Prior to Forever

Written by: xlovestory.

Published: 19/05/2010

Big thanks to Lindsey (ratgirl407) who helped me and betaed this with me. Hopefully those grammatical errors are gone now. xD


It all started with Tyler.

I met him when I left sunny Phoenix to live with my Dad in (the least sunny place on Earth) Forks. I arrived just after Christmas, two days before everyone returned to school. Starting a new school in the middle of the school year wasn't really my style, but there was nothing I could do about it. Back then I was a shy child, with a mind that went in all directions. I kept my head down, and hardly said a word unless spoken to. This was for fear that I might actually speak my mind, and it wouldn't be accepted.

Needless to say, not many guys wanted to date me.

And then came along Junior Prom. It was the biggest event in the school calendar, and had all pupils in a frenzy. Personally, it wasn't a big deal for me. I wasn't planning to go, and quite frankly, probably wasn't going to be asked. And then… he came out of nowhere.

Literally.

We lived in Forks, so rain was always on the weather-menu, and two weeks before Prom Tyler's van skidded on a large puddle and almost rammed right into me. Thankfully, no bones were broken, but we were taken to hospital where my Police Chief Dad went mental at the poor boy for driving so frivolously. Apparently, Tyler thought that it would be a good idea to ask me to Prom right at that moment, to smooth things over.

I should have known it would end badly from the start.

He was a tall boy, lanky in body, with a face that some may be able to describe as… handsome. He wasn't really my type - I didn't really have a type at that point - but he was asking so politely, and clearly trying so hard to get into my father's good books that I couldn't find it in my heart to say no.

We went to Prom together, standing with our friends instead of dancing like a couple. I actually had a good time, it wasn't so bad, and eventually Tyler and I were seen as a couple. The more I got to know him, the more I realized that in the grand scheme of things, I could do much worse.. He felt for me and from time to time… he made me happy. We ended up dating until Christmas of our senior year.

Why did we break up, you may ask?

Jessica Stanley. She was a beautiful girl - much more obvious looks than a plain girl like myself - with bouncing brunette curls, and big blue eyes to match. She had been in our group for as long as I could remember. She had a loud mouth, and tended to gossip, but she meant no harm by it. I can't tell you exactly how it happened. I really am not very sure myself, but Tyler and I drifted apart, and then Tyler and Jessica just seemed to click. There was a little bit of heartbreak - I had been dating him for five months - but I was happy for him, and we went separate ways.

I still keep in touch with him from time to time, now eight years later. That's how I know that he's still together with her. They're married, now living in Chicago, and happily expecting their second child next February.

Then there was Mike.

I became acquainted with him through Alice - my roommate at Seattle University (who is still my best friend to this day). She was mainly studying fashion, but taking a psychology course at the same time and Mike happened to be her partner for one of the units. Since we shared a room, I met him quite a few times, and we started to form a friendship that would eventually lead into something more. He was a sweetheart with an athletic body, but a contradictory boyish face complete with dimples on his cheeks. He was the total opposite to Tyler in everything he stood for, everything he did, and how he looked.

In all honesty he was a puppy. He followed me around constantly, trying to please me and showering me with presents at every chance he got. Now, I'm a simple woman. You don't need to wine and dine me, buy me gifts, or give over-the-top romantic displays of affection. That's where we didn't work. He was a spoiler, and I didn't want to be spoiled. He liked to throw his money away (his Dad's money actually) and I liked to keep mine in a safe at the bottom of my bed.

So after an unfortunate incident - where I screamed, telling him that I didn't want a new Armani handbag - in one of the most expensive restaurants in town, we split up. It was for the best anyway.

He met Lauren in the next week.

I sometimes hear about him and Lauren from Alice. Her friend, who works for Alice's clothing store part-time, also has a job as a part-time hairdresser, who knows Lauren's cousin. They live in Florida near Mike's parents, and are tying the knot next month.

Emmett came along next.

