Chapter 4 – Believing in Love

The weekend getaway in wine country had been a little awkward after the talk about marriage. Bella tried to pretend that it never happened, but she hadn't been able to forget it completely. Edward wanted to marry her and he was going to broach the subject again at some point. She just didn't know when. The idea of marriage freaked her out. Marrying someone was the one thing Bella had never wanted to do. Everything else she figured she could be sold on and convinced to at least try it. Marriage though was the one thing she did not want to try, but she loved Edward completely and she didn't want to lose him.

Edward tried to pretend that they were okay too, but maybe they weren't. He wanted them to be okay, but the more time that passed the more he knew. He wanted to marry her, he wanted to be married and raise a family. If Bella didn't want that, maybe she wasn't the right woman for him after all. He couldn't come to terms with that though.

So, as the days turned to weeks and their lives went back to normal they were both thinking about marriage. Edward was contemplating whether he could envision himself with anyone else or if he could even see himself not marrying Bella. As for the woman in question, she was studiously trying not to think about marriage, but it frequently crept into her thoughts. She had no idea what she was going to do.

They were still planning on spending the summer together in Seattle and as the weeks went by Bella started packing her bags. Despite the avoidance of the marriage topic they were still talking about the summer and how much they loved each other. All of her summer clothes went into her luggage set. She took all of her lingerie, even going out to buy some new items from some specialty stores.

With bags and clothes littering her room Bella had taken to closing her bedroom door during the day. Alice still hadn't figured out what was going on with Bella; but as more things changed in the house she knew she had to confront Bella. Summer vacation was only days away now and Alice was thinking about inviting Bella to spend it with her in Forks. Maybe some time away from the Phoenix sun would be good for her. Alice was even going so far as to plan a match making between Bella and her brother, Edward. After all, they seemed to have hit it off when Bella came home with her for Christmas.

The next morning Alice brought up her plans for the summer vacation as Bella drove them to work. "I'm going to go back to Forks this summer and spend some time with the family. I was even thinking about volunteering with a children's club. What do you think?"

"Sounds like a good idea. It should keep you from getting too bored over vacation," Bella said absently. Since she'd come back from California she had been a little bit withdrawn. She wasn't the same excited, happy Bella she was the days before that trip.

"I want you to come with me," she said, holding her breath as she waited for Bella's answer.

"Yeah…what?" At first she didn't hear what Alice had said, but as her words sunk in she glanced at her friend in surprise. "Alice, are you serious?"

"Yes. I think it would be good for you. You've been so distracted lately. Maybe some time away from here will help you clear your head."

Bella nodded; Alice was right. She had been distracted. Little did Alice know why though and she would have no doubt been very surprised to find out the reason. "Okay," she said calmly.

"Really?" Alice asked incredulously. "I thought you'd put up more of a fight than that."

"I'm sorry I've been so out of it lately, Alice. I really am. I've just had a lot on my mind. I think some time in Forks will be just what I need."

"Good. I can't wait. Summer in Forks is a blast!"

Bella knew that she should have told Alice then and there that she had plans to spend the summer in Seattle with her brother Edward, but she didn't. She wasn't sure why, but she just didn't feel it was the right time. Her change in plans would complicate things a little though, of that she was sure. Edward was expecting to pick her up at the airport and take her back to his place. Now she'd be going to Forks with Alice, at least for a few days, before they could break the news. She just hoped that Edward would understand.

A few days later Bella and Alice were arriving in Seattle with Edward scheduled to pick them up. He knew he was picking Alice up and driving her to Forks, but he still thought that Bella was staying with him. He was under the impression that she had already told Alice that they were together. So, when his beloved Bella came into his sight the only thing he could think about doing was wrapping his arms around her and kissing her. Needless to say, he was a little disappointed when she sidestepped him to put her bags in his Volvo. Bella even went so far as to slide in the backseat of the car rather than sitting in the front with Edward. Alice, on the other hand, jumped at the opportunity to ride shotgun.

