AN: Well, here it is, the last regular chapter of Parachute! I've enjoyed writing and sharing it with each and every one of you! I am, and will continue to be, in awe of your devotion and love for this story. I hope you give my future writing a chance as well!
There will be no sequel to this and the Epilogue will post in two weeks from today. Keeping in my tradition of review replies, reviewers will receive a teaser from the Epilogue in exactly one week, so that you'll still get your Parachute fix in some form next Friday.
There's another small AN at the end. =)
Bella stood, drenched from head to toe, in the middle of her front lawn. Hot tears streamed down her face as the chilly rain pelted her skin. Her mouth was slightly open in shock, as she gazed down with wide eyes at the man she loved more than life itself. Edward's hopeful, joyous face grinned up at her from his stance on one knee. The ring he held in his hand was a single brilliant diamond that was simple, yet elegant.
"Isabella Swan, I have been captivated by you since the moment I first laid eyes on you. That love only grew and expanded as I got to know you and saw first hand what a wonderful mother you are to our son. Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like I've had long enough with you. Marry me?"
She covered her mouth and let out a sob, before throwing her arms around him and shouting, "Yes!"
They fell together, a mass of limbs and lips, their hearts both beating wildly. He pulled away slightly and pushed a lock of rain-saturated hair from her face.
"Let's go inside, please. I don't want you to catch a cold."
When they stood, his eyes were drawn to her white shirt, now completely plastered against her bare breasts, her nipples hard and straining against the fabric. His hand reached out to brush against her breast, causing her to become self conscious and cross her arms across her chest. She laughed lightly and nodded her head towards the house.
"Come on, let's get dry."
Edward let out a loud guffaw. "I'd rather keep you wet, love."
His hands wrapped around her waist and he pulled her back to his chest as they tumbled into the house. Sopping wet clothes soon littered the foyer floor and hands roamed greedily.
"Where is our bedroom?" he asked huskily, sweeping her into his arms.
Bella laughed happily and wrapped her arms around his neck. The sound of him calling her bedroom "theirs" completely melted her heart.
"Upstairs and to the right."
She giggled as he dropped her naked body onto the soft, queen-sized bed and crawled up next to her. His hands lovingly stroked her cheeks and brushed the hair from her face. He smirked and pulled them into a sitting position, sliding the diamond ring from his pinky finger. He had thankfully secured it there when Bella had thrown herself into his arms. He took her left hand and gently slid on the ring. She raised her hand, spreading her fingers and admiring the stone's beauty and brilliance.
"Edward, it's stunning," she murmured, breathlessly.
He smiled shyly. "It was my birth mother, Elizabeth's. Mom saved it for me, and it's been nestled away all of these years."
She glanced at him curiously. "You never gave it to Victoria?"
He reached and cupped her cheek. "No, Bella. It was always meant for you."
She sighed and leaned into his hand. He pulled her to his chest and held her tightly for a moment before playfully singing.
Forever can never be long enough for me
Feel like I've had long enough with you
Forget the world now, we won't let them see
But there's one thing left to do
Now that the weight has lifted
Love has surely shifted my way
Marry me today and every day
She laughed lightly and poked his shoulder. "So that's why that line sounded so familiar."
He pushed her back against the mattress. "It doesn't make it any less true, though. I adore you, my future wife."
Edward slid his hands around her bottom and pulled her close, his lips roaming down her neck.
Together can never be close enough for me
Feel like I am close enough to you
You wear white and I'll wear out the words "I love you"
And "You're beautiful"
Now that the wait is over
And love and has finally shown her my way
Promise me you'll always be happy by my side
I promise to sing to you when all the music dies
And marry me today and everyday
Marry me if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe
Say you will, say you will, marry me
Bella groaned and ran her hands through his damp hair; his fingers nimbly stroking her folds, before sliding inside.
"So wet, baby," he murmured against her lips. "Have you missed me? Missed the way I know your body, inside and out?"
He began to pump his fingers and rub her clit gently with his thumb. "Tell me, Bella. Tell me how much you missed me."
"I did. I missed you so damn much! Oh, God," she called out as an orgasm swept over her surprisingly quickly.
She laid back, panting slightly and groaning as he eased his fingers from her body. Her eyes narrowed when he shot her a smirk, sliding two fingers from his right hand into his mouth and closed his eyes. When his gaze met hers once again, his eyes were lust-filled with heavy lids. She reached up and pulled him down, crashing their lips together. She closed her eyes in bliss as he lined his body up against hers and eased himself inside. Once he was fully immersed in her warmth, Edward leaned his forehead against hers and sighed. It was a feeling not unlike coming home after a long absence, which is essentially what it was.
