Chapter 20: Vita Bella

"Best thing about tonight's that we're not fighting.
Could it be that we have been this way before?
I know you don't think that I am trying,
I know you're wearing thin down to the core.
But hold your breath,
Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you over again,
Don't make me change my mind.
Or I won't live to see another day; I swear it's true,
Because a girl like you's impossible to find. You're impossible to find.
This is not what I intended, I always swore to you I'd never fall apart,
You always thought that I was stronger,
I may have failed but I have loved you from the start…
So breathe in so deep, breath me in, I'm yours to keep,
And hold onto your words 'cause talk is cheap,
And remember me tonight when you're asleep."
-"Fall For You" by Secondhand Serenade

"Edward, wake up."


"Wake up, you're going to catch your death out here."

I'm not dead already? Sure feels like it.

"Fine, don't talk to me. I thought that's what you wanted, a chance to explain yourself."

That snapped me out of my self-induced coma.

I had fallen asleep in the meadow—I would probably pay for it later with a killer cold—and now that I was awake, I could see that Bella was hovering over me, a worried expression on her face.

"What are you doing here?" I demanded.

"Alice said you never came back to your apartment after I left the restaurant, and she got worried because she couldn't find you and you weren't answering your phone. I said I'd help her look."

I snorted, "Why would you care?"

"Why would I care?" She asked, her brown eyes glowing angrily. "Because I do, Edward! Because you're my best friend despite all of the poor decisions you've made."

"Oh, so I'm still just your best friend even though I love you."

"Stop saying that," she hissed at me.

"Stop saying what?" I demanded. "I love you? I can say it all I want. I love you. I love you. I love you. Edward Cullen is in love with Bella Swan. I love you. Love you. Te amo. Je t'aime. I love you. There."

I knew I was being childish; but I loved her and now that I had finally said it, it was surprisingly easy to repeat.

"Edward!" She chastised. "I said I'd give you a chance to explain yourself, now do it before I leave."

I sighed and dove into the tail.

I told her everything. How I'd fallen in love with her when we were in elementary school and just had never had the guts to tell her so. How I had so desperately wanted to tell her that day that we had talked about her signing up for the dating site. How I had actually told her that one day in the meadow. What Tanya told me at the photo-shoot. How much I wanted to kill Jacob. Jasper's plan. Everything. The whole shebang.

She was quiet throughout the ordeal, listening attentively.

Finally she whispered, "I thought I heard you say it, that day in the meadow."

"I thought you were asleep," I deadpanned.

"I was, I guess. I thought I was dreaming."

"Probably more like a nightmare," I snorted.

"No," she shook her head. "A good dream."

My stomach twisted funny, "What do you mean?"

She waved her hand and refused to answer my question. "Edward, why wouldn't you tell me? Why would you leave me out of this? This is something important; you should have talked to me about it!"

"I know," I sighed, "that's exactly what Alice said."

Bella smiled, a slight quirk of her mouth that made a dimple on her chin appear, "You should have listened to her."

"I know."

"I wish you had."

"You what?" I asked.

She sighed and laid down in the meadow next to me, she carefully annunciated every word as she said, "You should have listened to Alice."

"Please explain that."

She sighed, "Don't make me say it out loud, Edward."

"Say it, out loud," I goaded.

"Because I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Bella Swan is in love with Edward Cullen. I love you. Love you. Te amo. Je t'aime. I love you. There." She replied with a smirk.

My word turned upside down. My brain shut down and something else inside of me took over because I lunged at her, pulled her into my arms and devoured her mouth. I rolled on top of her and pulled her close.

"Why didn't you say anything sooner?" I demanded when I pulled away for air. "Why did you date all of those other guys if you really love me?"

"That's just it! Because I thought you didn't love me!" She said. "I thought it was painfully obvious that I loved you; but you never seemed to notice. Everyone else did, that's why Jake and I broke up."

"What?" I asked.

"We argued over Thanksgiving about you," she said.

"Yeah, I could hear you guys. I was in the piano room."

"Oh," she said, burying her face in the crook between my neck and shoulder. I could feel the heat of her blush. "We argued because he found out that I am in love with you."

"What?" I said, pulling back so I could look at her face, "I thought you were arguing because he found out that I was in love with you."

She giggled a little, "I guess we're both a little blind, then."

"Yeah," I nodded, leaning down to kiss her again. I would never tire of kissing Bella. "So how did Jake find out that you loved me and not him?" I asked a little smugly.

She sighed and rolled her eyes before pulling the hem of her shirt up.

There on her ribcage was a tattoo that said, E.A.C. 10.17.90. October 17, 1990. The day we met and my initials. Bella had gotten a tattoo. Right by her heart.

She sighed, "He first saw a little bit of it at the photo-shoot but finally made me tell him what it said at Thanksgiving."

I was still gaping at her, "You told me you'd never get a tattoo!"

"I lied," she shrugged.

"When did you get it?"

"After you got 'Vita Bella' on your chest. I liked to pretend that tattoo was about me, so I got one about you." She said, looking away and blushing.

I grinned, "That tattoo is about you, silly girl."

She smiled. "So what now?"

"What now?" I dared with a lopsided grin, "Well, little girl, I did promise you forever."

She smiled a little, "We have a lot of things to work through first, buddy. I'm still mad that you didn't tell me sooner."

I shrugged, "I have a long time to make it up to you."

"Yeah, forever!" She challenged.

I hummed in the back of my throat, "Hmm, forever. That sounds perfect."

The End. No epilogue, no sequel. Deal with it. This was a story about beginnings, I'm not so good at writing about relationships.

Thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed and supported this story! I really appreciate it!