Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Stephenie Meyer. The original plot is the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
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Epilogue – Be Mine
It was December again, and the year was once again drawing to a close. Bella and I had been living together for just under nine months, and each and every day was nothing short of amazing. We had our share of arguments, but we never went to bed angry with each other. Both of us stubborn, it was hard to avoid conflict, sometimes over the silliest thing, but we loved each other too much to stay mad with one another for long.
We had spent Christmas Eve with my family. Esme and Carlisle insisted on playing hosts, so we had a family-and-friends dinner with Rosalie, Emmett, their little girl, Lillian, and, surprisingly, Alice Brandon and Jasper Whitlock—apparently, they met during that company Christmas party last year and had been dating ever since. Bella fit in with my family perfectly. She wasn't shying away from Rosalie's sharp tongue or from Emmett's occasional lack of tact. Initially, Esme loved her for making me happy, and Carlisle approve because Esme was happy, but as time passed by, they fell in love with her just as much as I had.
Christmas Day was spent with Bella's parents. Renée and Charlie Swan had been very hospitable, but I just couldn't relax completely when we spent the night under the roof of Fork's Chief of Police, albeit retired. We had met several times during the past year, and while I knew that they liked me, I was strongly aware that in Charlie's eyes, I was still stealing his little girl from him.
I didn't know if it was my imagination, but it felt as though Bella had picked up on my nervousness. Ever since we got back from our trip to Forks, she seemed more emotional and her temper was much shorter. I knew that this was a busy time of year, especially so with her being promoted once again, but we were on vacation, she should have used the time to sit back and relax.
Things were getting worse in the past few days. New Year's Eve was only days away, and it seemed that with each passing hour, Bella grew more distant. I didn't really know what to make of it, and worrying had become second nature to me.
When last night I had woken up to an empty bed, I panicked. I tried not to let my imagination get away with me, but when I found her standing in front of the window with tears tolling down her cheeks, I was certain that something was wrong.
Bella had promised me that she was okay, that it was just the season that was making her a little sad, but I knew she was lying. She came back to bed and cuddled into me. She was holding me so tightly, whispering that she loved me, and I was slightly placated but still worried. I believed that she did love me as much as I loved her, at least that much was clear, but her weird behavior was making me worry.
I called Alice this morning. Bella wouldn't let me know what was going on, so I thought that maybe Alice could cheer her up. They were always close, so I hoped that other than cheering Bella up, Alice might provide Bella with a shoulder to cry on.
Alice was happy to help. She showed up thirty minutes after my phone call and practically dragged Bella out of the house, saying that I shouldn't expect them back before dinner. I didn't want to be apart from Bella for the entire day, but I wanted to do something to push away the sadness that was written all over her face.
I decided to cook dinner for Bella myself. I didn't cook often, mostly because I knew Bella enjoyed the activity very much, but I wanted to make tonight special for her. I was determined to make her smile before we went to bed tonight.
I started with some grocery shopping, making the effort of driving to Pike Place Market to get the ingredients I needed. I decided that I was going all out. We hadn't had a nice dinner, just the two of us, in a long while. The house was fairly organized so I focused on the meal itself. I knew that Bella liked simple food, so I decided on making chicken soup with croutons for the first course, grilled halibut with broiled potatoes, a salad as a side dish, and for dessert, vanilla and strawberry mousse.
I began with preparing the dessert as it would have to be chilled before serving. When I was done with the mousse, I layered thin slices of strawberry between the layers of white cream in a tall glass, added chocolate shavings to the top, and placed a few more berries on top.
Next was the soup—made from scratch, using my mother's recipe—followed by the croutons and the potatoes. When Bella sent me a text saying that she was about thirty minutes away from home, I began preparing the salad. Just like with the dessert, I wanted it to be special, so on top of our usual tomato, cucumber, and lettuce combo, I added pomegranate, strawberry, chives, and oranges. Finishing it up with a sauce that was my own version of a vinaigrette sauce, I covered the bowl and placed it in the fridge.
I had just put the fish in the oven when I heard the door open.
"Hi, Bella," I called from the kitchen, wiping my hands on a kitchen towel.
"Mmm...Something smells good in here," she said, walking in the kitchen.
She seemed in a much better mood than she had been in the morning, and I felt some of the weight lift from my shoulders. I walked over to her and hugged her close to me. "Mmm...You smell even better," I whispered.
"You cooked dinner?" she asked when we pulled apart.
I nodded, keeping my hands on her waist. "I thought we could both enjoy a quiet dinner at home."