During the drive to Forks Edward kept glancing in the mirror to look at Bella while Alice chatted on about this and that. It wasn't hard for him to figure out that Alice was still clueless about him and Bella being involved. This concerned him a little. Why hadn't Bella told her yet? Did she not want anyone to know? Did she still want to keep them under wraps? He didn't want that. He wanted to be able to tell his parents and siblings that she was his girlfriend. It didn't make sense to him why Bella hadn't told Alice yet and he was looking for a moment to ask her. The perfect opportunity presented itself when he stopped for gas.

"I have to run inside to use the bathroom. Bella, are you coming with?" Alice asked.

Bella was about to follow her when she caught a look from Edward. "No, I'll wait out here," she replied.

Alice just shrugged and went in to inquire about the restroom, leaving her brother and best friend alone outside.

"Why haven't you told her?" Edward asked, his voice cool. He didn't mean to sound upset, but he was confused.

"I'm sorry. I just didn't have a chance. She invited me to spend the summer in Forks with her and she sounded so excited. She was already making plans…"

"What about our plans Bella? You were going to spend the summer with me. Do you still want to do that?"

Bella swallowed and tried to find her voice, a voice that had suddenly disappeared. She looked at Edward with her big brown eyes and tried to find the words to comfort him.

"Bella…" he said softly. He could see tears starting to well in her eyes and he stepped closer, rubbing her shoulders soothingly. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you." He sighed and whispered "I love you and I want to spend the summer with you… if you still want me, that is."

"Of course I want you, Edward. I'm crazy about you. I just… have a lot on my mind."

"I know baby," he murmured, leaning forward to kiss her forehead. He heard the gas shut off, but he didn't pull away from her yet. "What do you want to do?" he asked.

"Kiss me," she said huskily.

His eyes lit up as he heard her words and leaned in to capture her lips in a soft kiss, his lips moving over her slowly. It was a reassuring kiss, a kiss full of love and promises to be kept. His hands wove into her hair as he continued to kiss her softly. Only when he her the unmistakable voice of his little sister saying "Oh my God!" did he stop what he was doing.

They both froze and slowly turned to look at Alice. All three just stood there for a good 10 seconds before Bella sputtered "Alice… I can explain."

"How long?" Alice demanded.

Bella glanced at Edward and then looked back at Alice before answering, "since Christmas."

"I knew something was going on!" Alice exclaimed. "I just… never expected it to be this."

Bella gnawed on her bottom lip and waited for Alice to come to terms with what she just saw. "So… you two are together then, huh?"

Edward grasped Bella's hand and looked at her before meeting his sister's gaze and replying "Yes."

"Good. I thought you'd be perfect for each other."

Bella blushed and Edward's eyes bugged out. "Seriously?"

Alice nodded. "Yeah. I actually invited Bella here with me with the intention of setting you guys up. I was kind of surprised that you didn't hook up at Christmas, but I guess you did. Does anyone else know?"

"No," Edward said. "We were keeping it quiet until we knew what we were doing, but I was hoping to break the news to everyone tonight." He said the last part and looked at Bella hopefully. "If you don't mind, that is."

"Umm… I don't know what to say… are you serious?" He just nodded and Bella said, "okay."

He pressed his lips to hers in one more, chaste kiss and said, "we better get going if we want to make it in time for dinner."

This time Alice climbed in the back seat and let Bella have the front. She got the perfect view of her brother reaching over the console for Bella's hand and Bella blushing profusely at the charming things he'd whisper to her. It was very sweet, almost sickeningly so.

Finally they pulled up at the Cullen manor in Forks, Alice jumped out of the back seat and ran inside to greet her parents and other siblings, leaving Edward to grab her bags. Edward just rolled his eyes and leaned over to steal another kiss from Bella. She blushed again and pulled away a little too soon for his liking.

"So, will you be coming home with me tomorrow?" he asked, trying to sound confident.

"If you still want me," Bella said softly.

"I'll always want you," he replied seriously.

Bella met his eyes and saw how serious he was. He really meant that and for once it didn't scare her. Maybe I really can do this, she thought. "Okay, then I'll be coming home with you tomorrow."

"Good because I do believe we need to christen every room and surface in my apartment like we did in your house," he said with a mischievous raise of his eyebrows.

"You're incorrigible!" she exclaimed.

"But you love me for it," he said, stealing another kiss.

"I do," Bella said.

"Let's get the bags and get inside for dinner before Alice leads them outside to find us," Edward suggested.

