Pop the Question Contest Entry

Title: When in Venice

Word Count (without the A/n and header): 12,380

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Rating: Fluffy/Mature/A lil bitta humor somewhere in there

Summary: Edward and Bella have known each other most of their lives and he finally decides it's time for the next step in their relationship. What B believes is just a few days in Venice for her birthday turns out to be E's big shot at forever. Will she accept?

Warnings (if any): None, just hope everyone enjoys! :)

HEADER: So guys, not much to say here except, it's such an honor to present to you my entry for the Pop the Question Contest. Hope you enjoy!

When in Venice

Summer, 1997

Edward groaned as Alice tightened his father's tie around his neck. He couldn't fathom what the hell she was doing, and neither could she. In the end, she just tied it into the silliest bow either of them had ever seen.

"Come now, Eddie," Alice admonished, dusting off his shoulder and spinning him around to look into the mirror affixed to the wall of the tree house. "Bella is waiting."

Not wanting to rain on her parade, he just shrugged and muttered 'fine' under his breath before turning away. He looked on as Alice started to make her way down the ladder.

"Stay put, I'm going to check on Bella, and you're not supposed to see the bride before the wedding." Edward watched, dumbfounded, as Alice giggled, her eyes twinkling in glee.

"Alice, this isn't a real wedding. Even if it was, I don't believe in any of that mess." Edward snapped back at Alice. "Besides, this can't be real if Bella is the bride. I could never marry Bella."

Alice's brows furrowed at her brother's words but a smile managed to peek out from the corners of her lips.

"You just wait. In a few years, I'll be the one saying I told you so."

September 1st 2009

Edward sighed quietly as he sat across the table from his sisters. Rose was peeking into Alice's menu and he could faintly hear them debating over merlot and cabernet. The beating of his own heart drummed in his ears as he rubbed his sweaty palms repeatedly along his bouncing thighs. He knew he had to do this. He felt the tension build in the air, and his hands began to tremble.

"Uhh, I need to um, yea. I'll be right back," Edward said, shooting up from his seat. Rose and Alice watched, puzzled, as Edward darted away from them, bolting to the door of the restaurant.

"What the hell is up with him?" Alice closed the menu.

"Beats me. He looks like he's about to have a fucking panic attack." Rose laughed and Alice frowned at her.

"This isn't like Edward. He's hiding something." Inspiration dawning, she smirked. "Wanna bet?"

Rose knew this bet was too juicy to dismiss. She cocked an eyebrow. "I got $50 bucks that he's coming out."

Alice bellowed, turning a few heads in her direction. Her hands flew over her mouth as she doubled over in a fit of giggles.

"Helloooooooooo, have you met Bella Swan? Edward's been dating her for three years now? You know, the brunette with chestnut eyes. The chief's daughter?"

Rose shrugged, absently looking through the menu.

"Yeah, whatever. I never believed that Swan act one bit. Maybe he's into chicks. Maybe he's into dudes. Maybe both. Who knows, but my bet shall not be wavered."

"You're serious?" Alice asked, not believing her sister was that blind.

Rosalie placed a $50 bill on the tabletop. "Like a fucking heart attack."

Alice reached into her purse, grabbing two twenties and a ten. Slamming the bills down on the table, she placed her bet.

"My bet is Bella's pregnant."

The cool, evening air sent shivers down Edward's body as he bolted out of the restaurant. Making his way to the car, he leaned against the trunk, fisting his hair with shaking hands. He was about to tell two of the most important women in his life that he was going to ask Bella to become his wife. Nerves shot through him like bullets to his chest, and he could sense the force almost prompting him to jump into the car and drive away.

Alice, he knew would react well. She absolutely adored Bella; they were like best friends. He smiled warmly as he remembered Alice trying to get them married when they were younger.

Rose on the other hand, was the one that worried him. Not only was she his big sister, but she also was the only mother he had ever known. When Elizabeth died giving birth to Edward, his dad basically gambled and drank himself into a stupor for most of his childhood. Rosalie worked hard taking care for her brother, until Edward Sr. finally left and they were forced into foster care. Bouncing around from one family to the next, they finally fell into the hands of Carlisle, Esme and their daughter, Alice.

Rose was super protective of Edward, and he knew how she felt about him and Bella. Although nothing would deter him now, he was worried, nonetheless. He wished for Rose's approval, her blessing. He was hoping that she would finally see that he was happy, and be happy for him, too.

Edward reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved the black, velvet box. Popping it open, he looked over the ring. It beamed back at him and his heart swelled at the thought that in a little over a week, he would be slipping it onto Bella's finger and asking her to make him the happiest man in the world.

His hand trembled as he touched the diamond, and he felt emotion well up within him. Snapping the lid shut, he placed it back into his coat pocket.

"Don't be a coward, Cullen. It's now or never." Edward pushed up off the trunk of the car and headed back into the restaurant.

"I'm going to propose." Edward blurted as the waiter deposited the Heineken in front of him.

"What?" Alice yelped as she eyed her brother, happy to hear the news but secretly searching for any signs that he may be joking. After all, she had $50 on the line.

Rosalie's forkful of Chicken Alfredo lasagna halted mid-air at Edward's words. She shot him an annoyed glance before groaning and stuffing the cheesy square into her mouth.

Pulling the box out of his jacket and opening it, Edward placed the ring on the table, pushing it in their direction.

"I'm asking Bella to marry me next weekend, on her birthday. I love her, and by some fucking miracle she loves me back. So, I just thought, yeah. I'm gonna ask her to be my wife."

A smile spread across Edward's face at his own words, as he felt warmth radiate throughout his body. He was going to marry Isabella Swan, and in that moment he knew that he didn't care two shits about anyone who would object.

Well, anyone except Bella, that is.

"Well um," Alice cleared her throat before continuing, "Wow E, congrats!" She stretched her hand over the table to grab up the petite box and surveyed the ring, her eyes twinkling in amazement.

"It's beautiful. Did you choose it yourself?"

"Naw, I had Jessica help me. You know she has a thing for the glitz and glam." Edward joked, enjoying the immediate scowl Alice directed his way.

"You fucking asshole! How could you let her help you? That bitch hates Bella. Hell, why didn't you ask me? Of all people, Edward…"

Edward couldn't help the maniacal laugh that escaped him, stopping Alice in her tracks. She sat across the table, arms crossed, looking just about ready to combust.

"Calm down, Alice… " Edward urged her to relax. "I was just fucking around. Why would I let Stanley choose Bella's ring? And don't you think that if she did, it'd be something bum fucking hideous?"

Edward took in Alice's dejected expression and sighed, knowing exactly where his younger sister's thoughts were.

"Look Ali, I know you want to be part of this but I had to do this on my own. This," he motioned to the ring that sat cushioned in her palms, "is my way of showing Bella that I can do this. That I can support her. That I can give everything and be everything for her, on my own. Please understand that."

Alice tore her eyes from the ring and locked her gaze with Edward's, placing the box back into his hand. A tear slid down her cheek as she saw the depth of happiness and love and a future swirl in her brother's eyes.

"I get it Edward. I told you you'd marry her someday." Edward chuckled as his he remembered all those years aback.

Rosalie cleared her throat in annoyance, interrupting the moment between the two. Alice's smile dropped as she jolted Rose in the side, knocking her fork out of her hand.

"What?" Rose shot Alice a mean glance, raising an eyebrow at her. Edward's left arm fisted the tablecloth and his right tightened around the ring as anger seared through him.

