Edward was acting…strange.
I knew that he was up to something, but I couldn't figure out exactly what. He was as sweet and loving as ever—doting, attentive, flirtatious, playful, and of course addicted to kissing and petting my tummy—but a few things had caught my attention. The way he always kept his phone in his pocket, never letting me see it. The phone calls he would take at some pretty inopportune times—and that he would walk outside to answer. The trips to town.
I kept asking him about it, and he kept giving me the same answer:
"I'm pulling a surprise together, sweetheart. Don't worry your pretty little head about it."
And then he would always kiss me silly, effectively distracting me.
Emmett seemed to be in cahoots with him, but Em always gave me a similar answer. I figured that if Emmett approved of Edward's plan, it would be okay, so I tried not to worry.
I just focused on my bugs, my poppyseeds, and my therapy with Jasper.
It was actually coming along quite nicely. I wrote the letters he suggested, kept a journal, and even submitted to his "self-esteem boosting" homework assignments. Life still wasn't one-hundred percent peachy, but it was getting there. I still had my meltdowns, my moments of self-doubt, my panic attacks from thoughts of Jacob, my need to control everything around me, especially the parenting of my children…but it was okay. Jasper was working me through it, and Edward was loving me through it.
One Saturday I woke up to an empty bed and a quiet house, which was extremely unusual. Now that EJ and Abby were in toddler beds, they usually climbed into bed with me and Edward in the mornings. I looked at the clock and saw that it was after nine AM—extremely late for me, not that I was surprised, because carrying twins in your belly and twins in your arms wears you out—so I figured that Edward had taken them outside or something.
I rolled over in bed to lounge around some more until my face connected with a sheet of paper.
Confused, I sat up and read it.
Good morning, my love.
I'm taking the bugs to my parents' house. I have a day planned for just you and me. Take your time and enjoy your quiet morning, but plan to go out for lunch.
I love you so much.
I couldn't stop the smile on my face. Did this man have any idea how sweet and perfect he was?
I rested in bed for a few minutes before finally heaving myself out. Undressing for a shower, I stopped and looked at myself in the mirror. God, I was really showing. I had a definite bump that protruded from my body, and my breasts were looking bigger, too. Edward had noticed this last night, and hadn't been able to take his eyes off of me. (Or his hands.) But today I seemed to look really pregnant. There would be no hiding this.
Because I felt a little self-conscious, but mainly because I missed him, I snapped a picture of my naked belly and texted it to him with the message, Do I look ridiculous yet?
His reply was almost instantaneous. You look gorgeous. I wish I was there to make you feel gorgeous.
Come home and join me for a bath.
No dice. I'm working on your surprise.
I rolled my eyes, but couldn't help but smile. I really didn't deserve him.
After I showered, I pulled on a new blue maternity top that Alice had bought me. I still wasn't big enough to only resort to maternity clothes, but this was a beautiful shirt that would carry me through the next month or so. It was low-cut enough to tease my boyfriend but loose enough to mostly conceal my belly from the public. Maybe they would just think I was getting fat…
After I was dressed, groomed, and primped, I sat at the kitchen table and slowly ate an apple, relishing the quiet. I loved my kids, but they were quite loud, to say the least. I couldn't imagine what it would be like when I had four kids screaming and squealing and giggling and chatting and crying.
My thoughts were interrupted when Edward finally came home. He entered the kitchen with an exultant but secretive smile on my face. "Hey, beautiful," he greeted me with a kiss. "You taste…fruity."
"The poppyseeds were starving," I explained, rubbing my belly. "But I saved room for lunch. Where are we going?"
"It's a surprise," he replied, his hands cupping my belly. "Do you trust me?"
"Yeah, right. You totally do. Do you need to use the bathroom?"
"No, they're giving bladder a vacation today."
"Then here, let me do this."
I was surprised when he lifted a blindfold and tied it over my eyes. "Comfortable?" he asked me after it was secure.