"Good idea," she agreed with a bright smile.

They grabbed the bags out of the trunk and took them inside. Edward dropped Alice's bags off in her room and insisted Bella put her bags in his room.

"There's no way I'm sleeping alone tonight," he said.

Bella rolled her eyes. "What about your parents?"

"That didn't seem to stop you last time."

She blushed again and he stole yet another kiss while she was distracted. Then he took her hand and led her downstairs lest he get carried away with her then. That wasn't the way he wanted his parents to find out about them. He led her into the kitchen where Esme was talking to Alice and Emmett about summer activities. Emmett wouldn't be home a lot since he was starting practice with the team again, but he'd be home for the Fourth and a few other weekends when they could go camping or have a cookout. Rosalie was in the living room with Carlisle and Jasper, talking about throwing a charity event over the Fourth of July weekend.

Edward was still holding Bella's hand when he led her into the kitchen and Bella was feeling a little shy at the prospect of being introduced as his girlfriend. Alice motioned Rose, Jasper, and Carlisle into the kitchen for the big introduction. Carlisle came to stand beside Esme while the siblings gathered around the island.

"Everyone, this is Bella," he began, glancing at her as he finished with "my girlfriend."

The room immediately filled with smiles and congratulations. Emmett hollered at him and Esme came to kiss both Edward and Bella on the cheek. "I'm so happy for you, dear," she said to her son. Carlisle came to clap him on the back while the family continued their happy wishes for the couple.

Of course Bella continued to blush profusely and the thought crossed her mind, If they're this happy now, what will they be like when we're engaged? As soon as the thought ran through her mind she couldn't believe it. Is that really what she wanted? Did she want to marry Edward? When she looked at how happy he was telling his family about her, she somehow felt a piece of the puzzle fit into place. She was going to marry him one day, Bella was sure.

The next day Edward and Bella set off for Seattle. He had managed to get the next few days off from work so they could spend some time together. Perhaps they would've got out of the apartment and do a little sightseeing, but he wasn't holding his breath for that one. He knew very well that they could stay locked away in the apartment for days.

It seemed that the drive from Forks to Seattle went by faster when Edward was with Bella than when he made the drive without her. Time seemed to fly by when he was with her and it made him miss her more when the time was up, but it gave him some assurance that he was having fun with her. Then again, he knew that already. It was hard to deny the fact that Edward enjoyed his time with Bella. Try impossible.

He was madly, deeply, irrevocably in love with her. She was his life now and there was no turning back for him. He wanted to marry her, but he would do anything to keep her in his life even if that meant giving up marriage. That's how much he loved her. Some would say he was whipped, but he would counter that they didn't know what it was like to truly be in love with someone. For Edward it was simple, she was his soul mate. There was nothing that could convince him otherwise.

When they reached Seattle, he had to wake Bella up. Apparently he had kept her up late and she was sleepy. She was adorable when she slept, though and he could not bare to wake her up any earlier than necessary. "Wake up darling," he cooed. She stirred slightly and he tried again. "Bella, we're home," he whispered in her ear, loving the sound of home. He was hoping that's what this would come to be for them both this summer – home.

Bella stirred again and turned toward his voice, successfully bumping into his face. He couldn't resist kissing her and finally she awoke, reacting to his kiss by throwing her arms around his neck and trying to pull him closer. "Bella, love…" Did she know what she was doing? Did she know how hard it was for him to resist her?

"Edward," she said in the breathy half moan that sent shivers down his spine.

He kissed her again, this time with more passion. His body was making its way onto her side of the car. Having sex in a car could be very uncomfortable, but that was where they were headed if they didn't stop soon. When he managed to get onto her side of the car, he pressed his chest against hers and kissed her fiercely. She was driving him crazy, her hands wandering over his back, clinging to his body. Somehow he managed to stop them and begin to ask "Do you really…"

Bella silenced him with a finger to his lips. "Don't ask that question. I want you. All the time. I want you here and now." With that she replaced her finger with her mouth and kissed him hungrily, as if he was water in the desert and she would drink him or die.

"We need to change positions," he said through the kissing and touching. She just nodded and moved to lift his shirt over his head. He helped her rid him of his shirt and then practically tore hers from her body.

