Chapter Thirty Three: Like it Could Be Anyone Else?

Jasper

What's worse than looking at Edward's face all night every night? And watching my sister look at it?

"Bella, I don't feel good."

Looking at Emmett's instead. That's now in her lap. "Get off of her!"

"Shut up, Jasper. Go get laid or something. Someone might as well, since I'm too sick to."

"Aww, poor baby," Isabella croons, patting his head - that's still in her lap, and about to be removed from it. And his neck.

But she takes care of that before I can. Because she smacks it now. Hard. "Who is sick because you're being punished. For trying to."

"Ow, Bella, that's mean! You were never mean to Edward when he was sick! And he was doing a lot more than trying to!"

She smacks him again, harder, and apparently he's finally had enough, and removes himself from her lap - and the couch - and lays down on the floor in the fetal position, sulking like the child he becomes every time he gets sick.

And it's making me, and I'm actually grateful for the ring of the doorbell. And that Emmett is now in Isabella's kicking distance. "Ow!"

Until it occurs to me that Edward never rings it. Please be Angela... or Emily... or a Jehovah's witness... or even Rose... anyone but... SHIT. "What do you want and what's that?"

"I want world peace and for everyone to be dressed fabulously."

"If you think bringing my sister leather pants and a see through blouse is going to secure any kind of peace, Alice, you're INSANE."

"Lonely in INSANEtown, are you? And wanting my company?"

"NEVER."

"What is it with you Hales and your little white lies? Don't you know the truth can set you free?"

"What I know is that I don't have the energy for you tonight. And-"

"You won't have to do a thing. Just sit back and relax. I promise I'll be gentle."

"I'd rather wrestle ten hungry tigers while wearing Lady Gaga's meat dress."

"Is it coincidence that you used pussys in your I'd rather LIE? You know, instead of bears or sharks or something?"

"Is it coincidence that my head started pounding the moment I saw you?"

"If you mean the one in your pants, NO," she smirks, and walks right past me. "I brought you something for tomorrow, Bella."

"I don't know what tomorrow is, YET, but she's sure as hell not wearing that. So, take it, and your delusional self right back where you came from."

"Do you smoke pot, Jasper?"

"What? Of course not! What the-"

"Well, you should. A taste of Mary Jane would do you some good. Amongst other things. Or-"

"DON'T say it. And stop dreaming it. And go away."

"Every girl dreams of serving up their goods, Jasper. And having them feasted on. Just like every guy does. So, get over yourself. I wasn't offering you the pleasure. Nor did I come here to see you. Or hear you. I came to bring Bella something to wear for her cool as shit assignment tomorrow."

"What cool as shit assignment?"

"Her shoot at that new tattoo place that's all the rage."

"New WHAT?" I ask, glaring at my sister, who's setting foot - or camera - in a tattoo parlor over my dead body.

But my sister has apparently joined Alice in the land of delusional, because she shrugs as if it's no big deal. "The magazine is doing a feature on the place. The guy's some kind of artistic genius... and my editor gave me the shoot. She said she wanted an 'unaffected by lust' take on things. Because all of our other photographers pretty much just want to be patrons and get inked by the guy."

"All of them?" Emmett asks, because being sick does nothing to take away the idiot in him.

"NO," she tells him, giving him another kick, because, like I said, he's an idiot and is still where she can.

"Bella! Quit being mean! Don't make me embarrass you tomorrow while you're trying to work like a big girl."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asks him with a wicked glare.

He rolls away before he answers, and proves he has some intelligence after all. "What it means is you may have a cool as shit shoot in a tattoo joint tomorrow, but the cool as shit man that is me, with my cool as shit fist, will be accompanying you. And you better start being sweet to me, or I won't be to you when you're trying to be all 'professional photographer Bella'."

"You are not going to work with me, Emmett!"

"Oh, yes, I am. Or you're not going at all."

"You don't get to tell me that," she tells him, and looks at me. "Tell him to stop being stupid. Not even you would interfere with my job."

