Author's Notes:


*When characters are speaking out loud, quotes will be used.

*When characters are signing with their hands, italics will be used. (Italics will be used in other places as well, i.e. to emphasize certain words/phrases. Please keep that in mind.)

*When characters are communicating via iPad or e-mail, bold will be used.

*Bella's conversations with others, signing and writing, will ALWAYS be encased in *stars*.

*Edward's conversations with Bella, signing and writing, will remain unmarked.

*Any other characters that sign in a chapter will have their conversations encased in {brackets}.

Many thanks to azure0610 for acting as my beta. Also, thanks to aerobee82 and JenEsme for pre-reading for me.

The awesome Nayarit and FluffyLiz created my beautiful banners for me.

All the usual disclaimers apply. This story is rated M for a reason.

Chapter 30 - Perfect

I wasn't nervous as I waited for Bella to finish getting dressed for our dinner date upstairs. Never mind that her engagement ring, tucked safely away in my pants pocket, was a constant reminder of the entire purpose of this evening. Never mind that Charlie sat with his legs comfortably stretched out on the couch, a can of Rainier in his hand, smirking at me out of the corner of his eye. Never mind that Renee was hidden in the kitchen, humming along softly to the tune of "Going to the Chapel"…

Okay – so, maybe I was a little nervous.

I peeked around the wall separating the kitchen from the living room, clearing my throat to make my presence known. Renee stopped humming and looked up, offering me a mischievous and far too knowing smile.

"Interesting choice of songs," I commented.

"It's one of my favorites," she replied with a wink.

Even though I'd said nothing of my specific plans to propose to Bella tonight, I was all but certain that Charlie and Renee had figured things out. Humming aside, Renee had saved me from my glaring faux pas at breakfast several days ago. I was thankful to her for announcing that she and Charlie had plans to attend a police function tonight, although I was beginning to suspect that might have been a lie. Neither one of them was dressed for a formal affair, nor did they look in any hurry to leave the house. I didn't ask, and I sure as hell hoped that Bella didn't notice.

"You two ready to go?" Renee asked, thankfully changing the subject.

"Bella's just finishing up upstairs."

"You're heading into Port Angeles, right?"

"Yes. Bella speaks highly of the Italian restaurant there."

Renee smiled.

"It's quaint. She loves the mushroom ravioli they serve. Did you manage to make reservations?"

I nodded my head.

"I was lucky. They were booked, but they had a cancellation this morning and they were able to fit us in. We should be back before midnight, so we can watch the ball go down together and drink that champagne."

Renee smiled warmly at me, reaching out to gently squeeze my arm.

"We're looking forward to it, but don't rush your dinner," she said. "The champagne will be chilled and waiting, regardless of the time you get in."

I nodded in response, just as the sound of Bella's shoes on the landing alerted me to her presence. Renee turned away from me then, and began humming along to the tune of "Going to the Chapel" again, causing my face to flush red when Bella strolled into the kitchen. One look at me, and she immediately grew alarmed.

*Edward? Are you okay?*

Without giving me a chance to respond, her hand flew to my forehead, her palm gently cupping the skin there, feeling for any sign of a fever.

"I'm fine," I assured her, reaching up to tug her hand away. In the background, I could hear Renee laughing softly. Of course, Bella couldn't hear her humming, or laughing for that matter, but it didn't keep me from feeling out of sorts. Thankfully, Renee took pity on me. She turned and waved her hand in Bella's direction, catching her attention.

{Edward's fine, dear,} she signed. {I sent him into the basement to retrieve some of the homemade chutney Lauren Mallory's mother sent over this past summer. You know how dusty it is downstairs. It caused him to cough a little, that's all.}

Bella seemed appeased by her mother's explanation, and I breathed a sigh of relief, eager to get on our way before Renee decided to have any more fun at my expense. She winked at me one last time as I guided Bella out of the kitchen, and I couldn't help but smile and shake my head at her in return.

Bella's parents watched us as we carefully navigated the walkway to the car. Where the weather yesterday had been temperate, overnight a cold front had pushed through, bringing with it blustery weather and several inches of snow. Bella and I had both dressed accordingly, with Bella sporting a new pair of UGGs her mother had purchased for her while shopping in Port Angeles the other day. I'd gone casual with jeans and a long sleeved button down shirt that Bella said accented my eyes. Neither one of us were ones to dress up under any circumstance, so it seemed fitting I would propose to Bella in a place where we could simply be ourselves.

