Pop the Question Contest Entry

Title: In the End

Word Count: 7213

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Rating: M

Summary: After hours of planning, months of saving, and a lifetime of waiting, the moment has finally arrived. Will it live up to Edward's expectations? Will Bella give her heart...and her hand?

Warnings: N/A

In the End

Edward

"Thank you for your reservation, sir. I've made a note that you would like one of our more intimate tables overlooking the water. We look forward to seeing you tonight."

"And the champagne? It will be ready as well?"

"Yes, sir, it's chilling as we speak. Our staff will wait for your signal before serving, just as you requested when you made the reservation."

The voice on the other end of the line isn't quite rude, but does sound exasperated. I can't blame him. This is the third time I've called to ensure everything is perfect for tonight.

It has to be perfect.

"Thank you." Hanging up, I let out a shaky breath.

That's my last call of the day. The hotel is booked, our table at the restaurant is reserved, and a bottle of champagne is chilling—ready for the perfect moment.

The moment Isabella Swan agrees to become Isabella Cullen.

I've been planning this night for the last six months—ever since my parents gave me my grandmother's ring. It didn't take long for me to realise that Bella was the one for me and if I'd had my way, I would have asked her shortly after we started dating. But Bella's a bit more traditional when it comes to love and relationships. She didn't want to move as quickly, and I was prepared to wait.

So for the last six months, the engagement ring has been burning a hole in my pocket. But it's given me time to make this night special for her, worthy of her. Spoiling Bella is something I rarely have the chance to do. Being a teacher has hardly made me a wealthy man, so I took on extra tutoring sessions to be able to treat my girl the way I'd like to every day.

I grab my phone and send a quick text to Alice, Bella's best friend, letting her know I'll be leaving shortly. Sitting on my bed, I pull the blue velvet box from the pocket of my jeans.

For what feels like the hundredth time, my fingers trail along the edge of the box, my thoughts in turmoil about tonight. I'm confident she will say yes, but there are still nerves. I suppose all men feel this way before they propose.

Refusing to focus on it too much, I pick up our bags—which have been packed for days—and head for the spa to pick up Bella.

I've managed to keep everything a secret, thanks to Alice. She's packed Bella's overnight bag for this evening and accompanied her to the spa today. Bella just thinks we're going out for dinner later tonight, so picking her up from the spa will be the first surprise.

Once I receive word from Alice, I pull out of the drive.

"I can't believe you've done all this!"

We're on our way to Seattle and I've just revealed our plans for the evening—well, not all the details, that wouldn't be any fun. The look of shock on Bella's face was well worth all the sneaking around though.

I reach across the console and take her hand in mine, running my thumb across her soft skin. "Wait!" She pulls it back, turning to face me, eyes wide as realisation dawns. "Is this why you started the extra tutoring? To pay for this?"

Sheepishly, I focus intently on the road ahead.

Her tone is hard but questioning. "Edward?"

I shrug my shoulders. "So I added a few more lessons, it's not a big deal. It was worth it, baby. We don't get to do this very often." I keep my eyes on the road. I hate the fact that I can't treat her to special weekends away more often.

"Oh, Edward," she takes my hand again, "I'm not mad." She softly tugs, so I meet her gaze. "I love this, it's so romantic. I just feel guilty because I know how tired you've been because of the extra hours."

"Bella, I wanted to do this. Can't you just let me spoil you?" She smiles and I know I'm forgiven.

As we make the drive to Seattle, the playlist I put together for our journey plays in the background. Bella fills me in on all the details of her day at the spa. She enjoyed the pampering and seems quite rejuvenated, for which I'm glad. We discuss the events of our week and eventually drift into a comfortable silence, just enjoying the music and each other's company.

Suddenly, the car jolts violently and veers to the right. I grip the wheel, knuckles white, as I try to keep control and pull to the side of the road.

Bella turns in her seat, eyes wide, looking behind us. "What happened? Did we hit something?"

Bringing the car to a stop, I take a deep breath. "I'm not sure but we definitely have a flat tire. Stay here while I check." Leaning over the console, I give her a quick kiss before getting out of the car.