He cupped her cheeks and kissed her deeply, starting to thrust shallowly. "Do you feel that? The connection?"
Tears welled up and fell silently down her cheeks, emotion completely overwhelming her. "Yes, I do," she whispered against his lips.
His lips quirked into a beautiful smile. "I can't wait to hear you say that again one day, hopefully soon."
Words escaped the pair of joyful lovers as they worked towards their completion, both striving to bring the other to great heights of pleasure. When all was said and done, they laid together, limbs entwined.
"Are you here to stay?" she asked in a light voice, absentmindedly running her fingers through his hair.
"If you'll have me, yes," he responded with a chuckle.
She waved her ring-clad finger in front of his face and laughed. "Well, I suppose. I've already agreed to be your wife, haven't I?"
He flipped her over with a growl and lightly attacked her neck with his lips and tongue. The front door slammed and they broke apart. Bella's eyes shot to the clock, astonished that it was now after three o'clock.
"Mom?" Jack called out. "Why are there wet clothes all over the floor?"
Bella and Edward jumped to their feet and she started to rifle through her drawers for something to wear.
"Bella!" Edward hissed. "My clothes are downstairs! What am I going to do?"
The look on his face was so comical that it took everything inside of her not to laugh. "Throw on my robe or something."
"MOM!" Jack screeched. "These are a dude's pants and shoes! OH MY GOD!"
The boy's feet pounded up the stairs frantically. Bella rushed and got to her door, just as she pulled a sundress over her head. Jack rushed into her room, his eyes scanning the room frantically.
"Jack, baby, what's wrong?" she asked, innocently.
"Mom!" he screeched. "Whose clothes are downstairs on the floor?"
"Mine?" she responded, sounding more like a question.
"Not all of them. There are a dude's pants and shoes." He narrowed his eyes at his mother. "Are you cheating on Dad? Mom! How could you?"
The sound of something knocked over in the bathroom drew Jack's attention. His eyes widened.
"Is there someone in there?" he whisper-yelled.
Bella bit her lip and tried not to laugh as the boy stalked over to the door.
"Come out, now," Jack called out. "If not, I'm calling my Grandpop. He has a gun!"
She struggled to keep her face straight. "Jack, I think you should settle down. It's not what you think."
His eyes flew back and forth, between his mother and the bathroom door. "Really? Then what's going on?"
"Look, give him a moment to collect himself, and then we'll talk."
"Him?" Jack hissed. "I knew it was a dude."
The boy sat down on the edge of her bed and buried his hands in his hair, looking eerily reminiscent of his father. "Why, Mom? How could you do this to Dad?" he moaned pitifully.
The door to the bathroom cracked open and Jack shot to his feet, glaring at the door, his stance ready to kick the man out of his house. When Edward's head poked through the doorway, Jack's jaw dropped open comically.
His father smiled sheepishly and stepped into the room, wearing Bella's baby blue plush robe.
"D-dad?" Jack stuttered, before breaking out into a huge grin. "DAD!" he shouted as he threw himself into his father's arms.
"Dad, you're here!" Jack sobbed out, causing Bella to cover her mouth and blink away tears.
Edward squeezed him tight, rocking slightly back and forth, as the boy's feet dangled in the air.
"I'm here, son. I'm not going anywhere," he responded, his voice thick with emotion.
When he was able to set the boy back down on his feet, Jack looked at his mother accusingly, his face still wet from his tears. "You knew the whole time! Why didn't you tell me?"
Bella smiled and shrugged.
Jack shook his head. "Party foul, Mom. Party. Foul."
Edward shot her a look of confusion and Bella rolled her eyes. "He heard from his uncle, Seth."
Edward grinned and rested his arm on his son's shoulders. "I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of your family."
Jack looked up and smiled brilliantly. "Our family, Dad."
Edward's face visibly softened, nodding. "Our family," he replied in agreement. He placed his hand on Jack's arm and led him over to the bed, where he sat down and looked the boy directly in his eyes.
"Do you remember the discussion that we had not that long ago?"
Jack cocked his head to the side in confusion, momentarily before his eyes widened and nodded. Edward smirked and motioned for Bella to come over. She smiled bemusedly and walked over, allowing Edward to take her left hand in his, showing Jack the ring that rested there. Jack looked up at Bella with tears in his eyes and grinned.
"You said yes? We're going to get married? And be a real family?" he asked excitedly.
She sat down next to Edward and cupped her son's cheeks gently. "We're a real family, no matter what, Jack. But yes, we're going to get married!"
