2nd Annual "For My Valentine"
A Twilight Love Story Contest
Title: The Valentine
Summary: Bella receives a special valentine from an anonymous sender each year from the time she was four years old. After 18 years, she finally gets to meet her mysterious valentine giver.
Disclaimer: I only own this story. Stephanie Meyer owns all things Twilight Saga.
For more information please see contest details at http://www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/~formyvalentinetwilight
A/N: I have to give a shout out to my beta and virtual friend, Cm. She came through for me even though I was an idiot and hadn't given her much time to look over this baby. She not only fixed my mistakes, the grammar nazi that she is, but made this story better than it was, in record time too. I will be eternally grateful. Hopefully I made you proud with this final draft.
Bella was four years old when she received her first ever valentines from her preschool class. She had accepted one each from all her fellow schoolmates, as the teacher insisted each child to bring one for everyone else, not just their friends. She was excited to bring them home and delighted in the sheer number of them, as her preschool class numbered twenty four. She carefully sifted and sorted through all the various cards contained in her homemade mailbox that her mother had helped her make.
The joy was evident in her eyes as she closely examined each one with wonder, taking in all the variety. She found that some even came with treats like a pencil or a lollipop, and she had concluded that those were the ones she liked the best. Since Bella couldn't yet quite read past her own name and recognizing the letters of the alphabet, her mother read the words contained on her valentines.
Bella laughed at the many clever play on words, thinking how absolutely silly they all were. She gasped at the ones that were telltale from a boy and proclaimed some version of "I Love You." She questioned the sensibility of it and pondered the deeper meaning, considering that they were all only four or five years old. It was just the kind of little girl she was. Her mother found Bella quite entertaining having such notions at her age. She placated Bella by telling her that it was just all in good fun, and that she need not worry about the deeper meanings until she was much older.
Of all the valentines she received, one stood out as the best. It was a Precious Moments card with a chocolate Tootsie pop attached to the envelope – two of her most favorite things.
Her mom, Renee, had a large collection of Precious Moments figurines, and Bella was infatuated with them. She loved them so much that her bedding and her walls were decorated with Precious Moments. Even her backpack, school supplies and lunch box were adorned with these characters. She even spent all her free time in class looking at the one Precious Moments book the class had in it's library.
Someone in her preschool class knew of her love of Precious Moments and was considerate enough to give her a that type of valentine card. This card was very simple, compared to some of the more outlandish ones she had received. It was plain white, no words, just the cartoon depiction of two Precious Moments cartoon children, a little girl and a little boy. The little girl had long, mahogany hair in braids. She was shyly smiling at the little boy with auburn hair, and who was sheepishly handing her a pink daisy and a heart-shaped valentine. Bella thought it was really very sweet and nice. She hoped that one day a kind little boy would be offering her those gifts.
Bella turned the card over to see if she could find who had given it to her. She only found her name, and realized it was the only card with her name written by the giver. She traced over the letters, written in barely legible, sloppy, and uneven script indicative of it having been a preschooler's immature attempt. She liked the effort that the anonymous preschooler had made for her. Even she had passed out generic valentines. She wondered if she was the only one that was lucky enough to receive a personalized valentine.
She tried to think back to all her preschool classmates and the various cards that they had passed out, hoping to figure out who may have given her this valentine. But her memory didn't serve her well. Along with her mother, they sifted through the rest of her valentines trying to solve the mystery of the anonymous valentine giver, but since her mom had discarded the full class list, they had no way of knowing for certain. Bella briefly wondered if it was her own parents that gave her the card, but they reminded her that technically Valentine's Day was still two days away, and that was when she normally received their valentines and treats.
Soon enough, Bella forgot the mystery surrounding the Precious Moments card. She became content in just having received it. She liked it so much that she placed it in a scrapbook her mom had given her to store all her special treasures. For a child of four, this valentine was special.
The day before saw a four year old bronze-haired boy sitting at his desk in his room deep in concentration, studying the paper before him. A huge smile graced his lips as he looked over his latest effort of writing her name. B-E-L-L-A. He finally spelled her name correctly, it now matched the letters he saw on the board at preschool exactly, and more importantly he could actually make out the letters he wrote. He had been practicing most of the day, and relief coursed through him once he felt that he'd finally written it perfectly. He grabbed the special Precious Moments valentine cards pack he had hidden, carefully taking one and then placing it on the desk before him, setting out to duplicate his perfect effort of writing her name.