"Bella… you're gonna need to sit in my lap," he said decisively. She just nodded again and moved her hands to his trousers, beginning to unbutton them and slide her hand inside. Before she was able to touch him he grasped her hand and stopped her. He then started unbuttoning her pants and helped her out of them. She was left in her bra in panties and he was unbearably hard at just the sight of her.

The look in his eyes said it all and she quickly unclasped her bra and slid it off her body. Then she carefully slid her panties off. It was difficult with him hovering above her in the small, confined space of the car. "Okay," she said, sliding to the side of the seat. He arched a brow. "You sit." He slid into the seat and she knelt before him, finishing what she started with his pants. She pulled his pants down to his ankles and then waited for him to instruct her further.

He looked at her half expectantly, but when he saw her hesitate he suddenly realized he was the leader here. "Have you ever done it like this before?" he asked curiously. She shook her head, blushing slightly. He smiled and raised her chin, motioning for her to come closer. He kissed her softly and breathed against her lips, "I'm glad I'm your first in some way."

"Oh, Edward… you're my first in many ways," she admitted.

He smiled again and positioned her in his lap, parting her legs slightly and bringing her back onto his hard cock. She gasped and he paused, letting her adjust to the new position. This angle could go deeper than some and it could hit some good spots too. He kissed her shoulder blade and starter pulling her onto him again, slowly. One of his hands remained on her hip while the other moved around to caress a breast.

She moaned softly, holding onto the console and the car door. "We're gonna have to be quiet so no one catches us," he murmured close to her neck when he was entirely sheathed inside her warmth. She just nodded and let him guide her up and down his cock until she found a rhythm. She was in control here and she enjoyed it immensely.

Biting her lip softly she tried not to be very vocal this time, but with Edward pinching her nipples and kissing her neck she was finding it hard not to make any noises. It was almost like he wanted to get caught and she had to admit that just the thought of someone seeing them was part of what was getting her off this time. She never thought that something like that would be such a turn on, but it was.

Just then Edward moved one of his hands down to caress her clit. It didn't take long to send her over the edge. Everything was so intensified in this position. He was so close, his chest pressed to her back, his legs beneath hers, his hands caressing her body. "Oh… God… Edward… Mmmm… Unhhh…"

He continued moving her body on his as she rode her orgasm. His hands remained on her hips now as he started thrusting upward, seeking his own release. Just as he was about to finish he felt her begin to orgasm again and he was glad they would come together this time. Holding her hips he thrust into her a few more times as they both rode out their climaxes. As they came down he held her to his chest, kissing her neck and shoulder as he murmured I love you over and over again.

"I don't know if I can move," she said, laughing satisfyingly. The smile never left her face as she turned to kiss him softly.

"We should really get inside," he said, sighing. He didn't want to move, but they needed to get out of the car.

Their weekend passed peacefully. It seemed they had each reconciled with their desires. Edward had come to the conclusion that all he needed to be happy was Bella, while Bella had realized that she did want to marry Edward one day. They just hadn't talked to each other about this yet.

Monday arrived and Edward had to get back to work at the hospital. Bella slept in and watched some TV, lounging around the apartment contentedly for a while. After a few hours had passed she was getting quite bored though, and decided to get dressed and wander around the city. She walked up the street from Edward's apartment and found a bookstore and café combination. It was the perfect place to occupy her time and she discovered that the time passed quickly there.

Before she knew it Edward was calling her, slightly worried that he had arrived home and she wasn't there. She told him where she was and he came to her, happy to be able to hold her in his arms again.

"I didn't mean to worry you," she said apologetically. "I just got so bored sitting in the apartment."

"I understand, my love." He kissed her temple as he sat beside her on the bench along the window in the shop. "Next time just leave me a note or something."

She nodded and leaned in, kissing him softly on the lips before resting her head on his shoulder. "How was your day?" she asked.

He shrugged. "Nothing special," he replied, running his fingers through her hair.

"Mmm," she murmured, almost purr like.

"Hey… I have an idea…" he started half excited, half cautious.

"What's that?"

"Why don't you come to the hospital with me tomorrow? You can volunteer in the children's ward, reading stories and spending time with them."

