A/n: Well everyone here is the final part of A Form of Escapism. Thank you all for the wonderful reviews and the support over the life-span of this story. I've made some wonderful friends from writing this story and I feel so pleased that I was able to complete it. As ever...enjoy. xx
"Edward have you seen my keys?"
My hands fly to my hair as I pace around the house trying to round up all of the things I need for my first day at my new job.
"They're here where you left them." He calls from the kitchen.
I run into the room, my stocking covered feet slide on the wooden floor. Edward's arms fly out and catch me before I almost fall over. I smile at him apologetically and steady myself using his arms.
"Bella, calm down! Drink your coffee, have a piece of toast and just take a couple of minutes." I try to follow his sage advice, but I'm just too nervous. I wring my hands and check my watch.
"Sorry, I just want to make a good first impression and I really don't want to be late. Do I have time for breakfast?" I look at him, my eyes wide.
"Yes, you have time. The traffic really won't be bad this early." I take the mug of coffee and the proffered piece of toast, chewing thoughtfully and leaning back against one of the countertops.
"When you come home tonight, you really will wonder why you worried so much." He smiles at me. I watch as he makes the finishing touches to my packed lunch.
He's so good to me. I really am blessed to have him.
"Is that my packed lunch?" I ask coyly.
"You know it is. I even put in an apple for teacher." He smiles and places everything in a Tupperware container.
I finish the last bite of my breakfast and drain my coffee cup. I straighten my blouse and skirt and slip my feet into some kitten heels.
"How do I look?" I stand waiting for his inspection.
"Like you mean business." He grins.
"I was going for the soft approach. They're only 5!" I feel panic begin to bubble up inside me.
"Relax, you look great. It'll all go fine." He hugs me gently.
"You're right. Positive thinking."
I grab my coat, the satchel Edward bought me, my keys and I take a deep breath.
"Right. I better go before I'm late."
"I'll walk you to the car." He brings my lunch and gets the front door for me. I duck under his arm and catch his scent as I brush past him, aftershave, toothpaste and a lungful of the great outdoors.
He's already been to feed the chickens and Emmett's menagerie. Weather permitting, he drinks his early morning coffee outside as he carries out all of his checks. He looks so carefree out there. Some mornings I find myself just watching him from our bedroom window.
I overheard him talking to Emmett the other day about getting a Labrador. I think he'd love a canine shadow to follow him around in the day. I shall have to mention to him that I think it would be a great idea.
I walk down the path and come to a stop at my car, a new Fiat 500. Edward came with me to buy it. I love it and the size is perfect.
I get into the car and open my window so I can speak to him. He passes my lunch through the window and I place it on the passenger seat along with my coat and bag.
"What are you going to do with yourself today?" I enquire. This is one of the first day's we'll spend apart in a long time. I'll miss him.
"I have a few loose ends to tie-up with the shop so that it's ready for the opening weekend." He leans on the roof of the car.
"I'm so looking forward to the weekend. I will be sure to get the children to tell their parents all about it."
We've been gearing up to this for months, I've never baked so much in my life. Edward has sourced some amazing teas and coffees for the shop. He's struck up some great deals with farmers and the local dairy so that he will have some stock to sell before his own produce is fully established.
"That would be wonderful, tell them we'll have some of your world famous cake available for free too." He reaches a hand through the car window and tucks my hair behind my ear.
"I'll be sure to mention it. Perhaps I should've bought some with me today to soften up my colleagues?" A fleeting look of worry dances across my face.
"Relax, a few minutes of talking to you and they'll be as in love you with as I am." He leans in through the car and kisses me deeply. I melt into the kiss and taking my hands off the wheel I place them either side of his face.
I break away from him, my breathing heavy as I look at him through half-closed eyes.
"Drive safely Miss Swan and I'll see you tonight." He taps the roof the car and takes a step back.
"I love you." I call out to him.
"I love you too."
With that I drive away as Edward stands in the garden waving. I beep my horn at him and raise an arm out of the window to wave goodbye.
My first morning has gone by in a blur, I cannot believe how much of a success it has been. The children are delightful, but high spirited. It's halfway through my day and I'm exhausted. They're all outside now, playing in the sunshine during their lunch-break.
I settle down at my desk, a stack of documents that require my attention sit in front of me, along with my lunch. I am grateful for the break.
I open my lunch container and take out a tiny bottle of apple juice – made by Edward. There are also sandwiches, cut into four, a small side salad and a piece of lemon drizzle cake wrapped in greaseproof paper.
I take a closer look at the wrapped cake and notice that there is some writing on the paper. I unwrap it and embedded in the top of the cake I see a ring staring up at me. The pearl ring is flanked with three diamond leaves either side of the stone. I marvel at its beauty, plucking it from the cake and looking at the white gold band.
My hands fly to my mouth as I move the cake and there written beneath it are the words 'Marry me?'
Tears prick at the corner of my eyes and I reach for my bag, looking for my mobile phone so that I can call Edward.
I dial his number and he answers on the first ring.
"Bella?" His voice is quiet and I can hear his nerves.
"Of course I'll marry you." I whisper to him, looking at the ring in my other hand.
I wait for him to answer.
"Edward..?" Is he still there?
A knock at the door to my classroom makes me jump. As I look up, Edward is staring at me through the glass, with his mobile phone held to his ear.
"Come in." I say into the phone.
He turns the door handle slowly and I stand from my desk, my eyes never leaving his. He crosses the room and sweeps me up into his arms.
My phone clatters on to the desk as I grab handfuls of his shirt and kiss him greedily, pressing my body into his. My eyes close and I moan into his embrace.
Edward is first to break the kiss. He smiles down at me and strokes my face tenderly.
"You've made me the happiest man in the world, Miss Swan."
"And you've made me the happiest woman in the world. I can't wait to be Mrs Cullen." I grin at him and lean in for another kiss.
He holds his hand out and I give him my left hand. He takes the ring gently from my hand and slips it on to my ring finger. It fits perfectly and feels at home there. Edward lifts my hand to his lips and places a kiss on the ring.
I smile down at him as he places my hand on his chest and pulls me into his arms. I close my eyes and rest my head on his chest - no one else matters. It's just the two of us and life doesn't get any better than this.
Thank you all!