whilst mine went around his neck as they always did. He pressed his forehead to mine, his eyes gloriously close.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," I breathed, already a little dizzy.
"Is this....ok with you? I mean, I know we've only been dating for two months, and-"
"Edward," I interrupted, "Thank you. Really, it's wonderful. The perfect anniversary surprise." I giggled, "I really do have the best boyfriend in the world."
His smile returned, and he lightly kissed my forehead, "I know."
"So," I said, leaning back a little, "Are you going to show me around?"
"Actually..." he replied, "I was thinking...we'll have plenty of time for that tomorrow. And...it's getting late..."
"I am...a little tired," I agreed cautiously.
He nodded and took a step back, smiling gently, holding my hand, "Come on." He took me round a corner and up a flight of stairs, beams still criss-crossing the ceiling, up to the first floor. The walls here were rough and painted white; he lead me to a wooden door and slowly opened it, to reveal a quaint little room, complete with a bed with blue sheets and a white blanket, two bookcases, and a desk with a mirror. "I'll...get the bags," he said, letting go my hand and disappearing out the door.
I didn't turn to watch him go; instead I took a deep breath and moved to the bed, sitting down on it and bouncing slightly, undeniably nervous. What was I going to do? I wished I had Alice or Angela with me now, or even Emmett, just to tell me either something helpful or at least some joke that could calm me down, as was Emmett's way.
Now that I was here, I realised I knew absolutely nothing. I didn't have many other...experiences like this, and the few that I had had been either under the influence of alcohol or the impression that it needed to be done.
Either way, I had no idea what I was going to do.
I was still bouncing as Edward came back into the room, making the butterflies in my stomach beat even harder, my heart pounding as he set the cases gently on the floor. I had the urge to say, "So..." but I knew that would only make it worse.
Edward took the initiative, coming to sit down beside me; I averted my gaze, suddenly unable to even look at him, my face immediately flushing a deep red, my ears heating up under my hair. I crossed my ankles and twisted my fingers together, waiting for him to do something. He must know better than I did what to do next.
The silence stretched longer and longer, and I was just working up the courage to sneak a glance at him when he suddenly whispered, "Bella..."
I did look up at him then, and he took my face in his hands, his fingers tapping my cheekbones gently, his eyes smouldering, burning all the way through to the pit of my stomach. I couldn't have moved even if I wanted to.
He took a breath, then murmured, "I love you."
I felt my mouth drop open in surprise, then, just as quickly, Edward pulled me to him, pressing his lips against mine, his arms swiftly dropping down to encompass me, holding me tightly, his hands burning. I found myself pressing myself to him too, my hands in his hair, twisting it and pulling it – everything suddenly became simple to me. As if this would be the easiest thing in the world.
He tasted and smelled incredible, he felt and looked incredible – I knew this would be incredible.
And as he slowly pulled me fully back, so my feet weren't touching the floor, I got a sense that, whatever happened, I would never be able to get enough of him. To get enough of this.
But that didn't matter. After all, if I had my way, I was going to get a whole lot more.
There that was longer than normal, all special for you guys who have been so patient. Remember, ATO LOVES YOU ALL!
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