Entry For Anything Goes Under the Mistletoe
Story Title: Unlikely Reunion
Rating: M for Edward's Potty Mouth
Vamp or Human: Human
Number of Words (not including A/N or header/footer): 6181
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or its characters...I just play with them. :)
The cheerful melody of We Wish You a Merry Christmas played over the sound system as we walked through the lobby of the hotel. Twinkling lights were strung everywhere and the soft, white falling snow outside made the entire scenario winter wonderland perfect. People were milling about, laughing and hugging each other, wishing each other a Merry Christmas. The whole thing was making my stomach tie up in knots.
I didn't want to come to this fucking reunion, but my brother Emmitt and his wife Rosalie were adamant that I attend. They thought it would help me get over my breakup with Tanya. This was going to be my first Christmas as a divorced man and they didn't want me to be alone. Little did they know the real reason why I didn't want to be here.
I didn't think she would come. I fucking hoped she wouldn't come, because I knew I wouldn't be able to handle it if I saw her face again. I was already trying to live with so many regrets, I didn't want to come face to face with the biggest regret I had of all.
Forks wasn't my home anymore, I had come back to visit my parents for the Holidays. It was really just a coincidence that my ten year high school reunion fell upon this weekend. I don't know why anyone would want to hold a reunion five days before Christmas, but my fucking school was one of them.
Emmitt was stoked about going; he had been Mr. Popular, the all star jock. Rosalie was his stunning blonde girlfriend, perfect in every way, and now his wife, it only made sense that they would want to be here.
Emmitt and Rosalie had double teamed me, forcing me to stop wallowing in my own misery, and join them.
"Come on man…" Emmitt slapped me on my back, "Rosalie and I won't take no for an answer, you have to come."
"What the fuck for?" I was sitting in my parent's study at their grand piano, my fingers plucking aimless, melancholy chords, "No one remembers who I was in high school."
"Bella will remember…" Rosalie chimed in. I spun my head around at the sound of Bella's name, my fingers frozen on the piano keys.
I narrowed my eyes at Rosalie, "No she won't…" I turned back to the piano and picked up where I left off, "She got married, remember?"
Rosalie gave out a little huff and turned away from me, "You had plenty of time before she got married Edward…it's your own fucking fault." She walked out of the study swinging her hair around her.
I stared at my hands resting on the piano, frowning, Rosalie was right; it was my own fucking fault that Bella lent up getting married. I had been a coward then, and I was being a coward now.
"Come on Eddie…" Emmitt pushed on the back of my head, "You don't even know if she'll be there. You've been hiding long enough since your divorce. It's time you get out and play."
I closed my eyes, not moving, wishing with every fiber of my being that I was someplace else.
"Its starts at seven…" Emmitt moved for the door, "Be ready."
I was nervous as all hell when we stepped into the ballroom of the hotel. Someone really went overboard with the Christmas theme. Brightly multi colored lights were strung all across the ceiling, and there had to be at least five fucking Christmas trees scattered around the room. Giant puffs of fake snow were strewn atop of the tables, in the middle; large red ornaments were nestled in some tree branches, along with some white twinkling lights.
The second we walked in the same old swarm that always surrounded Emmitt and Rosalie back in high school descended upon us. I hung back slightly watching with a disinterested frown, the jocks were still hanging onto their youth, snorting and guffawing loudly, just like they had done ten years ago, only this time they looked even more ridiculous.
My eyes darted around me quickly, scanning the crowd, looking to see if that one familiar face was in the room.
I let out a small breath, she wasn't here, at least not that I could see.
"This place is gorgeous." Rosalie looked around her with animated eyes, "Did you see the garden in the back Emmitt? There's this adorable little white gazebo…"
"Come on, let's go sit over there." Emmitt waved his hand up in the air, cutting off Rose. He made his way over to one of the large round tables, still surrounded by all their cronies, drinks were passed around, and I played with my beer, submerged in my own thoughts.
