Twilight Post Secret Challenge
Number of Secret Chosen: #5
Title: The Ladder
Word Count: 3571
Summary: Edward has a very important question to ask Bella, but when everything that can go wrong does, can he survive the night with a little help from his friends? AH/OOC
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Shh, you're making too much noise," Edward hissed at Jasper.
"Hey, you asked me for help. I can leave, you know; I don't have to put up with this shit," Jasper snapped back at him. Edward was starting get on Jasper's nerves, which wouldn't be the first time. As much as Jasper cared for his adoptive brother, it was times like these when he wondered why he continued to put up with his nonsense.
"Okay, okay. I don't know why you're giving me so much grief. This wasn't my idea." Edward scowled. He had no idea how he let himself get talked into this situation. All he had said to Jasper and Emmett was that he wanted to "wow" Bella when he "popped the question" and give her something that she would remember for the rest of her life. He thought maybe a nice dinner in Seattle followed by a stroll in the park would suffice. Jasper had yawned and claimed that it was too boring and suggested that maybe he should serenade her.
Emmett had said that Edward's crooning would probably scare Bella away—as well as some of the neighbors' cats—so he recommended that Edward propose to her outside her windowsill. He even offered to "borrow" a ladder from the house painting business where he worked.
That is how Edward found himself hiding with Jasper in the darkness behind overgrown hedges in Bella's back yard, waiting for Emmett to arrive with the ladder. He was nervous about whether or not he could pull it off, especially when it came to the possibility that Charlie, Bella's father, might interrupt them.
When Edward had planned this, he waited for a weekend when Charlie would be out of town fishing. However, at the last minute, Jasper, who overheard Charlie talking to friend at the grocery store, said that Charlie had to cancel his plans because his fishing partner had caught the flu.
Edward wanted to call the whole thing off then, but Emmett reminded him of the other times he had snuck into Bella's house while Charlie was sleeping. Edward felt better after remembering that Bella had once told him that Charlie slept like the dead and nothing—short of an earthquake—could wake him up.
Edward looked down at his watch anxiously. So far, the night had not been going according to plan at all. Charlie was a routine kind of guy, and he always did the same thing every night—dinner, sports, beer, and bed. He was usually out like a light by midnight. However, it was already half-past midnight and he was still glued to the TV.
Edward placed his watch next to his ear. It's working, he thought to himself, so where the hell is Emmett? He had promised Edward to bring the ladder by midnight. Edward groaned, thinking that he might as well call it off.
"Settle down, Edward," Jasper said calmly. "Emmett said he would be here, and he will, so don't worry."
Jasper and Edward froze when a sudden movement behind the kitchen window caught their attention. Edward hitched in his breath when he saw Bella standing by the window. They had been dating for months, but every time he saw her, it was like a blind man seeing the evening sky for the first time. Like the full moon glowing against the backdrop of the dark sky, satin, waves framed her delicate face. When her eyes gazed into his, pools of molten brown lured him to her like a gravitational pull. She was his moon goddess, and he worshipped her mind, heart, and soul.
When Bella walked away from the window, Edward became aware of an itching sensation that started to spread all over his body. Oh, why did I listen to Emmett?
Edward was dressed in a tuxedo, and the fabric was starting to make him itch like crazy. He was more of the button-down-shirt-and-khaki-pants-wearing kind of guy and dressing up in a "monkey suit" made him extremely uncomfortable and now itchy. Emmett insisted that if he wanted to do this right, he needed to wear a tuxedo. He said it gave him the "James Bond" look. Edward thought he looked more like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, but decided not to argue.
Edward gave himself a good scratch and willed himself to focus on what he needed to do to make this night a success.
"Did you bring the ring?" Edward asked Jasper.
Jasper patted the front pocket of his jeans. "Yep, I have it right here. Do you want it now?"
"Not yet, once we get the ladder set up you can hand it to me. I might accidentally drop it, and it's too dark to see anything if I do."
Suddenly, the back porch light flickered on, spilling a bright light onto the hedges where Edward and Jasper stood.
"Shit! Get down." Jasper grabbed Edward's shoulder and pushed him down, pulling them both to the ground.
"What the hell was that?" Jasper whispered.
I groaned as I felt a cold spot in my rear. "I ripped the seam of my pants. Thanks a lot, Jasper."
"Guess, you asshole." Edward gritted his teeth.
"Hey, don't blame me. You were the one that was too cheap to buy a descent tuxedo."
