This was my entry for the Quote Me Contest - Second Place in the People's Choice category.
I owe a huge thanks to my beta, HarryTwiFan, for not being afraid to tell me what she really thought!
Quote Prompt: Nietzsche, "The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories."
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns the ridiculous honor of claiming all things Twilight as her very own. Nietzsche owns his wonderful quote. I own the crazy desire to play in Edward's head (and anywhere else he'd allow me.)
The Best Things in Life Come in Threes
I hate the first day of school, but it helps to know this is my LAST first day of school. Forks High School hasn't changed at all in the four years I've been here. There's a good chance the industrial grade carpet and chipped blue lockers haven't been replaced since my parents were in high school. A few of the teachers may have been here that long, too.
I've known some of these girls almost my whole life, and most of them aren't any more mature than they were in elementary school. Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory stick out their chests and bat their eyelashes as I walk by, like that will make me finally take notice of them. They can't seem to understand that I haven't had any interest in them since they both tried to kiss me on the merry-go-round. Even my kindergarten self somehow knew they were sluts, a fact which has since been confirmed by every other guy in Forks and even a few in Port Angeles.
Well, every other guy with the exception of my two best friends, Jasper Whitlock and Emmett McCarty. Jasper hasn't looked at another girl since sixth grade when he noticed Mary Alice Brandon on the playground. Her spiky black hair and bubbling pixie personality are the perfect offset to Jasper's laid back attitude and surfer dude blonde hair. Emmett has been hooked on Jasper's twin sister, Rosalie, since eighth grade. They are the typical high school 'it' couple. He looks like a bodybuilder, and she looks like a cover girl with her blonde hair and blue eyes.
Sometimes it's hard to be the only single one in our group. It's not like I'm a bad looking guy. My mom's Irish heritage gave me green eyes and some red in my brown hair, which does whatever it wants no matter how hard I try to tame it. I've dated a few girls, but the girls in Forks just don't interest me. Besides, I don't really have time for a girlfriend because I'd rather spend my time writing music and practicing with the band.
Two years ago, Jasper, Emmett, and I started a band called Eclipse. Actually, we've been hanging out and making music for years; we just finally decided to call ourselves a band. I play guitar or keyboard, Jasper plays bass, and Emmett's on drums. Jasper and I both do vocals, and Alice and Rosalie are the backup singers. People are starting to recognize our name because we've played at a few parties and local festivals. There are always a lot of girls in our audience, and I think some of the guys show up just to see Rosalie and Alice on the stage. We practice in my parents' garage almost every day because there's nothing else to do in Forks anyway. Well, at least not when you're single.
I grab my schedule to see what I have first hour; English with Mr. Berty. I slide into a seat in the back row just as the bell rings. Mike Newton sits down in front of me, leans over, and asks Tyler Crowley if he's seen the new girl yet. Apparently the Chief's daughter came to live with him. Mike knows he needs to move fast before she figures out what a loser he is. His zits are the only part of his face that has outgrown the baby stage, but he still somehow thinks he's God's gift to women. According to Alice, Jessica is the only girl in Forks that would go out with him, but I'm pretty sure that's because she would actually go out with any guy.
"Isabella is so hot," Mike says. "I walked her to her History class. You should have seen the way she was looking at me, dude. I'll totally be hitting that by this weekend."
I roll my eyes and silently thank Mr. Berty for interrupting Mike before I start vomiting or laughing in his face. "We have a three-part assignment that will span the entire year. I'm only giving you the first portion today. Keep it in your binder until I ask for it again. Please write down three of your dreams."
He can't be talking about sleeping dreams, can he? I mean, only little kids would tell each other about those. We're seniors. We don't talk about stuff like that. Besides, the only thing I remember about my last dream is that it gave me morning wood, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to hear about that. He must be talking about what we want to do after high school. That's easy enough. I've had most of that figured out for years.
