A/N: Hello, my fantastic readers! First, let me emphasize that this is the sequel to Give Me a Sign. If you have not read it yet, not much in this story will make a whole lot of sense.
This story begins two years after the end of Give Me a Sign. I am not sure yet how long it will be. I anticipate around ten chapters, but we will see how things go.
I will say this only once. Consider it a disclaimer for all of these chapters. I don't own any recognizable characters. They belong to Stephenie Meyer. The ones you don't recognize from the saga are mine.
Faith, Hope, and Love
I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you
-The Reason – Hoobastank
It started out like any other morning when I didn't have to go to work. Nessie and I got up, had a light breakfast, took our pills, then spent a few minutes making out in the kitchen. I thought about fucking her on the counter before she pushed on my shoulders and said she had an appointment with a client for a flower arrangement she needed to go to.
My brow furrowed. "I thought they came here?"
She nodded and licked her lips. "Yeah, normally they do. I talked to you about this last week, though, remember?"
I thought back to the week before. I did remember her saying something about meeting a lady at the church where Leah and Sam had been married. It was a safe place; very few windows. "Yeah. Okay. What time do you need to be there?" I dipped my head to kiss her neck.
She raised her chin as she answered. "Eleven o'clock. Jake . . ." Her hands were needy against my shoulders, but she kept telling me she needed to stop.
I sighed and pulled back again. "All right; you win. Go get ready. I expect you back here as soon as you're done." I patted her ass and kissed her lips.
She smiled and nodded. "You can count on it." She got my ass as she slipped away to get ready.
I'd had plans for the day, but I'd forgotten all about this thing of hers. I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't get to do everything I wanted, but I figured I could still work around it and get to the ultimate goal. As long as it all ended the way I thought it would, everything would be okay.
Ness came out in a long sleeved white shirt and blue jeans. She was always sexy, there was no doubt about that, but somehow the last few weeks she'd been irresistible. I knew it was because of the things that would very soon take place between us, but sometimes it was hard to believe that this one woman could have such an effect on me. I wanted her in every way I could possibly have her; physically, mentally, emotionally . . . all of it.
"You're staring at me again," she said with a smile. I'd been doing it more and more often lately.
I blinked and smirked as I walked up to her. "You know you like it."
"Should I pose?" Her arms reached up to hold my shoulders.
I nodded. "Preferably naked on your hands and knees with your ass in the air." I raised my eyebrows.
She kissed my chest. "Maybe when I get back."
I chuckled and kissed her hair. "I love you, Ness. Have a good time, but hurry home, okay?"
"Okay. I love you, too. I should be back in about an hour, I think. I'll call or text if I'm going to be longer." She pulled away from me to pat herself down and make sure she had everything. She still never carried a purse. I had asked her about it once, and she said she was nervous she would leave it somewhere. She felt it was safer to just carry what she needed in her pockets or her bra. That conversation had started a strip search just for the hell of it. I found a lot of interesting things in her boobs that day, including some chapstick, her cell phone, and her driver's license.
"I'll be waiting, just sitting here all lonely until you come back." I tried to give her the sad puppy look. She just smiled and stood on her toes to kiss me.
"Don't be silly; you have Faith to keep you company."
"You're heartless, you know." I pulled her a little closer with my hands on her hips. "Hell bent on torturing me with your absence."
She hummed. "Yeah. I spend every waking moment devising my next plot to bring you to your knees." She licked her lips and slid her hands up my chest.
Dammit, I wanted to fuck her. "I knew it. Do you have ten minutes?"
She hesitated on her answer. "What time is it?"
I checked my watch. "Ten-thirty." I pouted. It didn't take long to get to the church, but she'd be pushing it if she didn't leave soon.
She took a deep breath and stepped back. "I'm sorry."
"Don't start that. Just get back as soon as you can." I pulled her close again and hugged her tightly. "Drive safe."
She nodded and kissed my chest. "I will. Love you."
