AN: Months ago, my best friend, TwiSherry, bought me in FGB and then promptly told me that I didn't have to write anything for her. I came up with this elaborate plot involving Rob, Sherry, and TomStu in more than a few compromising positions on an airplane, but decided to write this for her instead. This somewhat cheesy, fluffy one-shot was inspired by Train's "Marry Me," which is one of Sherry's favorite songs. She's a great girl, and I love her more than I can say.
Thanks to my beta, nicnicd, for sprinkling her magic betadust on this syrupy sweet fluff. Thank you to aylah50 and coldplaywhore for organizing Fandom for Sexual Assault Awareness and everyone who contributed to this cause, whether it was something written, designed, beta'd, donated, or pimped. Special thanks to Sherry, for everything she does for me and for agreeing to share this with the compilation. ILY always, even when you show me videos with bugs in them.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Say You Will
"Five more minutes, Bells. I'll give you a few minutes before sending your father in."
My mother's voice, coming from where she looked in on me from the doorway, was far more measured and calm than I expected it to be on this day. Normally she was the one who was excitable and hyper, where I was more calm and restrained. Not today though—there was a sort of serene air about her while I was a jumble of skittering nerves.
Hoping that some of her calm would latch onto me, I grabbed for her hand, squeezing it until I felt better. She smiled knowingly at me and then blew me a kiss, whispering that I would be fine as she left the room. I breathed deeply, feeling better. She was right.
Instead of focusing on the numerous ways I could trip or spill something onto the pristine white dress I wore, I glanced around the room and imagined the after. After the big walk, or the party where I'd be the center of attention, definitely after the congratulations from well-wishing guests that I'd be expected to react to graciously and without my normal awkward air. The room was truly beautiful, all gleaming wood floors covered with tiny tables perfect for two, twinkling lights that hung low from the ceiling, and the familiar scent that enveloped the space, reminding me of him, of us.
I'd never forget the first time my eyes met his; it was in this very room. We were so young, both of us just having finished freshman year—him at Dartmouth and me at UT. I was here to see my dad and he was in town, visiting his sister. Had it really been five years since the day we'd met? It didn't seem so.
"...and so I said that he could take the car that was obviously making up for the lack of goings-on in his pants, and pick up all the trashy redheads he could handle. Men. Ugh."
"This is why you should stay away from guys like that, Rose," Alice said. She giggled then. "Just because his car catches your eye doesn't mean he should."
I nodded my agreement. Alice had sage advice—Rose would do well to remember that.
We were at some fussy shindig Rose's mom was throwing, full of well-to-do clients of her father, an architect who owned some famous firm that anyone who was everyone (Rose's words, not mine) went to for their million-dollar builds. The café they'd rented out was straight out of a movie, cozy, stylish in the way that it wasn't over the top but comfortable. The fact that the food was fantastic didn't hurt. I looked around, hoping we weren't loud enough to be overheard by the table behind us.
We were in the middle of another story that shouldn't be heard by anyone when someone cleared their throat behind us. "Can I borrow your phone? Mine's broken and I need to tell my mom I just saw an angel."
"What?" I asked, gaping at how completely cheesy the line was. I looked over my shoulder, thinking that maybe I'd answered out of line, that he was talking to someone else.
Or, worse, Rose or Alice—but he was looking right at me.
"It sounded better in my head," he mumbled. It was endearing the way he tugged at the hair on top of his head, looking for all intents and purposes like he wished he could melt into the floor. "It was better than what I wanted to say, anyway."
"And what was that?" I asked, my voice thankfully not betraying my nerves. I got the feeling that he had meant to speak to me...well, unless he was hitting on the matronly group of women behind me. God, I hoped not. Bad pickup line aside, he was really, really cute.
I rolled my eyes. "I'm so sure that's what you were going to say," I said, crossing my arms over my chest and feigning disappointment.
