A/N- Thanks so much to AcrosstheskyinStars who is an amazing Beta and friend.
Thanks to Anju34 and Wytchwmn75 for pre-reading the beginning of this.
Stephenie Meyer owns the characters, I own the routine.
This story is dedicated to my husband who has a peanut butter sandwich for lunch every day. You got to love a man who you know won't get bored!
The Peanut Butter Sandwich Man
Edward Cullen was a man of routine. Each morning, his alarm clock would go off at precisely six-fifteen. Once out of bed, he would slide into his slippers and head through his large but modest condo and retrieve his paper from outside his door. His timed coffee pot would ding at exactly the same moment he entered the kitchen, where he would pour a cup into his favorite mug.
Edward Cullen would read the paper for exactly twenty-two minutes each morning, giving him enough time to check the stocks, read any interesting headlines, and laugh at his favorite comic. He would then rinse out his coffee cup and set it back in front of the coffee machine so that it would be ready for him the next day.
Once he was done with his mug, Edward would shower. At six foot two, with about an inch and a half of hair on the top of his head, it took him on average eighteen minutes to shower and an extra fourteen to complete his bathroom routing, consisting of flossing and brushing his teeth as well as shaving and styling his hair.
Don't be fooled by his routine though, Edward Cullen liked to shake things up. He changed the flavor of coffee daily and would frequently buy different brands of shampoo and conditioner. But there was one thing that he didn't change. Every day for lunch, since he was a little boy, Edward had a peanut butter sandwich. He avoided lunch meetings like the plague because there was nothing more comforting to him than eating a peanut butter sandwich.
His mother, who had passed several years before, had always made them for him and he would feel close to her each time he ate one.
On this particular morning of June third, two thousand and nine, Edward was going to find another anomaly in his routine. You see, he lived exactly six blocks from his work in the downtown Seattle area and he walked to work each morning. The area wasn't bad but there were occasionally a few homeless people milling about. Edward didn't pay much attention to them usually; he was too busy trying to make his nine-minute walk closer to eight.
So at twelve minutes to eight in the morning, when Edward had just passed block three, a small girl caught his eye. Her petite body was huddled up against a building, and by the size of her, Edward guessed that she was maybe about fifteen, but it was hard to tell. Her knees were pulled up to her chest and her long, dark hair hung over her face.
Something about the small girl made Edward pause. He wished he could do something for her but he rarely carried cash on him. With most places accepting debit or credit, Edward had all but eliminated paper money from his life. He suddenly wished he kept a twenty on him for emergencies and vowed he would do so from now on.
With no money to give the poor girl, Edward moved on from his short pause and made it to work exactly two minutes later than usual. This turned out to be a good thing as his secretary, Jessica, had been waiting to ambush him in the stairwell.
Jessica had been after Edward since the day she started working for him and Edward, although polite, was entirely clueless. Today had been the day that she was going to make him see how perfect she was for him. She knew what time he arrived at work each morning, and that he would take the stairs as he claimed it was good for his health. Knowing that nearly no one else took the stairs, opting for the less healthy route of the elevator, Jessica had decided to sit, sans clothes, in the stairwell and wait for him.
With tiny knickers and a lacy bra, Jessica shivered in anticipation of Edward's arrival. However, Edward, arriving two minutes later than normal, decided to forgo the stairs in preference of the faster elevator, making up some of his lost time.
Michael Newton, known as "the newt" in the mail room, had had a crush on Jessica ever since she bumped into him and called him an idiot on his second week. When he arrived ten minutes ahead of time for work, he didn't want to set a bad precedent. He would surely never show up on time again, so he decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator, to kill some of his time.
The looks on Michael and Jessica's faces were not identical when they met in the stairwell but both could be described as comical. Jessica was shocked and mortified, the emotions written on her face, while Michael's held the look that only lottery winners seem to get. Michael dropped down on his knees in front of her with intention to propose. Jessica, seeing "the newt" on his knees, made her look at him in an entirely new light, and never one to waste an opportunity, she stuck her hand on her hip and quoted grease.
