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Disclaimer: Twilight will always belong to SM, but this story is mine.



Five years into the future. Bella is now 23 and Edward is 22.

"Oh, Bella, your dress is beautiful. Alice chose well." I smiled appreciatively at my aunt's compliment before turning back to look at myself in the mirror. It had taken a while but thanks to my family and the man I loved it was becoming easier to accept compliments when they came my way.

"You don't think it's too tight?" I asked, tugging on the bodice of my size fourteen shiny, silver dress.

"Are you kidding? Look you at you," she said, walking over to the mirror and placing her hands at my hips where the corset shaped bodice flared. "You are the definition of an hour glass figure. Edward is going to lose his mind when he sees you. It's a good thing the boy is a genius, otherwise you could kiss medical school good-bye."

"Oh, that reminds me, he should be getting his scores now. He promised to call-" On cue my phone started ringing from the bed and Edward's beautiful face appeared on my screen. Aunt Janet moved to the side so I could answer.

"Hey, baby."

"How did you do?" I asked quickly. Edward may have a genius IQ, but even he has to do well on the M-CATs to be accepted into UW's school of medicine.

"Whoa, I don't even get a hello, you just zero right in on the scores? I knew it. You're only with me on the chance I become a doctor, get a job with the Mariners and keep you living the high life you've grown accustomed to," he said, trying to sound offended.

"If I were only with you for the money you could potentially earn, I would have tried harder to get you to keep the position with the Cubs," I said, referring to the pitching contract Edward turned down a year earlier. As expected, Edward had excelled in college sports, drawing the attention of several major league scouts and earning a job offer with the Chicago Cubs franchise in his second season with the Huskies. But by then the luster had started to rub off that dream. As always you couldn't have the good without the bad. And unfortunately the boys who bully in high school tend to become men who bully in college. Other than a few verbal altercations early in the first season, he pretty much steered clear of them. Edward had kept me sheltered from what he was dealing with. It wasn't until the end of the first season that I started hearing the familiar ring of narrow mindedness chime through the stands. He told me that if I chose not to attend his games he would understand. But once I got a look at the college groupies that were zeroed in on my man, there was no way I wasn't claiming him every chance I got. These coeds were ten times skankier than their high school counterparts. I couldn't believe how much shorter and tighter their clothes got in a year.

The drama Edward and I had endured in high school made me so much more capable of handing their back handed insults, smirks and shameless flirting. It also made me strong enough to never doubt Edward's love for me, even when the girls would crowd around him after a game. At six-foot-two, he stood head and shoulders above them. He'd smile politely, sign autographs and take pictures with them, yes, my man was that good, but he never failed to catch my eye in the stands and mouth "I love you" while the dug-out dollies fought each other for his attention.

By the time the major league scouts had started sniffing around, he'd pretty much decided that a life on the road surrounded by attention seeking groupies wasn't for him. We'd fought over his decision to just play college ball and not go forward.

~~Flashback ~~

"I cannot believe you would turn them down! It's the Chicago Cubs! It's everything you've ever wanted!" I'd yelled while he sat calmly next to me on the leather couch in our apartment. I couldn't believe he'd turned the offer down.

"Baby, you're all I've ever wanted." He'd promised, squeezing my hand until I'd tugged it away and started pacing the small living room.

"Don't say that. We both know it's not true." His face fell at my comment. He'd misunderstood my meaning. I got down on my knees in front of him so that I could look up into his face.

"Edward, I can't be the reason you don't chase your dream. I'm not going anywhere. I'll go to every game I can and we'll talk on the phone every night-"

"No!" He interrupted, gently pushing me back so he could stand up. "I don't want to talk to you on the phone or see you once a month when you can make a game." He quickly moved to sit next to me on the floor and took both of my hands in his. "I want to lie next to you every night. I want to share popcorn with you when we watch a movie. I want to hear your laughter every morning when you try to put my crazy hair back in order from a long night of crazy sex. I want to watch you nibble on the end of your pencil when you're studying. Bella, I don't ever want to be without you again. Baseball is something I love to do, but it's not the only thing I am and it's certainly not more important than you are to me. Besides, I've been thinking that I'd like to explore other aspects of the game rather than just being a player."

"What do you mean?"

"I think I want to go into Sports Medicine."

