**Please read the Authors note at the end!**
Disclaimer: For the last time on this story, I don't own the characters, but I sure have had fun playing with them.
Instead of fighting with him on this, I decided to steer the conversation back to where he had started. "So if you're not proposing then what's with all of this?" I gestured my hand towards the ring box.
"Well there is something that I needed to ask you."
"Bella, will you move in with me?" He flipped the top of the box open revealing a shiny silver key on a crystal encrusted keychain nestled inside the box.
"Edward," I gasped. "I don't know what to say."
I really didn't. I knew that this conversation was coming. He had been laying hints for weeks. Asking me what I thought about the colors in his apartment, if I liked the furniture, things like that.
"Yes would be a good answer," he joked.
"Do you think that we are ready for this?" I asked honestly looking up into his emerald green eyes. I tried to see if there was any doubt there, any hint of regret of what he asked.
"Yes, I do," he said in a firm voice. "We are together all the time as is. This step makes the most sense and I think that we are totally ready for it."
I looked back down at the shiny key as I tried to decipher the feelings that were rushing around in my body. It took me a moment to realize that I wasn't feeling any fear or doubt.
I guess I had my answer.
"Yes, Edward, I will move in with you," I breathed out. His arms wrapped around me picking me up from the ground and holding me tight against him.
"I love you so much Bella. I am so happy that you said yes to living with me."
"There was no other answer. Wherever you are, is exactly where I belong."
And it was.
Two years later
I couldn't believe that it has been a little over two years since Edward walked back into my life. Two years full of angst, joy and the kind of love that I had only dreamed about. Edward wasn't perfect and neither was I but what we had now was perfect for us. Him leaving had taught us how to be open with each other. No longer did we let insecurities come in between us.
I glanced at the woman in the mirror in front of me and I almost didn't recognize her. It wasn't that her hair was swept up in a bunch of soft curls, or the white veil that was pinned in it. It wasn't the soft makeup that graced her face or the white dress that hugged her curves and gently flared out at her waist. It was the fact that she looked so much happier and in love then the girl I was two years ago.
So much had happened in the last two years, good things, bad things, but through it all Edward and I stood strong together and now we were getting married….finally.
It's not that he hadn't asked before now, he had at least a hundred times. It started about six months after I had moved into his condo. I was in the kitchen cooking us dinner…
I stirred the stroganoff on last time before I turned to the fridge to pull out the salad that I had made earlier. What I wasn't expecting was to find Edward leaned up against the counter across from me.
"Oh!" I gasped in shock. "You scared me."
"I'm sorry, Love. I didn't mean to frighten you," he said giving me his signature crooked grin before making his way to me. As he wrapped his arms around my waist, I almost forgot that I was cooking dinner. Almost. "You look so hot in that apron."
I looked down at the bright pink frilly apron that adorned my waist. I found it in a thrift shop shortly after I moved in to his place and I couldn't help but buy it.
"You've said that before," I reminded him before pressing a gentle kiss to his lips. "Now you better let me go so that I can finish up dinner."
"I'll never let you go."
My heart expanded slightly at his declaration. Since that day in the meadow after Alice's wedding Edward had been even more open about his love and intentions. I didn't mind it a bit.
"Well then you'll be eating charred stroganoff and limp salad," I joked just like I always did when he started his serious talking. I loved him desperately but I knew that I wasn't ready. Someday but not yet.
"Well we can't have that," he said releasing me. "You know I take my stroganoff very seriously and don't even get me started about the texture of salad."
I chuckled as I finished up dinner. I'm always secretly relieved that he doesn't take my joking personally. I was worried that eventually he was going to get tired of waiting on me and find someone else.
Just as I sat the last dish unto the table Edward grabbed my hand and dropped to his knees in front of me.
"Bella," he started.
"Edward, please…." I tried getting it out but he cut me off.
"Just let me get this out."
I nodded my head. Why did he have to do this? Everything was going so good and I thought that we were both on the same page.
"I know that I told you that I would be patient and wait until you're ready. But I need to ask."
He took a deep breath, his hands gripping mine tightly. "Will you marry me?"
Unlike his last proposal, there was no ring. No trumped up speech about love. Just a simple question.
I felt like I was going to vomit.
"Edward, I love you," That seemed like a good place to start. "But I'm not ready."
My voice had dropped down to the lowest whisper. I felt the tears start building up in my eyes. I knew that this was it. He wasn't going to wait any longer for me. I wouldn't. Maybe Alice would let me crash on her couch until I could find a place.
"Don't cry, Love," he murmured as he stood up. "I shouldn't have asked."
"Don't Edward, don't make excuses for me."
"I knew that you weren't ready. But with you standing there in your frilly apron, placing the dinner that you made me on the table, I couldn't resist. I knew before I even hit my knee that you would say no," he rushed out.
My eyes snapped up to his face. He knew that I would say no.
"So you asked knowing that I would say no!" I snapped. "I'm glad that this is so important to you."
I knew that I was slightly overacting but it pissed me off that he was being so blasé about this. If knew I would say no, was this just his way of making himself feel better. "Oh I proposed but she said no. Oh well."
I was steaming as I yanked off my frilly "hot" apron. I chucked it at his chest and stormed out of the kitchen, leaving a very stunned looking Edward in my wake.
It probably two minutes after I had slammed our bedroom door shut that Edward was knocking on it, asking me to let him in.
"Just leave me alone," I huffed from under the pillow that was over my face.
"Come on, Bella. Please let me in. I think you misunderstood me," he begged.
"About what part Edward? The part where you proposed knowing that I would say no or the….hmmm that would be it." I was now sitting up in our bed. I angrily threw the pillow at the door; it hit it with a satisfying thunk.
