Epilogue- Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight, and Lady Gaga owns her music and weird costumes. I own the rest of this.
"Rosalie, calm down," I told her, putting my hand on her bouncing knee.
"I can't help it. All this silver and blue is making me antsy," she said, looking around the huge stadium. I smothered a laugh and pointed out a group of the visiting team's fans, down in a corner.
"Look, there's some green for you."
She looked and huffed. "Not enough. And must you make it worse by wearing that God-awful jersey?" she asked, pointing at my number nine jersey. "Besides the colors being terrible for your skin tone, it's as big as my house."
I smiled and pointed at the incredibly snug child's jersey she was sporting. "You're wearing one, too."
"Yes, but mine fits me. And an Eagles jersey is always preferable to a Cowboys one," she said, shuddering dramatically.
We were sitting in an extremely nice suite in the Cowboys Stadium, which still sparkled like new five years after it was built, waiting for the start of the game. Edward's team, the Dallas Cowboys, was playing Emmett's team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the first game of the playoffs. I'd had to bribe Rosalie with a sneak peek at the music I've been working on to get her to sit with me, and swear I wouldn't tell Emmett. She claimed he'd have a heart attack if he knew his jersey was anywhere close to a "damn Cowboys piece of shit."
The Eagles ran onto the field, and I yelled for Emmett even though I knew the loyal Cowboys fans (mostly players' wives and girlfriends) sharing our suite would glare at me. When they finally announced the Cowboys, and they ran onto the field, I stood and screamed my heart out. Rosalie looked at me disapprovingly for abusing my voice like that, but I just smiled and continued cheering. My beautiful man was on the field, and getting to watch him play was not a usual treat for me, so I was going to enjoy it.
He'd been drafted to the Cowboys as the fourth pick overall in the NFL draft, the exact same week "Bad Romance" was certified triple platinum. I'd been on tour in Europe at that point, but I congratulated him very nicely that night on Skype. He'd been here in Dallas ever since, and I tried to spend my downtime from recording and touring here with him, but up until recently, that hadn't been very often, and mostly not during football season. Of course, that meant the tabloids were constantly reporting our breakup, or Edward's infidelity with a cheerleader, or my cheating with a dancer. It was difficult at first, but we'd learned to trust each other and ignore the paparazzi for the most part. It didn't stop them from following us, though- we were one of the most recognizable couples on the planet, unfortunately.
When the game started, Rosalie and I kept one eye on the humongous screen and on eye on the sheet music I was showing her. I must admit, I was a tad nervous to show her this new material- it was completely different than anything I'd done before. My first three albums had been dominated by dance tracks, but lately I'd been inspired in more of a ballad and bluesy direction.
We heard the telltale sound of pads and metal clanking against each other, and both of us turned to ascertain whether or not one of our boys was a part of the hit. The Cowboys offense wasn't even on the field, and Emmett had been blocking someone else. We both breathed sighs of relief and returned to the music. While being with a pro football player had inured me to the inevitable injuries, I still cringed every time Edward was hit, and I'm sure Rose felt the same about Emmett.
"I like this, Bells," she finally said, after glancing through all of the sheets I'd brought.
"Really?" I asked, still insecure in this new direction.
"Absolutely," she said, nodding. "I'd really love to hear it, of course. But these lyrics are extremely personal. Maybe more personal even than your first album with Edward." I nodded my agreement and she gave me a searching look. "Where is this coming from, Belly? Is everything okay with you and Edward?"
"Oh, yeah, everything is great," I said, trying my hardest to sound casual. And really, I wasn't lying, per se. Everything was great, as far as Edward knew. We were still in as much in love with each other as when we were back at USC. It helped a lot that I'd decided to take a year-long sabbatical from the music scene recently, to rest and rejuvenate my flagging creative juices, and I was living here with him in Dallas.
But I was growing restless. We'd been together for five years now and Edward still hadn't asked me to marry him. I knew he loved me, that was never in question, and I knew he was also five years younger than me, so maybe it hadn't crossed his mind yet. We certainly hadn't really talked about it. But I couldn't help but wonder, if he was so committed to me, why he hadn't decided to make it official. I wanted his ring on my finger more than anything I'd ever wanted in my life, including a Grammy. And I'd wanted that bad.
"How's everything with Emmett?" I asked, trying to get Rosalie to stop looking at me like that.
She let me know with her cocked eyebrow that she'd noticed my attempt at deception, but decided to let it go for now. "Wonderful. We're very happy in Philly and I think we're going to move out of his condo and into a house."