"Interfere, no," I tell my sister, "but I'll be observing, and accompanying you, whether Emmett does or not. And I imagine, so will Edward, once I tell him what you clearly tried to keep a secret from all of us."

"My job is none of any of your business. And I will not be chaperoned by any of you while I do it."

"That's funny, sweetheart. And cute. And I'll be sure to mention that part to Edward, too. Right now, in fact."

Isabella has never looked unhappy to see me calling Edward, certainly not for her, but the look on her face now as I put my phone to my ear...

Is pricelessly so.

Be careful what you wish for, baby sister...


Isabella

I'm going to kill Alice. For two weeks I managed to keep my shoot at Second Skin a secret from my Army of Irrational, and she blew the lid off of it in a second. And with an outfit that I am not wearing. I would have said no without their assistance. And insistence...

The third of which I just received. From Edward. Who's here now. Thanks to Alice. The only reason I won't actually kill her.

Because I missed his face. And his voice, even though I haven't gone a day without it while having to go many without the other. Because whatever he's been busy working on to surprise me has kept it from me.

Until Ihad something to work on that he didn't like the surprise of.

At. All. "Isabella, you are not walking into a tattoo parlor without me. For work or any other reason. Even if you're wearing a Habit and veil."

"You want me to wear a veil?" I ask with a smile, because he opened the door... after he walked through it like he owns what's inside... or who... which...

Yeah, we all know he does.

"You can wear anything you want, sweetheart, on another day. But tomorrow's wardrobe will have to be approved by me."

"Have I ever worn anything you didn't approve of?" I ask him, and in a way that has nothing to do with the way he means.

"No," he tells me, and closes the door on my fun, instead of joining me in it. "But I insist nonetheless."

"Okay," I concede. "Whatever will make you happy, Edward."

He gives me a What did I say about that? look with his beautiful green eyes, and I try to use it to my advantage. And to gain some. And some freedom. In the form of wings. "But once I have your approval, I would like not to have your escort. Or anyone elses. I know you all think I belong to you, but my job belongs to me, and it's not one a child would have, or a shoot one would be assigned, so please don't treat me like one by accompanying me to it. And keep in mind that I said please."

"What if it was just me?" he tries to compromise. "Not treating you like a child, but simply, and discreetly, I promise, ensuring the comfort and safety of my most valuable... "

"Possession?" I offer, since he seemed to be struggling for the right word. Or not to say the one that is. "Is that what you were going to say?"

"No, Isabella," he says, though the subtle movement of his mouth says yes, and makes the back of my neck warm... "I wasn't going to-"

"It's okay," I tell him, and clear my throat, "Whatever you were going to say. But what you did... what if I say no?"

"I'll be there anyway."

"So, you can't break away from your work to spend time with me, but you can to spy on me while I do mine?"

"I would never put work before you. It's not what I've been doing. And I won't be spying on you, I'll be spying on other people."

"Discreetly?"

"Yes. You'll forget I'm even there."

"I could never do that," I tell him, and he smiles.

And Edward Masen's smile could make a girl agree to anything... but... "You'll distract me. And I won't be able to focus. And then my pictures will probably end up out of... and-"

"Just think of how proud I'll be of you when they're not. When I get to see the result of your dedication and hard work. And how you let nothing distract you, no matter the temptation. Or how near."

"Is that what you do?" I ask him, hearing what I think he wanted me to.

"Everyday," he sighs...

Telling me what I already knew. And closing another door...

The one I no longer care to fly through alone.


"Just tell me if I get in your way at all. Or if anyone else does... " Three anyone elses, not just one. Ugh!

He glances around his shop and laughs. "Don't worry, I have a girlfriend. And a little sister. And I'm what some would call overly possessive - or maniacal - about both. And I knew who the anyone elses were the moment each of them came through the door. And that they weren't here for ink."

"Well, I'm sorry anyway."

"Nothing to be sorry for. And besides, I think I may get business out of one of them."