"It's the first thing that crossed my mind the first time I saw you, a few days ago. I looked at you and thought 'I'm going to marry that girl one day...'" He grinned. When he smiled at me that way, my heart started pounding and I felt like I couldn't breathe. "Come on, say you will."
My friends' giggles erupted around us and the beautiful boy looked sheepish once more.
"You can't have been thinking that. We don't know each other at all. You don't even know my name," I reasoned.
"Oh, but I want to—I want to know everything about you," he said, holding his hand out for me to take. "I'm Edward."
My friends' catcalls were not helping my game of coy exchanges. My cheeks felt prickly, and I knew I was blushing. I suddenly wished for that hole I'd thought he wanted to disappear in to earlier to open up and swallow me instead. He said my name softly, just once, and then all of his awkwardness retreated, just like that.
And I knew I was in so much trouble. Awkward Edward was cute, all adorable and familiar to my shy-girl-psyche, but Edward with a leg up was even more appealing.
"Well then, Bella, if you won't agree to marry me, the least you can do is go out with me."
There really wasn't any other choice. Of course I agreed. He looked too good to not be able to overlook a cheesy pickup line.
Edward showed up on my doorstep that evening with a handful of daisies and a smile that made my insides melt. We went to a movie and then back to this café for hot chocolate. We were practically inseparable the rest of the summer—I guess we were just meant to find each other.
Near the end of the summer, we made plans that we would both come home for Christmas so we could at least see each other then. Though I cried the whole way back to Texas, I was determined not to be that girl—the one who lost her whole life's focus over some guy.
Even if that guy was fucking hot.
...And smart and funny and romantic.
...And totally her soul mate.
About two weeks after I got back to school, I opened my mailbox and found a card from Edward. I couldn't have been happier—we'd only spoken once since I'd arrived back at school and I was beginning to think he'd forgotten me. Inside the red envelope I found a plain card and a return envelope with Edward's address already on it. He had already put a stamp on it, too. The card was plain on the outside; inside, it just said "Are you gonna be my girl forever? Check yes or no."
Foregoing calling him to tell him I'd gotten his note, I filled out the card and sent it back immediately. The two days that it took for it to get to him felt like eternity.
"Why haven't you called me?" I pouted into the phone, not bothering to say 'Hello' when he called.
He laughed. "Bella, I… I was worried. Everything with us was so amazing when we were together over the summer, but now… Well, I just want to be with you all the time, and I didn't want to be all 'too much too soon', but I had to know you felt the same way."
"I think we're past all of that, Edward. The first words you ever said to me ended up being a marriage proposal."
He laughed; his deep voice relaxed me and excited me all at once. "Baby, that's not true. The first thing I ever said to you was some stupid pickup line I saw on a website." He sucked in a deep breath before saying, "I know everyone will think I'm crazy, but I miss being with you already. I've got to move to Texas."
I laughed. "You can't do that! Your parents will kill you."
"Forget my parents. Forget the world, Bella, you are my life now. I need to be with you, today and every day."
"I know. I miss you, too. It'll be alright."
"You know, if you'd just marry me already, my parents would get over the whole 'moving to Texas thing'."
After that, we talked every day, on the phone or online, and we texted constantly. We were different, but not in ways that clashed. Rather, our differences made us interesting, gave us things to talk about together and learn, or things to argue about good-naturedly. Because, no matter what he said, Willy Wonka wasn't better than Wizard of Oz, and I could argue my point forever...and be happy to have him to try and convince me otherwise.
More and more, I started to think that fate had dealt me a fair hand.
When Winter Break finally rolled around, I couldn't contain the butterflies that were in my stomach. We had arranged to meet back in our café the day I was scheduled to arrive. My hands reached out for the cold metal of the door knob, I took a deep, cleansing breath and opened the door.
And there he was–still beautiful, still nervous yet charmingly confident at the same time. And he was waiting for me.