"You want to be a doctor?" I was confused. He'd never mentioned following in his father's footsteps.

"I want to work with all kinds of athletes. I could be the guy who helps them heal so they can keep pursuing their dreams. Like Doctor Gartin did for me." Early in his second season, Edward suffered an oblique muscle strain that had been initially ignored by his team doctor. But when the pain in his ribs became so severe that it affected his pitching, Carlisle took him to Doctor Gartin, a leader in sports medicine at Seattle General. It was determined that Edward was suffering from an avulsion fracture on the second rib on his right side. With the doctor's expertise, Edward was able to completely heal and get back on the mound within six weeks of treatment.

"I know. It's a lot of school but I'm already ahead of schedule with my master's degree. I already checked and some of the work I've already done can be transferred into the medical program. All I have to do is take the MCAT's, enroll in med school, complete my residency . . . Bella, what's wrong?"

I tried to hide the disappointment on my face. We'd talked about marriage after he finished his masters in biology, but now he was adding years of school to that plan. I'd just finished my bachelors in education and was already looking for a job. How much longer did he expect me to wait? Had he decided that living together was enough and he no longer wanted to marry me? But I couldn't deny the light that shone in his eyes when he spoke of his new career path. He was clearly excited about his new plan. I couldn't take that away from him.

"Nothing." I lied. "I'm just a little shocked. You've never mentioned this before. I thought you wanted to play baseball forever."

"I'll always want to play baseball. But coming home every night to you is more important than doing it professionally. And this way maybe I can keep coaching on the side." After high school Edward had continued coaching little league. Or more specifically, he'd continued to coach Max and Alex. He was now a pitching mentor for the Forks High team where both boys were players. "I thought you would be excited. I know you weren't keen on me being gone seven months of the year."

He was right. I wasn't looking forward to that aspect of the job nor was I happy about having even more women finding out this sexy man existed. "I would have been alright with it, for you."

"I know you would've done it. And I love you for that. But I don't want to be away from you." He whispered into my ear while hugging me tightly. "Please be okay with this." How could I have said no to that man?

After that Edward went full force with his new plan. Since he already had his bachelors, most of the work he'd done towards his master's degree transferred into the med-school program. He had a few prerequisite classes to finish and then he started studying for the MCATs. There was no more talk of engagement or marriage, just his excitement over becoming a doctor and his plans to keep working with athletes. I went ahead with looking for a job as a teacher, but I found that my heart was no longer intent on teaching. Just as Edward wanted to do more to help players achieve their dreams, I wanted to do more to help kids like me. I decided to go back to school and get my master's degree in counseling. Yes, I was going back to high school, this time as a counselor. I would make it my mission to be the light in the darkness for every kid who felt out of place, bullied, unloved or lost.

Edward and I moved along our new path and there was little time to think about the plans we'd put on hold until Alice and Jasper announced their engagement last Thanksgiving while they were in Paris with her family. Rose and Emmett followed suit on Valentine's Day. I smiled and congratulated the new couples while thinking that maybe there was another reason Edward had wanted to wait other than the fact we were so busy with school. It's not as if the other two couples didn't also have busy lives. Jasper was going to be a ninth grade history teacher at our alma mater, Forks High School while Alice had already started studying for her real estate license. She was intent on taking the Forks house hunting crown away from Lauren Mallory. Rose was working as a dietician at McFarland Clinic in Seattle. Emmett had shocked everyone when he'd decided to pursue a career as an attorney and was enrolled in the law program a UW. They all led busy lives yet they found the time to commit their lives to each other. I now wondered why Edward and I couldn't do the same.

"I know med school is adding a few years to the plan. Are you still good with waiting to get married? " Edward had asked later that night after receiving the call from an ecstatic Emmett. We were lying side by side in our bed. Edward was rubbing random designs on my naked back and hips. Ever since we'd decided we were tired of sneaking in and out of each other's dorm rooms, and moved in together at the beginning of our second semester, I couldn't remember a night were I hadn't fallen asleep without his fingers on my skin.

"Are you?" I'd cowardly asked, hidden in the darkness.

