DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property to the respective author. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
"When you trip over love, it is easy to get up. But when you fall in love, it is impossible to stand again."
-Exactly One Year Later-
The velvet box made a loud snap every time I closed it, only to make a creaking noise when I opened it back up. The action of opening and closing it, getting a brief glimpse of the diamond, was soothing to me. It was a compulsive tick, and it distracted me from the stresses of Mack Curtis and company.
The job of my dreams was slow going, and foolishly, I'd assumed that I would've had my own corner office and be the top architect in Arizona by now.
In reality, I was an errand boy, personal assistant to all the suits. If they needed coffee or someone to go pickup their dry cleaning, they would nod their heads and watch me come running. Faithful and true…like a fucking lap dog.
Hell, I had to start somewhere.
It could be worse. Mack could've stuck me in the mailroom. Where would I be then? At least this way, I could learn from the talented men around me. And if I just keep working hard, and showing them my ideas, I'll be a working Architect in this firm in no time.
On the upside, the money wasn't bad. Not exactly the three figures like I hoped, but it was still decent. It helped pay the bills, and even some I got to save.
"Cullen, get in here," Mack hollered at me, poking his head out of the office briefly, only to disappear around the large oak door.
"Yup," I grumbled, standing up and slipping the box into the inner pocket of my suit jacket.
Making my way into Mack's office, I saw him standing by his drafting table with his two business partners, Jeff Darcy and Steve Hooper. They were talking about a project in Tempe. It was a big account, worth a lot of money. They had been going over ideas for the past week now. The stress was palpable up and down the halls of the office. People were all on edge, and to make matters worse, they couldn't seem to come to an agreement. The client had been very unsatisfied with the progress thus far, shooting down every design.
If they didn't come up with something soon, the client was going to pull out, and the fat account would be lost—which brings me back to my role in all of this. Well, let's just say that, lately, errand boy had become punching bag boy, bitch boy, and go get me a hooker boy.
Those titles, demeaning in ways, didn't bother me. I'm a submissive with fresh welts on my back, rope burns on my wrists, and a chastity belt on my cock. Needless to say, I've grown quite accustomed to the treatment.
I'd been standing in the doorway for nearly a minute now, and nobody had even looked up. They were deeply immersed in the design plans, talking in low voices, and arguing.
I took another step into the room and cleared my throat. "Did you need something, Mack?"
He peered up and his eyes widened, looking almost thrilled to see me standing there.
It wasn't the reception I'd expected to get.
"Edward," he boomed, taking a large stride towards me. "We need your eye."
"My eye?" I repeated, confused.
He nodded and patted me on the back, leading me over to the table.
"We're stuck and fucking desperate here. We've exhausted all of our ideas, and if we don't come up with something soon, we're going to lose the biggest account that this firm has ever seen. Our reputation is on the line here. You understand?"
"Yeah," I said, peeking over Jeff and Steve's shoulders. They noticed me gawking, and like Moses with the red sea, they parted and gave me wide berth to the table. "Tell me what you need me to do."
"Well, take a look at the designs," Jeff snapped irritated, and I could almost feel him rolling his eyes at me.
"Okay," I said, somewhat hesitant.
This was a moment that was going to make or break my career in this firm. The pressure was crushing, and I tried to not be blinded by my anxiety. Closing my eyes briefly, focused on something calming. Bella's beautiful smile and the hard object in my pocket, that kept hitting me in the ribs every time I moved, had done the trick and relaxed my mind in an instant.
Reaching up and adjusting the overhead lamp, I shone the light down on the translucent blueprints. The drawings, ignoring the mediocrity of them, were fucking atrocious. It made me question how they'd been so successful in the past. The drafts of the prototype building lacked imagination and creativity. Everything about it was basic. The lines were off, chaotic, and the strokes were too stiff.
The whole thing was a fucking contradicting mess.
"Can I be frank?" I asked.
"Please," Mack said.
"There's nothing visually appeasing about this design," I said.
"What?" Steve barked. "You're a God damned kid, Cullen. What the hell would you know about visually appeasing architecture?"
Well, now I knew who designed this piece of shit, and really, I wasn't all that surprised. The guy was an asshole, but above all that, he was fucking idiot. I found myself dumbing down my sentences so he could understand them. How in the hell he got to where he was today was beyond me. I could only guess that his connections were far more impressive than his brain capacity.
Holding back my tongue, I shrugged my shoulders and backed away from the table. "I guess nothing."
