Disclaimer: The great Stephanie Meyer owns all things Twilight. I'm just using her amazing characters to tell you a story.
Thanks as always to my pre-reader, Loulabelle, and my beta, AgoodWITCH, for all of the input, great comments and overall support for this. I love you girls so much. And to my WC girls who have encouraged me to keep writing this even though they knew they wouldn't see it for a long, long time.
A huge and special thanks to TracyMelinda for coming up with the idea for this story and allowing me to write it. This story has been so fun to write and I'm thankful that she gave me the freedom to write the story as I saw it play out. I hope I do your story justice, girl.
Travel back in time with me to a place where life and love were simple. When a boy and a girl could believe in destiny and fate and true love that lasts forever. In the early 1900's, Edward Masen and Isabella Swan have this kind of love. Follow these two souls as they live, love, cry and stand together through every step of their journey as they learn the true meaning of Eternity.
CHICAGO – SEPTEMBER 1916
"Here is your tea, Mrs. Smith, and don't forget your sugar."
The clink of the spoon being returned to the sugar bowl was the only sound in the air.
"Now Mrs. Miller, if you want more tea please, allow me."
A giggle floated through the air as tea was served to all attending this very special tea party but the most important guest hadn't arrived yet.
"Hello, Miss Bella."
A little voice carried across the open space between the house and the table.
"Eddie, you're finally here." Her arms were thrown around his neck as she ran to her best friend. "Come on hurry. Your tea is getting cold."
He ran to the table and took his seat next to her. He saw his surprise on the table in front of him and smiled at her.
"Momma baked them, but I did the frosting."
"It's the bestest cupcake ever. Thank you, Miss Bella."
She shoved the candles into the cupcake and told him to make a wish. His eyes closed tight and he blew out towards the unlit candles.
"Happy birthday, Eddie."
"What has put that smile on your face, Miss Bella?"
Mrs. Jones walked back into the room to tie up my dress.
"I was remembering our tea party on Edward's fifth birthday." I turned to face her with the biggest grin on my face. "I cannot believe we've come to this point."
Edward was coming to pick me up for our first walk to the park together. He'd been part of my life for as long as I could remember and years ago our relationship changed when we shared a secret kiss in the garden while he was helping me pick some flowers. He finally built up his courage and asked my father for permission to see me in an official capacity.
I remember walking down the stairs and seeing my parents and the Masens all standing in our family room with huge smiles on their faces. I was confused until I saw Edward nod his head at me and I knew at once that he did it. I wanted to run and kiss him and forget all the manners my parents taught me but in this house, that was not going to happen. So, like the lady I was taught to be, I walked to my father's side and waited.
Edward was so cute as he stood there rubbing his hands on the handkerchief he was holding, his nerves showing clearly on his face. He took a step towards me, reaching out for my hand and I was more than happy to give it to him. He looked at me and I could see my happiness reflected in his eyes as he spoke.
"Miss Bella, will you do me the honor of accompanying me on a walk to the park tomorrow?"
My empty hand covered my mouth and I nodded my answer. He blew out a relieved breath and a smile lit up his face. I felt the tingling in my stomach and my heart start to race as he brought my hand to his lips and kissed it.
"You should have seen him, Mrs. Jones. He was so nervous though he knew I would say yes."
"This should have happened long ago, child. I'm glad that boy finally came to his senses."
I spun to face her. "Now Mrs. Jones, you know father would have never allowed it until I was old enough. I'm fifteen now." A new excitement filled me, making me twirl in circles. "And Edward Masen is coming."
"Now settle down, Miss Bella, so I can finish," she laughed as she stopped my spinning.
Mrs. Jones moved in front of me, pulling another pin from her apron and fixing a stray hair that had come loose and fallen on my shoulder. She bent down in front of me to help me into my shoes so I would be completely ready. Her timing was perfect as the house bell rang, signaling Edward's arrival.
"Oh my goodness." My hand covered my heart and my breathing went out of control. "Oh my goodness."
I should not be acting like this. This was my best friend…my Eddie. The boy who, when we were five, shared 'the bestest cupcake ever' with me. The boy who, at age nine, grabbed my hand and walked me around a puddle on the sidewalk so my dress didn't get dirty. The boy who, at thirteen, picked a flower for me and kissed it before handing it to me. Now, he was the boy who, at fifteen, asked for permission to court me.