"Baby, I didn't propose because you would say no," I interrupted him there.
"Oh so what would you have done if I said yes?"
"Of course seriously," I shouted.
"Well I would have swept you up off of your feet and ran to the nearest justice of the peace before you could change your mind."
I slowly crept off the bed and made my way to the door. "Seriously?"
"Of course seriously," he mimicked my words for just moments ago. "I didn't ask because I knew you would say no, I asked because I had to. I will ask you every day until you say yes. If that's what it takes to win you over."
"You've already won my heart," I said pulling the door open to him.
"I have?" he asked as he stepped across the threshold to our room.
"Of course, silly. You've had it since that day in high school and you asked me to homecoming."
"I am a lucky bastard then," he said, as he swept me up in his arms. "Now I think we have some making up to do."
He swiftly walked to the bed and dropped me onto it gently. "What about dinner?" I asked even though I really didn't care.
"Screw dinner. I'm having dessert."
And he did….multiple times.
"What has you smiling like that?" Alice said coming into view behind me. I smile at her from the mirror, but didn't turn around.
"Oh I was just thinking about first night Edward proposed again."
"Oh the night of the charred stroganoff," she said with a giggle. What can I say; there are no secrets between friends.
"That would be the night."
"How many times has he proposed since then?" she asked as she started to button up the back of my dress.
"Counting the actual real proposal?" I asked.
"Hmmm…well there was the time in the park. Then on his birthday and on my birthday. The day that Henry was born and at the carnival….so that would be seven times counting the first and the last."
"I still can't believe that he proposed to you when you were holding your nephew for the first time," Alice said with a chuckle.
We rushed to the hospital the moment Em had called and said that Rose was in labor.
"Can you believe that it has been nine months?" I asked as Edward and I rode the elevator to Rose's room.
"No, it feels like it was only yesterday," he said gripping my hand tightly.
Rose had a fairly easy pregnancy. She dealt with the normal morning sickness and stretch marks (which she was not so happy about) but on the positive side she and the baby were both happy and healthy throughout the entire nine months. What more could you ask for?
I looked down at the blue stuffed dog that I had clutched in my hand. It had "World's greatest Aunt" embroidered on the front of it. They were having a boy, something that Em was ecstatic about. Though I think he would have been ecstatic no matter what. But I think there was something about having a boy that made a man feel more like a man.
"Someday this will be us," Edward said as the elevator dinged letting us know that we reached our floor.
"You and me, having a baby."
"Oh!" I said in shock. It's not that I hadn't thought about it before, tons of times actually. But hearing him say it sent warms tingles all over my body.
"Come on Auntie, someone's waiting to meet you," Edward chuckled as he pulled me down the hall.
A few moments later we found ourselves in Rose's recovery room. I was sitting in a rocking chair, holding my newborn nephew in my arms.
"He is amazing, Rose," I breathed out quietly not wanting to wake the small wonder in my arms.
"Thank you, Bella. He is amazing," she said with a happy smile painted on her exhausted face.
I looked down at the tiny little wonder. He looked just like Em, but had a head full of blonder curly hair. He was an angel. I felt Edward kneel down next to me.
"Amazing," he whispered.
"Isn't he?" I asked turning my tear filled eyes onto him. But he wasn't looking at Henry, he was staring at me.
"I love you," he said with determination.
"I love you too."
"Marry me?" He breathed out.
"What?" I yelped loudly causing the tiny bundle in my arms to stir. I hushed him a few times before he settled back in.
"Marry me? I love you, I want to have babies with you," he begged slightly.
"Edward," I whispered angrily. "This is not the time. I am holding my nephew."
Our heated exchange wasn't lost on Rose and Em. They were both staring at us in amusement.
"I know you are going to be a glorious mother. Marry me?" He all but demanded.
Before I could say anything, Em stepped in. "Edward, let's go take a walk."
Edward gave me a bemused expression before standing and following my brother out the door.
"You know he's going to ask again right?" Rose pointed out once the door closed behind them.
"Yeah, I know."
"You're eventually going to say yes," she pointed out again.
"I know. But it's just right yet, you know?" I asked looking down at the precious baby in my arms.
"You'll know when it's right. God help you both until it is," she said with a hearty chuckle.
"Yeah, that wasn't one of his finest moments," I said with a chuckle.
"Did he really think that you would say yes?"
"I don't know what he was thinking. When he got back from his walk with Em, he was really quiet and didn't propose again for some time."
"Well the real proposal was the best, that's for sure," she said with a small smile as she slid the veil on my head.
"It sure was."
It was a rare sunny day in Forks; we came to my parent's house for the weekend to celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary. It was a nice party; all of their closest friends were there. And of course Em, Rose and baby Henry. We had a fun time but I was ready to go home, Edward refused to touch me intimately when in my parent's house. He was convinced that my dad had altar sonic hearing or something like that.
"You ready, love?" Edward asked shoving our last bag into the trunk right next to his guitar that he had insisted he wanted to bring with him but never took out of the car.
"Yep. I said bye to my parents, so we're good to go."
"Do you mind if we stop at the meadow before we leave town?" He asked once we were in the car. It wasn't abnormal that he wanted to go; we usually made it a point to stop there every time we were in town.
"I don't mind."
Before I knew it, we were pulling off onto the road that led to the trail to the meadow. I stepped out of the car once we were parked, stretching my arms above my head.
"I just need to grab something," Edward mumbled as he scurried to the trunk. I figured he was grabbing the blanket that we left there for such instances at this. It was only after he closed the trunk that I realized that he had not only grabbed the blanket but also his guitar.
"What do you need that for?" I asked nodding at said guitar.