I cannot believe this! I haven't had a flat tire in years and even had the car serviced so it would be running perfectly for this trip! Why of all days? Walking around the car, I see the front passenger tire is completely flat. Luckily that's the only thing that appears to be wrong, and I have a spare so I won't have to call for assistance. I'll just get this changed and get back on the road before we lose too much time.

Opening Bella's door, I explain the situation. "Sweetheart, it is a flat. I'm going to need you to wait outside while I get it changed. I'm so sorry. I can't believe my luck. Now we're going to be running late and everything's going to be ruined—"

"Edward, shhh." She steps out of the car. "Nothing's ruined. We'll just be a bit late." She hugs me, but shivers. "Now hurry, it's freezing out here." She giggles and slaps my ass playfully, as I walk to the trunk.

I realise she's trying to bring me out of my mood and make light of the situation, but she doesn't know the importance of our schedule. I can't afford for anything to go wrong today. If we're late for our reservations at the restaurant they won't hold our table, which is going to completely mess up my plan. Plus, we have to check into the hotel and change before dinner…

My inner rambling continue as I change the tire. For a job that should only take twenty minutes, shaky hands, fumbling fingers, and a light drizzle doubles that time. Sensing my stress, Bella continues to try to keep me cheerful, before giving up and playing a game on her phone.

Just under an hour later, we're back on the road.

Strumming my fingers against the steering wheel, my leg bounces and I chew franticly on my gum. Due to the flat, we're late getting into Seattle which means we're sitting in rush hour traffic. Sitting. I watch as the minutes tick by. Could this get any worse? So much for our relaxing afternoon and drinks before dinner. I try to remain positive, regroup, and adjust my plans to the new timeframe.

Thankfully our check-in at the hotel goes smoothly. Bella was completely surprised when we pulled into the Four Seasons, obviously not something I can normally afford. But tonight is about the experience and the memories we create—the expense will be worth it. The larger suites were completely out of my budget, but I was able to upgrade to a room with the view of the bay.

As we enter our suite, I watch for Bella's reaction. I'm not disappointed.

"Oh…my…god…" She moves to the huge bed, running her fingers over the luxurious linens. Spinning slowly, she takes in her surroundings. "Edward." Moving to the wall of glass overlooking the bay, she whispers, "This is amazing."

Standing in the door way, I watch Bella's joy. Her hands graze over each beautiful surface. She is still by far the most beautiful thing in the room. Suddenly she giggles, running into the bathroom. I hear a faint "Wow." Chuckling, I close the door and bring our bags inside.

I begin to unpack, bringing out my suit for this evening. "Bella, Alice packed a dress for you tonight. We have dinner reservations in the hotel restaurant, so we need to hurry." I want her to enjoy the room, but there will be time for that later.

"This is amazing, Edward," she whispers.

Startled that she is so near, I turn to see her standing right behind me. So close.

"I mean the fancy hotel, the dinner tonight—this must have cost a fortune. I'm in awe of it, of you. But you know I would have been happy celebrating the end of the term at our usual place." She steps forward, her hands on my chest, clenching my shirt.

Our "usual place" is a quaint Italian restaurant down the street from our apartment. We celebrate birthdays and have regular "date nights" there, and it's also where we had our first date. As much as I love the memories made at Bella Italia, I want tonight's memories to be unique.

"I know you would have." Wrapping my arms around her, I pull her close. "But I wanted to surprise you. I don't get to spoil you enough."

"You spoil me plenty," she whispers.

Before I can argue, she raises up on her toes, bringing her lips to mine.

"But I called several times and was told that table was reserved for us."

"I am aware of this, sir. However, you are late for your reservation and the table is no longer available."

Running my hands through my hair, I take a deep breath. I don't want to lose my temper with the host. It's not his fault. But now my carefully crafted plan is falling apart—all because of a few minutes. Instead of the secluded corner table with the amazing view, our only option is a small table in the middle of the restaurant. I have to re-think my plans—I can't propose in the middle of the restaurant!

"Edward, honestly it's fine. The view doesn't matter." Bella smiles at the host before turning to me. "Let's just make the best of it and enjoy our dinner."

Looking into her beautiful brown eyes, I realize she's right and nod in agreement. But I do have one request. "The table you have will be fine, thank you. But would it be possible for you to move the settings so we're sitting next to each other rather than opposite?"