Sliding into the front seat of the car, I glanced in her direction.

*Are you okay with driving?* she wondered. *The weather's pretty bad…*

She looked genuinely concerned, and for a moment I worried that she might try and call off our dinner. That simply wouldn't do, so I smiled at her reassuringly.

It'll be fine. It's no different from driving in Chicago, really.

This was true. I really wasn't concerned about driving into town, despite the inclement weather; Chicago winters could rival Forks any day. Besides, Renee had offered to let us drive her car, a 4WD Grand Cherokee with tires more appropriate for winter driving than the standard tires in place on our rental, so we were better off than we would have been otherwise.

*Are you sure?* she pressed, still looking uncertain. Her eyes flitted from my face to her window, where she watched the snow falling in spades around us. Reaching out, I squeezed her thigh, causing her to focus her attention back on me.

I'm positive. Don't worry, I signed, smiling at her while tapping the tip of her nose with my index finger. She swatted it away.

*All right then, drive,* she playfully teased, motioning to the steering wheel, and with a smile and an acknowledging wave in her parents' direction, Bella and I pulled out of the driveway on our way to Port Angeles.

We were both quiet for the first ten minutes or so of our journey, each of us gratefully soaking up the warm heat that flowed through the vents and into the car. It was unfortunate that the vehicle didn't have seat warmers. That was a luxury I'd grown accustomed to in Chicago that Renee's older model truck was regrettably lacking. When my fingers finally warmed to the point where I could feel them again, I reached out, taking Bella's hand in mine. She looked over at me and sighed, a beautiful, contented smile pulling her rose colored lips upward. She was simply kissable right then, but I wouldn't chance taking my eyes off of the road, not even to sign. It wasn't safe in the current weather.

We had just turned onto a dark, and on this night, seemingly deserted side road that would eventually connect us to the main highway leading into Port Angeles, when I heard a funny sound emanating from outside. Bella reacted to the vibrations she felt passing through the base of the car moments before I realized there was something wrong. She reached out and gripped my thigh in concern, while a quick glance at the dashboard told me we'd lost air pressure in one of the tires. I immediately put my hazards on, pumping the brakes softly and slowly pulling over to the side of the road before putting the car in park.

I think we might have a flat tire, I signed with a frustrated sigh, turning to face Bella before delivering the regrettable news. I couldn't believe this was happening. Of all nights, why did something like this have to happen tonight, the evening of my intended proposal? Bella nodded her head, and I tried not to think about what this might mean for our plans.

*Have you ever changed one before?* she asked, worry creeping across her face.

I've assisted once or twice, I replied. Admittedly, I wasn't very handy with cars, but changing a tire wasn't all that difficult. However, on this night in particular it could be a messy affair, not to mention bitterly cold, given the current state of the weather outside.

I'm going to get out and see what we're dealing with. Hopefully your mother has a spare. Why don't you call your father and let him know what's happened. Maybe he could drive out to help me change the tire.

Bella nodded and started searching in her purse for her phone while I braced myself to face the penetrating cold.

"Fuck," I muttered as I opened the car door. My teeth instantly started to chatter as cold air blasted across my face, causing me to suck in a sharp breath. Though it wasn't likely, it seemed as if the temperature had dropped twenty degrees between here and Bella's house. Slamming the door shut behind me, I was at least gratified to know that Bella was cocooned safely within the warmth of the car. I'd left it running for now; no sense in her having to suffer the cold until I could determine what exactly needed to be done. However if it was indeed a flat tire, I'd have no choice but to turn off the ignition before changing it out. Turning to my right, my suspicion was immediately confirmed. The front left tire was completely flat, likely the result of having driven over a nail, or some other sharp object. Whatever the case, it definitely needed to be fixed. I strode to the tire's side, bending at the knee to examine the rim for any damage before returning to the driver's side door, opening it and settling back inside the car.

The front left tire is flat, I signed, filling Bella in on the specifics with a resigned sigh. This did not bode well for the rest of our evening. Did you get a hold of your father?

She shook her head, grimacing.

*I think I might have left my phone on the bathroom counter. I was texting with your sister before we left,* she guiltily replied, worrying her lower lip.

This definitely was not good news. I pulled my own phone from my back pocket, in the hopes that maybe I was wrong, but as I suspected, I had absolutely no cell service. Fucking AT&T.

"Shit," I sighed, resting my forehead against the steering wheel and gritting my teeth. "Shit, shit, shit."