I had known Isabella Swan since we were five. Living in a small town like Forks we all grew up together, Bella was one of the nicest, sweetest girls in school. Ever since I could remember she was friendly to everyone, always had a smile on her face. She was also smart as a whip, a model student. Teachers loved her…she always paid attention in class, got top grades, turned in every assignment on time. I bet they wished we were all like her.
The summer before eighth grade I hardly saw her around; she had spent most of the summer in Florida with her mom, so when she came back on the first day of eighth grade I couldn't believe my eyes. She had grown up, and was gorgeous.
Her long wavy brown hair fell all around her shoulders, big brown eyes that could just look into your soul when she stared at you. Her figure had filled out too, gone was that chubby, baby girl look, and in its place a beautiful vixen stared back at me.
By the time we reached high school I was smitten with her, but never did anything about it. Bella was out of my league, at least that's what I thought. I was in most of her classes, I was a good student too…got good grades…did all my assignments. It never crossed my mind that she would be interested in anyone like me.
Bella had her first boyfriend, Mike Newton, when she was fifteen. Mike was a football player. Good looking guy…six feet tall…real popular...had lots of friends, Emmitt one of them. She dated Mike for seven months, most of our freshman year.
She sat next to me in History, and I would hear her chatting about Mike to her friends often. It nearly killed me the day she walked into the classroom wearing his letterman jacket. All the girls ohhhed and awwwed over it, making Bella blush, she was beautiful when she blushed.
But then, just as quickly as it started it was over, and maybe it was just my overeager imagination but I thought Bella got over her breakup really fast. She was just as sweet, happy, and smiling as she ever was, and it gave me new hope that maybe she wasn't as into Newton as everyone thought she had been.
Our sophomore and junior year seemed to fly right by; she went out with a few guys, nothing serious. Newton was still after her and let everyone and their mother know it. He would hound her endlessly, begging her to get back together with him, but she held her ground, letting him down easy, never being a bitch or hurting his feelings, which made me fall even harder for her.
It wasn't until we were seniors in high school that things took a different turn. It started in our first period ceramics class. Ceramics was just a filler, only the really top students took ceramics. We all already had enough credits to graduate so we fritted our time away, taking classes like ceramics, yearbook, and being teacher's assistants.
It was just pure luck that Bella sat next to me in ceramics, being a little bit older and a little bit braver I joked around with her every day, trying to make her laugh just to see her smile. Whenever I managed to make her laugh her eyes would get all sparkly and her smile would light up her whole face. It would take all my fucking strength not to just reach out and touch her, to push her hair away from her eyes and trace my hand all along that soft creamy skin.
I looked forward to ceramics every single day, but often wished that instead of twenty other people all around us, that I could have Bella all to myself.
A couple of days before Christmas break, Mr. Banner, our chemistry teacher announced that he needed two TA's for the upcoming semester. Seizing the opportunity, I asked him about if after school and he told me I would be perfect and to find someone else to work with me.
It took me all afternoon the next day to get up my courage to bring it up to Bella. We had just finished our Chem final and the class was just sitting around talking. I made my way over to Bella and her best friend Alice. They were chatting happily with one another; Bella's eyes were glowing, making my heart race a bit.
"How'd you guys do on your final?" I asked, standing next to Bella's chair. Both of them looked up at me at the same time.
"It was hard…" Bella smiled brightly at me, her hair falling over one shoulder, "But I think I did okay. How about you Edward?"
I shrugged, trying to joke, "It was a piece of cake."
Bella laughed, her eyes twinkling. Alice was just staring at me, like she couldn't figure out why I was standing there. She blinked twice and glanced quickly between me and Bella, then she rose, "I need to go ask Jessica something…" she gave a half glance to Bella and then brushed past me.
Bella nodded at her happily and then turned back to me. I wasn't sure what had just happened but I decided to use this opportunity while I could.
"Did you hear what Mr. Banner said yesterday?" I moved around Bella's chair and sat down next to her. She rested her chin on her hand and shook her head at me.
"No…what did he say?"
"He needs a teacher's assistant for his freshman biology class. I'm going to do it." I was trying to look her in the face but those big brown eyes were distracting me, so I stared at her hands instead.
"You are?" her voice held surprise, and I swore disappointment, "You're going to drop ceramics?"