"You never know when inspiration will hit," he said with a carefree laugh. I didn't think much of it because he had been playing his guitar more often lately. This same tune actually, it was familiar but I couldn't place it.
"Alright then, we better get on our way."
We walked the trail to the meadow in silence, our fingers laced together. Before I knew it we were passing through the foliage covered awning into the meadow.
Edward spread the blanket out on the ground and gestured for me to sit. Once he was settled in beside me I leaned against his chest, letting his arm come around and rest on my hip.
"I love this place," I said taking in the beauty the surrounded us.
He hummed quietly in agreement. We sat that way, in silence, for a long moment just enjoying the closeness and peace that this place always gave us.
"I… um, wanted to sing you a song," Edward said breaking us out of our peaceful place.
"Oh?" I pulled away from him slightly.
"Yeah, that's why I brought my guitar."
"I was wondering," I said with a laugh. I was excited for him to sing for me. He has a wonderful voice, not that he agrees.
He spent a minute tuning his guitar, testing the chords as he went.
"Well, this may not be perfect but here goes nothing," he said as he dug a pick out of his pocket, situating it in his fingers.
The melody that he had been practicing over the last week or so surrounded us. I still didn't recognize what it was. Then his voice joined the music.
Forever can never be long enough for me
To feel like I've had long enough with you
Forget the world now we won't let them see
But there's one thing left to do
Now that the weight has lifted
Love has surely shifted my way
Marry MeToday and every day
Marry MeIf I ever get the nerve to say "Hello" in this cafe
Say you will
Say you wil
Together can never be close enough for me
Feel like I am close enough to you
You wear white and I'll wear out the words I love you
And you're beautiful
Now that the wait is over
And love and has finally shown her my way
Today and every day
If I ever get the nerve to say "Hello" in this cafe
Say you will
Say you will
You'll always be
Happy by my side
I promise to
Sing to you
When all the music dies
And marry me
Today and everyday
If I ever get the nerve to say "Hello" in this cafe
Say you will
As the last chord faded away, I had to blink back the tears in my eyes. Even though he had proposed numerous times now, this was different. This was IT.
"Marry me, Bella," He said making eye contact. He held up his hand that still clutched the pick in his fingers, he undid his fist a diamond ring dropped out, attached to a string so that it dangled from the pick.
I stared at the brilliant stone as it swayed in the slight breeze. I was stunned. I didn't know what to say, well I knew what to say but I couldn't seem to get the words out. I watched as the hopeful expression slipped from his face, quickly being replaced by a slightly pained look. That look was all it took to snap me out of my trance.
"Yes," I blurted out.
"Yes! Yes, I will marry you," I said smiling hugely at him. Then the tears came. "That was the most beautiful proposal ever."
"I figured I would get it right eventually," he said flashing me a crooked grin. He slid the guitar out of his lap, then gently pulling me into him replacing it. He leaned down and placed his mouth against mine. He didn't try to deepen it, just leisurely slid his lips along mine, until I couldn't think straight. He pulled away, only to lean back and kiss me again.
"Do you want your ring?" he asked after a minute of kissing, with a silly grin on his face. I'm sure it matched the one on mine.
"Of course," I replied looking back at the ring in his hands. I had completely forgotten about it.
"I hope that you like it," he said as he grabbed my hand and slid the ring into place. It was beautiful. The diamond in the center of the ring was oval shaped, surrounding completely by tiny blue sapphires. It was nothing like the first engagement ring that he had bought me and for that I was grateful. As beautiful that single round solitaire had been, it just was never me. It always had felt out of place on my hand. This was so much more my style.
"It's stunning," I whispered softly, turning my hand back and forth watching as the sun caught the stone and sent sparkling light off of it.
"Not as stunning as you are." I looked up at him then. I was so in love with this man.
"We're getting married," I breathed out.
"Yes we are," he said with such conviction that had I even had doubted him there would have been no room for it after those words. But I didn't doubt him. I knew that we had both learned from our mistakes, we were ready to move on. Together.
"I'm here, just a little late," Rose burst into the room. Late as always. It seemed ever since she had, had Henry she was never on time.
"It's okay. Henry being a handful?" I asked taking in her frazzled appearance. She had her head still buried in her bag that she was carrying with her; I don't think that she had looked up since she burst in here.
"Oh, just being his normal two year old self."
"Oh so basically a mini Em," I joked.
"You know it. There it is," she cried out yanking her hand and head out of her bag. She held up a tube of lip gloss victoriously.
"Congrats," Alice chirped. "But I have the same color over here." She held up a matching tube from the vanity in front of me.
"Well shit, I should have known. Oh, Bella, look at you," she was all over the place anymore. I swear it had to do with the fact the Henry was always on the move, never giving her a moment to really focus on one thing.
"You like?" I said looking down at my dress.
"Like? I love. Stand so I can see you in your glory."
I stood slowly, not wanting to mess up of any of Alice's hard work.
"Oh Bella, you look perfect," Rose gushed out. Taking a look in the floor length mirror opposite me, I had to agree with her. I wasn't a vain person but just like anyone else I knew when I looked good. And today I looked like a bride, a very happy, very in love bride. The dress that I choose was delicate in every way. The bodice was fitted with small lacy cap sleeves that sat right on the tips of my shoulders, the dress hugged loosely until about my thighs where is flowed out away from my body. There was an all around antiqued look to it. I decided to go with a traditional veil, a long scalloped lace that attached in the back of my hair and hung down my back, resting at my waist. Of course Alice was able to talk me into wearing heels; I had already slipped my feet into the satiny white pumps that she had picked. All in all I was a vision.
I mean, how could I not be with Alice's help?