"Love you, too."
She called Faith and got a wet dog-slobber kiss before she put on her jacket and left.
It wasn't often that I said goodbye to her like that. I was usually the one leaving for work. I sighed and went back to the bedroom. Nessie'd gotten her driver's license again a year ago. She'd said she didn't want to have to bug people when she needed to go somewhere, but eventually confessed to me that she wanted that little bit of independence. I couldn't blame her. She couldn't rely on the public transit system with her condition, so a car was the most reasonable choice. She saved up the money from her flower business, and we both went half in on a down payment for a green Honda that she liked. It had been a good car with very few issues.
I opened the closet, reached a shelf I knew Nessie couldn't get to without a step-stool, and pulled down the little black box. Even as sure as I was that Nessie would like the ring I'd gotten, I was still nervous. I sat on the bed and opened the box to look at the white gold band and the three little diamonds sitting on top. As I inspected it for the millionth time, Faith jumped up beside me. I smiled and patted her head.
"What do you think?" I asked her. I showed her the ring. "Think she'll say yes?"
Faith made a sound like a cross between a whimper and a bark and laid down with her head on my lap. She licked my hand twice and sighed a huge sigh.
I patted her side. "Yeah, I guess you're right. She's been waiting two years for this."
We sat there together for a while. I closed the box and rested my head against the headboard as I thought about everything that had led me to decision I'd made almost a month ago.
Nessie and Leah grew closer throughout Leah's pregnancy. Leah was more irritable than I'd ever seen her due to the hormones and forced bed rest, but she still somehow found a way to be nice to Ness. Nessie went over once a week to help clean the house or whatever else Leah and Sam needed. She and I helped set up the nursery as well. She was so excited to be a part of it.
There had been a few scares during the pregnancy. Nessie and I were there whenever Leah needed us, and eventually little Joshua Michael Uley was born. He was happy and healthy and perfect. Even I couldn't say it wasn't a little miraculous.
Watching Nessie hold the baby had a strange effect on me. There was some really deeply hidden part of me that wondered what it would be like to see her hold our baby.
Nessie officially started her flower business after Leah asked her to make some arrangements for Joshua's baby shower. She had almost a dozen requests just from Leah's mom's friends within the first month.
It was amazing how time and experience could change a person's perspective. I'd never liked kids before Joshua. They were dirty, noisy little creeps designed to drive parents insane. Joshua was no different at first. I didn't mind being around him for a little while, but that kid could scream. It was around his first birthday that I realized I actually kind of liked the fucker. Not that I wanted one of my own, but he was crawling and babbling and sort of cute. He'd developed a full head of black hair and had light brown eyes like his dad. He was especially charming when he went out in the yard and found a few worms for his mom. They were nothing more than crushed jelly by the time he got them to her, but it was the thought that mattered.
Nessie was adorable with the little guy. He was nearly two years old now and already turning into a punk like his mother.
Although both Nessie and I still had our bad days, they were getting fewer and farther between. She still had nightmares and breakdowns on occasion. We went to therapy every other Friday, and we went to see our parents' graves at least once a month. She was stronger than I'd ever seen her before, and it was stunning. She stood up to me when it was important to her, but she also knew when to back down and give me the space I needed. She knew when I told her I'd be back sometime that I just needed to cool off and calm down, then we'd be able to talk about whatever the fuck had happened. It was usually something stupid that was easily fixed when we were both in the right mindset. I'd stopped taking my car after she begged me for the third time, terrified of what could happen when I was upset. I walked instead, and found that it actually helped me calm down faster.
Faith was a big part of Nessie's success. We both worked on the changing dynamic that adding a dog created, and it only got us closer. Nessie was disappointed when Dr. Furst explained kids were still a distant future for her.
There was never a dull moment with Ness. She could be pretty damn creative when she wanted to be, and I only encouraged it. Still, the best sex with her was often the spontaneous times in bed either before the day started or after it ended.