Bella was the brown-haired, brown-eyed little girl in his class whom he felt had the cutest blush, one that he would see regularly. He could never understand why her cheeks would suddenly turn the pink color, but whenever he saw it happening, it made him smile one of his hugest smiles, and for that he wanted to give her something special for Valentine's Day, not just the generic cards his mother was going to make him pass out. Perhaps they could be friends.
The little boy couldn't believe his luck when he strolled through the aisle of the store. He found a pack of cards with the design he knew Bella would like. He recognized it as being similar to the design on her book bag, and he reasoned that she must like that, since he liked the Rescue Heroes and that was the design on his own book bag. Even at four years old, he was already very smart for his age.
The valentine had a picture of a little girl and a little boy. The little boy was holding a pink flower, and that reminded him of the color of her cheeks when she blushed. The little cartoon children even looked like the two of them. It was the something special he had been searching for to give to Bella.
The time came in class to pass out valentines, and he became too bashful to give it to Bella in person as he originally intended. He took advantage of the chaos inside the classroom, due to their class Valentine's Day party, to quietly slip the valentine in the mailbox she had sitting on her desk. He had affixed a chocolate Tootsie pop to it, because it was his favorite type of lollipop, and he figured she may like that lollipop too, not even knowing that it was also her favorite.
He wanted to become friends with the blushing little girl, Bella; however, he could never find the nerve to talk to her. He wanted to ask her how she felt about the special valentine he gave, but found that as soon as he would get close enough to talk to her, he became too nervous, and ended up running away.
The next year in Kindergarten when February 12th rolled around again, Bella received a lone valentine on that day. It was the exact same Precious Moments card as the year before with the same kind of Tootsie pop, and once again she received it anonymously. Only her name could be found on the card, hand-written in the giver's same immature scrawl. As a curious little girl, Bella made sure to work with her mom and dad to try and flesh out who was the generous bestower as more valentines came her way on the actual day. They concluded that it had to be someone from her preschool class that moved over with her into Kindergarten. However, with over half the class fitting that description, they still had no clue. Attempts at asking the children themselves resulted in vehement denials. Bella's mom and dad asked her not to make a big deal of it, just enjoy the fact that someone was nice enough to give it to her.
Her mom and dad thought no more of it, even though every year throughout elementary school, when February 12th came and passed, Bella would bring home the exact same Precious Moments valentine with a chocolate Tootsie pop attached. She always received it anonymously, someone slipping it onto her desk or in her book bag when she wasn't looking. For the most part, each year the cards were identical with only Bella's name handwritten, and never a clue as to the identity of the giver. The only noticeable difference was that the giver's handwriting was maturing, becoming more legible. It even turned into cursive writing by the time Bella had received it in fourth grade.
Bella tried to ask around, hoping to be able to find out who was doing this for her, but never gained any insight. She even enlisted her parent's help, hoping that they would elicit a response from their friends, neighbors, teachers, anyone they may know and suspect the identity of the secret valentine giver, perhaps they being one of their own children. However, her parents also came up empty.
Her parents weren't particularly alarmed about their daughter receiving these anonymous valentines. It was a harmless gesture, and they figured that the person, most likely a young man, who was doing it gave it to her with the highest regard because he probably had a crush on her. They figured the boy was too shy to openly express his feelings directly to Bella, and this was his only way to show her that he cared. Being die-hard romantics, Bella's parents thought it was sweet that their little girl was the object of some young boy's affections, but they never dared express their theory to Bella. They also figured that there would be an inevitable end to the arrival of these valentines, as these types of school crushes faded as the kids grew older and gained more experience.
By the time she was in fifth grade, she counted on receiving this valentine. She hoped to catch the anonymous giver when the day rolled around, trying to keep close watch, but that person, whomever it was, was more cunning than she, because they managed to slip it by her. The identity of the giver of her special valentine still eluded her.
The little bronze-haired boy went through elementary school observing Bella from a distance. Although he wanted to become her friend, he simply was too shy to approach her. When he became a little older, other boys told him that girls had cooties, and that girls thought the same of them; therefore, forming a friendship didn't seem possible.
Once in a while, he was lucky enough to be able to play with her. He relished those moments. While most kids his age detested going to town functions, he was eager to attend with his parents, knowing that she would also be there. He was still fond of Bella's blush, and thought that she was one of the cutest girls he knew because of it. His shyness, however, was overpowering, and apart from being occasional playmates, he rarely talked to her otherwise. Giving her the valentine anonymously every year, like clockwork, was his only way to express his true feelings to her.
