"Edward, wake up! We're going to be late!" I called to the sleeping boy.
I went to take my shower while Edward roused from his nap so there would be less bathroom traffic. Stepping out fifteen minutes later I saw Edward still in bed with a pillow over his head.
"Edward." I said in my most threatening voice.
I heard him mumble under the pillow, most likely a request to sleep longer. I loved Edward and all the quirks I've found out about him since I officially moved in two months ago, but not at the risk of arriving late.
I crawled onto the bed and lay next to him for several minutes before reaching over to pull the pillow off his head. His hair was a usual tangled mess which had come to be his trademark. Edward's eyes were closed shut to the late evening sun coming through the open curtains while his hands reached around him to find something to cover his eyes with once more.
Knowing what would definitely wake him up; I turned my body and straddled him. Leaning closer, I let the edges of my wet hair graze his cheeks and lips. A small smile tugged at the corners of his cheeks as I felt his hands come to each side of my hips. Bringing my mouth to his, I traced Edward's bottom lip with my tongue before applying the light pressure of my lips.
It did not take long to get the response I knew would come. Within seconds, Edward gasped into my mouth and returned the kiss with fervour. His hands brought me closer to him while lifting his own hips to meet mine. I pulled away quickly, not letting myself fall into the all too familiar trap, and slid off the bed. Edward used his cute pout that would work on most occasions and have me fall hopelessly back into his arms, but not tonight.
"Up and shower. Now." I said, trying to sound stern but thinking about the lingering kiss on my lips.
"Do we have to?"
"Edward, we're meeting your parents, not mine. I would think you would be more enthusiastic."
"Bella," he said comfortingly as he came closer to the edge of the bed and wrapped me in his arms, "I am excited, really. I guess I'm still just a little sleep deprived from finals."
Luckily for Edward, I understood that too well. Finals were now over and the last weeks of the year had begun.
"I know, Edward. We can catch up on sleep after tonight, okay?"
"What if I want to do something else tonight?" he said, his voice now husky and I'll be damned if I didn't get goosebumps right there. I pulled away again before the full effect of Edward's words engulfed me.
"Shower." I repeated.
"Fine." He mumbled and shifted off to the bathroom to the sound of my giggling.
Maybe I did feel a bit guilty and at fault for Edward's sleep deprivation. We studied through the night before our last final and only got three hours of sleep. Even with the lack of sleep, Edward and I felt confident about our performance and Tanya and Jacob insisted that we went out to celebrate.
The four of us ended up at a karaoke bar a couple miles away from the university which was packed with students celebrating as well. After multiple shots of tequila, it was a miracle we found ourselves comfortably in our own beds the next morning. That day was spent with gruelling headaches and copious amounts of sleep, but apparently not nearly enough.
We became close with Tanya and Jacob after the initial apology and our first get-together. There were a few double dates before the stress of finals and it never failed to amaze me how we managed to get along so well, but I was thankful for it. Tanya and I were the best of friends once more and she was truly in love with Jacob, who obviously felt the same for her.
Edward had been in the shower for ten minutes already and I still had not decided on what to wear. Meeting a guy's parents was a big deal to every girl out there and I wanted to make a good impression. Every weekend Edward's parents would call and talk for at least an hour and even though I spoke to Esme and Carlisle on numerous occasions, an actual face-to-face meet was expected to go totally different.
Eventually deciding on a khaki coloured skirt and white peasant top, I walked back into the bathroom where I would try desperately to tame my mangle mess of hair. Edward's silhouette in the center of the shower curtain caught my attention. He was the very definition of beautiful and sexy. His broad shoulders and strong arms, all the way down his sculpted stomach and godly ass.
I didn't not notice when the flow of water stopped or that Edward now stood before me in all his naked glory with a piqued eyebrow.
"Ahem." He cleared his throat, not-so-subtly.
I immediately felt the blood rush to my face as I turned away from his amused gaze. Damnit. Edward's light laughter followed him out of the room as I stared into my red face in the mirror.
Thirty gruelling minutes later, my hair fell down my back in dozens of curls while Edward shone in all of his masculine glory in dark wash jeans and a brown sweater.
"Ready, beautiful?" Edward asked as I finally exited the room.