"Of course, sir. Please just have a seat at the bar and I will let you know when the table is ready." The host smiles apologetically at me—after all, he knows why I wanted the best table.

Our table is ready in record time and soon we're enjoying a fantastic meal. I'm feeling considerably better about the night and I know it's all due to the gorgeous brunette sitting next to me. She makes everything right. Although things have not gone the way I envisioned, I'm able to enjoy the moment, focus on us, and the rest of the evening. I can still turn this around.

As I'm enjoying my soup, I make my decision. After dinner if the rain holds off, we'll take a walk along the bay and I'll propose then. Afterwards, we'll make our way back to our room where the champagne—that was originally meant to be served with dinner—will be waiting for us to continue our celebration.

While waiting for our main course, I excuse myself from the table to seek out the host. I quickly explain the change in plans and he happily agrees to have the champagne sent to our room. With everything now in order, I make my way back to the table, feeling a bit more confident.

A smile graces Bella's face as she watches me approach. "Everything okay?" She scoots closer as I take my seat, resting her hand on my thigh.

"Yeah, I was just organising a surprise for later." I wink and grin at her mischievously.

"Edward!" She squeezes my leg. "You've done too much already. I don't need anything else." She leans towards me, tongue tracing her lip, her eyes locked on mine. Her gaze is hungry, and I know it's not for dinner.

I meet her halfway and savour the moment her lips meet mine. Every time we kiss—my heart still races, no matter how many times we've done it before. Softly she takes my bottom lip between hers, sucking just a little, releasing a quiet moan only I can hear. I'm overwhelmed with the urge to forget all my plans and take her upstairs so that I can make her moan like that all night! With that thought, my pants become a bit tighter. I shift slightly and Bella opens her mouth to me, our tongues dancing lazily.

A throat being cleared brings us back to reality. Pulling apart, we see our server impatiently waiting with our main courses. I smile unabashedly, happy to show that Bella is my girl and we're in love. Bella reacts with a blush. Stepping forward, the waiter serves our main course and leaves us to enjoy our meal.

The food is delicious and we're soon lost in conversation about our plans for the summer. I begin to get a bit nervous as the meal winds down and my throat becomes dry. I notice Bella's wine glass is almost empty as well, so I move to re-fill it. Thankfully she doesn't notice my shaking hands. But unfortunately for me, my unsure hands become part of the next disaster.

In a flurry of activity, two waiters rush past my chair, knocking it slightly. I fumble as I pour the wine. My nervous hands react too slowly, and I watch as the scene unfolds as if in slow motion.

The bottle.

Knocks over Bella's full glass of wine.

Wine flows all over the table and into Bella's lap.

It's fucking awful. I cannot believe this is happening!

She jumps up, knocking her chair to the floor. "Shit!"

"Edward! EDWARD!" Bella squeals, attempting to get my attention. Waiters swarm around us, tidying the mess I've created.

Bella furiously wipes at her dress and legs. I know I should help—I should be on my knees apologising for making a mess of the whole evening—but I can't move.

This day has beaten me.

"Edward?" Bella brings me out of my stupor, her hand softly squeezing my knee.

"I'm so sorry, Bella." I whisper. My hand moves to cover hers.

"Don't, Edward. Mistakes happen, it wasn't your fault. The waiter knocked your chair as he ran past."

"But still, I could've—"

"Ssshhh." Her soft fingers cover my lips. "Don't ruin what has been a magical day. I know how you stress about the details, but please just forget it. I already have—look." She stands. "White wine on a black dress is harmless. It'll dry and no one will ever know, apart from us." She sits, scooting her chair close and leaning her head on my shoulder.

No more words are said.

She's right. I've let a few bad moments stress me out and almost ruin the day. I can still salvage this.

I glance outside and although it's now dark, it's still dry. I can still pull off the proposal my girl deserves.

"Come take a walk with me?" I ask quietly, kissing her forehead.

She sits up and looks outside. "Now?"

"Humour me." I smile, taking her hand in mine and lightly stroking her palm with my thumb.

"Okay."

Gesturing for the waiter, I ask for the bill. As we wait for him to return, we enjoy the quiet. Enjoy each other. With her head against my shoulder again, I bask in the feeling. It's moments like this that make me treasure what we have. She calms me, anchors me. When most girls would have totally freaked over spilling the wine, she didn't. She focused on the good parts of the day and turned my mood around.