"Of course she looks perfect, she has the best bone structure to pull off a veil," Alice chirped as she walked around me fluffing out the dress as she went.
"Alice, go get ready. There isn't much time left," I reminded my little pixie friend. "My MOH needs to look her best."
We spent the next hour giggling and talking about how life is changing again. I watched as Alice and Rose slipped into the emerald green dresses that I had picked out. They were simple A-line dresses with sparkly crystals that ran around the dress just under their chests.
"Can you believe that it was only three years ago that we ran into Edward and that skank-a-holic Tanya in that video store?" Alice asked as she adjusted my veil for the last time.
"A lot has happened since then," I said thinking back to that night. I still can't believe that I thought Edward was actually dating that bitch.
"I still can't believe she showed up at your apartment wanting to apologize," Rose said in disgust.
Yeah, neither could I.
The month after Edward had proposed had been hectic. I had to take two different trips to Spokane to meet with the same author and Edward was up to his eye balls in club openings. I knew that his job was a lot more hectic without having a second pair of hands to do half the work, I was thankful that he was starting to talk about hiring someone on to help him. I was looking forward to having more time with him.
So it was a rare Saturday night that we were both home together. We had discussed meeting everyone for a dinner and dancing, but after a little thought and sometime in the bedroom; we decided that we wanted to spend the evening alone together. So we ordered in and cuddled on the couch watching movies. About half way through the first film the intercom buzzer went off startling us both.
"Must be the food," Edward mumbled as he made his way to the door. "Yes Marcus?" He said into the shiny silver box by the door.
"You have a visitor, Mr. Cullen," Marcus's gravelly voice came over the line.
"Is it my Thai food order?"
"No sir, it is a Miss Cartel. She says that she has your permission but she isn't on your approved list," he explained.
"You don't need to bug Edward," I heard her annoying voice in the background. "He won't care."
Edward turned and raised an eyebrow at me. I just shrugged. After Edward had threatened to put a restraining order against her, she had pretty much left us alone. So her being here now, we a surprise.
"Would you like me to send her up, Sir?" Marcus asked.
I knew that he was going to tell him no. He didn't want anything to do with her, especially after the club incident. But I knew deep down that it pained him to lose a friend that way, not that he wanted her in his life, but there was no real closure. She was a big part of his life while he was gone, I felt deep down that he needed to hear her out and put her and all of this behind him.
"Have him send her up," I whispered so Marcus wouldn't hear me.
"What?" He asked letting go of the button, cutting off communication to the lobby.
"Maybe you should just hear her out and then we can be done with her once and for all. I mean, Edward, it has been over two years since you cut ties with her and she is still bothering us. It's never going to end until we let her talk," I tried explaining what I was thinking, I didn't think I was coming across right by the confused expression he had on his face. "She was your close friend for a long time Edward; I think you should hear her out."
His face softened then. "Do you think I miss her?"
"No. Well maybe as a friend. I mean she was there for you when I wasn't."
"That doesn't matter Bella. I cut her out of my life because it was the right thing to do, not because of some wild whim. I don't need to hear her out," He said.
"I know you feel that way now, but in ten years you may feeling differently. Especially once there is a greater distance between what has happened and where you are in life."
"Maybe you're right. I don't want to make amends with her, but maybe I should give us both closure," he admitted after a minute. "Please don't leave me alone with her though."
I knew he didn't ask that because he thought he would do something with her, it was because he wanted to show her and me that we were an untied force. Him and I against the world.
"I wouldn't even consider it."
"Mr. Cullen," Marcus's voice broke over the line again.
"Sorry Marcus, please send her up." he said into the intercom.
"Very good sir."
I went to stand by Edward, waiting for the witch to descend on our door.
"It'll be fine," I murmured.
"I just don't want her coming in here spewing lies to you," his hand tightened around mine.
"I'm not worried about anything she has to say. I know the truth and that's all that matters."
"Have I told you today how amazing you are and that I love you?" He asked just as he leaned down and pressed his lips to mine.
We were shortly interrupted by a knock on the door. "Ready?" he whispered.
"As I'll ever be."
He swung the door open to reveal a very different looking Tanya. Her eyes were puffy from crying, she was wearing sweat pants and a thin tank top. Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun with strands hanging out haphazardly.
"Great she's here," she sneered when her eyes landed on me.
"And we're done. Thanks for stopping by," Edward snarled as he started to shut the door.
"No!" She yelped out her hand jutting out trying to stop the shutting door. "I'm sorry! I meant to come and apologize, and now I'm messing it all up."
"Yeah because you don't know how to keep your mouth shut," Edward said in a voice as hard as ice.
"Please let me come in and explain myself. I promise to be respectful," she begged. But I knew Edward and her pleas were falling on deaf ears. She must have figured that out also, because she turned her pleas to me. "Please, Bella. I have so many apologies for you."
It took everything I had to not scoff. "Just let her in, Edward," I said in a no nonsense tone. The sooner we let the bitch in the sooner we could be done with her for good.
He gave me a questioning look, which I just nodded to.
"You're lucky that Bella is much more forgiving then me," he said through gritted teeth as he opened the door to her. In her credit she did look remorseful for her earlier words.
"Thank you Bella. I am thankful that you are giving me a chance to explain myself," she said as we led her into the living room. I gestured a hand to one of the wing back chairs that sat opposite the couch. I didn't want her to taint the one piece of furniture that Edward and I cuddled on the most. Once we were settled on the fore mentioned couch we turned our eyes onto the figure that sat stiffly in the chair across from us.
"So Tanya, what it is that you want to say?" Edward asked in a controlled voice.
