Thx as always to my betas - Reamhar & KCerena!
Le sniff - it's over!
Some things have changed, while others remain the same. Dick Nixon resigned last August (can you believe the moron taped his own incriminating conversations?), and the war in Vietnam has ended. But, yeah, Edward and I are still together. It's not always a walk in the park, sometimes we disagree and argue, but for the most part we make it work. We moved out of student housing four months ago, right after graduation, and are now living in our very own first apartment. It's a tiny studio in Greenwich Village; one room serves simultaneously as kitchen, living room and bedroom. It's not much, but it's all we could afford on my salary as a reporter for the Village Voice. Since I will be the only one with an income for the foreseeable future, we'll have to make due with the space. I don't mind so much, but Edward complains about the size a lot. I laugh and make jokes about the fact that we won't be able to afford a one-bedroom anytime soon, much less the mini-mansion his family lives in.
Edward just started his first year of medical school. After he took some classes on music theory and composition during his freshman year, he decided that he preferred to keep music as his hobby. He said something about how the classes forced him to be creative on command and that kind of ruined playing and composing for him. I'm not certain I'll ever understand how Edward found organic chemistry in contrast to those music classes fascinating. Occasionally he tried to enlighten me on the subject of chemistry and why it's interesting, but I've to admit I was bored to tears just listening to him. I was an English major who avoided most science classes at all cost.
College was fun, but I'm glad to be done with it. I like my job. It's also kind of neat to finally get a paycheck, even if it's not a huge one. I'm still a little in shock whenever my editor comments positively on my work. I don't think I'll go back to school anytime soon, but I've resigned myself to the fact that my boyfriend will spend the next couple years studying. Speaking of which, the title 'boyfriend' recently began to bother him.
Two days after our commencement ceremony, Edward proposed – this time with dinner, champagne, and a ring. It was the first night we'd had to ourselves in a long time; no studying, no work and no proud parents stepping on our toes. I guess I should've seen it coming when Edward took me to a fancy French restaurant we really couldn't afford. Still, I was stunned when it happened and almost choked on the small diamond ring I found swimming at the bottom of my champagne glass.
"Isabella Marie Swan, will you marry me?" he asked, while I fished the ring out of the glass with my fork. I inspected the shiny and expensive object suspiciously for a second.
"What? Why?" was my first response. Edward furrowed his brows in confusion and then, ever so slightly, the expression on his face shifted to irritation.
"What do you mean why? I love you … we live together for Christ's sake … I thought it would be perfectly obvious why?" he said with an annoyed tone to his voice.
I knew he was tired and running on a short fuse lately. He'd finished his exams only a couple of days before graduation and all while his parents where visiting, too. Their constant bickering had only added to his stress. I'd been trying my best to tread lightly around him and not to add to his frustrations, but seriously? Did he just expect me to say yes?
"That's not what I meant and you know it. But what would change? If I say no, will you move out? Will you stop loving me? I mean, I'm just not sure it's necessary. That's all. And with the money this ring must have cost we could've paid the rent in advance or gone to L.A. to visit Rose and Emmett," I tried to explain. I thought my response was perfectly reasonable, but apparently Edward didn't agree.
"Can't you just make this easy, put the ring on, and say yes?" he seethed, one of his hands balling into a fist on the table.
"But why? Do you honestly need a silly piece of paper to know that I love you?" I argued, losing my patience and getting annoyed. Edward closed his eyes in frustration before opening them again
"So let me get this straight, you want me to introduce you as my girlfriend forever?" His question only added fuel to my fire. My suspicion was that the real reason he was so intent on getting married these days was to conform to some norm.
"Actually, I'm fine without any title. You can just introduce me by my name. Does everything have to have a label? I know what you are to me!" I exclaimed, my irritation quickly turning to fury.
"Really?" he huffed. "So what are you – my friend? 'Hi, everyone this is my friend Bella and we happen to live together.' Is that what you want me to say?"
"What's wrong with that? Will you be embarrassed to admit to your snotty doctor friends that we are living together without having run to city hall first?" I knew I was pushing it; if I was being perfectly honest, I wouldn't be pleased to have him introduce me as his 'friend.'
"Of course not!" he said loudly. Some of the other patrons had started shooting us odd glances. Edward looked around for a second, uncomfortable with the attention.
I shrugged my shoulders to emphasize my blasé attitude about the subject. Edward's posture stiffened. "I just don't get why this is so important to you," I muttered, but it came out pretty meekly after I caught the expression on his face. He was definitely angry, but I could also tell he felt hurt by my argument. It was the first fight we'd had in along time.
I played with the napkin on my lap instead of looking at him. I heard Edward exhale loudly.
