Three years later…
"Bella!" Edward yelled from the bedroom, his voice laced with annoyance.
"What?" I yelled back from my spot on the couch.
I heard his footsteps on the wooden floor as he made his way towards the living room. Seconds later, he appeared in the doorway, wearing only a pair of jeans, his feet bare. "Where the fuck is my gray t-shirt?" he asked, frowning at me.
I glanced at him briefly, then turned my attention back to the TV. "Which one?"
"The plain one."
"It's in the laundry hamper."
"What? Who put it there? You?"
I rolled my eyes, not looking at him. "Obviously. It was dirty."
He huffed, taking a few steps towards me. "Well, I fucking need it."
"First of all, stop fucking swearing at me," I gritted through clenched teeth, turning to glare at him. "And secondly, you have like a billion t-shirts. Why do you need that one specifically?"
He stared at me for a moment before muttering under his breath, "It doesn't matter anymore."
In return to his half-assed answer, I felt my blood starting to boil. I placed the coffee mug that was in my hand on the coffee table and got up in a rush. "I swear to God I'm not washing any of your clothes ever again," I threatened, stomping past him. "Let's see how that suits you."
"Don't be such a drama queen," he said, trailing after me as I made my way into the bedroom.
"I'll show you drama queen," I snapped, opening his closet and searching for a t-shirt. I found a gray and white one and threw it at him roughly. He caught it, and I slammed the door to the closet shut, heading out of the room. "From now on if you want clean clothes you can ask your grandmother to wash them for you."
I entered the kitchen and started washing the dishes he had left behind from the breakfast he'd had earlier. A minute later, I felt his arms wrap around my waist from behind as he pressed his chest to my back.
"Babe," he murmured in my ear, and I could feel on my skin that he was now completely dressed. "Come on. Don't be like that."
"Let go of me," I said, trying to wiggle out of his embrace. "I'm mad at you."
"I'm sorry," he whispered, removing the thin strap of my pajama top and kissing my shoulder lingeringly. "I'm an asshole."
I stopped squirming and sighed, turning around to face him. "You're the biggest asshole on the planet."
He grinned, his arms still around me. "I am. I love you."
I smiled in return, kissing his freshly-shaven chin. "I love you, too."
"I gotta go or I'll be late for class," he said, letting go of me.
He went to the fridge and took out the orange juice, starting to take the carton to his mouth. Just before his lips touched it, he glanced over and saw me silently glaring at him. With a resigned sigh, he reached over to one of the cabinets and took out a glass. He poured juice in it and chugged it down quickly, then started for the door as he announced over his shoulder, "I'm taking you out to dinner tonight."
"I can't go out with you," I answered nonchalantly. "I made plans with Rose."
While Alice and Jasper had decided to go to college closer to home, in Seattle, Rosalie and Emmett had moved to Chicago at the same time we did. While our apartment had been given to us as a gift by Edward's grandparents, Rosalie and Emmett's studio apartment had been bought with her father's money. It was a lot smaller and more modest than ours, but it was nice and homey nonetheless.
Rosalie and I attended the same school while Edward and Emmett each went on their own separate ways. I had been grateful for the opportunity of having Rosalie close by when we had moved far away from home, and our friendship had only grown in the three years we had been on our own in the big city.
It had been three years. Two years since we had finished high school and moved to Chicago and three years since I had last saw James. I knew from uncle Felix he was out of jail, but I hadn't heard from him, and I hoped I never would again.
Part of me still feared that one day I would open the door and find him on the other side, waiting to get his revenge on me. The other part of me had hope that his father was keeping him on a tight leash.
All I could do was live my life and pray that over the years he had finally gotten over me.
Edward stopped in the doorway abruptly. "What?" he said, whirling around with a deep frown. I answered with a shrug. "Well, cancel."
"I can't cancel, Edward. I promised I would help her pick out new curtains for their apartment, and then we're going to have dinner and maybe see a movie."
"What about me?" He was already fuming as he gave me a deadly glare. "I already made reservations."
