Lily doesn't know that her mother knows about Edward's plan. She thinks it will be a surprise, just like it was to her.
A beautiful, sparkling surprise.
One that will make her warm. And happy. So happy that she cries, she thinks. Because she does sometimes when she is.
So, when she walks with Edward into the bookshop, she does it with her hand behind her back. Her left hand, because she knows that's the one that 'special' rings are worn on. And where she wears hers. And also where she holds something. Another PERMIT. That made Edward laugh when she wrote those letters across the top of the piece of paper she asked him for, even though he was already smiling. And that made his eyes fill with joyous tears when he read the ones she wrote under them. Because he had her permission. And so much more...
Something he couldn't not know when he sees Bella's smile light up her face the second she sees them. The man she wants to spend an eternity with. Eight eternities...
And her precious little girl, who she has no doubt wants the same for them. And had none even before she saw that she was hiding something.
Something that tells her it's her turn now to hide something. The something she knows because Edward hid nothing from her. Because he wanted to do everything right. For both of them.
So now, though her heart is thumping with anticipation... bursting with excitement... she does her best to conceal both, and greets her visitors as normally as she can. "Hi there! What are the two of you up to?"
"Nothing," Lily says much too fast, and without thinking about its being a lie. Which she does think about now that she's told it. "Um... I didn't mean to say that. Because we're visiting you, and that's something."
"So, nothing bad is what you meant?" Bella asks her with a smile.
"Yes. Definitely nothing bad," Lily agrees with a nod. "Because we're good."
"Oh, I already knew that," Bella tells her daughter, her smile getting wider and her excitement getting harder to hide.
Both of theirs, in fact.
And they're not alone, because it's getting harder for Edward, too. The ring in his pocket is burning a hole through it. Because Lily was right... it makes you warm.
Something he can't wait to be when he sees it on Bella's finger. Well... warmer.
Because, besides his burning pocket, he already is. Because he saw Lily's on hers.
Something he looks at again as he glances behind her.
Something he knows Bella saw him do as he looks back up at her beautifully excited face. Something she could never hide. And that he never wants her to try to do. And wants her to stop trying to do now.
"I am up to something, actually," he says, glancing quickly around the shop to see if they're alone.
"Something bad?" she asks, walking to the door and turning the sign to CLOSED, and then locking it, and them inside, telling him that they are.
"No," Lily answers for him before he can, but then covers her mouth, so she can't say anything else and spoil his surprise.
"What she said," he laughs, giving Lily a It's okay wink.
"Something good?" Bella asks this time, knowing, without a doubt, that it is.
"I think so," Edward replies with a shy little boy smile.
And Lily, the little girl who is rarely ever shy, can't stop herself from correcting him. "Edward, you know it is!"
"So, you know what he's up to?" Bella asks her daughter, knowing that answer, too, but also unable to stop herself.
Lily doesn't answer her mother out loud, only smiles and nods her head, but Bella can see that her excitement is bursting inside of her.
And that Edward's is bursting inside of him, too, and in his pocket, she thinks, because he keeps reaching into it.
"Well, do I get to know?" Bella asks now, before she bursts.
"Yes, um... " Edward looks around the bookshop, the place Lily told him to make her mother warm, because it's the place he first did, looking for the perfect place to do it. But he's not sure where that is.
And Lily, being the observant child she is, sees his dilemma and comes to his rescue. Because she is sure. "Over there, Edward," she says, pointing - with her right hand - to the exact spot they stood in when she introduced them. "You, too, Mommy. You have to follow him."
Edward and Bella both follow their adorable order, both remembering, like Lily, the exact spot they stood in on that night that changed everything. And they both smile as they stand in it, and Lily comes to join them, looking up at Edward expectantly.
"Um... " he looks down at her helplessly, tugging his hand through his hair, that's messy, as usual, because in all of his planning of this moment, he never planned what he would say to her mother when he asked his very important question.
"Don't be nervous," she tells him, "You're good at everything."
"She's right," Bella adds, "You are."
And his heart swells. So big it takes over his face. "Well, what I'm up to... " he starts, before Lily corrects him again.
"You have to be down, Edward."
Bella covers her mouth to hide her laughter at her little girl's guidance, but she's gently scolded, too, for doing it. Because it was her left hand that covered it.
"You have to put your hand down, Mommy. Edward won't be able to reach it when he is."
Edward and Bella both smile again, though smile doesn't seem an adequate word to describe what they wear on their faces now, as they both follow their most recent instructions. Bella first, dropping her hand, and Edward second, dropping to one knee before her, making Bella's tremble.
He looks to Lily once he has, for her approval, and she wears it beautifully. Another permit, that didn't need to be delivered aloud this time. Or written, like the one she still holds clutched in her little hand behind her back.
The one that gives him courage now, to carry through with the rest of his plan. "Bella... the day I walked into this shop was one of the best days of my life. It hadn't started out that way... but coming here changed that. Because I met a little girl... a very special little girl... who had made a wish... for the person most special to her... and shared it with me... and let me make one of my own... "
"You made four, Edward," Lily corrects, interrupting him, but with the sweetest of intentions.