"Rose look," Edward snapped, "I came here to tell you I was marrying Bella, not ask you. I've never understood what you had against Bella, and at this point, I don't give a fuck. I intend to make her Mrs. Cullen, whether you like it or not.

Edward regulated his breathing as he fought back the anger building in his chest. He started for his water goblet, before diverting his hold to his beer bottle and chugging the liquid down his dry throat.

"I get it."

"You get what?" Edward shot back, glancing at Rosalie.

"I understand you love her E, and I want you to be happy; I really do. If Bella makes you happy, then I guess that's all there is."

Rosalie finally looked up at Edward and could see that he wasn't that broken boy anymore. He was the man that he had become because of her, but more importantly, because of Bella.

"I am happy, Rose. I've never understood why you couldn't see that. She's all I want in this world. I'd do anything for her… and I plan to start with this." Edward re-opened his hand which was clenched over the velvet box and held the ring out to Rosalie.

"It really is beautiful. How the fuck did you pick this out by yourself? No offense Edward, but you aren't capable of something like this without a little help." Rose chuckled as Edward snatched the ring back, eyeing his sisters with newfound confidence.

"Fuck you, both of you. I'd go through hell and back for her. This is nothing." Edward was glad that this hurdle was jumped, but he knew that this wasn't the end of the race just yet.

"So I guess no one wins huh?" Edward heard Rose whisper to Alice.

"Wins what? Did I miss something?" He took a swig at his beer while Alice erupted in a fit of giggles. "Spill it Hale."

"Ok ok, when we saw you storm out of here just now like you were about to have a heart attack, Rose and I had a bet on what you were so nervous about."

"And? What'd you come up with?" Edward eyed his sisters over the beer bottle poised at his lips.

"I think you'd better put the beer down for this one, Eddie boy."

September 2nd, 2009

Edward seemed a million miles away as he drove, leaving Bella worried yet again as to what was bothering him. His steel gaze stared straight ahead. Both hands on the steering wheel, fingers tapping while the foot that was not on the gas pedal bounced in time with the beats. He pulled up at a red light and Bella couldn't stand it. Something was obviously bothering him.

"Edward, what's going on? You seem nervous." She eyed him warily as he fisted his hands in his hair.

Edward was nervous as fuck. After dropping Bella off at the university where she gave classes to aspiring young artists, he had a few errands to run and then would be on his way to her parents' house.

Today he intended to ask Charlie and Renee for their daughter's hand in marriage.

They had always been very much supportive of their relationship. But he knew that when it came to marriage, the dads tended to pull out the big guns.

HONKKKKKKKK!

"Edward?" Bella's voice brought him out of his musings. "The light is green."

He sped off without a word, forgetting that Bella had even asked a question.

Bella just sighed and reached over to take one of Edward's hands off the steering wheel. She placed it on her thigh and covered it with her own. She felt his entire body begin to unwind immediately, relaxing under her soothing circles.

Edward pulled the car into the driveway, pulling up to the entrance of the school. Bella started to open the car door, but Edward stopped her; grabbing her face and tugging her into him. He crashed his lips into hers, seeking reassurance. He cradled her face between his hands as his mouth moved against hers.

Bella knew he needed something although she had no clue what it was exactly. Locking her hands around his neck, she surrendered her lips to him. She tilted her head to deepen the kiss, her tongue dancing along the lines of his lips. The moment he opened his mouth to her she dove in, anxious to seek him out. Their tongues met and a wave of desire fluttered in her chest. His vulnerability was so raw and constricting that she felt it with the force of his kiss.

She opened her eyes and saw that his were screwed shut, wrinkles at the corners of them. She moved her hands from his neck to sooth the lines away. She pulled back, needing air as she touched her forehead to his. Gazing into his hooded eyes, she whispered.

"I love you. Whatever is on your mind, you can tell me. We're in this together, right?"

She was so close to him that her warm, sweet breath fanned across his face. Looking into her eyes, he saw her concern there, but also there was so much love and adoration that he felt like he was drowning in it.

"I know baby. I'm okay, just a little nervous about next week." He figured that he didn't have to lie completely. "I want it to be perfect for you."

"And it will be. Once you're there with me, nothing else matters." She pulled him in one more time for a quick, chaste kiss before pulling back. "Mmmm, looking forward to some more of this later."

Edward smiled as he ran his thumb across her lips.

"Don't take too long, Ms. Swan." He smiled harder as it dawned on him.

Pretty soon she be given the chance to agree to become Mrs. Cullen.

"Yeah... I need to go. I love you Edward Anthony. See you at 8."

Bella climbed out of the car, Edward watching her while grabbing his phone from the dock. Quickly, he keyed out the words,

And I love you, Bella Marie. I miss you already…

Bella jumped when her phone chimed in her purse, chuckling as she recognized the ringtone as Edward's.

Later that evening…

Edward pulled up to Bella's parents' place, his nerves running amuck. He felt as though his racing heart would burst through his chest. Placing his hands on the steering wheel, he rested his head on them, attempting to calm his breathing.

He thought about Bella.

He thought about the way he loved her and she loved him. The way that his entire world would start and stop spinning with just one look at her. The way he would tuck her against him every night, not being able to fall asleep unless she was tangled around him. The way that she would make everything else irrelevant and incomprehensible with just the touch of her lips to his.

Most importantly, the way everything felt right with her. The way the fragments of his heart united the day she came into his life and the image of it shattering into tiny shards at the thought of her ever being away from him.

He took in a deep breath as he searched his pocket for the diamond. He popped it open and felt a smirk extend into a wide grin across his face.

He couldn't wait to slip that fucker on Bella's finger.

He was about to close the close the lid when there was a light tap on the glass. Edward jumped, looking up at the window to find Charlie looking down at him. He swallowed heavily against the rising bile in his throat as his hands fidgeted against the window button.

"Edward."

"Charlie, Mr. Swan, sir." Edward started, tripping and stumbling over his words. "I was just about to come inside and see you."

"What's this?"

Edward followed Charlie's line of vision only to realize that the ring was still held taut in his hands.

"Errrr, it's a ring."

"I know it's a ring, son. What I meant was, what are you doing here with said ring?"

Time to pull on your big boy pants, Cullen.

"Ummm, can I come in? I'd like to talk to you and Mrs. Swan."

Charlie eyed him skeptically and nodded.

Edward released a nervous breath as he took in Charlie's retreating form, heading up the driveway and to the front door. Securing the ring back into his pocket, he exited the car, following Charlie's steps up and into the house.

Edward closed the door behind him when he entered and the aroma of white chocolate and macadamia nuts assaulted his senses. Looking at Renee and Charlie, Edward weighed in just how much of Bella's family he was accepting into his life by just being with her. The thought made him smile. He knew these people and how they loved and adored their only child.

"Edward?" Renee's voice snatched him out of the glory of the clouds. "Is everything ok?"

Edward cleared his throat. "I'm fine, Mrs. Swan…"

"Mrs. Swan is my mother, God rest her soul. Renee is fine, you know this." She reminded him. "What brings you here? Is Bella… "

Edward knew his words from here on out would be crucial. He felt excited and nauseated all at once.

"No, I just dropped her off at the uni. I was hoping I could speak to you and Mr. Swan privately?"

Edward turned his face away slightly to hide the blush that threatened to creep over him when he saw Renee's eyes twinkle in delight.