She looked at him for a moment, trying to discern how serious he was being. When she could see that he was being entirely serious she quirked a brow and said, "I don't know Edward. Aren't most of the kids sick and dying? I don't know if I can handle that."

"One, I think you're stronger than you give yourself credit for, and two, no, some of the kids are just there for short term care. They could all use a little cheering up, a little company. You know what its like to work with kids. These kids are just looking for a friend who doesn't poke and prod them. I've given some of my time there, volunteering some of my days off and such. Besides… we could have our lunch break together and go out for dinner after or something."

His suggestion sounded so appealing. She would feel like she was doing something with her time and something useful – and important at that. "Let me think about it for a little while. I'll let you know later tonight. Okay?"

He nodded and kissed her head. "Let's go home. I want to take a shower and spend some time with you."

"I like the sound of that," she said, smiling.

They went home and showered together; then they ordered some Chinese food. When the food arrived they ate and talked about going sightseeing when Edward had a day off which was supposed to be Thursday. He told her about Rosalie's plans for a charity event over the Fourth of July weekend and that his family always spent the holiday in Forks watching the fireworks. With her in town for the summer he had already asked off for the weekend and was granted the holiday, which he normally worked.

After they finished cleaning up they cuddled up on the couch and found a movie on TV. It didn't take long for Edward to fall asleep, but Bella was wide awake and finished watching the movie. When it was over she turned the TV off and looked at Edward. She didn't want to wake him, but she knew that they'd both sleep better if they slept together in the bed. So Bella gently shook Edward to wake him up, helping him into their bedroom. They prepared for bed and slid between the sheets together, snuggling close.

"I'll go with you to the hospital tomorrow," Bella said.

"Good. I was hoping you'd say yes," Edward replied sleepily.

She carressed his hands where they were wrapped around her waist and smiled to herself. "Goodnight, Edward," she murmured.

"Goodnight, my love," he whispered back.

Morning came and Bella went to the hospital with Edward, feeling slightly nervous about seeing the children there. She really didn't have anything to be nervous about, but she didn't know that, either. When she walked into the children's ward she was told to wash her hands. Bella was walked through for what she could and couldn't do with the children, as well. Bella started off slow, just talking to the kids about what they liked to do, what their favorite things were, and had them draw some pictures. Then they played charades and Go Fish while they chatted some more about their dreams for the future.

Some of the kids were terminal and would probably never have those dreams realized, but it amazed Bella how they never stopped hoping. Every child that she met that day truly believed that things would work out. She saw for herself just how resilient children could be and it gave her hope for her own future. It gave her a renewed sense of purpose. The children taught her that life is short and you can't waste a single moment on regrets.

When Edward came to get her for lunch she was sorry to go, but she promised to return soon. They ate lunch at a deli across the street rather than eating cafeteria food. She talked to him a little about the children she'd met and how amazing they all were. He was glad that it worked out. Although, he knew it would. After lunch Bella went back to the apartment and Edward went back to work.

Back at the apartment Bella made plans for a romantic evening with Edward. Tonight, she intended to tell him that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him and that she wanted to marry him one day. She sent him a text asking for the address to a local market in order to get some groceries. Then she went shopping for the ingredients to a special dinner for her beloved.

She came back to the apartment and started preparing everything. When she had it all ready to go she jumped in the shower and got ready. She dried her hair and put on some light makeup. Then she dressed in a pretty blue summer dress with matching lacy blue lingerie and some black ballet flats. After she looked pretty damn near perfect, Bella went back into the kitchen to put the chicken parmesan in the oven to heat it up. Looking at the clock, Edward was due to come through the door at any minute.

The moment he stepped over the threshold he smelled the food his Bella had been cooking. Then his eyes landed on her and he took her in. Something was going on and he felt fairly certain it was important. He just didn't know what it was. "You look gorgeous," he murmured, coming forward to kiss her on the cheek. He was afraid of messing up her makeup.

"Thank you," she said, blushing ever so slightly. "Why don't you go take a shower and I'll take our dinner out of the oven in a few minutes," she suggested.

He nodded and did as she suggested, his gaze lingering on her as he left the room. What more could a man want? Edward thought, shaking his head. It was an acknowledgement that she had achieved her goal, at least with her appearance, Bella decided, happy. Now she just had to finish off the rest of the night.