"Bella, that's not what I asked," he said, sighing heavily as if the words were weighing him down. "I'm just getting into my pre-med stuff done and then I have to study for the MCATs and then there's residency. I'm going to be so busy in the next couple of years I'm afraid I won't have the time to devote to wedding planning. But I'll do it if you want me too." He tugged on my hip forcing me to turn over to face him. Even in the pitch black of our bedroom his beauty shone through. I reached out and traced his jaw in the darkness. I wanted him to make time to plan our wedding because he wanted to make it a priority, not because I wanted him too.

"I want you. That's all I've ever wanted. I don't need anything else."

~~End Flashback~~

"Admit it, you just wanted to look at my ass in those tight baseball pants."

"I am kind of partial to baseball player's butts." I teased, thinking about just how partial I was to a certain player's butt.

"I knew it!"

"Edward stop procrastinating, how did you do on the test?!" I'd lost all patience with him.

"Alright, alright. Are you sitting down?"


"Forty-two." He stated simply.

"That's almost a perfect score!" My outburst brought Aunt Janet rushing to my side with a concerned look on her face. I waved her off with a smile so she knew I was okay.

"Did you doubt me?" He asked smugly. "I believe that puts me in the top one-percent and means you lost the bet. And according to the conditions of said bet, you have twenty-four hours to pay up. Good-bye, baby." I swear I could hear his smirk through the phone.

Damn it! I should have known better than to ever bet against Edward and his big brain.

"Aunt Janet, um, can I borrow your ABBA CD?"

Later that night, filled to the brim with tequila courage, I'd paid my debt to Edward with a private strip tease/lap dance in our bedroom. Afterwards Edward had rewarded me handsomely for my efforts. A week later I was still finding it difficult to hear Dancing Queen without sighing at the memories of that night.

"I now pronounce you man and wife." Cheers and clapping erupted loudly as Alice and Jasper shared their first kiss as husband and wife.

I looked across the aisle to find Edward's eyes on me.

"So, when is that boy going to put a ring on it?"

"Rose, you know we're waiting for school to be done." Her question was one I'd been asked many times over the last year. And as always, I was avoiding the discussion as much as possible.

"Uh, huh. Well, that idiot you sleep with just added four more years to that plan. Are you still in?" I took in the man across the church aisle from me. His green eyes sparkled as he mouthed, "I love you" over the heads of the still kissing bride and groom.

"Yes." I answered her. I would wait for him. However long it took.

Aunt Janet and Alice had come to very few concessions when it came to the planning of the wedding. Alice's mother knew far too well to stay out of her daughter's way when it came to party planning, but it was a lesson my aunt was slow to learn. Much to my aunt's chagrin the wedding had not taken place in the First Methodist church on Sycamore Street, the music was all contemporary and there were no harps, and there wasn't a locally grown flower in any bouquet. But Alice had agreed to allow my aunt to hold the reception at her house. My aunt's house was filled to the brim with friends and family celebrating the newlyweds. The backyard was once again covered in Edward's lights and every table held lilies from Aunt Janet and Esme's flower gardens.

So far, I'd danced with nearly every male in Forks except for the one I lived with. He was currently at the bar watching me dance with his brother and blatantly ignoring whatever it was that his father was saying to him.

"My brother is an idiot." Emmett announced as he twirled me around the small dance floor.

"What do you mean?"

"Every eligible man in this town is staring at you," he said, cocking an eyebrow at me when I laughed at his ridiculous statement. "Seriously, B, you're beautiful and everyone here can see that. He's a fool for not claiming you permanently." I opened my mouth to repeat the rehearsed explanation but Emmett wasn't having it. "Don't give me that tired 'We're waiting for school to be done' crap. He expects you to wait while he attends four years of med school and then three years of residency? Do you want to wait that long to get married? Have children?" I shook my head no.

"But I will for him."

"Then you're both idiots." Once again, I couldn't fault Emmett's logic.

"Em, mind if I dance with my girl?" Edward took my hand from his brother, tugging me towards him.

"You can go ahead and dance with Bella, but if you want to keep calling her your girl, you better get your head outta your ass or you might find yourself without a girl." Em gave me a peck on the cheek and shoulder-checked a shocked looking Edward before wandering off into the crowd.

"What the hell was that?" Edward asked, as he watched his brother walk away.

"It's nothing. Don't worry about it." I smiled at him and tugged on his arm. "Dance with me."