Steve satisfied with my seeming incompetence, waved his hand at me dismissively.
Mack stepped forward, blocking my path as I turned to leave and gently pushed me back towards the table.
"No, keep going, Edward," he said. "What else do you see?"
"Jesus, Mack, you can't be serious with this shit?" Steve whined.
"We need an outside perspective, Steve," Mack shot back, his aggravation with his partner reaching its boiling point.
"He knows nothing about this business. He's been here, what, a year? All he knows is how to get me a cup of coffee, and even that he gets wrong half the time," Steve said.
His tirade angered me, and at that point, I didn't give a shit if I got fired. I wasn't going to stand there and let this arrogant fucker undermine my intelligence.
And for the fucking record, the asshole doesn't even drink coffee.
"Maybe I don't know anything about this business, but I do know architecture, and this is shit. It's a disgrace to this firm. The axonometric measurements are off," I said, taking a ruler and showing them how one aspect of the design doesn't line up with the other. "But other than that, the arch is misplaced, the portico is slanted. This design is boring and badly constructed. If the client was dumb enough to buy this, the building would collapse on itself within a year's time. You need to scrap it."
Steve glared at me with hatred. Jeff stared at me with his jaw slacked, floored that I had the guts to tell Steve off, and as for Mack? He was nodding in assent and wearing this shit-eating grin. He knew I was more than knowledgeable when it came to designing.
"So, what do you think, Cullen? You got any ideas how we should do to fix this?" Mack asked.
Steve's eyes were bulging out of his fucking skull and his face was beet red. He looked like he was going to explode. I guess he couldn't understand why Mack was entrusting me with their biggest account. I was lower than shit on the bottom of his shoe.
Well, fuck him. This was my time to prove to him, and anyone who questioned me, that I was more than just an errand boy.
"I got a few drawings with some ideas that have been floating around in my head," I said, shrugging, like the shit was no big deal.
Inside, I was praying that they would take the bait.
"Do you have them?" Jeff asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
I nodded, suppressing a smile. "They're in my top desk drawer."
"Let's see what you got, kid," Mack said.
"Have you guys have lost your mind?" Steve stomped and complained as I jogged out of the office and to my desk.
A few weeks back when they were touring the property with the client, Mack had brought me along to aid them in their trivial needs, like water or food, whatever they were in the mood for. It had been quite educational for me; I observed my surroundings with open eyes. The location, the buildings adjacent to the project was giving me such ideas. Inspiration came flooding through my veins and I couldn't turn it off.
That same night, I went home to Bella and told her about the things I could do if they would let me. She encouraged me to sketch out my visions. I was hesitant to do so at first, not seeing what good it would do, but she said that one day it might come in handy.
Lo and behold, she was right.
Grabbing every last bit of my designs, I rushed back into the office and pushed Steve's blueprints aside and spread out my drawings across the drafting table. There was a hushed silence as the men looked them over. I waited with an abated breath, knowing that whatever happened next, good or bad, was going to have a big impact on my life.
"You…you drew these?" Jeff sputtered and tripped over his words.
He couldn't comprehend that a twenty-two year old—well, twenty-three now, it being my birthday in all—could have such an eye and talent for architecture.
"I did," I answered, keeping my tone flat.
"These…where did you get these ideas?" he asked again, his eyes wide with disbelief. "They're brilliant."
"I don't know," I said truthfully. "It just came to me."
"See, what did I tell you guys? This kid has a gift," Mack boasted with excitement. He shook my hand and patted me on the back. "Good work, Cullen. Somebody needs to get the client on the phone. Pronto."
"I'm on it, Mack" I said, turning on my heel and heading back towards my desk.
"Whoa, whoa, wait a minute," Mack said, grabbing me by the arm. "Where in the hell do you think you're going?"
"I was going to get the client on the line," I answered lamely, not sure what the problem was.
He shook his head and threw his arm around my neck, leading me back to the drafting table. "No, I don't think so. That's not your job anymore. Somebody else can do that. No, you're staying right here with me…" he paused and looked over his shoulder, giving his partner a fleeting glance and said, "Steve, make yourself useful and get the client on the line, would you?"
For the rest of the day we labored over my designs, working out the kinks and getting a presentation together. The client was coming out that Friday and Mack wanted me to spearhead the meeting. Everything was moving so fast now and I had a hard time keeping pace. After a year of being ignored and used, the job of my dreams was finally within my grasp...