He's more like a brother to me now, but once upon a time we'd been on the edge of getting together. In my third year of university, my job at the student bar just wasn't working out, and I applied for a job at the local Starbucks. The pay was better, and once I knew all the staff, we became one big family. They ended up recruiting two new employees, me being one and Emmett being the other. We sort of drifted towards each other because we were the "newbies". We learned the ropes together, and he was such a humorous guy it was hard not to like him.

First he became one of my best friends. He was a lovable guy, with a big heart and a huge funny bone. Eventually, after spending more time together, we formed an attachment with each other. It never got anywhere close to being a real relationship… at least once Rosalie came along. She ended up being the new boss of our Starbucks branch. She was a no-nonsense woman with a mouth that could attack, and a body that made mine look inferior. When you put Emmett and Rosalie together, you couldn't deny the sexual attraction, and I was pushed to the side. It wasn't a big deal to me. Emmett and I have remained friends, and since we live in the same city, we meet up almost every week.

I was even a bridesmaid at his wedding.

His wedding to Rosalie.

And that was when I started to get suspicious.

By the time I was 21 I had been with three guys. To some that may be a small number, but I've never been the kind of girl who just dated people for the sex or the sake of it. Out of all those relationships, there had a connection, but it had never got anywhere.

Why?

Because there was always the other woman.

Whenever my relationship got close to being serious, another woman would appear who would be perfect for said guy. They would never forget about me… well, Mike may be a different story… but I could never hold a light to the woman who came after me.

They would always end up married and happy with the "next" woman.

Now, trust me when I say this. I am not annoyed by this. Okay, I might be irritated, but this is just what happens to me. I'm starting to get worried. What if I'm never the woman who gets to be happy? What if that "other" woman always appears? What if I'm never… it? I mean, sometimes I feel like I have a sign on my head saying 'Date me, and well find you the love of your life!' Coming to this conclusion was one of the most depressing things I have ever gone through. It was even more depressing than when my cat died, and that says something.

It was then that I decided to experiment with one, final guy.

Because really, can four times be a coincidence?

Enter Jasper Hale. He really was a stunning man - Texan, blonde hair that floated into his bright blue eyes at every chance, and with a body that could make many women drool. After graduating with a degree in English Lit, I decided to go into publishing, while writing my own novel on the side. Writing my own novel had always been a dream, but I wasn't naïve enough to think that it would definitely work out. He was on the same level as me, and had taken me under his wing on the first day, saying that I looked "a little lost". That would have been an understatement. Everything was so new, exciting, and terrifying. We'd gone out to lunch, making it a lunch date every day, and we quickly became more than friends.

It was going really well. We went out on fantastic dates, our friendship blossomed and our relationship was going so well it seemed too good to be true.

Well that was because it was too good to be true.

About two months into our relationship, I decided it would be nice to get all my closest friends together for a meal to meet Jasper. It was going to be great - I'd decided to cook my special lasagna dish, and even though Jasper was slightly nervous as meeting everyone, I told him it would be fine, and he'd accepted that fact with a kiss. It turned out that everyone, except Alice arrived on time. As we just sat down to start eating the doorbell rang, and I rushed to get it, welcoming Alice into my apartment.

It was at this moment when I felt like I was living in a movie.

We walk into the room chatting happily, and as we entered everyone shouted greetings at Alice. I brought her over to Jasper, who was looking over the table in conversation with Emmett. I touch his shoulder, and he turns to look at me. He looks at Alice, says 'hello', turns back to the table, and then… does a double take at Alice.

They can't take their eyes off one another, and everything goes silent because it is glaringly obvious that Jasper and Alice are meant to be.

That is when I fall to the ground and cry that I am cursed, because I really am. There is no other explanation for this turn of events, First Tyler, Mike, then Emmett, and lastly Jasper. The rest of the night is filled with me telling my story of how, apparently, I am cursed. Alice sits beside Jasper, who has his arm around her chair like it is the most natural thing in the world. He apologizes again and again, I tell him that it isn't his fault - even I, in my depressed and emotional state, can see that they have something special. They all listen to me intently, and are quiet at the end of my story. Rose tells me that I'm being ridiculous, Emmett tells me that it's probably just a… four-time-thing (yeah, right). Alice tells me, while gazing into Jasper's eyes, that I probably just haven't met the right person yet.