*What's wrong?* Bella signed from beside me. She reached out, running her hand through my hair and scratching my scalp softly, which under normal circumstances would have worked wonders at settling me down, but not tonight - not when all hope for proposing to the love of my life was quickly funneling down the drain.

I took a deep breath before answering.

No cell service.

Her eyes widened for a moment, her hand stilling in my hair before she retracted it and asked if I could change the tire on my own. At that point in time, I didn't think I had much of a choice, unless of course we wanted to wait around for a stranger to pass us by. The problem was who knew when that might happen? We were on a small, isolated back road, and we hadn't seen another vehicle for over fifteen minutes. This led me to believe that our odds of encountering one anytime soon were slim at best.

I can change the tire, I assured Bella, doing my best to exude confidence when really I was starting to have doubts about my ability to do so, given the bitingly cold weather.

*I can try to help,* she offered with a weak smile. *Maybe hold a wrench or something? Like a surgeon's assistant…*

Her comment caused me to chuckle, and I reached over, taking her hands in mine and kissing them.

No, I shook my head. Stay in here where it's warmer. I'll have to turn off the car, but I'll try to be quick, and hopefully we can be on our way before you get too chilled.

*But what about you?* she asked, obviously concerned about my well-being outdoors. *It's so cold out there…*

Just think of it as extra incentive to be quick, I replied with a wink and a half-hearted smile. It was forced, and Bella and I both knew it, but there was no sense in stewing over circumstances that were out of our control.

*Okay,* she reluctantly agreed. She leaned across the seat to kiss my cheek, and with the sweet memory of her lips on my skin, I clicked off the ignition and opened my door.

I tried to stay positive as I stepped back out into the unwelcoming night air by focusing on the lingering sensation of her kiss, but as I surveyed my surroundings, my eyes landing on the offending tire, my dreams of proposing to Bella were all but swept away, drifting on the invisible tail of the wind that sailed right by me, taking a little piece of my heart with it. I shook my head in acceptance of probable defeat, because even if I did manage to change the tire on my own, my clothes would likely be soaked through from the snow, and we would have to return home to change. At that point, it would be too late to go out to dinner, which meant my proposal would have to come at a later time - perhaps Tampa, on Valentine's Day? With a resigned sigh, I sullenly trudged to the back of the car, pulling open the hatch and extricating the rusty old jack and other tools I would need to change the tire with before setting to work.

A half hour later, I had proven myself a liar and a failure. I could not, in fact, change a tire on a car. At least not this car, in what felt like subzero temperatures under a dark, moonless sky. I had tried my best – persevered until Bella had dragged me kicking and screaming back inside the car. She was horrified when she took note of my fingers, ice-cold to the touch despite the fact they'd been sheathed in thick gloves. Those same thick gloves had made removing the nuts from the tire cumbersome, but I wouldn't have been able to remove them with my bare hands. It was much too cold outside for that.

"What are we going to do?" I asked as Bella turned the key in the ignition, causing a welcome blast of heat to burst through the vents. She reached out and took my hands gently between hers, plucking off my gloves and blowing warm air over the frigid fingers, causing my body to sag in relief. It felt so damn good.

She sat quietly for a minute, continuing to warm my hands before she finally replied.

*Forks High is about a quarter mile away. It's the closest building around. If we're lucky, there's a door open somewhere and we can get to a phone.*

And if we're not lucky? Because let's face it… tonight hadn't exactly gone according to plan.

Bella shrugged, seemingly unconcerned.

*This is Forks, not New York City. There will be a door open somewhere.*

I wasn't so sure, but our options were admittedly limited, and sitting in the car, waiting for the gas to run out while we waited for a car to happen by didn't exactly appeal to either one of us, so we locked up behind ourselves and headed on our way, with our jackets zipped up tight and our hoods pulled over our heads to shield us against the cold on our journey.

Both of us kept our gloved hands shoved deep inside our pockets as Bella led the way through the woods. Thankfully, we'd found a flashlight stashed in the back of the glove compartment in the truck, which now lay tucked beneath Bella's right arm. It wasn't much, but it provided enough light so that we could see where we were going. Both of us walked with purpose towards our destination, however I did my best to usher Bella forward at a quicker pace when I registered wolves howling somewhere off in the distance. I tried not to panic at the sound of their soulful cries, instead focusing hard on the single stream of light leading the way through the thick gathering of trees, but I had to admit the sound was disconcerting. I'd seen enough documentaries to know that a pack of wolves wasn't to be messed with. I debated telling Bella about them, but ultimately decided against it. Though my omission might not have been fair, I didn't see any sense in alarming her. From the sound of it, they were miles away. Still, I was glad when I saw the outline of a building appear through a clearing in the woods not too far away. Luck hadn't exactly been on our side tonight, and the sight of Forks High was definitely a welcome relief.

