Pop the Question Contest Entry
Title: Just another Proposal
Word Count (without the A/n and header): 3,240
Pairing: Emmett and Rosalie
Summary: Ten years after Breaking Dawn the Cullens are graduating again, only Emmett has something a bit more flamboyant in mind. Bella's POV
Just another Proposal
I sat in the cushioned folding chair between Edward and Alice, reminding myself to blink and fidget periodically. It was a little more of a challenge at the moment; I was distracted in my mild irritation.
Edward obviously knew something was up today. I could read the minute markers of his expressions so well it was almost as though I could hear his thoughts.
Alice was usually a little harder for me to read than my husband, but not today. She kept grinning at random moments for no apparent reason. If I was watching her closely I could see the tiny flicker of her eyes, flitting to the future and then coming back to the present almost instantly while secret visions flashed in her mind.
Even Jasper, sitting at Alice's other side, seemed to be fighting back a smile.
None of them were telling me what was going on, other than the obvious. And I knew, darn well, that my exclusion was intentional.
I was about ready to just come out and ask Edward to tell me. Chances were, though, that Alice wouldn't allow that. She'd better not be planning something crazy and embarrassing that involved me in any way.
The school band was solemnly playing Pomp and Circumstance from the front of the ample gymnasium. The slow procession of students in silver graduation robes marched solemnly up the center aisle in alphabetical order by last name.
Emmett had already made it over the stage, received his diploma, and was sitting with the rest of the "C"s at the far corner of the room. His eyes kept flashing toward us and then back to the steady stream of incoming graduates. He was grinning too.
That was the last straw. If Emmett was involved, whatever was going on was guaranteed to be humiliating. I had to be sure that whatever it was had nothing to do with me.
I heaved my shield away briefly to consult privately with my mind-reading husband.
I wish you all would tell me what's going on. You know I don't like surprises.
Edward's eyes met mine, sparkling with delight. Even after more than a decade, it still thrilled him to be able to hear my thoughts on occasion.
"It's just..." he began.
"No!" Alice hissed, turning to glare at her brother. Her eyes flickered to the back of the room where the "H"s were just making their way in.
Rosalie, in all her blonde breathtaking beauty, glided into the expansive room. There was a general murmur of hushed awe from the audience as she sauntered past. Somehow she made the bulky silver graduation gown and square, tasseled cap look like a dress fit for a queen.
Edward looked at Rose and sighed, defeated. Then he leaned down and whispered into my ear, despite Alice's hissed warnings.
"Don't worry, love. No one is going to embarrass you today."
He sat back up and his lips twitched as he fought back a snicker. But I knew he wouldn't lie to me, so I relaxed. Still, my curiosity was raging.
In the far corner, Emmett's eyes had fixed onto Rosalie. His grin no longer looked mischievous, it was elated. His eyes followed her as she gracefully walked to the front of the room, watched as she accepted her diploma and shook hands with the principal (We all clapped and cheered for the accomplishment of her ninth high-school graduation.), then followed her as she floated down to take her seat with the graduates, several rows in front of him.
Rosalie turned to smile back at her imposing lover, but she too looked a little confused at his exceedingly good mood.
At least I wasn't the only one out of the loop.
Our family waited politely while the rest of the graduates filed over the stage, accepted their piece of paper and handshake, then sat in their appointed seat at the front of the room.
When the very last student, Tracey Zimbelman, had finally received her diploma and settled herself in the one remaining chair, Principal Dalton stood before the audience and made his final speech. His intense expression was projected on three large flat screens over the back wall and televised live over the local news channel as he extolled the graduates to go forth and seize every opportunity, looking on graduation not as an ending, but a great new adventure. He assured them that life would always bring challenges, but that they should, in turn, challenge life right back. For a high school principal, he was a fairly charismatic speaker.
As his speech was coming to a close my eyes flickered to the left and right, wondering when it was going to happen. Something was going to happen, I was certain of it. I looked back to see Carlisle and Esme seated behind us. They were watching the proceedings casually, giving no hint that they were aware of their children's schemings.
I was much less annoyed than curious now. I didn't like being left out of these things. But, Alice would always insist that if I were in on some prank or plot or secret I would inadvertently let the cat out of the bag at some point and ruin the surprise. She still insisted that I could learn to enjoy surprises. I wondered if she was just making all that up. After all, I'd kept the truth about my vampire family from Charlie and Renee, hadn't I?
"Only because Charlie doesn't want to know the truth, and your mother lives on the other side of the continent!" she'd accused right back at me.
She had me there.
Edward, perhaps sensing through Jasper that I was less than happy at the moment, wrapped his arm around my shoulder, rubbing his thumb along the skin above my elbow soothingly.
I took in a deep, fiery, human scent laden breath and sighed. I knew I was being silly. Whatever was going on, it wasn't about me so I should stop obsessing over it.
Principal Dalton finally closed his speech with an enthusiastic "Congratulations class of 2020!"
The graduates jumped up and cheered, tossing their silver caps into the air so they cascaded down like giant, square, snowflakes. The crowd of gathered parents and relatives stood and applauded enthusiastically. The band played one final closing song, the school anthem. The giant screens behind the stage flickered and went blank. Then we all started milling about, gathering our things and chatting politely with our neighbors.
