Argh! I'm so sorry for the wait! I promise it wasn't my intention, I just had a serious case of writers block and this chapter really wasn't working out. I cut it in half because it was taking me too long to write the whole thing and I needed to post something.
Please feel free to express any anger you may be feeling.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer... basically.
I practically jumped out of my skin. Fuck. I had to admit that I kinda knew Edward and Emmett were up to something but I think I'd decided to make friends with a little something called denial. I guess there was a little hope thrown in there too, hope that my suspicions were completely wrong. I gaped up at everybody standing there grinning at me. Of course, Angela was standing proudly at the front with Ben and Alice on either side. The masterminds, I guessed. They would pay later.
Everyone sort of all came at me at once with hugs, kisses and presents. All I could do was blink and say thank you. I felt like a robot. The patio of the huge garden had been decorated with streamers and extravagant vases full of flowers. Emmett was standing by a large barbecue grill wearing a chefs hat and appeared to be arguing with Jasper.
"Dude, just let me do it!" Jasper whined, trying to push Emmett away and grab the meat tongs out of his hand.
"Why should I?" Emmett huffed, pushing him back with one arm.
"Because I," Jasper said, straightening up proudly and pointing to his chest "am an American."
I watched in fascination as Emmett's face turned ten different shades of red and his mouth twisted as he tried to hold back his anger.
"What the fuck does that have to do with anything?" He finally exploded, clearly contemplating beating Jasper with the tongs as he waved them about, using to them to punctuate every word he said.
I tried desperately to hold back my laughter but almost lost it when I saw everyone else was doing the same. Rosalie was laughing so hard she had tears streaming down her flushed face. Everyone left the pair to continue their ridiculous argument and sat down at the large picnic table covered in party food and booze. I was about to join them when I felt a pair of arms grab my waist. I tensed up at first, being reminded of that day in the library with Mike, and almost dropped my presents. I relaxed though when I heard Edward's soft voice whisper into my ear.
"You'll get your present later." He kissed my cheek lightly and then went to sit inbetween Alice and Angela. I moved to sit opposite him, next to Ben and gently placed all my presents onto the table.
"WAIT!" Alice yelled as I moved to open the first one, "You have to wait for everyone before you open them!" I threw my hands up apologetically and wondered what all the fuss was about. I guess I wasn't used to having such a big audience, present giving wasn't a big thing with my family but it was here judging from Alice's reaction.
"Stop bickering and get your butts over here!" Rosalie snapped at Emmett and Jasper. When they realised it was present time they rushed over and planted themselves on my side of the bench. I felt it strain to one side because of the weight difference and Emmett was so big that I found myself leaning into Ben in order to avoid getting squashed.
Alice plucked up something flat and rectangular which didn't look like it needed to be wrapped and dangled it in front of my face. "It's from Jasper and Emmett," She informed me. I looked over to them on my right in shock, I wasn't expecting them to get me anything.
I took it from her, tentatively peeled off the wrapping and then slid the contents out. When I saw a HMV gift sleeve I felt a bit better, a five pound voucher was okay. However when I lifted the flap, my jaw dropped. It was a fifty quid voucher. They hardly even knew me yet they spent this much money on me. I looked up at them trying to clear the lump in my throat.
"T-Thank you so much! I don't deserve this, you didn't have to get me anything." They just looked at eachother and then back at me before bursting out laughing. Emmett put his rather large and heavy arm around me and shook his head.
"Wow Edward, you found yourself a funny one here," He chuckled, much to my annoyance. It was slightly patronising. I caught Edward's eye then and he looked like he was bursting with pride. Naturally, I couldn't help the blood rushing to my face as we gazed at eachother.
I can't even begin to describe how insane Alice and Rosalie's present was. When I got to the large box I didn't know what to expect so when I unwrapped it and saw a huge Prada logo on the top, I swear I stopped breathing. Alice practically had to open it up for me because I was so dumbstruck. She and Rosalie were grinning like crazy as they held up the black and white Prada dress in front of my face.
"I- I can't... Oh my God." Were they insane? Money was obviously no object to these guys. If this is what they bought for someone they hardly knew, I couldn't even begin to imagine what they bought eachother.
