Twilight = Not mine
Cupcake recipes aplenty = Mine
Well here we are at the end of the road, I'm going to miss these characters immensely, but I hope you've all had fun along the way with me. Don't forget there's a forum thread for this story and Take The Cake over at Twilight (Alternate Universe – Human) if you want to come and play!
Bella had heard the sound of a car door closing, and was pouring some wine into a glass when she heard the sound of footsteps behind her.
"How did it go today?" she asked as Edward slid his arms around her and rested his chin on her shoulder.
"Good," he replied, kissing her cheek and accepting the glass as she held it up, "Have you got a glass?"
"Yep, it's out back," she replied.
Edward took her hand and they wandered outside, taking a seat on the wooden daybed where Bella had obviously been relaxing with a glass of wine and a book.
"Looks like you've been having a nice afternoon," he commented as he settled down with a sigh, "I guess it's okay for some!"
Bella snorted as she curled up beside him. "That's what you get for being the front man, Cullen, while I get to work from home, or wherever you are."
"True," he agreed.
o * o * o * o *
The last few months had been good to them. Edward had completed principal photography on the movie with Foresight Productions, and while Alice and Jasper were working through the editing and marketing process, he had taken a few weeks off work. Bella had moved with Edward, who was about to start on a new film that was going to be based in LA. These days, Edward he found himself in the luxurious position of having a home to go to at the end of the day, instead of a hotel room. Occasionally Bella visited him on set for the day, working on other projects from her laptop while he was shooting, or watching a few takes. It amused him that she was still fascinated at watching him drop in and out of character.
Bella's work stresses still got the better of her from time to time, and Edward wasn't the easiest person to live with when he was finding a way into a new character's head, but they had both solemnly agreed to keep communicating, even when it wasn't easy. They were both entering new territory with the relationship, but they were managing to stay on the same path, and stay together.
Emmett and Rosalie had moved into their new home, and Emmett had wasted no time in knocking through the adjoining fence and adding a large gate. The four of them were back and forth between the two houses so often that there had been discussions about removing the gate altogether. Esme and Carlisle had been the first to visit, followed quickly by Renee and Charlie. There were an abundance of spare rooms for the time being, so there seemed to be a steady stream of family circulating, and Edward was reveling in it.
Angela and Ben had settled quite happily into married life, Ben was still working in IT, and Angela still worked as a photographer, although she had reported with some exasperation that she still got asked for inside gossip about Bella and Edward, which she refused to divulge.
Emmett and Rosalie's business continued to flourish, and to their delight they were getting the occasional deal to customize cars for movies. Edward had given them a foothold in the industry, which Emmett was quite happy to exploit, and Rosalie was already training up two female apprentices to help with the business once the twins arrived.
Edward had become firm friends with Alice and Jasper as well, so it had only better a matter of time before they had started coming over for dinner. Rosalie and Emmett had joined in on the dinners as well, followed by Angela and Ben as the weeks went on. Somehow, Edward realized, Bella had turned his house into a home. They enjoyed an open door policy where friends had spare keys so they could drop in for a swim, and at least once a week there was someone joining them for dinner.
Alice and Jasper were, Bella had discovered with delight, the dream team when it came to employers. Bella was able to pick through any scripts that came their way and re-work them, as well as joining the existing team of writers to develop their own projects from scratch. Bella was currently enjoying early success, and had been fielding calls about working as a 'script doctor' in LA for other production companies as well.
"Just so long as you remember that we saw you first," Alice had warned with a twinkle, "so we get first dibs."
"Hear, hear," chimed Jasper as he handed Bella coffee.
"Oh you guys, how could I possibly go anywhere else now that I've got Jasper trained so beautifully?"
Jasper looked startled then looked at the coffee cup Bella was now holding and sighed.
"You women, how the hell do you do it?"
"Special classes in school honey," Alice replied, giving him a kiss, "along with Shoe Appreciation 101."
"Poor guy, you never stood a chance," Bella laughed, "but are we still on for dinner tonight?"
"Absolutely!" Alice replied.
"But onto more important things," Alice was saying, "what are you going to be wearing next month?"