"That's great, Rose!" I said, happy for her. "And how is the wedding planning going?" I asked, forcing my face to keep calm.
She smiled. "Well, I'm glad we're finally doing this," she began, stirring my jealousy. "But it's so stressful! Between his mother and my mother and what the two of us want, it's a big mess. Em doesn't really understand what the big hullabaloo is- he says he's fine if it's just him and me- and I'm starting to agree with him, and my mom is about to kill us."
"I can only imagine," I said, picturing Rosalie's tiny ex-supermodel mom hitting Emmett over the head.
"Seriously, Bells, if you and Edward ever decide to get married, you should run away to Vegas or Mexico. I would do it now, if we hadn't spent so much money on down payments for everything," she added.
I forced a smile and let her go on about colors, and what dress she wanted me to wear, and where Emmett was taking her for their honeymoon. I pretended to listen, but mostly looked at the field and tried to distract myself. There was Newton, the loser tight end who hit on me at pretty much every players party; there was Crowley, the nice receiver who helped Edward when he was drunk that one time on the road; there was Tanya Denali, the bitchy head cheerleader who never made her crush on Edward a secret…
The game flew by with a handy Cowboys win, and before I knew it, Rosalie and I were waiting for Edward and Emmett back at Edward's house. We had plans to go out tonight to a couple of bars in Dallas, because Edward had become interested in investing in the restaurant scene. I was proud of him for thinking so intelligently about his future- I mean, let's face it, he can't play football forever.
Why couldn't he think about our future?
We were sitting in the living room, drinking glasses of wine and chatting about how to handle Edward's happiness versus Emmett's sadness over the game, when Rosalie stopped talking and looked at me for a full minute.
"What?" I finally asked, crinkling my brow in confusion. "Did I spill some wine on my dress?"
"Don't think I forgot about what we were talking about at the game, Bells," she said ominously.
I sighed. "What do you mean?"
"This music you're writing now- it's very deep and beautiful. Some of it is even melancholy. Very different than the whole Lady Bella persona."
"That's why I'm worried about it," I said, biting my lip. "But this is what I'm inspired to write these days."
"Don't be worried about the music. It's great. Probably your best stuff. But it won't play as Lady Bella. Maybe… maybe it's time to hang up Lady Bella for awhile?"
I frowned at her. "Like come up with a new character? God, Rosalie, I spent years on Lady Bella before debuting her. I don't want to even think about coming up with someone else."
"No, no. I meant you could be you, for once." She took another sip of wine and let that thought stew for a moment.
Huh. I'd never thought of that. I'd been Lady Bella for so long, dividing my life into two distinct realms… it hadn't ever crossed my mind that I could make music as Bella Swan.
Before I could respond, however, the guys arrived. "Honey, I'm ho-ome!" Emmett called from the foyer.
"This isn't your home, dumbass," Edward said, and we could hear him punching Emmett all the way in the living room.
They came in and crossed to their respective partner, Emmett jumping on Rosalie on the couch while she squealed about spilling wine while Edward simply leaned down to give me a sweet kiss. "Hey, you," I said, grinning up at him. He looked so handsome, in his dark slacks and black-and-silver striped dress shirt. I would never get over just how beautiful he was, and I didn't ever want to.
"Hello, gorgeous," Edward responded. He reached down, took my wine glass from me and set it down on the coffee table, then grabbed my hands and pulled me up. "Better," he murmured, wrapping his arms around my waist before dipping his head to kiss me deeper.
"Get a room!" Em called from his perch on Rosalie.
"This looks like a room," Edward retorted, before kissing me again. I smiled against his lips and pulled away.
"Are you ready to go?"
He smirked. "Can't you tell?" he asked, popping his collar like a frat boy. "Don't I look fly?"
Rosalie and I laughed. "Baby, you aren't in college anymore," I reminded him.
"I know. Isn't it sad?" Edward said, fake pouting.
Hmmm. Maybe I was right, thinking he was much too young to be in the marriage mindset…
I didn't want to think of further implications of that. I forced another smile- it seemed like a common theme today- and grabbed his hand. "Let's get going. I need a drink."
I was sweating like a damn pig. This bar seemed to think that a great way to keep people drinking was to keep the heat cranked up to Amazonian rain forest levels, and it was certainly working. I was on my fourth scotch and water in an hour, and I knew Bella was downing Long Island Iced Teas like they actually were water. I would be worried about her, if I wasn't freaking out enough all on my own.
But I needed both of us to slow down. I didn't want the night I finally proposed to my girl to be clouded with booze, did I?