I just nodded, finally looking up into her eyes; they were searching mine questionably, making me flustered.
"Why don't you do it with me?" I finally managed to say, cocking my head to the side, trying really hard to sound nonchalant.
"Me?" her eyes widened.
"Why not?" I shrugged, "It might be fun."
She stared at me for a second longer, her puzzled eyes searching my features. I held my breath suddenly overcome with embarrassment, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. But then something flashed across her face and she smiled at me, this beautiful, gorgeous smile…
"Okay…" she bounced a little in her seat, "I'll ask Mr. Banner before the bell rings…"
I spent the next two weeks of Christmas break grinning…
"Have another beer Eddie." Emmitt's booming voice broke through my thoughts; he was shoving another bottle in front of my face.
I didn't even bother to glance up at him, turning my head away and scanning the crowd one more time and sighing, she wasn't going to come. There was no reason for her to come, she was happily married and had been for years now.
"Give her time…" Rosalie's voice was softer than normal, "She'll be here."
I turned to look at her sharply; Rosalie's usual bitchy look was gone, replaced with something that looked like sympathy.
"How do you know that Rose?" I tried to keep the sarcasm out of my voice, and the hope.
"Because Edward…" the bitchy voice was back, she rolled her eyes at me, "because I still talk to Alice, and Alice told me that Bella was coming." She picked up one of the red ornamental balls out of the centerpiece in the middle of the table and began tossing it up in the air, "And you know I am always right."
I couldn't argue with her. Rosalie was always fucking right…her words stung, if I had listened to her back when we were seniors maybe my life would have turned out different.
"Bella likes you Edward…" Rosalie slammed her locker door shut and turned to look at me, her shoulder resting against her closed door, "Bella told Alice, and Alice told Jasper, and Japer told Emmitt, and Emmitt told me…she likes you…don't screw it up."
I had completely ignored her…I mean, what credibility did that hold? For all I know Bella could have told Alice she like my fucking pencil…that's how rumors got started.
But in Mr. Banner's back office, while he stood up front in his classroom conducting his freshman Biology class; Bella and I sat, and talked, and laughed. My entire world was different, even if it was just for one hour every morning.
Bella was like a breath of fresh air. She would breeze into Mr. Banner's back office the brightest smile on her face each day, wishing me a good morning. She would always smell wonderful, just like strawberries, and when she would place her chin in her hand and lean closer to me I could see tiny flecks of black in those big brown eyes.
We became the best of friends. We would talk…about everything, her life…my life…school…and our friends. It seemed there was no subject that we couldn't discuss…she even told me about her old boyfriends, and how Newton would still call her up every now and then. She told me when this new guy, Jacob Black, asked her to the prom.
"He's really sweet and nice Edward…" she was rolling her pencil between her fingers almost nervously when she told me about Jacob, "But I'm not sure I want to go with him."
I wanted to tell her to stay the fuck away from him, that she would have a better time with me, but I didn't have the nerve.
"Well don't you want to go to the prom?" I looked up from my stack of homework assignments Mr. Banner had asked me to correct.
"Well yeah…but I…I don't think I should go with him that's all." She wouldn't look at me, just kept staring at her pencil.
"If you don't go with him…" I shrugged, trying to dig up some courage to ask her, "Then who are you going to go with?"
She finally looked up at me then, her head tilting to the side sadly as she placed her pencil down, "I don't know…I was hoping…well…no one else has asked me…"
I should have asked her right then and there but the bell rang, ending our conversation. It took me two days to work up the nerve to ask her to go with me, but I was too late. I heard through Emmitt, who had heard from Rosalie, that she had accepted Black's offer.
I didn't go to the fucking prom; instead, while I was at work that weekend, a co-worker named Tanya asked me if I wanted to go to the movies with her. I said yes…
So that Monday when Bella and I returned to school I asked her how the prom went.
"It was…fun. Jacob is a really great dancer." Her eyes were looking somewhere above my head as if she were daydreaming, "I didn't see you there? What happened?"
Her words were still ringing in my ears…Jacob is a really great dancer…it made me angry.