The Screen Actors Guild awards were coming up, and Edward had been nominated. Having foresworn the usual blockbuster fare, Edward's attempts to scale things back somewhat had been getting a lot of positive feedback. His latest role in a tragic romantic comedy had won lavish praise for his 'warm and understated performance'. The industry buzz was that it was his best performance yet.
"Uh, I have no idea," Bella replied, then looked at Alice pleadingly, "Help!"
"Just what I was hoping you'd say," Alice replied with a pleased smile, "I've got one or two ideas, come with me."
"Don't mind me," Jasper commented, "I'll just clear your diaries."
"He's got a point," Bella noted, "I did have to do a few-"
"Bella," Alice said sternly, "I said I've had a few ideas, which means we have to talk concepts, which means now."
"Just say yes dear," advised Jasper, "it works best for me."
Bella sighed and picked up her handbag ready to follow Alice, who beamed.
o * o * o * o *
A month later, Bella fussed and tugged at her dress, staring helplessly at her reflection in the mirror. Alice had talked her into wearing it, but now she really wasn't so sure. Granted, the colour was lovely, but having rarely had to wear anything formal in the past she felt out of her depth.
"Oh get over it, Swan," she muttered under her breath, then picked up her clutch purse and hurried out of the bedroom.
Edward had been adjusting his cufflinks when he heard the tap of Bella's heels approaching from the hallway. He looked up just as she appeared in the living room doorway.
He gazed at her in silence for a moment, his mouth dry.
"Wow," he finally managed.
"You always say the right thing," Bella said, pleased at his response.
She twirled slowly so he could get the full effect. The dress was bias cut silk, in a deep violet. It had a halter top that draped in gentle folds, skimming lightly over her hips and flaring gently at the floor. The fabric rippled and shimmered as it clung lovingly to her curves.
"You like?" she asked.
"You think it'll be okay? Some pretty serious dresses get worn to these things so maybe it's a bit too simple."
Edward shook his head.
"Edward, say something," she prompted.
He opened his mouth but nothing came out. He crossed the room, his eyes never leaving hers, then gently leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers. Bella's eyes fluttered closed as her lips parted, and Edward pulled her closer as he dipped his tongue into her mouth. As soon as he felt her against his chest, his eyes snapped open and he grasped her upper arms, holding her away from him.
"Are you wearing anything under that?"
Bella blushed as she licked her lips and looked up at him through her lashes.
"Not much," she answered, "Alice didn't want me to spoil the line of the dress."
Edward released her arms and lightly ran a finger over her breast, groaning to himself as he felt her nipple harden in response.
"Woman, you're killing me."
"Blame Alice, the dress was all her idea."
"Remind me to thank her sometime," Edward replied as he gave her another kiss. He had meant it to be a quick peck but the kiss rapidly became something more.
"Edward!" Bella said when he finally released her.
"Alright," he sighed, "We'll go."
He put his arm around her shoulders and they walked out of the house towards the car that was waiting for them outside.
"You really think I look okay?" Bella asked again in a small voice.
Edward glanced down at her upturned face.
"You'll do," he said, the sexual frustration in his voice enough to make his words a massive understatement.
o * o * o * o
Bella sighed a third time, making Edward glance at her in concern.
"It's okay, we'll be there soon. Are you getting nervous?" he asked, gently rubbing her arm.
"A little," she admitted, "I still can't get used to these kinds of events."
"It's okay babe, I won't let you go," he said, kissing her temple.
"Protective much?" Bella smiled at him.
"While you're in that dress I'm going to be watching you like a hawk, no man is going to get anywhere near you if I've got anything to say about it," he growled, pulling her in for a kiss and running his hands over her silk covered softness.
And so it was that Bella was flushed and laughing when Edward exited the limousine and extended his hand to help her out. He gave her a moment to check that her dress was okay, and then they turned and began their way up the red carpet, Edward holding her hand all the while.
The camera flashes were blinding, and Bella blinked repeatedly as she tried to get her bearings, still disoriented as the fans screamed and the press shouted Edward's name. She felt like she was alternating between looking like a startled deer and grinning like a village idiot. Edward seemed entirely at ease, standing, turning and smiling with the kind of movie star poise that everyone seemed to expect. Feeling her nerves, Edward had turned to her and smiled, sliding his arm possessively around her waist and pulling her to him. As soon as she felt his reassuring warmth, she relaxed somewhat. Still, by the time they made it inside Bella was shaking and sweating.