I couldn't wait to get home and tell Bella.
Home was situated between Scottsdale and Phoenix, two cities that practically overlapped each other. Hell, the entire valley in Phoenix overlapped. Mesa was running over into Tempe, Tempe was running over into Scottsdale, and so forth. Half the time, I didn't know what town or city I was in.
When I arrived here last year, Bella had already bought a townhome in Phoenix. It was close to her dungeon, but it was small. It only had two bedrooms, and with our combined belongings, we soon realized that they couldn't fit into such a compact space.
After a few months of working and saving our money, she sold her place and we bought one together. It was weird taking a huge step like that with her, but at the same time, it felt natural. Besides, who did I have to answer to? It was just Bella and me, and anyone who would disapprove lived thousands and thousands of miles away.
When I mentioned it to my parents, they were concerned that we were moving too fast and lectured me for an hour over the phone. To which, I just rolled my eyes at them. I mean, what were they going to do? Ground me? Hardly.
They were just worried and still getting used to the fact of Bella and me. Not that they didn't like her, they adored her, it was just the hurt that they seen in my eyes during my brief but painful break-up with Bella. It was a necessary evolution to our relationship. I didn't regret the decision that was made to leave her, but I do regret how poorly I'd handled my grief. If I'd known ahead of time where I'd be in a year, I probably would've socialized more with my friends and family.
Live and learn, I guess.
Parking under the carport in our complex, I saw Bella's Audi. She was home. I'd called her an hour ago, seeing if our anniversary/birthday plans were still on for tonight, which of course they were. It was just a ploy to see where she was at.
Today was June twentieth. It was my birthday, but it was also considered our official anniversary. The time before our breakup wasn't completely forgotten, and we did celebrate it when it passed, but today was more important to us. It was the day we stopped fucking around and decided to be together. No more lies. No more barriers. It was just us.
It was also the day she'd given me the best fucking gift I'd ever gotten in my whole fucking life. In her dungeon, in the Edward room, my Mistress had gotten down on her knees and called me Master. She even asked me to tie her up.
In theory, I would make a good Dom. I mean, before Bella I was the one who controlled sex in the bedroom. In reality, I had no idea what to do with such a gift.
My hands had shook and my knees had wobbled, and I'm pretty sure I stuttered like an idiot. It was awkward, and I kept asking her what I should do next…seeking her command at all times.
"Is the rope too tight?"
"Are you sure?"
"Is this okay?"
"You want me to whip you with what?"
Yeah, that shit was embarrassing.
The problem was that I couldn't hit her in the way she wanted. All I wanted to do was touch the skin on her back softly and kiss her delicately on the neck. There wasn't a domineering bone in my body when it came to her.
Naturally, we kept trying, and after a couple times of trial and error, I got the knack of playing Master. These sessions, however, were few and far in between. I enjoyed being her submissive. It was easier for me to fall into and more fulfilling to my needs.
Even if it was a disaster, the memory of her submitting before me was vivid and fresh in my brain, and still had a way of exciting me.
"Bella?" I called out as I entered the house, setting down my keys and briefcase on the foyer table. I shrugged off my jacket and folded it nicely.
There was precious cargo in the pocket and I didn't want to fling it around carelessly. It might dislodge and ruin my plans for tonight. The last thing I wanted to do was to fuck up the proposal.
Bella came around the corner a second later as I entered the living room. It was her day off today. School was out for the summer and Heidi, one of her many Domina's that she had working with her, ran the dungeon on Wednesdays.
Bella didn't like to work on the weekends anymore. Those nights were saved for me.
"Hey, handsome," she said, bounding and jumping into my arms.
I held her up as she kissed me. It was chaste at first, but soon it turned deep, and I groaned into her mouth. She always did this to me.
She pulled away with a smile, and allowing me time to catch my breath. "How was your day?"
"Good," I murmured against her lips, kissing them a few more times and getting my fill…which really was an impossible feat. Nothing, when it came to Bella, was enough for me. I set her back down on her feet. "There was some stuff that happened…"
"Just some stuff. I'll tell you later at dinner," I said, going in for another kiss.
I was an addict.
She jerked her head away and narrowed her eyes at me. "Why can't you tell me now?"
"Why can't I just tell you at dinner?" I countered.
She huffed and puffed, pushing me away. "You're so annoying."
"Yeah, but you love it." I smirked, grabbing her quickly and firmly by the waist before she had a chance to walk away. I yanked her back to me.