I reached for my drink and drained it at the thought. Why was I so fucking nervous? I mean, it wasn't like I was unsure of spending my life with Bella- she'd been it for me the second I sat down next to her in class all those years ago. And I was fairly certain she'd say yes- I knew she loved me, and if she thought I didn't notice her longing glances at Rosalie's giant bling, she was mistaken.
I guess it was because I wanted everything to be perfect for her. I wanted tonight to be a night she could tell our family and friends about, and nobody would laugh at dumb Edward's crappy proposal. I wanted her to wear my ring proudly, and tell all those fuckers who constantly flirted with her at her concerts that she was permanently taken, thank you very much. I wanted…
I wanted Bella to quit rubbing up on Rosalie on the dance floor! When did they leave the table? Why didn't Bella get me? What- Fuck, Rosalie was completely wrapped around Bella, her front to Bella's back, and she was practically groping Bella's boobs. Bella's incredibly short dress was riding up her thighs, and I could swear I saw the line of her underwear! My eyes nearly bugged out of my head at the sight, and I knew any guy in the room who was watching them had tight pants just like me. Clearly, I needed to quit spacing out at bars and pay more attention to my girl.
"Fuck…" I heard Emmett mumble next to me, his eyes glued to them, and I growled with jealousy.
"What the fuck are they doing?"
Emmett shrugged, never taking his gaze off the girls. "I don't know, and I don't care, as long as they keep doing it. Who knew Rosie had those moves?"
"You don't care? You don't care that every guy in here is about to bust a nut to your woman?!"
He turned to me, looking surprised at the vehemence in my voice. "You should calm down, Eddie. We both know who they're going home with tonight, so no worries."
"No worries? They're giving everybody a damn peep show!" I left the table and stomped over to Bella, grabbing her arm and pulling her away from Rose.
"Hey! I was having fun!" Bella cried, hiccupping halfway through. She tried to squirm out of my grasp, but just ended up drunkenly tangling her legs together and tripping. She fell into me instead of the bodies around us, thankfully, and I hauled her up. She was clearly trashed, and the need to take care of my woman sobered me up quickly.
"I think it's time to call it a night," I said, leading her slowly back to the table to grab our stuff.
"The party just got st-st-started," Bella whined.
"Come on, let's go home."
We got to the table, where Emmett was snuggling with Rosalie. "Rose! Let's dance some more!" Bella squealed, reaching for her.
"I have no problem with that," Emmett said, grinning. I shot him a glare and grabbed Bella's purse and jacket.
"Let's go home, Bella."
She wrenched her arm out of my grasp. "It's not my home!" she yelled, causing several people standing around to look at us.
"What are you talking about?" I hissed, stepping closer to her.
"It's not my home, is it? It's your home!" With that, she started crying, huge loud sobs that made everybody around us look at me like I was beating her. I even saw a few guys start to make their way over.
"Come on," I said, grabbing her arm and pulling her out of the bar. I was so confused, I almost missed the exit. What the fuck was that about?
We stumbled outside, Bella leaning on me heavily and still crying, and several flashes went off.
"Did he hit you, Bella?"
"Are you guys breaking up?"
The paparazzi swarmed us, and I cursed out loud. How did they find us here? We were in fucking Dallas, for Christ's sake!
I pulled Bella over to the valet stand and offered the teenager manning it an extra fifty if he got my Vanquish here ASAP. He smiled and took off running into the garage, and I tried to protect Bella from the incessant cameras by wrapping my arms around her, but she yanked herself away and kept on sobbing. Her makeup was running down her face in streaks and I sighed, thinking of the headlines tomorrow. Or tonight, knowing TMZ.
My car finally arrived, and I got Bella inside without too much of a fight. As soon as I sat down, I took off down the street, leaving the paps in the dust.
Bella's crying had calmed down to mostly sniffles, and I grabbed a napkin out of my glove box and handed it to her. She whispered a small thank you and wiped her face.
After several long minutes, I finally got the nerve to ask, "What was that all about, Bella?"
She stayed silent, just staring at the city lights rushing past the window.
"Bells?" I tried again.
"Can we just get to your house, please? I just want to go to sleep."
I sighed heavily and didn't try to say anything the rest of the night. Looks like my proposal plan went swimmingly.
When we got home, I helped Bella out of the Vanquish and upstairs to my bedroom. She stripped and washed her face, then collapsed into my bed and rolled herself up into a little ball. I knew she was back to crying, and I felt completely helpless.
