Happy Friday everyone! Here is the last chapter. My-Bella thank you so much for your friendship, your awesome red pen. Hope4more, my dear friend, I hope you are having a great vacation, you are missed.
Pictures of Bella's bracelet and their loft and the awesome banners that Noelle_Seven and Pixiefanpire made for me are up on my blog. Thank you to you both for the great banners you made.
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters, plot, names, nicknames are all the property of the author. Unauthorized use of such material is plagiarism. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. And Of course just in case that doesn't cover it, Stephenie Meyer owns anything and everything relating to Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
February 14, 2012
"Be careful when you head home, Sweetheart," Edward's voice warned through the phone. "The snow is already sticking and coming down pretty hard."
"I will, I promise. What time do you think you'll be home?" I asked, wanting to surprise him tonight.
"As long as the roads aren't too bad, it should be around the usual time."
"I love you, Bella."
"I love you too. Thank you again for my roses. They're beautiful," I told him as I looked towards the corner of my desk where the crystal vase sat filled with a dozen long stem red roses.
"They're not nearly as beautiful as you are, Mrs. Cullen. Happy Anniversary, Baby." His voice was low and seductive as he spoke and I couldn't wait to get home tonight. No matter how many times he said it, I still got all warm and tingly inside when he called me Mrs. Cullen.
"Happy anniversary to you too, and you be careful too."
"I will. Love you."
"Love you too."
"Shit." I cursed the weather as I hurried across the freshly covered parking lot on the way to my jeep. It had only been two hours since I talked to Edward, but there had to be four inches of snow on the ground already. "Why couldn't the snow have waited just a few more hours before it had begun to fall and causing everything to be an frozen mess," I groaned as I continued my trek across the slippery surface.
One Year. It was one whole year today. Today was Valentine's Day, which meant it was my and Edward's one year anniversary. It was hard to believe that much time had gone by already. It may not have been the easiest year of my life, but it was certainly the best. That was all I could think about as I tried to keep from falling. Thank goodness I'd had the foresight to bring my boots with me just in case the storm hadn't held off as long as they had expected it to. Stupid weather forecasters. I was rushing to get to the grocery store so I could fix my husband a special dinner to celebrate our day.
Reaching my Jeep, I clicked the button on the keychain remote to unlock it before quickly getting inside and out of the blustery winds that were howling with the strengthening storm. Buying the jeep had been the first big purchase Edward and I had made together as a married couple. We had left the car I'd had in Forks behind so my parents could sell it for me. Once they had, that money was put with the small savings I'd had to buy the jeep for me. Edward had said with me having it he would never have to worry about me being stuck in the snow, that if there was too much snow on the ground for the jeep, then there was probably too much snow to be out at all.
There had been a few of those days over the course of the past year and I was certain we were about to have a few more. A huge low pressure system was making its way up the east coast and was expected to dump anywhere from ten to twenty inches of snow on us before it moved on. The local weather people had said that once it started snowing, it wouldn't stop for quite a while. This was part of my reason for being in such a hurry and the other was I wanted to beat Edward home so that I could get dinner done and surprise him with not only a great meal, but with the new negligee I had bought just for today.
I smiled to myself as the events of the last year played through mind while I drove to Food-Mart, the local grocery store. For the most part Edward and I had been shrouded in our own little world of marital bliss. But not everything had gone as smoothly as we had hoped it would. Our biggest setback had been before we'd even left Forks. The day after we'd returned to Forks, I went to visit with my boss and had been greatly disappointed when she hadn't been able to agree with my idea of mailing manuscripts back and forth for me to edit. She had been concerned about them being lost and ending up leaked to the public before they were published, much less edited. It would not only have been a nightmare for the company, but horrific for the authors who had poured their heart and souls into the stories they had written. But as disappointed as I had been, I could see her point and knew I had no real argument to counter what she had said. She had been sad to see me go, but had suggested to me the names of a few places where she thought I might have some luck getting a job in the Boston area and had also offered to write me a letter of recommendation.
Our next setback had come when I had been unable to get a job at any of the three places that had been suggested to me as well as a few others I had discovered on my own. While being impressed with my resume and the outstanding recommendation from my former boss, none of them had had any openings at that time. Being unable to find a job had left me feeling as though I was letting Edward down and I wasn't fulfilling my share of the responsibilities of our marriage. Despite the fact Edward had assured me he made enough at the law firm he was working for, I had still worried and that had led to some minor arguments between us. Edward just didn't get why it bothered me and didn't think it should be an issue. But I was eventually able to somehow explain it to him so that he finally got it and it was never a problem for us again. At least we were fortunate that we didn't have to worry about rent since Carlisle and Esme had purchased the small loft apartment we lived in for Edward as a graduation gift and his acceptance into Harvard Law. There had still been gas for our vehicles, food and all the other necessities of life, but not having to worry about rent was a big relief to us.