"There's so much, Edward. I am so thankful for this opportunity, I miss you so much," her sentence trailed off there, settling awkwardly around us. Tanya shifted uncomfortably in her chair, realizing I'm sure how that sentence sounded.
Edward cleared his voice uncomfortably. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. But I do miss you. I miss your friendship; you're the only true friend that I ever had."
We sat in silence for another moment. I didn't know what to say to her, if she thought coming in here and telling Edward how much she misses him was going to win her any points, then the chick was nutso.
"Here I go messing this up again. I swear I have a point."
"Well then get to it, Tanya. Bella and I don't have all day," his tone was biting. He wasn't happy with her confessions.
"Of course. I wanted to come here today because I'm moving."
"What?" I spit out. She was moving! Yes! Maybe this would be the last we saw of her.
"Yes, I'm moving. I decided that I needed to go home to Chicago. I only moved here for you, Edward. I was hoping then that we could have had a fresh start here, but now I see that, that would have never happened," she said, her head bowed , her eyes trained onto her lap.
"A fresh start, Tanya? Seriously? How did you ever come up with that idea?" He demanded.
Her eyes snapped up to meet his. "You may that I am crazy, maybe I am. But Edward you need to step back and look at things from my point of view. We spent all our time together; we practically lived together in Chicago. We may not have an intimate relationship but everything else was exactly that. A relationship. We went to dinner together, watched movies on the couch. Took drives in the spring and went dancing. So excuse me for thinking that just maybe you felt the same way I did but just were to afraid to admit to it!"
Her breath was coming out in angry pants now. But I barely noticed. The pain from her words cut through me like a knife. I know that not just ten minutes ago I promised Edward that I wouldn't let her words bother me, but I couldn't help it. They did have a relationship, in some ways. And realizing that made me sad for her, who wouldn't think that they had a chance if someone acted like that with them.
"I thought that I had made it very clear to you on numerous occasions that I was not interested in you like that. Crap, Tanya, it's not like I made moves on you, you were my best friend. That was it. My heart could never feel that way for anyone but Bella; his tone was softer now, a little more understanding. I'm sure that her words caused guilt in him; he would always take partial blame for her actions now.
"I know, Edward," she said with a bitter chuckle. "You did tell me no, but there's something that you need to understand about women, we love a challenge. I just thought you were playing hard to get. Well until I saw you with Bella and then I realized that you would never love me. It hurt and I got angry, I did some very horrible things in that anger, things that I am very sorry for."
"I wish I could take them back now. I just wasn't thinking about anyone but myself and my hurt. I should have been there for you, I should have been happy for you."
I couldn't help but feel sorry for Tanya. We've all been rejected before and it does hurt. I couldn't imagine loving someone in that way and know that they were always beyond me, that their heart belonged to another. Even when Edward and I were apart there was a part of me that always knew that he loved me.
"I also need to apologize to you, Bella. I never meant any harm, really. I was just stupid and jealous and those things combined makes you do some really idiotic things," she said sincerely, keeping eye contact with me the whole time.
I couldn't help myself, I felt sorry for this girl. It's wasn't as if anything she had done was life threatening. I reached my left hand out to grasp her hand that rested on her knee. "I understand, Tanya. Everyone makes mistakes," I told her honestly.
"Thank you, Bella," she said her eyes drifting to our joined hands. I didn't realize until her hand tightened on mine that I had inadvertently given her the hand that showcased my engagement ring.
"Oh!" she gasped. "You're getting married."
Her voice was thick with emotion. I felt bad now; I didn't mean to shove it in her face.
"Yes we are," Edward's strong voice came from beside me.
Tanya released my hand gently and turned her eyes back onto to us. "I'm so happy for your guys, really."
"Thank you," I offered softly.
"Tanya," Edward finally decided to join the conversation. "Bella may be able to look past all that you have done, but I don't know if I can. I understand that you were hurting but it doesn't excuse your actions. I have no idea what you had planned for that waitress to do to Bella that night at the club but it was something. That alone is unforgivable; above all else I was your friend, which should have come before any pain or anger you were feeling."
"I know that now, Edward," Tanya cried out. She must have realized that she wasn't making any ground with him. "I wish that I were more rational when I'm emotional but I'm not. I wish that I could go back and change things but I can't. And that night, I promise that I didn't have any intentions of Bella getting hurt. The waitress was just supposed to accidentally spill her tray of drinks on her. I know that sounds horrible, because it was. I will never be able to express how sorry I am that I did that and I am so happy that your friend was able to stop it before it happened. I knew as soon as I told that waitress to do it that it was the wrong thing, I tried to catch her but she was already on her way to your table. You both have to know how sorry I am for all of this."
She stopped there, giving us a minute to absorb what she had said.
"Being sorry now doesn't fix things," Edward said after a minute.
I watched as Tanya's face fell and the tears welled up in her eyes. "I understand. I should go."
She started to stand, but I couldn't let her leave like this. Call me stupid but I felt bad for her. It didn't matter what she had done, I won. I had Edward.
"Tanya wait," I said stopping her movements. I turned towards the man that I loved more than life itself. "Edward, maybe you just need time to process all that she said."
"I don't…" he started but I quickly cut him off.
"With some time and thought you may be able to come to a better understanding of what she has said today."
He stared at me for a beat, his eyes questioning. I gave him an imploring look. "Fine," he said after a minute. "I just need time to process this all but that doesn't mean anything. I don't know if I can ever forgive you."
"I understand," she said softly. "Can I leave my new number and address in Chicago with you."
"Of course," I said before Edward could tell her no. I stood up to retrieve a pen and paper. I handed it to her but continued to stand, as far as I was concerned this conversation was over for today. I was ready to get back to my day alone with Edward.