My first dream is pretty straightforward. I'm a teenage male with raging hormones. I have two best friends who can't keep their hands or tongues off their girlfriends, even if I'm in the same room, and think it's hilarious to give me all of the details about some of the crazy shit they do. It's not like I want those mental pictures of Rose or Alice, but some of their stories do make me wish I had my own girlfriend to do some of those things with. I really need to lose my virginity before I graduate from high school, but there's no way I'm writing that down in case somebody else sees it.
Dream Number One: Get laid.
My second dream might take a little longer to accomplish. Oh God, I hope Number One doesn't take very long. Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, and I all agreed to dedicate two years to the band before going to college. We're hoping Eclipse will be discovered by then, but if it doesn't work out, we'll 'grow up' and move on, knowing that we gave it our best shot. Our first step is moving to Seattle after graduation so more people will hear our music. Seattle's music scene has been the ticket to fame for a lot of bands, and we're hoping to be the next Nirvana, just with a happier ending.
Dream Number Two: Sign a Recording Contract.
The third dream is really part of Number Two. If Eclipse makes it, we'll need to promote our album. Thanks to my trust fund from Grandpa Cullen, I know I have enough money to do whatever I want and go wherever I want, but that's not how I want to live. I want to see the world on my own terms, earning my own way.
Dream Number Three: Headline a World Tour.
** TBTiLCiT **
All morning, people around me have been talking about the new girl, and I hear her name being whispered at several different tables as I walk through the cafeteria with my tray. You'd think these people had never seen a new student. Actually, now that I think about it, it's been a while. The last poor soul to move here was Ben Cheney in tenth grade. It took months for people to stop staring at him, but he's dating Angela Weber and fits right in now.
When I get to our table, Alice is sitting in Jasper's lap and Rosalie is whispering in Emmett's ear. Judging by the horny look on Emmett's face, it's not anything I want to hear, which probably means I'll hear all about it later.
"I have Spanish 3 with Bella," Alice says out of the blue. "I just know we're going to be great friends. Have you guys met her yet?"
"Yeah. She was in my History class," Rosalie answers. Rose is really nice once you get to know her, but it takes her a while to open up to people. Because of her looks, most people just assume she's stuck-up and don't even bother trying to get to know her.
I shake my head, and Jasper and Emmett just shrug their shoulders. I told you they don't notice other girls.
The girls start talking about Bella's hair and clothes and whatever else girls talk about, so I tune them out and talk to the guys about the new song we're working on, but that only lasts a few minutes before Alice starts kissing Jasper's neck and Rosalie is whispering in Emmett's ear again. I finish my apple and stand up to head for Biology. Better to be early than watch my friends suck face for ten more minutes. It seems like Mrs. Cope got so tired of seeing them all in detention that she just ignores it now.
When I open Mr. Banner's door, I see a girl sitting at the far back table where I planned to sit. She has long brown hair that hangs to the top of her ass, which looks pretty nice in those jeans. She doesn't look very tall, but it looks like she probably has a nice figure. This must be Bella because I already know all of the other girls at this school.
As I walk toward her, she turns to glance at me. She is absolutely beautiful. I look into her caramel-colored eyes, and instantly feel myself harden. I quickly sit down in the chair next to her before she can notice that I'm having trouble walking because my dick is trying to bust out through my zipper. She smiles shyly then looks back down at her notebook. Even though she shakes her hair down to hide her face, I can see a blush coloring her cheeks.
"Hi, I'm Edward," I stammer. Why am I nervous? And since when do I notice the color of a girl's eyes?
"Bella," she replies. The sound of her voice is not helping the situation in my jeans. What the fuck? Raging hormones or not, I do not get random boners. My dick suddenly thinks it's a compass and she's due north. I really need to think about something else, something scary, like the Chief shooting me in the nuts when he finds out I'm having these thoughts about his daughter.Yep. That cured it.