Today might not be the perfect day to propose, but I simply can't wait any longer.

My nerves are getting to me. As we walk hand in hand around the bay, I talk non-stop. In trying to come across not nervous, I think I've actually made it worse. Bella keeps looking at me, questions in her eyes, but she hasn't asked…yet.

Apart from us, there are only a few other couples on the path enjoying the view. For that I'm thankful. I don't want an audience for this—I think that's why I was so nervous at the restaurant.

Looking ahead, I see the path widens into a small park overlooking the water. There are benches and planters of beautiful flowers and it's well lit. My decision is made. That's where I'm going to propose.

Releasing Bella's hand, I wrap my arm around her shoulders, pulling her close to me as we walk. I feel her shiver and I realise what an absolute idiot I've been. The temperature is comfortable, but on the water there's a slight breeze making it feel colder. Wearing my suit jacket, I've barely noticed.

"Oh god, Bella, I'm so sorry! Here." I shrug out of my jacket and place it over her shoulders. "You're freezing—put this on." I'm so caught up in my own head I don't even see what's right in front of me!

"Thank you." She smiles up at me. "You're always looking out for me."

"Do you want to go back inside?"

"No, this is a perfect ending to the night, Edward. It's just a little cool and we rarely get time to ourselves for nights like this. Let's just walk a little further." She snuggles deeper against me, wrapping her arm around my waist as we continue.

"So you enjoyed the day?" I want to be sure. When we first started dating she told me she preferred the simple pleasures.

"Today has been very special, but it wouldn't be if we did this on a regular basis." She shrugs. "What would we do on special occasions if this was the norm?"

As always, she makes perfect sense. And I'm so glad. Now she'll have the memory of a unique day, which is what I was hoping for all along.

We silently continue down the path, lost in our own thoughts. Bella's stopped shivering so my jacket must have worked. I refuse to let her leave my arms though, and it has nothing to do with warmth.

Finally, everything is going right. The last part of my plan is coming together and I'm minutes away from proposing. As the park gets closer, my heart seems to beat faster. I feel like its loud enough for Bella to hear! Even in the cool Seattle night, my hands begin to sweat as the nerves take over.

Will she say yes?

I've spent so much time planning today, tonight, that I've just assumed she'll say yes. But now that the moment has arrived, I'm suddenly unsure of myself. We've spoken about our future—where we want to live, about children, and other plans that have indicated she wants a future with me.

But what if? I can't even imagine if Bella turns me town.

I can't imagine my life without her.

I shake my head, ridding myself of those thoughts. She will say yes and in turn, make me the happiest man in the world. I suppose all guys think that, but in my case I know it's true.

The path widens as we reach our destination and I guide Bella to one of the benches there. Sitting with her, I need a few minutes to calm my nerves and gather my thoughts. I've known all along what I want to say. I just want to make sure I get it out properly without stuttering and making a complete ass of myself.

I can do this.

She will say yes.

I take a deep breath.

I'm ready.

"Edward, do you feel that?" Bella speaks softly, breaking the silence.

"Umm…what? Do I feel what?"

"I think it's starting to rain." She puts her hand out, palm up, testing the air. "I felt a few drops—maybe we should head back to the hotel."

Oh hell no!

No! This absolutely cannot be happening! This is my last attempt, it has to be now! I can't wait and plan something else—I just can't. Tonight is the night. I have to make her mine, officially.

"No! I mean…let's just stay a little longer. I'm sure it'll be fine." It's a poor attempt I know, but right now it's all I've got.

"C'mon, silly. If we stay out here we'll get soaked and it's already cold enough." She stands, grabbing my hands, attempting to pull me up.

This is it. I'm rushed, but I've run out of time.

"Bella, wait…" I stand and take her hands in mine. Bringing them to my lips, I kiss them softly. "I need to talk to you. There's something…I need to ask."

"Okay…" She looks up at me, confusion in her eyes.

"I love you and I've been thinking about this for a long time—" I stop short when I realise I'm not doing this properly. Looking into her eyes, I begin to get down on one knee. I'm interrupted.