Pulling off her oven mitts and undoing her apron, Renee tossed them over the counter before ushering a fidgety Edward over to the living room. They were both stunned at Charlie slouched lazily along the length of the sofa.

Charlie yelped as Renee smacked the back of his head.

"Charles Franklin Swan, get your ass up this minute. We have company for god's sake." She leaned over, dusting some imaginary dust along the chair back before turning to Edward. "Edward dear, forgive my Charlie. He has not one hospitable bone in his body."

"Pfffft, this is no hospital, no need to be hospitable or any of that mess."

Edward almost doubled over laughing at Charlie's reasoning.

"Hey, don't let me keep you from being comfortable in your own house, Chief."

"Edward, can I get you something to drink? Water, maybe a beer?"

"No thank you, Renee. I'm okay." He wanted nothing more than to get this over and done with so he could get back to Bella.

The chief seemed to have other plans though.

"I'd take one o' them beers," Charlie chimed in, baring a wide toothed grin at his wife. "Thanks, sugar." He shouted as she disappeared into the kitchen.

Renee retuned a few seconds later with a beer for her beloved and a glass of OJ for herself. She scooted over to Charlie's place on the couch, snatching the remote from his hand and turning off the TV.

"Hey," he half protested, half groaned as Renee smacked his legs, forcing him into a sitting position.

"So Edward, what brings you over?" She shot one of those 'oh I'm so onto you' smirks at him over the glass of liquid that was poised at her lips.

"Well Renee and Charlie, Bella and I have been together for a few years, but more importantly she's been a part of my life for what seems like forever. I have no intention of changing that. And although Bella may think that she could not be happier with where we are in our relationship right now, I'd like the chance to prove her wrong."

Edward dug into his pocket and pulled out the box.

Renee let out a squeal and her hands flew over her mouth. Charlie leapt out of the way of an unintentional slap to the face, rolling his eyes at her theatrics.

"I've already made my decision. I love Isabella and more importantly than anything, she loves me back. Even I myself can't grasp the reality that she could, or that I've done something to deserve her. But what I have no doubt about is wanting to spend the rest of my life with your daughter."

Edward swallowed before continuing.

"I'm not asking you for Bella's hand in marriage. Bella's the only person that can deny me the chance. What I am asking for is your blessing. I'd really like to know that should Bella accept me, you will too."

Edward looked up at Bella's parents directly opposite him and it was like a boxing ring. In one corner we had Renee snot sobbing with tears streaming heavily down her cheeks. In the other corner, we had Charlie, so silent and still that a pin drop would rival a bomb explosion.

"Oh…oh…oh my God… Con…grat…ulations…I'm… I'm… so happy…" Renee choked out between sniffles. Edward was surprised that she actually managed to get any words out. She looked like she was having a seizure.

When Renee got herself a little more composed, she added.

"This is beautiful, Edward and believe me, I am thrilled beyond words, but what took you so long? Sheeesh, I'm getting a bit old and I need my grandbabies."

Edward and Charlie both tensed at Renee's words. It seemed like her verbal filter had been slipped way with every shed tear.

"Well Renee, I don't know about grandbabies just yet, but I do know about this right now. It feels right. Bella is right, and I've never been surer about anything than loving her and wanting to be with her forever…"

"Till death do you part?" Renee chimed in, breaking down in a fresh new wave of tears.

"And what exactly makes you so sure that now is the right time to do this, young man?" When Charlie spoke up, Edward was surprised. Charlie had been so silent, that Edward forgot he was even in the room.

And he just called him "young man." He was in full out Chief Daddy mode. This couldn't be good.

Edward felt like a suspect detained for questioning.

"Well," Edward cleared his throat to begin. "It's never about me, Mr. and Mrs. Swan. It's all for Bella. She's given so much to be with me and I'd be a fool if I let her slip away from me. She'll always be your little girl, Chief but I want to make my world hers. I want to make her my wife, Mrs. Cullen, and I know in my heart that she wants to be too."

Charlie nodded at Edward and handed his snorting wife a tissue beside him.

"So, when do you plan to do this shindig?" He asked as Edward took the ring, placing it back into his coat.

"I want to do it next Sunday, on her birthday. I'm taking her to Venice for the week. I've been saving for this trip for a while." He thought he'd omit the part where he'd used an enormous chunk of the inheritance that he claimed from his Grammy Masen when he turned 21.

Edward swallowed as the reality of what he was about to do dawned on him.

"I only get one shot to do this right with Isabella. I want to do something private with her first. The entire week in Venice is already planned out. I know she'll love it. But there's something else that she'd really like also."

Edward took the envelope out of his jacket pocket.

"Airfare and hotel accommodation is all taken care of for your stay. There's a credit card in there that you can use for meals, shopping and any sightseeing that you might want to do while you're there."

Renee and Charlie's jaws both hit the floor with enormous thuds as they eyed the envelope being thrust in their direction.

"We can't accept this Edward. It's too much."

"Please, Mrs. Swan. Venice is Bella's favorite place in the entire world. She's always talked about taking her parents there or going with me someday. I want to give her both. And well, the proposal is just an added bonus. I couldn't imagine giving her a better birthday present."

Charlie opened his mouth to object but Renee shot up before he could get his word in.

"Well, that's settled then. It's a lovely idea and if I know my baby girl, I'm sure that Bella would love the surprise."

She nudged Charlie, silently indicating for him to add something.

"Ouchhhh woman," Charlie yelped out, rubbing his sides. "But ummm, yes. I agree with little miss feisty over here. Although, I'd pretty much like to restrain my daughter from the likes of all male species, Bella is happy. I've never ever stood in the way of her happiness before and I don't intend too now. So you have my…errr, our blessing Mr. Cullen."

Edward's heart swelled at the fact that Charlie had not only issued him their blessings but had addressed him as a man.

"You have no idea how much this means, Mr. and Mrs. Swan. I promise to be all that I can be for Bella and then some. I'm going to make her so happy."

"You be sure of that young man." Charlie said before getting up and walking to the desk by the front door, revealing his shotgun. "Because I don't gotta tell you what will happen if I for one second I doubt that she is."

At the cock of the gun, Edward let out the laugh that had been stifling in his chest.

"Charles, put that thing away. You know how I get nervous around guns," Renee said, and Edward wondered if things could get any more awkward.

"I get it Mr. Swan. Believe me, this is one bullet I plan on dodging."

"Great, cause it'd be sad to lodge one of these babies in your skull."

"Charlesssssssss!" An appalled Renee shouted. "Edward, I don't know what's gotten into him. Please excuse him."

"It's ok Renee. I'd probably do the same for my daughter."

Edward looked down at his wrist to see the time.

Seven forty-five.

"Well Renee, Charlie, it's been great but I have to go pick Bella up from the university now. Rosalie will send you guys an email of your itinerary, as well as my plans for Bella and me, just so we don't cross paths in Venice until the exact moment."

Edward rose from his place on the couch and walked over to where Renee was now standing, wiping imaginary tears from her eyes. He threw his arms around her, pulling her into him for a hug.

"Thank you so much. I hate seeing you like this."

"Oh never mind me child. I'm just so happy for you kids. I'll see my grandbabies soon?"

Edward and Charlie both rolled their eyes at Renee's forwardness.

"Thank you. I'm going to make this as perfect as I can for Bella."

Edward walked over to Charlie and shook his hand, cringing against the firm grip of the Chief.

