He'd asked me to marry him, and I was so shocked that I didn't believe him at first. I really didn't mean to hurt his feelings, but I couldn't answer him just then; it was hard enough to string two coherent thoughts together, even harder than it usually was.
Had I actually died and gone to Heaven? That seemed likely; he was with me and that was pretty much heaven in my book. Or was I still asleep, and dreaming this? Also possible.
"I need some time to wrap my head around this, 'kay?" I asked. He nodded, a shadow of hurt still lingering in his eyes.
Then the phone rang, and I ran downstairs to answer. It was Alice.
"I keep seeing the word 'yes', Bella." she said. "Everywhere you can think of."
"I haven't said anything yet," I warned her. My thoughts were another matter. "But I think I'm going to need your help."
"I knowyou will," Alice assured me. "He'll need to hunt soon, so we can plot while he's away."
Perhaps wish fulfillment was playing tricks with my mind. Bella hadn't given me an answer to my proposal, but it seemed that everywhere I went, I saw the word "yes."
When I went to pick Bella up for school, I found a CD lying on the seat of the Volvo.
I never, ever leave CDs on the seat. I noticed the title as filed it in the CD compartment in the car.
It was a CD by a 1970s progressive rock band called Yes.
When I went to my locker to get my books, a book fell out.
I picked it up. A self-help book?
At lunch, the mystery deepened.
"Is this yours, Emmett?" I asked as I tossed him the book. He snagged it deftly and then chortled as he read the title: "F**k Yes: A Guide to the Happy Acceptance of Everything."
"Not mine," he said through his laughter. "But it might come in handy for you, Emoward."
Everyone laughed then at what must have been the embarrassed expression on my face. But Bella was blushing as though on my behalf and Alice was replaying the most obnoxious 70s music in her head. Worked every time, damn it.
Something was up.
Gym class: the sub-basement of Dante's levels of hell. I wondered if death by boredom was possible for a vampire. Gazing around for a distraction, my eyes fixed upon the electronic scoreboard.
It was flashing "Yes."
Something was definitely up. A something that had to do with Bella and Alice.
I tried to confront them, but both parties had made themselves scarce. Alice left school early, taking Bella with her.
I was going to get to the bottom of this.
The next day, I took Bella to our meadow with a picnic lunch in hand.
I'd done most of the preparation myself, but apparently Esme had seen fit to add a chocolate chip cookie for Bella's dessert.
She took a bite of the cookie, but not before I saw that the miniature chips were laid in a deliberate placement.
The word "yes."
She finished the dessert more quickly than was usual for her. "I guess I was hungrier than I realized," she said with a blush, and looked away.
I reached out to her and tilted her chin up so she had to look me in the eyes.
"Isabella Marie Swan," I said deliberately. "You're hiding something."
"Not really." she denied.
"Is there something you want to tell me, perhaps?" For example, you, Alice, Esme and God knows who else--maybe everyone else--are behind the multiple manifestations of "yes" I keep seeing?
"Maybe." I could hear nervousness in her voice and at the same time a smile in it.
"Close your eyes," she said. I heard the singsong "I've-got-something-for-you" tone it it.
Her lips were hot on my open palm as she pressed a light kiss into it.
"Keep them closed," she said with mock sternness.
I felt an object being placed in my hand. A box.
"You can open them now," she said.
If I'd still had a heart, it would have been beating wildly. My hand shook a little and I had to take a deep breath as I opened the box.
"What is it?" Of all the things it could be, I was reasonably confident it wasn't a live grenade. So why was I so nervous?
"My answer," she said softly.
Lying on the velvet bottom of the box was something like a pendant or medallion, made of gold.
"Alice helped," she confessed. "But this was my idea. They're kanji--"
"I know," I said hoarsely. Both at once, I wished I was human and grateful that I was not. Human tears would have have blurred my sight and kept me from reading the golden symbols I now held in my hand and in my heart and soul.
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