As two more years flew by, Bella became a shy, awkward, highly intelligent twelve year old. She didn't have many friends in junior high, preferring to spend her time reading books instead of socializing like the rest of the kids her age. She passed over sports, clubs, and other after school activities, in favor of being solitary, and she continued to keep pretty much to herself at school. Most of the friendship connections made during childhood, had long since severed, as they grew apart, moved, or had varying interests. While most girls her age had grown to like boys, Bella hadn't really cared. She immersed herself in her studies and didn't bother with the dating scene.
Her parents had feared that Valentine's Day would come around, and Bella would become disappointed if she didn't receive any valentines unlike the rest of the girls her age. They didn't think that the secret valentine giver would care to strike again. Bella wasn't worried, however. She knew that at the very least she'd receive one, even if that would be the only valentine she'd receive, she'd be happy. She counted on the arrival of that special valentine. Even if she didn't know who this person was, they were nothing if not consistent. Sure enough, two days before February 14th, Bella found the special Precious Moments valentine inside her locker, probably passed through one of its slats. It brought a rare smile to her face. Receiving this valentine always made her happy. She couldn't ever imagine a time when this valentine wouldn't arrive anymore on the 12th of February, although deep inside she knew that day may very well come. Bella was young, but she was wise beyond her years.
That year saw the valentine evolve somewhat. While it was the same Precious Moments card, and the same handwritten script of her name, words were added by the giver. The valentine now said:
Happy Valentine's Day, Valentine.
Believe you are special and loved.
Bella's heart raced as she read those words. She knew now that it must be from a boy that must have a crush on her. Even in adolescence she knew the significance of the words. In her wildest dreams, she never figured any boy would pay her any kind of attention. She never thought that she was particularly attractive unlike, the rest of the girls at her school. She never wore any makeup. She didn't wear the latest fashions, preferring comfort in jeans, a hoodie, and Converse sneakers, over the newest designer trend of skimpy clothing and heeled shoes. She didn't find that her body was anything special, sure she had grown breasts, but she didn't feel her chest was as well-developed as many other girls. Those girls were highly popular at her school. She considered her hair dull, just brown and long, and overall she thought of herself as plain and boring. She was overjoyed at the notion that some boy in her school actually thought of her differently. She couldn't help but wish she knew who this secret admirer was.
That valentine served to help Bella emerge from her shell. She became less solitary, and began to open up more. She put more stock in her appearance, much to her mother's delight. She even began to make friends and reconnect with some childhood ones.
She still strived to solve the identity of her anonymous valentine giver. By this age, she really wanted to know. She did her best to discover the identity, going as far as blatantly asking friends, classmates, even the parents of her friends. However, no one still had laid claim to it. Bella figured someone had to be lying, but she couldn't even make a guess as to who. Her valentines weren't appearing out of thin air, as someone obviously wanted her to have them. More than trying to solve mystery, she really wanted to be able to thank who it was personally. The valentines had brought her so much joy, and she didn't feel right to not be able to reciprocate to this secret valentine giver. She eventually let it go, but it was always at the back of her mind.
The boy, now twelve, had spent years being infatuated with the blushing little, brown-haired, brown-eyed girl he first met in preschool. Although, they weren't exactly friends yet, he had become bold enough to talk to her at school on occasion, even if it was just to babble about the previous day's homework. It didn't escape his notice that she didn't seem to have many friends at all now. She, too, was shy, and different from all the other girls, but that was what endeared her more to him. She rarely blushed anymore...heck...she rarely even smiled. That saddened him, cause he thought those were two of the traits that made her beautiful. She should have them grace her features often. He figured that she probably felt lonely and insecure.
He continued to give her the valentines secretly, still not courageous enough to hand them to her in person. It really hadn't bothered him that Bella didn't know that they were from him. He reasoned that if the valentines could at least bring both her blush and smile back to her face, then he succeeded at what he had set out to do. He decided to add more words of greeting, letting her know that she was special and loved, which was the truth, in hopes of making her feel better about herself.
During the last year of junior high, his sister had many classes together with Bella. He pushed for his sister to rekindle her friendship with her, seeing it as an opportunity for him to become her friend as well by default. His sister obliged not really needing much encouragement. She liked Bella, and got along with her well, despite them being complete opposites in personalities. Their bond grew as they commiserated over their classes, and he was able to come along for the ride. Becoming friends with Bella was what he had always desired, but never had the nerve to form the friendship himself. It delighted him greatly when the plan fell into place.