I waved him off. "It serves you right for making reservations without consulting me first."
"I wanted to fucking surprise you!" he suddenly shouted, making me jump at the sound of his raised voice. His reaction seemed to surprise even him. He took a deep breath, pinching the bridge of his nose and forcing himself to calm down.
"Sorry," I said warily, not understanding why he was making such a big deal out of it. "It's not that big of a tragedy. We'll just go tomorrow."
"Tomorrow is not good enough," he gritted. "Christ, you always have to ruin everything."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I snapped, starting to get angry myself.
"Nothing." He reached up to tug on his hair in frustration. He stood there looking at me as if he was contemplating something, before turning on his heel abruptly and leaving the room. "Have fun with Rosalie."
I heard him grab his school bag and put on his shoes, and a few seconds later the front door slammed behind him forcefully as he stormed out.
~~ 0 ~~
"I don't get it." I threw my hands up in exasperation. "Why does he have to be so fucking... mean?"
"Bella, this is Edward we're talking about," Rosalie said, reaching over to pat me on the leg sympathetically. "He's a jerk. But don't worry, he'll get over it. He always does."
"You didn't see his reaction," I argued heatedly, kicking off my sandals and pulling my legs under me on the passenger seat. "He transformed. He got mad and said I always ruin everything."
She shrugged, her gaze trained on the traffic ahead. "Maybe he's just stressed with school and he's overreacting."
"Over dinner? It's not like him. He usually doesn't give a shit if I cancel dinner plans, and now..." I trailed off, glancing out my window. "Gah! I hate him. He totally ruined my day."
"He's an idiot."
"Yeah. And you know what really bothers me?"
"What?" she asked, stopping at a red light and redirecting her attention to me.
"That he's been like that for the past two or three weeks. I've asked him if there's something wrong, but he insists there's nothing."
"Hmmm," she murmured.
"Hmmm?" I sat up straighter. "What doesn 'hmmm' mean?"
"Nothing," she said quickly, tapping her fingers on the steering wheel.
My heart started to beat faster in my chest as a horrible thought passed through my mind. "Do you think he's cheating on me?" I asked weakly, biting on my lip.
"What?" She looked at me with wide eyes. "No! Don't be paranoid."
"Oh God, he's cheating on me," I said, clutching the edges of my seat tightly as images of Edward in bed with a faceless woman flashed in front of my eyes. "I'm going to kill him."
"Do you even hear yourself?." Rose shook her head incredulously. "What the hell is wrong with the two of you? It's like you've both suddenly gone mad or something."
I ignored her. "I'm going to kill him. Her too. I wonder if she's a blonde. I'll double kill him if she's a blonde. I'm going to fucking castrate him!"
"Bella!" she yelled, slapping my upper arm to get my attention.
"What?" I glared at her through red, jealousy-fogged vision.
"Snap out of it. He's not cheating on you, alright?"
My eyes narrowed suspiciously. Did she know something that I didn't? "How do you know?"
She sighed, shaking her head at me. "Isn't it obvious? That boy is so in love with you, I don't think he can even get it up for another woman."
~~ 0 ~~
Even though Rosalie had tried to convince me that Edward wasn't cheating, the green eyed monster inside me had made its presence known, and he couldn't be easily persuaded to go away. After absentmindedly participating in the process of choosing new curtains and having a quick dinner, I faked a headache with the intent of skipping the movie. Rose didn't seem to buy the lie, but she didn't comment on the subject either. She simply dropped me at home as requested, and with a meaningful look told me to take a nap and clear my head. She drove away, and I hastily made my way upstairs, my mind racing with plans to unmask the unfaithful jerk that called himself my boyfriend.
Edward was in front of the TV, having some steak leftovers from last night's dinner. He acknowledged me with a nod and a mumbled 'hey', then focused back on the TV.
I stood in the doorway, examining his profile carefully, almost expecting to see some kind of evidence that betrayed his 'extracurricular activities.' He must have felt the intensity of my glare on him, because he turned his head to glance at me, his brow deeply furrowed.