"So how is your first day going?" I ask. Even though her dad carries a gun, I can't stop myself from talking to her. I want to know everything about her. She seems different from all the other girls around here, although I can't for the life of me figure out how I know that after hearing just one word. One thing is for certain, none of the other girls at this school affect my body the way she does.
"Well, it started out pretty bad," she shudders, no doubt recalling her introduction to Mike Newton, "but it's looking up."
My eyebrows shoot up as I realize she's actually flirting with me. I smile like an idiot until I notice her eyes are glazed over and she doesn't seem to be breathing. Jasper teases me about dazzling girls with my lopsided smile, but I've always thought he was full of shit. Most girls just act stupid and try to flirt with me, but none of them have had this reaction. Just as I start to think about the possibilities, she shakes her head and blinks at me.
"Where did you move from?" I begin. Bella tells me about her move from Phoenix while the other students wander in. We have to be quiet during the lecture, but I'm not ready to stop talking to her, so we pass a piece of paper back and forth.
What's your favorite food?
This continues for the rest of the hour with me asking every random question I can think of. She blushes bright red when she tells me green is her favorite color. Someday I'll need to find out what that's all about. Her taste in music makes me smile, but I still want to know more, so I pass it back to her one more time just before the bell rings.
Can I give you a ride home?
I walk Bella to P.E. and can't stop smiling all the way to Calculus.
Even though I'm holding her elbow, Bella manages to slip and slide down her icy driveway then she stumbles into the passenger seat when I open the door for her. I chuckle to myself at her clumsiness as I jog back around to my own seat and lean over for my morning kiss. This has become our routine in the last four months. At first, she tried to tell me I could just stay in my seat and honk, but I explained to her that my mother raised a gentleman. Besides, I think it might earn me some points with the Chief, too.
We pull into the school parking lot and park in my usual spot next to Emmett's huge red Jeep. Alice and Rosalie jump in the back seat of my Volvo where it's warm, and I climb out to talk to Jasper and Emmett. Every couple of minutes, I glance over at Bella. She always looks up right then, as if she senses my stare, and smiles when our eyes meet. Emmett, being his naturally goofy self, makes gagging sounds whenever he notices. Right. Like the way he looks at Rosalie isn't just as pathetic.
When the first bell rings, I walk Bella to History on my way to English, earning a glare from Mike Newton as we walk by his locker. You'd think he would be over it by now considering Bella told me that the only time she has even spoken to him was when he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer and followed her to class on her first day of school.
"Remember the assignment we started on the first day of school?" Mr. Berty asks once we've all quieted down.
I grab the paper out of my notebook and look at what I've already written.
Number One: Get laid.
Number Two: Sign a Recording Contract.
Number Three: Headline a World Tour.
Things have really changed in four months. Number One came true a lot faster than I even dared to hope. I smile to myself, thinking about Christmas…
"It's time for the second portion. Now please write down three friends." Mr. Berty's voice breaks me out of my thoughts, but not before the damage is done.
Needing to get rid of the uncomfortable tightness in my jeans, I close my eyes and shake my head, trying to clear my mind of memories of that night with Bella. I need to think about something else, something gross, like Jasper'saunt bringing fried armadillo to the last family reunion. Yep. That did it.
That's easy. Jasper and Emmett and I have been best friends since preschool. A few months ago, it would have been hard to come up with a third person because we don't really hang out with any other guys, but there's no question now.
Bella, Jasper, and Emmett.
I stare at the paper and wonder what it means that I listed Bella first. Jasper and Emmett are like my brothers, but Bella is so much more than a friend. I wrote it that way without even thinking about it, which must prove that I really do love her, not that I had any doubt.
I love the last week of school, especially since this is my LAST last week of school. All of the students are excited, especially the seniors. You can practically feel the energy in the hallway as I walk Bella to class, give her a quick kiss, and head for English. As usual, I slide into my seat right as the bell rings.
"Good morning," Mr. Berty begins. "Please take out the assignment I gave you at the beginning of the year. It's time for the final portion of the assignment. Please write down three memories."