More years passed and it saw Bella growing into a typical teenage girl. She passed her awkward adolescent phase and found herself blossoming into a lovely young lady in high school. When she turned fourteen, she gained her first boyfriend, Jacob Black. Their fathers were good friends back in their younger years, and when the Blacks moved back into the neighborhood, she and Jacob became fast friends, which turned into something more the day he asked her to the homecoming dance. It was known throughout the school, shortly afterward, that they were a couple.
By the time high school came about, the boy had overcome most of his shyness. He was growing up, maturing, becoming a very handsome teenager, more social, and was popular with many of the teenage girls. However, he developed a strong crush on his newfound friend, Bella. He wasn't interested in the other girls.
He was gathering courage to act on his feelings for her when his hopes were dashed. She spent more time with Jacob Black, as Jacob's father were closer friends with Bella's parents than his, and Jacob had simply gotten to ask Bella to the homecoming dance first. It resulted in Jacob becoming Bella's boyfriend.
He, naturally, was upset by the turn of events, but he didn't allow himself to wallow in his misery. She was happy, and as a true friend, he was happy for her. He didn't approve of the relationship, knowing that he was a much better match for Bella than Jacob was, but he stood by being the ever supportive friend.
He decided to use his annual valentine that year to express to her his true feelings in writing what he couldn't express to her with his own words. He really wanted to get to know Bella better, but he just had to bide his time. He could only hope that someday they could move past just being casual friends.
Bella received her annual valentine, taking her by surprise that the giver wasn't dissuaded by her obvious relationship. In fact, it seemed that the giver became emboldened to express more, as the valentine underwent another transformation. A short poem replaced the few words from before.
See you smiling every day
hide the way i feel,
want to tell you everything
but my lips are sealed,
loving you with all my heart
but you will never know,
feelings for you are locked away
hope they never go,
i never cease to by amazed
how beautiful you look,
now my heart will suffer in silence
because of the chance i never took.
While she thought the poem was sweet, and she was glad that she gained a little more insight into the giver's feelings, the valentine temporarily lost some of its luster, replaced by the bigger appeal of her boyfriend's gift. Of course, Jacob wasn't nearly as thoughtful as her secret admirer, but it still meant the world to her. She didn't dare breathe a word to Jacob of her secret valentine fearing his jealousy, and she didn't want to jeopardize her chances of receiving any more valentines from her secret admirer. Despite it being not as highly regarded this time around, she still was happy to receive them, and wanted to continue receiving them. It may have been selfish of her, and possibly traitorous to her relationship with Jacob, but over the years she became quite accustomed to receiving them. She had amassed quite the collection already.
More than anything, Bella hoped that if the valentines kept coming, she'd eventually learn the identity of its giver. Her curiosity was beyond peaked for years now, and she had a feeling that it was inevitable that the anonymous giver would have to reveal their identity. This couldn't go on forever. She still hoped to catch the person in the act.
She really had no idea who the anonymous bestower of the lovely valentine could be. Many of the students at her high school were kids she went to school with all her life. That was just the nature of Forks, the small town, where she lived. In reality, it could be anyone. Obviously the person, wanted to remain hidden. She never noticed anyone, or specifically any boy, acting differently towards her. The guys she had grown up with, friend or not, still seemed to act the same. She never saw anyone acting suspiciously around her. Everyone carried on like they should. This secret valentine giver was very good at being stealth.
Her relationship with Jacob didn't survive the summer before her sophomore year. They both became interested in other people, and mutually agreed to end things and just remain friends. It had been a rather convenient breakup, seeing that they would now end up going to different schools once the school year started, since Jacob had moved houses again, now placing him in the La Push school district.
Bella had gotten really close to her best friend Alice's brother, Edward, over the summer. She and Edward were casual friends because of Alice, and they all had practically known each other all their lives. They went through the Forks public school system together, beginning all the way from preschool. Alice, Edward, and Bella were never really close friends when they were younger, but they were occasional playmates whenever their parents would get together, or there was some social function in town. Alice and Bella only reconnected their last year of junior high, having had to suffer through several classes together. They were complete opposites, but their friendship worked, and they now were practically inseparable. Edward gladly came along for the ride, being that he and Alice were very close siblings.
Esme Cullen, Edward and Alice's mother, gave the teens, including Bella, summer jobs at her boutique in downtown Forks. The teens had wanted to earn money to go towards new vehicles that they'd be able to drive once they turned sixteen. Esme was gracious enough to give them the opportunity, rather than have them find summer jobs elsewhere in Forks, which would've been difficult, or have to send them all the way to the bigger city of Port Angeles, which she didn't want. That, and Edward begged his mother endlessly to give them the summer jobs.