Maneuvering his way through the crowded café, he reached my side in less time than it would have taken me and scooped me up in his arms, peppering my face with tiny kisses. "I missed you so, so much."
That night, after we had been around to both of our houses and met each other's parents (the sight of Charlie glaring at him menacingly would be forever burned into my memory) and after we'd gone back to our café for his favorite apple crisp dessert, we found ourselves making out in the back of his dad's Mercedes.
It was all so high-school cliché and I couldn't stop giggling at how much so when he fumbled with the clasp of my bra. "A little help here," he whispered.
"I'm not helping you take off my clothes in your dad's car."
"Don't talk about my dad while I'm trying to get into your pants, baby," he murmured, trailing his lips across my jaw and up to my ear.
"Is that what we're doing?" I asked, barely able to form a thought as he pulled me closer to him.
His "mm hmmm" was practically drowned out by my ragged breathing. His fingertips tracing along my spine set me aflame.
I couldn't get close enough to him. I thought he felt the same way, too, as he moved his hips closer to mine, lining up our bodies and making me see stars with his lips on my bare skin. I arched my back, grinding against him…
Then he stopped. "You're right, Bella, I'm sorry." He pulled his mouth away from me but placed his hands on my hips, keeping us as close together as possible.
"What?" I gasped out.
"I don't want our first time to be like this. Well, by like this, I mean in the back of my dad's car." He grinned sheepishly.
"What?" Apparently, that was the only word I was capable of speaking.
My first thought was surprise that I'd let it get so far, but it melted in to embarrassment as my hurt feelings sprang to the forefront. Hardly able to believe that he was the one who was stopping us, I scrambled back in the seat, trying to put some distance between us. It was only a few inches, but suddenly the space between us felt like miles.
Grasping my hips, he shook his head and pulled me closer until I was back underneath him. "Don't do that. Don't move away from me." He leaned down and kissed me. His hand cupped the back of my head and he rubbed his fingers in slow circles. "I want you, Bella. I just don't want to have to tell our kids that the first time I made love to you was in the backseat of a car."
I scoffed. Our kids? Was he really serious with this?
He looked at me, intense green eyes meeting mine. As if reading my mind, he murmured, "Yes, our kids. I've already told you I want forever with you."
"Forever?" I tried to look away, but couldn't. "You'll get tired of me one day."
"That still won't be enough," he said as he leaned down to brush his lips across mine. "Forever can never be long enough for me to feel like I've had long enough with you."
Looking into his eyes, I knew that he meant it—it didn't matter that we'd only known each other a short time. Being with him was everything to me, and I wasn't going to let us be apart again without him knowing that I got it, and that I felt the same way.
"Come on, Bella, you know we're meant to be. Say you will."
Nodding my head, I pulled him in for a kiss. It wasn't an answer to his absurd question, but it was answer enough for him.
It didn't take much convincing after that for him to change his mind about our first time being in the backseat of a car.
Three weeks later, I dreaded every step I took down the hall and into my dorm. Why hadn't we met before, when we were in high school? I had no doubt that if we had, we wouldn't be apart for one second, let alone for months at a time.
We spent practically all of our spare time on the phone or online with each other, except when my friends forced me to go anywhere with them. I never wanted to be like that, ditching my friends to spend time with some guy, but as much as I didn't want to admit it, he wasn't just some guy.
I had even checked into my options of transferring to a school closer to him, since there was no way in hell I could afford Dartmouth. Not to mention that my grades weren't exactly on par... But he never brought it up, so I didn't, either.
It wasn't until we were discussing our plans for Spring Break that the topic came up again. Edward wanted me to meet him in Florida for a vacation of sand and sun and bikinis—which he was trying desperately to talk me into, a suggestion I scoffed at. Lily white skin should be covered, not flaunted only to blind others—but I just couldn't. I had a major project that was due the week after, so there was no way I could get away.