The smile I loved so much appeared on his face as his arms came tightly around me. "I've waited all night to have the most beautiful woman here in my arms. Baby, you look gorgeous in this dress. It hugs you in all of the right places."

"Your sweet mouth will only get you so far, Mr. Cullen." I playfully teased.

"Hmmm, how far will my brains get me?" He teased back, nuzzling my neck and placing a hand at the top of my butt, giving it a squeeze.

"Not as far as your sexy-ass and your giant-"

"Bella!" I swallowed my soon to be NC-17 rated words as Alice's excited voice rang out loudly across the yard. "Time to throw the bouquet! Get your gorgeous and single ass in here!"

"I don't want you to go. Please don't go." Edward whined.

"It's tradition for all of the single women to try to catch the bouquet." I reminded him, while running my hand through his soft hair.

"You're not single." He growled, holding me tighter.

"According to this definition I am."

"Well, that definition sucks!" I had to laugh at his mini-tantrum.

"Then change it." I challenged.

His eyes narrowed slightly at my comment. "I plan too."

"When?" I asked forcefully. The question was out of my mouth before I knew what was happening.

"Bella!" Alice was the smallest person I knew and hands down the loudest.

"I have to go," I said, glad for the small reprieve.

Edward's eyes darkened as he leaned in to kiss me slowly before resting his forehead on mine with a heavy sigh. "Come back to me?"

"Always." I promised easily before pulling out of his arms and walking into the house.

Fifteen minutes later, I left the house with Emmett running around my aunt's living room wearing the garter belt around his head and Rose cheering him on. I found Edward standing under our tree house with his back to the chaos going on in the house. Seeing him there brought a smile to my face as I remembered the last time we met under this tree.

"Hey," I said softly, walking to his side. "I caught the bouquet." He glanced my way but stayed sullenly silent. I waved the small bundle of wildflowers in his face. "Emmett got the garter. I guess that means I have to marry Emmett?" I joked trying to erase the serious look on his face.

"You could do that. You could deal with his flatulence, his ill-timed jokes and his horrible spelling on a daily basis or you could-" He paused, moving around to face me, taking my hand before getting down on one knee. "Or you could marry me." He smoothly produced a blue box out of his pocket, opening it to reveal a large square-cut diamond on a platinum band. I opened my mouth to say something but nothing would come out. The love of my life was asking me to be his forever and suddenly my vocal chords go on strike?

"Bella, I know we agreed to wait until we were both done with school, but I don't want to wait that long. I thought it would put too much pressure on you to plan a wedding while we're both still so busy but I want to start planning our future together. We can wait on having kids if you want. I'm going to be busy, you're going to be busy, I understand waiting on kids but we can at least get married? He spoke quickly as if he were afraid I was going to stop listening before he was done. His grip on my hand increased, making sure I wouldn't run.

"Bella, please say something. Please!" His gorgeous emerald eyes shone brighter than the ring he held in his hand. My mind scrambled to come up with the words that would convey to him how very much I wanted to spend my life with him.

Have children with him.

Grow old with him.


"Yes?" He asked for clarification. His voice was hopeful and his eyes searched mine for the truth.

I took his face in my hands, pulling him in closer. Our faces were inches apart. "I don't want to wait either. I said I would because I thought it was what you wanted."

Edward wasted no time. His lips crashed against mine in a furious kiss. I curled my arms around his neck holding him tightly. "Thank God." He whispered against my lips. "I've had the ring for a year but every time I got ready to do it, one of our family members would beat me to it and then I got so busy with studying –" I cut him off with another kiss.

"It's okay." I assured him.

"I wanted to do something special so you'd know how much I love you."

I pulled back from his lips. "You show me every day that you love me. I don't need a big production. All I want is you. All I've ever wanted is you."

"You have me. Forever." He promised, kissing me with so much passion my toes curled into the cool grass.

Jasper proposed to Alice at the top of the Eiffel tower with her parents looking on, Emmett proposed to Rose in the fancy restaurant with both of their families present at the top of the Space Needle and Edward proposed to me under an old tree in the dark with no one watching and it couldn't have been more perfect.

~~The End. ~~

That's it. They live happily ever after and I'll be over in a corner with a bottle of tequila and a box of Kleenex bawling my eyes out.

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