-| Sold, Sight Unseen, continued |-
Edward drives me back to civilization, to hearth, to home.
As we drive, we're blatantly staring at each other. Well, I'm blatantly staring at Edward. He sneaks constant glances at me while trying his best not to crash us into trees. We're staring because it's such a privilege to actually get to see the other person for a change. I stare at Edward's broad shoulders, his wrists, the crook in his nose, and his rather sloppy sideburn.
He glances at my face, my neck, my feet.
I'm gratified that he doesn't glance at my chest.
Edward is such a gentleman.
In my room, he eyes a picture of me and Mike. If I could have predicted that Edward would be stopping by for a visit, I would have exorcised the space. There are all kinds of embarrassing pictures of me in here. Not to mention the dirty underwear lying about.
But Edward is focused on the one picture. "I thought he'd be taller."
"Nah, he's your typical roly poly kind of man."
Edward steps closer and shows me a picture of him and Tanya that he keeps in his wallet.
"I thought she'd be blonde."
"She is, actually. A strawberry blonde. But I told her once, a long time ago when we first met, that I preferred brunettes. She went to the salon the next day."
We'd never discussed Edward's physical preferences. Would have gotten too close to breaking the rules. I stare down at the picture of Edward, the only one I've ever seen.
I like seeing him in real life better.
"Just so happens, I'm a brunette," I say.
"Believe me, I've noticed."
Edward tucks the picture back into his wallet, but he stays leaning in, as if he's still showing me the picture.
He says, "I'd like to do one thing."
His warm breath tickles my ear.
He says, "One thing I've wanted to do since the first moment I spoke to you. And certainly since the first moment I saw you."
His warm breath is making my head spin.
In a good way.
"God," he whispers. "You don't know how good it is to be able to see you do that. I wondered if you were a blusher."
He traces my cheek lightly with a finger, which enflames me all the more.
"Yeah, I'm a blusher." I can't quite meet his eyes. His beautiful green eyes.
If I look into them now, I'll probably explode.
In a good way.
"Me too, actually."
Now I do look up, startled, to see that he's right—his cheeks look like two shiny red apples.
I had always wondered if he was a blusher.
I'm so glad he is. It makes him seem more human. If he didn't blush, you might confuse him for a porcelain statue of a god.
Him blushing, it takes my breath away.
It makes me feel like I can affect him, this beautiful, wonderful god.
He's staring at me like he knows exactly how I feel.
But if he thinks I'm a goddess, we're going to have to have a very serious heart-to-heart about his eyesight.
For now, I get up on my tippy toes. I put my right hand on his broad left shoulder and my left hand on his right. I lean up to him, very close, and press the faintest of kisses against the blush on first his left cheek, then his right.
I pull back, ever so slightly, until our noses are touching. Gently, I nudge his right nostril with my left, and his left nostril with my right.
His eyes, those beautiful green eyes, are looking right into mine, and they're wanting and needing and about to take.
I simultaneously explode and melt.
In a good way.
"Can I please kiss you now?" he says, and I've never heard this rough tone in his voice before. That's probably because he's never been about to kiss me before.
Edward is about to kiss me.
And then Edward is kissing me.
He's kissing me, and in between kisses, he's saying things to me. It takes me a while before I can understand the words, any words. It takes me a while because every nerve ending in my body is on fire. I think I'm about to pass out.
In a good way.
"I just turned 30," he's saying.
His lips discover the exposed skin of my neck.
"I was born in Chicago," he says.
His lips suck at my earlobe.
"I'm in banking," he says.
His lips meld against mine like they were made for me.
"And I love you," he says.
His lips show me how much.
His warm, strong arms are the only things holding me upright. Then he detaches his lips and leans his forehead down until it's touching mine.
"Your turn," he whispers into my parted mouth, and he's right. It's my turn to break all our rules. I start with a bang, leaning forward and running my tongue along his upper teeth, which taste ever so faintly like mint and cinnamon. My tongue snags slightly on one of his teeth, and I explore this anomaly for a moment.
I feel his knees go weak, and it's my turn to hold him up.
"I'll be 29 in September," I say.
