I had a plan. My plan was for ten chapters, which is a nice, even number that appeals to my Virgo personality. Edward and Garrett, however, don't care about my plan - they have their own plan. So this will be the final chapter of All Over Again.
Thank you to my lovely beta, Discordia81; she makes my docs better. Megz ... I didn't tinker :)
Note: This is a slash story. This chapter also comes with a warning for sweetness in the extreme.
"Hey, beautiful." Edward's eyes met mine in the mirror as he walked up behind me. He rested his chin on my shoulder and wound his arms around me in a hug before reaching to straighten my tie. "Ready to go?"
"Whenever you are." I turned in his arms and bit my lip as I got a good look at him. "Wow."
The cut of Edward's grey and white seersucker suit highlighted his strong shoulders and slim waist beautifully. He wore an open collared white dress shirt underneath the jacket, and a silk handkerchief with a vibrant red print in his breast pocket.
"Ed ... Jesus, you look unbelievable."
He looked pleased even as his cheeks colored slightly, and stepped back to glance down at himself and then back at me. We had chosen my stone-colored cotton suit and blue dress shirt together, and Edward had surprised me that morning with a gift of a beautiful vintage silk tie and pocket square.
He smiled, running his fingers against my waist and humming appreciatively. "I had to step up my game a little to keep up with you."
"Sweetheart, you're doing more than keeping up with me, trust me."
"I'm glad you approve."
"You know I do," I murmured, stepping forward to run my fingers over his lapels and grinning when I glanced down at his feet. "Edward ... you're wearing white bucks. You're like a walking porno right now."
"Oh, my God, Garrett. Are you drunk?"
"It's three-thirty in the afternoon! Besides, if I were drunk, that suit of yours would be decorating the floor right now."
Edward rolled his eyes and reached out, pulling me in for a kiss to shut me up. My body responded at once, desire curling in my belly as his tongue teased my lips. We were careful not to let things get too heated, mindful of each other's clothes and that we didn't have much time before we had to leave the apartment.
Finally, Edward pressed his forehead against mine with a sigh while I slid my hand down to rest on his waist.
"We should go," he murmured.
I stifled a groan when he checked his watch. "I know … I was hoping you'd forget and we could maybe take some of these gorgeous clothes of yours off." I gave him another squeeze when he laughed.
"Not likely, baby. You know it's only a matter of time before the text messages start; there's no way we can be late."
"I know." Pulling back slightly, I got a good look at his green eyes. "Are you nervous?"
Edward shook his head and used one hand to push the hair off my forehead. "Not at all," he said before kissing me sweetly. "Grab your keys and I'll meet you outside; I'll just check the dog's water bowl and grab the rings."
I tried to persuade Edward to walk downtown, balking even as he led me into the train station and reasoned that we simply didn't have time to spare.
"We have an hour and a half before we need to be anywhere, Edward," I protested, grumbling under my breath as we pulled out our CharlieCards.
"Yes, exactly," he replied, "ninety minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to start, Garrett, and you know there are things to do beforehand. We'd have to haul ass at this point if we walked. Plus, it's eighty degrees out here. I don't know about you, baby, but I'm not in the mood to work up a sweat in these suits."
Realizing he was right, I frowned and tugged him back before we reached the turnstiles. "Should we take a cab?"
Edward turned to face me, grasping my forearm with one hand. "We'll be fine on the train, baby; it's only four stops." His forehead puckered as he watched me and understanding filtered through his expression. "Are you okay? If the train tunnels bother you, we can grab a taxi—"
"No, it's okay," I said quickly. "Really, I'm fine; I was just overthinking things, as usual."
Edward stayed silent for a moment longer. He gave me a searching look, and I nodded, hoping to reassure him enough that he would drop the subject. Finally, he winked and turned back to the turnstiles while I followed, swallowing against the discomfort that began to well up.
My troubles with the subway tunnels had begun nearly two months before, after the city had been rocked by terrorist bombings on Patriots' Day. I was in the firm's Manhattan office that Monday, and watched the footage online, aware that Edward was scheduled to work and that Masen's was only blocks from the blast scene.