It was a month ago when something significant happened that made me realize how much everything had changed. Looking back, it really wasn't that momentous. Ness and I had taken Faith to a dog park for a few minutes to let her run and play. Nessie loved to get in the dirt and roll around with all the animals. She was laughing and smiling and so fucking beautiful. She glanced up at me from her place on the grass and gave me the sweetest look. It was that look she gave me. It was fleeting, maybe only a second or two, but as I watched her, I realized how much I truly wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. Her timer had gone off a few minutes later, and we took Faith home.
That day started a kind of a frenzy. I never mentioned anything about my new discovery to Ness because I wanted to make sure I could give her the best damn proposal possible. She'd put up with me and all my shit for so long; she deserved something really special.
I did tell Leah about it. I couldn't hold it in. I'd never been more excited or nervous about anything. Of course she said she already knew, but I was pretty sure she was bluffing. I went to four different places that talked about engagement rings before I found the one I wanted.
So there I sat, waiting for Nessie to come home so I could show her just how romantic a living room picnic could be. I sighed and looked at the clock beside the bed. It wasn't even eleven o'clock yet. I smiled to myself as I revised my plan. I'd have everything set up when she got back and surprise her.
I pushed the coffee table into the dining room and spread a blanket out on the floor in front of the couch. I set some candles on the entertainment center for later, then went to the kitchen to get everything together for lunch. I had a bottle of wine, too, just to put the topper on the cake. Nessie had given me a weird look when I bought it, but I made up the excuse that I wanted to cook with it. She seemed convinced.
At eleven-thirty, I made some sandwiches and cut them into squares, got some grapes and cheese, and texted Ness to see if she knew when she might be back. I waited impatiently until she replied saying she was just about ready to leave. I set everything up on the blanket in the living room and put Faith outside to make sure she didn't eat anything. I put out some fancy wine glasses, too, and stood back to admire my work. As I stood there, I tried to think of anything else I might need. I checked everything off on my fingers. Romantic picnic food? Check. Wine? Check. Music? Shit. I had no idea what to put on, so I made a quick decision and grabbed the second sexy music CD Ness and I had made. She had wanted something with some mellower "making love" kind of music. I figured it would fit at least the romantic part of what I wanted.
I started my checklist over again as One Man's Dream by Yanni started to play. Sappy music? Check. Ring? I reached in my pocket and almost panicked when I realized I'd left it on the bed. I ran down the hall to grab it, shoved the box in my pocket, and sprinted back to the living room just in time to hear her pull up. My heart was beating a million miles a minute with anticipation. I really just wanted to give her something she would like.
I cleared my throat and looked down at myself. I was just wearing my black jersey shorts. I grimaced as I wondered if maybe I should have dressed up a little. It's not every day a guy like me proposes. I took a deep breath and let it go. She liked these shorts.
I shifted my weight back and forth as I stood a few feet from the front door waiting for her. It seemed like ages before she finally came in. The door all but slammed behind her, and I noticed immediately that something was wrong. Her hands shook as she wiped her face and took d a deep breath.
"You okay, Ness?" I asked.
She jumped ant looked at me, her eyes wide and terrified for a few seconds before she relaxed and all but threw herself at me. I hugged her tightly.
"Oh, Jacob. It was horrible. I have never met a more insensitive asshole in my life."
"Who is he and where can I find him?" I was ready to go hunting.
She laughed a little and shook her head before she pulled back. "He is a she, and she could be rotting in hell right now for all I care." She wiped her eyes again. "It was the lady I met today at the church." She took her jacket off and walked past me like she was going to sit on the couch. She stopped in her tracks when she saw what I'd done. "What's all this?"
I stepped behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist. "I thought we could have a romantic picnic since it's Saturday and we don't have anything else to do." I dipped my head and kissed her shoulder. "Let's talk about what happened first, though."
She nodded and straddled my lap on the couch. "Where's Faith?"