I nodded timidly and walked unsure towards the door. Edward caught my arm as I walked past him. He brought me into a warm embrace, bringing his mouth to my ear.
"You do look beautiful. There's no need to be nervous, Bella. My parents already like you and when they see you tonight, they're going to fall in love with you."
For the second time that night, Edward made me blush furiously and I made a pathetic attempt to hide my face at his words. His hand came to my chin and tilted my face up to see him. Edward's eyes bore into mine with passion and love and caring as he carefully swept his lips against mine trying to comfort me. Trying to deepen the kiss, I moulded my body against Edward's chest and wrapped my hands in his hair until he pulled away with a smirk on his face.
"We're going to be late, Bella."
Of course he chooses now to be Mr Punctual. I mimicked the pout that he used earlier that evening and was rewarded with one more kiss before we left the apartment.
The restaurant which we had to meet Edward's parents was several miles away and took an hour and a half to arrive. Luckily, we got there fifteen minutes before our reservation time but was utterly frazzled when the maitre d' informed us that half of the party already arrived several minutes before.
Edward did not seem to be affected by the news but I thought that it was already strike one for making my boyfriend's parents wait. Our waiter led us to our table located in a secluded part of the restaurant, giving the occupants total privacy. My nerves were near shattering but Edward's arm around my waist provided comfort which he did not know was needed.
The couple already sitting at the table turned their heads, rose from their seats and smiled widely when they noticed our approach. They were both dressed impeccably; no one would ever mistake Edward and his parents. Esme wore a long sleeved red blouse with a black knee length skirt and an elegant pair of high heeled shoes. Her dark hair that shone with red tints under the light flowed down her back and matched her movements fluidly. Dr Cullen matched with both his wife and son decked out in a maroon sweater and dark pants. Neither of them looked to be the parents of Emmett, Edward and Alice.
"Bella!" Esme exclaimed as she shuffled around her husband and caught me in a warm, tight hug. "It's so nice to finally meet you." She said as she pulled away.
"Nice to meet you, too, Mrs. Cullen." I said, thankful that there was no stammering.
"Oh, no. I told you this already, you call me Esme, okay?"
That's right, she did. Oh, the nerves.
"Right, of course, I'm sorry. Esme."
From the corner of my eye, I noticed Edward's father moving towards us.
"And don't let me hear you call me Doctor or Mister Cullen either, Bella. I get enough of that at work." He said with a smile on his face and held his hand out.
I laughed, feeling more at ease with every second that passed. "Of course not, Carlisle."
"Hello? Son still here." We heard Edward say with clear amusement in his voice.
Esme laughed warmly and went over to hug her son. "Sorry, dear, but it is the first time we're meeting Bella after all."
Edward looked over his mother's head and winked in my direction. Carlisle walked over and shook hands briefly before giving his son a hug as well. I knew that Edward's family were very close, the first dinner with his siblings proved that and it was no different tonight. There was no awkwardness between father and son when they hugged or remarks of embarrassment. The Cullen family were close knit and it felt honoured to somehow be included into their circle.
"Should we sit?" Esme asked.
The two men nodded and came to our sides. Carlisle offered the chair for Esme to sit before him as Edward did the same. I saw Esme flash a proud smile to her husband as he sat next to her and held his hand. As though mirroring their movements, Edward's hand found mine under the table and applied a soft pressure before leaning over and kissed me on my cheek. All too soon, the tell-tale blush crept over my cheeks.
"Oh, Carlisle aren't they just the sweetest?" Esme gushed making sure to turn my blush deeper red.
Luckily, Carlisle simple smiled and nodded. The night continued in polite conversation and of Esme telling some stories of Edward's childhood. Again, there were no cries of embarrassment but only laughter by all at the table. More than once, I caught Edward looking at me with a silly grin on his face.
All the nervousness and apprehension effectively dissipated and I found it easy to speak freely with Edward's parents. They were unlike other parents, there were no awkward glances or statements or negative views on their son's girlfriend of a few months living with him. My parents expressed some concerns when I first told them of my new living arrangements but eventually came around.
We stayed in the restaurant until most of the patrons left and near closing time. Even though Edward's parents had a longer drive back home than we did, they did not seem to mind stay to merely talk about our plans for the future – academic plans that is. With a two hour drive home and the time nearing 11pm, Esme and Carlisle reluctantly decided that it was time to leave after their third cup of coffee.