For four hours, I tried repeatedly to reach him, my stomach twisting with fear every time the call went to his voicemail. While the cellular towers in that section of Boston were shut down and the area turned into a blocks-long crime scene, Masen's and other businesses opened their doors to stranded tourists and runners, passing out food and drink and allowing the use of landlines and restrooms. By the time Edward was able to get away from the bar and walk several blocks to find a cell signal, my fear had become belligerence. I argued with him instead of listening to why he'd been unreachable and when his obvious exhaustion and remorse finally registered, I was shaken. I managed to get a flight back to Boston late that evening, but it wasn't until I was back in the apartment with Edward wrapped up in a tight hug that I felt able to really breathe again.
A few days later, we woke to find that the police had shut down the city to conduct a manhunt for the bombing suspects. Hunkered down indoors that day, we played with Linus and talked with neighbors, friends, and family while we watched the news and struggled to process what was happening. We celebrated with the neighborhood that evening when the police made an arrest, and then stayed up late making love, unable to get enough of each other.
Edward and I were lucky. Our friends and family were unharmed, and our lives went back to our brand of normal very quickly. The relationships and bonds among our circles of friends changed, growing stronger and closer. Seth and Liam surprised no one by admitting that they had feelings for one another. The awkwardness that had been dogging Bella and Edward's friendship finally faded. Liam assisted Edward with the first round of edits to his novel, and Edward turned his apartment over to Liam on June first and never looked back.
I was surprised, however, when I realized that I still felt strangely out of sorts weeks after the bombings. Though I'd never suffered from claustrophobia before, I felt unnerved by the subway tunnels and crush of commuters, and found myself skittish around large crowds. Edward became concerned when I began avoiding the subway, but I resisted talking about my anxieties, insisting instead that my nerves would settle with time.
Now, as we walked underground to catch the Green Line and my chest grew tighter with each step, I regretted being so stubborn. We waited quietly on the platform, Edward's warm hand in mine while I studied my wingtips and concentrated on taking slow, even breaths.
"We should have brought Linus."
Edward's droll tone made me smile. "Why didn't you?" I asked, my eyes still trained on my shoes.
"My mama told me she'd kick my ass if I did," he replied, shifting to rest his chin against my shoulder.
Closing my eyes, I tilted my head to touch my temple to Edward's. Those simple touches and his low voice slowly loosened the knot in my middle. "Is that true?"
"Yep. She doesn't think dogs have any place at weddings." He titled his head to drop a soft kiss against my shoulder while I chewed my lip.
"You think I should talk to someone about this thing with the subway tunnels," I stated rather than asked.
Edward paused before answering, but I heard the genuine caring in his voice when he did. "You're hurting, baby, and I hate to see it. If you think talking to someone will make you feel better, then yes, I do, but if you want to start by just talking to me about it, that's fine, too." His fingers squeezed mine gently, and his voice deepened when he continued. "You've helped me figure out how to deal with Elizabeth and her family; maybe I can help you with this, too."
I nodded, drawing a deep breath that calmed me further. "Okay. I can talk. Not today though."
"Agreed." Edward straightened as the squeal of an approaching train echoed through the tunnel to our right. He smiled at me when I opened my eyes, and gave my fingers an extra squeeze. "Today we have fun. By the way, Mama said she'd swing by our place tonight, and make sure Linus is fed and walked, so we can stay out late."
"Esme's such a good doggy grandma," I teased, and then laughed when Edward rolled his eyes and pulled me toward the open train doors.
"Don't let her hear you say that," he scolded, though his eyes gleamed with amusement. "You know she'll end up buying a My Grandchild Is a Dog t-shirt." He shook his finger when I laughed harder. "She'll make my dad wear one, Garrett, I'm telling you!"
My nervousness faded once we were above ground again and making our way into the Public Garden. The park's flowerbeds and trees were in full bloom, and the pathways filled with tourists and residents alike. I noticed many admiring glances cast Edward's way, though he was oblivious as always to the attention; other than keeping a lookout for the rest of our party, he seemed only to have eyes for me. His smile was warm, but I detected lingering concern in his expression, and my stomach fell when I realized that my earlier anxiety had become a distraction.
"Edward, Garrett!" a voice called from a knot of people gathered by the lagoon. I caught sight of Jasper and Alec with Edward's parents before Bella's brother, Emmett, took a few steps forward and waved, a wide smile on his handsome face.