"Do you like it?" Alice beamed proudly as if she'd been dying to give me something designer since the moment she met me.
"Of course I do! Thank you so so SO much!" I grinned, still gaping at the strapless mini dress. Edward looked a little excited as his eyes darted from the dress to my body and then back again blatantly trying to imagine what it would look like on me.
I put it back into the box carefully and thanked them again. It took me a while to realise Ben was waving his present in my face, his wasn't as neatly wrapped up as everyone else's but I wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's nothing special, I'm a little broke at the moment. It's no Prada dress..." He trailed off, rubbing his neck and scowling at whatever was in my hand. I nudged him with my shoulder because he was being stupid, he didn't have to get me anything. Plus no matter what he got me over the years, his choice of presents were always awesome. This years present was no less awesome, I grinned when I saw what was underneath the silver wrapping.
"I made you a couple of mix tapes – well, mix CDs. They're for your car 'cause you're always complaining about your driving music. There's one for each mood." He shrugged, giving me an embarrassed smile as I read the labels on the five CD cases. There was mellow, angry, sad, one full of my favourite songs and then the last one said 'goofy' in large letters. Lord knows me and Angela like to get goofy in the car.
"It's perfect, Ben!" I couldn't have asked for anything better. I wrapped my arms round him and squeezed the shit out of him, silently praying that Angela would end up marrying him because I couldn't think of a greater guy than Ben.
"Bitch! Time for the most awesome...est present of them all." She yelled, holding up a large square that I hadn't seen before. Grabbing it from her I stepped out from the picnic bench so I could open it away from prying eyes. I was more excited about Angela's present than anyone else's – even Edwards, which I hadn't forgotten about by the way. Every 2.5 seconds that passed, my mind was thinking of the possibilities of what it could be.
I tore the wrapping off and stared for a long time at the frame in my hands. I tried to blink back the tears as I took in the large black and white picture of us when we were little girls, sitting on our mothers laps. We both loved this picture immensely but we only had one faded copy between us so seeing it blown up this big in crisp black and white caused the tears to spill down my cheeks. I missed my auntie.
Angela was by my side in an instant, tears streaming down her face as she hugged me fiercely. This was definitely my favourite present. "There's another one," She said as she handed me an even larger one. It was a collage of pictures of us. I started to cry again.
The others came to look over our shoulders, pointing and laughing at the pictures. I focused my attention on them too and laughed through my tears; cute pictures of us when we were little, embarrassing pictures of our early teens and then more recent ones. There was this great picture of us and Ben at prom, he looked so pleased to have a girl on each arm. That's something I loved about Ben and Angela, they never made me feel like the third wheel when we were together.
I hugged everyone and said thank you again. I was probably getting on their nerves but I was so thrilled with my unnecessary gifts. I laughed quietly to myself when I realised it was only the eight of us, just proof I had no friends but I didn't need anyone else here. It was more intimate this way. More me. Even though there were only seven people at my birthday party and I hardly knew half of that number, I couldn't have wished for a more perfect gathering. These people were willing to spend a stupid amount of money on me and I could tell that despite their youth and wealth, none of them were superficial. This lot were genuine.
The group dispersed to do various things and I started to get excited about the food Emmett was cooking. I hadn't eaten anything since my sandwich at lunch and my stomach was growling. Alice suggested that Jasper act as our bartender instead of chef and it seemed to wipe the glum look off his face. Of course, he insisted on us all drinking Southern Comfort but we didn't mind.
Edward – who had been rather quiet for the past twenty minutes – gestured toward the the path that led down the garden with a shy smile on his face. I nodded eagerly and followed him down the perfectly paved pathway. The sun had just started to set and the air turned a little colder causing a chill to run through my body. I was super excited to know what this gift was now and wondered briefly if it was something naughty. My mind danced at the possibilities as Edward towed me down the garden.
We stopped when the path curled around the hedges and brought us to a beautiful little rose garden. The setting sun caused an orange glow on everything making the colour of the roses more vivid. I turned to look at Edward and almost fainted when I saw him. His hair looked fiery red in this light and his face was glowing and he was dazzling. He looked like he was from another world.
