A/N: So, this is an incredibly short one-shot, but it begged to be written. Let us all travel back to the day leading up to Bella's junior prom…
Disclaimer: I do not own anything, they all belong to Stephenie Meyer. But the characters sure are fun to play with!
I stood alone in my bedroom, adjusting the bowtie around my neck to straight perfection. I cleared my throat and stood in front of the mirror behind my door. My white shirt was pristinely ironed, and I had little trouble with the cuff links as I pondered the evening's events. I wanted everything to be perfect for Bella—she deserved nothing less than that. The school year was coming to a close; summer was upon us. Unfortunately, Bella's recent "incident" had kept her in and out of school the last few weeks, though she was now hobbling around in a walking cast. Tonight was bound to be a night to remember; a night full of the traditional high school memories. There would be awkward slow dancing to dated popular music that we'll all joke about when we hear it on the radio in five years, the inevitable photography session, both before and during the dance, and, of course, the perfect ending to the perfect night: the traditional goodnight kiss. I wanted to give Bella all of this, because I knew that she, above anyone else, deserved it.
I had demanded that my family give me the afternoon to myself, not that they would have been much of a bother to me anyway. This evening had taken weeks of planning, which accounted for my mounting anxiety. I've always been a perfectionist, and where Bella was concerned, I would spare no expense or thought. Not only did I want it to be perfect, I wanted it to be a surprise for her. This was where the plan became complex.
I thought back to this past winter when the topic of the girl's choice dance came up. She had been frustrated, and I knew I was not the first to bring it up with her, but the way her eyes widened entranced me. She had huffed and I watched the blush creep up her face in disbelief that I would dare to bring it up when it was clearly not my decision to make. Sometimes, just sometimes, getting a rise out of Bella Swan was worth it just to see her blush.
So, I knew I could not let her get away with missing prom. It was a rite of passage, and I knew that her recent injuries could not allow her to feign going out of town again. Besides, she had to know that something was up. I had been throwing suggestive glances at her the past few weeks, winking slyly in her direction. Each time, I would see a look of confusion cross her face and that beautiful blush as she looked back down to her notes or her lunch. I decided not to bring prom up to her specifically and create an elaborate surprise to cheer her up after her disastrous spring break. I shuddered inwardly, knowing that it could have been so much worse – she was lucky to have walked away from it alive. My heart swelled with pity every time I saw her hobble towards her classes, clearly embarrassed by the extra attention. In January, when she was almost crushed to death in the parking lot, she had reacted much the same way. Bella was stubborn – she did not like to show any signs of weakness, nor did she want to warrant any unnecessary attention.
As I tied my new (designer-label, no less) dress shoes, I cringed, remembering that icy day. The screeching tires, the broken glass, and poor, defenseless Bella caught in the middle. She was incredibly lucky that day – though she appeared to be some sort of magnet for trouble, she always managed to survive. It was one of the things that drew me to her. The guilt I felt over what could have happened on that day also prompted me to feel the need to look after her, take care of her. It was common knowledge that she was the police chief's daughter, and though it is evident that Charlie loves her, their time together always appears strained – as if he would rather be fishing. She clearly put effort into taking care of him, feeding him well, and I had heard stories of how she cared for her mother, as well. Isabella Swan deserves to be taken care of for a change, and I know that I am the right one for that job. It is as if my entire existence was planned for it. Thought it sounds overly dramatic, I can feel it in my bones.
I was dressed and ready to go. It was time to kick this plan into action, and I suddenly felt my stomach clench with nerves. Though I felt that it would truly make her happy to share this with me, I could not read her mind. There was no way to know how she would react because there was no way to see the thoughts bouncing around in her beautiful head. I gulped, very uncharacteristically, and headed down the stairs. I made my way through my family's large kitchen and pulled a delicate corsage from its storage place in the refrigerator.
"Oh, my dear," my mother exclaimed warmly. "You look so incredibly handsome…Bella is one lucky girl." She smiled and stood on tiptoe to kiss my cheek.
"Aw, gee, thanks Mom," I said impishly with a shrug of my shoulders. "Although I think I'll be getting the better end of the deal. Bella will look beautiful, even if she only feels like going in sweats. If she feels like going at all, that is…" I felt my mouth twist in a new wave of anxiety.
"Darling, she will, of course, be willing to go. If she had had any other offers, you would know it I'm sure." I gritted my teeth at the thought. She was right, though. I had been with Bella these past few weeks and she had not made any mention of prom. Not that anyone else, besides her long line of admirers, would have the nerve to do what I had planned for my angel. No, I knew that she had no plans to go.
"Well, off I go. Thank you for helping me pick this out for her," I remarked, holding up the corsage.
"Absolutely! Have a wonderful time tonight."
I was once again thankful that the rest of my family was out on their own, my brothers and sisters also getting ready for prom. I could not handle their relentless teasing – this would be my first high school dance with a date. I knew that I would never hear the end of it, regardless, but I planned on putting it off as long as possible.
I drove to Bella's house quickly, my nerves getting the better of me. Though I rarely paid attention to speed limits, I practically ignored them on this trip. I could not wait to see her and finally see the fruition of my planning. I put the car in park next to Charlie's police cruiser and checked the mirror. Not a hair out of place, tie straight, shoes tied, buttons all buttoned….I made the mental checklist with inhuman speed before I opened the door and headed up the walkway to her front door. Even if she did not know it yet, this night could help define Bella's high school experience. It was the entire purpose of prom. And if I could make her happy this evening, I could live forever as a happy man. I swallowed convulsively and rang the doorbell, shifting my weight nervously as I waited for her father to open the door.
I heard him grunt an "I'm comin'…" and heave himself off of his recliner. Suddenly, he swung the door open. He looked me up and down, appraising my appearance and raising an eyebrow. His eyes looked into mine, wide and questioning.
"Is there some occasion I should know about?" he asked, gruffly and a bit amused.
"Yes, sir, there is. Chief Swan, I'm here to escort your daughter to the prom."
He barked out a laugh and waved me inside, still looking amused…and a bit uneasy.
"Um…hold on there, son. I need to make a quick phone call." I raised my eyebrows in slight annoyance as I heard him pick up the phone and dial.
"Yeah, uh, Edward? Uh…Tyler Crowley is here to pick Bella up for prom…"