Lightening crackles across the sky, followed quickly by a rumbling thunder clap.

The sky suddenly opens up.

Bella squeals as the rain pours down. Shrugging out of the jacket, she puts it over her head and begins to run toward the hotel.

I watch as she runs away, another attempt failed.

Clearly it's not meant to happen today, no matter what I do.

Bella looks around when she realises I'm not following her. "Edward! C'mon!" She waves for me before resuming her run.

I sigh in defeat, but follow. As I get closer, Bella ducks into a restaurant doorway to get out of the downpour. I follow her lead.

Standing under the awning, we're both out of breath as we try to shake off the excess water. I give up—it's useless. Both my trousers and shirt are clinging to my body, and my shoes are soaked through and squeak when I move. And my hair? Yeah, there's no point in trying to tame it. It's always a wild mess and the rain has only made it worse.

My breath catches as I realise Bella's stopped trying to dry herself. She's looking at me, eyes wide, shock evident on her face. In her hand, is a little velvet box.

"Edward, what is this?"

I'm speechless. Looking from Bella, to the box, and back again, I'm lost. This is all wrong.

"Ummm…" I actually have no words. What the hell?

Her brown eyes stare at me, clearly waiting for a better explanation.

"Edward?"

"Bella, can I have that please?"

"Will you tell me what it is?"

"Yes, but please can I have the box first?"

I'm going to have to do this here. There's no other choice. I've planned for this moment for months—picked up extra tutoring sessions to pay for a fancy hotel and a nice restaurant, all to make this night special and memorable for my girl. And after all that, I'm going to propose in a restaurant doorway in the pouring rain.

Well if I'm forced to do it here, at least I can do this properly.

I get down on one knee.

She gasps, covering her mouth with her hand.

Yes, everything is making sense to her now. Her eyes fill with unshed tears.

Adrenaline rushes through me as I kneel in front of her.

I'm shaking. Not because I'm scared, because I'm finally getting to do this.

We belong together. I know this. That's why there's no doubt when I finally find the words.

"Edward," she whispers, reaching her hand out to me.

"Ssshh…please, Bella. I've been trying all night. Let me do this properly."

Remaining silent, she nods.

Taking her hand, I kiss it softly. "Bella, please believe me when I say this is not how this was supposed to go. I wanted this to be such a memorable night for you, and I tried so hard to make every detail absolutely perfect. But as you've witnessed, I've run into a bit of bad luck and things just fell apart." I chuckle, but she squeezes my hand in reassurance.

Shaking my head, I should have known none of it would matter to her.

"I wanted to give you a memory that you could happily tell your friends and family, and hopefully one day our children and grandchildren." Bella smiles her beautiful smile, and it eases my nerves.

"I love you so, so much and… if you'll have me…I will spend the rest of our life together, showing you just how much." With shaking fingers I open the box, remove the ring, and take her left hand in mine. Looking up at her, our eyes meet. Her smile is radiant and I love that she couldn't look any happier. Her eyes are filled with tears, but they haven't fallen yet.

I place the ring at the tip of her finger. "Bella, will you marry me?"

I close my eyes, bracing for her answer. I even say a little prayer.

"Edward?"

Slowly, I open my eyes and my heart flutters when I see she's smiling.

"Yes," she says as tears begin to fall, her smile never wavering. In fact, it grows as she agrees to become my wife. "Yes, I'll marry you."

Grinning back at her, I confirm, "You will?"

Bella giggles and it's the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. "Of course I will, silly. How could you ever think I'd say no to you? I love you."

She said yes!

My head spins.

It might not have been the most romantic proposal ever, but in the end it doesn't matter. It suited us. And it's something we'll never forget, minor disasters and all. The most important thing—she said yes.

"Umm…Edward, aren't you forgetting something?" She looks down at her hand, which I'm still holding with the ring placed at the tip of her finger.

"Say it again?" I smile up at her.

Grinning back at me, she whispers, "Yes, Edward Cullen, I will marry you."

Silently, we watch as I slide my grandmother's ring onto her finger. "It's official," I murmur.

"You didn't need the ring to make it official, baby. I've always been yours." Her face glistens as tears continue to fall. Still holding my hand, she pulls me to my feet. We may have just been caught in the rain, but with her wild hair and her slightly smudged eyes, to me she looks as beautiful as ever.