"Here." She handed me the paper now filled with her information. "Please call or write when you're ready."
As we walked to the door, the intercom buzzed again. "That would be the food," I said rushing forward to tell Marcus to send it up. I couldn't help but overhear Tanya and Edward though.
"Well thank you for giving me a chance to explain myself," Tanya said when she reached the door.
"Once again, that was Bella." He reminded her.
"Of course, well I am thankful to you both."
She turned to me then. "Thank you Bella. And I was telling the truth before, I am very happy for you both. I'm glad that you guys are getting the chance to be happy."
I nodded at her; I really didn't know what to say to her.
"I hope everything in Chicago works out for you," I offered quietly. I was being honest to; I really hoped that whatever she was looking for she would find it in Chicago…far away from here and far away from Edward. She may have a part of his past, but that it all that it is. The past. He is my future just as I am his.
"Me too," She said before turning her tear filled eyes back onto Edward.
"Be happy," she whispered.
"I am," he said and for the first time since she had entered our apartment his voice was soft. His expression one of calm. I was glad that I had pushed him to do this; he needed closure as much as she did. "Please take care of yourself." He added that last bit on at the last second surprising Tanya. Well at least I thought so by the look on her face.
"I will," She said and then she was gone. From our lives and from Seattle.
"Wow," I said tucking myself into his side.
"You can say that again." His grip on my side tightened for a second. "Are we okay?"
"Of course we are."
"Are we still getting married?" his voice was quiet.
"You can't get rid of me that easy," I joked trying to alleviate that tension that had settled on us.
"I never want to be rid of you," he said before placing a very serious but also very sweet kiss on my lips.
"I still can't believe she had the nerve to show up at your guy's apartment. I mean there is such a thing as a phone. I wish I would have been there, I would have totally cut the bitch," Rose huffed. She and I had a different opinion when it came to Tanya, well we pretty much a different opinion on everything but none that same she was pretty pissed that I didn't lay Tanya out once she was in my reach.
"Before talking to her I would have agreed with you but now I understand where she was coming from. She loved him and we all know that love makes you do stupid things," I said trying to ignore the small twinge I still feel when I thought about her loving him.
"Still, it's no excuse to act the way she did," Rose pointed out as she traced lip gloss onto her full lips.
"No, you're right. But we all do stupid things. I mean look at Edward, he ran away because of really stupid things but he came back and we found a way to make it work, if I can forgive him for that then I think that I can put what Tanya did behind me."
Rose and Alice both stared at me for a beat.
"What?" I asked self consciously.
"It's nothing really. You're just not the same Bella that you were three years ago," Alice said looking at me with her head cocked.
"Nope, I guess not. I mean I have aged three years and all." I wasn't really sure what they were trying to get at.
"That's not what she meant. You are more mature now, Bella of three years ago would have rather buried her head in sand and ignore any conflict at all. You didn't like making big decisions and hated any disruption to your schedule and now look at you facing and talking about Edward leaving without even a flinch," Rose said with a soft smile on her lips.
"Everyone has to grow up. There is something that I need to tell you both so that you're not surprised later."
"What's that?" Alice asked as she slipped on her shiny silver heels.
"I invited Tanya to the wedding," I said quietly bracing myself for their reactions.
"You what?" Rose shouted.
"I invited her and her serious boyfriend Felix to join us today. Edward would never admit it to me but I know that it's important to him that she is here today, she was his best friend for a very long time."
"She isn't anymore," Alice pointed out.
"No she isn't. But they have been emailing back and forth, mostly about work things." Tanya went back to be a promoter in Chicago. I knew that she and Edward still talked shop even though they were no longer affiliated with each other in a professional way. They mostly just bounced ideas off one another. It wasn't something that had happened overnight, believe me. But about six months after Tanya had left town, she contacted me wanting to know if it was alright if she emailed Edward about a club that she was working on. After Edward and I discussed it we decided that it was alright. We read her emails together and they were always on the professional side.
"They have?" Rose asked raising her eyebrow at me.
"Yes, they have. You guys didn't have anything to say about me inviting Riley so why is this such a big deal?"
"Well Riley is married and has a child," Alice piped in.
"So?" I challenged them.
About six months after Riley and Megan had moved to Salt Lake City I had received an invite to their wedding. I was a little shocked to say the least; the last time I had talked to Riley was right after James had been convicted of ten different counts of rape and an embezzlement list that was longer then my arm. He was relieved to say the least that James was going to be in prison for a long time. He wasn't the only one that was relieved. He had told me then that Megan and him were taking things slowly, getting to know each other again. I expressed to him how happy I was for him and her both. I really was.
Edward and I had attended their wedding together, it was a quiet affair. Just close friends and family. Megan looked radiant in an off white gossamer gown that swept along the floor as she walked down the aisle to a beaming Riley. As they said "I do", I even had tears in my eyes. We didn't get to spend much time with the happy couple but what time we did reassured me that I had made the right choice in picking Edward. Not that I ever doubted that. But the way Riley looked at Megan was the same way I caught Edward staring at me. It gave me immense pleasure to know that he was happy and in love.
Three months after their wedding I got an email from Riley telling me that he was going to be a father! He was ecstatic. Megan was just shy of hitting the three month mark and they decided that they were safe to start telling people. Another six months later I got a birth announcement in the mail telling me that Randall Michael Carter was born, weighing in at 8lbs 4oz and 20 inches long. I was glad that Riley was finally getting everything he had ever wanted and it was with Megan, his one and only true love.
When they had received the invitation to mine and Edward's wedding, I got a very excited phone call from them both telling me that they couldn't wait to be there for my big day. It was then that I knew that everything that had gone on between me and Riley was truly in the past and that we all could move forward as friends.