"Mr. Swan, I can't thank you enough."

"Actually you can. Just take care of my baby girl. If I see one tear fall from her eyes…"

"Yeah, I get it. I'm done for. But I have to tell you though; Rosalie can handle a gun pretty well too, so there."

Charlie and Edward laughed as they continued their goodbyes. Edward walked out of the house feeling pretty accomplished. He had gotten through the rough parts; his sisters and Bella's parents. The only person left to face was the most important one of them all.

Bella.

And he'd never felt more ready for it.

September 9th 2009

The past week had been the epitome of chaos for Bella. Apart from the otherworldly excitement of Edward surprising her with a trip to her own personal heaven for her birthday, she had been so pressured with organizing substitute aids for her Art and photography classes. Most nights she was spent, so tired from the day's events but all the more than eager to get home.

Edward too had a fanatical week. He exhausted himself, back and forth between his company, his elementary school music kiddies and organizing their trip and his proposal. Every night he felt as though he would collapse. But then he'd see Bella and nothing else mattered. To Edward, it didn't matter what battles he fought in the day. Once at the end of it all, Bella would be in his arms and no other's; he'd have no problem going through hell and back.

The day had come and finally, it was time to get the show on the road. The next 12-15 hours they would spend en route a Venezia. Edward was anxious and Bella was nervous. She was flying blind here and this was not like her at all. Bella thrived on control and if she was being honest, this scared her. She had no idea where they were staying, what flights they'd be on, what they would do while they were there, nothing. She didn't even pack her own luggage, for Christ's sakes.

While she thought that he was being a bit ridiculous, Edward thought things were coming along perfectly.

Bella had no idea what was about to hit her in Venice.

They boarded the plane at O'Hare International on a 3hr flight to JFK, where they connected to another flight directly to Venice. Edward peered over to Bella who was heavily dozed off on his shoulder. She looked so tired after the entire day. He wanted her to rest so they could start their five days in Venice in the morning.

As Edward looked out the window at the tarmac lights beneath him, the flight attendant voice filtered throughout the cabin.

"Good evening to all passengers aboard Flight 86 to Venice, Italy..."

As another attendant belted off the same message in Italian, Edward turned to Bella placing a kiss on her lips, waking her up.

"Bella Marie, we're almost here baby."

Bella groaned, flinging her arms out in a stretchy yawn, almost taking out Edward's eye.

"Ohhhh…" she giggled. "Sorry. I love you." She whispered as she reached over and placed her own lips on Edward's. Feeling the irresistible force behind her kiss, Edward moaned into her mouth seeking access with his tongue. When access was granted he kissed her more powerfully than he ever felt before. Heart, mind and love spilled out of the two and they were both surprised when Edward was the first to break. On a pant, he realized that he couldn't leave her hanging.

"Ti amo, Bella." Edward whispers against her lips before giving her a much safer kiss.

"Mmmm… so we're here."

"Yep, we're here."

September 10th 2009 – Day 1 of 5 in Venice

When Edward woke, Bella was still fast asleep next to him. He discreetly slipped himself from beneath her koala fold around him and got out of bed. He took a shower and got himself ready for day one of five in Venice. Taking one last look at Bella's sleeping form on the bed; he headed out of the room quietly.

In the lobby, Edward checked with the maître d' to ensure that his private water taxi and driver was ready for when the time came. When that was confirmed, he made calls to Alice, Rosalie, Charlie and Carlisle letting them know that they got to Venice safely and assured them that he would see them very soon.

Edward grabbed breakfast from the terrace and took it back up to the room. Placing it beside Bella, he searched his suitcase for his Day 1 note. He placed it where he should be in the bed and placed the lily on top of it. Blowing a kiss to Bella, he subtly left the room.

Bella woke up at 11 a.m., not believing that she slept from the time Edward had collected the taxi rental. She let out a monster yawn as she reached across the bed, hoping to find his warmth there.

Nothing.

Her eyes flew open to see piece of paper and a lone Stargazer lily staring back at her. Reaching across the fluffy, silk sheet, she grabbed the fuchsia-petaled flower and brought it up to her nose, inhaling deeply. Her head swam with the aroma and she almost dropped her head back in ecstasy. The week was yet to fully start, but Edward was already dazzling her.

Placing the flower in her lap, she sat up, grabbing the paper. She unfolded it and several hand-cut, red hearts fell out. Bella grinned as she read Edward's scribble on the sheet.

Buonogiorno Isabella,

A pity that we couldn't do breakfast this looked so peaceful this morning that I couldn't dare wake you. However, there'll be time for that. Today is the first of our Five Days in Venice. Every day starting now, we will explore at least one wonder of your personal heaven, together.

On the bedside table, there's breakfast for you. Chuck those down, ready yourself and come find me in the lobby at 11am.

p.s.… wear the Stargazer, my love.

Edward.

Looking over at the bedside table, she smiled ridiculously at the tray of rolls, jams, eggs, cheese and a pot of coffee. There was also fruit and a petite mug of juice. Nervousness fluttered around and about her and she felt like a thousand butterflies were dancing in her tummy. When she finished her breakfast, she raced into the bathroom and showered up, eager to find her Edward.

At exactly 11 a.m., Edward looked up to see Bella walking toward him through the long, narrow hallway. His face lit up at the fuchsia-petaled Stargazer tucked behind her ear and within moments, she was in his arms and they were both lost in each other.

"Hello gorgeous," he whispered into her ear, feeling a force within him to never let her go.

"Well hello to you too, handsome," Bella replied before kissing him again. "So, where do we go from here?"

"Well my love... today, we ride."

It was all he offered before taking her hand in his and ushering her out to the hotel's private wharf. Bella's eyes widened as they met the span of water stretching before her.

"That's the Grand Canal, the biggest water-traffic canal in the city."

Edward riled at her enthusiasm.

"Yup and this gentleman here is Marco, and he'll be our chauffeur for the next few days. He's take us on a tour today."

Bella exchanged peasantries with Marco, and Edward helped her climb into their water taxi.

Within minutes they were gliding away along the Grand Canal. Marco steered them clear while pointing out different structures, bridges and attractions along the way. They discussed different ancient and modern architectural designs as well as touching on the events that occur on the Canal. Bella begged Edward to promise her that he'd bring her back to the Rialto Bridge before they left, and he agreed.

Little did she know that he already had that in mind.

Time ran out and before they knew it, it was 6 p.m. Marco drove them back to the hotel and bid them farewell before leaving for the evening.

Back at the room, Edward and Bella were lounging on the bed, just about deciding what to do with the rest of their evening.

"Do you want to have dinner out somewhere, or just order something up to the room?" Edward asked Bella.

"Are you honestly asking me if I would like to do something on this trip? I thought this was a Simon Says kinda deal."

Bella couldn't help but laugh at Edward's mock hurt face.

"And no, I don't want to eat out. Not tonight, just get us something up to the room. I want to spend all night snuggled in with you, Mr. Cullen."

"Mmmmm… Do you have some activities planned yourself, Ms. Swan?"

"Oh, you know I do." Bella purred while she attacked Edward's neck, kissing and sucking her way down to his chest. Edward grabbed the phone off its hinges, quickly ordering dinner between a fit of moans and groans. He hung up and flipped Bella over, crashing his lips down onto hers. His lips moved against her hungrily, in ways he'd never felt before.