Stepping forward, I back her against the restaurant door. "You know, I hear engagements aren't official until sealed with a kiss."

"Mmm...you did, did you?" She closes her eyes, blissful.

Clenching my shirt, she pulls me close—our bodies now flush against each other. As usual, the feel of her warmth, her softness, affects me physically. I can't wait to take her back to the hotel and show her just how much I love her. She smirks, as she feels the effect she's having on me.

"Yeah." I close the gap between us, sighing as my lips find hers. Her lips are heaven. Her lips are home. Our kiss is soft, full of emotion—a private celebration of our perfectly imperfect moment. It's nothing fancy, but it's us. And right now there's nowhere I'd rather be. Well…

"What do you say we head back to the hotel?" she murmurs against my lips, her fingers loosening their grip on my shirt, making their way to the hair at my neck. "We can continue our celebration there." I groan as she pulls my hair, the feeling going straight to my now hardening cock.

"Let's go, baby." I take her hand and we make a run for it, Bella squealing and giggling the whole way.

I hope my stroke of good fortune continues as we reach our suite. Since I didn't have enough time to create the romantic setting I'd planned, I enlisted the hotel staff to help. To say I'm impressed is an understatement—their handiwork is above and beyond what I asked for.

Hundreds of tiny candles fill the room, creating a romantic glow throughout the suite. The walkway and bed are covered in fragrant red and blush rose petals. Our champagne is chilled and ready.

Bella gasps as I guide her into the suite, my eyes focused on her reaction.

"Oh Edward… it's absolutely perfect," she breathes, turning in my arms to kiss me softly.

Finally, the night is going as I intended.

"I'm glad you like it." I pull her closer. We fit, we always have. Her body moulds to mine perfectly. But tonight, tonight it feels like so much more. Tonight it feels like she was made just for me.

Except for the rain drumming against the window, the room is silent. There's no need for words as we cling to each other.

"Sounds like we made it back just in time, it's really coming down hard out there." She pulls from my grasp and walks to the window, staring out at the city below.

It's moments like this that I can't believe my luck. This intelligent, beautiful woman has agreed to be mine—forever. Standing at the window, she looks utterly alluring—the candlelight shimmering across her bare shoulders. She may only be on the other side of the room, but I can't bear to be away from her for another second.

She doesn't turn as I approach, but she knows I'm there. Our bodies are so close, almost touching, and I can feel the heat radiating from her.

"We need to get you out of those wet clothes," my voice nothing but a whisper.

She remains facing the window but silently nods. Taking a step back, she's once again in my arms, her back flush against my chest. I feel her shudder and I mentally curse myself for not realising she would be cold.

"C'mon, you're shivering." I take her hand and guide her to the bed.

"I'm not shivering because of the cold, Edward. It's you…you have this effect on me. When will you realise that?" She smiles up at me.

I love her smile.

"I can feel you whenever you're near me—it's like my body reacts just for you," she whispers. "When you're close I get goose bumps and when you touch me…I still get butterflies. You, you make me feel like a schoolgirl with a crush." Her skin flames a beautiful shade of pink. "And god…when you look at me, with that intense heat in your eyes—there are no words for what I feel." Once again, unshed tears shimmer in her eyes.

I know she loves me, I have no doubts about that—but to hear those emotions put into words, to know how I still affect her physically, I'm moved. I'm on fire.

I step back until my knees hit the bed and I sit. Bella stands between my legs, my forehead pressed against her stomach, her fingers running through my hair. I breathe her in.

"I love you," she whispers into the silence.

I gaze up at her. "And I love you." She smiles, letting her tears fall freely.

Are all couples this lucky? Does everyone get to feel this, this all-consuming love, this need for their partner? Or have we found something unique, something only for us to feel?

Suddenly that need is unbearable. I have to be closer, to be as close as possible.

"Bella, I—"

"Ssshhh." Taking my hand in hers, she brings it to the zipper of her dress. "I need to be with you, Edward. Please."

As our hands touch, my fingers graze the ring—my ring. My heart clenches. It's really real. I proposed and she agreed to be my wife. I always knew this day would come, but I never imagined the feeling. Knowing I will be tied to Bella forever…I feel emotions I never knew were possible.