"Let me make four," he agrees with a chuckle. And then continues this unplanned part of his plan, "Which were for hers to come true. For me to be able to help make them... not knowing that hers were the same as mine, even though I never dared make them aloud... or think them, even... until I saw you. The person hers were for. And one of the two people that all of mine will be for... for the rest of my life... if you'll be. She already said yes," he says, as Lily takes her hand from behind her back, at the exact moment he pulls the waiting-to-warm-her ring from his pocket. "Will you marry me, Bella? And make all of my wishes come true? And let me make yours, if I can?"
Bella looks at the rings with tears in her eyes, the one on her little girl's finger, that is just a smaller version of the one waiting for hers, and her own. But she doesn't answer right away, not because she doesn't know what her answer is, but because Edward's hand isn't the only one holding something up before her.
Lily's is, too. And that something is just as precious. And she reads it first. Out loud, just like the answer she'll give after.
Edward Cullen can marry my mommy. I'm Lily O'Brien and this is my permission. Because he made my biggest, most important wish come true. He unbroke her heart. Because he loves it with his.
"I'm glad he does," Bella tells her daughter, wiping a tear from her cheek with the back of her hand, her right, that still holds the precious permit. "Because your permission is important."
"I'm glad you're glad," Lily says back to her. "But don't cry. And don't make Edward wait anymore. It will hurt his knee."
"I'm glad, too," Edward says, "But I'm okay, Lily. And I can wait, because your mommy might need time to think about it before she answers."
"She doesn't-I don't," the beautiful girls say at once, making him feel anything but pain. In his knee or anywhere else...
"I would be honored to marry you, Edward. And make your wishes come true. And let you make mine. Ours."
"Mommy, you have to say Yes. He's waiting for that part! It's not official until you say it!"
"It's not?" she laughs at her daughter's exuberant order, "Okay... well, thank goodness I have you to help me, Lily, or I'd do it all wrong! And... Yes! Edward. Officially."
Edward seems paralyzed with happiness at this, his smile so big and heavy that he can't move, Lily thinks, so she helps him, because he needs her to. "Put the ring on her finger, Edward! It's waiting! That part makes it official, too!"
He does what he's ordered, once again, with as much joy as a man could ever feel.
Joy that bubbles up and out and fills this special little bookshop...
And all three of the hearts inside of it...
Because of pages. And dreams.
And wishes, of course.
All come true.
"We're going home in just a minute, sweetheart. As soon as I grab my purse from the back."
"No, Mommy, we can't go home! We have to go to the store!"
"What store, Lily? We don't need anything from the store. We went shopping yesterday, did you forget?"
"Not at the fancy dress store! We have to go there! Now! And buy fancy dresses for the wedding! So it can be done being official!"
"You have to wear a white one, and I want to wear a yellow one, and Edward has to wear a fancy suit, so he'll have to go to the fancy suit store for boys and Grandpa has to go with him, because he has to wear one too when he helps you walk... and then we have to go to the flower store! And then the cake store! And the ring store! And invite everyone to the party... Mommy, we can't go home for at least an hour!"
"Where are we going to live? Because after a wedding you live together. It's a rule. But we have a house and Edward has a house and that's too many because you're only supposed to live in one house not two and-"
"I love you."
"I love you too, Mommy."
"And do you know what else?"
"You love Edward. That's why you said yes and let him make you warm."
Bella doesn't know what the second part means, but she certainly understands the first. And that she isn't the only one who does... but "Lily, honey, I know you're excited, but we can't do all of those things tonight. All of those stores and shops are closed now, just like this one, and-"
"But we have to."
"No, sweetheart, there's time. Plenty of time, and-"
"No there's not. We have to do it now. And Grandpa will help us. He can tell all of the people to open the stores so we can go in and they will because he is the police boss and they have to do what he says or they will get locked up and they don't want to. And then we can have the wedding and a party outside because it's nighttime and the stars will be the pretty lights because you're supposed to have lots of pretty lights at the wedding party, that's a rule too, and then-"
"It's too cold outside, honey, everyone would freeze. Especially in fancy dresses."
"They can wear fancy coats with their fancy dresses. And we won't freeze because we have rings so it will be okay. Let's call Grandpa now."
"Grandpa can't tell the people to open all of the shops for us, Lily. That's not what his important job is for. His job is to make people feel safe, and happy to live here, not make them work late, which I think would make them very unhappy."
"I wouldn't be unhappy."
"I know, but-"
"Mommy, please! We have to call him!"
"We can call him and tell him we love him? That would make him happy. And tomorrow we can start making a list of all of the things you want for our special plans. We have time to make them, Lily. Lots of time. I promise."
"No we don't! We have to do it now! Edward will freeze if we don't!"
Edward has been silently - and with much amusement - watching their exchange until now, but it's time for him to speak up, because he understands what Bella doesn't. And what Lily is so sweetly worried about.
"I promise I'm not too cold, Lily. Sometimes seeing hugs makes you just as warm as getting them. And as long as I see yours and your mommy's, I'll be okay until I get mine. You never have to worry about me being too cold. Well, unless you take your permission back... "
"I'll never do that!"
