"For My Valentine" A Twilight Love Story Contest
Title: 72 Valentines
Pairing: All canon pairings
Vampire or Human: Vampire
The contest, run by manyafandom and isabel0329, is over. This story placed 13th among 55 stories and was 6th among the 29 K-T stories.
Author's Note: The characters are the creation of the Stephenie Meyer, but I confess to responsibility for the hopelessly sweet and sentimental nature of this story. But I wrote it for a Valentine's contest. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. I'd like to thank my daughters for helping me round out the list of 72 when I got stuck.
Less than two months ago, it didn't seem possible that we would all be here—alive and together— on Valentine's Day. Spending the evening at home with the entire family might sound boring, but after the anxiety and terror that we'd been through, it was all any of us wanted. Renesmee was lying on the floor making valentines, which she planned to distribute as soon as they were completed to her satisfaction. I smiled at her concentration. Our daughter. Five months after her birth, the thought still filled me with wonder and gratitude. Maybe after five decades I'd be able to accept her presence in our lives without marveling. I love you, Renesmee, for being a gift beyond my dreams.
I love you, Nessie, for being a miracle I never could have anticipated.
My father's thoughts were echoing my own. I looked up to see him glancing around the room. Jasper and Emmett were playing chess, Bella and Esme were reading, Alice and Rosalie were poring over a stack of fashion magazines. He was considering each of us and his feelings for the family he had created and drawn to him.
I love you for being at my side always through every difficulty and every delight.
I love you for showing me there are possibilities I never imagined for humans, wolves and vampires to live together.
I love you for searching until you found our family.
I love you for struggling so hard to follow our lifestyle.
I love you for forgiving me. I know it wasn't easy for you.
I love you for lightening up our lives.
I felt humbled by the purity and depth of his love. His eyes met mine.
Edward? I nodded. I love you for being the best son and companion I could ever have hoped for.
I didn't want to disrupt the peaceful mood by speaking, but I couldn't help responding silently even though of course he couldn't hear me. I love you for showing me how to be a father. He smiled at my expression and returned his focus to the medical journal he was studying.
Carlisle's movements had caused Esme to look up from her book and give her husband a fond caress. I love you for being loving and gentle with me always. She turned her head to see me watching them. I love you for trying so hard to be the best man that you can be. I'm so proud of you. It was odd to remember that I used to pose as her brother. She had always been a mother, a wonderful mother, to me. I love you, I thought, for believing I deserve happiness.
Her glance had skipped to Bella. I love you for your courage to love my son and join our family. Like Carlisle, she glanced around the room, and her heart showed in her thoughts.
I love you for bringing so much delight to all of us.
I love you for your inexhaustible energy.
I love you for choosing love and harmony over anger and death.
I love you for being my first daughter and sharing my joys and pains.
I love you for making Rosalie so happy.
Alice raced off to grab some fabric swatches, and Rosalie contemplated her sister with satisfaction. I love you for helping me always look spectacular. She began admiring her husband. I love you for loving me more than I thought anyone could. Jasper moved a piece across the board and Rosalie smiled at him. I love you for going hunting with Emmett. My man needs some serious guy time! She noticed Carlisle and Esme nestled together on the couch, and the tenor of her thoughts changed.
I love you for giving me another chance to find happiness and true love.
I love you for understanding my feelings about being a mother.
Rosalie's eyes fell on Renesmee and a rapturous expression lit up her face. You are the most beautiful, special, perfect little girl in the world! I love you. She looked up at Bella. I love you for making the right choice and for trusting me even though I never did much to deserve it. She saw me react and fixed me with a narrow stare. I love you, Edward, she thought mockingly, for not sharing my thoughts with everyone.
I laughed quietly. Whatever you want, Rosalie. I love you for helping Bella when she needed it most.
Alice burst back into the room.
"What took you so long?" asked Rosalie crossly.
"I have a lot of swatches," Alice replied cheerfully. She's not really mad at me, is she? I shook my head infinitesimally. Which dress does she like? The red one? I checked Rosalie's mind. She was imagining herself in a pale blue gown. Another barely noticeable gesture. I love you, Edward! Alice called. We make a great team!
"You are going to look so gorgeous in that shade of blue," Alice sang. I love you for cooperating in all my beauty projects. Unlike some other sisters I could name.
"Really?" Rosalie cooed. "I thought that one was the nicest."
I raised one eyebrow at Alice. You know I adore Bella, she assured me. For one thing, she let me share so many human experiences with her. I smiled at her, and she knew she was off the hook. Rosalie had begun sketching some modifications to the outfit, and Alice looked around as she waited to see Rosalie's ideas. I was amazed by everything I was hearing. All their minds were brimming with love this evening.
I love you for finally finding me.
I love you for always being ready for fun and games.
I love you for inviting me to be a Cullen.
I love you for making my dream of a family come true.