Without a doubt, they'll all involve Bella. In just nine months, she has become the most important thing in my life. I can't believe I'm saying this, but she's even more important than Eclipse. She is my world now.
My first memory has to be the night I achieved Dream Number One.
On Christmas day, I open presents and eat dinner with my parents, Carlisle and Esme, just like we do every year. During dinner, they both laugh at how obviously impatient I am to get to Bella's. They're happy I finally have a girlfriend, plus they both really like her. Mom always tells me she's just happy to see me happy.
I'm pretty sure they know I spend several nights a week at Bella's house while the Chief is at work, but they never mention it. I think they'll ignore it as long as I don't make it too obvious. Besides, if I get caught, I know they can claim ignorance because my car is always in our garage. There's no way I can park anywhere near her house in case the Chief drives by, and I don't want her neighbors to see me coming up the street, so I just ride my bike through the forest. That's the shortest route between our houses anyway.
After hiding my bike in the trees behind her house, I check around the front of the house to make sure the Chief is gone, straighten my gray t-shirt, run a hand through my unruly hair, and knock on Bella's back door. It slowly pushes open from the force of my knock, but Bella isn't in the kitchen.
"Bella," I call, stepping inside.
"I'm upstairs," she answers.
I lock the back door and head up to her room like I have so many times in the last couple of months, but nothing could have prepared me for what I find.
Bella's room is dark except for a few candles, Claire de Lune is playing so quietly I can barely hear it, and Bella is lying on her bed wearing only some tiny thing that looks like pieces of red lace and white fur held together by a few strings. She's trying to look confident, but I know she's nervous because she's blushing and biting her bottom lip.
I step slowly toward her and climb onto the bed. Before I know it, we're kissing and touching, removing most of my clothes as we explore each other. We've had some pretty intense make-out sessions, but we've always left most of our clothes on. I fumble around, but can't figure out how to get this sexy thing off Bella, so I finally ask her to take it off before I destroy it. She loosens it somehow and slides it off her shoulders and down her legs. I can barely remember to breathe as I have my first look at Bella completely naked. She's gorgeous, of course. She reaches over and lowers my boxers. I don't think she even knows she does it, but she licks her lips when she sees my dick standing at full attention.
We haven't said a word since I entered her room, but we both know exactly where this is headed. Fully naked now, we're lying on our sides facing each other. I graze my right hand over her perfect tits and continue lower, rubbing and teasing her until she's squirming around on the bed. Her left hand is stroking me exactly how she knows I like it, and I know I won't last much longer.
I gently push Bella onto her back and move myself between her legs. Her eyes are closed, and I worry that she's having second thoughts. "Baby, we don't have to do this if you're not ready. From what I've heard, it's going to hurt your first time," I try to prepare her.
She blinks her beautiful brown eyes at me and smiles. "I'm ready. I know you'll be gentle, Edward."
"I love you, Bella," I whisper. It's not the first time I've told her, but it seems like the right time to repeat it.
"I love you, too, Edward," she answers as I kiss the corner of her mouth and continue along her jaw.
Moving as slowly as I can, I push into her. She feels so amazing; better than I ever imagined. As soon as I'm all the way in, I stop moving and wait for her to relax. I can feel her grip on my shoulders loosen, so I start moving slowly in and out. Soon, Bella is moving against me, and we develop a rhythm.
As predicted, I can feel myself moving quickly toward release. I reach between us and slide my fingers against Bella's sex, hoping I can make this as good for her as possible, but knowing there's no way I'll last long enough to fully satisfy her. The feeling of finally being inside Bella pushes me over the edge embarrassingly quickly. Now I get what Jasper and Emmett have been talking about; using my hand doesn't even begin to compare to being inside Bella.
I rest my head on Bella's shoulder while my breathing evens out, then I withdraw to go clean up. That's when it hits me. Shit.
"Um, Bella…" I begin.
I can't imagine the look on my face, but it obviously gives Bella the wrong impression. Rejection moves quickly across her features and tears well up in her eyes.