She grunted in response, but something was off. I studied her face, noting the way her eyes were tightly shut and her brows were furrowed, making deep creases in her forehead, and all this added up to one conclusion: My girl was in pain.
"What's wrong?" I asked, worried.
She shook her head, waving me off. "It's nothing."
But when I slid my hands up and gripped her around the waist tighter, the pain was evidently too much for her to take. She pulled my hands away, breaking our connection.
Now, I was fucking panicked.
"Baby, what's going on?" I asked, my eyes roaming over body, looking for blood or bruises…anything to explain why she would be in hurting.
"It's nothing, Edward. I'll tell you at dinner."
"No!" I growled. "Tell me now."
"You tell me yours first."
I took a step back from her, eyeing her suspiciously. "Are you messing with me?"
"Not in the slightest," she said, almost a little too innocently.
I really didn't want to tell her until dinner, but I still had the proposal to look forward to…and honestly, I couldn't bear the thought of her keeping something from me—especially if she was hurt somewhere. I was a nosy bastard.
"Fine, you win," I said, my shoulders slumping in defeat.
She grinned. "Don't I always?"
"Pretty much," I answered with a sour and pouting edge to my tone, rolling my eyes.
She played me like a fiddle.
"You go first," she said.
So, I told her everything about Mack and how he called me into his office. How showing my designs to my bosses eventually came into play. The story was brief but detailed, and came out of me in one excited, rambling sentence. Once I got started, it seemed like I couldn't get it out fast enough.
She beamed with pride as I told her about Friday and how Mack wanted me to lead the meeting. This was a huge opportunity for me—for the both of us. We were a team, and my success was her success and vice versa.
When I was done, she threw her arms around my neck and embraced me tightly. "Edward, I am so proud of you."
"Thanks, baby," I said, returning the hug, but steering clear of her upper torso. There was still the matter of her being hurt…somewhere underneath her clothes and hidden from me.
"What did I tell you, huh?" she said, leaning back and nudging me playfully with her elbow.
"You were right...like always."
That was one of the many things I loved about her: That aura of infallibility.
"Well, you know," she said, winking and pretending to pop her collar.
"You're silly." I laughed.
And that was another thing I loved about her, too...deep down and past that hard exterior lied a dork.
"Alright, woman, enough fucking around," I said, my laughter dying down and my tone turned serious, "It's your turn now. Tell me."
Bella nodded once in reply and took off her shirt. She wadded the thin fabric in her fist as she stood there nervously. My eyes searched along her flawless skin, looking for any signs of trauma, afraid of what I might find. The stark white bandage on the right side of her ribcage, secured by medical tape, stood out like a sore thumb and caused my pulse to quicken.
This was serious.
My mind spiraled out of control, thinking about all the injuries that would require such a large bandage. It nearly took up half of her body.
"Jesus, baby, what happened?" I asked frantic, grabbing her by the hips and turning her towards me to get a better look.
"It's not…" she said trailing off. She reached down and slowly peeled it away. What I expected to see was fairly different than what really lied beneath.
Holy fucking shit...
I collapsed to my knees and set back on my heels as I stared up at her fresh ink.
"You…" I couldn't speak.
All I could do was read the phrase tattooed into her delicate skin over and over again.
I desire the fire in my submissives eyes.
There it was, bold and in black ink. She'd copied my tattoo, but instead of hiding it in Greek—like a coward—it was right there in English for everyone to see.
It was even in the same location as mine.
"We match now," Bella said, running her fingers through my hair in a petting and loving way.
Without thought and controlled by my emotions, I sat up on my knees and placed my lips along her tattoo and kissed it softly. This meant the world to me. She was claiming me, making it known that I was hers…and just when I thought it was impossible for me to love her more, she goes and does something like this.
She was the reason for everything and made sense of my life...
"Marry me." I murmured against her skin, peering up at her through my eyelashes, imploring her to say yes.
She stared down at me for a long time, penetrating me with her warm brown eyes. There was so much depth in that one look, and I was only able to decipher a fraction of it. What was she thinking?
"Marry me," I said—no, I demanded.
"Okay," she whispered.
"Okay?" I repeated. "Is that a yes?" I needed to hear her say it.
Slipping out of my firm hold, she slunk down to her knees, and held my face in her hands. She wanted me to focus on her next words as she said them. "Yes. I will marry you."