On instinct, I bring her hand to my lips, softly kissing each finger before coming to rest on her ring finger. Bella sniffs and I know the weight of the moment is affecting her as well. We remain frozen, no words are spoken.

Gently, she pulls her hands away and they fall to her sides, as mine move towards her zipper. My heart pounds as I pull it down, slowly revealing the flawless skin beneath. My hands follow the trail of the zipper, leaving goose bumps in their wake.

As the dress falls to the floor, my eyes feast on the vision that is Bella—naked, except for her lacy black thong. My heart, as well as another part of my anatomy, swells at the sight. Only Bella has this effect on me.

Without hesitation I lean forward, taking one of her hardened nipples into my mouth. Swirling my tongue, I bite softly and Bella arches into my touch.

"Ugh…off…now," Bella moans, her hands tugging at my shirt.

Reluctantly, I release her nipple and strip down to my boxers, throwing my clothes on the floor. I just need to feel Bella's skin against mine.

Before I can sit back on the bed, Bella steps forward, her fingers smoothing over my bare chest. Her touch causes my muscles to contract and my cock to throb. She grins, smug at the effect her touch has—has always had—on me. I growl at the feeling, her touch driving me crazy with need and I relish it. I never want it to stop.

My hands have a mind of their own, exploring her body. I pay special attention to the swell of her breasts and her nipples, now hard, both from arousal and the cool air. I smirk when she gasps at my touch. I tease further, pinching and twisting lightly, before moving down and settling on the curve of her perfect ass. Bella sighs contently, enjoying in my touch. After I've covered every inch of her, and the teasing becomes too much, her arms wrap around my waist. The feel of her warm skin against mine—it's too much and yet not enough. She affects me in ways I'm sure she can feel.

Leaning in, I capture her lips with mine. Our kiss is still soft, but urgent. We're both so eager to express our love tonight, of all nights, and the intensity is overwhelming. Bella's grip tightens, her fingers digging into my skin, as if she can't bear to let go.

I pull back and we tumble onto the bed. Tangled together, we move higher, never losing touch. Rolling Bella onto her back, I take in the beautiful sight below me, before crawling to my place between her legs.

I feel her arms wrap around my neck, pulling me closer, and our lips meeting once again. My tongue traces her mouth, asking—no, begging for hers in return. She reacts immediately, opening to me, deepening our connection. I moan when our tongues meet, dancing lazily together.

From the beginning, kissing Bella has been my favourite activity. And right now, our kisses reflect the emotion of this moment, everything we feel—the desire, the need, and most importantly, the overwhelming love we have for each other. I can't bear to stop.

Our passion intensifies as our bodies slide against each other. Our hands wander, clutching wherever we can, pulling closer. There is no close enough.

My cock is hard, wanting. That part of me wants nothing more than to thrust, to bury myself inside her, to have her scream my name—to claim her. But not tonight, tonight I will show Bella how precious she is to me, how much I love her. I will worship her.

"Ugh, Edward…please…"

"Please what, baby?"

"More, Edward…more…"

My lips move once again, to her perfect breasts. Swirling my tongue around a rosy peak, Bella arches in pleasure. Her breathy moans and my whispered name go straight to my cock. My lips continue their journey south. I peel our remaining clothes away, adding them to the pile on the floor.

Settling between her legs, I spread them wide for me, moaning when I see her glistening in the candlelight. Placing gentle kisses up her thighs, I avoid the area she wants, needs, me most. She writhes below me, trying to get closer. I place my arm across her hips, holding her in place.

"Oh, Edward!"

I look to see Bella propped up on her elbows, watching me. Her normally light brown eyes are hooded, darken with desire. Her breathing is laboured, anxious, as she anticipates my next move. Watching us is a huge turn on for her and I know seeing my face between her legs is one of her favourite views.

Frustrated, she falls back on the bed. I indulge her with a long, slow lick with my flattened tongue, right where she needs it most. I lick, suck, and nibble, bringing her close, but never letting her cum. Tonight Bella deserves to be worshipped, and I will take my time in doing so.