"No, no, baby," I have to reassure her that I don't regret this moment. "That was incredible. I love you, baby. But there's something we forgot."
She blinks up at me in confusion, and I watch understanding dawn in her eyes. "Oh my god," she breathes.
"It'll be okay. I'm sure nothing will happen this time, and we'll just have to make sure we're more careful from now on," I tell her, unable to hide my smile at the realization that there will be a next time. Looks like I need to make a trip to the pharmacy. Even though this was the first time for both of us, I can't believe how irresponsible I was to forget a condom.
At the beginning of the year, I had been too embarrassed to write down that I hadn't lost my virginity yet, so instead I wrote, "Get laid." When I look back on it, there is nothing about Christmas night with Bella that could be called, "Getting laid." We made love. There's no other way to describe it. Am I man enough to write that down now? Hell, yeah.
Memory Number One: Making love to my girlfriend.
My second memory is a direct result of Memory Number One.
Bella and I spend the first few days of spring break at the beach in La Push. On Monday, she packs us a picnic lunch, and we spend the whole day just lying on the sand, talking and kissing and only going into the frigid water when we get too hot. We hurry back to her house as soon as we know the Chief has left for work. A bunch of people from school show up on Tuesday. We don't get any time to ourselves, but it's a fun day of surfing and playing games. Wednesday, Jasper and Alice ride with us, and Rosalie and Emmett come later. I notice Bella and the girls whispering about something, but don't think too much about it.
Thursday morning when I stop to pick Bella up, the Chief has already left to cover an early shift. As I step into the house, Bella pushes past me up the stairs and into the bathroom. My eyebrows shoot up when I hear her throwing up. For a few seconds, I'm not sure what to do. She probably doesn't want me to see her like this, but I can't just stand here when she obviously isn't feeling well. Screw it. Bella needs me. I push open the door and hold her hair away from her face, rubbing her back with my other hand.
"Edward, you don't need to watch this," she mumbles.
"Shhh. It's okay, Bella. I want to take care of you," I tell her. She immediately bursts into tears, which scares the shit out of me. "Bella, are you okay? Talk to me. You're scaring me, baby."
She cries for a couple of minutes, then stands up and washes her face. As she walks out of the bathroom, she reaches for my hand and pulls me toward her room. She pushes me down into her rocking chair and climbs into my lap, burying her face in my neck. I have absolutely no idea what's going on, but I wrap my arms around her and stroke her hair.
After a few minutes, Bella reaches behind me into her night stand and grabs something. This silence is driving me crazy. I have to know what's going on. Of course my mind is assuming the worst. I don't even want to consider that she might be breaking up with me, so I'm relieved that she's not pushing me away.
"Bella, please talk to me," I plead.
She brings her hand around in front of me and opens her fingers. I stare at her hand, not understanding why she is showing me a thermometer. Then I take a closer look. Instead of numbers in the window, this thermometer has two little blue lines. I can feel Bella watching me as I slowly realize what I'm looking at, and I instinctively know that my initial reaction is very, very important.
With some effort, I manage to keep my face neutral for a few seconds while I let this sink in. Bella is pregnant. We are pregnant. We are going to be parents. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Am I scared? A little. Am I angry? No way. Am I excited? Yeah. Yeah!
I look up at Bella's face. She looks so scared, waiting for me to say something. I need to choose my words carefully, but I can't let her worry any longer. My beautiful Bella should never have to worry about telling me anything.
"Bella, I'm not sure how you feel about this, but I'm happy. I love you. I know this isn't something we planned, but we will be fine – no, better than fine. We're going to be a family," I try to reassure her.
"Oh, Edward, I was so afraid. I don't want you to think I did this on purpose," she cries. "I know I surprised you on Christmas, and I should have thought it through better. I didn't even think about condoms, and of course you didn't even know what I was planning. I would never try to trap you like this, Edward." She's rambling so fast she has to stop to catch her breath.