It was like a nuclear reactor exploding, and I crushed her with my lips. Everything that I'd ever wanted was being realized, and I couldn't contain myself any longer. All the love and need that I possessed for this woman came rushing out of me as I kissed those soft lips, burning the feel of them into memory.
Pushing my chest into her, I laid her down on the floor. As I hovered over her, I placed my mouth on the hollow of her neck and tasted the sweet flesh there. My knee wedged itself in between her legs, nudging them open to make room for me.
Her words echoed in my head on a consistent loop.
Bella slid her hands up my back and into my hair, gripping and yanking at it, eliciting a low growl from me. Lifting my head upwards, kissing along her jaw and eventually attacking her lips once more, I felt my arousal grow…
"Ow," I hissed. "Fuck."
"What's wrong?" Her eyes wide with panic.
"It's the chastity belt."
She bit her bottom lip to stifle a laugh. "I can see where that could be a problem."
"You think?" I sat back up, pulling her up with me as I pondered our options.
Well, on second thought, there were no other opitions. The chastity belt had to come off…like now.
"It's an easy fix, baby," she said, gesturing to the gold chain around her neck with a silver key hanging at the end of it. "But we must do something about these clothes."
Never being the one to need further instructions, I proceeded by loosening my tie, just enough to get it around my head, and cast it off to the side. My fingers nimbly unbuttoned my dress shirt, showing far more restrain than I thought I had.
Glancing at Bella, I noticed that she was further along. She was just in her bra and panties now, waiting patiently for me to catch up.
"Here, let me help you," she said, unbuckling my belt and pants, pulling them down, along with my boxers. I stood up instinctively, stepping out of the clothes and kicking them across the room.
The scattered clothes were thrown haphazardly around the room, making it look like a bomb exploded.
Bella gripped my cock, holding me firmly in place as she slipped the key into the lock. The hard plastic confines were now two pieces and lying on the table next to us. But the effect of my liberation was instantaneous.
There was no more pinching, no more pain, just a growing affection for my fiancée.
"Your turn," I said, nodding to the lacy blue bra and panties she was wearing.
She smirked, lying back down on the floor, looking innocent and delicious. "You want them off? You get them off."
I scoffed. As if that was a problem. "Alright then."
Dropping to my knees, I slid my hands up her legs at a leisurely pace, watching her eyes roll back in her head. She was sensitive to every aspect of my touch, and I capitalized on the luxury to do just that. Because feeling the softness of her skin under my fingertips was a rarity with my Mistress. She often denied me such a treat.
My wrists, still sore and red from the night before, were a shining testament to that.
My hands were on the inside of her thighs now, gradually making a path up her body, only stopping to rub my fingers up and down her clit, causing her hips to buck.
I pulled away from her and sat back on my heels. She propped herself up on her elbows and glared at me.
"Are we being a naughty pet?"
"Maybe," I said, hoping to ruffle her feathers more.
I loved the way her lips pursed in a tight line and her eyes narrow in dissent. She was sexy as fuck when she pouted...so flustered and so horny.
She took the tip of her toe and pressed it up against my balls, sending a sharp pain into my stomach.
"Okay," I grunted, "I'll behave."
"That's better," she said, stopping her assault on me and spread her legs. "Now, where were you?"
"I was right about here," I said, hooking my fingers underneath the thin waistband of her lacy thongs, pulling them down her legs. The bra was the last barrier of fabric to be discarded.
Beautifully naked on the floor, she was ripe for the picking. She was so sexy and obviously aroused; I couldn't keep my hands or mouth off her. Lifting up her leg, I kissed that naughty big toe of hers. I moved my mouth to her ankle, along her calf, up to her knees, and eventually her soft inner thigh. Bit by bit, I worked my way up her body, drawing out pleasurable moans from my girl.
"You're so beautiful," I said, my hands cupping her ass now.
In one quick motion, I raised her hips up and buried my face deep between her legs. The sensitive and responsive clit, I attacked with my tongue. Lazily flicking and licking it, my teeth grazed and nibbled at it. I kissed her sweet flesh, sucking that tender spot into my mouth.
"Shit." She gasped, digging her nails into my shoulders.
Her words were nothing but obscenities now, and I knew it was time to up my game...push her over the edge.
Inserting two of my fingers into her, I curled them up and sought out that G-spot. It was there, I've pressed it before, and when I did find it, I licked her clit and bit down on. She jerked away from me, and both my mouth and fingers slipped away before I could make her come.