"I didn't want to go; my girlfriend doesn't go to this school anyways. We went to the movies."
"Your what?" Bella's eyes finally fell on my face; she quickly looked down at the tests Mr. Banner had given us to correct.
"My girlfriend…" I searched her face carefully, "her name is Tanya."
I couldn't read her expression; it looked like indifference mixed with surprise. Bella's head tilted upward, she held my gaze for just a second then she gave me a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes, "Well I hope you had a great time…"
I could only nod… that…and spend the rest of my senior year watching her hang out with Black. I kept dating Tanya, hoping that I would forget about Bella, but it never happened. A year after we graduated I heard from Rosalie that Bella was engaged to Black. I kept hoping Rosalie was wrong…but like Rose said…she is never wrong.
Six months later an invitation arrived at my house. It was addressed to Emmitt, Rosalie, and me. I pretended that it didn't matter, that I was over her, but it secretly tore at me…didn't let me sleep at night. Bella was going to marry Black and there was nothing I could do about it.
A few weeks before her wedding I bumped into her at the mall, I was picking up a gift for Tanya's birthday. Bella was walking by herself, coming out of the bookstore when we came face to face.
Her eyes brightened when she saw me, she tried to give me a hug but I pulled back because all I could see was that fucking diamond ring on her finger, sparkling like hell, causing a slow burn in my chest. Instead of asking her how she was or why the fuck she was marrying Black, I acted like an idiot…telling her that I was going to propose to Tanya that night.
There was something sad in her eyes that day. She stood there next to me all beautiful and radiant, but her eyes weren't shining, and her smile faltered. Yet I couldn't stop myself, I just kept going on and on about me and Tanya. She finally looked down at her watch and said she had to go. She held her hand out to me to say goodbye and the panic that I had been pushing down inside of me bubbled to the surface; I didn't want her to leave.
The last thing I did standing next to the girl I loved was take her hand in mine, turning it over gently, and bringing it up to my lips. Her skin felt so soft against my mouth and I wished with all my heart that it wasn't her hand against my lips, but her mouth.
I could hear her suck in her breath as she watched me, and I swore pain flashed across that beautiful face. But she was gone by the time I blinked, and I never saw her again.
"Look who just walked in…" Emmitt was jabbing me in the ribs, causing the entire table to shake, raising his eyebrows in the direction of the entrance.
I followed his line of sight, a lump forming in my throat. She was here…still just as gorgeous as I remembered.
Bella walked into the room looking completely animated and happy with Alice and Jasper at her side. She wore this pretty blue dress that showed off her shoulders and shapely legs. Her brown hair fell in large curls around her face, setting off those big brown eyes. She was simply stunning.
The three of them paused just beyond the entrance as a few of their friends all gathered around to greet them. I watched with great interest, my heart hammering in my chest, as Bella smiled and hugged each of her friends. She was still perfect in every way.
"Do you notice something?" Emmitt's words filtered through my brain, I didn't take my eyes of Bella.
"Do you notice that she is alone?" Emmitt brought his beer up to his lips and winked at me.
I shrugged, "Black's probably parking the car or something."
Rosalie gave out a half snort at my words and looked like she wanted to hit me, "Jesus Edward how can you be so dense…"
Emmitt placed his hand over Rosalie's arm giving her a look that quieted her down, he turned back to me, "Listen Bro…you could be right, the dude could be parking the car…or you could be wrong and Bella's here alone. Why don't you go say hi and maybe you'll find out."
I stared at Emmitt for a long second but he wasn't looking back at me, he pointed his beer bottle in Bella's direction, "Or we could just wait and see if Newton finds that out first."
I whipped my head around back towards Bella. Mike fucking Newton was already standing next to Bella, looking down at her with a great big smile. Bella was smiling back up at him in greeting but I noticed she took two small steps away from him and leaned her body closer to Alice.
I could feel the same old anxiety and frustration wash over me. I was always too late.
"Go on Eddie…" Emmitt was pulling on my sleeve, "You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain."
