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storyline - "Informant". This the last installment for this particular Edward and Bella. They deserve a break, don't you think?
prompt - trunk, closet, seal
A month passed.
We lived as frugally as we could, not wanting to fully deplete the cash Edward had taken out before leaving Amherst. In fact we'd both taken large sums of money out, knowing we wouldn't be able to do it on the run because it would leave a paper trail, but we'd burned through mine during our time at sea.
Aaron Welsh remained our link to the outside world. He had a lot of "friends in high places," especially within Internal Affairs. They kept him abreast of what was going on and in turn he kept us informed.
In addition, Edward and I stayed glued to the television. The trial was all over the news with near non-stop coverage. It was one of the most high profile cases involving federal agents the country had seen in years. Every day we watched the faces of men Edward had worked with – and in many cases worked for – paraded in and out of court, photographed by a chaotic sea of paparazzi.
Edward had given all of his information to Welsh, who passed it along to Internal Affairs. This put him in an even more dangerous position than before; he had now crossed the line and become an official part of the investigation. The things he'd discovered would go a long way in keeping the dirty Marshals and their Volturi associates incarcerated.
Edward still fantasized about moving to Alaska. I wasn't sure if it was really that practical of an idea. It was clear across the country, all over again, about as far away from Florida as we could get without leaving the US. Still, we couldn't stay holed up in Aaron's tropical hidey-hole forever. We'd have to make a move once the coast was clear and every day I woke up wondering if that would be the day we'd leave.
Turns out, I didn't have much longer to wonder.
Edward left early to go to the store, to rustle up a couple of essentials for our next trip.
I was packing our belongings into an old truck I'd found at an antique store in Key West. The Keys were popular with old, wealthy people, so the garage sales and consignment shops were filled with their throwaways. The term "one man's trash is another man's treasure" had never been more apt.
Welsh had sat us down the night before to explain that it was technically safe for us to leave. The people who could do the most damage were now either behind bars or in the process of being there, so we were safe. But Aaron was a cautious man. He'd been in the business long enough to know that looks could be deceiving. After a long talk with both Aaron and a couple of other trusted individuals, it was decided that Edward too would go into WITSEC.
When Edward first agreed to it, I left the room. Bitter tears burned my eyelids and I fisted them away, not in the mood to break down. The thought of him giving up everything for me, and for a life like this, was almost too much to bear. He reminded me that he probably would have ended up this way on account of his snooping into the rampant shadiness, but I still felt partly responsible.
But, whatever. Edward was a grown man. He'd made his choices. There was a very good chance I'd have made the same choices if I was in his position, and it was dumb for me to keep on feeling guilty about it. We had to move forward and once I let go, Edward's positive outlook began to rub off on me.
So here we were.
Aaron had gone through great trouble to secure paperwork for both me and Edward so that we could leave the country if we wanted. He promised to stay in touch once we left.
I'd just finished clearing out the closet when Edward returned from the grocery store. He sat on the edge of the bed, watching me pack.
"I'm just about done," I said. "You bring the other boxes down to the boat?"
"Yeah." He looked uncomfortable.
I sat back on my haunches. "What?"
He stayed silent for a moment, then handed me a manila folder.
"Oh, okay." I took the folder and flipped it open, scanning our new identification. "So…what's up?"
"He gave us the same last name."
My eyes darted back to the paper in front of me. Sure enough, we were now Edward and Elizabeth Cooper.
"What does that mean?" I asked, fingering the ink. "And how come you got to keep your first name?"
"Generally it's better for witnesses to keep their first name, and then use a different last name but with the same initial. With you, nothing was official at first. We weren't sure if it was going to be a temporary or permanent arrangement. The Marshals referred to you in code, as Elizabeth, to keep things safe and then it sort of… stuck."
He was still watching me with a funny expression on his face.
"Well, okay. I guess I don't really care anymore. So, are we supposed to be related?" I looked at him, suddenly understanding. "Or…married?"
"We're supposedly married."
My heart dropped. "Wow."
"I – he didn't even really ask… he just… assumed…" he trailed of uncertainly, slipping off the bed and coming to sit beside me on the floor.
"What if it doesn't bother me?"I asked, averting my eyes. His were just too intense to look at right then.
"What if it doesn't bother me, either?" he countered, shoving a little box into my hand.
I got a lump in my throat. With trembling hands I opened the box, revealing a small, simple gold band with a little diamond set in the middle.
"Will you marry me, Bella?"
"Yes," I sniffled, letting him take the ring out and put it on my finger. "Of course…"
He laughed, sounding relieved.
"Good. I mean, I thought you might but… I didn't want to force you into anything."
I got to my feet, pulling him with me. "Are you nuts? I probably would've married you back in Chicago."
Aaron stood on the dock, waving to us as we pulled away.
The sun had just risen, and we'd made mimosas to celebrate both our impromptu nuptials and the fact that we were now officially free. We'd decided to sail through the Caribbean and play it by ear. There were a few places I'd googled before leaving that looked like they would be perfect for a beachside wedding.
Wedding. So weird. I wished there was a way I could contact Charlie. I'd always wanted him to walk me down the aisle. But that wasn't possible right now. I just had to believe that I would see him again, somehow some way. It still hurt, though.
I knew Edward had mixed feelings too. We were making the best of a bizarre situation, but he would have loved for his mother to see us get married.
It would be awhile before we'd feel comfortable returning to the states, but other than missing our families we didn't even care. With the money that Emmett had recently wired and the lump sum Aaron had given us, we'd be set for a little while. Aaron also promised to keep in touch so we had someone to turn to if things got rough.
Eventually Florida faded into the background. The sea lay out ahead of us, a bright and beautiful blue.
"I can't believe we're married," Edward remarked, sweeping my hair to the side so he could kiss my neck.
"I know." I closed my eyes, loving the way the sun felt on my skin. I'd become addicted to sailing, it seemed. Getting back on the boat that morning had felt surprisingly welcome and wonderful.
Edward's kisses started evolving into something a little less innocent.
"I think it's time to seal our vows… you know… consummate the marriage."
"I think there's been plenty of consummation, Mr. Cooper," I snickered, draining my glass and wiggling from his grasp.
He put his glass down and stalked toward me, pulling his shirt off. "Not since I asked you to marry me, Mrs. Cooper."
"That's true," I agreed, setting my glass down. I unbuttoned my shorts and slid them down my legs.
He kicked off his board shorts, catching me off guard with his sudden nudity. Laughing, I looked around to see if we were truly alone out on the water, and, we were.
Then he was with me, catching me in his arms, pulling the strings of my bikini so that I was naked too.
"I love you," I said, letting him lower me to the floor.
"I love you too." The sunlight caught his eyes, making them look greener than usual. Breeze ruffled his hair. He was beautiful, and he belonged to me.
And when he made love to me beneath the morning sun, I knew we'd take care of each other forever. Maybe it wasn't a typical happily ever after but isn't that usually the best kind?
* this was supposed to be posted yesterday, which is the only reason why i'm including it with the "May through July" set.
sundays are usually always our day off.
starting tomorrow, the FW prompts will be under "August through October".