"What cha gonna do about it, stud?"
After a rousing fourteen minutes and twelve seconds of foreplay, Michael and Jessica were both sixteen minutes and twenty-two seconds late for work.
Annoyed at his assistant for being late, Edward couldn't help but notice that she was also a lot less helpful today than she had been. And with his thoughts unable to leave the homeless girl, he wasn't getting much work done.
By the time lunch rolled around, Edward was irritated. He looked forward to the homey scent of the peanut butter and his small carton of milk. However, the moment he pulled it out of his briefcase, he realized how stupid he was. The poor girl that sat on the corner was likely starving; he'd had this lunch and he never once thought to offer it to her.
Throwing the brown lunch bag down on his desk in disgust, Edward decided to spring into action. The chances were low that she would still be there, but he had to try. Picking up the lunch and throwing on his jacket, he ran to the elevator. Many of his coworkers had never seen him move so fast and were in full attention as they watched him sprint down the hall.
It took Edward two minutes and twelve seconds running full tilt to get to the corner where she had sat. The empty spot deflated him quickly. Huffing from overexerting himself, Edward did the only thing he could think to do to make himself feel better. He sat in the young girl's spot and ate his sandwich.
Six-fifteen the next morning, Edward Cullen started his routine all over again. His slippers, his coffee, his paper, and his shower all gave him comfort over the unusual day he'd had yesterday. With his lunch packed into his briefcase, he began his walk to work.
Never once did he expect for the young girl to be back, so when he spotted her, he did a double-take. Sure enough, with her head on her knees and her hair obstructing her face, the young girl had returned. Edward couldn't help but notice how skinny she was and he knew what the cure for that was. He knew that peanut butter was full of protein, and along with the carbohydrates in the bread, this was a perfect meal to fill her belly.
Edward placed his briefcase on the ground, unlatched the clips, and pulled out his lunch bag. He placed his offering in front of the girl's ratty sneakers.
"Thank you," a sweet voice replied to him. He wanted nothing more than to see her face but knew a thing or two about pride and therefore would never demand it from her.
Edward Cullen was three minutes and forty-seven seconds later to work than usual having stopped to give away his lunch and still opting for the stairs. Luckily, they were unoccupied this morning as Jessica and Michael had decided to meet in a less conspicuous place, the janitor's closet. Another fortunate event was the fact that said janitor had removed the incriminating evidence, Jessica's cheekies, on the previous night's shift. What the janitor did with her underwear is a story for another time.
He didn't realize that he had been whistling until he noticed the strange looks that were plastered on his coworkers' faces. He felt like a true hero, sitting in front of his computer, knowing he had helped his fellow man…er, woman, and yet something was missing.
Edward had hoped that he would see her again on his way home but he knew that it was unlikely. He wondered if she was like him, a product of her routine. Was she a runaway? An orphan? An Immigrant? Edward couldn't help his fascination with her.
Sure enough, she was gone by the time he made his appearance on her block. He smiled to himself, thinking of her in her own routine. Of course, he still felt horrible for her, but if she could find comfort in the same ways he did, then he felt a little bit closer to her.
Edward Cullen did something that evening that he rarely ever did. He set his alarm clock back ten minutes in preparation to add to his routine.
At five after six the next morning, Edward Cullen began his routine again. As he prepared to make his lunch, however, he pulled out four slices of bread instead of just two. Giving even extra attention to his usually careful task, he spread the peanut butter.
His walk to work began six minutes earlier than usual and there was an extra skip in his step. When arriving at the feet of the tiny girl, he placed the extra lunch bag he packed at her feet. He stared at the top of her head and tried to will her to look up.
"Thank you," she repeated the same as the day before. And same as the day before, she kept her eyes on the ground.
"Edward," he said wanting to leave more behind than just a sandwich. He had no idea where this strange desire came from but he followed it nonetheless.