While we waited for our respective cars to be brought to us, Esme pulled me aside while Edward and his father spoke.
"Bella, it really has been a pleasure meeting you. I can see why Edward feels as strongly as he does. I don't know if you're aware but you are the only girl he's ever brought around the family. After your first dinner with Emmett and Alice they couldn't stop talking about you and it only piqued my interest. You are so good for him in so many ways."
"Esme, I-," I tried to say but she put up her hand for me to stop.
"You don't need to say anything. I saw it in both of your eyes tonight. You love each other. I know that you aren't one to take compliments easily but trust me on this, I know my son and since he's been with you, he's changed only for the better."
Esme smiled warmly and hugged me once more as the valets pulled up as though it was planned, not letting me say anything more to her. She linked our arms and walked back to her husband and son.
"Bella, I sincerely hope we'll be seeing you very soon and more often." He said as he offered his hand once more.
I smiled and took his hand without hesitation. "I hope so too, Dr Cullen. I mean, Carlisle."
Carlisle laughed and quickly pulled me into a hug. The unexpected movement knocked the breath out of me but I was soon released.
"Sorry about that, I'll be sure to give some warning the next time." He laughed again and ruffled the top of my head. I couldn't help but laugh at the gesture.
Edward said goodbye to his parents and Esme hugged me once more before getting into the car. We waited until Edward's parents were out of sight before we left the restaurant. The ride back home was filled with compliments from Edward.
"They loved you. I told you that they would. And you were beautiful tonight." Edward said as he kissed the inside of my palm.
"You already said that." I giggled.
"It can't be said enough, Bella. And my mother, oh, my mother adored you! And Dad thought you were so funny. I've never seen them warm to someone so quickly." Edward continued gushing about tonight's success and I eventually had to drown him out.
The night had truly gone well and I had been ecstatic. Edward's parents approved, although they already did, but tonight made it seem more real. Gazing out of the window, I thought of how lucky I had to be. I had the best friend ever in Tanya and the perfect man in Edward, not to mention the new friends I found in Jacob, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice.
My life was in an ultimate high and I would ride it out without fear or consequence.
"She's divine, Edward." My mother's words played over in my head as I watched Bella across the table eating her breakfast.
The night before had gone better than I had ever imagined. There had been no doubt in my mind that my parents would have liked her, but the fact that they did so quite quickly only raised my spirits.
"Yes, Bella?" I answered innocently.
She laughed and turned her attention back to the paper she had been reading. "Nothing."
I reached across the table and held her hand. Bella was now so in sync with my movements; she squeezed lightly but did not raise her gaze from her reading. I loved this woman so much and spellbound by her so much so that even the most monotonous of tasks she did caused me to stare at her like a fool. And I believed that she loved me enough not to make it a big deal.
Today we did nothing but lounge around the house. We slept, curled up on the sofa and watched movies, cooked enough to feed a small country and played Mario Kart Wii.
The last week of the academic year proved to be nearly uneventful. Bella and I were not adept to the party life of the university but joined Tanya and Jacob to one the day after we helped them move out of their dorms. We made sure not to have a repeat of the night at the karaoke bar.
In the days that followed, Bella and I took to simply walking around campus hand in hand while we waited for grades to be posted and to hear back from institutions where we applied for an internship spot. Bella being interested in Journalism applied to the Seattle Times where as I applied to several Law offices, both public and private.
Tanya and Jacob would be heading off home – Tanya to Chicago and Jacob with his family right here in Seattle. They both expressed concerns about being away from each other for months but were confident in their relationship. Bella pretended to be sick after their much public display of affection at the airport as Tanya flight was boarding.
When we arrived back home, Bella received a letter from the Seattle Times informing her that she had secured a spot in their internship programme. She immediately grabbed the phone and dialled home after jumping into my arms, planting a huge kiss on my all too anxious lips. Her parents, especially her mother Renee, were excited for their daughter's success but saddened by the fact that she would not be home. Instead, they insisted that Bella and I visited for a week before the internship began.
Bella had been considerably more nervous than I had been of her meeting my parents. She insisted that her mother would have no problem but her father, Charlie, who was the Chief of Police in her small town of Forks, would be tough to win over.