I pushed back my chair and rose, I wasn't eighteen anymore, and if she was really alone, I wasn't going to let her get away this time…
It felt like I took a million steps just to make it across the room over near the entrance. She hadn't seen me yet, Mike was still monopolizing the conversation. I paused just slightly, maybe a few feet away from her, the twinkling lights making her hair glisten and eyes sparkle.
The minute her eyes locked with mine something changed, the atmosphere around us cackled with electricity, everything seemed brighter, more real somehow.
She smiled at me…this sudden, vibrant smile that overtook her whole face and made me feel weak in the knees.
Newton was still talking to her but she totally blew him off, raising her hand up just a tad, never taking her eyes off of me, and excusing herself from their conversation.
I could hear my heartbeat in my ears as I watched her skip down the steps, her dress flowing around her in a sea of blue, making her skin glow.
And then her arms were around me. The feel of her hands sliding down the back of my neck as she hugged me close to her made me want to groan. Instinctively I lowered my head into those glistening locks, and wrapped my arms tightly around her waist fighting against the urge to pick her up off the floor.
She felt heavenly against me, all soft and supple. I breathed in her familiar strawberry scent that was invading my senses. I could feel her breath on my ear, and I closed my eyes, relishing in being with her again, in holding her close.
She pulled her head back slowly and raised her face to mine; I finally looked into those big brown eyes that had haunted my dreams for so many years.
"Bella…" I smiled down at her, not letting her go, "It's wonderful to see you…you look beautiful."
"Thank you," her eyes brightened and her hands slid down to my shoulders, "It's great to see you too, you look pretty amazing yourself."
I chuckled softly at her words; I was feeling pretty amazing at the moment.
"How have you been?" I wanted to reach out and trace my fingers along her cheekbone, "How has life been treating you?"
"I've been okay." She nodded her head, and I could feel my throat tighten watching those tantalizing curls bounce around her bare shoulder, "How about you?"
"I've been good." I said, fighting back the urge to pull her into my arms again, "Would you like to get something to drink?" I gestured over to the bar; wanting to whisk her away from the crowd, hide her away so that I could keep her all to myself.
"Sure." She smiled, falling easily into place next to me as we made our way over to the bar. Once our drinks were in hand I led her over to these great big lounge chairs that were nestled in the corner, out of sight from Emmitt and Rosalie's prying eyes. I sat down next to her, leaving a few inches of space in between us.
Taking a deep breath I turned to Bella, "How is your family? Your husband? Is he here?" I tried to keep my voice in careful control, tried not to show any emotion.
Her eyes left my face and her gaze fell to the floor. She seemed to be struggling with herself, "My family is fine…" her voice shook just slightly, "My…husband…he isn't here…he's in New York."
I stayed quiet, studying her, wondering why the hell Black wasn't here standing proudly with the most gorgeous girl in the room.
"What about your family?" her voice was in more control now, "How are Emmitt and Rosalie?" she straightened up somewhat and turned to face me, her eyes searched mine, "How is your wife, Tanya?"
"My family is fine." I was a bit taken back at her tone, "Emmitt and Rosalie are sitting over there," I gestured with my hand to the table I had been sitting at, "And my ex-wife Tanya is fine as well."
"Oh," her eyes widened at my words, and she placed her drink down on the coffee table in front of us, "I didn't know…I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry," I leaned forward placing my drink next to hers, "It was something I shouldn't have done in the first place, one of many regrets." I shook my head slightly thinking if only she knew just how many regrets I really did have.
"Ahh…regrets…" she chuckled tartly, gripping her seat on either side of her, raising her head up to the twinkling lights, "I have quite a few of those myself…"
"Really?" I tried to lighten the conversation by bumping my shoulder playfully with hers, "Well they're no match for mine…"
Her laughter filled my ears as she swung her head around to look at me, her hair flying around her head and settling on one shoulder, it made my pulse quicken.
"I'm not too sure about that…" she pushed back against me, and I laughed with her, letting my hand rest on the smooth leather right next to hers, our hands were so close our fingers were almost touching, but not quite.
"Nope…" I played along, giving her a crooked smile, "Can't match mine…definitely can't match mine."