Me, I refuse to think that any of their ideas are the truth. It's impossible, and I am right. I am the woman who will never find the right man, because I will always hand them off to their significant other before I can even convince them that they are supposed to be mine.

So that's when I made up my nickname - the "Prior to Forever" woman.

I have decided that I now hate Jasper Whitlock. Why he thought it would be a good idea to get his cousin a job in the publishing company we both work for, I shall never know. I have never met a more infuriating man. He takes me with every movement, word and touch to the very edge, which completely disregards the very strict rules of my plan. You see, when I first sat down and really thought about my… problem, I guessed that the only solution was to date guys who were already married. After a firm slap on the head from Rose, I thought that I should open up a dating agency and help guys find their soul mates. Because come on… we all know that I can do it (I'd make a fortune!). Then again, when I put that idea to my friends, who are so insensitive about my issue, they firmly told me that that wouldn't work either. So then, the only resolution I could come up with was not to date at all. They thought I was being stupid, but I really cannot see any other option.

It was working perfectly. I had managed in the last two months to avoid dates from five guys. Impressive, huh? Three of them were employees, which made it a little trickier, but they work on different floors to me so the awkward moments are few and far between. There was one guy I'd met at Rosalie's branch of Starbucks. I'd managed to avoid him by telling that I was leaving the country in the next couple of days. Another guy was told by Emmett that I 'don't swing that way, mate'. You see I was getting along fine. I had managed to make myself okay with the strong possibility of being single forever. I was doing fine.

Then Edward Cullen, in all his persistent and frustratingly charming nature, swung by for an interview. He got the job and who was asked to show him around?

Yeah. Me.

On day one I met him for breakfast, thinking it would be a nice 'welcome to the team' sort of thing, only for him to flirt with me constantly.

On day three he decided he wanted to buy me lunch and took me to eat oysters. He went the aphrodisiac route. I was blushing around him for days.

By the end of week one he had asked me out. I pretended to look at my diary, because really, I couldn't just flat out say no. I let him down gently, telling him that I was going out of town for the weekend to visit a sick relative. That would've worked out fine, if he hadn't been in the same shopping centre as I was that weekend. By the end of that encounter I was a stuttering mess, trying to come up with an excuse as to why I wasn't visiting my Aunt Ermintrude. I didn't look him in the eye for three days.

Part of me wished I had because firstly, I would have seen that conspiring look appearing as he concocted Mission: Get Bella Swan to Go Out with Me, and secondly… well, he had pretty eyes.

That's how we get to today, day fifty-two. I have successfully managed to avoid going out with Edward Cullen on the seventeen dates he had asked me on. It's getting harder and harder to suppress my liking for this man; he may be insistent, frustrating, and occasionally snappy with other employees, but he's also charming, handsome and intelligent - it's hard to find a guy with all those traits these days! It's also getting harder to come up with excuses (I'm pretty sure he knows that all of them are lies), and it's even harder not to spill that I am cursed.

Because that would really freak him out.

But maybe that's the only option.

"So, Bella, how's your Uncle Leon who got ran over by a bicycle last weekend?" Edward strolled up to me under the pretence of using the copy machine. I have a very hard time keeping my eyes away from his body. It wouldn't do to let him know that he does actually have an effect on me. I'd never live it down.

I hide my face, and push random buttons on the machine - which I haven't even turned on yet. "Oh, he's… yeah, he's feeling a little better. Thank you for asking."

I can feel him coming closer to me, and I watch as his hand creeps into my vision ever so slowly. Making his way to the buttons and pressing the 'on' button. I feel my cheeks heat up automatically. "That's great, and your friend with the acne that desperately needed the cream…?"