Three months later, just when I had thought I'd go stir crazy from being home all day while Edward was either in class or at work, I had gotten a call from the head of editing at Meyer Publishing. A week later I had gone on an interview and had been offered a job on the spot. Their assistant editor had put them in a tight spot when she left to go on maternity leave and had called them unexpectedly with the news she was not coming back. Her loss, my gain, was the way Edward and I had both seen it.
Once I had settled into my new job, things went pretty smoothly from there on out. That wasn't to say that Edward and I didn't have arguments from time to time or that I didn't hate there were times when he didn't come home until late at night due to school work or research he was doing on whatever case his firm was working on. It was such an instance that had led to our first big blow up at each other. Edward had been needed to stay late at work and had forgotten to call me. When he had finally made it home past eleven at night, I had been scared something horrible had happened to him and furious that he had not called me. One thing had led to another and Edward had slept on the couch that night. We had both been miserable the whole night and after that we had agreed to talk things out before they got that out of hand again, and to do our best to never go to bed mad at each other again. So far we had been able to stick to it.
As I pulled into the lot at Food-Mart, I was extremely relieved to see that I had beaten the mad rush for all the essentials everyone seemed to stock up on when there was an impending snow storm. I made my way through the store, getting what I needed for dinner tonight, a bottle of wine and some stuff to get us through the next couple of days in case the storm was as bad as they were predicting it to be. After double checking my list and making sure I had everything, I paid for the groceries and drove home as fast as I safely could given the hard snow falling outside.
The snow made me think back to Christmas. Both sets of our parents, as well as Alice and Jasper, had come here to spend the holidays with us. We had a great time showing them around Boston and had a lot of fun when as one of our Christmas presents, Carlisle and Esme took us all to a nearby ski lodge for New Year's weekend. We all had a wonderful time despite my propensity for being clumsy. On the last day there, I had managed to somehow get my skis tangled with Edward's and had sent us both tumbling down the slope. Thank goodness it had been the beginners slope and mostly empty. We both had some bruises and I had a slightly sprained ankle. But given what our injuries could have been we were grateful to come out of the mishap basically unscathed.
Alice had always been one to keep up with all the gossip from the rumor mill, and she had brought some news of all that was going on back in Forks. While most of it had been just small town gossip, there had been one bit of news that was pretty big. When Edward and I had left Forks last year, I had known that Mike was going to take the trip we had planned for our honeymoon. While in Italy he met a girl who was in her last semester of college and studying abroad. Alice said that Mike's sister Lauren told her that Mike and Katarina had hit it off right away. Lauren told Alice that once he'd returned home they had talked on the phone, emailed and chatted through Skype every chance they got and that Mike had been happier than she had ever seen them. Turns out Katarina was from Portland and when she returned there to graduate, Mike had spent the entire summer there with her. By September, Mike had announced to his parents that he had found a new job and would be moving to Portland to live with Katarina.
I remembered Alice giggling when she had said that Olivia had a fit and had insisted that Mike do no such thing. Apparently though, Katarina was the real deal for Mike as he had told his mom that she could either accept Katarina and his choice to move or she could forget he was her son. Alice had then told us that Olivia must have accepted his decision because Mike and Katarina had gotten married two months after he had moved and Olivia was now all aflutter over her new daughter-in-law. I was sincerely happy for Mike and that he had found who he was meant to be with.
My drive home didn't take too long, and before I knew it I was pulling into my spot in our parking garage. Slinging my purse and laptop bag over my shoulder, I then opened the storage compartment in the back of the jeep and took out the bag containing the negligee I had purchased for today. I had kept it hidden there so that Edward wouldn't find it in the house. Next I grabbed the bags of food and after locking the jeep, I trudged into the building where our loft apartment was. It wasn't a huge loft, since it had originally been meant for just Edward, but it was perfect for us and we'd had fun decorating the open space together to make it ours.
Standing in front of our door, I reached up to insert the key in the lock when I found a pink post-it note stuck to the door. It said, "I love you", on it. I smiled remembering that due to my early morning meeting, I'd left before Edward and figured he'd placed it there for me to see when I got home. It wasn't unusual for Edward to find some sweet way to tell me he loved me. I would often find a note in my lunch, my purse, on the fridge, on my pillow or even on the bathroom mirror when it would steam up from my shower. But it was unusual for me to find more than one in any given day and when I closed the door I saw there was another post-it note stuck to the back of the door. This one said, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways".