She shook her head still laughing, "Well let's find out then shall we? What's your biggest regret Mr. Cullen?"
You…I wanted to tell her…letting you go…and I struggled, trying to find the words that needed to be said, "I didn't marry the girl I fell in love with…" my voice fell to a soft whisper. Her eyes met mine and she tilted her head to the side not saying anything, I stared back at her, "What's yours?" I could hardly hear my own voice.
She held my gaze, all these emotions flashing in her eyes, "I regret…" the ache in her voice matched the look in her eyes, "That I wasn't a whole lot braver when I was younger…because I didn't marry the guy I was in love with either…"
I think I stopped breathing because she was looking at me in a way that I had never seen her look before, and the sound of her voice was implying far too many things in my head.
"If only I could do it all over again…" her gaze fell to my lips and then back up to my eyes, "I would have done a whole lot of things different."
"Like what?" My voice sounded funny to my own ears. I tried to swallow, but my mouth was bone dry.
She smiled at me then and took a deep breath, "I wouldn't have been so shy…I would have gone after what I wanted…I wouldn't have married Jacob…" her voice trailed off.
Her words made me suck in my breath; she was saying everything I had always said about myself, substituting Tanya for Jacob.
"Is that why he isn't here?" My heart was pounding furiously in my chest, not sure I really wanted to know the answer.
"Yes…" her gaze fell down to the floor again, "We haven't been together for quite some time now…" she lifted her head, looking back up at me, "We're separated Edward."
I sat there stunned, just watching her, trying to get myself under control somehow.
"Our divorce will be final next month. Jacob's been living in New York by himself since the summer, and I've been here…alone." Her eyes didn't hold sadness, but something else…something that looked like longing.
My heart was already begging me to reach out to her, to touch her.
"I'm sorry." I whispered not knowing what else to say.
"Like you said…don't be sorry…one of many regrets." She paused, her eyes burning into mine.
Her words swirled around in my head, and before I could stop myself, my hand reacted on its own; I let my pinky finger slide softly over hers. Her eyes never left my face and I could feel her own finger curl itself against mine tightly.
We didn't say anything for a few seconds; just stared at each other…tried to make sense of it all.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see Rosalie and Alice, craning their heads around the tall pillars of the room, whispering with one another, trying to spy on us.
"Bella…" I paused, not sure of what to say next, "Would you like to go for a walk outside?" I was still trying to collect my thoughts, remembering Rosalie's words when she walked into the ballroom, "I heard earlier that there's a small garden pathway out through the back."
"That sounds lovely…" she gave me a shaky smile and rose.
I rose along side of her and did what I should have done ten years ago, I held out my hand to her, hoping beyond hope that she would take it.
She didn't hesitate, she reached for my hand, her fingers closing over my own gently, and together we made our way past the pretty tables, the lighted Christmas trees, and the prying eyes.
The cool brisk air swirled all around us as we stepped outside. Tiny snowflakes fluttered down from the sky. I shook off my suit jacket and draped it around Bella's shoulders to keep her warm, she smiled up at me in thanks, and let me take her hand again as we continued down the steps that led to the small gazebo in the center of the garden.
"It's pretty here." Bella's eyes were sparkling again; the chilly air was making her cheeks bright pink and her lips rosy red. She leaned forward against the wooden fence that surrounded the elegant rows of poinsettias planted on the ground. The gazebo was completely dark and silent; the only light we could see was from the silver moon and a few tiny stars peeking out in the darkness.
I shifted my body behind her, placing one hand on the fence next to hers, the other tentatively at her waist. She stayed quiet for a few seconds and then suddenly her voice broke softly through the night air.
"I didn't want to come here today…but Alice…Alice made me come…"
I stared down at the pretty red flowers being blanketed with tiny white snowflakes.
"I didn't want to come either…" I began to wonder just how much Emmitt, Rosalie, and Alice knew. "Emmitt and Rosalie made me come…"
Bella gave out a small chuckle. "Our friends…" she shook her head, "Alice is lucky that I adore her…"
"Well Emmitt is not that lucky…and is going to get his ass kicked later…"
Bella's laugh floated across the darkness and she leaned back into me, my hand tightened instinctively around her.