My eyes follow him for a brief moment as he walks away, and right up to Emmett, who has become too entranced by the man's art to pay any non-discreet attention to me.

And since he is, and Edward and Jasper are conducting themselves as promised - well, as Edward promised - I try to forget they're here and do what I came here to do.

Capture art in another form. One I take pride in, just as my audience does in my ability to. Which makes me even prouder, whether they're biased or not.

And I find that I'm not distracted at all. Until their presence isn't the only one I see or feel.

A woman came into the shop about ten minutes ago. A really beautiful woman. With beautiful ink on every visible part of her body except for her beautiful face. Something I can't help but be distracted by. Or wonder if anyone else is.

One anyone else.

But when I finally look at Edward, to see if he's looking at her, I see that he's not distracted at all.

She may as well not even be here for the way he's looking at me. Which I know is all he's been doing when I see the way Jasper is looking at him. Because my brother came here to spy on me, but if Edward's around, he's never only. Which usually just makes me roll my eyes at him...

But not at the moment. Because even though Jasper doesn't love that Edward has eyes for me, he'd never let him get away with having them for anyone else.

And that makes me smile.

But not as big as Edward does as I look back at him. Because he's smiling at me. And telling me I should focus.

And that he'll never not.

No matter the temptation.

Which I think is just me now.


"So, how did it go?"

"Great, I'd say. Maybe even perfect. I think I got some really great shots."

"And the Three Domsketeers? Were they all present and accounted for?"

"You know they were, Alice. Thanks to you."

"Yeah, I know, I blew it... but did they at least behave?"

"Yes, they did, actually. Though there was no reason for them not to. He'd purposely scheduled the time for me to come when he had no appointments."

"So, no live action shots?"

"Oh, I got a few... Emmett ended up in the chair."

"Did he cry? Whine like a little girl? Did you get a shot of that?"

"No," I laugh, "He only does that when he's sick. Or deprived dessert. He took it like a man."

"Damn."

"Don't worry, I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding something else to torment him about."

"Oh, I'm sure I will, too. In no time at all." She fingers the black silk scarf she's been holding in her hands since I came into her little cove of pretty, and then hands it to me. "For you."

"Thanks. This I'll wear."

"Good. And, uh... did anyone else end up in the chair?"

Anyone else, Alice? "If you mean Jasper, no. Tattoos aren't really his thing."

"They're not?"

"No, not at all."

Why does she look so... oh. Maybe she has one. "Well, not on himself, anyway. I think he likes them on other people. Women... girls, whatever. As long as I'm not one of them." Does that make you feel better, Alice?

"He does?" she asks, telling me it does. Much better.

"I think so. A few women he's dated have had a few. One girl especially I remember had several. And he was definitely into her."

"Recently?"

"No, it was a couple of years ago."

"And he was definitely into her? Like, in love?"

"No, definitely not love. But it was the longest he was ever with anyone."

"And how long was that?"

"I don't remember exactly... maybe four or five months?"

"He's never been with anyone longer than four or five months?"

"Nope."

"That's not very long."

"No, I suppose it's not, but it's long enough to discover crazy."

"You mean jealous of you?"

"Yes, but not only that. I don't know what it is about my brother, but women go crazy over him. It happens every time. They get immediately attached. Become obsessed. Fall in love... or think they are, whether it's real or not. And whether it's been a day or a month. It's not normal."

"So, the tattoo girl... what happened with her? You said he was definitely into her... even if not in love... Did you not like her or something? So he cut her loose?"

"No, she cut herself loose. Well, sort of. She put the scissors in his hand."

"What do you mean?"

"She did something crazy."

"Details, Bella! I need details!"

"Calm down, Crazy!"

"I'm nosey, not crazy. Though I prefer to call it curious."

I'm not complaining, Alice... I like your curiosity, "Well, like I said, he was pretty into her. And she liked me, and I did actually sort of like her, so there was no issue there... "

"I thought you never liked any of them?"