My lips suck at his errant tooth.
"I was born in Forks," I say.
My lips explore his ridiculous expanse of jaw.
"I'm in marketing," I say.
My lips taste the skin of his neck.
"And I love you," I say.
My lips, my hands, and my whole body show him how much.
For a long, long time.
Pretty much up until the point where I hear the slam of Charlie's car door. Edward hears it, too, and we both freeze.
By this point, we have migrated to the bed. We look around, dazed, and see that his shirt is off, my shirt and jeans are half unbuttoned, and he's missing one shoe and one sock. On the same foot, thankfully. I stare at his delicate arch, which he's flexing nervously.
Should it bother me that his feet are prettier than mine?
"Bella?" Charlie calls out. "Whose car is this in the driveway?"
In our haste to get out of bed, we trip over each other and fall to the floor.
Edward mock-snaps his fingers in the gesture for aw, shucks.
"Bella?" Charlie calls again, and I know that he's standing at the foot of the stairs, peering up. He's probably wondering why I'm spasming all over the floor in my bedroom.
"Yeah dad. It's Edward's car."
As if that will explain everything.
"Edward Cullen," I say, smiling proudly at Edward. I'm proud because, if Charlie had asked me yesterday, I wouldn't have known.
I would have just told him that Edward's last name was Cludle (a.k.a. rhymes with noodle).
"Who the heck is Edward Cullen?"
Edward and I giggle at each other.
"I take it you didn't tell the fam about me," he whispers as he scrabbles around on the floor looking for his missing sock.
"Did you tell the fam about me?" I counter as I button up my jeans.
"Touché," he says, pulling his errant sock from under the bed.
As I stare at Edward's delectable derriere, I yell down to Charlie, "I'll be down in a second to introduce Edward."
Of course Edward's rear is great; as a child, he was clearly hit with the pretty stick. Heck, the pretty stick apparently frisked his every orifice.
Is it weird that I'm jealous of the pretty stick?
Charlie grumbles something I can't quite hear, and then I do hear his boots clomping off to his bedroom. Hopefully he'll be changed out of the uniform when Edward first sees him. I know how intimidating Charlie can be in his uniform.
Before we head downstairs, we look each other over carefully to ensure that all buttons are fastened and all shirts are on outside out and that no material is sticking oddly out of zippers. I notice that Edward's sock is on inside out, but I doubt Charlie will. Unlike me, most people don't stare at feet.
We give each other the thumbs-up.
I take one last look in my dresser mirror, just to be sure.
And then I do a double-take.
"You gave a thumbs up to this?" I hiss, frantically trying to smooth down my hair from where Edward might have gotten a little overzealous in running his hands through it. There wasn't much I could do about my red cheeks or overly bright eyes, though.
"Sorry, I guess I was distracted by your breasts and forgot to look higher."
He doesn't look sorry.
I double-check his hair and decide that it doesn't look any more sexed-up than it had when he'd first arrived. Something tells me his hair is just kinda like that.
And I kinda like that hair. A lot.
I grab Edward's hand and pull him down the stairs.
When we arrive, I drop his hand, and we stand awkwardly in the living room while waiting for Charlie to emerge from his den.
I'm more nervous than Edward is, and that's weird because Edward is the one who's about to meet his girlfriend's dad for the first time. Maybe he's not nervous because he hasn't yet seen Charlie's gun.
That's because it's hanging on the wall behind him. I notice that it's pointing straight at Edward's bed head.
When Charlie at last enters the room, dressed thankfully in unassuming plaid, Edward wastes no time in stepping forward and introducing himself.
"I'm Edward Cullen," he says, gripping Charlie's hand, "and I'd like to marry your daughter."
My heart stops, and I just look at Charlie.
"Hi, Edward," Charlie dryly acknowledges the first part of Edward's sentence, and then looks at me.
"You're smiling again," he says, and I so totally am. I'm standing here with a smile on my face so big that I'm afraid the weight of it is going to face-plant me.
It's been one of those days.