Nothing had happened.
I was starting to wonder if I'd been imagining things. I was about to ask Edward about it again, while he helped me put on my coat, when I felt something strange.
A surge of amused anticipation coursed through me for no apparent reason. There was only one culprit when it came to unusual emotional responses. Jasper?
I looked up curiously at my favorite sister's frightening, battle-scarred lover. He was watching the front of the room, a smile slowly growing at the corner of his mouth. Alice eyed him, too, for a moment before following his gaze. She was grinning widely in excitement.
There was a crackling squeal of feedback from the PA system. The enormous television screens flickered back to life. And then a deep all-too-familiar voice boomed over the audience.
"Is this thing working?"
The entire gymnasium, a multitude of over two thousand people, fell dead silent and stared toward the front of the room.
Emmett was standing on the stage, looking adorable, dashing, and frightening all at the same time in a striking black tuxedo. He must have been wearing it under his gown the whole time. He was fiddling with a small silver microphone in his hand, probably making some adjustments to the sound receivers. Then, satisfied, his gaze scanned over the crowd.
"Hi everyone." He waved. His ultra-white teeth flashed in a pleased grin when he saw he had our undivided attention.
I looked over at Rosalie. She was standing, frozen in shock, while Emmett stood on the stage and addressed the entire student body, their families, and their friends for no discernible reason.
"I guess you're all wondering why I'm up here, huh?" His eyes flickered to Rosalie and he winked at her, beckoning her nearer with a quick "come hither" motion of his fingers.
"Well, I'll tell you. Many of you already know that Rosalie Hale and I have sort of been an item since we started school here." He beamed over at Rosalie. "But what you probably don't know, is just how wonderful and perfect she really is. And how I really don't deserve to have an angel on earth, like her, love me the way she does." His voice dropped in register to a soft, buttery-smooth, heartbreaking tone.
There was a collective sigh of "Awwww!" from the female voices in the crowd.
Rosalie had removed her graduation gown, revealing a form-fitting skirt and blouse ensemble that complimented Emmett's tuxedo, and approached the stage. She still looked slightly confused, but she was smiling up at Emmett radiantly.
"So, Rosalie Hale," Emmett continued, gesturing to her with his free hand. "I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much I love you. You are the light in my darkness, my reason for living, my angel."
The collective sighing of young females increased along with their heart rates. I glanced up at Edward and saw that he was grinning good-naturedly. His eyes met mine and he winked, encouraging me to pay attention.
"And, in case you didn't know it already..." Emmett continued in his speech and then paused. He smiled at Rosalie, almost wickedly. Then he shocked everyone when he started to sing softly in his deep, rich voice. "You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off of you. You'd be like heaven to touch. I want to hold you so much."
There was a tittering of laughter from the audience at Emmett's impromptu serenade. But, I had to admit it, he had a really nice singing voice. And he didn't even seem to feel uncomfortable on the stage, with thousands watching him, and probably thousands more watching on TV, as he boldly crooned to Rosalie.
"At long last love has arrived, and I thank God I'm alive." He winked at Carlisle this time and I couldn't hold in my snicker.
"You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off of you." He started singing louder, posturing and gesturing amorously. "Pardon the way that I stare. There's nothing else to compare. The sight of you leaves me weak. There are no words left to speak. But if you feel like I feel, please let me know that it's real. You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off of you."
Suddenly, the band behind the stage burst into song, playing the familiar background music for "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Baa-dum Baa-dum Baa-da-BA ba-da Baa-dum Baa-dum Baa-da-BA ba-da The trumpets and French horns blared. Emmett started soft-shoeing to the music, very skillfully as a matter of fact.
The crowd gasped and cheered, suddenly realizing that this was going to be a bigger production than your average teenage boy would normally have managed.
I glanced back at Carlisle and Esme. They seemed surprised, too. Carlisle was resting his face in his palm, shaking his head, but he was grinning. Esme was holding her hand in front of her mouth as she shook with silent laughter at her adopted son's display.
"I love you, baby! And if it's quite all right, I need you baby, to warm the lonely night. I love you, baby. Trust in me when I say..."
Emmett reached down and pulled a smiling, giggling Rose up on to the stage with him. He twirled her around and they danced together while he finished his serenade.
"Oh, pretty baby, don't bring me down, I pray. Oh pretty baby, now that I've found you, stay. And let me love you, baby let me love you..."
The music slowed and drew to an unsatisfying close while Emmett held Rosalie close and stared into her eyes. Their faces were inches apart and they seemed to forget that they had an audience.
The crowd cheered and a few whistled in excitement. It was pretty clear what was about to happen next.
"Rose, baby." Emmett spoke into the microphone, giving her a little space. He paused, drawing it out while the crowd settled into silent anticipation. "I love you with all my heart. I love you forever and ever. You are the only one I will ever want to be with." He reached into his pocket, pulled out a small black velvet box, and opened it to reveal a sparkling platinum engagement ring encrusted with dozens of diamonds set to resemble the petals of a rose in bloom. "Will you marry me?"