"I know you would never do that, Bella. Besides, you can't trap me because I'm yours, willingly. We're in this together." I pull her against me and kiss the top of her head.
Once she realizes I'm not upset, she relaxes against me, and we talk about what this means for our future. She hasn't been to the doctor yet, but we know she got pregnant that first time on Christmas because we've been careful every time since then. The more we talk, the more excited I get; so excited that I almost forget to be afraid of telling the Chief.
Finding out I was going to be a dad was definitely one of the most memorable moments of my life. Other than the night I had to face the Chief, I haven't regretted it for one second. He turned bright red and reached for his gun, but when Bella quietly told him she would move out if necessary, he calmed down pretty fast. It's obvious from some of his comments that he wishes we had waited, but that seems to be based mostly on his own experiences. He's always very careful to make sure Bella knows he doesn't regret having her, just that the timing could have been better. In my favor, I think he knows that I truly love Bella and will do whatever is necessary to take care of my family. Like me, he just wants her to be safe and happy.
When we told my parents, they were understandably concerned; again, mostly because we're so young. But they seem to understand that the feelings Bella and I have for each other are different than most teenagers. This is it for both of us. Now, my mom can hardly wait for September to get here so she can meet her grandbaby.
I know Bella is going to be a fantastic mom. She has a natural tendency to take care of others and put their needs before her own. Sometimes I worry about what kind of dad I'll be, but my parents were great role models who taught me a lot about patience and understanding. As long as I approach things the way I know they would, everything will be great.
Memory Number Two: Finding out that I'm going to be a dad.
My third memory is almost as life-altering as the second. It's amazing how in sync Bella and I are. If I didn't already know we were meant to be together, our similar plans and goals would have made it obvious. I have my two-year plan with Eclipse. As it turns out, Bella promised herself a couple of years to write and try to publish a book before she goes to college. With plans so similar, it will be easy for our lives to merge.
As soon as the shock wears off after Bella tells me she's pregnant, I find myself in my bedroom, contemplating my future. I've known for some time that I don't want to be without Bella, but I'm even more certain now. I love her, and I know she loves me. We fully intend to raise this baby together, but I want to do it right. I want to be a real family. I want Bella to be my wife, preferably before she becomes the mother of my child.
I wander downstairs to my dad's study and knock on the door.
"Come in," he calls.
"You got a minute, dad?" I ask.
"Of course. What's on your mind?"
"Well, I know most people don't consider the order that Bella and I are doing things to be the proper way, and I don't really care what they think. But I think there's something I can do that will make this a little easier for people to accept, and I want to do whatever I can to make this easier on Bella. Don't get me wrong; I'm not doing this just because Bella is pregnant. This is something I would have done eventually no matter what," I clarify.
"I think I know where you're going with this, but what do you have in mind?" he asks. My dad is the greatest at giving advice by talking you into solving your own problems.
"I'm going to ask Bella to marry me," I tell him confidently.
Dad doesn't even need to answer me. The smile on his face tells me what he's thinking as clearly as if I were reading his mind. "I think that's a great idea. Your mother and I have been hoping you'd decide to make it official, even though we already feel as if Bella is a part of this family," he grins. "Would you like to see Grandma Masen's ring? You know your mom's been saving it for you."
I nod eagerly as my dad moves toward his safe. I had forgotten all about my grandma's ring. The diamond is big, but not too big for Bella's taste, and the ring has a delicate look to it. It's perfect.
** TBTiLCiT **
I have been desperately trying to come up with the perfect plan for proposing, but nothing seems just right. Bella isn't interested in over-the-top, outrageous scenes. My proposal needs to be a heartfelt gesture that reminds her that we are meant for each other.
Luckily for me, the perfect opportunity presents itself one beautiful spring morning.
Bella packs a picnic lunch, and we set off on a hike, hoping to find a waterfall. I help her over fallen branches and large rocks as we follow the stream upward. We push through some fern leaves and find ourselves facing a small, perfectly round meadow. Purple, white, and yellow flowers are in full bloom, and the sun is shining right in the middle of the open circle like a scene you would see on a postcard.