It took a total of four hours to drive to Bella's home town. We stopped along the way to enjoy the scenery and food breaks. This was my first time making the road trip and Bella made sure that it was an enjoyable one. She narrated several stories whenever we passed landmarks she thought were important and told more stories of the drive with her parents in her first year.
Twenty minutes after officially entering the town of Forks, we pulled up to Bella's house. The lawn was vivid green and a pathway of flowers led to the front door. Parked in front of the house was Charlie's police cruiser, a boat, truck and small car. I immediately recognised the red truck as Bella's from all of her stories.
"Bella!" called a voice behind us.
As we wheeled around, I saw Bella's mother dressed in gardening clothes move toward us. She pulled Bella into a tight hug and scolded her for not calling ahead.
"And this must be Edward. It's nice to meet you. Call me Renee." She said before wrapping her arms around me in a hug as well. I guess all mothers liked to hug.
Renee led us up the pathway and into the house where a football game could be heard blaring from the living room.
"Charlie, Bella's here." Renee called.
"Bells?" a rough voice questioned from the adjoining room.
Not waiting for her father, Bella walked into the living room where Charlie sat in a recliner indeed watching a Redskins game. From what Bella told me, I could successfully get on Charlie's good side if I spoke of fishing or anything football.
"Hi, Dad." Bella greeted.
Charlie stood at once at the sound of his daughter's voice. "Hey there, Bells. We didn't expect you until much later. Great to see ya." He said, giving her an awkward hug.
"Great to see you, too, Dad." Bella said once they let go.
Charlie's eyes swept across the room and eventually locked on my own. The immediate change could be seen by anyone. The smiling man was now replaced by the authoritative police officer.
"Dad, this is Edward, my boyfriend."
"Nice to meet you, Chief Swan." I said, walking closer to him and extended my hand.
Charlie grunted softly before taking my hand. The sheer strength of Charlie's handshake was a warning to anyone and especially me at that time. Without words he had effectively made his position clear if I was to ever let harm come to his daughter.
"Edward." He said finally, letting my hand go. It throbbed for seconds and the feeling gradually came back.
The room was now filled with tension as no one spoke or even moved. Charlie still stared into my face, gauging my reactions and looking for signs of weakness.
"Deep down he's a big ol' softie." Bella's voice repeated in my mind.
After a few more tense minutes, I gathered my courage and smiled, hoping that I was making the right move.
"So, Chief Swan, was that the Redskins game I heard earlier?"
"Yes, it was." He said, still in character. "Redskins are up by two touchdowns."
"Oh, brilliant." I said. "I was hoping that they would win."
Charlie's wall seemed to lower a bit at the conversation. "Well, there's still half of the game to go. You never know what's going to happen."
"No, sir. Indeed you don't."
A hint of a smile tugged at the corners of Charlie's mouth at the double meaning of our conversation. He looked genuinely amused and interested as he nodded and took his seat back in the recliner. An audible sigh could be heard from both Bella and Renee as the first hurdle was now overcome.
Bella was annoyed at the sleeping arrangements; she would be in her old room and I would occupy the guest room. She sought to challenge the issue with her father but I assured her that I had no objections. It was only a week after all. After we got settled in, we helped with dinner. Bella always said that her ability to cook came from the fact that Renee liked to experiment with different dishes, most of which would end in disaster.
Conversation at the dinner table was dominated by Bella and her mother. There would be few places where Charlie would join in and several awkward silences when the topic turned to me. It seemed that warming up to Bella's father was indeed a hard task.
After dinner, Charlie invited me out onto the porch with him. Bella looked concerned but I smiled encouragingly to her as I stepped out into the cool night's air.
He turned to face me before continuing. "I'm not much for small talk, son, so how about I just jump into this?"
"No problem, sir." I said, maintaining the level of respect.
"Bella is my daughter and I would do anything to keep her happy. Now, there's no doubt about the depth of your relationship with her. I can see that she loves you and that you feel the same. But if there was anything that you do to bring so much as a frown to her face, know that I will not let that slide. After that episode with that Jim character, I'll never be too careful when it comes to her."
Charlie's words hung in the air for several minutes. I knew that this would ultimately be the moment where I would be accepted by Charlie or not. Whatever I had to say in reply to his speech would have to be only the truth.