Edward raised his free hand in greeting, but turned to look at me when I slowed my steps, his mouth pulling down slightly. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," I said quickly, "I just want one second while I have you alone and before we go over there."
"Okay," Edward said easily, his face relaxing when I smiled at him.
I took both of his hands in mine. "I'm glad we're here today. I'm excited to have a good time with you and our friends." The soft smile that warmed Edward's face made my heart thump. "Thanks for bringing me."
"No one else I'd rather bring, baby." Edward's expression became more serious, though his eyes grew even brighter as they moved over my face. "Thanks for being here with me, Garrett."
"Where else would I be?" I asked, and then jumped when a shrill whistle echoed through the air.
"Get a room you two!" Jasper hollered. "On second thought, no, get your asses over here; the brides are getting anxious!"
With a loud snort, Edward slid his arm around my waist and we walked to meet our friends and the rest of the Brandon-Swan wedding party.
Malice and Bella's wedding was perfect for them in every way. Malice's white cocktail dress set off her elfin prettiness, while the deep iris that Bella wore complimented her fair skin and dark hair. There were forty of us gathered by the lagoon that afternoon while the Swan Boats drifted by at regular intervals, filled with tourist and sightseers. It was a loose and casual affair, almost rambling, and deeply intimate. Emmett and Edward stood up for the brides, and Bella's father walked them both down the aisle. Malice forgot some of her vows, and then blushed as everyone laughed, while Bella tried not to roll her eyes when Edward produced the rings and Mrs. Swan burst into noisy tears.
I stood with Carlisle and Esme during the ceremony, my eyes on Edward much of the time despite the pair of pretty girls that we were there to celebrate. I drank in his reactions and the happiness he radiated as our friends exchanged their vows, and smiled when Esme slipped her hand into the crook of my elbow.
"I don't think I've ever seen Edward look happier than he does these days," she murmured. "Thank you for that, Garrett."
"What do you mean?" I asked softly, noting that Carlisle was smiling serenely too, though his eyes were trained on the bridal party.
"You make him happy," Esme replied simply. "Edward has always been a blithe and loving soul; it's one of the things that people like most about him. But he's different now. He seems ... content. And that's due to you, I think."
I glanced toward Edward at that moment, and my breath hitched when he caught my eye and sent an absolutely beautiful smile across the space between us.
"He does the same for me," I told Esme, my voice hoarse. "He's changed my life in so many ways; it's hard to remember what it was like before I knew him."
We fell silent again while Bella and Alice exchanged their first kiss as a married couple, but my mind whirled with Esme's words and my body buzzed with the aftereffects of Edward's smile. I had known for a long time that I wanted to spend my future with him. Some of the ghosts from my past continued to haunt me, though, causing me to doubt myself. I hated the idea of ever hurting Edward, but even more, I hated the idea of disappointing him. I'd seen the devastation in Kate's eyes when I'd told her I couldn't be with her; the last thing I wanted was to see anything like that in Edward's eyes.
Those doubts peeled away as I watched Edward that afternoon. As applause for Bella and Alice's union rang out around me, I knew at last that—if Edward let me—I would give him forever, starting that very moment.
Following the ceremony and photographs, the party walked four blocks to Joe's American Bar & Grill on Newbury Street, where Emmett had reserved the Wine Room for cocktails and a light dinner menu.
"Are you guys doing anything special for Edward's birthday?" Jasper asked.
"We are not," Edward answered for me as he set a round of drinks on the table. He grinned toothily when I glared at him and slid into the seat next to mine. "You know I don't like to make a big deal about my birthday, Jas."
"We're having dinner with Edward's parents on Sunday night—thank you for taking his shift by the way, Jas. Otherwise, and at Edward's request, we're not doing anything in particular for the entire weekend." Alec's snort made me smile.
"Where the hell is the fun in that?" he asked.
Edward held his hands up as if in defense. "Hey, Gar and I have been working like idiots for weeks, and the edits for my book are with my editor right now; I want some time off to sit on my ass and do nothing." He sipped his beer, his face taking on a dreamy expression. "We could sleep. Or have a Scrabble tournament. Or go to the beach and get some fried clams. Oh my God, I could read a book."