After spreading the blanket, we sit down to eat our lunch. Neither of us wants to hike any higher, so we get comfortable on the blanket to relax for a while. While we're talking, Bella leans against my legs, holding my hand in hers and rubbing gently up and down my forearm, almost putting me to sleep. That's when inspiration hits me.
I sit up slowly and take Bella's left hand into mine, rubbing gently as if I'm just returning the massage. She closes her eyes and tilts her head back, enjoying the rare sunshine and soft breeze, completely oblivious to my subtle movements. When Bella reopens her eyes, I am up on one knee with the open velvet box in my right hand.
"Isabella Marie Swan, I love you. You are perfect for me in every way. You are my world. I promise to love you every day of forever. Will you do me the extreme honor of agreeing to be my wife?"
Before I can finish, Bella is sitting in my lap, kissing my face, saying, "Yes! Yes!" over and over.
Bella agrees with me that we should be husband and wife before September so the baby can be born as an official Cullen. Neither of us wants a huge wedding, instead opting for a small ceremony in my parents' backyard, so it shouldn't take very long to plan. Even though I know she'll be beautiful no matter what, Bella wants to walk down the aisle before she gets too big. Since there is no reason for us to wait, we're getting married on June 30th.
Memory Number Three: Proposing to Bella.
"As some of you may have noticed, this assignment isn't actually being graded," Mr. Berty announces.
Obviously several people, like Newton, haven't figured that out yet. Mouths drop open, shoulders slump, eyebrows rise, and people start mumbling. It should have been obvious, considering school is out in three days and Mr. Berty has never even asked to see these papers.
"I gave you this assignment to get you to reflect upon your lives. You're leaving high school and heading out into an unknown future. Sometimes it helps to know where you've been, where you're going, and who your real friends are."
His words make me wonder what Bella wrote down for this assignment. I'm not insecure about her feelings for me, so it's not like I'm looking for an ego boost, but I'd love to hear about her dreams so I can be sure to do whatever I can to help her achieve them. I'm sure they have something to do with writing books, but I wonder what else she dreams of. It's a little surprising that we haven't already talked about this, but it just reminds me that no matter how well I know Bella, there is always more to learn.
Mr. Berty continues, "Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher who wrote about religion, morality, and science. Nietzsche said, 'The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories.' He had a fondness for metaphor and irony, and he often questioned the value and objectivity of truth."
I tune out the rest of Mr. Berty's speech and think about the number three. I think the best things in life really do come in threes. In three days, I will graduate from high school. In just over three weeks, I will marry Bella. We will move three hours away to a three-bedroom house in Seattle with our best friends – three couples. And in three months, our baby will be born. Maybe we'll have three kids…
** TBTiLCiT **
On the drive to Bella's house after school, I remember that I want to ask her about Mr. Berty's assignment. "Hey, Bella," I begin.
"What did you write for Berty's 'best things in life come in threes' assignment?" As I say it out loud, I realize how nosy it sounds. I know we don't keep secrets from each other, but we also don't demand answers. We just naturally seem to tell each other everything. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to," I add.
"I don't have any secrets from you, Edward. Don't be silly!" she laughs. "I'll show you when we get inside."
I follow her inside and sit down at the rickety kitchen table while she reaches into her backpack. She sets a piece of paper in front of me and then begins to get out ingredients to make enchiladas for dinner. I only hesitate for a second before I start reading:
Fall in love.
Publish my first book.
Travel the world on a book tour.
Making love to my boyfriend.
Finding out that I'm pregnant.
Edward proposing to me.
As I set the paper aside, dumbfounded by the similarities to my own paper, Bella starts giggling.
"What's so funny?" I ask.
"My first dream," she answers vaguely. I raise an eyebrow, tilt my head, and look at her until she continues, "I really wanted to write 'Lose my virginity,' but I was too embarrassed."