She leaned her head on my chest and curled into me. I kissed her head and held her. "I agree," she murmured. "Dinner sounds like a great idea, and if it's you cooking, it's even better."
"Go wash your hands," I said. "I'll serve tonight."
She chuckled, and I looked to see that her wonderful smile was reflecting in her eyes. "Very well, Chef Edward, I'll go wash my hands while you serve dinner."
She walked out, and I turned to the soup. Pouring us two bowls, I took them to the dining table where I already had everything set for dinner. Bella and I rarely drank alcohol, so I put apple juice and water on the table. I had a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge, and I was hoping to be able to open it tonight, but it wasn't time for it to come out just yet.
"It looks and smells amazing, Edward," Bella said as we sat down.
"I hope it taste just as well."
"I'm sure it does."
I waited for her to take a few spoons before I asked if everything was to her liking, and when she nodded, smiling broadly, I finally relaxed.
I continued to serve the fish with the potatoes and salad, and they proved to be a success, even if it took a little persuasion on my part to get Bella to try the salad.
"I'm not used to having fruits in the middle of my salad," she objected.
I laughed. "Well, give it a try. You'll see that they work great with the vegetables."
She was hesitant when she took the first bite, but as she began to chew, her eyes closed, and she let out a small moan that had me readjusting my pants. "I take it you approve?"
"It's delicious!" She opened her eyes and smiled at me. "I take it back; fruits in a salad definitely work." She reached her hand to take mine. "Thank you for making us dinner, Edward."
"Wait till you get to dessert." I winked.
Bella cocked her head to the side and gave me a strange look.
All amusement was instantly gone, and I once again wondered what on earth was going on with her. Pushing away the darker thoughts, I took the empty plates in front of us and stood up. "I'll be right back."
I left the dirty plates in the sink and took out the tall glasses with the mousse and strawberries. I contemplated getting us both a glass of champagne but decided to keep it in. Bella's reaction to what was essentially a tease shook my confidence somewhat. I took a deep breath and went out to the dining room.
"Oh, Edward..." Bella's eyes were wide with delight when she saw the glasses I was holding. "It looks so good."
I just smiled, not trusting my voice. Bella was always honest with her emotions, displaying what she was feeling whenever we were alone, but lately, I just didn't know what to make of her. I took comfort in the approving noises that she made. At the very least, I knew that she liked it.
When we were finished eating, I took the dishes to the kitchen and told Bella to relax in the living room and see if she could pick a movie for us to watch. We had been surrounded by so many family members—both hers and mine—that we hardly had time to spend together as a couple in the past weeks.
It didn't take long for me to load the dishwasher and join Bella in the living room. She spread out the pillows on the carpet and cuddled under a thick blanket.
I walked over to her. "Mind sharing that blanket with me, Miss Swan?"
She chuckled and lifted one end. "Get your butt over here, Mr. Masen."
Bella fell asleep in my arms not fifteen minutes into the movie, and I spent several minutes just watching her sleep. She looked so peaceful that I just didn't have the heart to wake her up so I could take her to the bedroom.
"Do you have any idea how much I love you?" I murmured to her sleeping form. "I wish you'd tell me what's wrong." I sighed, leaning my head on top of hers. I closed my eyes and let my mind wander.
I tried to curb my imagination, keep my thoughts from running away on me, but I had little success. I wanted so much with her; I wanted everything with her. I had been so sure that I would have everything and more with her up until a month ago, but nowadays...I just didn't know if she was as certain about me as I was about her.
She stirred after about an hour just as I was reaching for the remote to turn off the TV since the movie was over.
"Hey, sleepyhead, how are you feeling?"
She looked up at me and smiled gently before burrowing further into my embrace. "I love being held in your arms," she murmured. "I feel so safe with you."
"I'm glad that you do. I love holding you in my arms."
This was the perfect moment. I had been changing my mind endlessly today. I felt so optimistic during dinner that I thought I could ask her over dessert, but her reaction to my teasing had made me second guess myself. I was beginning to think that I should just drop it and wait a little longer, give her more time to adjust. However, something told me that this was the moment I had been waiting for, that this was the perfect moment I needed.
"Bella?" I took a deep breath as I straightened up a little.
"Hmm?" She looked up at me, her smile still set on her lips.
I couldn't help myself; I leaned down and kissed her, slowly and sweetly, before holding her face in my palms. "You are absolutely beautiful when you wake up in my arms. In this past year, you have made me the happiest I remember myself being. You brought laughter and joy to my life in such abundance that I still can't believe I deserve it."