Before I could even register what I was doing, I'd attacked Edward's mouth with my own, pulling him against me roughly and threading my fingers through his soft, erratic hair. I'd obviously taken him completely off guard because he stumbled backwards a little. His hands started roaming my body and I moaned quietly when he started to touch my breasts. I was pushing him towards the nearby garden bench when Edward pulled away.
"Wait! I need to give you your present, Bella." He panted. I couldn't help the frustrated growl that escaped. My hopes of birthday sexin' were slowly fizzling away.
He tenderly took my hand and kissed my palm, looking intensely into my eyes. I forgot about my anger instantly. Suddenly it was his turn to look a little pissed and I had no idea why.
"What?" I asked nervously.
"You should have told me it was your birthday, Bella." He mumbled, looking away from me and up at the sky. I suddenly felt guilty and almost... selfish?
I guess he had a point, I'd be upset too if he hadn't told me about his birthday. I didn't mean to act like a brat on my birthday and there wasn't really a reason for my hatred of this day, I'd never had a horrible experience or anything. My birthday just tended to be a really crappy day for me so I preferred to keep it quiet and let it pass by unnoticed.
"I'm sorry Edward." I whispered, feeling my cheeks burn from embarrassment. He put a finger under my chin and tilted my head up to look at him, he had a small smile on his face, one side of his lips pulled up a little higher than the other.
"I'm not pissed off at you... I just don't want you to keep stuff like that from me. It's not right." He sighed, stroking my cheek lightly with his finger. "Anyway, it doesn't matter now." His hand had moved to lightly trace up and down my arm, leaving a trail of warmth where his fingertips had touched.
"Close your eyes and hold your hand out." Edward ordered in a low voice and I did as I was told, trying to ignore how sexy he sounded. Simultaneously, I felt something smooth placed into my palm and the sensation of Edward's lips against mine. "You can open them now," He whispered against my lips. I gave him a soft kiss and then looked down at the shiny black box in my hand, there were tears in my eyes already.
I sensed it was something expensive so much like the dress, I was nervous about opening it. Edward must have sensed this so he carefully wrapped his hands around mine and we opened it together.
The tears in my eyes escaped as soon as I saw what was inside. "Alice." I stated quietly – half laughing, half choking. He nodded and carefully took the bracelet out of the box. It was the same one from the boutique, the one I loved and couldn't afford. It looked even more beautiful outside of the shop.
I marvelled at the bright blue stones which decorated the silver chain. They looked impossibly more luminous in the fading sunlight, just like the roses – and Edward. He slowly slid the bracelet onto my wrist, I flinched slightly when the cold silver touched my skin.
"She was telling me how in love with it you were so I went and bought it straight away. This was before I even found out about your birthday." He wasn't looking at me properly again.
"Thank you Edward," I sniffed, becoming quite embarrassed by the fact that I kept crying today. He wiped away my tears and then littered my face with little kisses. I giggled because it tickled and that started me off crying again. I couldn't help it. I was just so happy. This was turning out to be by far the greatest birthday I'd ever had. Edward cleared his throat once I'd composed myself again.
"Bella... I just wanted to ask you.." He stopped and smiled to himself for a second. "God, this is going to sound so childish... Er, will you be my girlfriend?" The sun had disappeared now causing Edward's hair to lose its bronze tint. I pondered what he'd asked for a moment, I kind of already thought we were going out. As if he read my mind he quickly blurted, "I just wanted to ask you officially."
I nodded and tried so hard not to laugh at him, he had no idea how adorable he was sometimes. Edward's face lit up, he picked me up and spun me around causing my to squeal and giggle.
"Hello boyfriend," I grinned when my feet were back on the ground again.
"Hello girlfriend," He chuckled, leaning down to kiss me.
I was revelling in the taste of his soft, full lips against mine when the smell of food started to float down the garden and my stomach grumbled very loudly. In the most perfect timing, we heard Emmett's voice boom through the air. "Stop making out and come get some munch!"
Edward scooped up my hand and we drifted back towards the house. "Your boss is a freak, by the way."
A/N: Okay so nothing really happened... the drama is in the next chapter. Sorry again for being so shit!
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