While working closely together, Edward and Bella bonded, forging a stronger friendship. They had never really had a chance to get to know each other too well before then, and they suddenly found that they had many things in common, and their interests overlapped.
Bella began to see Edward in a new light. She had always found him to be quite attractive. Most girls at the high school did. He had grown up to be very handsome, with his unruly bronze hair, emerald green eyes, strong jaw line, and sculptured nose. He was tall, lean, and had a muscular body. He was basically a product of his good genes. His father, Dr. Cullen, was a hit with all the nurses at the local hospital. Alice helped him with his sense of style, combine that with his family's wealth and status, and the fact that he was also an intellectual, and Edward Cullen was a virtual god amongst the world of high school. He was highly coveted by all the girls. Bella and Alice had already heard all the gossip surrounding him in the girl's locker room, and had dealt with the status whores who only wanted to be friends with them so that they could get close to him.
Bella gained a new appreciation for Edward, because he genuinely shied away from his popularity. He didn't want it. He was rather introverted, much like herself, and couldn't understand all the fuss from the rest of the girls. He stuck close to Bella and Alice, and he didn't date. There were plenty of attractive girls for him to have his pick from, but he didn't seem interested. Bella couldn't have known that Edward had set his sights on one girl alone, a girl that he had had a crush on for a long time.
After spending so much time together, Bella began to develop strong feelings for him, and hoped that he would maybe return them, someday. However, she didn't like her chances all too much. She felt that there were far better girls that possibly deserved his affections over her. Plus, she couldn't imagine them moving their relationship any further then the easy friendship they had fallen into. She still couldn't help but hope, though, that perhaps he might want to make the first move.
What Bella didn't know was that Edward naturally had feelings for her as well. However, he was quite shy and apprehensive about how she felt. If she liked him more than a friend, she did a great job of hiding it. He couldn't be certain. He didn't think he could bear being rejected by Bella. He was torn as to what to do. He knew, more than anything, he didn't want to destroy the friendship they had. If that was all they could be, he was willing to accept it, as long as she was in his life.
Sophomore year of high school saw Bella still without a boyfriend, but she did have a very close and flirtatious relationship with Edward. Alice could see what was developing between her best friend and her brother, even though they weren't necessarily conscious of what was happening. Alice never failed to notice the little nudges, touches, and brushes they gave one another frequently. She saw the constant gazes into one another's eyes, the intimate conversations that only they shared together, the sexual banter and inside jokes just between the two of them. It didn't escape her attention that Edward had late night phone conversations with Bella, or that they hugged each other constantly, especially when they said goodbye to one another. Edward had never given such affection to anybody, not even to anyone in his own family. He reserved it for Bella.
Alice couldn't be happier for her best friend and her brother. Admittedly, she had thought they were a perfect match. They seemed compatible, and completed each other with their personalities. Why they hadn't acted on it was beyond her. She felt that they just needed a push in the right direction, and that was exactly what she planned.
February came and Bella received another secret valentine. Although she had long since outgrown the Precious Moments brand, she still found the valentine endearing. She'd never tire of its timeless design.
She tried to actively sleuth throughout the day, hoping this time to catch the anonymous giver in the act. She figured that the valentine would be slipped into her locker or her book bag, so she closely guarded both all day, wary of anyone who approached. She thought a few times that she finally identified the giver, but she was wrong. The day ended with no valentine in hand. She thought that she effectively impeded the giver's plans to sneak the valentine to her, or that the tradition had finally stopped. Of course, she was foolish, the person was one step ahead of her, she found her annual valentine in her mailbox when she got home.
Her parents had ceased to care very much about the arrivals of the valentines, only acknowledging them once Bella confirmed that she had received another one. This year they asked if she had figured it out yet, who her secret admirer was, and she had truthfully answered no. However, in the back of her mind, she couldn't help but think about who she wished it was from. She immediately placed her valentine along with the others in that same treasured scrapbook she'd had since she was four.
The little bronze-haired boy had grown into a teenager, and his wildest dreams were coming true this year. He was finally getting close to the object of his affections after all this time. He couldn't be more ecstatic to be keeping up the tradition and giving Bella her special valentine, although he wasn't ready to reveal his identity just yet. He needed more time. He was afraid that if he told her the truth now that it may ruin the progress that they had made in their relationship, because he had deceived her. He didn't want that happening, so he chose to keep himself anonymous once again.