I pressed my finger against her lips to quiet her down. I had a speech ready, rehearsed the words in my mind time and time again, but they didn't seem to fit right now, so I just let the words flow from my heart. "I love you like I have never loved anyone, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I know that we have been living together for a while now, but I want us to take it to the next level."
I saw her eyes widening and tears forming in those beautiful brown spheres as I slid my hand into my pocket and took out the box I had been carrying with me for the past three weeks. She didn't speak, but I could see all of her emotions clear in her face.
"I promise to love you every single moment of every single day for the rest of our lives. Even when we're old and wrinkled, I promise to always remind you of how beautiful you are to me."
She chuckled at my words.
I placed the box in the palm of her hand, opening it. "Will you marry me, Bella? Will you agree to become my wife and the mother of my children?"
"Oh, Edward," she sobbed. If I hadn't seen the huge smile on her lips, I would have worried. "Yes," she whispered, throwing her arms around my neck. "Yes."
"Thank you, Bella." I pressed her into me as tightly as I could. "Why are you crying?" I asked when I could feel moisture on the skin of my neck
"I'm just so..." her voice cracked, "so happy." She began crying even harder.
I shook my head, holding her. I would never understand women, but finding out Bella's little secrets would be a task that I would enjoy immensely in the future. After her tears dried out, I took her left hand and slid the delicate platinum ring on her finger. It was a simple design, with a solitary diamond in the middle and the metal curving under and above it as if it were two hands holding the sparkling orb. I knew that I wanted to give her my mother's ring as her wedding band, but I felt that she should have her own engagement ring.
Once the ring was on her finger, she broke into a huge smile and leaned into me again. This time we were both watching her left hand pressed against my chest.
"Is this why you were so nervous lately?" she asked and looked up.
I nodded. "I was worried about what you would say, and asking for your father's blessing wasn't easy, either." I was only half joking. It wasn't easy to summon up the courage to speak with the ex-Chief, but I knew that it would mean a lot to him, and something inside me insisted that this was the right way to go about proposing to Bella.
"You asked my father and lived to propose to me?" She giggled. "You are a brave man, Edward Masen."
I shrugged. "Will you answer another question for me?"
"Um," she bit her lip, "okay."
"Why have you been so distant lately? What made you so sad? Why didn't you talk to me about it—whatever it is?"
She blushed and lowered her gaze. "I was worried..."
"About what, love?"
"Edward," she looked up, "you said that you wanted me to be the mother of your children..."
"I did, and I do." I didn't understand where this was leading. "I'm fine with waiting as long as you want. If that's what you're worried about, I don't mind waiting a few years before we have mini-Bellas running around the house."
"Mini-Bella?" She giggled. "I thought men wanted sons."
"Well, I wouldn't mind if you gave me a son or a daughter as long as they are healthy."
There was no more sadness in her eyes as she looked at me. I was relieved that the sadness and worry I saw lingering in her expression for a while now was no longer there.
"Well, what if we didn't have to wait a few years?"
Was she saying what I think she was saying? I felt myself smile even wider as my thoughts began to swirl with image after image of Bella with a round belly, of us holding a bundle of blankets. "Bella?" I couldn't finish the question, afraid to hope, to assume.
She nodded. "Seven weeks."
I knew I was grinning like a fool, but I didn't care. I was going to be a father. "I can't believe I am so lucky," I whispered, wrapping my arms around Bella again.
I lifted her gently and placed her in my lap. Once she was settled, I lowered my hand to her tummy. There was no roundness there yet, no clue to the miracle growing inside her, and I couldn't wait for the days I knew were going to come. Days when I could feel her growing, feel the baby kicking, watch as the magic that is called life happen right before my eyes.
"I only have one request, Edward."
"Anything," I breathed. She could ask for the moon itself, and I knew that I would find a way to give it to her.
"I want to get married before our little boy or girl arrives here."
"Anything you wish for, it's yours."
"Well, in that case..." She smirked. "My wish is for you to take me upstairs and make love to me until I'm too tired to think of anything else but you and what your gorgeous body can do to me."
I chuckled. "Your wish is my command, Milady."
I swung her up and into my arms and carried her up the stairs to our bedroom, where I proceeded to worship every inch of her body with my lips and my hands. We both fell asleep with smiles on our faces. Mission accomplished.
Happy Birthday, girl. I hope you liked your surprise :)
Thank you everyone for reading. Happy New Year!