I looked up at her worried. "Did I hurt you?"
"No," she panted. "It just got too intense."
"And that's bad?" I asked, still fucking confused.
"No," she answered, reaching up for me, wrapping her legs around my waist and pulled me down. "Come here. Please."
"Okay," I said, obliging to her demands.
She wasn't happy until our skin was flushed with one another. I smoothed back her hair, and stared down at her, wondering what was going on in that head of hers.
"What is it, baby?" I asked. "Did you not like it? I can do it differently."
"No, no," she said. "It was good…amazing even. I just…" she paused, grabbing my face and bringing me down into a kiss. It was brief, but filled with so much that she wasn't telling me outright. She broke away, her gaze fixated on my eyes. She smiled faintly, almost bashfully. "Let's just take it slow, okay?"
"Okay," I said, kissing her lips once more as I shifted my hips into place and slowly eased into her.
I stilled my movements, not going any deeper, and we both gasped at the contact. The feeling of her was so warm and comforting. Each time was like returning home. And I relished the feel of her body surrounding me, entrapping me, and keeping me.
There was no need to rush through this moment, and that was when I realized what she wanted.
Leaning my forehead against her, I allowed my heart to get back to an easy rhythm before I started to move again.
Pushing in and out slowly, kissing her deep and tenderly, our bodies moved together in a synchronized motion. Her hips lifting up to meet my own, our hands clasped tightly together. We stared into each other's eyes; neither of us needing to speak a word, but knowing full well what the other person was thinking. It was all right there, behind those deep and thoughtful eyes: love, devotion, friendship, wanting, needing, and…so much more than I could ever describe.
My pace quickened after that, our need building and building and reaching its peak. Bella rocked her hips, wrapping her legs around my waist, pushing my ass into her, causing me to thrust harder. It was heady now, my vision slightly obscured and I closed my eyes, warding off my impending orgasm.
Bella yanked me down, attacking my lips fiercely and I could tell by the way she tightened around me that she was close.
"Come with me," she said against my mouth.
We tensed together, moaning, and grunting, and as I pushed into her a few more times, I felt her inner walls clench around me and I came with her…just as I promised.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I fucking love you," I whispered back, rolling off and pulling her into my arms.
We lay there, panting and spent, and I couldn't fucking grasp a hold of what just happened. It was very different from all the other times before it because it wasn't forceful or impatient like sex. The orgasm lasted longer, albeit weaker in intensity, but more powerful than any other one I'd ever experienced. It wasn't about the final destination; it was about the journey that led us there.
It meant something more to me in that moment than just getting off…which was a fucking first for me.
"Did you feel that?" I asked, still in awe.
"I think we actually made love."
She laughed softly, sitting up and looking down at me with a loving expression. "Yeah, I know."
A few hours later we were in our bedroom. We made love again, taking it slowly, and enjoying the feel of each other as we explored our bodies, kissing and caressing. It was amazing in every since of the word, and I couldn't imagine a simple fuck being as satisfying...Not that I was ruling it out. I still wanted my Mistress every which way possible. I'm just saying, the change of pace was nice.
Glancing down at the object of my affection, I marveled at her simple beauty. She had her head on my chest and her hair was splayed out and blanking us in her dark brown tresses. My arms were tightly wrapped around her, and I stared up at the ceiling as I replayed her words over and over in my head.
Again, one word had held so much power.
The proposal, on the other hand, was a bust. I was irritated with myself for popping the question like that. It was not what I'd planned at all. There were no flowers, no romance…there was a bended knee, but what did that matter in the scheme of things? It just sucked because I wanted it to be special for her, but like an overzealous idiot, I was so overwhelmed by her tattoo and my love for that it just slipped out.
There was no point in trying to salvage the situation. I'd already asked her and she said yes. The only thing that was missing was the ring.
Oh, shit, the ring!
Peeking down at her, I watched her breathing. It was slow and even, soft and melodic. A year of sharing a bed with her, I was familiar with the telltale signs…
She was asleep.
Gently, I slipped out from underneath her, laying her back down on the bed. She stirred, only slightly, and I stood frozen, holding my breath. After a few seconds of silence, I was confident that she was still sleeping.
Leaving the room as quietly as I could, I tip-toed through the house, completely butt-ass naked. All the shutters were closed, so there was no chance of a passerby seeing my dangling goods.