Edward's hands were everywhere at once. He couldn't decide whether he wanted to still her from squirming under him or cradle her head in his palms or search out her breasts. When he needed air, he pulled back from the kiss, realizing he probably saved Bella as well. Leaning his forehead against hers, he finally decided what his hands should do. He reached over, removing the lily from behind Bella's ear.

Bella had no idea what about him removing that flower was so sexy, but as he held it up to his nose taking a whiff, she felt a wave of desire wash through her. She pulled the flower from his hands.

"Wasting far too much time on that flower when you have all that you need to admire, right here." Bella pulled Edward down onto her, wasting no time pulling his shirt over his head. Edward's hands made quick work of themselves as they ran up Bella legs, raising the sundress that was in his way. Within seconds, the dress was discarded somewhere in the room along with Edward's shirt.

Edward kissed Bella again, his hands inching across her brassiere. His pointers brushed against her nipples and Bella moaned softly, reflexively arching into his touch.

"So eager and so wanting for me, love?" He moved his hand to the clasp at the center, undoing it quickly before letting the strapless material fall away from her. He leaned backward, reaching down to remove the lace covering the most heavenly part of her body. As soon as it was stripped away, Edward felt as though all the air had left his body. Every time he saw her this way, it was just like his first time.

"Bella… Bella… Bella…. Bella." Edward stammered as his eyes ran the length of her body. At that point he didn't know if he was calling her beautiful or if the only word left in his vocabulary was her name. Bella sat up and saw that Edward was transfixed in a daze. She cradled his head in her hands, forcing his focus back onto her eyes.

"Where did you go? Come back to me please, baby."

"Always."

And once again, they were absorbed in each other; a mess of kisses and touches; caresses and whispers. A collection of grunts and moans filtered through the room as Edward & Bella wrapped themselves up in each other's pleasure. It was safe to say that dinner was forgotten and Edward and Bella had skipped delightfully to dessert.

September 11th 2009- Day 2 of 5 in Venice

Bella woke up feeling like the most sated woman on the planet. She reached out hoping to find Edward, her effort falling short when her hand met paper. Despite his absence, she smiled and turned her head, finding two violet orchids on top of her note. She took the paper, opening it slowly. This time petite golden stars fell out of them.

Buonogiorno Isabella,

I am most certain that by any stroke of luck, you are feeling as amazing as I am this morning. After that performance or performances last night, I can assure you I'll be needing a repeat of that soon. Anyway, I have a full day planned ahead so why don't you go on and get ready for me. As per usual, your outfit is in the ensuite and you will come meet me at our spot at noon.

Can't wait to see you, my lovely.

Edward.

Bella skipped around the room readying herself for her day with Edward. She threw on the pair of denim shorts, a red chemise and her converse kicks that Edward left for her.

In the lobby she met Edward, who was unbelievably sexy in his white wifebeater and a plaid shirt, that remained opened from first to last button. He finished with blue jeans, hung extremely low on his hips, and black Nike sneaks.

Edward thought he would combust at the sight of Bella as she made her way over to him in those shorts. Discreetly shifting himself in his jeans, he reminded himself that there was a lot for them to get done today, besides throwing her over his shoulders and taking her back to their room to have his wicked way with her.

"Good morning, Beautiful Bella. Venezia sure does look exquisite on you." He pulled her into his arms for a long, heavy kiss. His lips worked over hers, causing her to moan into his mouth. She sought him out and too eager to oblige, Edward met her halfway, caressing her tongue with his.

Their lips moved fluidly against each other, and when Bella left his lips and started tracing kisses along his jaw, Edward mustered up the courage he never believed he had and pulled away.

"Goddamn, Bella. Keep that shit up and we'll never get through today."

"It's your own fault, though. Coming down to Venice looking like the next best thing after Robert Pattinson in those plaid and Nikes; what did you expect?"

Edward rolled his eyes before taking her hand in his.

"Come, today we explore St. Mark's Square."

Bella and Edward grabbed breakfast at a Gran Caffé Quadri before spending time witnessing the sights of Piazza San Marco. They walked around, visiting and seeing historical beauties such as the Basilica San Marco and the Campanile di San Marco, the headquarters of the Venice rulers; the Palazzo Ducale, the Columns of patron saints; San Marco and San Theodoro. They walked around the Piazza exploring libraries, shops, museums and gazing out at the Grand Canal.

At about 3 p.m., Edward dropped Bella off with Marco instructing her that she would be out birthday shopping for the rest of the evening. He gave her his credit card as well as instructions, telling her to get something chic for the day's activities but something elegantly sexy for the evening, as well as any other things she saw and wanted. Bella's eyes narrowed at him as Marco pulled away with her, a cocky grin on Edward's face.

Edward took the time alone to get him and Bella cellphones, picking up his suit and also checking in on arrivals. He had cellphones delivered to Alice, Rose, Carlisle and Renee's hotel, one for each of them. After making sure all parties had safely made it to Venice, he continued on with his errands.

Marco took Bella across the Grand Canal to Rialto and San Polo for her shopping spree. After about three hours, dozens of stores and the most perfect dress, shoes and accessories as well as a few gifts and other items, she hopped back into their taxi, keen to make her way back to Edward for the evening.

When Bella got back to Edward, they had some of the best pizza they ever had before calling it a day. Bella was asleep mere minutes after her head hit Edward's chest. He watched her as she dozed, thinking yet again how blessed he was to have her in his life. He kissed her forehead before whispering,

"Sweetest Dreams, lovely girl."

September 12th 2009- Day 3 of 5 in Venice

They next morning, Bella woke up, immediately searching out her gifts. When she met one white and two lilac carnations, Bella's hands flew to her chest as she was instantly reminded of the bouquet of carnations Edward had bought her on their first date. Thinking back, she remembered the first time he picked her a fuchsia-petaled lily when they were nine and the bouquet of violet orchids he had brought her the first time she was sick.

She bit back a smile and a potential tear or two at the fact that Edward was outlining some very distinct firsts in their lives together.

Buonogiorno Isabella,

I trust that you know by now, these floral arrangements have very deep meanings in regards to how far we've come together. Today, you'll see why I love what I do. I only hope you can put up with my nonsensical rant all day.

Get dressed and come meet me, baby. At noon, you know where.

Edward.

Bella did as she was told and at noon, she made her way to the lobby, stopping dead in her tracks when she saw Edward. He was clad in jeans and a green t-shirt, the same jade as his eyes; all of the buttons at the nape of his neck undone. The polo hugged his chest gloriously and she bit her lip when she noticed the way his sleeves seemed to smother his biceps.

"Are you ogling me, Bella?" She jumped, startled by the closeness of his voice.

"You're dazzling me, what do you expect? Besides, I'm the one who has to ogle you before the Venetian bitches get a glimpse of all-a-this." Bella snapped her fingers around Edward.

"Jealous much, Ms. Swan?" He leaned in to kiss her sweetly before placing his lips near her ear. "Don't be."

Bella shivered as Edward took her hand, leading her out of the hotel.

That day Edward took Bella to the Museo della Musica. He introduced her to the life, times and works of Antonio Vivaldi. They cruised through the museum, Bella tucked into Edward's arms as they scoped out artifacts, sampled instruments and purchased rare and antique treasures to take home with them. Bella watched Edward's face light up as he explained the violin and chatted about Vivaldi's compositions and operas. Looking at him, so animated and free, she felt as if she was staring straight into his youthful soul. Music was Edward's passion and she was all the more blessed to be a part of it with him.