Do you know where you're going? I asked as I moved up by Bella's side. She glanced in my direction, little more than her eyes visible from inside her drawn hood, and shook her head no, which didn't exactly inspire confidence. I pulled my phone from my back pocket, praying that we might have reception here, but again, I failed to find a signal.

Bella and I walked briskly to the front entrance, both of us reaching out to test the door at the same time. It was locked, but Bella didn't seem bothered by that. She didn't let it deter her from moving swiftly around the building, pulling forcefully on every set of doors. We were nearing the end of available doors to try when one finally gave way. Bella's eyes flashed to mine, and I grinned in delight as she pulled the rusted metal structure open. I immediately felt along the wall, flicking the switch on and illuminating the space, only to find that we were standing in the middle of a band room.

What were the chances? My eyes bounced from the tubas to the drums to the old baby grand piano tucked away in a corner before landing back on Bella.

Look around for a thermostat, I instructed her, knowing as well as she did that we needed to take immediate measures to warm ourselves up. The room would provide us shelter from the outdoors, but it was still intolerably cold. Bella nodded, clicking the flashlight off and setting it down on a nearby desk before circumnavigating the room. It took the better part of five minutes, but we finally located the tiny box, hidden behind an old bookshelf packed full of dusty old sheet music. Both of us sighed when I clicked on the heat, wisps of warm air pushing through a vent in the ceiling located directly above us. I pulled Bella into my arms and she smiled up at me, both of us basking in the welcome warmth.

Even though we needed to find a phone, I took a moment to hold Bella close, kissing her temple and resting my wind chapped cheek against the top of her head. Despite the unwelcome turn of events tonight, it was hard to feel anything but contented holding her in my arms. Even if I wasn't able to slip a ring on her finger, we would still ring in the New Year together. Whether that would be in the Forks High School band room or the more desirable location of her living room remained to be seen, but regardless, I wouldn't let this unanticipated detour prevent me from making the best of our situation.

After a few minutes, Bella pulled out of my arms and began further exploring our surroundings, poking around in the hopes of finding a phone. I joined her, but even as she cleared away stacks of paper from a desk located at the front of the room, my eyes kept shifting back to the piano I'd spotted earlier. It was definitely a relic of times gone by – its many nicks and scratches a testament to its service, and I couldn't help but wonder if despite all that, it might actually still be playable. Crossing the room in curiosity, I pulled out the bench and lifted the fallboard, revealing a row of chipped and cracked keys. I cringed at the sight, but was pleasantly surprised when pressing a single finger to middle C rewarded me with a perfectly in tune note. Encouraged, I played several more, and when two turned into four turned into an octave, I couldn't help but smile. My mind was quickly spinning.

Perhaps all wasn't lost after all.

Curious as to what I was doing, Bella made her way over to the piano.

Hop up, I told her, reaching out to pat the top of the piano. It had been several weeks since Bella had been in a practice room with me, and I missed watching her while I played. I would never tire of watching her reactions to my music. They were different every time, yet one thing always remained the same – her eyes were always filled with deep admiration and wonder as she watched me, and truthfully, if I only ever played for an audience of one for the remainder of my days, I wouldn't be disappointed. I would much rather share my love of music with this girl who lived in a world of silence than with anyone who perchance had the ability to hear.

*Don't you think we ought to continue looking for a phone?* Bella asked, raising a brow at my suggestion, but I shook my head.

No. That can wait. Hop up. I want to play something for you.

Bella eyed me skeptically, but when I rose from the bench and placed my hands on her hips, pressing a single soft kiss to her lips, she didn't resist when I lifted her upwards. Instead, she settled herself in a cross-legged position in the front of the piano, in a place where she could reach out and touch me if she pleased, and her eyes tracked me as I took my seat back in front of her, watching me closely as I stretched out my fingers, readying them to play.

*What are you going to play me?*she asked when I lifted my eyes to hers.

For a moment, I wasn't quite sure, but sitting there on the piano bench, regarding the woman I loved with rapt adoration, my decision was all but made for me.