"I didn't. She was the only one. Because she was the only one that ever seemed to make him happy. He always came home with a smile on his face after he was with her, instead of looking like he needed an aspirin, or ten."

"So, what changed?"

"One night he didn't."

"Because... ?"

"She got a new tattoo."

"You're killing me here... "

"It was his name. And that's all he told me. But then Emmett told me more... that it was in a delicate place..." I cringe as I say the words, and if Alice's eyebrows went any higher, they'd leave her face. "And doing that put her on the crazy train. With a one way ticket. End of story. And crazy tattoo girl."

"That is crazy."

"Yes. And he would kill me if he knew I told you about it, so don't-"

"I swear I'll never say a word." She crosses her finger over her crushing-on-my-brother heart, and makes me smile.

Because she is definitely crushing on him, even though he's been so obviously trying to garner a different kind of sentiment from her. And deny that his for her is the same as hers for him.

The one that her smile doesn't try to hide from me, not that I don't already know. "You like me, right?" she asks me, "And still, even though I got you busted by the GAP?"

"GAP?"I repeat, because I haven't heard her use that one before.

"Gorgeous annoying police."

"Aah. Yes," I laugh, "I do. And still, even though you did. And we should make a list of all of your nicknames for them. I can hardly keep track anymore."

"Deal. I'd be honored to be in any way Bella Hale list-worthy. And something else... if - and I really hope you do - you think I am."

"I do think you are, Alice. More than anyone else ever has been, or ever could be."

"And you wouldn't be at all upset if-"

"No."

"So, I should... "

"Keep buzzing around."

"I can do that."

"I know," I tell her with a smile, and grab my bag and head for the door. "And Alice?" I say when I get to it, turning back around, because I have an idea. "I don't know if you have plans tonight... but I do. Plans that just came up... and plans my brother doesn't know about."

"Do you need me to help you with something? Or cover?"

"No... I'm just letting you know that he'll go home to an empty house. And an empty table. And-"

"He'll be helpless and hungry?"

"Yes."

"And you don't like him to be. Or to eat dinner out of a box... "

"I really don't."

"Are you giving me permission to buzz around in your kitchen, Bella?"

I reach into my purse and grab my spare house key and toss it to her. "Call it an audition. Because even though I do like you-"

"You want your brother to be happy. In every way that he's used to, with or without any 'crazy' in his life."

"I really do."

"He'll be smiling when you come home, Bella. If it kills me. And he doesn't. Which I don't really think would make him, regardless of what he wants me to think."

"There's pork chops in the fridge. He's expecting them."

"Then he'll get them."

"Break a leg, Alice." Or, more importantly, his will to resist yours...


Edward

I know Isabella isn't really worried about what I've been doing on the nights I haven't spent with her...

And I'm fairly certain she knows what it is is for her...

But her comment last night about my not breaking away from my work to spend time with her has been bouncing around in my head since she made it, even though I know she was just trying to get her way about today.

And I decided that keeping my work a secret is perhaps not the best way to proceed with my plans.

So, I asked her to have dinner with me. A simple one. In a quiet place. That won't be soon if she likes it.

"Am I dressed okay?" she asks me as soon as she opens the door, both teasing me about my insisted approval on the last thing she wore, and because she wants to be sure now.

"You're perfect," I tell her, because she is, and is dressed.

"Then we're a perfect pair," she tells me, and locks the door behind her. "Now, let's go before Jasper gets home to try to make us a perfect threesome."

"He'll be a little while, I made sure of it before I left."

"Not too long?" she asks, suddenly looking a little worried.

"No, just long enough for me to whisk you away first. Is that okay? Did you leave the oven on or something?"

"No, I made a different dinner arrangement for him. And it's more than okay. It will probably help, actually."

"What are you up to, pretty girl?"

"Nothing you won't hear about later. And nothing you can't wait to, because I'm not sharing my alone time with you with anyone else."