I love you for being the future I never saw coming.
Love and appreciation for Alice surged in my chest. I love you for seeing how to save our family.
I love you for giving me so many wonderful feelings for the first time. Jasper was taking advantage of Emmett's extended decision process to lock eyes with Alice. Of course, he had perceived the overwhelming love in the room. His thoughts were full of warmth, gratitude and emotion.
I love you for making Emmett happy.
I love you for being a great buddy on a hunt or in a fight.
I love you for giving Alice a new sister.
I grinned. I love you, I thought, for always having my back.
I love you for being so content in your new life. I thought I'd have my hands full controlling you, but your happiness calms me.
I love you for bringing our family together.
I love you for welcoming us into your home and your life.
I love you for showing me a different way of living.
"It's your turn," Emmett advised him.
"Sorry," said Jasper, turning his attention to the board.
Emmett's mind was dwelling on Rosalie, as usual. My angel. I love you. He surprised me by turning his thoughts to Carlisle. I love you for giving me a new life with Rosalie.
Even Emmett was sentimental tonight. I have the greatest family in the world. He smiled at Renesmee, still busily coloring.
I love you for making Rosalie so happy.
His eyes moved about the room.
I love you for forgiving me for all the things I've broken.
I love you for all the fun ideas you come up with.
I love you for always fighting at my side.
I love you for making me laugh even though you don't fall down so much anymore.
I chuckled. He looked at me. He knew I was listening.
I love you for being completely strange—in a good way!
That was a bit harsh, but I wasn't offended. I love you for always being there for me.
"Your move," Jasper said, and Emmett turned back to the game.
I could hardly believe it. I'd just heard all of them express their feelings for me and the whole family. All except Bella, of course. "Bella," I breathed, not wanting to disturb the others. I leaned over and picked up one of Renesmee's colored pencils and scraps of paper.
Will you please do something for me? I wrote. She nodded at once. Think about our family, everyone here, and show me. Her face took on an expression of intense concentration. Suddenly I could see an image of Carlisle and Esme in her mind.
I love you for the decision you made in 1918.
I love you for being my second mother.
She gazed around at the others.
I love you for telling me I'm worth it.
You are the funniest, most loyal big brother ever. I love you!
I love you for being the perfect sister I didn't even know I wanted.
I love you for helping me protect the most important thing in the world.
I love you for being living proof of our love.
She looked into my eyes. Hers were nearly gold now, and so adoring that I felt as warm from her gaze alone as I used to from the heat of her human body. I love you for giving me forever with you.
I wrote my thoughts down and watched her read them. Before you I wasn't really alive. I love you for saving me and giving me heaven on earth.
"I'm ready!" Renesmee sang out, capturing everyone's attention. She had gathered her valentines and jumped to her feet. She went first to Esme and Carlisle.
"I love you for loving all of us," she said to Esme, presenting her with a carefully decorated red paper heart. Esme hugged her.
Renesmee gave Carlisle a heart on which she had drawn a picture of a book. "I love you for reading to me," she said, throwing her arms around his neck.
She skipped over to Jasper and Emmett.
"I love you for teaching me chess." Jasper's Valentine featured a queen and a pawn. His mind glowed with contentment from being near her uncomplicated happiness.
"I love you for playing games with me." She was thinking of being outside with Emmett earlier in the day, how high he had lofted the ball and his proud expression when she'd caught it.
"That's my spunky girl." Emmett was remembering the same moment. He punched her lightly on the arm and then swept her into a hug.
"I love you for all the pretty clothes." She had drawn a dress on Alice's heart. She is adorable, Alice told me. I wish I hadn't missed those weeks of watching her grow.
"I love you for taking care of me when Mommy and Daddy are busy."
"I love taking care of you," Rosalie told her, eyes shining.
Renesmee had drawn a piano on my Valentine. I heard her words for me, but she said them out loud for everyone's benefit. "I love you for being my Daddy." I didn't think I could speak, so I just wrapped my arms around her for a moment.
Finally she turned to Bella. "I love you for being my Mommy." She pressed her hand to Bella's cheek. I saw her vision from just after the Volturi had slunk off. Bella looked more powerful, more loving and more beautiful than an angel. Renesmee had neatly lettered five words onto Bella's paper heart: Plus que ma propre vie.
Bella pulled Renesmee onto her lap. "More than my own life," she said quietly. She looked at me and the sight of my wife and exquisite daughter gave me a rush of pure joy. I felt as if my silent, frozen heart would explode with love.
"You two are so beautiful together," I whispered. "Madonna and child. You're my favorite work of art. Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart."
She gave me a blinding smile and leaned over to kiss me lightly, and her thoughts were audible again. With you, each day is Valentine's Day.
Author's Note: Happy Valentine's Day! I'm nearly at my quota for using the word "love" in a single document, but I think I still have one more to say that I love reviews!