You know, one of those days in which the love of your life who you thought you'd lost forever because of his Saint Mary of a pregnant girlfriend comes back into your life and tells you that his girlfriend is actually a backstabbing witch—and a liar and slut, to boot—and then said soul mate kisses you senseless while simultaneously telling you for the first time how old he is, what he does for a living, and where he was born.
One of those days.
"You're smiling," Charlie says to me, "and you were smiling earlier. Do both of those smiles have something to do with this Edward here?"
"They do. They absolutely do."
Charlie turns back to Edward. "Then you have my blessing. Any man who can make my daughter smile like that is a man I want in my daughter's life."
"Thank you sir," Edward says, but he's looking at me.
His eyes, they're saying, Will you marry me?
And my eyes, they're answering, Yes yes yes for the love of God yes.
Within six months, we're married. Apparently, we'd both had enough of the whole long-term cohabitation thing. It helps that we both know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the other is "the one."
We spend the months before the wedding getting to know each other better, matching our respective physical mannerisms to our vocal ones. Memorizing what we each look like when we're laughing, when we're frowning, when we are expressing the myriad of emotions that we've only ever heard the other express.
Edward tells me that, if he'd seen me first before we talked, he would have been way too intimidated to ever go for me.
I snort. "Then it's a good thing you randomly starting dialing phone numbers one Thursday night."
"Just one number," he says. "The only number that mattered."
I frown. "You only dialed one number?"
"Yes." Edward shifts his position on my bed so he can look into my face. We're cuddling. We make good use of my bed when Charlie isn't home.
"Do you know what the odds are of you finding your soul mate from dialing one phone number?"
"I'm a banker, not a calculator," he says.
"But, if I had to guess," he says, "I would say that the odds are approximately 3,720 to one."
I narrow my eyes at him.
"That's a quote from Star Wars, isn't it?"
He nods and smiles at me, delighted.
Edward is such a geek for knowing that quote word-for-word.
And I'm such a geek for recognizing it.
Later, I get the real story behind his alter ego, Andrew Cludel.
"I get the Andrew," I say. "But I don't understand the Cludel."
He smiles sneakily.
"It's actually the letters of my name all mixed around."
Holy crow, Edward is Lord Voldemort.
Well, I'm close. He'd pulled a Voldemort, at least.
Rearranged, the letters of Andrew Cludel spell Edward Cullen.
Edward is such a geek.
But he's my geek.
Over the next six months, I find out everything about Edward (and Andrew) that I possibly can. I meet his two siblings (Alice and Emmett), his parents (Carlisle and Esme), and his best friend (Jasper).
When we're introduced, Jasper kisses my hand and winks. I assume it's because Edward told him that I think his Facebook picture is hot.
Over the next six months, I ask Edward any and every question, and he asks me his own in return. There are no rules, not anymore, and this is what freedom feels like.
This is what love feels like.
One month from our wedding, Edward says, "What do you think about me buying the Masen house?"
I almost can't think because I like the idea so much.
I think about all the days we can spend pouring our life and love into that beautiful old house. I think about the nights we can spend continuing getting to know each other—both mentally and physically.
We get married, and we do just that.
Edward gives me a lot of foot massages.
And we do…other things.
Sometimes, I accidentally call out "Drew!" when Edward makes me come.
And then I'm embarrassed, but Edward is like, "Don't be. I think it's sexy that you're in love with the both of me. The real Edward and my alter-ego Andrew. It's like I'm Superman, in a love triangle with myself."
And his mind boggles at his own geeky awesomeness and I just laugh and pull him down into yet another heated kiss.
Edward is my hero a thousand times over, so I'm perfectly fine with him thinking he's Superman. I'm perfectly happy to be his sassy Lois Lane.
Eventually, I think that I know everything about Edward, but I don't. Not yet. I can't possibly have learned all there is to learn about this gloriously beautiful, kind, considerate man I get the privilege of calling my husband. But I have the rest of our lives to learn everything there is to know about Edward Cullen—one detail, one gesture, one smile at a time.
Somehow, we'd found our happily ever after after all, and it started with a simple phone call to a stranger.
You may think that we'd been very, very lucky, but I no longer believe in luck.
I believe in love.
Fin | The End | Siyonara