Pop the Question Contest Entry
Title: Officer and a Gentleman
Word Count (without the A/n and header): 3,340
Summary: After being together for years, will jealousy and St. Patrick's Day finally make Edward propose.
Warnings (if any): No warnings. Just fluff. Plenty of fluff.
Officer and a Gentleman
St. Patrick's Day, 2012
Publix Supermarket, Westchase, Florida
"Oh for the love of...Marcus Anthony Cullen, get back here right now!" I try my best not to shout, but my five year-old is killing me today. It has to be at least the fourth time that he's run off for the bakery in attempting to score a free cookie from the older woman behind the glass counter.
"He took off again?" my husband, Edward, asks behind me. He drops a six-pack of Guinness in the cart.
"He's your kid today, go get him." I swat his ass and laugh as he sighs and speed walks in the general direction of fresh baked bread.
I grab a few more things we've been meaning to get and wonder what's taking them so long. I have no doubt that both of them have enjoyed their free cookie, that lady can't resist Edward's smile anymore than she can Marcus'; but I can't think of what's still holding them up.
I turn the corner, past the flowers and see a familiar face accosting my husband. My child is holding his father's hand, watching the conversation, but his little body language is tense and he is clearly uncomfortable.
"Edward, there you are!" I say it with a bit too much enthusiasm, but again, this crazy ass woman can't take the hint that my husband is my husband. Both heads turn and our former realtor, Tanya, frowns at my appearance. From the looks of it, she thought she was getting somewhere.
Marcus tugs away from Edward's grip, coming to me and reaching up, asking to be held. He may be getting a little big to be carried around, but I know he needs a little extra comfort after watching this woman practically paw his father.
"Tanya, so good to see you again." I politely shake her hand, but she's eyeing me, as if she any moment, she'd kick off her Payless heels and gold-plated earrings, ready to fight me.
"We were just about to come find you." Edward grabs my hand and Tanya's eyes widen.
"This is your son?" Her eyes shift in disbelief from Marcus to me, and back. Even though we couldn't conceive "naturally" with advanced medicine and our amazing family, our son is a little piece of both of us
"He's our son," Edward says coolly.
Lifting his head from my shoulder, Marcus announces, "I'm five and I'm going to be a racecar when I grow up,"
The look of jealousy and disgust on Tanya's face is a strong reminder of why we never ended up using her services. Although, in the long run, I suppose I do have to thank her.
If it wasn't for her over-eagerness, Edward and I might not be where we are today.
St. Patrick's Day, 2005.
Keller Williams Realty, Palm Harbor, FL.
"Can you believe we're going to do this?"
"It's exciting, but I'm worried we won't find anything."
"I think you're over-thinking it."
"Over-thinking it? Edward, we're looking into buying a house. A freaking house. You know, something that's three times the size of our apartment? Something we're going to be paying for for the next thirty years. It's kind of a big deal."
"Yeah, you're not freaking out at all."
"You're an ass."
"I knew I shouldn't have let you have those green beers at lunch, even if it is St. Patrick's Day.
"I love you."
"Love you, too."
The realtor comes back into the room, telling us that if we choose to find a house with another realtor, she'll take a commission anyway; but it sounds like warning. Bitch. Plus, she's eye-fucking my man, and that's not cool with me. She shakes our hands, but holds his for just a little too long. I have no doubt that her personal number is on the back of that card she just slipped in his hand.
"Have a great day, guys," she coos. Fuck her, I could take her. Her fake nails tell me I'd have some battle scars, but it'd be worth it.
I don't need to buy a house with Edward that bad. We've been living together for a year and I know I'm going to marry him someday. We're just waiting for him to get out of the Air Force, though I'll be sad the day that happens. Uniforms are hot. Ask anyone. Yup. There has been more than one morning I've dropped to my knees when he's getting ready for work.
We leave the office and the humidity nearly knocks me on my ass. It's so thick and sticky that I'm tempted to call our friends to cancel plans. Even though we'll be drinking through the night, and if I'm going to be gross and sweaty, it's going to be from awesomely sticky sex.
We're halfway to MacDinton's, our favorite Irish pub, when I start texting Edward's sister, Rosalie, that we're not going to make it.
"Don't do that," he laughs. "Baby, we'll go, have fun and then go home."
"Do I have to remind you that we live forty-five minutes away from the bar, how will get home, huh smart guy? Cabbing it would be way too expensive."
"It'll be fine, there will be plenty of taxis if we absolutely have to. Baby, just relax." He chuckles. "We both have two days off together, and you know this almost never happens. Just calm down. We'll have fun with our friends and spend all of tomorrow in bed."
I nod and close my eyes, letting Edward navigate the crappy road conditions down to South Tampa. I feel slightly guilty that I was trying to completely hog all of his time. Both of us had been working insane hours trying to get things calm down before our cruise in three weeks. Everyone swears that this is the trip where we come back engaged.
That's what they said when we went skiing over New Years.
And when we went away for my birthday in September.