"Thank you, Edward," she replied and he knew that she was smiling even if she wouldn't look at him.
Four days later, Edward found himself back in front of her and received a parting gift of his own.
"Bella," she said softly. "My name is Bella."
After that day, their greeting would be as follows.
"Hello Bella," Edward would say.
"Hello Edward," Bella would reply.
"I brought you a sandwich…and some milk…oh, and some cookies. They are chocolate chip today." The truth was they were almost always chocolate chip, substituted only occasionally with oatmeal raisin.
"You are more than welcome, Bella."
This pattern continued for exactly ninety-seven days before Edward could take no more. As the warm weather turned colder, he couldn't help but notice that her jacket was much too thin for the coming months and her shoes had far too many holes in them to keep out the snow and such.
Sitting in his office, Edward contemplated how he could help Bella more. The girl still hadn't shown him her face and yet he was sure he could recognize her anywhere.
"Mr. Cullen?" His new secretary's voice called out from behind the door.
Jessica had left the company three weeks earlier, unable to work through her morning sickness. Edward hadn't even realized that she was in a relationship. Not that he took it upon himself to delve into his coworkers' personal lives.
"Yes, Ms. Hale?" he answered.
Edward liked his new assistant, Ms. Rosalie Hale, much better than Jessica. Rosalie had an air of competence about her, which was why when Edward thought of her, he always attached the Ms. to her name.
"The board is ready to see you," she replied.
Edward hated board meetings. The board was made up of three older men that should have retired long ago. Sometimes, if Edward looked at them hard enough, he thought he may be able to see through their papery skin. The board loved Edward. He was their golden child. They knew that Edward was the future of the company and were hopeful that he would step up into the first vacant role. They wanted Edward to decide but all he could think about was Bella.
Edward left the three grumpy men at the end of the day and headed home, his eyes lingering on Bella's spot. He had wondered before where she spent her time away from here. Did she take off as soon as he brought her sandwich or did she linger there for a few hours? He thought maybe he wasn't the only one bringing her things. The thought made him feel unsettled.
That night, Edward looked around his spacious apartment and had an epiphany. There was no reason why he couldn't offer her shelter from the cold, at least at night. Edward wasn't stupid enough to leave a woman he barely knew alone in his apartment but he didn't see why he couldn't have her there when he was.
When Edward's alarm went off the next morning, he jumped out of bed with renewed vigor. He had spent the evening prior putting clean sheets on his guest bed and adding some toiletries to his main bathroom.
Edward spent an extra forty-three seconds on making Bella's sandwich that morning. He even drew a flower in the peanut butter with the knife before putting the two slices of bread together. The design would be ruined but the thought was still there.
Edward put on an extra layer that morning as the wind was starting to cut. He briefly worried about Bella being out in it all day but knew there wasn't much he could do about it. He only hoped that she would take him up on his offer.
A great big smile came across Edward's face when he saw Bella sitting there that morning.
"Hello Bella," he said.
"Hello Edward," Bella replied.
Edward felt the air leave him as he thought about what he was going to do.
Bella sat there and waited for Edward to tell her that he made her a sandwich. The familiarity of what he did for her in her uncertain world was a huge comfort to her. There had been many men who tried to help Bella out, but they all wanted something in exchange. Edward hadn't been like that to her. He never asked her for anything. He gave, and Bella was grateful to him.
Still, she had never let him see her face. She didn't want him to see the lost soul in her eyes. She was broken and unable to hide it, so she kept her face hidden behind her tresses.
When Edward paused, Bella almost looked up. The man was like clockwork, and the fact that he was standing in front of her not speaking, unnerved her.
"It's getting cold out," he said nervously and Bella couldn't help but wonder why.
"Yes, but it's not too bad yet." If there was one thing Bella didn't like, it was people feeling sorry for her.
"Uhm, so I live alone. And I have an extra room," Edward stammered. His usually calm and fluent tone was gone and it was making Bella uncomfortable. "Well, that is to say. I would like it if you came and stayed with me, in the evenings…so that you don't get cold."