When they left the museum, Edward had one more thing planned for the night. They went back to the hotel and dressed a little more stylishly for an evening of the classics. Edward walked hand in hand with Bella as they entered the Church of San Vidal where they witnessed various musical interpretations and harmonies by the Interpreti Veneziani String Orchestra. Music from the likes of Antonio Vivaldi himself and classical composers such as Mozart and Bach filtered through the arena as Edward held his Bella close, humming tunes that were familiar to him, sweetly in her ear.

When the show was over, Edward took Bella to Trattoria Alla Madonna where they had an elegant seafood dinner before they danced the night away to the music of a live band which, unbeknownst to Bella, was requested by Edward himself.

September 13th 2009- Day 4 of 5 in Venice

Isabella's Birthday.

When Bella woke, her mind told her nothing but to reach across for her morning parchment and floral gift. Today, she was greeted with four red and white rose stems. She remembered the bouquet of red and white roses he had gotten her on their first anniversary together. She reached out for the note and small, silver diamond shapes falling out into her lap. She shook her head at the mess before reading.

Buonogiorno Isabella,

Happy Birthday to you, my love. Today, you not only celebrate your being brought into the world, but I am celebrating as well. Today, I celebrate the fact that I got to wake up, yet again next to the most amazing woman in the world. Today I celebrate the fact that yet another year has passed that I realize I cannot & will not live without you. Today I celebrate you & me; us and our life together.

One of the things I love most about you is your capacity to support those you love. Yesterday, you stuck with me as I lived every music lover's dreams, never complaining once. Well, today, we live your dream.

I miss you.

Edward.

Jumping off the bed, Bella stopped dead in her tracks at the sight before her. Edward stood in the doorway, wearing nothing but a white apron with 'Happy Birthday, Isabella Swan' engraved in green on the front. In his hands, he held a tray with a cake and a numbered candle marked 26.

She smiled walking over to him and blowing out the candle instantly. Tugging the tray from his hands, she set it down on the coffee table before returning to the bed.

"I missed waking up with you this morning."

She saw a blush paint Edward's face scarlet before he reached behind him, tugging on the strings of the apron. It fell away, loose at his sides and in the next second he was pulling it over his head. All the breath in Bella's body left her as she gawked at Edward's magnificence.

"Come here!" She pointed in his direction, beckoning him with the curl of her fingers. Edward could not deny her as he slid into her arms, guiding her lightly unto her back onto the bed.

"I love you Isabella Marie Swan. I can't be without you. Do you understand me? I won't be without you."

Bella shushed him, pulling his lips down onto hers. She poured everything into the kiss, love and devotion spilling out of her. Her heartbeat quickened in her chest as Edward hovered over her, his hands busy feeling, groping, pinching everywhere. In a second, her sleepwear was off and discarded and Edward pulled back to gaze at her.

"You are the most beautiful thing in all of the world," Edward proclaimed as he looked down into toffee circles. "You're everything to me, everything. Happy Birthday, Isabella. Please, let me love you."

Two hours later, Edward woke up, feeling stifled under Bella's body. He shook her awake and they had a light breakfast before getting up and ready. Edward snatched her up and led her out of their room.

"Ready to take over the world, Pinky?" He kissed her lips, sweet and short, taking her hand and leading her out of the Antico before she even got a response in.

Today, Edward wanted Bella to live her dreams, and so she did. He took her to her favorite place in the world, The Guggenheim. Bella was astonished when they stood outside of the Museum. So much so that when Edward tried to walk on ahead, his body was jolted back to the place he was seconds ago. Spinning around he saw Bella, rooted stiffly into her position and tears streaming down her face.

"What? What is it, Bella Marie?" Edward searched her out, not wanting her to cry on the day that was supposed to be the best day of her life.

"I… I… Edward, I'm speechless. This is…"

"Shush, Isabella, its ok. I understand." Edward pulled her into him, placing his lips on hers, silencing her sobs. He pulled back and cradled her head, wiping away her tears. "Now, no more tears. Let's go in there and do art."

Bella both chuckled and sniffed at his endearment and leaned into him one more time for a quick peck.

"Grazie," she whispered before kissing him again. "Thank you for everything."

"Anything for you, my Bella." He responded. "Buon cumpleanno, il mio amore." And with that, he pulled her inside.

Bella was dynamic as she strolled through the museum, pointing and staring at the realm of artwork along the way. Picasso here, Dali there... Bella discerned piece after piece. Outlining, defining, critiquing and interpreting paintings and antique sculptures. Although Edward had no idea what she was talking about or didn't even see the 'hidden secrets of art' she showed him half the time, he found joy in just basking in her. She was happy and that was all that mattered to him.

After a few hours, Edward and Bella left the museum; and Edward hated to see Bella frown as they exited.

Next, Edward decided that besides the hand cut diamonds he put in her note this morning, he'd throw Bella another hint. They boarded the train to Verona, where he took her to Casa di Giulietta, known to the English as Juliet's House. In a recent notion, the courtyard was rented out by lovers to tie the knot. Edward knew that Isabella shared with him a deep passion for Shakespeare's classics, and his heart almost burst in his chest as she saw the look on Bella's face when they got there.

They stood in the palazzo, gazing at the balcony above them; leaving their signatures on the graffiti-plastered walls, taking a few pictures and rubbing at the bosom of a bronze statue of Juliet. Edward and Bella laughed; Bella cried and laughed some more.

They left Juliet's House, shopping around the area for a bit and purchasing a number of antiques, souvenirs and gifts for their families.

"Renee and Charlie, hell even Alice would enjoy it here. I miss them."

Edward tried to hide his grin, knowing that all the people mentioned above were probably out and about, in Venice, having the time of their lives.

"I know, baby. You'll see them soon." He replied, giving nothing away but giving her just enough.

When Edward saw the pinkish-orange glow hovering above their head, he decided it was time to get back. They boarded the train back to Venice, and Bella curled against him the entire way there.

"If I had to get married someday Edward, I'd love for it to be here in Venice. At Juliet's House," Bella managed to spill through a muffled yawn.

Edward's head snapped in her direction, utterly amazed at her words. Her eyelids fluttered closed before Edward had time to whisper back to her.

"Anything you wish is yours Bella. I love you."

Placing a simple kiss on her forehead, he knew that very soon, they'd be planning their wedding in Venice.

Edward woke Bella when the train arrived and they got back to their hotel just in time to shower and ready themselves for dinner. Much to Bella's disapproval, Edward had rented out another room, just for the night, so he and Bella could get ready separately.

At the stroke of seven, Bella heard a knock on the room's door. Giving herself a final once over in the mirror, she felt satisfied at the woman she saw peering back at her and even more thrilled to see the man waiting for her on the other side of that door. Glossing over her lips one last time, she released them with a smack before grabbing up her bags and answering the door.

When the door was opened before him, Edward felt a million shivers race up the length of his spine and back down again at the goddess in front of him. Bella stood before him, nothing less than perfect in a midnight blue sequined dressed that hitched right above her knees. A satin bow accented her waist, tying neatly at the front. Her feet were clad in the most reverent pair of black stilettos that tied at single straps right along her ankles.

"Beautiful... you continue to amaze me. You are breathtakingly stunning tonight, Bella Marie."

Edward reached forward, taking her hand and placing a kiss on each one of her knuckles, a long lingering one on her bare ring finger. Bella flushed at the gentlemanly gesture.