I shuffle the paper wishing he would just stop talking and walk away. We both know he isn't here to copy anything; he was just here to get a rise out of me. "She's alright. It's clearing up quite nicely."

"Your Gran with the broken wrist?" He lifts the lid of the copy machine and takes a sheet from me, placing it ready for the machine to work its magic.

I fold my arms. "Getting better."

"Your niece with the tonsillitis?"

"Fine."

"Your brother---"

I can't bare it anymore. "Alright! Alright! I get it. You know I'm lying. I don't have a brother; I'm an only child. I don't have a niece; I have no uncle who was run over by a bicycle. They are all lies! Happy, now?" I huff, my face as red as the scorching sun, and my nerves completely frazzled. As I calm down from my rant, my eyes settling on Edward's smug smirk. I start to wonder where all this is going to go now, and if it really was a good idea to be vulnerable around this man.

He silently opened the lid of the machine, took out the first page, swaped it with another sitting in my hands, and repeats the process. With the lid shut, he leans on it crossing one leg over the other. I am momentarily startled by how delicious he looks in that position. "…that we've got that covered, why don't you admit to me why you won't go out with me."

I cross my arms further, and look down at the ground while I scuff my heels against the laminate flooring. "I have my reasons." I state with an easy air, nothing compared to the jumping jacks my stomach is making.

I feel his fingers on my cheek, and he forces me to look up at him. "And what might those be?" He trails off as his forefinger gently strokes my cheek, leaving me a little breathless. Finally he lets go, leaving me with a mess of thoughts, uncategorized and spilling everywhere.

I cannot obviously keep telling him lies, it isn't fair to him. Underneath that smug exterior he is a nice guy that deserves to be treated with respect, and to know the truth. Telling him the real truth would leave us with a million types of ugly, and I don't think he can handle that. What other choice do I have? My conscience is feeling guilty - he deserves the truth.

So I sigh, take a deep breath, and angle him with a question.

"How do you feel about marriage?"

His shocked expression shows that he is clearly caught off guard. Of all the things I could have said, he obviously didn't think that would come out of my mouth. He clears his throat, straightens the knot in his tie, and looks at me with a partly helpless partly bemused expression. "Excuse me?" He asks, adding a short chuckle to the end of his question.

This time I work the copy machine. "What are your views on marriage?" I rephrase.

He stutters slightly with his answer, and I watch him squirm sympathetically. "Well, I…uh, I--I want to get married at some point…. I've not really thought about it in great detail."

I bit my lip, gesturing with my hands for another question. "Can you give me a time range on that?"

He straightens his shoulders, now finding this conversation quite amusing. "Well, I don't think I want to get married today, but maybe if I found the right person---"

"Well, that's kinda guaranteed." I mumble.

"---then maybe in the next few years."

I snap my fingers and point at him smiling. "And that is why you can't date me. If you date me, you're going to find your soul mate in around about 2-5 months. At least that's what happened to the others." I add quietly, but I'm quite sure he heard it.

He laughs lightly, gathering my copies for me. "Are you psychic?"

I snort and shake my head, putting the copies in order. "No."

"Is it you that wants to marry me? Because no offence, but you haven't exactly been willing…"

I shake my head more firmly and roll my eyes. "No.' I look at him and his slightly confused expression. 'This is obviously going to take more explaining." I walk away with him following me, no doubt feeling sort of lost.

We ended up in the same place he took me to eat oysters, and I told him the story of my curse start to finish, from Tyler to Jasper. He sits and listens, doesn't make judgment and eats his sushi in silence, while I give away my entire past.

At the end of our one sided conversation, he stares at me for a second before reaching for his napkin, then patting his mouth, and taking a sip of water. I want to force him to speak to me. The silence is worse than any dumb, irritating comment, or blatant laugh at my expense.

He frowns, "So let me get this straight. You've dated four guys in 25 years, and in each relationship they met someone else, whom they then happened to fall in love with. This is your fault, why?"