And there it was. It had taken him longer than the others, but it still came back to the same thing. Bella wanted to cry but instead she decided to do something else. Most of the guys that had propositioned her before didn't care what she looked like. They just wanted the act. From what she knew of Edward, he liked things neat and orderly.
So Bella chose her best line of defense and she looked up at him.
When Edward noticed Bella lifting her head up, he was anxious to finally see her face. He had thought many times about what it would look like. Every one of his thoughts had been wrong. Edward couldn't help his gasp when her hair finally fell from her face. She was stunning. Her large brown eyes and heart shaped face suited her perfectly. Her lips were uneven but in a way that Edward felt like he could stare at them for hours. It was only after he had taken in her beauty that he noticed the giant scar that ran through her right eyebrow and down her cheek.
Bella looked down after he gasped. It was what she had wanted, for him to not want her, and yet for some reason, she hurt. She hugged her knees and waited for him to leave. She hoped that he would leave her one more sandwich. She would savor it more than the others, knowing it would be her last.
"Uhm, here is your lunch," he said, placing the bag at her feet.
"Thank you, Edward," she replied, keeping her voice as steady as she could.
"I get off work at five. I hope you will think about my offer. If you're not here, I will know your answer." And with that, Edward Cullen left and went to work.
Bella sat there, confused. His response had not been what she was expecting. She waited until she knew that he was gone and reached forward, picking up her lunch. She then followed her own daily routine. She walked four blocks east and into a lonely alley. There, she waited for Alice.
Alice was homeless as well, her story was common enough but that didn't make it right. Her parents gave her up for adoption but being the runt of the litter had made it so that she was never adopted. At fifteen, she ran away from the orphanage and had been living on the street ever since. A tiny girl, barely reaching five feet, Alice was an easy mark for other street people.
Alice never relented though; she would sing and dance in the subways for change every day, even though nine times out of ten, someone would steal the money from her.
When Bella spotted her friend come around the corner, she had a hard time meeting her with the same smile she usually did. Alice noticed immediately that Bella was off.
"Hey sweetness," Alice said to Bella using the nickname that she had given her moments after meeting her eight months previous.
"Hey stretch," Bella responded with a half-hearted smile.
Bella pulled out the bag and split the sandwich with Alice, just as she did every day. It was the one meal that they knew they would get every day. The girls were usually silent as they ate quickly. Today, Bella was nibbling on her sandwich, giving Alice another clue that something was wrong.
"Spill," Alice said.
Bella did, she told Alice all about her fears with Edward. Alice knew that the mystery peanut butter benefactor was a man, but until now, that was all she had known. So when Alice listened to the whole story, she felt completely comfortable with giving advice.
"I don't think he'd hurt me," Bella defended.
"No, but he is a man. He will want something in return," Alice replied.
Bella felt frustrated. She knew that Alice was right but for some reason she was hoping that her friend would talk her into going back and meeting him at their corner at five.
After the girls went their separate ways for the day, Bella thought more about Edward's offer. He hadn't said that he wanted anything untoward from her. He even said he had a spare room. Bella wavered on this tiny detail all day.
At five minutes to five, Edward was too anxious to work. He was the type of man who started on time and finished on time. To not work those last five minutes was weighing on him. The thought of whether or not Bella was waiting at the corner, however, weighed much more.
He could hear the sound of Ms. Hale typing on her keyboard just outside his office. He knew that she wouldn't question if he left now, but the thought that she wouldn't be there made him wait. He couldn't understand why she wouldn't want a warm bed to sleep in but when he remembered the look she had given him when he saw her and he wasn't so sure. She had looked at him with hurt and he couldn't understand why. He only knew he never wanted her to look at him like that again.
Edward waited the full five minutes, leaving his office at precisely five. With a small nod and parting phrase to Ms. Hale, Edward climbed onto the elevator. As soon as the doors closed, he wished he had taken the stairs instead. He had too much nervous energy to burn off.