Rummaging through my jacket, I pulled out the velvet box and opened it. The antique diamond with blue sapphires was gleaming up me in all its magnificent glory.
It was my Grandma Whitlock's engagement ring. My mom had delivered it to me when she was down here visiting nearly a month ago. It had taken me that long to summon up the courage to ask her.
Also, I was waiting for this day...My birthday…Our anniversary.
Walking back to the room, ditching that tiptoeing shit, I poked my head in and was relieved to see that she hadn't moved. She was still lying on her back with her head facing the doorway. It was perfect position because her left hand was exposed, giving me easy access to it.
Making sure to stay silent with my steps, I crept back into the room and crouched down at the side of the bed. I pulled the ring out of the box and eased it on to her finger.
It was a perfect fit, and I smiled with relief. Getting it resized would've been a bitch, and asking her what her ring size was would've tipped her off. Yes, I was lucky that it worked out.
Damn, I thought, fascinated with the way the in pouring light from the windows caught the many facets of the diamond. She's really going to be my wife.
Bella opened her eyes, blinking a few times as she slowly roused from her sleep. She turned her head to the side and her brows knitting together in confusion when she saw me staring at her.
"What's up?" she asked in a sleepy haze.
She hadn't noticed the ring yet.
I smiled. "Nothing. Just thinking about how much I love you."
"Aww, I love you, too," she said, reaching up to cup my cheek. Her eyes widened when she saw the ring, pulling her hand away and sitting up abruptly.
I gulped thickly, nervously watching her face and trying to gage her reaction. She was shocked mostly, holding her hand up to her face and examining it closely.
"Edward," she murmured, glancing back at me with a mixture of fear and excitement. "It's..."
"You're mine now," I said unthinkingly and showing my possessive side.
That diamond on her finger was more than just adornment or something sparkly for her to wear. It was my version of collaring her. A public display, proclaiming to the world, from a fucking mountain top, that she was my girl.
She nodded in agreement, leaning over and kissing me on the lips. "I've always been yours…from the very moment I saw you sitting outside with Emmett. I just was too stubborn to see it then."
"Wait, what?" I was momentarily distracted by this tidbit of information she was giving me. "When was this?"
"At the coffee shop," she answered slowly, tilting her head to the side and looking at me like I was high, "where we first met."
"You actually saw me outside with Emmett?" I was stunned.
She nodded. "Of course, I did. You're kind of hard to miss with all that hair." She tousled it to make her point. "I thought you saw me, too. I mean, you were looking right at me, and when you came inside, chasing me down, I kind of assumed that you had."
I thought back, only remembering seeing the sea of people. Had I saw her and for some reason or another overlooked her in that moment?
No, I would've remembered seeing her because what we experienced was a rare phenomenon…
"It was love at first sight," she said, echoing my thoughts.
"Love at first sight?" I pondered the meaning of it.
It was something that I never really believed existed…not until now.
"You think it's cheesy, huh?" she asked, embarrassed.
I pulled her hands away from her face and smiled, shaking my head at her. She was so absurd sometimes. "No, it's not cheesy. It's kind of perfect."
"Yeah?" she asked, still skeptical.
"Yeah," I laughed. She had no idea how much my life had revolved around her—still revolves around her. "Maybe one day I'll tell you the story about us."
"The story about us?" she asked cocking her eyebrow at me. "I think I know how that one goes, Edward. I was kind of there, remember?"
I scoffed, shaking my head. "You don't know this version."
"Okay then," she said, sensing a challenge. She scooted over and sat up against the headboard, patting the mattress beside her. She smiled. "We've got some time before we have to leave for dinner, why don't you crawl up here in bed and tell it to me."
"Fine," I said, accepting her invitation and getting under the covers. "But prepare to be amazed."
"Oh, I can't wait to hear this."
I threw my arm around her neck and pulled her into me. We both slouched down into the bed and got comfy.
It was going to be a long story…
"Once upon a time, in a far off land, there was a boy who fell in love with his Mistress."
A/N: Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing and sticking with me. It's been a two year journey, and I've had so such a fun doing it. I've enjoyed every minute with subward. He's gone through a lot to gain the love of his Mistress, but he was persistent and in the end, he found his happily ever after. I'm not going to make a sequel of this story. I'll do a few outtakes with BPOV, or a scene of a wedding or something. We'll see…stayed tuned.
To my lovely pre-readers, Brina and Tina, you rock my world and slay my soul ;-P I love ya both very much.