I shake my head, "It's not my fault, and I'm just saying that it cannot be coincidental that for all the relationships I have been in they have met their soul mates while dating me. I bring them the love of their life, and get left lonely in the process. Therefore, if you date me, you'll no doubt find that 'extra-special' woman while with me. That's also the reason why I don't date anymore; I've resolved myself to being single for the rest of my life."

He looked at me strangely for a second before asking me a question I've never even asked myself before. "You've got this all figured out, haven't you?' I nod, smiling slightly. "Well then, what happens if it's you that the guy finds as his soul mate? What if you're the girl he really wants, but you don't give him the time of day because you're so confident that you'll never be the one?"

I frown, while swirling the wine in my glass, my own sushi now completely forgotten. I shake my head firmly. "No, no. That's not how it works Edward. I get them the girl, not the other way around."

"How do you know, if you never give them the chance?' He asks while cocking his head to the side and waving his hands around. He leans forward. 'Look, all I'm asking for, is one date. We don't have to even say we are a couple; just go out to dinner as… friends.' He looks down, now suddenly shy - I've never seen him that way before. "I want to get to know you. I don't believe that you're cursed. I just don't think you've been going out with the right person."

I chuckle dryly, smiling at him with a slightly blush painting my cheeks. "And who's that 'right person', hmm? You?"

He shrugs a smile at the ends of his lips. "I might be. How do you know if you don't try?"

And really, I couldn't say no to a face like his…

--- (Eight Months Later) ---

That first date went more perfectly than any other date I'd ever been on. He'd picked me up, gave me flowers, and in the end we'd gone back to his apartment where I learned that he was a man with serious skills in the kitchen. I had to laugh when he'd told me that he hadn't taken me out for fear of finding that I really was cursed. He'd made a meal in his own home to make me feel more comfortable - I was won over right there in that moment. It was one of the most thoughtful things he could ever have done. I knew then that he was a special man, hidden under years of charm and a smug nature that had been build up to make him feel stronger.

Now eight months after that first date, the walls don't exist so much.

"Tell me once again why I am in a supermarket at seven in the morning… on a Saturday." Edward whined in my ear once more. He was standing behind the trolley, pushing it along at a snail's pace while I filled it up with the items I needed.

I huffed at my boyfriend. 'Helpful' wasn't one of his traits today. "I've already told you, but I'll tell you again. My mother is sick, my father doesn't know the fruit aisle from the cleaning aisle. I need to get food so they don't both die of starvation."

He was mumbling under his breath while I wiggled my way into the casing of his arms, his hands still holding onto the trolley. I could feel his body heat all around me and it made me feel at home. "What was that?" I raised an eyebrow. Maybe I should have just left him in bed…

He smirked before answering me. "I said, it sounds a little too much like one of those lies you used to tell me to get me off your back."

My answer was a thump in the chest. I turned around, afraid I'd apologize at the sight of his winded expression. I began pushing the trolley again, leaving him to catch up. A few seconds later, as I rounded the aisle I felt his arms encase my body against his, while he continued pushing the trolley for me. We weren't walking very fast and by the time I succumbed to the feeling of his lips on my neck, we turned out to be not moving at all.

He wrapped his arms around my body. "You know I'm just playing with you."

I moved my neck to give him more access. "You'd better be."

"Edward?"

My eyes flicker upwards at the sound of a woman's voice. She stood ten feet away, slightly stunned at the sight of my boyfriend. All legs and heels, with strawberry blonde hair straightened to perfection. In short, she was the most flawless person I'd ever met - apart from Rose. I continue to stare, Edward stood still behind me. Wasn't anyone going to say anything?

A few seconds pass, and then I finally get a reaction from Edward. His face lights up in recognition. "Tanya?" He asks, and her answering smile is all I need.

The next thing I know, the comfort of Edward's arms left me. He's walking towards her at top speed, only to envelope her into his arms. It's not a friendly hug, it's the type of hug that expresses the relationship that has happened in the past. I feel a little piece of my heart die at his obvious liking of this woman. They separate, her hand still resting lightly on his bicep, and he's asking her questions like they'll give him the answer to life. My eyes almost can't take it all in.