My mouth drops open, and my eyes grow wide. "Bella, you truly are my soul mate," I marvel.
Ten Years Later
Bella and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary this weekend. I'm not sure how it's possible, but I think I love her more every day. We can't keep our hands off each other, usually acting like we're still in high school. Of course, she's still just as beautiful as she was then. Actually, she's even more beautiful. Motherhood and adulthood have filled out her figure in all the right ways.
Carlie, our daughter, will be ten in a few months. She has Bella's long, beautiful hair and my green eyes. I have been completely wrapped around her little fingers since the day she was born.
Six years ago, Bella gave birth to our third child – and our second. Twin boys. Jacob and Seth both have my crazy hair, but Bella's brown eyes. They have bottomless appetites and are already very tall for their age. They remind me of puppies with great big feet that you just know they'll grow into some day. Sometimes I worry about what our grocery bills will be like during their teenage years.
Bella is finishing her third book. Her first two were mysteries, but her publisher is anxiously awaiting the romance novel she is working on. She won't let me read it until it's done, but I'm pretty sure it's our story. I can tell because she gets a dreamy look on her face when she's trying to decide how to word something, and then she'll smile and blush and start typing as fast as she can.
Eclipse is touring to promote our third album. Our first World Tour kicked off just three years after we moved to Seattle. We finished our second album less than two years later. Our second tour, with several young kids along, was a lot of work, and Bella and I agreed that touring wouldn't even be an option once Carlie started school.
Around that time, everyone's priorities changed. It took almost five years to finish our third album, and we're scaling back on this tour. With careful planning, we were able to schedule this tour completely during the kids' summer vacation. We all have more important things in our lives now, so we're giving ourselves a little more time to enjoy them. We're just hoping we've made enough of a name for ourselves by now that we can promote our album with fewer shows.
The best thing for Bella and I is that her publishing company, Black Books, and Eclipse's record company, Denali Records, are affiliated, so we were able to match our schedules without too much difficulty. Bella doesn't make a lot of personal appearances, but she's always been able to schedule them in the cities that we're playing in.
We were on the road so much those first five years that all three couples continued to share the house in Seattle, but at the end of the second tour, Bella and I knew it was time to buy our own place. We found a beautiful three-story Victorian that sits on a large piece of property with plenty of privacy and room for the kids to play. I think Bella fell in love with the wraparound porch and all of the windows, but my favorite feature is the man cave in the basement.
Even after touring together for years, we managed to stay the best of friends. Our houses in Seattle are within a mile of each other, which the girls say is to ensure our kids all go to school together. All I know is it makes it easy to hang out with the guys.
Emmett and Rosalie got married in Italy during our first tour. Four years ago, they adopted two baby girls from Russia. Tanya and Irina are beautiful little girls who look so much like Rosalie that most people would never guess they were adopted.
Jasper and Alice got married about a year after Bella and me. Where Bella and I had an intimate backyard wedding, Alice coordinated a wedding so extravagant it should have been televised. Their son, Brandon, is just a little older than our twins. They say he was conceived after our first concert in Paris. Bella and I say that's too much information. Apparently I was wrong in thinking that I wouldn't have to hear those stories once we left high school.
Bella's dad still lives in Forks, but he plans to move to Seattle next year after retirement so he can spend more time with his grandkids. My parents moved to Mercer Island last year after Dad took a position at Virginia Masen Hospital. I always knew my dad was a man of outstanding character, but he proved it again when he interviewed right along with all of the other candidates and didn't tell anyone he was married to Virginia Masen's daughter until after he was offered the position. Bella was shocked when I told her that's the same Grandma Masen whose ring is sitting on her left hand.
My life has already exceeded all of my wildest dreams, and it just keeps getting better. I know I owe it all to Bella. Together, we have achieved our dreams and created fantastic memories. And I think the best is yet to come.
The best things in life really do come in threes.