"Bella, look at me, please?" I rolled my eyes and chanced a glance at him. "I love you. I don't think that's ever going to change. So what's so wrong with us getting married? We don't have to get married right away. We can just stay engaged for a while, if you like. But can you please say yes and do this for me?" he pleaded and my heart melted.
"Fine," I mumbled, feeling a bit like a pushover.
"Is that a yes?"
"Fine, yes … sure, I'll marry you. Happy?" I smiled at him. He grinned at me.
"Yes, I am."
"I can't believe I'm agreeing to this." I shook my head and laughed.
"Can you try the ring on to see whether I'll need to get it resized?"
Biting my lip nervously, I looked at the sparkling diamond ring before pushing it over the ring finger of my left hand.
"It seems to fit," I said, holding my hand out to him. Edward seemed so genuinely happy when he reached for my hand to place a kiss on it that I figured I'd made the right decision by giving in. I'd learned, during the past couple of years, that compromising was part of the deal in a relationship, even if you didn't get what you wanted all the time. We paid the tab and fled the place shortly afterward without bothering to finish our dessert.
I guess I should refer to him now as my fiancé, but four months later and three months away from our wedding day, I'm still not quite used to the title. Edward of course loves it and never fails to mention it when we go to parties or run into one of his colleagues. If it makes him happy, it works for me.
Unfortunately, between his job as a night porter at a hotel and his studies, I don't get to see him much. I'd prefer if he'd quit the job, but we need the money to cover for the cost of his books, which turned out to be insanely expensive. His parents offered to pay for school, but he rejected their offer. I'd not been sure why he turned them down considering how much easier it would have made his life until he let it slip that the check came with the condition that he'd wait to marry me until he graduated medical school. He didn't want to wait. I felt like an ungrateful five-year-old who'd thrown a tantrum about a Christmas present after I found out. I agreed to get married sooner rather than later.
When I told Rose and Renee about our engagement, they'd wanted to throw us a wedding party. At first, their request sounded perfectly reasonable, but then Alice got involved and the party planning spun quickly out of control. Thankfully, Edward was able to stop her. Neither of us wanted to have a big wedding and we really couldn't afford it. We're going to have a small civil ceremony followed by dinner with some friends and our families right before the holidays when Edward will be done with his exams for the semester.
Rose and Emmett got married a year ago and Rose is already expecting their first child. They stayed in L.A. after they finished school. Emmett found a job as a teacher and Rose started law school. I told her it was stupid to get pregnant while she was still in school, but she said she'll manage, and I know better than to argue with her. I'm still a little upset that I'm going to be an aunt so soon. I think Jas is a little freaked out about it too. Time went by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday that we graduated high school.
Jas is taking his sweet time graduating from Berkley. He's still studying. The last time I checked, he was majoring in political science, but that can change at any minute; last year it was psychology. I think he's dilly-dallying because he doesn't want to get a real job.
Jas visits Charlie often, at least three or four times a year, and always spends his summers in Forks. I think he was the one who introduced Charlie to Leah's mom and they have since moved in together. I'm happy that he's found someone after all those years. Plus, it also makes get-togethers with Renee and Phil a lot less awkward now that Charlie has a girlfriend to bring along.
Alice and Jas still keep in touch, but both of them have officially moved on in the dating department. Alice graduated a year early from Parsons and started working for a fashion magazine here in New York. She loves it. She travels a lot and I barely see her, even though she only lives three blocks from us. Her roster of boyfriends is endless and I don't think she plans to settle down anytime soon.
The last time Alice came over to our house, she brought along disco records she'd bought in London and champagne one of her new boyfriends had sent her from Paris. When Edward came home from school that day, Alice and I were on our second bottle of champagne, dancing and singing along to the tunes blasting from our record player. Edward refused to join in and instead chose to go for a walk. He called later that night to make sure Alice was gone before he came home. I laughed and told him she was long gone.
Alice never sticks around for more than a few hours at a time, which is probably a good thing. Edward and Alice completely clash these days, and I'm starting to be convinced they've always been opposites. Alice is outgoing, attends every major social gathering in the city, and spends most of her money on designer clothes and Edward … well, he's kind of the same as he's always been. He barely ever drinks and he doesn't care to go out much.
On weekends we sometimes take walks in the park, go to the movies or see Broadway plays. Sunday mornings we usually spend in bed reading The New York Times together. Every so often Edward drags me to piano recitals during which I'm frequently tempted to take a nap. In exchange for going to the recitals with him, I get to drag him to parties and to bars where I meet up with my co-workers. I better get off the typewriter now. Edward is grumbling that he'd like me to come to bed.