We stayed quiet for a minute, and I relished in feeling Bella's body so close to mine. Suddenly Bella took a deep breath and said,
"The guy I fell in love with had the most beautiful green eyes I ever saw…"
She wouldn't turn to face me but the tone of her voice was telling me everything I needed to know.
"And every time he smiled this crooked smile at me…it just melted my heart..."
I didn't even realize my fingers were digging into her waist.
"He was my best friend…and I wanted something more, but…he had a girlfriend…he wasn't interested in me…"
I wanted to turn her around to face me, but something told me not to just yet. Instead I lowered my head down, turning it lightly into her cheek.
"The girl I fell in love with had beautiful wavy brown hair that fell down her back…" I began softly along the curve of her ear, "She was the sweetest girl I knew…my best friend…she always smelled like strawberries…and every time I saw her, I wished that she were mine…"
I could hear Bella's breath hitch, and saw her fingers tighten onto the fence.
"But she was engaged to someone else and I didn't know what she would have said if I told her how I felt about her…"
"I think she would have said that she felt the same way…" she turned her head ever so slightly so that I could make out the outline of her profile, "because you were probably all she thought about at night…"
For the first time in ten years I felt like I had something to live for again, I let my nose brush against her skin.
"I kissed the back of her hand the last time I saw her…" I leaned my forehead against her soft cheek, "and the whole time I kept wishing it wasn't her hand I was kissing…"
"Edward…" Bella's voice ached with emotion, "Did you…really…wish for that?" She turned around to face me, tilting her chin up.
"Yes…" I whispered softly, staring into those beautiful brown eyes, "With all my heart…I'm still wishing for that now…"
She moved the tiniest bit closer to me, her chest rising and falling with every breath she took. "The biggest regret I have…" her head tilted to the side, her voice completely serious, "was that day in the mall…I wanted to beg you not to propose to Tanya…wanted to tell you that I wasn't in love with Jacob…and when you kissed my hand…all I wished for was that you would pull me close…and kiss me...want me…not her…"
"I did want you…" I could see her eyes begin to glisten, my arms sliding around her waist, "I've always wanted you…"
Just then the entire gazebo lit up. White twinkling lights ran across the wooden beams in a criss-cross pattern and all along the walls. Illuminated all along the ceiling were dozens and dozens of small mistletoe bundles tied up with red glittery ribbons. They were hanging from tiny hooks attached to the ceiling, and the reflection of the lights bouncing off them created an enchanting, breathtaking effect.
"Oh!" Bella's eyes grew wide as we both looked up and around us.
Our eyes met again, and she smiled at me, her eyes sparkling and full of awe. And right there…in the middle of the brisk night air…with the snow whirling all around us…under the twinkling lights and dozens of mistletoe…I kissed the girl I loved for the first time…and the second…and the third…
And it felt better than I had ever dreamed of…my hands slid into that silky hair, feeling it flow across my palm as my lips touched hers. She let out this shaky sigh as her body relaxed against me, her arms wrapped around my neck, her fingers stroking gently along the back of my head.
I poured ten years of yearning into those kisses, trying to show her with each touch and caress exactly what she meant to me…what she had always meant to me. She pulled me closer to her, her tongue enticing mine, encouraging me to explore her heavenly mouth, and as our kisses deepened I knew…that from this moment on…my life was going to be different…absolute…and complete.
I took Bella's hand and led her out on the dance floor, twirling her around before pulling her back into my arms. Her head fell back and she laughed, this beautiful, mesmerizing laugh, and I laughed along with her nuzzling my head into her neck, but not before catching Alice and Rosalie exchanging a high five in the corner of the room, their smiles triumphant and bright, and Emmitt raising his beer bottle in victory, smirking and winking at me.
I chuckled again, mentally shaking my head, silently thanking my friends…because sometimes…the most unlikely of reunions are always the best ones of all…
Thanks to everyone taking the time to read this. Reviews always brighten my day! Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday...and a Happy New Year!