"How the hell was I supposed to know what kind of tuxedo to buy? I don't know anything about fashion. The guy on eBay had a 95% positive sales rating."
"Turn around." Jasper reached over and pulled on Edward's jacket collar.
Edward slapped Jasper's hand. "What are you doing?"
Jasper hit Edward back. "Knock it off. I'm trying to read the label . . . ah, ha! It's just what I thought," he exclaimed.
"Made in Taiwan," Jasper read aloud.
The porch lights flickered back off, and Edward sighed with relief. He stood up and twisted around, trying to take a look at the hole in his pants. He groaned. "Why would it matter where it was made? It's too late now. I can't propose to Bella looking like this."
Jasper rolled his eyes. This wasn't the first time he had to save Edward from himself. Most of the time it was Emmett that would get into trouble, but ever since Edward met Bella, it was as if the boy's brain cells went on vacation.
Jasper dug into his pockets, searching for anything that would hold the seam together long enough until Edward proposed to Bella.
Edward jumped and quickly turned in the direction of the sound to find Emmett walking towards them chewing a huge wad of gum and carrying a ladder.
"Damn it, Emmett. Would you be quiet? Charlie hasn't gone to bed yet," Edward said, throwing his hands in the air, frustrated.
"What's wrong with you?" Emmett scowled at Edward. It was not easy driving around town with a sixteen-foot ladder tied to the roof of a Volkswagen Beetle. He hated driving Alice's car, but his truck broke down a couple of days ago, and he had to wait for his next paycheck before he could get it fixed. Rosalie refused to let him use her BMW ever since he ruined the rotors. How was he to know that the grinding noise and the flashing light on the dashboard meant that it needed new brake pads?
"Don't mind him. Do you have any more of that gum?" Jasper looked at Emmett and then back to Edward. He had an idea that may just work to save Edward's pants.
Jasper took a couple of pieces of gum and handed them to Edward. "Start chewing," he ordered.
"What? Does my breath smell?" Edward cupped his hand in front of his mouth, blew into it, and quickly inhaled. I don't smell anything.
"Let me take a whiff," Emmett said as he leaned in toward Edward.
Edward opened his mouth and exhaled.
"Yeah, it smells bad. Take some more gum," Emmett said, handing him several more pieces.
Edward stuck the gum in his mouth and chewed quickly. Saliva filled his mouth and began to dribble down his chin, so he wiped it with his jacket sleeve.
After a moment, Jasper held out his hand to Edward. "Okay, give me your gum. You too, Emmett."
Edward and Emmett looked to Jasper quizzically but handed him their pink wads of sticky goo. Like a child playing with Play-Doh, Jasper flattened and molded the gum with his hands.
"Turn around Edward," he directed as he dropped down to his knees.
"What the . . . hey, get your hands off my ass," Edward yelped as he felt Jasper's cold hands on his backside.
"Stand still, asshole. I'm trying to help you," Jasper barked.
After a moment, Jasper stood back up and looked down to admire his handy work. Not bad, Whitlock. Not bad at all. "Okay, I'm done. This will only hold for a while, but at least no can see your tighty whities."
"Dude, you wear briefs?" Emmett snickered.
"I ran out of clean boxer shorts, and I forgot to buy laundry detergent," Edward explained, his face turning a brighter shade of red with each word.
"Why don't you do what I do and turn them inside out?" Emmett replied with nonchalance.
"Ew!" Jasper and Edward chorused in unison.
"Don't cut it until you try it." Emmett shrugged and then turned to Jasper. "You have nothing to worry about because Alice does your laundry. I tried to get Rose to do my skivvies and she freaked."
"I don't blame her," Jasper replied. "With all that Taco Bell you've been eating, I would run for the border too."
"Come on, guys. Let's get going already," Edward said impatiently as he walked toward the house.
Jasper grabbed his arm. "You need to wait for a while so that we can make sure that Charlie is asleep."
"Yeah, you remember what he did to you last time, don't ya?" Emmett asked with a wide grin on his face.
Edward shuddered as he recalled the previous autumn when he had his run-in with Charlie's "little friend"—a Glock 22. Bella had left the back door open and told him to sneak in after midnight for some "together time". Edward had waited outside until 12:15am, and from what he could tell, there were no lights on in the house, so he thought it would be safe to go inside. He only made it two steps into the living room before he ran into Charlie with a gun in his hand, illuminated by the glow of the candles that were laid out on the coffee table. Bella quickly ran into the room and explained to Charlie that Edward was there to check in on them since the electricity was down and that he wanted to make sure that they were okay.