Valentine's Day found Bella with a friendly valentine and a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers from Edward, which sent her heart soaring. Later that evening, she was at their school dance with Edward, Alice and her boyfriend, Jasper, as well as the rest of their group of friends, but she only kept the close company of Edward. They hadn't acknowledged that this was a date, even though they only danced with each other. No one at that dance failed to notice the intimacy between the two of them.
Once school resumed, everyone else pretty much assumed that they were the new couple, even though Bella and Edward had yet to express their feelings to one another. Their perceived coupledom proved to be a positive for both since it effectively shielded them from the previously constant advances of the opposite sex on the both of them. Bella stopped any other girls from making a further play for Edward, while Edward scared the other boys that liked Bella away.
That suited Edward just fine. He was rather possessive of Bella, even though technically she wasn't yet his girlfriend. He didn't enjoy other boys hitting on her. Bella didn't know just how attractive she was, and she was constantly unaware of the many guys in school that ogled her excessively. She wasn't privileged to the talk about her in the boy's locker room. But Edward was aware and heard all the talk. He would never confess to Bella that, on more than one occasion, he had gotten into a fight with another boy in the locker room trying to defend her honor, and that those times where he had told her that he had to stay behind in school to work on a project, were actually times he had to spend in detention. He always tried to hide the sense of relief he felt whenever Bella turned down yet another suitor.
Shortly before the end of their sophomore year, Alice gave them the nudge they needed to finally move themselves away from their virtual relationship limbo. It was her birthday party, and she couldn't think of a better present than Bella and Edward becoming an official couple. She did everything she could to ensure it would happen that night. It had.
Edward and Bella shared their first kisses that night. While Bella previously dated Jacob for a while, their relationship never progressed past holding hands, hugs, and the occasional pecks on the cheek. They both never really felt more intimately for each other. Bella confessed as much to Edward, who was ecstatic to be her first real kiss. Since he only ever had eyes for Bella, which was something he had yet to admit to her, he never kissed any girl before her as well. Their first kiss together was everything a first kiss should be. It had passion, heat, and they could've sworn that they even saw sparks.
They became inseparable after that. They were now boyfriend and girlfriend, no longer just friends. The summer break, which proved disastrous for many young relationships, only served to strengthen theirs. By the start of their junior year, they were very much committed to each other. By Christmas, they proclaimed their love for one another. Bella and Edward couldn't be happier.
Another Valentine's Day was fast approaching, and Bella couldn't help but feel anxious. It wasn't because she was worried about her first Valentine's Day as Edward's girlfriend, what gift she'd give him, or what their plans would be. She was nervous about the reoccurring valentine that she was expecting on February 12th. Now that she was in love with Edward, she didn't know how to feel or what to do about the upcoming valentine from the secret admirer.
She didn't know if it would be right to accept it, although she still really wanted to keep it. It had been a part of her life for so long now, that she couldn't bear it being not, even though she still knew that one Valentine's Day it would end. She hoped it wouldn't happen for a long time, and that only death would stop the valentines from arriving.
Should she tell Edward about them? She felt that since she was in a serious relationship there should be some sort of full disclosure, but these really have nothing to do with their relationship. They began long ago before her and Edward even became friends, so maybe it was okay to keep something like this to herself. It wouldn't affect her relationship with Edward. It was a harmless valentine that she receives each year from a person she still didn't know, and probably would never know, since her quest to ascertain the identity of the anonymous giver goes unfulfilled. It wasn't as if this person was trying to steal her away from Edward, not that they would have succeeded anyway.
She tried to place herself in his shoes. If the situation was reversed, would she want to know? She couldn't be sure. By the time the day came around, Bella still didn't have any answers to her internal debate, so she reasoned that if he happens to find out that she received this valentine then she will explain it, but she would keep quiet about it for now, otherwise.
This February 12th passed without incident. Her valentine was again delivered via her mailbox. Edward wasn't with her. Like with all the others, she handled her valentine carefully, and went to place it alongside the rest in her scrapbook. She hadn't yet noticed the new words that were affectionately written. She had figured that the words were the same as always. As she went to set it down, she realized that this was a new reincarnation of the valentine. The words were different. She read the elegantly scripted poem of love, and it brought tears to her eyes.
Love Has Come
I may be just a teenager
With much to learn and discover
Even in love I'm no wiser
Still my feelings are growing deeper
I know love has bloomed like a flower
When in my heart only you seem to matter.
