A/N: I started this story with no true betas (Thank you, Project Team Beta for doing the first few chapters for me) and through pure fangirling alone, found two of the best people in the fandom who wanted to beta for me. Katie & Trin, Aceward wouldn't have made it this far without you two. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I don't own Twilight or anything else that is publicly recognizable. Blah blah blah.
I am participating in the Fandom Gives Back author auction. You can find all the information you need at www(dot)thefandomgivesback(dot)com. Sign up for the forums and take a chance at bidding on the o/s I've offered up. I say it's going to be no more than 4,000 words, but the more you bid, the chattier my characters get. Just sayin'. ;)
She looked so beautiful in the dress she was wearing, her eyes were on me through the entire ceremony and when we finally got to dance together, it was to one of my favorite Tom Waits songs. I sang it to her softly, dropping my head to whisper the final line in her ear.
After Bella told me she thought we should leave, I pulled out my phone to discreetly send a text off to Frank, the hotel employee who'd helped me set up the room earlier, while Bella was getting ready with Alice and Rosalie.
I'd completely caved to the ideas Jasper and Emmett had given me. By the time we arrived in the room, there would be an open bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting near the tub in the bathroom, which Frank had filled with a scented bubbled bath.
In a move very typical of me, I blurted out that I loved her. Probably not my finest moment, but I couldn't not say it. She gasped and stiffened in my arms, but I was relieved when she didn't pull away. I slid my hands down to her hips and pressed lightly on one of them, turning her to face me.
"I'm sorry, Bella. This isn't the way I wanted to tell you. I just couldn't help myself. You're beautiful and incredible and I just need you to know how I feel."
"Would you shut up and let me enjoy the moment? It's not every day a guy declares that he loves you for the first time," she teased.
My stomach twisted into knots. Does she mean...Could she possibly feel the same way?
Her arms wrapped around my waist and she buried her face in my neck. "I'm really glad you got a room," she whispered. "I have a feeling I wouldn't have been able to wait until we got to your place."
I pressed a kiss to the top of her head and hummed happily. Admittedly, I was a touch nervous. I'd declared my feelings for her and she hadn't said anything back. Of course thinking that she'd say it back to me was a complete idiot move and I wanted to kick myself for even hoping.
The elevator dinged as we reached the seventh floor and I kept my arms wrapped around her as I walked forward. "We're just down the hall."
I pulled the room key out of my pocket, opened the door and stepped back to let her enter first.
"Oh my...Edward, this is amazing," she said quietly. Her eyes were wide as she took in the sight of rose petals on the bed and candles burning all over the room. "When did you do this?"
"I had some help from a friend," I said with a smile. "I know it's Rose and Emmett's day, but I wanted tonight to be yours."
"Edward Cullen, you are a hopeless romantic," she teased with a smile.
"Guilty as charged." I took my jacket off and loosened my tie. "There's more in the bathroom," I said, nudging the door open with my foot. I smiled when I saw that Frank had done everything I'd asked and more. The champagne was open, the strawberries were on a tray and a dozen roses were in a beautiful vase on the counter. The tub was full of suds and I could see steam rising off of the water.
Bella was removing her jewelery as she walked toward me with a small smile playing on her lips. "What else did you do?" Her smile grew wider when she looked into the bathroom. "Wow."
We took our time undressing each other. I stepped into the tub first, holding out a hand to help her in after I sat down. She settled between my legs with her back resting against my chest and we relaxed together in near silence, talking quietly while sipping the champagne and feeding each other the strawberries, until the water grew cool around us.
We stepped from the tub and gently toweled each other off. Her eyes shined with tears. One slipped down her cheek and I brushed it away.
"Bella, are you okay?"
"Perfect, Edward. I'm perfect," she said, reaching up to wrap her arms around my neck. She pulled my face down to hers and kissed me softly. She pulled back ever so slightly, her forehead resting against mine and whispered against my lips, "I never knew it could be like this. I love you."
I broke into a wide grin and picked her up, twirling her around. My heart soared and in that moment, I knew she was it for me. There wouldn't ever be anyone who held my attention the way she did. I never wanted to be with anyone else.
"I don't want to be with anyone else either," she sighed into my hair. I hadn't even realized I'd said it aloud.
I set her back down on the floor and took my time kissing her, caressing her bare skin and enjoying the feel of her under my hands. Her body reacted to me in ways that always made me smile and I knew that I would spend every day of the rest of my life relishing in this.
I laid her down on the bed and sat back on my heels to look at her. Her eyes were shining in the candle light, her hair was splayed out on the pillow and for the first time, she didn't blush as my eyes roamed her body.
I lay down beside her, watching her as she ran her hands across my arms, chest, back, neck - anywhere she could reach. Her eyes followed her hands and a small smile tugged at her mouth. "Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?"
I shook my head with a chuckle. "Normally being called beautiful would strike me as odd. But coming from you..." I sighed happily. "That's the second best thing I've heard all day," I teased.
I pulled her close to me and took my time kissing her. When I finally came up for air, her hands and mouth were all over me, touching me, loving me and making me feel a bliss that I'd never felt before. We made slow, sweet love to one another and though we'd been intimate for months, this night felt like the first time.
Hours later, she fell asleep with her head on my chest and arms in a vice grip around my torso. I watched as she slept and thought back to the day I met her. She came into my life like a tornado and I would forever be grateful. She shifted against me and sighed quietly in her sleep, my name falling from her lips. I drifted off to sleep, content to know that I'd never have to sleep without her again.
There you have it. Clicking complete might have been the hardest thing I've done so far with this story.
I want to thank each and every one of you who has gone on this journey with me. Thank you for the reads, reviews, rec's, PMs, notes of appreciation, everything. I was very nervous getting back into the world of fanfic, but I'm so glad I did.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.