Before that, it was the Fourth of July, which was our two year anniversary.
Clearly it hasn't happened yet, but I know it will. I'm beginning to grow slightly anxious. Our tentative plan is to get married after his time with the USAF and he says he when feels he can provide a good life for us and any future children. The problem is he won't be out for another two years.
To say it's frustrating is an understatement, but I don't bring it up, because it's inevitable and we already fight like an old married couple. I figure we're halfway there. I already get the lecture from my sister, Esme about it on a constant basis. How we're living in sin and going to hell for it if I don't make Edward an honest man.
We pull up to the red light in front of the bar and wait our turn to pull into valet. "Baby, I promise it'll be two hours and we'll be gone." He kisses my knuckles,. I lean over and give him a long, lingering kiss full of tongue until someone honks at us, earning a middle finger salute from both of us.
We find our friends in the corner by the pool tables and he immediately drops my hand. Being that we're in a military town, we can't afford for anyone to see us in anything other than a friendly capacity. Despite our drinks before the realtor meeting, the alcohol is wearing off and judging by the way Emmett is singing along with the Flogging Molly cover-band, we have a lot of catching up to do. I feel my phone buzz in my pocket, and I know who it is, but I ignore it and continue to joke with everyone at the table.
Two hours turns into three and that turns into six, and suddenly it's dark out and it's almost ten at night. My phone is still buzzing even though I've texted my ex-boyfriend several times to fuck off.
I catch Edward side-eyeing me a few times, and I know it's getting to him. Throughout the night his answers are more clipped and smiles are more forced.
The tension is strong between us by the time we get in the cab. We're both so far gone from green beer and the cheeseburgers did little to help with the absorption of beer in our systems.
I'm also pissed.
More than that, I'm fucking livid. I know he is too, but I don't fucking care.
We're talking about buying a house, really starting a life together and he hasn't asked me to marry him. It was a condition I had set when we moved in together over a year ago. I moved in the previous June, and said he had by the end of the year and the time came and passed.
Yet here I am, like a doormat, doing or going along with whatever he says.
"So what does James have to say?" Edward bites out. Normally when we've been drinking, we're loving and gross out our friends with our "shmoopy" shtick. But that's also when we're not in public and everyone can see who we really are. I know there's been something brewing and I can now pinpoint what it is.
It's even stronger than normal because we've been drinking and even worse than that, we've had to hide anything we wanted to say, because God forbid, we give up our facade of being just roommates.
It's flattering for a split second, because how many times have I seen bar floozies circle around him, the fact he makes it clear with me; or rather tells them he's not available. God forbid he actually mention he's with a man; they tell him that they can change his mind, or they're the better deal. He never pays them any attention, but that doesn't mean it hurts any less.
"I wouldn't know, the only thing I ever told him was that he needs to fuck off and get a life."
"Why don't you answer, surely two years after you broke up, you'd be curious about what he wants."
"I left him because he cheated, do you really think I give a shit what he has to say!" I shout and the cabbie lets out a low whistle.
"You're paid to drive, not eavesdrop," Edward snaps.
"Be nice, it's not his fault you can't get a grip on your jealousy," I goad him. I know what I'm doing and the way his jaw clenches, so does he. His eyes narrow and I know he's going for the bait.
"I'm jealous, seriously? You're right there with me when I'm approached, and when anyone can't take a hint, I get up and leave. For fucks sake, what else do you want me to do? I come home every night-"
"You're here," the cabbie speaks up.
March 17, 2005
Island Palm Estates
"Great," I mutter. I pay the man and we're standing at the bottom of the long, three-flight journey to our apartment. After sitting so long in the cab, I realize I have to pee, but it's not urgent enough and the fight was just getting good.
Fighting and making up, it's what we do and I'll be damned but we're really good at it.
I stomp over to the swing-set next to the building and sit on the bottom of the slide. He crouches in front of me and begs me to look at him.
"I promise, I love you. You don't ever have to worry me leaving you, I'm in this for the long haul."
"You have a funny way of showing it."
"What's that supposed to mean?" He looks hurt and confused and I want to punch him in the face because he should know. He's a guy, he should just fucking get it.
"We agreed that we'd be engaged by the end of last year-"
"No." He shakes his head, "you told me that was the condition of which you agreed to move in with me. I never promised that."
"Bullshit." I feel the tears coming and I hate crying, especially in front of him. I don't like feeling weak and vulnerable.
"That's what all this is about, baby. You're mad because I won't marry you?"
I don't say anything, so I squeeze my eyes shut and nod.
"I thought we had agreed we'd wait."
"Right, just like I thought I agreed to something too. Clearly we both want different things from each other. I want a partner in life and you want a sucker. That's not going to happen."
I stand and brush off imaginary dust off my jeans and start to head inside. Now that I've stood for the second time, I really have to pee.
"We're not done talking about this," Edward says from behind me.