Again, the collective sigh of "Awwww!" washed through the crowd. Even Edward seemed affected; he pulled me tighter into his side.
But Rosalie seemed to hesitate, considering her answer. Her lips pursed as if she were giving his proposal some thought, but even from where we stood, near the back of the building, I could see that she was tightening her lips against a smile. Emmett knew how to please her.
She hesitated long enough that the entire gym-full of students, family, and friends started chanting, which is probably what she was really waiting for.
"Say yes! Say yes! Say yes! Say yes!" the crowd roared, worked into a frenzy.
I couldn't be sure, but Jasper, standing aloofly at Alice's side but with a satisfied smile on his lips, may or may not have had something to do with the excitement buzzing in the air.
Rosalie took the microphone from Emmett's hand and brought it to her mouth demurely.
"Yes, I will," her golden wind-chime voice answered through the speakers.
The crowd cheered.
The band burst into song again.
Emmett caught Rosalie up in his bear-like embrace, kissing her passionately for everyone to see. The audience cheered even more loudly when he lifted her up and swung her around and around in his arms.
When the band finished playing, the gathered students and their relations milled about some more. Many of those present approached Emmett and Rosalie to congratulate them on their engagement, though hesitantly; Emmett was a lot more intimidating close up than he was on a stage singing like a fool. Most of the student body hadn't even spoken to Emmett or Rosalie (or any of us) even once before this day. We'd worked hard to keep a low profile. But since they were going to be "going off to college" after this summer this display wouldn't matter too much.
Carlisle and Esme wandered off to where many of the other parents were gathering and chatting together. And the four of us stayed behind to wait for the crowd to thin a little.
"My god, that was so romantic!" I kept hearing over and over from the various human voices in the room, most of them female. The males were also murmuring about Emmett's proposal. Only their comments were more in admiration, incredulity, and taking it as a challenge for when it was their turn.
"Uh-huh, he knows..." Alice was murmuring to herself, or maybe to Jasper.
"What?" I asked.
"You don't want to know," Edward said.
She ignored him. "Just look at that grin." Alice pointed a dainty finger at Emmett who was, definitely, grinning like a fool while he stared into Rosalie's eyes. "He knows she's going to be thanking him properly tonight." She snickered. Then her eyes narrowed slightly in irritation. "I was hoping the black Gilson chemise would last more than just one night, though!"
"Oh." I was afraid to ask what a "Gilson chemise" was. Given the context, I assumed it was some sort of expensive lingerie.
"That one was, what, two thousand dollars?" Edward chuckled. "You're not going to have to break your piggy bank to get her a new one." He reached out to muss her hair.
She dodged him, deftly, and stuck out her tongue. "That's not the point, Edward. These are delicate works of art in a medium of silk and lace, and they should be treated respectfully. You, of all people, should understand that."
Edward rolled his eyes at her, smirking.
"I'm glad you weren't watching on our honeymoon..." I murmured under my breath, remembering the poor, ripped casualties of our passion.
Then I realized I'd said that out loud.
Edward stared at me for a moment, shocked. Jasper turned away and seemed to have a sudden coughing fit.
Alice just laughed outright. "Silly Bella. Those ones were completely disposable." She put her arm around my waist and murmured into my mortified ear. "The collection in the bottom left drawer in the back wall of your closet...those are the ones that ought to be really appreciated."
"Okay, then. Moving right along." Edward drew me away from Alice's conspiratorial whisperings. Probably because she was either visualizing some of these "works of art" or was catching glimpses of me wearing them in the near future. Judging by her smug smile, it was probably the latter.
Now that the crowd had thinned a bit, we made our way toward the happy couple. Emmett and Rosalie were graciously receiving the praises of their admirers, who approached them reverently as though the couple were royalty at court.
We waited patiently until the last of the commoners had paid her respects, then our family slowly made its way to the parking lot. Edward and I climbed into the front of his Bentley while Rose and Emmett hopped in the back.
"Do you forgive me for not telling you what was going on before?" Edward asked, smiling my favorite crooked smile. It wasn't fair when he did that.
I rolled my eyes. "I'm fine. I'm just glad it wasn't you up there embarrassing me in front of everyone."
He chuckled. But I could see the glint in his eye promising me he would do worse than that if he thought it was what I wanted from him.
"No. Definitely not! One wedding is enough for forever for me." I had to make sure we were abundantly clear on this.
"I wasn't embarrassed," Rosalie said from the back seat. She and Emmett were staring into each other's eyes again. We all knew how madly in love they were, but it was still kind of sickening to watch from the outside sometimes.
"So, do you two think you'll ever get tired of being engaged, then married, then dating, then engaged again?" I asked.
We all laughed together at how ridiculous it really was.
"We all have our distractions." Rosalie shrugged after a moment of thought.
"You're going to have to start getting more creative soon, Emmett," Edward said, eying his brother in the rear view mirror. "How do you plan to top this one? Roman candles strapped to the Empire State Building spelling out Will You Marry Me, Rose?"
Emmett just raised his eyebrows and nodded thoughtfully, as if that were a pretty good idea.
The car filled with laughter again as we sped away towards home.