Jack threw his arms around both of his parents and squeezed tightly. "Oh my God! I can't believe it. That's so awesome!"
After a few moments, Jack pulled away and composed himself, before giving his father a double take.
"Dad, why are you wearing Mom's robe?"
Later that evening, after Edward had changed into dry clothes and the wet mess in the foyer had been cleaned up, the three of them were deciding on what to do for dinner when the doorbell rang.
Bella raised an eyebrow. "It's certainly busy around here today," she muttered as she went to answer the door. The rain had stopped right before Jack was let out of school and stars scattered throughout the dark and clear sky. The small group of people standing on her front porch was a surprise. Charlie, Sue and Seth were waiting, each with a bag or some sort of container.
"Hey, what are you guys doing here?" she asked in bewilderment.
Sue laughed and grabbed her hand, squeezing tightly. "It's your birthday, sweet girl. We're here to celebrate it with you."
Bella smiled and felt her heart warm from the kind gesture. She startled, realizing that her family was still standing out in the cold air and stood back, allowing them to enter the house.
"Aww, you guys didn't need to do that. It's really sweet, thank you."
She closed the door and noticed that the trio had come to an abrupt halt. Peering over her step-mother's shoulder, she noticed that Jack was pulling Edward towards them, eager to make introductions.
Charlie's mustache twitched, an obvious sign that he was trying to hide a smile. "You don't waste any time, do you, boy?"
Edward grinned sheepishly and held his hand out to shake her father's. "Not in this instance, sir. My life is here now, so I was eager to get back to them."
Charlie finally allowed a full-fledged smile to emerge and clapped Edward on the shoulder. "That's a good answer, son."
Edward shook his head and chuckled. "Thanks, Charlie."
Charlie looked at Sue and winked. "We're forgetting our manners. Ed, this is my wife Sue and my step-son, Seth."
Edward leaned down to kiss Sue on the cheek and shook Seth's hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you both. Jack and Bella have told me a lot about you."
Seth grimaced playfully. "Don't believe everything you hear."
Sue laughed and swatted her son on the arm. "Come on, boy, let's get the food into the kitchen."
At the sound of food, Jack perked up and sidled next to her. "Here, Nana, let me help you with that."
She smirked and handed Jack a container. "Such a good boy, unlike your uncle."
Seth rolled his eyes and laughed before following Jack into the kitchen. Sue turned to Bella and reached for her hands, gasping when she encountered the diamond ring.
"Oh my! What's this?" she practically squealed.
Bella looked nervously at her father, who looked remarkably calm.
"Edward proposed and I said yes," she replied happily.
Sue hugged her tightly. "Congratulations, baby! You deserve so much happiness!"
"Thank you so much, Mom," she whispered into Sue's ear. The older woman pulled back and looked at Bella in surprise, her dark eyes filled with tears.
"Oh, Bella. I love you so much. You've always been my daughter, you know that."
Bella sighed. "I know and I'm sorry that I've never said that before. You earned that title a long time ago."
She turned and was swept into a hug by her father. "Why are you taking this so well, Dad?" she asked suspiciously.
He winked at her and replied, "It's a secret."
Her eyes widened. "You already knew!" she accused, causing her father to shrug.
"Maybe," he teased.
"Oh! Is that why you were so secretive last weekend?" she asked in surprise.
Charlie smiled and nodded. "Ed here called me up a day or two beforehand and asked me for your hand. I've gotta say, I was impressed."
Bella turned to her fiancé and raised an eyebrow. "I take it that he gave you his blessing?" she asked him.
Edward took her into his arms and kissed her forehead. "Yes, he did. With the provision that he'd shoot me dead if I hurt you."
Bella laughed and shook her head. "That sounds like him."
"Come on, guys," Sue called from the dining room. "Dinner's on the table."
After a delicious meal and a home-made birthday cake, Charlie and Sue gave Bella her presents, before heading back home. Jack and Edward shooed her out of the kitchen while they cleaned up, so she decided to re-arrange some closet space for Edward in the meantime. By 9:30 pm, Jack was passed out in bed while his parents curled up on the couch together.
"It's been quite the day, hasn't it?" he murmured quietly.
She sighed and leaned back against his chest. "It certainly has been," she sighed, contentedly.
The doorbell rang once again, causing her to huff in irritation. "Who could it be this time?" she muttered under her breath. As she stood, she shot him a cheeky look. "Your parents aren't about to show up unannounced, are they?"
He rolled his eyes and laughed. "If they are, I'm equally surprised." He rose and followed her to the door, his hand resting on the small of her back, but staying just out of view.