It took Edward two minutes and fifty-eight seconds to reach the corner. He could see it clearly from a block away and the sight made him slow down. She wasn't there.
He stopped and stood there, unsure of what to do. He knew he ought to go home and forget about it. If she didn't want his help, then he would just continue to do what he could and make her a sandwich. He waited for a minute before starting towards his home.
"Edward?" her voice called out and Edward spun around to see her standing there, looking impossibly small.
Edward was elated but tried not to show it too much, as to not scare Bella.
"I didn't think you would come," he said.
"Me either," she replied. It was true, she hadn't intended on coming but her feet brought her here and who was she to argue with them?
"This way," Edward said with a sweeping gesture. Bella smiled at him and he had a hard time looking away.
Edward's staring made Bella uncomfortable. While she was used to people staring at her scar, she was unable to get a read on Edward. Usually, she could tell the difference between disgust and pity, but Edward's face had a different emotion on it. One Bella had never seen before.
Edward placed his hand on the small of Bella's back. It was something he had always done in the company of a female, but when Bella flinched, he removed his hand quickly. He frowned to himself, wondering what he did wrong.
When they arrived back at Edward's home seven minutes and three seconds later than he usually did, Edward felt nervous. It was the first time he had brought a woman back to his place, and while he knew that this was a different situation, he still knew that a home said a lot about a person. He wondered if Bella would like his home, and in turn, him.
Bella stood in the apartment nervously. She didn't know what to do and she sure didn't want to sit on his nice furniture in her dirty clothes.
"Can I take your coat?" Edward asked.
Bella shrugged out of her ripped fleece jacket and handed it to Edward. Her face was all apologies as she looked at the dirt caked on it.
"Would you like to get cleaned up before dinner?" Edward asked.
Bella was excited about the prospect of having a shower with real privacy. At the shelter she sometimes visited, the stalls were divided by curtains and Crazy Carlisle, as they called him, was always there to peek in at the young girls. He was harmless in every other way but Bella didn't liked being ogled in such a precarious state.
"That would be very nice," she replied.
Edward took the next three minutes showing Bella the bathroom and the products he had placed out especially for her. He had practiced this speech the night before so that he would not forget even the smallest detail.
Once Bella was left to her own devices, she smiled. Locking the door after Edward left felt like a luxury she was never sure she would have again. The bathroom was neat, and that was no surprise to her. The whole room was white, counters, floors, walls, and even the shower curtain. The only thing that was not white was the pink toothbrush he had left for her on the sink. The sight of it nearly made Bella cry.
While she could not fathom why Edward was so generous to her, she didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. She carefully peeled away her clothing, folding them and placing them on the floor. They were much too dirty to put on the counters.
The water of the shower was heavenly, the perfect pressure and warmth. Had she not been feeling so good about it, she might have felt bad for the layer of grime that was surely sticking to Edward's pristine tub. Bella shampooed her hair twice and then massaged the conditioner in. She couldn't remember the last time she got to use anything but head and shoulders, which was what was given to them at the shelter.
With great effort, she turned the shower off, not wanting to take advantage of Edward's hospitality or all his hot water. The towel he left for her, white, of course, was surely made from the best cotton. The fluffy material felt like a cloud on her skin and the smell of fabric softener was heavenly to her.
She combed through her hair with the white comb he had left for her.
It's amazing how much easier it is to get tangles out when you use a real conditioner, she thought.
She looked down at her dirty pile of clothes, not wanting to tarnish her new clean skin with them, when there as a knock on the door. The sound made Bella jump but she was able to keep the squeak from escaping.
"Yes?" she asked nervously.
Edward had prided himself on a good deed when he had left Bella in the shower. It was only minutes after he heard the water running that he realized he forgot to give her something. Edward had selected an old pair of track pants and a t-shirt that he planned on giving her to change into but no longer knew how he would do it.
When the water stopped, he decided to just be brave and knock on the door. He knew that she would feel exposed talking to him naked and he wanted her to be nothing but comfortable with him. He wasn't sure why but Bella's happiness was starting to mean a lot to him.