However, she locked away those emotions concerning the valentine, as she didn't want it to interfere with her love for Edward. She would stave it off for another year.
Senior year saw Edward and Bella more in love than ever. They experienced many firsts together except their first time to make love. They mutually decided to wait; or rather Edward convinced Bella that they should take their time. Edward was being somewhat old-fashioned, but he worshiped this woman, and he hadn't felt it right to take her virtue, even though she was willing to give it to him, just because it seemed the thing to do. He was certain that both their first times would be with one another, he just didn't know when. He knew it would come when the time seemed right. It would naturally happen between them, progressing, as the course of their relationship had.
Winter and a new year had come, and with it came a very tense young couple. However, both were tense for different reasons. Edward was thinking about SAT's, college applications, and a possible, impending separation with Bella come graduation. Bella, while she did have all those things to worry about as well, what was forefront in her thoughts was the upcoming date of February 12th. Another year and she was expecting another valentine. She remembered the beautiful words from last year, and she couldn't help but feel that this year the words would be of a similar vain. What was she to do? How was she to handle this? Someone was in love with her, how, she didn't understand, when he's admired from afar, but she was in love with Edward and couldn't imagine being without him. It was a difficult situation. For the first time, she didn't want to know the identity of the anonymous giver.
Her annual valentine came, and she added it to her scrapbook, faithfully keeping it as she had done with the rest. She didn't read what was written on it this time. She no longer wanted to know, because she was sure it would be a burden.
She thought that this would have been the last one, since soon she would leave Forks for college. She didn't know if the anonymous giver was going to stay in Forks, or leave, but she knew that her and that person would now be apart. She could not have known that her anonymous valentine giver still intended for her to receive his special valentines.
Edward and Bella graduated from high school and went to separate schools, feeling that that was best for both their future paths. They were still together, but they were trying to maintain the relationship long-distance. It didn't bode well for their pocketbooks, as they both racked up huge phone bills, and spent a lot of money on travel to see one another often. The separation also didn't bode well for their insecurities, hence the frequent trips. Both were worried that they'd each lose each other to all the temptations surrounding college life. However, both should have known that they had nothing to be worried about. They were meant to be together.
When they saw each other again after their first long separation, Bella and Edward felt the time was right to seal their commitment to one another and made love for the first time. It was romantic, wonderful, and served to temporarily cure the aches in their hearts.
When Valentine's Day came around during Bella's first year in college, she was surprised to find the valentine arrive right on time as usual. It was sent to her by her mother. She immediately called her demanding an explanation. Her mother told her that the valentine arrived by mail weeks ago, encased within a pleading note to not break the tradition of her having it. Her mother didn't have the heart to not follow through with the request, so she followed the exact instructions, and voila Bella receives the valentine. Bella's mother couldn't offer any more insight as to where the note may have come from or who may have sent it, since the original letter to her mother left no return address and was postmarked in Forks, which didn't mean anything. Bella knew that you could go to any post office and request your letter be stamped with any postmark from anywhere in the world. That's why around special holidays, like Christmas or Valentine's Day, letters could be postmarked from places like North Pole, Alaska or Loveland, Colorado, when it was actually mailed in Forks, Washington.
Again, she kindly accepted the valentine, and placed it with the others in the original scrapbook. She didn't read it, nor did she think anymore of it. She was in college, missing her love, and there were plenty of other things that plagued her mind.
The second year of college the same thing happened with the valentine, but this time Bella was inclined to read the words, just to see where the admirer's thoughts were at. Once again, the beauty of the words had tears spilling from her eyes.
Never Have I Fallen
Your lips speak soft sweetness
Your touch a cool caress
I am lost in your magic
My heart beats within your chest
I think of you each morning
And dream of you each night
I think of your arms being around me
And cannot express my delight
Never have I fallen
But I am quickly on my way
You hold a heart in your hands
That has never before been given away
~Rex A. Williams
Maybe it was her missing Edward, but she couldn't help think that these words could come from him. But she shook those suspicions away, feeling that she was probably just projecting considering her miserable situation without Edward. She couldn't help but feel, however, that she'd like to meet this anonymous sender, and possibly give some beautiful words of her own back.
The two year separation was enough for Edward and Bella. They both amassed huge debt because of their need to be together, and they weren't at all happy with their situation. They compromised and met in the middle, both of them left their respective colleges to attend a university together. They lived together in an apartment on-campus, and they were happier than they had ever been. The changes suited them both. Their credits from each college transferred over, so it didn't impede their progress towards their degrees. Their respective programs were just as good. They wondered why they hadn't just done this in the first place, instead of living through their miserable experiences.