Alice and Angela were on the porch grinning, each holding out a bottle of wine.
"Happy Birthday!" they called out in unison.
Bella shook her head and laughed. "You guys are crazy, but I love you."
Alice giggled. "We figured that you might want to drown your sorrows, considering that you were all alone on your birthday."
Bella bit her lip. "I wasn't all alone."
"Oh, we meant adult company," Angela replied with a sweet smile.
"My Dad, Sue and Seth were here and brought dinner and cake earlier," Bella replied, deliberately toying with her friends.
Alice rolled her eyes and sighed in annoyance. "Bell-ah," she drawled. "You know what we mean."
"Oh," she replied in fake surprise. "You're worried that I'd be all mopey and depressed because Edward wasn't here?"
Both of her friends looked adorably confused. In the past few weeks, no one had been able to mention his name without Bella looking as if someone had kicked her puppy, but now, she practically radiated with happiness.
"Bella, you're glowing," Alice laughed. "I'd almost wager that you'd got some." Her jaw dropped. "Ohmygosh! DidyoucheatonEdward?" she squeaked, rushing her words together.
Bella shook her head and muttered, "What is it with this cheating nonsense today?"
Angela's eyes narrowed as she heard a muffled sound from behind Bella. She reached out and pushed the door open a little more, surprised to find a very handsome man standing next to her friend. Even if she hadn't seen Edward's picture before, it would have been quite easy to recognize that this was Jack's father.
"Edward!" Alice squealed, wrapping her arms around his waist. "When did you get here?"
He chuckled. "Earlier today, Allie. I wanted to fly in and surprise my girl on her birthday."
He looked over at Angela and smiled, holding his hand out. "Hi, you must be Angela. I'm Edward."
Angela couldn't help but smile in return, glad to finally meet the man who had made her best friend so happy. "It's great to finally meet you, Edward."
Edward knew the exact moment that Alice spotted the ring; an ear-piercing squeal released from her mouth.
"Ohmygosh! Is that what I think it is?"
Edward politely extracted himself from the trio of women, leaving them to their chatting in the living room with an open bottle of wine. Now that he was here permanently, he didn't mind sharing her with her friends for a little while. His body was physically and emotionally exhausted anyway. He took the time to shower and change into pajama pants, promptly passing out not long after his head hit the pillow.
Just under two hours later, Bella made her way upstairs after saying farewell to her friends. It had been a nice surprise and showed her just how much they truly cared about her. When she walked into the bedroom and saw Edward sleeping peacefully, her heart melted. She felt more at ease in this moment than she had in years. It had been a long journey to get to where she was now, but she would never change a thing. Jack meant the world to her and she swore to protect him at any cost. He owned her, heart and soul, ever since the first moment that she had looked into his little green eyes.
She truly meant what she had said earlier; they were a family no matter what happened. So many scenarios had crossed her mind on their way to Chicago, just three months ago. The worst case being that his family would be cruel and take him away from her. The best being that they agreed to let her continue to be his mother and share custody.
She glanced down at her ring and smiled. Not in any one of those scenarios did she ever imagine falling in love with Jack's father and planning a future together as husband and wife. At this moment, life was everything that she had always wanted, but never allowed herself to wish for. She knew, without a doubt, that they were where they were supposed to be now. All of their choices and actions led them here. This was the beginning of their happily ever after and she swore to herself not to take one moment for granted.
She quietly slipped into her pajamas and curled up next to Edward's sleeping form. He curled his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him, muttering her name quietly in his slumber. She clasped his hand with one of her own, a litany of prayer and thanks falling from her lips as she drifted asleep.
AN: So, that's all she wrote. After our epilogue in two weeks, Parachute's completion will be a very bittersweet moment for me. I'm sad to see it end, but I'm excited about my next project! Once again, I thank each of you for your love and support. You've totally made writing this story such a pleasure for me.
One last note, I wanted to thank whoever nominated both myself and Parachute for six Walk Of Fame Awards. Parachute: Angst Goddess, Queen of Hearts and Story of the Year. I'm being completely realistic in our slim chances since we're up against some of the most enormous stories in FanFiction, lol.
I, as a writer, am up for three as well: Rising Starlet, Hopelessly Devoted and Music Maestro. I sincerely hope that you give me consideration if you vote, especially for the Hopelessly Devoted award. It would be a great honor to know that I've done right by my readers in terms of updates and review replies.
I'll see some of you next Friday with the Epilogue teasers and those of you who choose to remain lurkers, I'll see you in two weeks when the Epi posts!