"Thank you, Edward. You look heart-stoppingly dazzling tonight, yourself." Bella ran her eyes over the charcoal grey suit that Edward was wearing, with a burgundy tie around his neck. He handed her the full bouquet of flowers in his hands, which contained a heavenly combination of Stargazer lilies, orchids, carnations and roses.

"These are for you, but now I just think they're stupid, because they fade away in comparison to the divinity standing before me."

"Oh Cullen, would you stop? Let me have these babies so I can put them in water, and then we can get going."

"Hey, if you can't handle the truth… " He shouted behind her as she turned on her heels, finding a vase to place the floral arrangement in.

When she got back, Edward noticed the load in her hands, and became confused.

"Ummm, Ms. Swan? Mind telling me what you have in that bag there?"

"Yes, I do mind. You want to tell me what you have in yours?"

"Probably not."

"Then, there."

Bella's tone held finality and Edward decided not to fight her against it.

Edward and Bella met Marco at the Hotel's Private Wharf and he wished Miss Bella a happy birthday. When he enquired about her day, she assured him that nothing could make this day more perfect.

Edward hoped he was about to prove her wrong.

Within ten minutes, they pulled up alongside the Terrazza Danielli for dinner. Edward jumped out of the taxi and grabbed his and Bella's stuff before helping her out of the boat. He tipped Marco and instructed him to be back for them at around 9:30 p.m. Marco bid them thanks and farewell and left the happy couple to their date.

When Edward and Bella were comfortably seated in their own little bubble, Bella couldn't help but stare at Edward.

"What? You're making me nervous here."

"Nothing," she replied, chuckling under her breath. "Just can't believe how amazing these past few days has been and what a lucky woman I am to have you, all to myself."

"Trust me when I say this Bella Marie," Edward said, stretching across the table, slipping her hand in his. "I am the luckiest man alive that I get to have you tonight. I wouldn't have life any other way."

Pretty soon, the waiter came and took their orders, Bella ordering the Bufalo Mozerrella Caprese Salad, Pasta and Venetian Bean Soup and the Beef Sirloin entrée with a cheese-smothered slice of lasagna. Edward just had whatever Bella was having because quite frankly, his nerves were feasting on his appetite. Edward looked over to Bella when the waiter requested drink orders, but it was her turn to spew, "whatever he's having."

He glanced quickly at the wine list before ordering a bottle of Dom Pérignon Cuvée Prestige 2000.

When the waiter returned with their meals, Edward and Bella chatted lightly over dinner, teasing and feeding each other. When they were finished, Edward reached down into the bag at his feet and pulled out his gifts for Bella.

"I had gotten you something before we even came." Edward handed the smaller present and watched as she tore the wrapping apart. Her jaw settled into her lap at the sky blue rectangular Tiffany box in her hands. She uncovered it to reveal the most gorgeous sterling silver heart locket necklace. Engraved inside were the words, "Edward and Isabella 4ever," just as he had carved it into little treehouse when they were little.

"Oh Edward," Bella choked out on a sob as she ran her fingers over the letters. "This is perfect. Thank you so much."

"My pleasure, of course. Now this, I saw this while I was shopping around the other day and I decided you had to have it."

Bella looked on as Edward placed a flat, tastefully wrapped package on the table before her. She wasted no time tearing through the paper before revealing a scrapbook with the most striking picture of the Grand Canal at the front. At her lack of response Edward began to panic, thinking that she didn't like it.

"Well," he stammered, scratching the back of his head as he tried to explain, "I thought, you know, you'd like to capture our time here. Maybe in time, we'd show the kids and grandkids and…"

"Edward, it's wonderful," Bella said before lunging around the table and into his arms, kissing him fervently.

"So you like it?" Edward managed to sputter against Bella's lips.

"I love it, Edward and I love you more." She pulled back, grabbing the bag at her feet.

"This is for youuuuu." She thrust the bag into his hands. Edward's face dropped at the fact that she spent money on him.

"Bella, you didn't have to do this. You didn't need to spend any of your money on me."

"Oh, don't be a deadpan, Cullen. And, I used your credit card, so it's technically your money. Now go on, open it."

Edward opened the bag and rolled his eyes at the insane amount of tissue paper inside. Searching, he pulled out a square case. Looking at the hefty box, all he saw was the word "Vivaldi" imprinted on the front, and his mind went clear.

"I just thought you had such a great time at the show the other night that you'd want some part of that to take back with you."

Edward looked from Bella to the stack of CDs and DVDs in his hands and back at her again. He couldn't understand how Bella could take this trip that was supposed to be all about her and make it about him in the blink of an eye

"Bella, this is the best. You are the best." He kissed her one more time and when he decided to pull away, he was surprised when Bella locked her hands into his hair, latching her lips onto his.

They continued kissing and teasing each other until Edward drew back. He was utterly shocked at the amount of times on this trip that he was the one to muster the control. Looking at his watch, he saw that it was already 9:15 p.m.

"Bella, baby, stop. We have to leave."

She groaned and reluctantly pulled away from him. Edward paid the bills and gathered up Bella's presents back into his bag before taking her hands and escorting her out of the restaurant.

They met Marco outside the restaurant, waiting and ready. After they were both securely in the taxi, Marco took off across the Grand Canal, back to the hotel. When they arrived, they got out and bid Marco farewell for the rest of the evening.

Edward and Bella ran upstairs to put their gifts back into their rooms and to dress down a bit. Bella changed into her favorite pair of Jimmy Choo flats and threw a scarf around her shoulders since Edward mentioned they'd be outside for a bit. Edward shrugged out of his suit jacket and replaced it with a coat. He made sure to transfer the ring into his new coat.

When there were both quite done, he told Bella to wait in the room while he ran downstairs to verify something. He walked outside the hotel, taking a long overdue drag before pulling out his cellphone and shooting off four text messages.

It's almost time. Wish me Luck. Edward.

Almost immediately, two text messages came back while the other two had come in when he was done with his smoke.

Squueeeeeeeeee, call me when it's over, E. Good luck. Alice.

Mama would be real proud, Edward. Go get your girl. Rosalie

Boy, you're making the misses drown me in tears over here. Good luck my boy. Make our girl happy. Charlie & Renee.

Been waiting for this day for twelve years. You kids deserve each other and I have utter faith in you. I love you son. Make her yours. Carlisle.

Sliding the phone shut, he took the ring out one last time, placing a kiss on the diamond.

"Next time we see you big fella, you'll either be on Bella's finger or somewhere at the bottom of the Grand Canal."

When the couple hit the wharf again, Bella was dumbstruck. Her eyes widened beyond the dimensions of her sockets when she laid eyes upon the gondola floating at the dock.

"Edward, is this…"

"For you, yes. All of it, baby." He gently brushed his lips against hers before leading her onto the luxury car. She also couldn't help but notice the spread of rose petals in and around the vessel as well as the little picnic-like basket in the corner.

"Edward, I hope you didn't do anything drastic. This is all so much."

Edward rolled his eyes and laughed lightly at her words.

She had no idea.

"Demetri, I'd like you to meet Isabella. Isabella, this is Demetri."

Demetri started steering the couple down the Grand Canal. Bella marveled at the lights of the city as she sat in Edward's lap, encased in his arms.

"Happy Birthday, Bella."

"Thank you, baby."