I've watched this scenario too many times before. The lost lovers, finally finding each other after years of leading a lonesome life, and they find that the feelings still remain - why had they split up in the first place? It's happening, just like I knew it would at some point. I always knew that it would come up at some point. I knew the "other" woman would turn up eventually.

Here she was, Tanya, stood in aisle six with a carton of milk and a bag of potatoes.

They're in their own little bubble, and I don't exist at all. It's the exact reaction I've been telling him about. This was the instant attraction; the googly eyes. Then there was the welcoming, "I've been waiting forever to find you" smile. I bet that they wouldn't even notice if I left. Right now. He's so caught up in the moment that he doesn't notice me turn around, leave the trolley behind, walk quietly out of the supermarket… leaving him with his new lover behind.

In fact, he doesn't notice until I'm reversing my car out of the car park, and he's only a dot in my rear view mirror - running and frantically shouting my name.

I don't wait to listen.

Whenever I have something on my mind, something upsetting or something I want to get away from; I bake. It first started when my Gran died, I made my first batch of fairy cakes that day. When my goldfish decided that he wanted to take a journey down my toilet, I made caramel shortcake. With Tyler, it was lemon meringue pie. For Mike, it was chocolate and hazelnut loaf. With Emmett I made raspberry muffins. Finally Jasper gave me the urge to make strawberry cheesecake.

Now that Edward has met his "forever" girl, there's a pumpkin pie in the oven.

It'll turn out a wonderful golden brown colour, just like Edward's hair.

And he'd enjoy it - pumpkin pie is his favourite.

I try not to think of that right now.

I settle into one of the stools set around my kitchen table, and focus my eyes on the pie baking in the oven. Trying anything to try and take my mind away from Edward, and Tanya. With events like these, I'd normally have come home straight away, and cry. That's before picking up the phone and calling Alice, shedding more tears in the process. For some reason, I'm not doing that this time. I've not cried. I've not screamed. I've just… digested the information.

Deep down, I know why I'm not reacting in the crazy manner I usually would. It's because I knew this would happen the end. Our relationship had become too simple. Too normal, too perfect that it couldn't ever last. I had finally managed to settle; I was going around on a day to day basis with Edward, and not worrying that something could happen. In one word, I'd become complacent. At the time I've felt like I deserved it, because (as Edward had told me time and time again) I couldn't afford to worry away my life. I needed to enjoy it, so that's what had happened. I'd let go of all those worries, and now look where it's taken me. Right to the place that, no matter how many times I try to, deflect the idea from my mind and my thoughts will always go too.

I will always be the "Prior-to-Forever" woman.

Since someone up there has decided that men need a push in the right direction.

And I am… the push.

A sharp knock at the door took my thoughts away from their current topic, and my gaze lands at the door. I debate on whether I really want to greet anyone at this moment, and since my feet don't make any move to go to the door; I don't bother to move them myself. I'm in a bubble; a secure, little, 'act-like-nothing-happened' bubble. I'm afraid that if I move, all the tears I've put on hold will overflow.

The knock gets more insistent. "Bella! I know you're in there! Please answer the door!" I can hear Edward's body slump against the surface of my door in frustration. I can hear the anguish in his voice.

Still my feet don't move.

Maybe it's really my heart. It doesn't want to face the truth.

I was so comfortable with Edward. Out of all the guys I'd been with, he was the one that I could actually envision a life with. He was, without wanting to use the clichéd phrase… "The One". I could be myself around him. He loved me despite my abnormally cold feet, and the fact that one of my ears was fractionally bigger than the other. I was so… content. I know that if I go and answer that door, I'll see all of my happiness disappearing into the distance, just like it has every other time. This time I don't know if I could handle that.

"Bella, please! Just… I--I just… come and open the door! I can explain everything." His plea shakes something inside of me, and I only realize I'm opening the door when I can hear his relieved sigh coming from the other side.