I undressed myself and went downstairs to grab a glass of water and some ibuprofen to put on her nightstand for when she woke up. She was asleep when I returned, and I kissed her head softly before slipping into bed next to her. I didn't try to hold her like usual, and fell asleep wondering what the hell had gone wrong.
The next morning, I awoke to an empty bed. After brushing my teeth to get rid of the God-awful scotch taste, I went downstairs and found Bella sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, staring out the window at my backyard.
"How are you feeling?" I asked quietly, in case her hangover was really bad.
She didn't turn around. "Fine, I guess."
I crossed the room to take the seat across from her so she'd have to look at me. "Are you ready to talk about last night, then?"
She grimaced and took another sip of coffee. "It's all over the Internet. We're breaking up again, according to most of them, although US Weekly says I was crying because I'm so upset I can't drink anymore because I'm pregnant."
I grabbed her free hand. "That wasn't what I was talking about, Bells."
"I know." She finished her drink and got up to wash out her cup, and I was trying my hardest to be patient. After she'd wiped her hands on the dish towel, she finally turned to face me, and the look on her face made me extremely worried.
"What are we doing, Edward?"
I frowned. "What do you mean?"
She sighed. "Where are we going with this? Am I going to stay here until my year is up, then go back to LA while you stay here? Are you still thinking of asking to be traded to the Jets, so we can live together in New York?"
"Well… um… I haven't really thought about it," I hedged. Fuck! She was going to think I was wishy washy about our future, and if I'd just gotten to propose last night, I wouldn't have to make shit up… I wanted it to be a surprise, dammit!
She sighed again and turned around. "That's what I thought," she said softly. Well, shit. She did think I was wishy washy about us.
I stood and walked to her, standing right behind her and wrapping my arms around her. She didn't move.
"Baby, you know I just want us to be together, no matter what," I said, hoping it was enough to end the conversation for right now.
"I don't know if that's enough anymore," she said, after a long moment. She moved to get out from my arms, but I didn't budge. I grabbed her waist and turned her around to face me.
"Well, you've gone and forced me to do this," I said, sighing. "Just remember that I had something much better planned, and don't hate me for it."
She furrowed her brow in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
I got down on one knee and grabbed the ring box out of my sweats pocket. She gasped and her hands flew up to her mouth.
"Bella, I've wanted you from the moment I saw you. These past five years with you have had their ups and downs, but I can't imagine anyone I'd rather face either with. You're my reason for everything, and I don't want to ever let you go." I opened the box and showed her the ring I'd gotten from Esme, my grandmother's ring. She gasped again, and tears began running down her cheeks.
"This isn't how I pictured it, but as usual, you've changed my plans for me," I said, laughing. She laughed a little and reached out to grab the box from me. "Isabella Marie Swan, will you make me the happiest man alive and consent to be my wife?"
She gazed at the ring, holding it close to her face. My knee started to ache on the tile floor so I stood and wrapped my arms around her waist. "Bells?"
She looked at me then, and her eyes shone with love. "Of course, you stupid man! I thought you didn't want to marry me!"
I laughed hard then. "It's not funny!" she said, hitting me.
"You're right, it's not. How could you possibly think I don't want to spend the rest of my life with you?" I asked, taking the box from her so I could slip the ring on her slender finger.
Once it was on, she threw her arms around my neck. "Well, you weren't asking."
I rolled my eyes. "Impatient, much?"
"Hey! I would like to at least have a ring on my finger before even more magazines accuse you of knocking me up. My parents ask questions, you know. They aren't getting any younger."
"Is that something you want?" I asked, seriously.
She cocked an eyebrow. "You mean kids?"
I nodded. I knew she was right in that ticking-biological-clock age range.
"I mean, I've thought about it," she said, placing her small hand on my cheek. "I would love to have children with you, one day. Maybe in a couple of years. What about you?"
"Of course I want babies with you! Think of how hot they'll be, with my hair and your eyes."
She shook her head. "No, my hair and your eyes."
I smiled. "Whatever. As long as they're healthy and they're ours."
She smiled back mischievously, and reached down to grab my hand. "I say we start practicing now. Plus, there's an engagement we need to celebrate."
I grabbed her around her legs and threw her over my shoulder, and she squealed. I jogged up the stairs and threw her on our bed. "You're absolutely right, Bella." Then I jumped on her.
She squealed again, and I spent the rest of the day making sure Bella screamed several more times after that.
AN: Well, that's it, folks. There won't be a sequel, since I feel like this story has played itself out. Like I said back in the beginning, just a simple love story with a happy ending!
Thanks for reading, and all the kind reviews. You guys made my day! :)