"I wouldn't dream of asking you to. Now or ever."

"So, where is this quiet place you're taking me?" she asks me as I pull out of their driveway. "Does it have a couch?"

"You have a one track mind, sweetheart," I tell her, and laugh, and head to the place that doesn't. "And it's a surprise, and no, it doesn't have one yet, but it will someday. We'll have to rough it this time."

"Rough what?"

"Sitting. And whatever else you wanted to do with me on a couch."

"I get whatever else with you tonight?"

She'd be in trouble if she didn't look so damn adorable... "You get whatever else with me forever, if I'm right to assume you still want that."

"I do. And you are."

"Good. Now we just have to see how you feel about where you get it."

"I don't know what that means."

"You will. Very soon."

She's quiet for the rest of the drive, but I can see the wheels turning in her head every time I look at her.

But when I pull the truck to a stop at our destination, they screech to a halt. "You know, Mr. HUNTSMAN... Snow White didn't exactly like that whole running through the forest part."

"Don't you trust me?" I ask her, and jump out of my truck and around to her side of it.

"Yes, but why are we at the edge of a forest?"

"Because I want to show you what I've been working on. The first part of it, anyway."

"Oh," she says, and then smiles as I grab blankets and a picnic basket from the backseat.

"I hope an ordered dinner is okay, this was kind of a last minute idea and I didn't have time to cook anything myself, what with my spy job today."

"You won't hear any complaints from me," she tells me, taking the blankets from me and entwining her fingers with my now empty ones.

And I have very little doubt that I will, but I still want to be sure that I haven't done something that will make her unhappy by choosing this out of the way place to make her everything but.

"So, what did you think of the drive out here?" I ask as we start walking. "It wasn't too bad, was it?"

"I was with you, how could it be bad?"

"Good answer, sweetheart... but what I meant was more... well, would you mind it if you had to make it often?"

"Often?"

"Yes. Or more precisely, everyday?"

My words sink in immediately and she stops walking and looks around. "Edward, is there a house hidden somewhere in all of these trees?"

I hadn't planned on revealing my plans yet, or quite this way, or in this spot where we now stand, but "Not until I finish designing the one of your dreams and have it built. If I haven't assumed too much by buying this piece of property to put it on."

"You bought this forest for me?"

I laugh at her continued use of the word forest and nod. "Yes. Of course, I'll pay the price for that... God's not going to be too happy with me for leveling a big chunk of it. But since I'm already going to Hell for wanting to level you... "

I don't know what's more beautiful... the blush on her cheeks, the smile on her face, or the tears in her eyes, which I know are happy ones.

"I would love to drive out here everyday," she whispers, "To be alone with you."

"Are you sure?" I ask her, not wanting her to settle for anything less than perfect. "Because if it's not what-"

"It is," she tells me, telling me exactly what I wanted before she says the words. "It's perfect."

She wipes a tear from her cheek with both of our hands, because she hasn't let go of mine, and because even though I don't think she had any doubts that I ever would, she definitely knows now that I'll never make her.

Because I haven't spent a lot of time with her in recent weeks in the present, but only because I've been planning for our future. The one she sees all around us, and feels beneath her feet.

Solid, and real. Actions, instead of just words. Not that I've said enough of those... yet...

"I've missed you, Isabella. Trying to make sure I didn't miss other things... for you... I've missed you."

"I've missed you, too."

"Yet you didn't complain, or tell me I was doing things wrong."

"Because I knew you were doing something for me. Another first something. And I know you already worry about doing those wrong. Even though you can't."

"I can, sweetheart."

"You really can't, Edward. Not as long as... "

"I love you?"

"Is that a question?" she asks, her lip trembling, like her hand in mine.

"No, it's not. Just proof that I can, and do, do things wrong."

"Then I like wrong. It's my new favorite thing. And you should do it again."

"I love you, Isabella."

"I-"

"With a period. And an exclamation point. And a dot dot dot... everything but a question mark. You know, just in case you weren't sure."