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
I couldn't see anything. "Uh…six?" I guessed.
"Nope. You're good to go." I felt him peck my lips. "I'm going to lead you to the car."
"Is this really necessary?" I asked him petulantly.
I sighed ostentatiously, but still smiled, so he knew I just enjoyed giving him a hard time. He laughed and playfully swatted my bottom before he led me through the house, being extra careful on the porch steps. After we defeated those, he opened the door to his Volvo-I recognized the beeping from the key fob-and helped me sit down.
"Comfy?" he asked as he buckled my seatbelt for me.
"As comfy as I can be when I'm blind."
"Good." He closed the door.
I tried to use my memory to figure out where we were headed. I knew he was definitely going into Forks, past the police station...past the bank...past the souvenir shop...but then he took a turn on a road I rarely used, and then another turn.
"Are you trying to confuse me?" I asked him.
He giggled-literally giggled-which made my heart turn flips. I blindly searched for his hand on the gearshift and finally squeezed it. He laced our fingers together and brought my hand to his lips for a kiss.
I don't know how long we drove, but finally, I was completely lost as he put the car in park and cut the engine. I unbuckled my seatbelt and waited for him to come help me out. When he did, I couldn't tell by the smells and sounds where we were. It was very quiet, almost like it was secluded, but it didn't smell like the woods or anything.
"Just let me lead you," he murmured, kissing my forehead.
"I'm trusting you..."
He took my hands and led me slowly down something that felt like concrete. We walked up a few wooden stairs, across more wood...and a door opened.
"Step up, darling," he told me, helping me through the door. Whatever building this was didn't smell familiar. We finally came to a stop, and Edward quit touching me.
"Okay," he finally said. "You can look."
I ripped off the blindfold and looked around. We were in an empty house? Somewhere I had never been before. It was pretty, but it was empty. No furniture whatsoever.
"Where are we?" I asked him.
He smiled exultantly and held up something small and silver. "Welcome home, my love."
I stared at him, uncomprehending. "What?"
"Welcome home," he said again. "Surprise. You are now a resident of 17 Eclipse Street."
I continued to stare at him. "What?"
"I bought us a house," he replied softly. "Surprise."
My mouth fell open. On one hand, it was really quite...bold...of him to do this, but on the other hand, it was...ridiculously romantic. I knew that Edward wouldn't have
bought it unless he knew I would absolutely love it.
So, I ran.
I ran through the house, looking at every room. And of course Edward had bought a house that I absolutely loved.
When I had seen every feature, he led me to the fifth bedroom. He paused outside the closed door and took my hand. "I know that one day, the poppyseeds will want their own rooms," he smiled at me. "But I thought that until that day comes, this could be your room."
I didn't understand. "Wait, what? You don't want to share a room with me?"
"Um, of course I do," he rolled his eyes. "But I thought you'd want a room for this."
He opened the door, and instantly, my breath caught in my throat. My boyfriend had stocked the room with canvases, easels, and more acrylic paints and brushes than I knew what to do with. Furniture was already in the room, with a comfortable chair to paint in and long shelves of art supplies.
"Oh my god, Edward," I whispered. "Are you serious?"
He nodded with a grin. "Bella, that painting you gave me for Christmas..." He sighed, admiringly, and shook his head. "You have extraordinary talent. I want this room to be your outlet, your sanctuary, your place to love yourself and your art."
Damn pregnancy hormones. At least, that's what I would blame when I started to cry.
"Bella," he chuckled. "Don't cry. And I even have a key to keep the bugs out of this room. I imagine that would be quite the disaster."
"Edward, I love you so much," I choked.
"As I love you, darling," he smiled at me, kissing my hairline. "But I have another surprise."
"Humor me," he grinned crookedly before walking to a corner, where canvases of all sizes were leaning against each other. He looked behind the stack of canvases and pulled out a medium-sized one. "I don't have any artistic ability whatsoever," he grinned, "but I've been told I have nice handwriting, for a guy. Don't laugh, okay?"