"I...uhm…I have some clothes for you here, if you'd like. I'll just leave them outside the door," he said.
"Oh!" she said shocked, "Thank you."
Edward put the clothes down and walked away. He heard the door open once he was safely in the kitchen. He stirred the pot of sauce that he started while Bella was showering. Edward was a decent cook, and while he could have made her fish and rice or even chicken salad, he thought she might appreciate the carbohydrates of pasta.
"That smells really good."
Bella's voice startled Edward and he turned around to greet her. She had his pants rolled at both the waist and the ankles. The shirt was comically large on her and her wet hair was making see-through spots on her shoulders and back. Edward had never seen someone more beautiful in his life. He thought back to when he had first seen Bella. With her small frame hunched over, he thought she couldn't have been more that fifteen, but as he looked at her now, he couldn't realize how wrong he had been.
Bella was a woman.
"The food? It smells really good," Bella repeated.
Edward realized that he had just been gawking at the poor girl and felt ashamed of his actions. He ushered her into the kitchen and sat her down at the table he had set. He offered her a drink, keeping wine off the menu as he didn't know if she had any negative connotations about being homeless and drinking wine. He thought better safe than sorry.
The conversation with Edward was easy for Bella. In all her life, she had never met anyone that she could open up to the way she did with him. All through dinner, which she found delicious, she couldn't help but wonder where he had come from and why he chose her. She did not air those concerns as she didn't want to do anything that may upset him. She thought that there was nearly anything that she would do to repay his kindness.
It was two hours and forty-seven minutes later that they finally got up from the dinner table. They had been enjoying each other's company so much that time had gotten away from them. Edward hadn't pushed and asked her about her past, and for that, Bella was extremely thankful. It's not that she was ashamed of what had happened to her. She knew it wasn't her fault but she didn't want to mar the evening with unpleasant things.
When the evening was coming to a close, Edward slipped away, having one more surprise for Bella. It wasn't much but he hoped it would help her out in the day times, when she was away from him. When he came back in the room, he couldn't help but stare at her for a moment. She looked as happy as he had ever seen her and he prided himself in being a small part of that.
"Bella," he said and she turned to him. "I was hoping that you would take me up on my offer for as long as you need."
Her eyes shone with wonder as she responded, "Thank you, Edward. You have been far too kind."
"I know this isn't much but…"
Edward kept talking but Bella didn't hear him. All she saw was the twenties in his hand. So she had been right all along. He was much kinder than the others, but in the end, he still wanted to pay for her services. She looked at the money and couldn't help but wonder what it would be like. Surely Edward would be a gentle lover. If he took this much care in seducing her back to his place, how bad could it be? He had shown her more kindness than anyone ever had and that was why she was going to do this.
Bella stood up and looked into Edward's eyes. Her shaky hands betrayed her as she pulled the t-shirt off her body. She meant to be strong but her eyes were filled with tears before the thing hit the floor.
Edward stood, gob smacked. He couldn't figure out why the beautiful creature in his home was half naked and crying. He looked away, because Edward Cullen was nothing if not a gentleman. The direction he looked was down and when he did, he saw the money in his hand. The pieces clicked into place and Edward was furious.
"Put your shirt back on," he said firmly.
He heard Bella sniffle and the rustling of fabric. Once there was silence again, he looked up. Her eyes were to the floor and her shoulders drooped forward.
"I'm sorry, I thought…" she started.
"I know what you thought," Edward said curtly. "I just can't believe you would go along with it." Bella sniffled some more and Edward softened his voice. "Bella, you are so much better than that. Is this how you make your money?"
Edward was terrified of her response. The thought of her turning tricks for money made him sick. It also made him want to lock her up in his apartment and make sure she never had to do it again.
"No, I never… I just…oh God, I'm so ashamed," Bella cried.
