for Gisela

November 6, 2012

Edward says today's nothing like last time, and that's a good thing. When he campaigned for Senate four years ago, he waited for the results to come in at his campaign headquarters, surrounded by people he didn't know. This time, we're waiting it out in the privacy of our hotel suite while the election-night gathering rages on in a ballroom downstairs. Though we're a safe distance from the masses, we're not completely alone. Edward's campaign manager, Joe, is here and, of course, Carlisle and Esme are as well.

At first the mood is upbeat. Then, as more and more precincts begin to report, the room becomes increasingly tense, until we're glued to the television in silence.

"I need some air," Edward says, rising from the sofa.

After we hear the balcony door close, Carlisle turns to me. "Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to be looking pretty good for him."

"It is," I say. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go check on him."

I find my husband out on the balcony, staring at the city lights.

I wrap my arm around his waist. "Everything okay?"

"Yes, sorry. I was thinking about the night I was elected to the Senate. It was a close a race, and I asked Alice if she thought I'd win. 'Without a doubt,' she told me. That's when I was able to relax. Because if Alice said it..." He sighs. "Anyway, I came out here to ask her what she thought this time around."

I can't control my laughter.

"What?" he asks.

"Without a doubt?" I repeat. "You realize she asked the oracle, right?"

Without saying a word, he reaches into his pocket and retrieves Alice's battle-weary Magic 8-Ball.

"I know it's a bunch of crap," he says. "I just needed to feel as if she was with me tonight."

"She is, you know."

"I know."

We stand in silence until my curiosity gets the better of me.

"So what did it say?"

"Would you believe I haven't asked it yet?"

"Seriously? What the hell are you waiting for?"

"You." He moves the 8-Ball from one hand to the other, then turns his wrist so the window is facing up. "Cannot predict now," he reads.

"Oh, please. Alice would tell you that doesn't count because you're doing it wrong." Imitating her voice, I add, "It's a Magic 8-Ball, not Jo-Jo's psychic alliance."

His eyes dart from one side to the other. "It's a piece of plastic filled with alcohol and an icosahedron die."

"That's what I always said! Anyway, Alice swore up and down that you have to ask your question out loud for it to be accurate."

"I don't care how much I miss my sister, I gave up talking to my toys when I was five."

"Fine, then. I'll do it." I clear my throat. "Will Edward win the election?" I gesture to the 8-Ball. "Go on. Flip it over."

Very slowly, the answer comes into view.

Without a doubt.

I tug on his arm. "Come on. Let's go back inside."

With his hand in mine, we do.

Carlisle shakes his head when he sees is. "Please tell me you have a good lawyer."

"A whole team of them," Edward says. "Why?"

"Because now that you're going to be Governor of Illinois, the odds that you'll end up in prison just increased exponentially."

Edward turns to the television set in disbelief. "They called it?"

"They did." Carlisle looks at me and smiles. "You know what this means."

Edward and I made a deal when he decided to re-enter politics: if I took time off from work to support him on the campaign trail, after the election he'd give me the capital I needed to open my own wine bar.

"I do," I say. "And I can't wait."

Joe rises to his feet. "So Governor Cullen, are you ready to go downstairs and give your victory speech?"

Edward offers me his arm. "Shall we?"

Fifteen minutes later, we walk onstage under a shower of confetti. Edward steps up to the podium, and I take my place at his side. Playing the politician's wife when I'm with him doesn't bother me the way I thought it would, mostly because he's never lost sight of the woman I became without him.

And neither have I.