I held her hips lightly. "She's outside. She'll be fine, baby; I just didn't want her to eat everything before you got home."
She nodded and leaned in to rest against me. "I wish I hadn't gone. It was so terrible." I rubbed her back and let her get it out. She kissed my neck. "I thought I was used to the way people treated me, but this was so much worse. And, I guess when I'm with you, people are a lot nicer."
"That's because they know I'll kick their asses if they're not."
I felt her smile against my shoulder. "This woman didn't seem to care about anything. Things started out okay; we talked about what kind of flowers she wanted and how big she wanted the arrangements, then she started asking me why I couldn't meet her in my shop like a normal person." She paused to sniffle and take a few breaths. "I explained that I didn't have a shop, and she immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was a fraud. I even showed her my business license and told her why I didn't have a real shop. Oh, did I ever screw up."
I hugged her tightly. "You didn't screw up, Ness. This lady was obviously looking for things to discredit you with. Some people are like that, unfortunately." I still wanted to find her and make her regret it. Woman or not, nobody hurt my Ness.
She pulled back and ran her fingers through her hair. "I know. It just really hurt, especially when she said I obviously wasn't capable of doing things normally because I was a pasty white freak."
I hated that word. Freak. Where Ness was concerned, there wasn't a worse insult. I ran my hands up her arms to her shoulders and pulled her in to kiss her, then I framed her face with my hands and met her eyes.
"I'm sorry she hurt you, baby."
She held my wrists, her thumbs grazing the backs of my hands, and smiled. "Thank you."
"I love you."
"I love you, too." She kissed me deeply. "How attached are you to this picnic?"
I knew what she was asking. If it were any other situation, I would have given in. "Extremely. In fact, I think we need to start eating right now."
She raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
I nodded. "Yes, really." I patted her hip, and she got up.
We sat down on the floor against the wall. I poured us each a glass of wine, then I handed her a sandwich square. She seemed confused for a minute, but went with it. I hoped she didn't think I was trying to avoid fucking her. I suddenly became hyper aware of the ring box in my pocket. I wanted to pull it out right away, slip it on her finger, and get her naked. At the same time, I wanted all of this to be perfect. She deserved perfect.
"This is really nice," she said softly. "I like the music you picked, too."
I smiled. "Yeah?"
She nodded and leaned in to kiss me. "Yeah."
I realized as I tried to decide how I would bring everything up that I didn't have a speech prepared. I had no idea what the fuck to say to her. I needed to build up to it, I knew that much. In all the sappy romance movies we watched together, there was always a speech before the ring. I stalled through two full songs while we commented on the food and the wine. When The Reason by Hoobastank began to play, I got an idea. I just hoped I didn't make a fool of myself. I pulled Ness a little closer with my arm around her shoulders and kissed her head.
"You know, Ness, I remember a long time ago—before I met you—I was a pretty big asshole."
She looked up at me. "What?"
"Yeah, I didn't care about people. I mean, I cared about my dad, but that was it. Then I kind of cared about Leah. It was you, though, that really changed me." I kissed her lips. "You've always made me want to be a better person."
She smiled. "You, too."
"I think I am. I'm a better man all around thanks to you, baby. You're my reason."
She tilted her head to the side. "That's so sweet. You're my reason, too. You made me want to be stronger and more confident."
I cleared my throat and told myself not to throw up before I asked the actual question. I shifted and got on to my knees in front of her. "I really love you, baby."
"I love you, too."
I took her left hand and reached in my pocket. I took a deep breath and went for it. I pulled the box out. "Will you marry me?" I opened it for her.
She gasped and leaned back so quickly she hit the wall with a thump. Her hands covered her mouth for a second as she stared at the ring. Just as I was about to start panicking, she looked up and met my eyes. I had my answer.
"Oh, my God!" she cried. Tears spilled down her cheeks. "Oh, Jake . . . I . . . really?"