Adding my fingers, Bella cries out. Her hips thrusting to a rhythm, I'm sure will bring her an orgasm. I push one finger inside, then another, as my tongue teases her swollen clit. Her thrusts become erratic, her walls tightening around my fingers, and I know she's close. It won't take much to push her over the edge.

"C'mon baby, cum for me," I murmur against her, pulling her closer as I lap at her wet folds. With one last nibble, she cums hard. Spasms wreck her body, as she moans my name, her walls clenching my fingers.

I love seeing Bella like this.

Watching her come apart, because of me, because of the effect I have on her—it brings out my inner caveman. I alone get to see her like this. No one else ever has or ever will see this part of her. This is mine. She is mine. Okay, I think I'm getting carried away. I focus on Bella until her pleasure subsides and with one last sigh, her body stills.

Positive that she's sated, I move up her body, bringing my lips to hers. Bella doesn't mind tasting herself on me—in fact I think she quite likes it—so I waste no time in taking ownership of the kiss.

Our new position aligns my seeping cock with her entrance, and it would only take the slightest move and I could be inside her. I resist, trying to go slowly. Tonight, Bella deserves more.

However, she has other ideas. Reaching between us, she takes my cock in her hand.

"Edward."

That's her cue. She's ready. We've savoured the moment, but now we need to express our love the best way we know how.

I gasp at the feeling of Bella's hand. She squeezes just right, my eyes rolling back in my head. She rubs my sensitive tip against the length of her pussy, coating it with her juices. Running her thumb over the tip one last time, she releases me and opens her legs wide for me.

Taking a deep breath, I push forward.

We've been here lots of times, insatiable, constantly proving our love for each other physically. But tonight is different and I'm suddenly feeling the weight of it all. She agreed to be mine, forever, to be my wife. I'm elated and relieved. I can't bear the thought of her rejection, of life without her.

"Hey, come back to me."

Her palms find my cheeks, forcing me to meet her eyes. I see adoration and love there and it centers me. She wants to marry me, spend her life with me. Her love for me matches mine for her.

"I love you." I whisper.

She smiles—breathtaking. "And I you."

I pull back for just a moment, keeping my eyes on hers, before moving slowly. She feels incredible, so tight, and I don't think I'll ever get used to this feeling. Her breath catches as I fill her. I'm still, feeling her stretch around me. My heads falls forward as I surrender to the moment, my emotions overtaking me. Only at times like this, with Bella by my side, do I feel whole—complete.

Bella moves first, her hips now encouraging me to increase the pace. Moving from the crook of her neck, I place leisurely kisses to her neck and lips as I go. Our hips move in tandem, slowly rocking us to pleasure.

This isn't about how quick we can get there—it's about enjoying every minute. It's time to savour each other's bodies, to provide what the other likes, and enjoy the whimpers of pleasure.

Our eyes are locked as our hips move together. Our movements become hurried, frantic as we feel it build. I sneak my hand between us, rubbing her clit in time with our thrusts, desperate to see her fall apart beneath me.

Bella begins to quiver, her breaths becoming uneven as she gets closer to the edge. Her whole body begins to tremble and I lose control. My thrusts are more erratic…deeper.

"Ed…Ed…Ugh, Edward…" She's so close. My eyes close tightly, as I try and fight off my impending orgasm.

"Bella…please!"

We're so close. Her walls begin to clench around my cock and with my name on her lips, she cums. She falls, her body shuddering beneath me. Growling her name, my body stills, and I crash over the edge, my body falling against hers.

We remain silent, lost in the moment.

It's always been like this. The silence, the love, we don't need words. And tonight is no different. Worried about my full weight on Bella, I start to move but her arms wrap around me, keeping me against her. I never want to move.

I know she can't be comfortable, so eventually I roll off her and onto my back. Bella snuggles against my chest and drapes one of my arms around me.

She breaks the silence with a giggle. I look down at her in confusion. "Something you want to share?"

She looks up at me, with joy in her eyes. "Everything about today just fell into place and yet it all went wrong—the car, the restaurant, even the rain!" She bursts out laughing. "I wondered why you were so twitchy."

I laugh along with her. It's funny…now.

In the end, after all the bumps, all is right in my world.

In the end, she gave me her heart and her future.

In the end, I'll wake up every day next to my best friend and love of my life.

In the end, that's all I ever wanted.