"I'm done talking about this because I'm going to say something I regret later." I turn back around begin climbing the stairs. Edward calls my name and I ignore him, focusing on holding it before I get to our apartment.
"Damn it," he groans and pulls on my jacket.
"I have to pee. Leave me alone."
"No. Turn around." He tugs on my jacket again
". To. Fucking. Pee. You want a golden shower?" I ask the stairs, knowing my voice will echo.
"Fucking turn around, damn it!" he shouts, and one of our neighbors pokes their head out, hissing for us to keep it down.
I slump my shoulders in defeat, knowing I'm going to piss myself and then have to climb the stairs in damn jeans.
I turn around and find Edward, kneeling in the standard proposal stance.
I jog back down the stairs so that my crotch is at face level and he stands up to kiss my face.
I grab his shoulders and knee him in the balls.
"Fuck you!" I shout. Fuck the neighbors. "You think I want a pity proposal, you're only asking me because you feel guilty. Go fuck yourself, Edward. I have to pee."
"What the hell? You tell me you want to get married, so I fucking propose and you knee me in the balls." He's trying to shout but I knocked the wind out of him. "You're a drunk asshole and I have to pee!"
I begin to stomp up the stairs and I hear him speaking to someone.
"Hey Mom, yeah I know it's late. Sorry, but I just wanted to tell you that I just proposed to Carlisle." He grins as he holds the phone from his ear as Elizabeth screams
"You're serious," I mouth. The guilt, realization and shock hit me and I realize that he was serious. He nods and grins. Suddenly, the bathroom doesn't seem so important anymore.
"I don't know, he hasn't given me an answer."
I grab the phone from him. "Liz, he's going to have to call you back." I end the call and pull him close and kiss him hard.
"I love you," he whispers. "I want you and only you. This isn't the way I'd planned to do this, but marry me. I can make you happy every day. You're all I think about when I'm gone, and when I think of the future, I can't imagine it with anyone else. Say you'll marry me, not because we just had a fight or because you think I feel pity, but because you want this just as much as I do."
I can't say anything; the emotions running through me are wonder, confusion, guilt and finally, shock.
This is what I want, and while the proposal isn't perfect, it is us. It's perfectly imperfect. I love him. I love me when I'm with him. I love me when I'm not with him, too, because he has reminded me that I am inherently lovable. Before, I would hesitate to indicate that his presence somehow completes me, or is in some way responsible for my full actualization of self, but hot damn if this man doesn't make my life a hell of a lot more fun.
I love thinking about him, and how everything in between time spent together seems like "filler." I love that that's his word for it, because he feels the same exact way. I love how spending time with him is the perfect combination of easy and exciting. I love how we interact, how we communicate, how we move together, how we share so many ideas and ideals, how we approach many, many things from completely opposite directions, how understanding and forgiving and accepting we are of one another. I love how he cheerfully interacts with the world and how he unconditionally adores me even when I'm not so cheerful.
I can't imagine spending the rest of my life without this man. He may infuriate me, but all he does is what he thinks is best for me, though we may need to work on his sense timing on key things, he's perfect me for me.
"Yes!" I laugh and wrap my arms around him tighter.
There are going to be challenges along the way, but I know we can conquer them together, because that's what marriage is all about.
"Edward, baby, please," I say between kisses.
He raises an eyebrow.
"I wasn't lying before. I really have to pee."
He laughs and lets me go. We climb the stairs, hand in hand, with him slightly behind me, and that works for me because later I'm going to want him behind me again and again.
After we get inside and everything is taken care of, I have a moment of panic. What if he really didn't want this and I guilt tripped him? Not sure I want the answer, but know I have to ask. I take my time slipping into a t-shirt and lounge pants that doesn't reek of bar.
When I come out to the living room, Edward is slouched on the sofa, his eyes closed and feet propped on the coffee table. He hears my movement and keeps his eyes closed but a smile slowly grows.
I lean over and give him a Spiderman style kiss. He opens his eyes as I pull away and whispers, "Hi."
"You said you were going to spend the rest of your life with my sorry ass."
"I did, didn't I?"
He pulls me over the back of the couch, landing me in his lap. There's something uncomfortable that I land on.
"What's that?" I slide off his lap and onto the seat next to him.
"This?" Edward holds up a small black box. A ring box.
I'm rendered speechless.
"I was going to ask you when we were in Nassau, and preferably more sober." He chuckles at my expression. "I meant what I said, Carlisle. I love you, and I want this. I want you. Marry me."
He slides off the couch and down on one knee. He opens the box and I'm stunned. Nestled in the cushion is a white gold band with a small diamond embedded in the center. It's simple, but elegant. I love it.
I still haven't said anything, too stunned in the realization that he'd been planning this. It wasn't a drunken guilt trip that made him ask me.
"Carlisle, baby. Marry me...please?"
"Yes!" I half-laugh half-shout.
"Thank God," he exhales. He slides the ring on my finger and pulls me in for a long, deep kiss.
The road ahead will be tough, but it's nothing we can't handle. Together.