A horrified expression crossed Alec's face, making Jasper laugh while I choked on my lobster ravioli. Alec loved making the special occasions of his life memorable; the idea of spending a birthday doing nothing but the mundane was completely alien to him.
Edward thumped me on the back with one hand while pointing across the table at our friend. "Quit it with the faces, you. Why can't I chill out for a couple of days? I'm may be a lame ass—"
"No argument there, Ed," Jasper teased, chuckling when Edward carried on as though no one had spoken.
"—but you try working six days a week and then writing into the wee hours every night. Garrett worked over sixty hours last week alone! Swap places with us, Alec, and see if you don't get a hard on at the mention of some time off."
"Ah, excellent, the penis talk has begun already," Matheus said as he sat on Edward's other side with a plate of crab cakes and a drink.
"We're talking about Edward's birthday," Jasper clarified when Malice and Bella pulled up to the table too.
"Actually some of us were talking about Edward's birthday; Edward was ranting." Alec shrugged when Edward narrowed his eyes. "Dude, you were! I could see the whites of your eyes and you were waving your arms around like a Muppet."
"He'll say anything to get out of talking birthdays," Matheus said before batting Edward's stealthy fork away from his plate. "I don't know why you're so funny about celebrating the day Ed; it's one day out of a year. Seems a shame to hide out when people want to spend it with you, no?"
His cheeks colored when Edward abruptly smirked. "Depends on the birthday, Mats. Last year's didn't go well as you know; it's kind of a mood killer when you find out that your boyfriend ditched you for another dude. At your own party."
"I apologized," Matheus muttered, as a chorus of groans and laughs broke out around the table. "It's not as if you didn't know I was whorebag, Edward."
"Yeah, I knew you were a whorebag because you told me the first day we worked behind the bar together, Mats. Still makes for awkward birthday conversations."
Edward winked to let me know he was joking, and grinned when Matheus slid the plate of crab cakes in front of him. The conversation took another turn, but I frowned when Matheus smiled weakly and focused his eyes on the tabletop; normally, he was as unfazed by the heavy teasing that went on within the group as anyone else. Edward must have noticed his shift in mood though, because when Matheus excused himself to go the bar, Edward stood too and followed his friend.
"What's that about?" Malice asked thoughtfully.
I watched the two men walking to the other side of the room and shook my head. "I'm not sure. Is ... did Matheus really do that? Pick up some random at a bar on Edward's birthday?" I licked my lips, working to keep my voice neutral.
Malice grimaced delicately. "Yeah. That was the last straw for Edward, from what Mats told me; they broke up a few days later." She cocked her head and gave me a knowing look as her words clicked. "You know that they never really agreed about the open relationship thing; I guess Mats finally crossed a line with Edward. I wasn't sure if you'd remember, Gar; you went back to Portland around the same time."
"I was working on Ed's birthday last year, and I couldn't make it to the birthday party. I found out they'd broken up after I came back home from that trip, too, and I had no idea that that was the reason for the breakup."
"Mats still feels badly about it,"
"Really? A year later?"
Malice sipped her martini and together we watched the two men talking quietly while they waited for their drinks. Edward and Matheus's shoulders were brushing and their expressions were earnest, but for the most part, relaxed.
"Mats knows it was a shitty thing to do. Edward didn't like that his boyfriend screwed around, but he was good to Mats. I was surprised they made as long as they did to be honest.
"A lot of guys might not stay friends after something like that, and especially working together." Alice smiled gently. "They figured it out, though, even after you swept Ed off his feet, Gar."
My eyes widened in surprise. "Me? I'm not a sweep them off their feet kind of guy, Mal."
She laughed gently. "Is that what you think? Well, don't tell Edward; he was pretty much gone on you by the time you'd been in the bar half a dozen times."
Bella joined in giggling at me when my face flushed. "Yeah. I didn't know, for-fucking-ever it seems. He never said anything to me," I said.
"Ed plays his cards close to his vest," Bella agreed. "He's like a ninja when he sets his mind on keeping something to himself. I figure that when these idiots start getting married, Edward's just going to walk into the bar one day and say, 'Hey. Garr and I flew to Vegas and got married over the weekend. What's tonight's beer special?'"
Malice and I fell against each other laughing at Bella's impression of Edward's voice but I cocked my head curiously at her words. "Do these guys talk about getting married?"