I open the door, revealing his beautiful face inch by inch. I offer nothing, only looking into his eyes for answers that I only will know if I let him speak. I walk back into the kitchen, while the door stayed open, and wait for him into step inside.

It only takes a few seconds. I hear the door closing at the same time as I open the oven. Mitts covered my small hands as I take the pie out of the oven, and place it on a cooling rack on the kitchen table.

I shed the mitts as he walks into the kitchen, a small, shy smile on his lips as he eyes the tasty treat. "Pumpkin." He states.

He knows me well enough to know that when my thoughts are on him, pumpkin pie is the only thing I can bring myself to make. I simply nod, settling my hands on the edge of the table, measuring the distance between them with my eyes - anything not to look at him.

I can hear his jacket move, his feet on the floor as she shuffles uncomfortably. "You just… left."

I fold my arms over my body. I speak without meeting his eyes. "I didn't want to… interrupt you both. I didn't think anyone would miss me if I left."

He finally moves from his place five feet away from me, until he is standing so close I can feel his breath blowing gently into my hair. "I missed you. I always miss you, even if you're on the other side of the room." His hand cups my jaw with the softest touch, and he moves his hand upwards bringing my eyes to lock with his. They don't twinkle with happiness like they usually do. There is an undercurrent of sadness which I can't place. Surely if he just met his soul mate, melancholy shouldn't be on the list of emotions you should feel. His thumb strokes the edge of my jaw, starting at my ear and ending with the pad of his thumb on my lips; his touch reverent.

I couldn't let this gorgeous torture continue without answers to my questions. "What about Tanya?" I whisper feeling his skin move across my lips with the movement.

His other hand reaches up, gliding through the locks of my hair until his holds the other side of my face. He holds my head up as if it's made of glass - beautiful, but utterly breakable. "What about Tanya?" He questions me back.

I shrug, casting my eyes downwards again. "Well, I just presumed that… since you met the love of your life in the supermarket this morning, you'd be… letting me go."

He shakes his head, his eyes on mine once more now drawing me in, trying to make me see the truth. The problem is I'll only see the truth I want to see. He tries to explain, "Tanya is an old friend of mine. My mother knew her mother… we went to the same school… ended up at the same university… and yes, there was a time when I believed that I'd be with her forever. Things never worked out between us… she isn't the love of my life, she never was… and nothing is ever going to happen between her and I," His eyes tell me that the words he speaks are sincere. I tell myself to believe them - Edward would never lie to me. His thumbs stroke my cheeks again. "… and for the record, I don't plan on letting you go any time soon."

I give him a small side smile, but I know by his expression that it doesn't reach my eyes. "I guess it's just a waiting game then, waiting for that elusive "forever" girl."

He scrunches his nose up, and looks to the side almost debating his next move. In the end he shrugs lightly, and removes one of his hands from my face then places it in his jacket pocket instead. "I don't know… I think maybe, just maybe… I'm already with her.' I gasp and my eyes fill with those unshed tears as he takes his hand out of his pocket, now holding an engagement ring right between his fingers. The kitchen lights bounce off the diamonds, and I can't stop the smile erupting onto my face - all insecurities and worries fading instantly. "And I promise to love her forever, cherish her forever, and worship her forever… as long as she'll have me."

I choke back the happiest sobs I've ever produced, and smile, the light finally bright in his eyes again. "I think… I think she will."

He nods nonchalantly, a smirk on his lips as he pulls his head to the side questioningly. "Will she marry me?

I smile shakily and throw my arms around his neck, securing me to him… forever. "Yes." I whisper so quietly into his ear. He squeezes me tighter into his embrace, and litters my shoulder and neck with butterfly kisses. He pulls back and with a gleaming smile pushes the ring onto my third finger.

All those helpless guys will have to look for their sweethearts on their own now, I suppose.


Be on the lookout for a new story, "Where Your Heart Lives" (title may change!), coming very soon! Get me on Author Alert, please!

Reviews make me smile.. and I like smiling!

-xlovestory.