Edward couldn't take the distance between them any longer and he went to her, pulling her into his arms. He hugged her while she sobbed. It was the first real contact the two of them had had and Edward never wanted it to end. He realized how lovely it would be to have this woman for his own. He chastised himself for thinking it in her fragile state.
Bella couldn't believe how the events of the night had turned. She had been having such a wonderful time when she made a huge error in judgment and now surely he was going to kick her out. The thing was, he wasn't kicking her out, he was hugging her, and Bella couldn't understand why. This man, this angel, she thought, was too perfect to be real.
When Edward broke the hug, he tugged Bella towards the couch. Together, they sat silently, neither knowing where to start. Bella felt utterly ashamed and Edward wanted to take that feeling away from her.
"Why were you going to do it?" Edward asked after the long pause. She had said she never had sex for money and yet she was going to do it with him. He had to know why.
"You have been nothing but kind to me, Edward. I didn't want that to stop."
"Bella, I am kind to you because I can't stand to be anything but. You inspire me to be a better man. I would never taint that by asking anything from you."
Bella let go of a small sob and Edward pulled her into his arms again. His hand rubbed her arm softly as she gained control of herself again.
"What if you didn't have to ask?"
"Pardon?" Edward asked, not entirely sure he heard right.
"Edward, you are the most kind and wonderful man I have ever met, and I would like to give you something, if that is okay."
Edward shifted in his seat. He was not used to the focus being on him and it excited and terrified him at the same time. "You don't have to give me anything," he repeated.
"Okay?" she asked.
Bella turned to face Edward and she looked at him for a moment. His eyes were wide with excitement and what looked like a tinge of fear. Bella wasn't even sure he would want what she had to give him but it was her only gift to give.
She leaned in, holding his face in both her hands. The moment her lips touched his, Bella was filled with something she had never felt before; desire. Her body was alight with feelings foreign to her.
Although wanting to shove Edward down on the couch and take advantage of him, Bella kept the kiss short and relatively chaste. When she pulled back and looked into Edward's face, it was filled with an undeniable sense of awe. She had given him her first kiss.
Edward immediately fell onto his knees and off the couch. He wrapped his arms around Bella's waist and said, "Thank you."
The evening ended shortly after that. Each retiring to their own rooms but both wanting more than anything to continue what they had started on the couch. Edward wouldn't do it because he was worried that the events leading up to the kiss would mar their first time together and Bella wouldn't do it because she just had no idea on how to proceed.
When Edward's alarm clock went off the next morning, he woke feeling better rested than he had in years. It seemed every day since meeting Bella had made him, stronger, healthier, and happier. He was determined to keep that feeling and her.
Bella awoke dazed and confused. Her body was too warm and her bed too soft. Opening her eyes didn't seem to help, it was only when she heard Edward's whistling coming from the other room that she remembered where she was. A smile crept onto her face as she recalled the feeling of his lips on hers.
Bella quickly slipped on her own clothes. They had been washed for the first time in forever and the smell was nearly gone from them but they still reminded her of who she was and where she really resided.
Edward was like a dream and so was his offer, Bella knew from experience that things don't last but that didn't mean that she was going to give up on it while it was here.
Bella felt a bit hesitant when she left the safety of the hallway. Edward had his back to her when she entered the kitchen but as if sensing her, he turned to her immediately and smiled.
"Good morning, Bella," he said cheerfully.
"Good morning, Edward," she replied catching onto his happiness.
She walked up to the counter and saw what he was doing. He was making peanut butter sandwiches. The air in Bella's throat caught, this was something that she had imagined him doing each morning.
Edward kept working silently, knowing that Bella was watching him. When he had finished spreading the peanut butter, he drew a heart in it with his knife before placing the other piece of bread on top.
He put the sandwiches in bags before turning to her. Bella was looking at him with her lower lip clenched firmly between her teeth. Edward couldn't help himself; he bent down and kissed her lips. Bella didn't mind at all.
Edward was thirteen minutes and sixteen seconds late for work that day.