He placed a kiss on her forehead and she relaxed further into him. They rode for a while, taking pictures and talking and laughing lightheartedly about their last couple of days in Venezia. They ate a snack halfway through and continued on with their banter.

Bella told him over and over how much she adored the time and effort he put into this whole thing for her. How she wish she could have given to him the way he's giving to her now. How she never wants to know another person the way that she knows him; body, mind, soul and heart.

Edward felt the love and adoration flowing out of his girl. He reminded her of how much he loved her and how much he'd continue to love her for the rest of their lives together. How much he appreciated the things in life she gave up or had to endure together with him. He apologized for mistakes he made in the past and would make in the future. Edward rattled off a multitude of things and when he was finished, Bella was drowning in tears across from him.

"Don't cry, ok? I'm here."

"I'm fine. I just… I don't know. Sometimes your love is so overwhelming it hurts. It feels like my heart will shatter straight through my chest for you. I love you, Edward Anthony."

"And I you, Bella Marie. I love you so much."

Edward looked ahead, seeing the shadow of the Rialto Bridge coming into view.

This was it.

He made to stand in the gondola, wobbling on his feet a bit to find his balance. He held out his hand to her.

"Dance with me, Bella?"

"But Edward, there's no music."

Using that as his cue, Demetri reached behind him to reveal Edward's IPad, touching the screen a few times before the sweet voice of Luther Vandross sounded out into the night. Edward took Bella into his arms, holding her as close to him as possible as they swayed lightly in the night. Bella felt electric currents bolt through her when the sound of Edward's voice filled her ears.

"When I look in your eyes, there I see

All that a love should really be.

And I need you more and more each day.

Nothing can take your love away.

More than I dare to dream, I need you.

Here and now, I promise to love faithfully.

You're all I need.

Here and now, I vow to be one with thee.

Your love is all I need."

"You know I feel the same way for you. I love you, more than anything in this world."

"Good, because that'll make what I'm about to do a million times easier."

Bella was confused as fuck at Edward's words. The music stopped and before long, Shania Twain played out into the night.

"From this moment, life has begun.

From this moment, you are the one.

Right beside you, is where I belong…

From this moment on.

From this moment, I have been blessed.

I live only for your happiness.

And for your love, I'd give my last breath

From this moment on…"

Edward gazed into Bella's tear glazed eyes.

"I love you with all of my heart, and all the loving hearts of the world combined. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can compare to the way I feel about you. You are my all, my life, and I never want to know what it is to be without you in my life."

"When we were little, I was I naïve enough to think that I'd never marry you. I had no idea then what a huge part of my life you'd become, nor what a huge part of me you'd really be. I thank God every single day that you share a part of my life. I've never known what it feels like to be away from you...nor do I ever want to."

A sob escaped Bella as it all came crashing down on her. The signs and hints here and there; the unexplained subscription of David's Bridal magazines that showed up at her home recently; the flowers and the notes; the hand cut heart and diamonds.

The visit to Juliet's House- a wedding location. The Tiffany's gift.

It was his way of showing her... of telling her.

She watched as Edward dropped to one knee in the center of the Gondola and produced the petite box from his coat pocket. Popping it open, he revealed a small, open curved, diamond band.

"Isabella Marie Swan, I have loved you for as long as I can remember... and I'm going to love you, day in and day out, for the rest of my life. I need you with me forever. Would you grant me the honor of becoming my wife? Sposarmi, Bella?"

Bella didn't even try to stop the tears that spilled out into the Venice air. She wanted to shout, "YES!" so hard that her parents and Alice could hear it all the way back in Chicago. But as she tried to speak, no words filtered through. Tear after tear trickled down her cheeks and she did the only thing she could think of. She sank to her knees in front of him and kissed him.

Edward almost toppled backward with the force of Bella's lips on his. He could feel the wetness sliding down his cheek and he wasn't so foolish to think that they were Bella's. He kissed her backed tenderly, nipping and pulling her bottom lip between his before releasing her.

"Is that a yes? I need to know if that was a yes, Bella." He frowned at the fact that he couldn't gaze into her lovely toffee eyes, since they were closed. A few seconds later, Bella opened her bloodshot eyes and began a fresh wave of tears before nodding her head profusely.

"Yes!" She choked out on broken sobs. "Of course yes. I'll marry you, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. God, I love you."

Edward sighed a huge breath of relief as he slid the ring onto Bella's finger. She dove into his arms and Edward cradled her against him as they stood and continued to sway; this time to the notes of Kelly Price.

"You've just made me the happiest man alive. I can't wait to make you my wife."

Bella had no idea what to say to that, so she just tightened her grip around Edward's body. She let out a small chuckle, only now paying attention to the song selection.

"Perfetto." She whispered into Edward's ear; taking a good look at the diamond ring on her finger, but really talking about everything in life. "Everything is perfect now."

She rocked in Edward's arms as she sang out note after note into the flawless night.

He proposed to me.

He proposed with a diamond ring.

I started crying.

He placed it on my finger & I said yes.

He proposed to me.

My baby proposed with a diamond ring.

I couldn't believe it.

I looked in his eyes & I said yes.

September 14th 2009- Day 5 of 5 in Venice

Bella shot up the next morning in a stupor. She panicked, thinking that maybe this Venezia paradise was some sort of dream. She looked around the room and was glad when she recognized the cozy space of the Al Ponte Antico. Still not satisfied, she closed one eye, gazing slowly down to her left hand. She squealed in excitement at the presence of the diamond on her finger.

She was about to search out her fiancée, when her hand brushed against the empty sheets next to her. She frowned for a moment, but lit back up when she saw the familiar paper on his pillow. Quickly grabbing it up, she opened it. It was simple this time, no hearts or diamonds falling out.

Buonogiorno Isabella,

You said yes.

Last night you made me the happiest fool on the planet. And today, I return the favor. Meet me on the dock at 9:00 a.m. Everything you need awaits you there.

Come find me… The future Mrs. Cullen (It definitely has a ring to it)

Edward.

Bella flew around the room readying herself, anxious and eager to be with her fiancée. At 9:00 a.m., she met Edward and Marco on the dock, and they ventured off. Bella was busy telling Edward about her parents and Alice and how much she wanted to call them and let them in on the big news.

That was until she saw the Rialto Bridge in sight. There she spotted seven figures directly at the center of the bridge facing in their direction and her hands flew over her mouth as realized exactly who they were. She was staring at the silhouettes of Alice, Rosalie, Jasper, Emmett, Charlie, Renee and Carlisle before her eyes looked back to Edward's, his face so alive with the biggest smile she'd ever seen.

The biggest shock of all came when she saw that Rosalie was the one hoisting a sign above her head. Staring back at Bella was the word… CONGRATULAZIONI!

A/N

And, there you have it folks. Veniceward has been born. I really, honestly hoped you enjoyed this lil shindig as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Much love to L, who did an AMAZEBALLS job as my bates. Thanks to the lovely Chrisska for bearing this wonderful competition and encouraging me to write also. To the judges, such a fangirl of all you like you don't even know it. And lastly, much much love to all you readers, reviewers, pimpers. Honestly, you all are the best!

Italian Vernacular

Ti amo, Bella- I love you, Bella

Buonogiorno- Good Morning

Grazie- Thank you

Buon cumpleanno, il mio amore- Happy Birthday my love

Sposarmi, Bella- Marry Me, Bella.

Perfetto- Perfect

Congratulazoni!- Congratulations!