"Just show it to me," I laughed, rolling my eyes at the way he guarded the canvas against his stomach.
He laughed with me before falling to...one knee.
I gasped as he turned the canvas around to face me.
It was simply white, but in blue paint, he had scrawled across it in his perfect handwriting: Will you marry me?
"Edward," I choked again. "Oh my godl."
He smiled amusedly at me before swallowing hard. "I wanted to do this the right way," he replied. "I wanted to provide you with a warm, safe, beautiful home untainted with any bad memories. Somewhere that you and our children can feel safe. Somewhere we can make wonderful memories, starting with this."
My mouth fell open as he pulled something sparkly from his pocket.
"Isabella Marie Swan?" he smiled at me. "I promise to love you-and our children-forever. Every single day of forever. And I promise to always be there for you and for our family. To love, honor, cherish, and protect the five loves of my life-EJ, Abby, our two poppyseeds, and you. So...will you marry me?"
And I couldn't help it. I still blame the hormones. Edward says it was his romantic expertise. Either way, I broke down into tears and hysteria-the very best kind of tears and hysteria.
He just watched me as I blubbered and freaked out.
Naturally, it was humiliating.
I finally calmed down. "Wait," I murmured, my eyes darting around. "I want to do this in a fun way, too."
I grabbed a canvas the same size as his and found a large paintbrush and a tube of green paint. Keeping the face of the canvas away from his eyes, I quickly wrote, "Yes!" on the canvas.
When I revealed it to him, my heart melted. Because he started to cry.
"God, Bella," he whispered, dropping his canvas and running to me. I managed to safely put the wet canvas on the floor before he swooped me up, spinning me around and kissing me silly, just like when we found out I was pregnant.
"I love you I love you I love you I love you," he chanted.
I laughed and continued to kiss him.
Finally, I pulled away. "Where's my ring?" I teased him.
He grinned and took my hand, slipping the rock onto my hand. I instantly recognized it as Esme's engagement ring. Oh my god-I had a Cullen family heirloom.
I was about to be a Cullen.
"I thought it was perfect," he murmured, kissing it as soon as it was secured on my finger. Esme and I had the same ring size-how convenient. "Four sapphires...beautiful, unique treasures, just like our four children."
"Damn, I love you so much," I gasped before kissing him again.
Many, many moments later, we dropped to the ground. "Wait," I said, pulling away from him as soon as his hands slipped under my shirt. "Are there any more surprises? There won't be a surprise party in the backyard or anything, will there?"
He smiled at me. "No, love. I wanted to share this with you and only you."
"Okay. Then yes, you may undress me."
He was prepared, of course. Some time later, we were wrapped up in a blanket on the carpeted floor, snuggling, sated, love-drunk. I couldn't stop looking at my new ring.
"So have you thought of a date?" he teased me, kissing the hollow behind my ear. Like we had time for thinking.
"Mmm," I purred. "Tonight."
"Ha. But seriously."
"Seriously," I said. "I want to be married when our poppyseeds are born. And I don't want to look too terribly pregnant at my wedding. Alice could probably find some creative dress to hide my bump. We could go to the town hall and have a little reception at our house afterward for the family."
"Not tonight," he replied. "Alice can't even work that fast. And I'm not going to the town hall. We can have a small ceremony at my parents' house. Like Alice and Jasper, except without the designer dress and huge guest list. Next weekend."
I stared at him. "Would Esme and Carlisle care?"
"Bella, you're too smart to ask such stupid questions."
I laughed. "Okay, you're right. Well...let's call them and book their house. For Saturday."
"You're serious," he murmured.
"As a heart attack," I replied.
"Okay," he grinned at me. "Let's do this."
They're engaged! They're engaged! They're engaged!
Okay. Keep calm and review!