"Yeah, I remember sneaking in too early. Ever since that night, I make sure I know the date for the end of Daylight Savings Time," Edward said.
He froze. Oh, shit! I think I forgot to turn my watch back. He didn't want Jasper to think that he was an idiot for doing the same dumb thing twice. Jasper was so calm and prepared for anything. It made him feel like a bumbling idiot. Maybe if I casually ask him, he won't notice.
"Friday," Jasper answered.
Damn! That didn't work. "I meant the date," Edward said, trying to sound casual.
Jasper punched Edward in the shoulder. "Don't you ever learn? Don't worry, Daylight Savings Time ended last weekend."
"Oh, yeah, I knew that. I was just making sure you knew that." Edward turned around slightly so that Emmett and Jasper couldn't see his arm as he stealthily lifted his jacket sleeve and moved his watch back.
After what seemed like an eternity to Edward, Jasper finally told him it was time to go. He pulled a small velvet-covered jewelry box from his pocket and handed it to him. "Go get 'er, tiger."
"Hold on to that for a minute." Edward walked stiffly toward the ladder, being mindful not to reopen the hole in his pants. He hesitated as he looked at the ladder on the ground. "Um . . . guys, will you pick this up for me. I don't want to rip open my pants again."
Jasper and Emmett chuckled as they bent down to pick up the ladder and hand it over to Edward. "Okay, you all can leave now. I can take it from here."
Edward had prepared and memorized his speech, but he was desperately afraid he would forget the words he wanted to say. Being nervous made him forgetful and he was nervous enough as it was without an audience listening to his every word, especially when that audience consisted of Jasper and Emmett. They took too much pleasure in finding entertainment at his expense.
"Please let us stay," Emmett pleaded. He widened his eyes, and for a moment, Edward thought he looked like the Puss in Boots cat. "We won't say a word, and we'll stay hidden behind the hedges."
"I don't know." Edward was skeptical.
"Aw, come on! I borrowed that ladder for you from work," Emmett whined.
"And if it wasn't for me, half your ass would be hanging out of your pants," Jasper argued.
Edward sighed. They did make a point. "Fine. Just make sure you are well hidden and don't say a word." He shook his finger at them, making sure that they understood that he was serious.
Jasper and Emmett ran behind the hedges, chuckling like small children, as Edward headed toward the house.
"Psst! Edward," Jasper whispered.
Edward turned with a frown on his face. "Jasper, I said not a word."
"Shut it, Jasper," Edward growled.
"Asshole, you forgot—" Emmett placed his hand over Jasper's mouth.
Jasper elbowed him and he fell to the ground, clutching his stomach.
"Shit, Jasper," Emmett said when he caught his breath. Normally, he could take on Jasper's punches, but the fucker caught him off guard. "Don't tell him that he forgot the ring. Let's see how long it takes for him to figure it out." He never gave up an opportunity to razz Edward, and this was too good of an opportunity to miss.
Jasper snickered. Emmett always did come up with the best ways to stick it to Edward, and this was going to be classic. Edward's nervousness was going to be his own undoing, and they were going to have a front seat at the show.
Jasper and Emmett waited with baited breath as they saw Bella open her window after Edward lightly tapped on it.
"Bella, I love you. I love you with every thought and with every breath. I can't imagine a world without you in it. Will you . . ." Edward paused as he reached into his pocket, holding on to the ladder with one hand.
Emmett and Jasper chuckled as they saw Edward dig deep into his pocket. Jasper felt something brush up against his leg and turned to look at Emmett. "Stop it. I'm trying to listen," he hissed.
"What's your problem?" Emmett grumbled.
"Cut the crap, Emmett. I know it's you brushing up against my leg, and I ain't fallin' for it."
"It's not me."
"Whatever, just keep your hands to yourself." Jasper turned his attention back to Edward who was now searching his other pant pocket. So far the gum was keeping Edward's pant seam in place, and Jasper was a little impressed with his work.
"Will I what?" Bella asked as she watched Edward desperately trying to keep the ladder balanced as he fumbled to get something in his pocket. Oh my God, oh my God! He's proposing!
Bella tried to smooth her face and not look too excited. Edward was not very suave and when he was nervous, he tended to be really clumsy. Over the months since they had begun dating, she grew to love his awkwardness and his inability to speak in coherent sentences whenever she gazed into his eyes.