"Jas and Alec do sometimes," Bella said, "but I think it'll be a long time before we hear something like that out of Matheus; he can't even date a guy for longer than eight weeks, for Christ's sake."
Malice nodded and then smiled slyly. "He's been making eyes at the new guy, Riley, though; no surprise there."
"No?" I felt a rush of guilty pleasure at our shameless gossiping.
"Riley kind of reminds me of Edward," Malice said. "Sweet and handsome, and really smart under the jokey facade. Riley's a little tougher than Edward though; if push comes to shove, he won't put up with Mats's bullshit."
"Basically, they're perfect for each other," Bella declared, clinking her glass against Malice's. "They just don't know it yet. Edward, however, is perfect for you and you for him." She sipped her drink before speaking again. "If you hadn't already been married, I think Edward would have proposed by now."
I blinked in surprise. "Really?"
"Yep," Alice replied smartly. "Hey, we all know you're not really sold on marriage after everything that happened with your ex; you've been open about it, Gar."
"It's funny, too," Bella said as we all turned to watch Edward and Matheus walking back from the bar. "I never would have pegged Edward as the marrying type. He's always seemed pretty happy just doing his own thing, boyfriend or not." Bella's eyes flicked back to me and she nodded approvingly. "With you, though, Garrett ... I don't know. I guess he finally met the right man."
After parents and uncles and aunts had gone home, what was left of the wedding party headed for Masen's, where Riley and the other relief bartenders were holding down the fort. We settled in among the patrons, buying each other rounds while we watched the Sox and abused our rights to the iPod playlists.
I rolled my eyes when The Wanted's I'm Glad You Came started over the speakers and Riley let out a piercing whistle from across the room. Alice and Edward jumped to their feet and began pulling people out of their chairs, ignoring protests and groans while the bar crowd started showing interest in their antics.
"Edward, I hate this song," I grumbled as he hauled me up, aware that I was whining and laughing when his face pulled down in a mock pout.
"Don't be like that, baby," he coaxed over the music, his fingers warm against my waist. "You hum this song for hours every time you hear it. And besides, it's been forever since we've gone dancing!"
In seconds, nearly everyone was either on their feet dancing, or singing along to the music. The energy in the bar soared as people stomped and clapped, and a cheer went up when Matheus and Riley hopped on top of the bar. They stepped in close, their handsome faces creased with smiles as they danced and the bikers in the corner cheerfully pelted them with cocktail peanuts. Bella and Malice swung past us, their arms slung around each other's waists, and Rosalie shrieked with laughter when Emmett dipped her backward.
Edward and I rocked back and forth as the chaos swirled around us, and he threw back his head with a laugh when I finally raised my arms over my head and whooped.
"Drunken Garrett for the win!" he yelled, flailing briefly when I pulled him in for a kiss.
"Goddamn it, you're cute," I told him when we pulled apart. "I draw the line at dipping, though. Don't you dare!"
Edward's eyes shone. My chest tightened as I watched him, reading the love and simple happiness on his face. "Aha! Bonus points for Bossy Garrett!"
"Must be your lucky night, sweetheart."
Edward just smiled and pulled me close, the smell of his cologne and clean, sweet skin filling my nose. He pressed his mouth close to my ear as we danced, and I smiled as he sang. "My universe will never be the same. I'm glad you came. I'm glad you came."
I bit my lip, marveling at the way this man could make something sweet and meaningful out of even the most saccharine moments. I wound my arms around his neck, pressed my cheek against his, and held on.
Edward and I did nothing in particular for the next two days but spend time with one another. We slept late and had coffee in bed before Linus forced us to take him out. We spent time on the roof deck with margaritas, books, and our guitars. We cooked our favorite summer foods and had long Scrabble matches, taking turns messing with each other's tiles whenever either of us got up to use the bathroom or get something from the kitchen. We talked, taking particular care to discuss the stress I'd been feeling since Patriot's Day and Edward's efforts at severing his ties to Elizabeth while keeping a connection to Tanya and Irina.