I turned around and saw several candles had been lit throughout the apartment and there were several more post-it notes placed all around it as well. Not only were there candles and the notes, but I could smell that something had been cooked recently and the table was set for a romantic dinner for two. I smiled realizing Edward must have already been home when he had called me. Our apartment was one big open loft space which allowed me to see everywhere except inside the closets and the bathroom. I scanned the apartment for him and even though I didn't see him anywhere, I knew he had to be here due to the candles having been lit. He would never go off and leave them burning. So I made my way to the kitchen counter and put away the refrigerated foods.
I then began to read all the notes one by one. I started with the one on the fridge door. It said, "I love the way your hair feels like the softest strands of silk when I run my fingers through it". The next note was actually two together on the cabinet door. The first one said, "I love the way you pretend to still be asleep in the morning until I kiss you". And the second one said, "I love the way you smile after I kiss you first thing in the morning".
I continued making my way around the apartment, reading each note. One said, "I love the way your eyes darken and look like molten chocolate when we make love". Another said, "I love the way you fit perfectly in my arms". Others said, "I love the way you sing in the shower" and "I love the way you watch me when you think I'm not looking".
But the last one, which was actually a folded piece of pink construction paper instead of a post-it note attached to a red velvet jewelry box, was my favorite. My name was written on the outside in red crayon. When I opened it up and began to read, I couldn't stop the stream of tears that fell as I did.
My beautiful wife,
I love you because you're you, because you're mine, because you are my forever valentine. Inside the box you will find a bracelet with a heart on it. But it's not just any heart. It's special just like our love. It's a continuous heart shape of two interlocking hearts which are a symbol of love shared and everlasting. That is how I see our hearts, Bella. Intertwined and locked together forever, bound to one another by our love, forever beating as one.
All my love forever,
I swiped the tears from eyes so I could see better and opened up the box. The bracelet was beautiful. It was a chain link design with a heart shaped charm on it that was accented by diamonds. The heart was just as Edward had said—two hearts interlocked with one another. Immediately wanting to wear it, I removed it from the box.
As I did, I heard footsteps coming closer to me and Edward say, "Would you like some help with that?"
By the time I had nodded my answer he was already next to me. "It's beautiful," I choked out in barely a whisper. I was so overcome by all that he had done—the roses at work today, the notes, the bracelet and its meaning; I could hardly speak as he helped me put it on.
"Hmm, yes it is. But as I told you earlier, not nearly as beautiful as you."
I smiled knowing there was no point in arguing with him. To Edward I was the most beautiful thing in the world and his love for me made me feel like I truly was.
"You were home doing all this," I said motioning my hand towards the candles and the pile of notes sitting next to the box my bracelet had been in, "when you called me this afternoon, weren't you?"
That cocky, lopsided grin I loved—my grin—spread across his face. "Yeah, I was. I wanted to surprise you."
"You did," I said as I rose up on my toes and gave him a soft kiss. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he whispered as his hand slid up my arm and around to the back of my neck. His fingers slid into my hair as he cupped my head and held me in place, leaning forward and brushing his lips softly against mine once, twice, three times before covering my mouth with his and kissing me passionately.
The chemistry between Edward and I was like an unquenchable flame burning brightly. It didn't take long for things to get heated between us. We continued to kiss and it wasn't long before he picked me up and carried me the short distance to our bed. Not wanting to let go of one another, we kept on kissing between removing each other's clothes.
As the last piece of clothing hit the floor, I noticed that our loft had grown dark except for the soft illumination from the candles. It was perfect and just enough light for Edward and me to be able to see each other as he lifted me in his arms and set me in the middle of our bed. I laid back on the bed and held my hand out for Edward to join me and he wasted no time in doing so.
"I love you," he whispered as he crawled up the bed until he was on top of me and had himself positioned to make love to me.
"I love you too," I murmured as our bodies became joined together as one.
We took our time making love to each other. We savored every touch, every caress, every surge of desire and pleasure that we gave to each other. Later after we had completely exhausted one another and the candles had been blown out and the dinner Edward had made had been put away for tomorrow, we were lying in bed wrapped around each other drifting to sleep.
I thought about how just a year ago we had come so close to never having what we have now. We were incredibly lucky. Some might say that the first year of marriage was the hardest, but we'd made it through all that had been thrown at us and I couldn't wait to see what all the years we had ahead of us would bring.
Edward was my forever valentine, the love of my life, and the other half of my heart. He was all I would ever need to feel whole.
I hope you enjoyed reading this little love story as much as I did writing it. For those of you who have read The Game That Changed It All, next I will be working on the outtake of Edward getting inducted into The Baseball Hall of Fame. I know you have been waiting a while for it and I apologize for that.
Thanks for reading, let me know what ya thought.