"Understood, sir. You are right, I do love Bella and I consider it an honour that she feels the same of me. I promise you that I would do all in my power to ensure, as you do, that she remains happy. And I assure you that if I ever let her come to harm or sadness, I would readily let you do what you must."
Charlie locked eyes with me again, no doubt in an attempt to decide whether my words were true. Minutes passed until Charlie slowly nodded and offered his hand. Trying my best to conceal a smile, I took his hand.
"Well Edward, you've earned my trust and my daughter's, I can only hope that you'll do well not to disappoint us."
"I won't, sir."
With two pats on my back, Charlie walked back into the house leaving me alone in the moonlight. I breathed a sigh of relief at earning Charlie's approval but mainly thankful that I did not let down Bella.
The week passed easily enough after the first night. Charlie took me on a fishing trip where we spent hours in silence and only came home with six fish. Bella showed me around her old stomping grounds – her old high school where she recalled numerous clumsy accidents in gym and even through normal activities. We met with several of her old friends the day we visited the beach and tried to surf.
On the day we had to leave, Renee made us promise that we would be back soon and Charlie made sure to remind me of my promise to him.
"Oh come on, Edward. We need your opinion." Alice complained.
With Tanya's absence, Bella called on Alice to help her shop for some outfits to start her internship. I made the mistake of thinking that this trip to the mall would be fun.
"It looks great, Alice. She looks wonderful in everything that you've made her try on." I admitted. Bella was now standing with a navy blue blouse and matching knee length skirt with a white top. She smiled at my words.
"Ah, you're totally biased." Alice complained.
"So what if he's biased?" Bella asked, winking in my direction.
"He hasn't said one bad thing about the nine suits that you tried on so far!"
"Because she looked beautiful in every one of them." I defended.
"Even the gauzy pink one?" Alice smirked.
"There was a gauzy pink one?" I looked to Bella, my smile faltering. There was no way I would miss a gauzy pink one, was there? Unfortunately, Bella nodded sadly.
"I tried it one two suits ago." She said sadly.
"See? Told you, Bella." Alice said triumphantly.
"Don't worry about it, Edward. Why don't you take a walk around the mall? Or better yet, I saw a bookstore a couple stores down. We shouldn't be here for much longer." Bella said.
"That's what you think." Alice laughed as she went off to find more suits.
"Are you sure?" I asked cautiously.
"Positive. I think Alice is two steps away from throwing you out herself anyway."
"Fine. I'll see you soon."
"Count on it."
I walked over and kissed her before leaving the store.
"Don't forget we need to find you suits for your internship as well, Edward." Alice called after me. I waved my hand to acknowledge her and continued on my way out.
The mall was unusually active for a Wednesday afternoon as I made my way through a group of children. The bookstore was not far, indeed only three stores away.
Making my way over, something shone in the corner of my eye. Turning my gaze away from the bookstore, I found that the dazzle came from a nearby jewellery store. With my interest at an unusual high, I walked into the store.
Silver, gold and platinum glittered through the glass cases as the displays rotated under the lights focussed on them. My gaze fell on a display of rings, engagement rings to be precise. The rings varied in sizes and textures, but most importantly, diamond size. There where square and oval shaped along with the few heart shaped.
"Would you like some help, sir?" asked one of the nearby salesperson.
Do I want his help?
Bella and I were close and undoubtedly going stronger than ever, but we were far from taking the next step in our lives. We still had one year left of our education and many trying times with future jobs. Still...
"Sir?" the salesperson called again.
"No, thank you." I said and walked out after one last gaze to the rings.
There was no doubt in my mind that Bella and I would eventually be married, but that time was not now and we both knew it. Until then, we would enjoy our relationship which was still quite young, we would become so much a part of the other that when the time is right, we will know.
Until then, we would just be Bella and Edward, hopeless romantics.
Firstly, I feel compelled to apologise for the uber late update and question why the hell is it that no one has discovered a cure for the common cold yet? You would think with all the dreadful symtoms, someone would. Oh well.
Thank you all for taking this journey with me, you don't know how much I appreciate it.
*tear* I hate that everything comes to an end.
A new story is on the horizon so make sure I'm on your author alerts if you're interested.
Leave me last one review and make me smile.
ps - Ramadan Mubarak to my Muslim readers.