"What? Why are you looking at me like that?"
I shrugged on shoulder, doing my best to look nonchalant, when in fact all I wanted was to lash out at him.
"No reason. How was class?"
He shrugged back, not answering. Then, as if remembering something, he peered up at me curiously. "Weren't you supposed to be at the movies or something?"
"No," I replied flatly, turning on my heels and heading for the bathroom to take a shower.
Later that night, after checking his phone and not finding anything incriminating, I grabbed his laptop and sat on the loveseat in the bedroom. Edward was fast asleep, his feet tangled in the sheets as he lay on his back, his arms spread out on each side of him and taking almost the entire bed.
I mumbled obscenities under my breath as I waited for the laptop to power up, my eyes alternating between the screen and the traitor in my bed. He had no idea what was waiting for him if my suspicions proved to be true.
I started with his 'pictures' folder, which of course was pretty much empty aside from some photos of us that we had taken one day in the park, and a few other pictures of his family. I sighed in frustration and moved on to another folder that said 'school'. Again, nothing.
"What are you doing?" Edward's groogy voice echoed through the silent darkness.
"Ah!" I jumped, startled, my heart starting to beat erratically in my chest.
"What the fuck, Bella?" he said confused, propping himself on his elbows to look at me.
"I... I need to check my email," I stammered, instinctively clutching his laptop to my chest.
He fumbled on the nightstand for his phone and glanced at the lit screen. "At two-forty a.m.?"
"Yeah." I bit on my lip, nervous that he could see right through me. "I sent an email to one of my professors, and I want to see if he replied."
He sighed, running his palm over his face. "Just get back to sleep. You can check your mail in the morning."
"Yeah." I nodded. „Give me one more minute."
He started to lower himself back into his pillow when his eyes remained fixed on the object in my hands. "Is that my laptop?"
"Uh, yeah. I don't remember where I put mine," I lied, praying he wouldn't turn his head and see it lying on top of the desk.
"Come to bed," he murmured with another sigh, sinking under the covers and hugging my pillow.
Quicky, I decided to check his mail. A recent email from someone named silver_ink that had a picture attached to it immediately got my attention. I clicked on it, my hands shaking violently. As soon as the picture opened, I almost fainted.
Edward was standing in what semeed to look like his school's campus. He was laughing at the camera, his arms wrapped around the thighs of a blonde that was perched up onto his back. Half of her face was hidden into his neck, her mouth set into a wide grin as her arms and legs were wrapped around him like ivy.
It was all true. He was straying.
A wave of nausea threatened to overcome me, and I fought it with all I had as I got up from the loveseat, rushing over to the bed. "You fucking asshole!" I spat, getting on my knees on the mattress next to him. I yanked the comforter off of him and started hitting his bare chest with my clenched fists.
"What the fuck is the matter with you?" he yelled hoarsely, his eyes snapping open wide in shock as he groogily attempted to crawl to the other side of the bed and away from me.
"That whore is who you're cheating on me with?" I gritted, pointing towards his laptop that I had left lying on the sofa.
He looked at me bewildered, still backing away. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"I can't belive you! I fucking hate you!" I jumped to my feet, starting to pace the room. „I want you to move out of the apartment. Right now!"
"This is my apartment!" he exclaimed, confusion laced with indignation written all over his sleepy face.
"I don't care!" I stomped my foot petulantly. „I want you out. Go sleep at your whore's place."
"Jesus! Have you gone completely insane? What the fuck is your problem? Calm down."
"Don't you tell me to calm down!" I yelled, feeling the suppressed tears finally starting to form. „Get out, you fucking traitor."
"What? I'm not a traitor!" He climbed out of the bed, heading towards me. I took a few steps back and held my hands up to stop him. „I never cheated on you," he said softly, his voice pleading. „What are you talking about, baby?"
"What am I talking about?" I repeated, wiping at my eyes with the back of my hand. I went over to the sofa, grabbed his laptop and put it in his arms roughly. „This is what I'm talking about!"