"God, that was awful," she muttered.
"You were great," Edward argued, "for someone that doesn't have to do that sort of thing you looked totally calm."
"I thought they were going to ask where the castanets were, my knees were knocking so hard," Bella had replied.
"That's what floor length dresses are for," commented an A-list actress with a smile on her way past.
"C'mon babe, let's find our table and get a drink," Edward whispered in her ear. They made their way slowly through the crowd, stopping to greet friends or being stopped by other actors or industry movers and shakers.
o * o * o * o
The award ceremony wound on interminably, as they were known to do. Bella sipped at her water and returned her hand to Edward's thigh.
"God," she whispered to Edward, "I wish they'd get on with it already, the suspense is killing me!"
He leaned his head closer to hers. "Did you say your suspenders were killing you?"
She shot him an amused glance, "I'm not wearing any suspenders."
Edward's knuckles whitened on the stem of his wine glass.
"So I never got a chance to find out," he whispered again, deliberately tickling her ear with his lips, "what have you got on under that dress?"
Bella shot him an impish look, "A thong."
Edward gave her an incredulous look. "That's it?"
"It's a very nice thong," she amended.
Edward swallowed, his eyes slightly glazed now.
"Jesus," he muttered, "I shouldn't have asked."
Edward regarded her for a long moment, "Because if I did what I really wanted to do, we'd be arrested."
"Shhhh, your category is up," Bella said, her shoulders shaking with suppressed mirth as Edward returned his attention to the stage with a quiet groan.
"And the winner is … "the Actress gave a wide smile as she opened the envelope, enjoying the chance for a dramatic pause, "Edward Cullen!"
The crowd broke into applause, the orchestra music swelled, and Edward clasped Bella's face in his hands to give her a quick kiss before making his way up onto the stage.
He accepted the SAG award, and stood for a moment, grinning as he peered through the brilliant stage lights to see where Bella sat, then he stepped up to the microphone.
"I've got ten bucks against my brother that says I can keep this speech short, so let's see how I go," Edward began. A murmur of amusement rippled through the crowd, who had no doubt been expecting the usual long-winded list of names that had accompanied most acceptance speeches for the evening. "I'd like thank everyone who helped me get to this point, I'd like to thank my wife Bella," he paused and flashed her another smile, as people in the crowd looked at them both in surprise, "And from the very bottom of my heart-" he put his fist on his chest, "lub-dub. Thank you!" And with that Edward held up the statue in thanks, and left the stage, taking the Actress by surprise, who burst out laughing as she escorted him off. After a startled pause, the orchestra began to play, as the audience laughed and applauded with gusto.
It was the best speech of the night.
Edward had been held up backstage giving a few interviews before he was able to make it back to his table, where Bella sat waiting.
"How did I go?" he asked after giving her a long kiss.
"Twenty five seconds, I think you've just made yourself ten bucks, Mr Cullen."
"Why thank you, Mrs Cullen," Edward replied.
"And what do you think you'll do with your newfound wealth?" she teased.
"Oh you know," he shrugged, "buy that tropical island I've always wanted, something simple." He gazed at her for a moment, "So, I guess I've outed us."
"Looks like," Bella answered, "but I'm okay with that."
"Good, because I've been longing to tell this town that you're mine," Edward whispered, kissing her again.
The actor next to them laughed. "Spot the newlyweds. Get a room!"
"You know," Edward grinned at him, "that's an excellent suggestion." He turned to Bella, "You ready to go?"
"Absolutely," she replied.
Edward took her hand, and they waited until the audience was applauding the next award winner before making their exit. Edward phoned for their car service to pick them up, and Bella checked her cell phone, laughing and holding it up to show Edward.
Party at yours! – E&R
Bella cuddled up beside Edward, grinning to herself while Edward ran his hands over her bare back, giving her goosebumps.
"What are you smiling about?" he said, kissing the top of her head.