"Hold still, child." Mrs. Jones chuckled as she grabbed my shoulders to hold me still.
My head kept turning to the door in anticipation. Things had changed so much between Edward and I throughout the years. I always believed that we would be by each other's sides for our entire lives. It wasn't until the day in that garden that I knew our lives and hearts were meant for so much more than friendship and yesterday he proved that he believed it too.
I heard the faint sounds of voices and I was sure it was my father greeting Edward as he walked through the door. That thought didn't help me calm down at all as my heart raced faster. I started to fan my face as the temperature in the room seemed to rise.
"Miss Bella, please calm down." Mrs. Jones placed her hands on my cheeks. "That is Mr. Edward down there and he is no different today than he was when he gave you that kiss in the garden."
I gasped and panic filled me. "You know about that?"
"Of course I do, child." She smiled at me. "I have been watching over you since the day you were born; there isn't anything I don't know. I'll tell you what I do know."
She chuckled and I waited anxious to hear more of what she had seen over the years.
"That boy has loved you for a long, long time now and he is finally able to show you, your father and the rest of the world just how much. Whether you believe it or not, Miss Bella, your destinies have been intertwined since you were babies and this is the natural path that your lives were to follow."
She reached up and ran her hand over my hair before she brought her hands down to grasp both of mine tightly.
"If your eyes are any indication, you love him just as much as he loves you and it's time for you take this step into a new life together."
I threw my arms around her neck and squeezed tight. "Thank you, Mrs. Jones, for everything."
She placed a kiss on my cheek and backed away from me. She made a few adjustments to my dress and pinched my cheeks to give them a little color.
"Are you ready?" she asked with a bright smile.
"Yes, more than ready." I answered with a smile even bigger and brighter than hers as I stepped toward the door that led to Edward.
Descending the stairs was difficult with my shaking legs, but with the help of Mrs. Jones and the sturdy railing, I managed it. I heard the voices coming from the family room so we headed in that direction. Mrs. Jones announced my arrival just before I entered the room and I saw both my father and Edward stand as I walked in. My father's face gleamed with happiness and a smile settled on his face. Edward stood with wide eyes, staring at me without saying a word. When he regained some control of his actions, his beautiful smile lit up the room and he bowed to me.
"Miss Bella, you look incredibly beautiful this day. I am proud to be your escort for the afternoon."
I was sure the pinch I had received upstairs wouldn't have been necessary as his words caused the color to rise in my cheeks. Edward's beautiful words always caused me to blush, and today was no different.
The complete happiness I felt caused me to giggle. "You are too kind, but there is no need to bow to me."
My father cleared his throat as the words left my lips. He always showed his disapproval when my actions or words would break from propriety, which happened quite often in Edward's presence.
"Sorry father." I addressed him before turning to Edward again. "Edward, would you like a glass of lemonade before we go?"
"No thank you, Miss Bella." He turned to address my father. "Mr. Swan, if it is alright with you, may we take our leave?"
"Of course, Edward." He reached his hand out to shake Edward's hand. "Please, take extra special care of my daughter and let no harm come to her."
"You have my solemn promise, sir, nothing will ever hurt her while I am allowed to watch over her."
Edward walked me to the door and Mrs. Jones helped me with my sweater and hat before putting on her own as she was coming along to act as chaperone. I didn't believe we needed one because it had always been just Edward and I but, again, propriety took precedence over all when a man was courting his intended. The thought of being Edward's intended made me smile and blush again and it didn't escape his notice.
"You're beautiful when you blush," he whispered so my father wouldn't hear.
His words, of course, caused the blush to deepen as he opened the door, dipped his head slightly and waved his hand in an offer for us to cross the threshold first. Mrs. Jones and I took three steps onto the porch and waited for Edward to close the door. He walked to my side and offered me his hand so he could help me down the steps and, once I was down, he offered the same hand to help Mrs. Jones down the steps as well.
This side of him was new to me. I was used to my best friend, who was always fun and carefree, running through my backyard chasing me in a game of tag or hide and seek. They were his favorite games and we would play them all the time. He wasn't always careful and would take me to the ground with him when he caught me. That was my Eddie.