I smiled and pulled the ring out to put it on her finger. "Would I even begin to joke with you about this?"
She shook her head and pushed herself forward to throw her arms around my neck. "Yes, Jake. My answer is yes. I will marry you."
I held her tightly. "I love you so fucking much, Nessie."
She sniffled. "I thought this would never happen. I hoped, and I wished, and I dreamed, but I never believed."
I pushed her back a little so I could see her face. "Are you happy?"
She laughed once. "I can't even begin to describe to you how thrilled I am right now." She lifted her left hand to look at the diamonds. "It's so beautiful." She looked up at me and put her hand on my cheek. "Thank you."
I took her wrist and turned my head to kiss her palm. "Don't thank me, Ness. I'm not asking to do you a favor. I really want to make you my wife."
Her lips trembled. "You'll be my husband." Her voice broke. More tears fell, but the look in her eyes and the smile on her face told me how happy she really was.
I shifted to sit against the wall again and pulled her on top of me. She straddled my legs and wrapped her arms around my neck. "When do you want to get married?"
She sniffled and shrugged. "I don't know. Soon. Right now?"
I chuckled and leaned in to kiss her. "I'd like that, too. Don't you want a ceremony, though? Reception?"
"Yeah, I guess. I want to get married outside. Can we do that?"
I sucked in a slow breath and tried to come up with something quickly. "We'd have to plan something in the rain. Or we could wait until it snows, sometime in December."
She frowned. "That's three months away."
"It would give us time to plan it and come up with an alternative in case outside doesn't work." December was looking better and better the more I thought about it. "I want you to have everything you want, Ness. That includes the elaborate ceremony and reception. Don't make me plan something less than perfect because you want it to happen sooner."
She smiled and nodded. "Okay. December would be fine. It'll be cold, though."
"Yeah, but the snow will be romantic. I'll keep you toasty warm."
She kissed me deeply for a moment. "You always do."
My hands slid down her back to her hips and pulled her in tightly. She moaned softly into my mouth. I lifted her shirt over her head and removed her bra, then I turned us over to lay her down on the carpet. She held my shoulders tightly and wrapped her legs around me. She didn't let me go until she had to so I could get the rest of our clothes off and get a condom. I took my time with her, focusing on what I knew pleased her to make her cum. Once she had, she pushed on my shoulders and asked me to turn over. She got on top and did the same for me.
We laid together on the living room floor for a while. Nessie curled herself against me with her left hand on my chest so she could see her ring. She sighed happily and kissed my neck.
"I can't wait to show Leah and Melanie."
Nessie and Izak's wife, Melanie, had become good friends after they met at my birthday party two years ago. I squeezed my arm around Ness. "Leah already knows."
She leaned up on her elbow. "You told her?"
I shrugged. "I had to tell someone."
She nodded and laid back down. "How long ago did you decide to ask me?"
"A month ago. I had to plan it right, though. I couldn't just ask."
"Why not?" She snuggled closer and put her leg over mine.
I rubbed her back lightly. "Because I'm not usually a romantic guy, and I wanted to give you something you'd like."
She hummed. "I see. Well, I beg to differ, Jake. I think you're very romantic."
I pulled her on top of me. "I said I'm not usually romantic."
She smiled and kissed me. "Yes you are. We should let Faith back in." She gave me one more quick kiss before she got up and put her clothes back on. I sighed and got up after her to pick up the living room while she let the dog in.
A/N: Thank you for reading! I'd love to know what you think!
I've been considering something, and I'd like to get my readers' thoughts on it. I've seen other authors take questions for their characters. I am wondering if this is something that my readers would be interested in. They could be questions for any of my characters, be it Give Me a Sign, Blood Moon, or an o/s. More than likely, I would take them through my existing Tumblr, although I'm considering creating a new one just for character questions. It depends on the response I get. If it is something you would be interested in, please say so either in your review or a PM. Thank you :)
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