"Our engagement, the wedding, stuff," Bella replied.
o * o * o * o
Edward and Bella were both relaxing in the living room one weekend when Emmett appeared wearing a pathetic expression. Bella took one look at sighed in amused resignation.
"You're lucky I'm feeling relaxed Em, what sort are you after?"
"Oreo depth charge?" Emmet said, his face splitting into a broad grin. "That was too easy," he said to Edward, "I thought I was going to have to cheapen the relationship by begging."
Bella had gotten up after a moment, and laughingly endured an enthusiastic hug and sloppy kiss from Emmett before making her way into the kitchen. An hour later, Edward had wandered into the kitchen.
"Need any help?" he asked, nuzzling her neck.
"Well, the frosting is done, do you want to decorate?"
"Sure," Edward said, reaching for the Oreos, "you go wash up."
Bella appeared a few minutes later to find Edward looking very pleased with himself.
"All done?" she asked.
"Yep, check 'em out," Edward said, reaching out to draw her close.
Bella stood next to him and ran her eye over them all then stopped, her eyes wide. One of the cupcakes was markedly different; a ring was standing up in the frosting of one of them, with a beautiful empress cut diamond setting. She turned in her arms to stare at Edward, who reached behind her to pick up the ring and hold it up in front of her.
"So how about it Swan, marry me?" his hand only trembled slightly.
"You've got yourself a deal, Cullen," she replied in a shaky voice, then laughed as he paused to suck the frosting off the band before sliding it onto her finger.
Bella stared at the ring for a moment longer then wordlessly pulled Edward's face to hers for a long kiss. They stood, wrapped up in each other until the quiet was broken by a voice at the door.
"Did it work?" Emmett stood grinning at them. Bella held up her hand in indication, and Emmett whooped and came in for a hug, followed closely by Rosalie.
They had held a very small wedding, just two months later. They were married by a celebrant at home, in front of a small group of family and friends. They had each promised to love and support each other, and to always keep each other safe. When they pronounced man and wife, everyone had cheered as they had wrapped their arms around each other and indulged in a very long kiss.
Alice had designed the dresses worn by Bella, Rosalie, Angela and herself, and dressed up the backyard to look like a fairyland, decorated extravagantly with fairy lights and Chinese lanterns.
Bella had made a lot of cupcakes.
Angela took all the photos.
And Hollywood hadn't known a thing about it.
o * o * o * o
Bella got out of the car, pausing as Edward gave the driver a generous tip and sent him on his way for the evening, then they took each other's hand and went inside. Bella stopped in the entry way to slip out of her jeweled high heeled sandals with a sigh of relief, and Edward was already loosening his tie as they walked through the house and out the back door onto the decking.
A cheer went up as Bella and Edward appeared in the doorway.
The whole gang was there. Angela and Ben, Emmett and Rosalie, even Alice and Jasper – who had been able to slip out of the ceremony an hour beforehand – all sat drinking and laughing around the large wooden table outside. Candles at been lit, music was playing, and the mood was joyful.
"You did it! Didn't I tell you that you'd win?" Alice was crowing, accepting a high five from Bella.
"You did, well done," Edward laughed as he gave her a kiss.
"And I see you guys are well and truly out as a married couple now," Rosalie observed, "the fan discussion boards are going to have a field day!"
"I know," grinned Bella, "just as well they like me."
"Not as much as I like you," Edward muttered from the corner of his mouth.
"Only like?" Bella said, arching an eyebrow.
"Honey, I'll love you once that dress comes off," he replied, making Bella giggle helplessly against him. Edward clutched her closer, running his hands over her. "Bella," he groaned, "you're not helping."
"Sorry," she choked, and then started giggling again.
"So Dickward!" Emmett boomed, "Congratulations! Guess I owe you ten bucks!"
"Thanks, Bonehead, and yeah you do." Edward replied.
"So where's the big prize?"
Edward looked down at Bella, who was giggling at him and accepting a glass of champagne from Rosalie, then dipped his head to kiss her again before grinning at Emmett.
"I've got my prize right here."
Bella smiled up at him. "I couldn't have said it better myself."
Somehow, it all seemed entirely appropriate.