Bella was as beautiful as ever - her windswept hair hanging loosely at her shoulders, tiny dampened strands made wet by snow clinging gently to her neck; her porcelain hued skin, made bright by cheeks flushed with warmth; the elegant curve of her faintly parted lips and the endless depth of her gorgeous brown eyes… everything about her called to me. She was perfect.

Simply perfect.

Do you know Michelle Featherstone? I asked, knowing there was a good chance she didn't but refusing to make assumptions. You never knew with Bella. She was actually well aware of many musical artists, as well as knowledgeable about the lyrics to their songs; she didn't need to listen to the notes to be inspired by music. Unfortunately, she shook her head no, but I wouldn't let that deter me.

Watch my lips carefully, okay? I murmured, and she nodded, lowering her eyes so that they were focused on the movement of my mouth. And with that, I let my hands drift across the keys of the piano, playing the opening notes of a song that was the very definition of the girl who sat before me.


I see you across a crowded room…
I see you across a crowded room…
I see you across a crowded room…
And I'm paralyzed…
I'm paralyzed…
Because you're perfect…

Bella's breath hitched in the back of her throat, her hand traveling to her lips where they muffled a tiny sigh, and I knew… I knew that she'd understood every word that I sung to her. This was just another reason why I was continually amazed by her, and to think that everyone had once wondered how I would even communicate with her. Little did they know, we weren't bound by the limitations of spoken language. In many ways, we'd created a language of our very own.

I continued to sing to her, serenading her with words to a song that were the embodiment of what she was to me, words that spilled from my lips in a reverent homage to the woman I knew was nothing short of perfect.

Throughout the remainder of the song, Bella's beautiful brown eyes remained locked with mine, never once daring to part from my face, and the depth of the emotion reflected back at me told me she understood exactly what she meant to me. She knew that in my eyes, she had always been and would forever be… perfect. And when my fingers drew back from the keys, the final note echoing in the silence that hovered between us, I knew that it was time, and it mattered not that our car had broken down on the way to dinner in Port Angeles. It mattered not that we'd trudged through the dark and cold, only to wind up in the Forks High School band room. It mattered not that currently, we had no plan for how we would get ourselves back home. All that mattered… all that really mattered was that Bella and I were together. We loved each other and we were together; the rest were just insignificant details. So, with trembling hand, I gingerly removed her ring from my pocket, and with gentle care and utmost reverence, I reached for her hand, pulling the ring from its velvet incasing and slipping it onto her finger. It fit perfectly, the solitary diamond a testament to my love for her.

Bella's eyes spilled over with tears when she realized what I was doing- fat happy tears that made my heart swim with joy as my hands began to move.

Bella… beautiful Bella. I still remember the day I first signed that word to you. I was so nervous. But you were… and still remain… the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, I remembered with a wistful smile. Bella smiled softly at me in return, reaching up to dab at her eyes.

I'm not sure I could ever find the proper words to convey the depth of my feelings for you, I continued. But if there was ever a word to describe what you are to me, perfect would be it. From the moment I first met you, I've felt alive in a way I never dreamed possible. You are the embodiment of all my hopes, my wishes, my dreams, and you are the only person I will ever want to grow old with. Our relationship hasn't been without its difficulties, but through it all, we've stood by each other, supporting each other, encouraging each other and caring for each other in a way that only two people that are deeply in love ever could. It is for these reasons that I sit before you now, requesting you do me the utmost honor of becoming my wife. Bella Swan, will you marry me?

Without missing a beat, Bella scrambled down from the top of the piano, settling herself squarely on top of my lap, straddling my thighs with her legs. Reaching out, she tenderly cupped my face between her two hands. The emotion swimming in her eyes was overwhelming, and when she touched her forehead to mine, bending forward to lightly brush her lips against mine, I thought I might die in anticipation of her answer.

And then there it was… floating in the space between us, a deceivingly simple word whose worth could never truly be measured.


Her lips touched mine one more time, and she murmured the sacred word against them again.