Edward said he couldn't wait two more months to see me and said he was coming to Texas. His friends were pissed that he bailed on their plans, but I was thrilled that we'd be together. While he was visiting, he wanted me to show him my school and my favorite places so he could "imagine me while I wasn't with him."
When Spring Break finally arrived, I went to the airport to pick him up. He was waiting for me by the gate, smiling and handsome and clutching a piece of paper in his hand: his acceptance into UT.
"Dartmouth is too far away," he explained, wrapping his arms around me and lifting my stunned self up. "Together can never be close enough for me to feel like I am close enough to you."
I rolled my eyes at that—secretly I thought he still cruised the cheesy pickup line website. My boyfriend was outrageous and ridiculous, and I loved him all the more for it.
Later that day, as I was showing him around campus, thrilled that he was moving, but unable to help being worried about what his parents and everyone else would think, I voiced my biggest concern. "Does UT even have a good pre-med program?"
He shrugged. "I'm changing my major to music. You've changed everything about me, Bella. My dad is a doctor, not me. I was only doing it because I thought that was what my parents wanted me to do. But it won't make me happy. You make me want to be better."
I couldn't argue with him wanting to do what made him happy, and if that was it, I would be supportive. I asked a bunch of questions over the week, seemingly random but really meant to see if his decision was based on something more sound than moving to be near his girlfriend. I couldn't find anything other than honesty.
By the end of the week, I was already planning on seeing about a single room.
We got through the next three years of college together, happier than I ever thought possible. I went into the graduate program for Creative Writing and he opened a music store, giving guitar and piano lessons as well as supporting local indie artists.
We went home for the summer to celebrate his parents' thirtieth wedding anniversary. We were sitting in our café at the same table Edward had first approached me at, just easygoing and casual—him reading the paper, me watching him, the sunlight streaming through the windows, our legs intertwined beneath the table. Edward leaned over the table and kissed me before handing me a plain white card that read "Are you gonna be my girl forever? Check yes or no."
I laughed, picking up the pen from the table to check my answer.
Edward cleared his throat and stood up. "Wait. Before you answer that, I want you to know what you're agreeing to." He knelt down in front of me, taking my hands in his. "The first time I saw you, I asked you to marry me. I was just a kid, but I knew what I wanted. You—forever. When you check yes on that card, it's for real this time, Bella."
Fighting back the tears that threatened to spill down my cheeks, I leaned forward and brushed my lips across his. "I know that. I might not have known it then like you did, but I know it now. Of course I'll be your girl, forever, Edward."
Grabbing the pen from the table, I opened the card and checked 'yes' as he grabbed my face between his palms and kissed me.
I hardly noticed the cheers of the crowd that surrounded us.
Pulling back, I smiled and asked him when he wanted to do this.
"Today. Every day."
I shook my head. "I have another year of school."
"Next summer then," he said, unable to contain his grin. "We'll do it right here. You wear white, and I'll wear out the words 'I love you'."
"Ready, pumpkin?" My dad's voice broke through my musings of how I ended up in this moment, sitting in our café, waiting to walk down the aisle and marry the beautiful boy that wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.
Nodding my head, I stood up and smoothed my hand down my simple white gown. I took my father's arm and allowed him to lead me down the narrow hallway and into the room where Edward was waiting for me.
To marry me.
All the apprehension that I felt about people thinking we were too young or that he would fall out of love with me one day melted away when I looked into his eyes. I made my way down to him, much slower than I wanted to go, unable to look away from him.
As my dad placed my hand in his, Edward stood there with an awestruck look on his face before saying, "You're beautiful."
I blushed and told him that he was, too. We said our vows, promising to do our best to make each other happy, promising to be each other's everything. It felt like I was finally complete when his lips touched mine for the first time as my husband.
Grinning, he turned us to face the small crowd of our family and friends and gave out a loud triumphant cheer. Then he leaned over and whispered low so only I could hear, "I knew you'd say 'yes' eventually. You were worth the wait."