He looked down at the picture, then up at me. A smile made its way over to his face, but he wiped it off quickly when he saw my deadly expression. "This is Laurie," he simply stated.
I sniffled. "I don't care to know your slut's name."
He groaned, grabbing his hair with one hand and tugging on it roughly, now wide awake. "She's not my slut. Jesus Christ, Bella. She's John's little sister."
John? As in his school buddy, John?
As soon as the words left his mouth, I knew I had made a mistake.
"His sister?" I said slowly, wiping at my eyes again. "But isn't she..."
"Fifteen?" he completed the sentence for me. "Yeah."
My face went red with embarrassement instantly. Me and my stupid impulsivity.
"Oh." I exhaled softly, feeling bad, but visibly relieved. "So you're not cheating on me?"
He let out a dry laugh. "Fuck no. Why would I do that?"
I shrugged, biting on my lip and looking down at my feet. "I-I don't know. You've been acting strange lately. Like you were hiding something."
"Babe…" I heard him sigh. "Did you have your period today?"
"Yeah," I admited sheepishly, still not looking at him. It was amazing how well he knew me. I was ten times more irascible than usual when I was on my period.
"Baby," he said gently as he took the few steps that separated us and enveloped me into his strong, comforting arms. "I would never cheat on you, you know that."
I nodded, hugging him back and burying my face into his bare chest. "I'm sorry for doubting you."
I expected him to start scolding me, or get mad at me or… something. Instead, he took me completely by surprise when he started laughing lowly, causing a rumble to course through his body.
I glanced up at him, not getting what was so funny.
"You should be sorry." He smirked down at me mischievously, kissed my forehead and let go of me.
"What are you doing?" I asked, my eyes following after him as he walked over to the dresser. I watched as he opened his underwear drawer and started rummaging through it.
"Now I'm going to make you feel even sorrier," he said, his back to me as his hand stopped moving. As he pulled it back, I could tell that he was holding something, but it was too dark in the room to actually make out what it was. He turned around and grinned at me as he hid both his hands behind his back.
"The reason I got so mad you canceled dinner today? You messed up my plans."
"What plans?" I said weakly, a knot forming in my throat. I suddenly had a feeling I knew what was about to happen.
He closed the distance between us and abruptly dropped to one knee in front of me. All of a sudden everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. One of his hands came to rest on my thigh while the other came from behind him holding a small black jewelry box.
He looked up at me with big, wide, hopeful eyes, and my legs started shaking violently. Almost reverently, he leaned forward and kissed my stomach, taking a moment to just rest his forehead on it. He took a few deep breaths and glanced back up to me.
I was so shocked, all I could do was stand there, still as a rock, and watch him. Only minutes prior I had been ready to throw him out of the apartment, and now he was proposing? It all seemed surreal; almost like a dream. I wanted to reach over and pinch myself, but I couldn't move. My body was rendered to complete stillness.
"I don't have a speech prepared or anything," he started to say, his voice trembling slightly with emotion. "You know I'm not good with this shit." He chuckled nervously, his hold on me tightening significantly.
It seemed like hours had passed until he spoke again. And when he did, I felt like the air had been knocked out of me.
"Isabella Marie Swan. Will you be my wife?"
A/N *collective gasp*
Oh no, she didn't!
Oh yes, I did!
You wanna find out Bella's answer? You will... as soon as I post the futuretake (ten years into the future). Then you'll find out what happened to this lovely couple.
Thank you so much to all of you who have read so far. Thank you for reading and reviewing and thank you for your encouragement. I managed to complete this fic for you! You are my muse. All of you :)
A big thank you goes to my lovely beta, Nikki. I couldn't have done it without her. I want to thank Susan and Rita who have also beta'd for me and did a wonderful job. An author without beta is like Earth without the sun or something...lol I'm getting philosophical here.
To everyone who spread the word about Her Enigma... THANK YOU!
Thank you all!