"Yes, Edward..." She pulled back, bringing her hands from my face to in front of her. *I will marry you.*

Bella and I didn't much worry about where we were or how we would get home after she accepted my proposal. All we really seemed to care about was the fact that from this point forward, we had the rest of our lives to look forward to together, and nothing could have taken away from the happiness and exhilaration we both felt in that moment because of that. For everything that had gone wrong tonight, the most important thing had gone right… I was to be a husband, and Bella was to be my wife. So it was that when Charlie eventually found us several hours later, after a passerby happened to recognize Renee's car parked on the side of the road and placed a frantic call to Charlie, that he found Bella and I holed up in the high school band room, laughing hysterically at each other as we attempted to play the myriad of instruments scattered about the room. At least I could hear to know how awful I sounded when attempting to play the trombone. Bella was entirely oblivious, and I thought she might just shatter glass when she blew forcefully into the piccolo.

We drove home in the back of Charlie's police cruiser, and as soon as he spotted the ring on Bella's finger and realized that I had in fact made an honest woman out of his baby girl, he flipped the switch on the lights stationed on the roof of the car, escorting us home in grand police style. He added the siren when we pulled onto Bella's street, and even though she couldn't hear to know he'd done so, she watched closely as I covered my ears, shielding them from the loud sound, and figured things out on her own. She hid her head against my shoulder in embarrassment.

"Charlie… er… it's really not necessary…"

But he cut me off, rolling down his window and waving politely at the neighbors as they peered into the dark from the safety of their front porches, wondering what on earth was going on. Charlie simply acknowledged them with a friendly nod, refusing to share the good news with anyone else until we'd shared it with Renee.

We didn't have to wait long. Like everyone else on the small street in the tiny little town of Forks, Renee was glancing worriedly out the front door as we pulled into the driveway. Charlie turned the siren off, but left the lights going as Renee hurried to the car.

"Oh, thank God, you found them! Is everything all right?" she wondered, and I felt bad that Charlie hadn't called her the moment he had found us to let her know we were fine. Then again, if he was using AT&T, it would have been pointless.

"They're fine, they're fine," he assured her as she pulled open the door to the back seat. Bella peered up at her, and Renee sighed in relief just as her eyes caught sight of Bella's hand. Her own hand moved to her mouth, capturing a quick intake of breath before a brilliant smile lit up her face.

"Oh, oh…" she began to speak, tears of joy welling in her eyes as her hands started moving frantically about in front of her.

{Come out of the car! Oh my God, come out of the car, the both of you, so I can hug you both tight!}

We did as she requested, the three of us standing together in an awkward embrace before Charlie reminded Renee that Bella and I must be starving, and it was cold… so bitterly cold outside. We filed indoors then, soon after partaking in leftover fried chicken that Charlie and Renee had made for dinner, which also happened to confirm my suspicion that there never was a police affair for them to attend. An hour later, the four of us rang in the New Year together, finishing not one, but two bottles of champagne between us.

We had a lot to celebrate.

Later, much later when the house was still and quiet, I crept downstairs, guided only by the light of the full moon shining softly through the living room bay window. Bella was fast asleep upstairs, but I was too wired to sleep. So instead, I wandered over to the well worn bench seat, tucked snugly beneath the window, and gazed out at the gently falling snow, taking the time to contemplate just how much my life had changed over the past year. It was incredible, really. In the span of twelve months, the most beautiful, amazing and inspiring woman I'd ever had the privilege of knowing had fallen straight into my lap, and now, on this, the first day of the New Year, we were embarking on the first day of the rest of our lives together.

I smiled to myself, letting the reality of that thought sink in while reveling in the quiet of the night that surrounded me like a warm winter blanket. There was a time when that silence might have bothered me, made me ruminate over the fact that while many of my friends and family had found that special person to spend their lives with, I was still alone. Thankfully, that was not the case anymore. Now, the sound of silence was the most significant and precious sound there was to me. It reminded me, most importantly, of the woman I loved, and would continue to love for the remainder of our days.

Yeah… I was a sentimental fool. And with an enormous sentimental smile, I padded back up the stairs and slipped back into bed with my love, pulling her close to me and whispering my endless devotion to her before drifting back to sleep, swaddled by the comforting sound of silence.


I guess I'm not so creative, but I love ending my stories with a proposal. Looking forward, I will be posting two epilogues sometime in the future, but I can't say exactly when. They are not written, but I know what I want to write, so that's half the battle, right?

There are other projects on the horizon, so if you feel so inclined, place me on author alert. I do hope to continue with The Preacher's Son one day, but I'm still not sure that will be up to bat next.

Thanks so much for your support. It's been fun, and I've so enjoyed getting to know some of you better (those that followed me here from Chance Encounter), while also getting to know many of you for the first time. It's always a privilege.


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