"So she's bringing a date?" Rosalie said it was her way of backing out of the fight that was sure to happen if she and Alice kept badgering me about the Tanya issue.
"Yes she is. His name if Felix Armstrong and then have been together for almost a year now. From what I understand she has never been happier."
"She better be on her best behavior, I would hate to have to cut someone on your wedding day," Rose huffed.
Alice and I giggled softly. Rose was always wanting to cut someone. A knock on the door broke us from our chuckles.
"Who is it and what is your title?" Alice called in a stern voice. She was being the freaking police today making sure that Edward didn't try to come into the bridal room. I'm pretty sure that she had slept outside my bedroom door last night too, just to make sure that he didn't sneak in or try to leave a breakup note again (well that was opinion anyways).
"It's Esme, mother of the groom?" Esme's soft voice filtered through the door.
"Is said groom with you or in the vicinity of the door?" Alice asked stepping closer to the door.
"No, he is with the other men getting dressed."
"You are safe to enter then."
I about rolled my eyes at Alice's Hitler ways. The door swung open revealing a stunning looking Esme in a sage green dress. Her caramel hair was loose around her shoulders in soft waves.
"Oh Bella, you look absolutely stunning my dear," Esme gushed as she swept into the room.
"Thank you, Esme," I said softly. Things between Edward's parents and I were finally becoming good again. It took a lot of long talks and time for things to start to mend, but mending it was. They apologized profusely more than once for withholding any information from me. I understood to a point that they were trying to protect me; they were worried that I would have run to Chicago, to Edward, if I had known where he was. And they were right, I probably would have. They worried that if I did I would have been more hurt by the state that I would have found him in. When he was drinking it had brought out the worse in him and they worried that things would have been said that couldn't have been taken back. After dealing with Edward that one time drunk I now understand where they were coming from.
"Edward isn't going to know what hit him," she said with a smile taking in my dress.
"Of course he won't, Bella looks smashing," Alice said.
"Yes she does," Esme agreed. "Where is your mom? I thought I would find her in here."
"Oh, she was here earlier but rushed out of here awhile ago when she heard that my dad was freaking out, I guess he is having a hard time preparing to give me away." I said rolling my eyes. The thought of a parent actually giving their child away was kind of archaic. I mean I haven't lived at home for ten years, what was there to give away?
But I guess that's part of being the dad.
"Yes, I suppose this is a big day for all the parents involved," mused Esme. "But I don't look at it as losing a son; I see it as gaining a daughter."
I felt tears prickle the back of my eyes at her statement. I was glad that things between us were finally healing.
"And I'll have another mother."
"Oh, Bella," she said in a watery voice. "I'm glad you feel that way."
I gave her a quick hug. "I love you, Esme."
"I love you, too sweetheart."
A soft knock on the door broke us from our teary confessions.
"Who is it and what is your title?" Alice barked out again.
"Charlie, father of the bride," my dad stated dutifully. He liked this version of Alice, she reminded him of a little police officer.
"Come in Charlie," she called out. "I'm guessing it is time."
"It is," he said stepping into the room. His eyes traveled over my dress and the perfectly placed veil in my hair. "You look stunning, baby girl."
"Thanks, daddy," I said with tears welling up again.
"No crying," Alice huffed as she dabbed under my eyes with a tissue. "I will not having you go out there looking like a red eyed raccoon."
"Sorry," I said with a roll of the eyes.
"There," she said with a smile. "Let's get this party started."
"I'll see you out there," Esme said giving me out last smile before she disappeared out the door.
Alice and Rose quickly sorted out the bouquets and fluffed my dress one last time. And before I knew it, it was time to go. Alice and Rose were out the door first, with my dad and me following behind them. I think they were trying to give us a moment to ourselves.
"You sure you want to do this, Bells? Say the word and I'll whisk you out of here and put you up in a safe house," my dad said quietly.
"Why would I want that, dad?" I asked suppressing a chuckle.
"I don't know. I just wanted you to know there were options."
"No dad, not options there is only one choice and he's waiting for me on the other side of that door," I nodded my head towards the patio door that was going to lead us outside to the beautiful garden wedding that Alice had planned.
After much discussion, Edward and I both decided that we wanted to go through with the wedding at his parent's house, like before. I was wary at first but standing here now, waiting to walk out that door I was glad that we had decided to do it here. Nowhere else would have been right.
"If you're sure," he said his mustache twitching slightly. He was suppressing a smile and that made me glad. Under his rough cop exterior, my dad was a romantic through and through.
"Never been surer about anything before."
"Well then let's get your married."
We reached the door then. Em and Jasper were waiting to escort my girls down the aisle. Em came forward first and wrapped me in a bone crushing hug. "You look beautiful, baby sis."
"Thanks, Emmy. You also look dashing," I told him returning his squeeze.
"Put her down before you wrinkle her dress," Rose admonished from his side.
"Did dad tell you about the safe house?" he asked quietly. Only my dad and I hearing him.
"Yes, he did," I said rolling my eyes at my brother. "And I told him that it wasn't needed."
"Always so stubborn," he said with a chuckle. Jasper joined us then, giving me a small smile.
"I would tell you that there has never been a more beautiful bride, but I would fear for my safety then," he said indicating his head towards Alice, who in return gave him a pointed look. "So instead, I'll say that you'll take Edward's breath away."
Before I had a chance to thank him, Em opened his big mouth. "Better her then my dad."
"No doubt about that," my dad chimed in. I swear the two of them were more alike than should be normal.
"Alright you two," I said giving them both the eye. "Thank you, Jasper."
Before anything else was said, I heard the music start. "I guess that our cue," Rose said with a grin.