"You wouldn't buy a forest for a girl you loved with a question mark."

"No, I wouldn't."

"Or level it."

"Absolutely not."

"You wouldn't do it for anyone else but me."

"Never."

"Or wait to level something else."

"Definitely not."

"So, you can't... do anything wrong... with-"

"The girl who loves me?"

She slams into me with her answer.

Levels me with it.

Literally...

And in every other way there is to.

Because she does love me...

In every way that's right.

Whether I do things wrong or not.


Jasper

I stopped by Edward's office on my way out, but Kate told me he'd already left it. And wasn't coming back.

So now I'm flying home...

Where all I better find is him in my kitchen helping Isabella with dinner. Instead of helping himself to her.

But his Suburban isn't in our driveway when I pull into it. And Isabella's Compass is in our garage when I pull into that.

So I relax. And walk through the kitchen door with a smile on my face. Because I smelled the pork chops that I've been dreaming about for the last hour before I did.

But then my smile falls...

Because my sister isn't who's standing on the other side of it. "Where is Isabella and why is she letting you ruin our dinner?"

"Hello, dear, how was your day?"

"Fine until now. Where's my sister?"

"Otherwise occupied."

"Where?"

"Wherever Edward took her."

"She's really not here?"

"Does it look like she's here?"

"No, so why are you?"

"Because she knows you're helpless, and she loves you, and didn't want you to be hungry. Or order a pizza or anything to make your helpless self not."

"I'm not helpless."

"No? What do you call it?"

"Spoiled, maybe."

"Well, I can't argue with that... or blame you for it. Bella definitely created that monster."

"Breaking and entering is a crime, you know."

"As it should be."

"Punishable by-"

"You'll have to earn the freaky stuff. At least give me a kiss first."

"Have you been drinking? Or smoking something?"

"Nope, not a sip or a puff."

"Why are you in my kitchen? And HOW did you get into it?"

"Well, I came through the front door... and then I walked through the living room... "

"I'm not amused, Alice."

"That's because you're a grouch, which we established long ago. So, let that dead horse lie, and try out a new one. Like that smiley one you rode in here on. It was a good look for you."

"Well, unless you want to try on a striped look, you should answer my question."

"I think they only wear stripes in old movies... Do you like old movies?"

"ALICE... "

"I used Bella's spare key! Alright? And before you accuse me of stealing it from her, she gave it to me. So I could come in here and make your dinner, since she wouldn't be here to. And it's right over there on the counter, the key, I mean, so relax."

"It's official, my sister hates me."

"If that's what you think, then you are officially the craziest person on the planet. But even crazy people need to eat, so get cleaned up, or whatever it is you do before you sit down to be spoiled, because your dinner is almost ready."

"I'm not eating anything you cooked."

"Why the hell not?"

"Because you probably poisoned it."

"Paranoid much?"

"Is there a rabbit boiling in that pot?"

"NO. Rabbits are cute, and I don't hurt cute things. Or poison cute people. Or whatever it is that you are."

"She really wouldn't want you to, you know? Poison me, whatever I am."

"Of course she wouldn't. She loves you. And I love her. And the fact that she trusted me to take her place at your stove and do something for you. So, don't take that away from me, please. Because I know it's a big deal that she does. Or did, whatever."

"And where does my trust fit into this?" I ask her, because she's crazy if she thinks I have any.

"All you have to do is sit down and eat food that's prepared for you. And maybe engage in a little conversation between bites of it. Does it really involve a huge amount of trust for you to do that?"

"With you? Ye-"

"I'm not so bad, you know. Yes, I'm kind of pushy, and maybe overly curious at times, and I might possibly have a tendency to interrupt people, and-"

"Might?"

"Yes, might. But I don't do any of it to be annoying. I guess it's just me wanting to be noticed. Seen. And heard. And part of something. In this case anyway."

"In this case?"