Four hundred and twenty-five days later, Edward and Bella had developed a new routine. After fifty-nine days, Edward had offered her a key to his apartment. After seventy-two days, Bella had gotten a job of her own, and after one hundred days, she started helping out in the rent. Every morning, Edward would make them peanut butter sandwiches and Bella would make an extra one for Alice.
Edward was quite upset when Bella wanted to help pay rent but wouldn't dream of taking something that gave her so much pride away. Bella would also save a chunk of her paycheck for Alice. She wanted to do more, but there was only so much she could do.
Edward and Bella would leave for work each morning and walk to their spot, from there Edward would walk north to work while Bella would walk west. At lunch, they would meet back at their spot and sit together eating their sandwiches.
Bella had told Edward that she loved him exactly one hundred one days after her first night there. Edward had responded in like, four seconds after her. Bella moved into Edward's bedroom seven days later.
The first time Bella and Edward had sex was after their confessions of love. Scared and timid, Edward was as innocent and new as Bella. The union had been quick but sensual and both were left satisfied. Of course, the time after that was even better.
So on the four hundred and twenty-sixth day, Edward did something out of routine. He had set the alarm for thirty minutes earlier than usual but had woken up even earlier and shut it off. In the kitchen, he pulled out his supplies. Laying the slices of bread on the counter, fifteen in all, he began to work.
He remembered all that they had been through. Her reluctance at first to a relationship, it was only after she told him that she was scared for it to end. The day she told him about her past had been trying. Bella and her father were attacked on the street; her father had been stabbed to death and Bella had barely survived with the gash on her face. The man had never been caught, and with no other living family, Bella was placed in the system. Too old to be adopted by most, she ran away just before she turned eighteen and had been living on the street for three years when Edward met her.
Edward smiled at the fact that she would never be homeless again and he hoped he would never have to be without his home as well, because she was his home.
He finished with the bread and stood back taking in the sight he had created. Once everything was perfect, Edward took the twenty-six steps back to his room and found his beautiful girlfriend still asleep. No matter how often he called her that, it never got old, but he was hoping to change that today.
Edward lay down beside Bella and brushed the hair off her face. She mumbled and cuddled further under the blanket. The site warmed Edward's heart.
"Good morning, love," he said nuzzling her neck with his nose.
Bella opened her eyes and saw the most beautiful green pair staring back at her. She reached out and wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him into her body. Edward did nothing to resist.
Bella still couldn't get used to the way her body lit up when Edward touched her. Just a small caress left her wanton. He pushed the blankets away and hitched her leg up on his hip, causing Bella to moan. Their kisses became more and more heated until Bella was left begging.
Edward sat up and removed his shirt while Bella did the same. She still slept in his t-shirts but usually didn't wear pants. That was beneficial for days like these.
Edward could coax reactions out of her she never knew were possible and she did the same to him. They never used them as power plays though. Each touch was carefully placed to show the admiration and devotion they had to each other.
When their bodies were once again two, Bella yawned.
"Did you sleep well?" Edward asked, worried that he had woken her too early.
"Yes, but for some reason I seem tired again," Bella laughed.
Edward stood up and handed Bella her sleep shirt before putting his pants back on. He took her hand and led her to the kitchen.
Bella loved Saturdays; it meant the whole day was available for her and Edward. She thought nothing of the morning love making session. It wasn't uncommon for him to wake her that way on the weekends. It wasn't until she could feel a slight shaking in his hand that she wondered if something was up.
The moment she stepped into the kitchen, she started crying. Covering the counters were slices of bread that had been beautifully decorated with peanut butter, all arranged to spell 'Will You Marry Me?'
At the end of the line of bread was a small box, opened with a diamond ring in it.
Bella turned to Edward and he was down on one knee. This was not a sight Bella had ever imagined for herself. In the years of living on the street, she had given up on the idea of a happily ever after, much less one with a man like Edward.
Bella couldn't wait to start her happy life so she turned to Edward and whispered the word he had now been waiting eighty-three seconds to hear.