The last two years of college saw Edward constantly thinking about his future with Bella. She was the love of his life, he couldn't imagine anyone else in his life. He knew that while they were still in school Bella would never agree to marry him. She was too focused on her studies and too content with their situation as it was. However, after graduation would be a different story. Although, Edward knew that Bella never ceased to surprise him. He was building up to the moment when it would be time.
The third year the valentine was again forwarded by her mother. Bella once again decided to read the words, and again they were new.
I Knew I Loved You
Maybe it's intuition
But some things you just don't question
Like in your eyes
I see my future in an instant
And there it goes
I think I've found my best friend
I know that it might sound more than a little crazy
But I believe
I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life
There's just no rhyme or reason
Only this sense of completion
And in your eyes
I see the missing pieces
I'm searching for
I think I've found my way home
I know that it might sound more than a little crazy
But I believe
I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life
Tears spilled from her eyes as the beautiful words once again reverberated within her. But now she couldn't help but feel that she was missing something with regards to the latest lines. There were more clues, except she still couldn't put the puzzle pieces together. She couldn't help get rid of the nagging feeling that this latest valentine was building up to something, something big. She couldn't help but think that maybe she already knew who her anonymous valentine giver was. Yet, she tucked it back into the corner recesses of her mind. She still hadn't told Edward about her secret valentines.
February, during the last year of college for both Bella and Edward, once again saw the arrival of the same valentine. As she sucked on the accompanying chocolate Tootsie pop, which was still her favorite, she turned it over, curious as to what the words would say this time around. She nearly choked on her lollipop. For there it was, in elegant calligraphy type script, a request.
While I have more beautiful words for you,
I have assumed that after all this time you'd finally like to know my identity.
The time is finally right and I'm ready to reveal to you who I am.
If you would so honor me and grace me with your presence
around 10 PM, in two days time, at Midnight Sun.
I would assume that should be enough time for you to still fulfill any plans you may have.
I'll be waiting, complete with a pink daisy and the heart you deserve.
It was an intriguing request. Something right out of those old movies she loved to watch. She didn't know what she should do. All she knew was it was time to tell Edward.
Edward had taken the news surprisingly well. He even delighted in the fact that she was sentimental enough to have kept all the valentines in that special scrapbook of hers. He looked through each of the pages, when she presented him with the scrapbook as proof of the secret valentine giver's devotion and hers to the valentine, at the same valentine given over the years, and all the other things she had decided to place amongst them. She really expressed herself within this scrapbook. Words she had thought of at the time were there laid out on its pages alongside the valentine. Special memories before or after the valentine arrival, even the wrappers from the Tootsie pops were preserved there.
Edward never read the valentines, even though Bella said that it would be alright with her if he did. He didn't need to.
He agreed to her meeting and supported it, stating that if this secret admirer was going to make the effort after all these years, that she at least deserved to know. If he was this anonymous person, he would have like her to also make the effort to come despite everything. He also said that he was secure enough in their relationship that he didn't feel threatened whatsoever.
He reacted exactly the way she hoped he would. She didn't think she could love him any more, but to her own surprise, she did.
Edward had planned a perfect Valentines Day for the two of them. They were lucky enough to be able to spend the whole day together, and they had made the most of it. Bella never felt more loved and Edward never felt more secure in their love for one another. He no longer questioned her commitment to him, secure in the knowledge that she could never stand for them to be apart. All his insecurities gone. Fate had brought them together and they were meant to be forever. The time was right. Everything fell into place. He was the happiest and luckiest man on earth. He knew she would be his wife soon enough.
He dutifully left her at Midnight Sun, a little hideaway cafe'' that they were fond of, so that she could finally meet her secret admirer of over 18 years.
As Bella entered the cafe', she was a bit disappointed to find her anonymous person not there. There weren't many people at the cafe' during that time of night, so it would have been easy for her to spot a man with a daisy and a heart valentine. She hoped that she wasn't stood up. But not one to be discouraged easily, she took a seat and patiently waited.
Edward took a deep cleansing breath trying to calm himself before he entered Midnight Sun. He knew he'd find Bella in there, but he didn't know what state she'd be in. Most of the previous patrons were gone, allowing them to have the cafe' to themselves, which Edward was happy about. He was certain he and Bella were going to be having a long talk, and the more privacy, the better.
As Edward went inside, Bella immediately bolted from her seat and headed towards him. He was holding a pink daisy and a red heart in one of his hands.