"Yeah... the case of this dysfunctional little family you guys have. I mean, it's a complete train wreck, but there's something beautiful about it. Something you can't look away from. And can't help but want to jump right in the middle of.

"Because there's an incredible amount of love in it. And devotion... and even when the train gets derailed... crashes and mangles... that love and devotion you all have for each other puts it all back together. Back on track... and you start moving again... trudging along... barreling... as if nothing was ever dented or bruised or broken... "

"And you want to be a part of that?"

"No, Jasper... I want to be two parts of it."

I knew that...

But...

Shit.


Edward

"Have I told you that I love my forest?" Isabella asks - from on top of me, where she's been for... Like I could even begin to keep track of that time?

"Your mouth told me," I tell her, "Though not in those exact words. Or any at all, technically."

"Well, it had something else to say," she says sweetly, because her mouth couldn't do - or say - anything to me any other way.

"You don't have to tell me that, sweetheart. I assure you I know." And ache from knowing... and not because she leveled me to the ground...

"I know you do. I feel it."

"Which means it's time to get up and feel something else. Like the ground beneath our feet."

"If it's hurting your back, we can roll over," she offers, and puts my focus back on right. Painful, painful right...

"Oh no we can't. Up, forest girl."

"I really do love it, Edward."

"I'm glad, sweetheart."

"And you. But I know you knew that already."

"Did I?"

"Yes, and you do."

"Well, in all fairness, Isabella, you haven't technically said-"

"I love you."

Talk about being leveled...

I did know... of course I did...

But hearing her say the words...

Declare them...

"I love you, too, you beautiful girl. And I really need you to get up."

"You liked hearing that." She doesn't ask this time. Because it couldn't be clearer...

"I loved hearing it. Every part of me, obviously. And I'm sure that's wrong... and I'm sor-"

"I'm not. I love that every part of you did. And it's not wrong, but I'll get up, because I don't want to torture you after you bought me a forest."

She climbs off of me and to her feet, and even though it's what I told her to do, and what I needed her to do, it causes me more pain than I was in before she did.

Because I really did miss her these last few weeks.

Seeing her smile instead of just hearing it in her voice. Holding her and kissing her - though the opportunities to do that are hard to come by with Jasper always around - instead of just wanting to, and knowing at the end of each day that I've worked through my chance.

It was never my intention not to see her each night. I always planned to wrap mine up before it got too late, and at least go say goodnight before she went to sleep...

But it didn't go that way on most. I'd get so wrapped up in what I was trying to do for her that I'd lose all track of time, and since she wasn't complaining or interrupting me in any way - because she trusted me - the time would slip away and it would get too late before I took any to look at it.

And every night I'd fall into my bed feeling both proud of what I'd accomplished and angry at what I hadn't. Because I'd failed, once again, at right.

Finding the balance of how to give it to her. The future of her dreams, and the present I'd already given her - but that I took away by trying to focus on what came next.

The yet she's waiting for.

Has waited all of her life for.

And would probably spend with me anywhere, as long as despicable hadn't been there first.

I know there are things she wants... parts of the fairy tale she expects me to make real for her... but only because she knows that I can.

They wouldn't matter to her if I couldn't.

If all I could do was pitch a tent in the middle of this forest and place a candy Ring pop on her finger, she'd accept it and love me for both.

But she knows she doesn't have to. That I can and will give her more than that. And that I want to, want her to have everything she's ever dreamed of, and for her to settle for nothing less than.

Because she's already settled all of her dreams on me.

Just like Ethan said to me on that day I made her first come true...

Like it could ever be anyone else?

xx

You know it couldn't, Edward. We all know.

But for something you, the readers, new and old, may not... a couple of other dreams have already been made to come true. By me. When You Close Your Eyes and Cups Full of Wishes are both now complete. So, if anyone has been waiting patiently for that to happen so they could read them...

And they're both nominated for Top Ten Completed Fics of January 2013 at TwiFanfictionRecs dot com if you want to vote.

And that's all the 'progress' I have to offer today, so...