"I hope not."
"So, what do you say we get out of here? Because while we were busy being up to something good, your mommy was here working hard and I think she would like to go home."
"Are you coming home with us?"
"I'd like to... but no one has given me permission, so... "
"You have permission!" Bella and Lily say at once. Or yell, rather.
And now there's just one thing left to settle. For tonight, anyway. "Mommy, I'm going to ride home with Edward. So he can see my hug and won't be cold in his car. And we'll follow you, so he can see his other one. And we have to do it that way because we have two cars instead of one and I'm too little to drive."
"That sounds like a perfect plan," Bella says to her daughter, before looking up at the man who had the other. "A perfect, perfect plan."
"Well, that makes perfect sense," Bella tells Edward as she takes his hand in hers. "I should have known it meant something like that. But did you mean what you said to her? That you're not too cold?"
He watches her run her finger over the empty place on his and sighs. "Yes. I meant it. Mostly."
"Did you mean it when you told her we had plenty of time? And lots?"
"I did... but mostly I was just trying to dissuade her from tonight."
"I'm glad you mostly were, Bella."
"I'm glad you're glad, Edward."
"So, how long do I have to wait? To be warm?"
"How long do you want to wait? Or want not to?"
"Oh no... you're not putting that on me."
"Putting what on you?"
"Something that will surely get me in trouble, no matter what I say."
"Why would it get you in trouble?"
"Are you kidding me? Giving a woman a time limit on planning a wedding? I might as well just lay myself down on the guillotine... "
"Have you forgotten the anxious little girl upstairs?"
"No, but even though she is, I can only imagine the other things swirling around in that adorable head of hers. And how time consuming they could be to make happen."
"You mean like an ice sculpture of a carousel? That moves?"
"Yes. Or five of them."
"Well, I imagine it would only be three, but... I think she might surprise you."
"She does, Bella. Everyday."
"I love that she does, Edward. And that I can see the adoration in your face as you say it... but I really don't think she'll be too demanding. Certainly not if doing so will make it take longer to make you warm. And as for me... I don't need it to be some grandiose affair that will take an eternity to plan.
"I did that already. And so did you. And I don't need to do it again... wait to live a beautiful life because of beautiful things that don't matter nearly as much."
"I don't, either. And I would have married you tonight... just like Lily wanted... if I could have."
"So, simple, small, and soon?"
"Now that, Bella... is the perfect plan."
Planning a wedding with three anxious and excited participants doesn't take long at all. And after three months, the day has finally arrived.
And those anxious and excited participants are already in place. The place where the wedding will take, and the place they'll live their joined lives.
Edward's house is where they chose to do that... both of those things...
The backyard is a wedding wonderland, with a pink and yellow flowered path, white chairs with big yellow bows, and a real, moving carousel, of course, the 'stars' of which each wear the same around their necks. And wait to be ridden in celebratory joy, by children of all ages.
And beyond where they wait, patient and still, there are white and yellow tents, adorned with a million twinkling star lights for the party after, which will go on until the real ones fill the sky. And on one of the tables inside will sit the cake... with its white buttercream frosting and fresh pink and yellow flowers, and topped with a horse drawn carriage with a bride, groom, and beautiful little fancy-yellow-dressed wisher all sitting inside.
And there will be champagne... for those who choose it... and many other things they might...
But also on a table will be the things that brought them here. To this perfect day.
There will be cups full of wishes. As many as anyone could want.
And it's time now. To go make this very special one come true.
Or will be, in a moment.
There's just one last thing to do first. Well... three.
Because Bella, Lily, and Edward sit with Lily's gift, the puzzle Edward gave her for Valentine's Day. Lily sits in her fancy yellow dress, a yellow ribbon in her hair, and Bella in her off white, and Edward in his fancy gray suit. Each of them hold a puzzle piece in their hands. The last three, that fit into the hole in the center, and will make it complete.
"Ladies first," Edward says, smiling at the two lovely ones before him.
"You, Mommy," Lily says after he does, which doesn't surprise Bella at all because she knows her daughter wants to put the last.
So she says "Okay," and happily puts her piece into place.
"Wish-come-true makers second," Lily orders now, looking at the man who made hers with more admiration than he's ever seen in her sweet face. And that's a lot...
And makes him as warm as he could ever be. Something he knows she wishes for him, as he puts his piece in with a proud hand. One that will be prouder in just moments, when he finally gets his hug.
Something Lily doesn't want him to wait for anymore, because three months is forever, and he's already waited that long. So she fits the last piece in, quickly but carefully, and smiles at their accomplishment.
Because they made a family out of pieces.
The three of them.
And now it's time to make another.
"Ready?" she asks, and picks up her special basket of flower petals. The white one with the yellow ribbon. And another family of three tucked inside.
Because in it are photographs... one of her daddy, and one of a woman and little girl. The three people who aren't here... because they're in another perfect place.
Together, like in her basket.
Making each other warm, she believes.
Because it's what she wished. And she knows that wishes come true.
When you wish them with all of your heart.
The End. And the beginning...
Thank you for sharing our wishes with us.