Alice and Jasper were the first out the door, her arm linked through his. Rose situated a nervous looking Henry next to Mike and Jess's daughter Abby. My little flower girl and ring bearer.
"Remember what mommy said, Henry. You hold onto Abby and walk right to mommy okay?"
"K, momma," his little voice said.
"Now Abby, you throw the petals on the ground as you walk. Just like you did in practice. K?"
"K, Wose," Abby giggled.
Mike and Jess announced not long after Rose and Em, that they too were also expecting a baby. A little girl. She was born three weeks before Henry and was the cutest little thing with blonde curly hair and big blue eyes.
Rose and Emmett disappeared next. Then the wedding planner helped usher Henry and Abby out the door, from what I could tell they were doing beautifully and even if they didn't, well it would be cute anyways.
The wedding coordinator nodded at my dad and me next. The doors opened and the wedding march filled the air.
And then the nerves hit.
Could I do this? Would he be out there?
Of course he's out there. If he wasn't you would know by now.
I felt like I was going to puke.
"You okay, kiddo?" my dad asked leading me to the door.
"Just nervous," I managed to get out.
"Then you're making the right choice."
"If you weren't nervous, I would be worried," he said with a chuckle.
We stepped out into the warm summer air. It was beautiful, tulle was linked through the white chairs and there were flowers everywhere. It smelled like a fragrant garden in the middle of spring. It was perfect.
Upon seeing me everyone stood, the movement caught my eye. You would think at this moment that I would lock eyes with Edward, and part of me wanted to. But another part was still afraid, I knew it was irrational. He was there, I could feel him but I couldn't force myself to look his way yet. So I took in the people that had gathered here for our union.
There was Mike and Jess, smiling at me. Angela and Ben were next to them, little Brady sitting in Ang's arms. He couldn't be over three months old. Tanya and Felix were next and I was happy to see nothing but pure happiness in her face when we locked eyes. Felix was good for her and if the look on his face said anything, Edward and I may just be headed to Chicago soon for another wedding.
Jake and Vanessa were next. The sun catching the band that sat on his ring finger. His hand firmly planted on Vanessa's swollen stomach. Not too much longer and another baby will be added to our bunch. Jake and Vanessa had married a little over two years ago in a small ceremony back in La Push. It was on the beach at Twilight and I had never seen either of them happier.
Jake gave me an encouraging smile before my eyes drifted to Riley and Megan. Their arms were wrapped around each other watching me with such happiness. I was glad that they could come and be here for this. It was like everything had come full circle. Next was Carlisle and Esme. My new family, both of them watched me with tear filled eyes. And lastly my own mom, her blue eyes also filled with tears. "I love you," she mouthed as I passed her.
"I love you too," I mouthed back.
And then I knew I couldn't put it off any longer and I looked at Edward. And my breath was gone, but so were the nerves. I had never seen anyone more handsome in my whole life. His green eyes held tears of happiness and such love that my feet faltered for a second. Not out of wariness but out of pure emotion.
I would never love someone as much as I love this man.
Before I knew it we were stopped in front of the altar.
"Who gives this woman to this man?" Reverend Weber's voice broke through the crowd.
"I do," my dad's brusque voice said.
Edward stepped forward and took my hand from my father.
"Keep her safe," my dad commanded softly.
"For the rest of my life," Edward said with such conviction that I would never doubt him again.
My dad stepped away then, finding his seat next to my mom. Edward led us up to the altar, turning to face me once we were stopped.
Though no words had passed between us yet, his eyes spoke volumes. They told me of his love and devotion. They told me of his passions and his lust and lastly they told me that he was mine forever.
I honestly don't remember what the reverend said, I barely remember saying "I do" but I do remember Edward sliding the ring onto my finger, placing a soft kiss on top of it. Then me repeating his actions but only on his hand.
Before I knew it Reverend Weber announced us husband and wife and told Edward to kiss his bride.
And he did. Thoroughly and without hesitation.
And in that moment I knew that no matter what happened, no matter what life threw at us. I was exactly right where I belonged.
The End. (Or the beginning depending on how you look at it)
I cried…seriously. Tears were streaming down my face as I wrote "The End". This was my first attempt at writing FanFiction and it is with bittersweet feelings that I finally finish it. Bittersweet because I am going to miss these characters and this story so much! Also I am going to miss all of you and your kind words!
But don't fret my pets I am not going anywhere. I have another story on here called "The Other Twin" that I post on regularly and I am working on another story as we speak called "Run From You" I have about 5 chapters done and I want to build up about five more before I post anything so that I can do a weekly update without delays! So put me on Author Alert if you want to read what else I write.
Reviewers will get a teaser of my new story….I know I'm bribing you all for reviews… But I just love your thoughts so much and I want to hear what you all think of this!
Now is the time for the thanks:
First off I want to thank my wonderful Beta Yuki Sakura-Chan! She is just wonderful…amazing…splendid…have I mentioned Wonderful? She deals with my crazy grammar and sentence structure and gives you guys a very polished version of my work! I look forward to working on many more stories with her!
I also want to thank my cousin Sarah, who is also my best friend. She has held my hand and listened to me vent over everything that has to do with this story. She was there when I wrote the first 3 pages and is the first person to read the newest chapters…this story is as much as her baby as it is mine.
Last but not least, I want to thank every single one of you! You are the reason I wrote this story, even when I was pulling out my hair and banging my head against the wall because of writers block…I never gave up because of you! Your reviews and adding me to your favorites and alerts made my day, no matter what kind of mood I was in! I appreciate every single one of you!
I hope to see you all on my next adventure!
Well that was the longest Author note ever! LOL….See you all soon!