Edward came out in a button up charcoal gray shirt and black slacks paired with black loafers. He looked about as handsome as Bella did beautiful. They were quite the pair. Any who saw them would have insisted they were going out, but they didn't. All the fuss was for a dine-in night, but a special dine in night all the same.

"You've got something up your sleeve," he said, arching a brow.

"I'll never tell," she whispered back.

"Bella," he said in a reproaching tone.

"Don't Bella me," she insisted. "Come, sit down and enjoy dinner." She pulled the chicken out of the oven and served them each a portion as well as a side salad.

Dinner passed fairly uneventfully, causing Edward's nerves to reach new peaks. She had him waiting expectantly and she still wasn't telling him what was going on. When she cleared the dishes and started to serve dessert, Edward stopped her with a hand over hers as he stood beside her in the kitchen.

"Bella, tell me what's going on here. What's all the fuss for?"

"Can't a woman cook a nice meal for her man?" she replied, not giving anything up yet.

He shook his head, understanding that for now he really wasn't going to get anything out of her. So he let her serve dessert as he tried to wait ever so patiently for her to reveal what she was up to tonight. When they'd finally finished dessert Bella started leading him by the hand to the bedroom, but he stopped her again.

"Bella, tell me what's going on tonight."

She looked at him, standing so tall, but so very confused and she couldn't put it off any longer. Taking his hand in hers she stood there, halfway between the kitchen and the bedroom and told him "Edward, I love you, more than I ever thought possible. I've never felt this way about someone before. I've never met someone like you before. You've taught me how to love again, how to truly open my heart. You are my whole world and I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you and," she took a deep breath and continued, "to be your wife."

His eyes searched hers. She had to be joking. He was utterly speechless as he stood there, his hand held between her two small, perfect hands. Say something, you fool! He looked at her for another five seconds and then swallowed. "Bella, I don't know what to say… I'm speechless," he admitted foolishly.

"Just tell me you haven't changed your mind. Tell me that you still want to marry me, because I really want to marry you Edward. I never thought I would, but I've come to realize that as much as I never thought about marriage, as much as I never wanted to marry anyone, I do want to marry you."

He looked at her very seriously. She was serious. She really was proposing to him. Well, sort of. She was telling him that she wanted to marry him. "Oh, Bella," he exclaimed. "Of course I still want to marry you. I love you so much. You've made me the happiest man in the world tonight. I can't believe you did all of this," he waved about, "just to tell me you wanted to marry me."

"I felt it was pretty important," she said.

"It is, but you could've done it in an alley and I still would've been ecstatic," he admitted, smiling like a school boy. Edward took her hand in his and led her into the bedroom. "I love you like no other man has ever loved a woman before. You are my life now, forever and always." He got down on one knee beside the bed, gracefully pulling out a little black box from the bedside table and opening it before her eyes. "Will you marry me?"

"Yes, yes, yes," she said, nodding with happy tears streaming down her cheeks.

He slid the ring onto her finger and stood to kiss her. "I do believe this is cause for a celebration," he said, kissing her soundly.

Bella held onto his shoulders for support as he kissed her senseless. Clothes were quickly strewn across the room. No time was lost in meeting flesh with flesh with the newly engaged couple. They were madly in love and if any neighbors had cared to listen to the happy moans and thumping of the bed frame against the wall that night, they would have known just that.

A/N: Thank you to my beta Vampire Extraordinaire! She's been amazing for this little story and she's really helped me to make it better. Check out her stories here: .net/u/1406445/Vampire_Extraordinaire I've beta'ed a couple for her as well including, "Snow, Light and Angels' Flight". So check her out!

Now, thank you to all my lovely readers & reviewers. I really appreciate & feel the love from you all. I know there isn't a HUGE following for this story, but I'm glad that it has a following. This is the last chapter of "Belief" so look for my new story "Nothing But A Number" coming soon to your inbox (if you have me on author alert ;). It will be 3 chapters which I already have written. Only the first chapter is beta'ed, but it is ready to post whenever I decide to do so. This story touches on some different themes including love, abuse, and age difference. The 3 chapters take place at different points in Bella's life and give you a glimpse at different times in her life with Edward. I hope you enjoyed Belief! Don't forget to review!