Disclaimer: I don't own them...
"What the hell am I doing?" I ask myself as I look in the mirror. I am a successful photographer. I am a good person. How did I get into this mess? And why the hell am I okay with this? "Fuck," I said to myself as I looked in the mirror.
"Bella," I heard a knock on the door before it opened. "Are you okay?" I turned to look at the man standing in the doorway. He was dressed in a black suit with a ivory colored tie that matched my dress.
"Yes, I'm fine," I said quietly. "I'll be right out." I turned back toward the mirror and retouched my makeup, made sure my hair was in place and did a quick spin in the mirror to make sure my dress was okay. As I turned I noticed the ring on my left hand. I closed my eyes to stop the tears from flowing and took a deep breath. "Let's go." I have an engagement to announce.
We walked out to the car waiting to take us to the hotel where the engagement party was being held. I looked out the window trying to calm my nerves. Very important people would be at this party tonight, people that now hold influence over my future. I turned to look at the man sitting next to me. This isn't his fault. He is the one helping me here. As much as I want to be angry with him, I can't. And I don't understand this need I feel for him. It's making me crazy but I need to make this work somehow; his life is now altered as well.
"Edward," I said quietly. He turned to me and then pushed a button to lift the screen between the driver and us. I moved closer to him so I could speak without being overheard.
"I'm sorry," I said quietly trying to keep my emotions under control. "I know that this isn't your fault and that you are just trying to keep me safe," I paused and closed my eyes. "But why did you do it? Why sacrifice for me?"
He shook his head and looked out the window. "I don't know," he said quietly. "I wouldn't, haven't ever done this for anyone else." He turned to look at me then. "No one was supposed to be in that warehouse. I checked and double-checked all of the schedules. I knew that there was a photo shoot in the morning but figured everyone would be gone before we showed up. Matt was supposed to search the building before…" he stopped and turned back to the window, his jaw clenching. "He didn't, obviously, and when I saw you there on the stairs…there was something about you that made me want to protect you." He looked over at me. "I don't know how else to explain it. Hurting you wasn't an option." I looked at him stunned for a few minutes trying to understand what he was saying. He turned back to the window and I couldn't help but enjoy the warm feeling that started in my chest.
I nodded, resolved at what I would do. Really, the only option I had anymore. "I'll do whatever you need me to do, Edward. I'll be your partner or your friend, whatever you want. I won't ask questions." I took a shaky breath and closed my eyes. All my resolve gone, "I'm scared."
He took my hand and looked me in the eye. "I know. I won't let anything happen to you. We'll make this work." I nodded and tried to give him a reassuring smile but a sob escaped instead. He pulled me into his arms, "We'll be okay, Bella," he soothed me. "If we had met under different circumstances, I would have pursued you," he said quietly and I looked up at him. He wiped my tears with his thumbs. "I am attracted to you and I will do everything I can to show you. This is all happening in the wrong order but let's just get to know each other. We can make this work without anyone knowing how it started. I'm committed to you. I won't do anything to make you think otherwise. I'll take care of you." He took my left hand and looked at the ring on my finger. "I'll be a good husband to you. You can trust that. I will honor our vows."
I nodded. This is it, this is my life and I accept it. The conventional way of meeting a man, dating and falling in love will not happen to me. But I could feel the sincerity behind his words. And the attraction is mutual. He's a beautiful man. He's very quiet, very private but does not hold back his emotions from me. I have noticed that over the past week. He has a mask in place with everyone else. He only speaks when necessary and only shows affection to his mother, and now me. But when we are in private, he smiles and laughs and we have conversations without words. I do trust him. Maybe its stupid considering how I ended up in this position but I do trust him, completely.
"I'm committed to you too. This is all very…" I couldn't find the words and I looked at our entwined hands. "I feel a pull toward you that I've been trying to ignore. But I won't anymore. I'll let you in. I want to let you in." I looked into his eyes searching for anything that would make me think this can work. He seemed to be doing the same thing. "I'll be a good wife to you, I'll take care of you too," I said. And then he leaned in to kiss me. It started out soft and chaste, lips on lips exploring. We had only kissed chastely in front of his family. This was new and nice. And then something else seemed to take over; I could feel something pulling me to him, tying me to him. I opened my eyes to see Edward looking at me with surprise and I gasped. Did he feel it too? He leaned into me again slipped his tongue into my mouth and grasped the back of my neck, pulling me closer to him. But it wasn't enough. My hands grabbed at his neck pulling his hair. There was a hum around me that I'd never felt before. The next thing I know the door was being opened and Edward and I pulled apart. The driver apologized and closed the door quickly allowing us a few minutes to collect ourselves.
Edward chuckled and then rubbed his hand on his neck smoothing his hair. "That was interesting," he said. I could feel the blush taking over my face. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to collect myself. And then looked over at Edward, he placed a small chaste kiss on my lips. I wiped away the lipstick from his mouth and smiled.
I pulled the compact out of my purse and checked my make up, reapplied lipstick, and smoothed out my hair. After another deep breath I looked at Edward and said, "Let's do this."
We walked into the lobby of the Omni Hotel hand in hand, and I was still flushed from our make out session. I noticed a large group of people to our left and tensed up. Edward squeezed my hand and whispered, "I'll take care of you." He leaned in kissing me on the lips and looked into my eyes to assure me. I nodded as he pulled away and I touched my lips. He smiled at me and leaned in again, "you taste amazing." My breath caught and he was kissing me again, his hands tight around my waist. The room disappeared as Edward took over all of my senses. I brought my hand to his cheek as he started pulling away. "So do you," I whispered. He wrapped an arm around my waist and flashed a brilliant smile and then he pulled me toward his family.