The Edward standing before me today was a perfect gentleman, doing all the things I had seen my father do for my mother through the years. This Edward offered me his arm so he could lead me down the street in the direction of the park with Mrs. Jones a few steps behind us. Once my hand rested firmly on his arm, he reached over and placed his empty hand on top of mine to hold it.
"We have come far enough and my father cannot see you anymore. It's just me, Edward; you may act normal and let my hand go." I giggled again at the need to ask him for some normality.
"Miss Bella, what kind of man would I be if I didn't treat you like a proper lady in public?" He turned his head to me and smiled.
It was hard to believe that this was the same fifteen-year-old boy who, just two days ago, was in my backyard, teaching me to play stickball with him before my father returned home.
He leaned over to whisper in my ear. "Honestly Miss Bella, I am fighting the impulse to grab your hand and run the whole way there."
And there was my Eddie, I knew he was in there somewhere. His eyes sparked with mischief and his soft laugh sounded in my ear, causing me to laugh with him.
Our time together was nice. We walked for so long I think we circled the park three times, neither of us wanting this time together to end. We laughed together and thought of old memories from our childhood as we both marveled at the fact that we were now allowed to walk hand in hand in public.
We sat on a bench when he worried about me being tired and he even treated me to some lemon drops he had stashed in his pocket because he knew they were my favorite. He took great care of me and when his eyes connected to mine, they were always full of sincerity and trust and love.
After our short rest, he looked at his pocket watch and realized the hour. He looked at Mrs. Jones, who was happily reading a book on the next bench, and then looked back at me with a pleading look.
"Do you think she would object if I kept you longer?"
"She wouldn't object at all. She's been waiting for this day for a long time," I said as I remembered our earlier conversation.
His eyes sparkled with hope and I hated to be the one to take that away, but it was necessary.
"My father, on the other hand, would never let you see me again if we were to return at anything other than a decent hour."
A small pout fell on his face and he blew out a breath and stood up, offering me his hand.
"Shall we go then, Miss Bella? I wouldn't want to make your father angry."
The three of us left the park and strolled slowly towards home. I wanted to keep him with me but I knew that would be impossible. As soon as we made it home, my father was going to make him leave and I would be left alone. Faster than I had hoped, we were standing outside my house; our time was up.
With a sigh, my feet carried me up the first two steps before he stopped me. I spun slowly to face him and placed my gloved hand in his. The look on his face made my legs unsteady again as we gazed into each other's eyes. He touched a finger to my cheek and whispered so softly that I barely heard him.
"Miss Bella, you have meant the world to me since I was a small boy. I cannot express how much it means for you to return the feelings that I have held in my heart for you these past ten years. I will be forever grateful that you chose me to be with you in this way, out in the open where everyone can see how much I love you."
His words made my heart pound in my chest and my breathing became rushed. My eyes filled with tears as he spoke and I wanted to say the words back to him but I couldn't form a word.
"I know I shouldn't say such things to you now, at the beginning of our courtship, because it is not proper, but I cannot seem to stop myself from saying the words I've wanted to say since I gave you that flower when we were thirteen." He took a deep breath. "Miss Bella, I gave away my heart that day with the hope that one day you will give me yours as well."
My hand involuntarily moved to his face to touch his cheek. Our silent gaze lasted a couple of seconds before I was able to form words.
"Edward, you are my best friend, my love and my life. You took my heart with you that very same day and I would never dream of asking to have it back. It has always been yours."
His faced showed happiness like I had never seen before and he brought my hands to his lips once more. His eyes closed as he lingered there and then he opened them to look at me again.
"Thank you, Miss Bella. Please, if I may be so bold as to say, I love you."
"And I love you, Edward."
My father appeared in the doorway behind us, clearing his throat to announce his presence. With one last smile and one last goodbye, we parted as I turned to make my way through the front door. Edward and I would see each other again soon but, until then, I had my thoughts to keep me company.
A/N: Ahhh the beauty of young love. In this simpler time, courting and getting married as teenagers was common. Edward and Bella are so perfect together. After growing up together and taking 15 years to fall in love, it's no wonder they're completely ready to take this step.
I truly hope you enjoyed this first chapter. This story has been under lock and key for six months and I am so excited to finally share it with everyone. While I still have two other WIPs out there, I want to keep a schedule to update this every two weeks so I don't keep you waiting any longer than necessary. You know I always love to hear what you think, good or bad, so leave me some love. Until next time, my loves - D