So what if she had a slight bump on the head when she dropped her books and he bent down at the same time she did to retrieve them? Who cared that he ruined her favorite white dress when he spilled coffee all over it on their first date? It was the way he looked at her, the way he opened doors for her, making sure that her needs were beginning met first that had her fall in love with him. It was the times that he listened to her complain about her father being overprotective and at the same time offering his insight. He helped her to see things in a different light and never expected her to agree with him. Even when they disagreed, he always respected what she had to say and never tried to convince her to his way of thinking. In fact, he appeared to enjoy their heated discussions, and he always had a look of admiration on his face when she spoke her mind. He knew her inner most thoughts, and she could only share them with him. There was no one else for her but Edward.
Edward started to panic. I swear I put it in my pocket. He opened his tuxedo jacket and searched the inside pocket. His eyes widened as he looked at Bella who staring at him, her eyes sparkling with anticipation.
"Edward?" she whispered.
He was starting to lose his nerve. He had to ask her, and now.
"Will you ma—" The ladder began to sway backward. He quickly placed both hands on the rung of the ladder and leaned forward. "Will you ma. . . ahhhhh!"
Edward landed on the ground with the ladder on top of him.
"Edward! Are you okay?" Bella looked frantically down at Edward.
"Yes," he squeaked.
"I'm going down." Bella disappeared into her room.
Edward moaned. His back ached a little but he was more embarrassed than hurt. He pushed the ladder off of him and stood up.
"Damn!" Edward growled. He decided to ignore it and to get Bella's ring before she joined him outside.
"Guys," Edward hissed. "I forgot the ring. Give me the ring."
Jasper and Emmett's howls could be heard from behind the hedges.
"Hold on," Jasper said as he tried to catch his breath. He felt something brush up against his leg again. "I told you to stop trying to feel me up Emmett."
"It's not me asshole."
"Then what . . ."
Suddenly, a black furry ball with a long white strip on its back scurried out of the hedges and stopped a few feet away from them. Emmett and Jasper looked at the creature with wide eyes and jaws dropped. The creature then raised its tail and sprayed.
Emmett and Jasper tried to escape the spray, but Emmett attempted to run to his right at the same time that Jasper turned to his left and they slammed into each other, knocking themselves flat to the ground.
Bella walked outside and was about to check on Edward when she started to gag.
"I'm so sorry Bella. I wanted to do this right." Edward's eyes started to mist with tears, and he dropped his head to his chest. The pants, the ring, the smell . . . this night couldn't get any worse than this.
Bella's heart filled with love. She placed her hand underneath his chin and lifted it until his emerald eyes met hers. "What did you want to ask me?"
Edward looked at Bella, his chest aching with love for her. In her eyes, he saw that she loved him. Despite the insanity of the night when everything seemed to go wrong, she was the one thing that was right.
"Will you marry me?"
Bella pulled Edward to her, gently kissing his full lips. After a moment, she pulled back slightly to gaze into his eyes. "Edward, I promise to love you for better or for worse. I take you as you are—your heart, your body, your soul. Yes, I'll marry you."
Emmett and Jasper's whoops and hollers filled the air with celebration. Edward turned to Jasper, his face shining with such happiness that for a moment, Jasper felt his eyes sting a little. Damn, funky-spraying, skunk. He quickly reached into his pocket and tossed the box with the ring to Edward before his eyes started to water.
Emmett started to walk over to Bella with open arms. "Welcome to the family, Bella."
Bella stepped back, pinching her nose closed. "I love you, Em, but you stink. Rain check on the hug?"
"That's gratitude for you," Emmett grumbled. "Come on, Jasper, let's get a move on. I need to take that ladder back."
Bella and Edward waved goodbye to Emmett and Jasper. After they were gone, she took off Edward's jacket and then began to unbutton his shirt. "Do you want to join me in the shower, husband-to-be?"
"I'd love to." Edward pulled her to him for a passionate kiss.
Bella moaned as she felt Edward harden against her. Her hands strayed down his back and glided over his pants, pulling him closer to her. Her hands froze as she felt something sticky. She quickly turned him around and looked down.
"What happened to your pants?"
A/N: Thanks for reading. Please leave a review with your thoughts.
Please check out all the other entries for the Twilight Post Secret Challenge. Voting opens 12/2 through 12/12. Winners will be announced on December 14th.