Our lovemaking was charged with a different kind of intensity that ramped up not only our pleasure, but the connection between us. The feelings that had been simmering at Bella and Malice's wedding became ironclad. My apprehensions about marriage since divorcing Kate were simply gone. I felt centered instead, and certain. I wanted to ask Edward to marry me. I needed to hear him say 'yes' ... or even 'no' if that's how he felt, but above all to give him the chance to respond. So when Edward took Linus to the dog park on Saturday afternoon, I made a trip across town to the Back Bay and returned home with a little blue box wrapped with white ribbon in my pocket.
I found Edward in our bed, warm and rumpled from a nap, his big eyes still sleepy as he watched me strip off my clothes before I crawled in beside him.
"You get whatever you needed?" he asked, one hand coming up to caress the side of my face when I lay down beside him.
"Yeah, all set." I hummed as he pulled me close, squirming slightly when his cock brushed my upper thigh. "Missed me, hm?"
"Maybe a little. I knew you'd be back, though," he replied, his fingers moving to trace the shape of my lips before he leaned in to kiss me.
The kiss deepened quickly, and I grunted softly when Edward rolled on top of me, his tongue sliding against mine. I moved my hands along the smooth skin of his back, pulling him down and smiling when he pressed his hard on into mine with a low hum.
"I guess you missed me, too," he murmured, grinding against me in a slow, tantalizing way that he knew would drive me crazy.
"Yeah," I said breathlessly, "and if you'd still been sleeping, I'd have fucked you awake."
Edward groaned and pressed his forehead to mine. "I could go back to sleep?"
"Uh-uh." I shook my head slowly.
"Let me make it up to you, then."
He bore down hard against me, the weight of his body sending fire racing under my skin as I tried but failed to stifle a gasp. "Yeah. Please, Ed."
We kissed deeply, tongues and teeth clashing; both of us were breathing hard when Edward pulled away. I watched his lean muscles flex as he reached for the nightstand, and my hand seemed to move of its own accord, drifting down to wrap around my dick. Edward licked his lips when he turned back, and a flush spread across his neck and chest as he watched me.
"You want to finish like that?" He asked, his voice was rough with desire as he palmed himself, and his eyes narrowed when I shook my head.
"Fuck no." I ground out, slowing the stroking motion of my hand to let him know it was all for show. "I want you inside me."
Edward popped the cap on the lube with a grin, relishing his turn to tease. His cool, wet fingers rubbed and rolled over and inside me, turning me into a cursing, thrashing mess in no time. I had to close my eyes when he pulled his hands away to slick his cock with lube, aware that I was on the verge of losing it before we'd even really begun.
"Jesus, Garrett" he muttered as he pushed inside me.
Heat flooded through my body as it stretched and burned, the mix of pleasure edged with pain scrambling my thoughts so that I couldn't answer except to moan. I heard Edward's sharp intake of breath and forced my eyes open as he rocked forward to slide deeper as the burn became a low, maddening throb. Edward bent forward, propping his elbows outside of my shoulders and sliding his hands around my head as he kissed me. He shuddered when I raised my knees and wrapped my legs around his waist, and I ran my hands over his back and shoulders, digging my fingers into his muscles.
The sounds of our bodies moving together filled the air, pierced by gasps and murmurs as our pleasure flared and grew. Edward drove into me, obeying my muttered pleas for more, while I rocked my hips up to meet him, our movements quickly becoming desperate. At last he leaned onto one elbow, reaching between us with his right hand to curl his fingers around me, and his hitching breaths told me that he was close.
"Please," I heard myself say again, unsure of what I wanted but knowing that I needed more.
Edward's back arched when he came and he let out a long moan that went right through me. Neither of us stopped moving as he climaxed, and the weight of his body on top of mine paired with his strong, sure fingers pushed me over the edge. Edward kissed me breathlessly while I pulsed into his fist, his touch grounding me as I floated slowly back to earth.
"Tell me the dog is not at the foot of the bed staring at us again," he mumbled a little while later, and I felt his cheek pull up in a smile against my shoulder when I laughed.
"He was snoozing on the couch when I let myself in," I said, "but I give it ten seconds before he shows up looking for dinner."
"I suppose we'd better get up then," Edward said, raising his head to peer at me curiously. "Are you gonna tell me where you just had to go today?"
I nodded and pushed the damp hair back from his forehead. "Of course. Eventually." I meant it, too; I wanted to ask Edward to marry me before his birthday was over. I just hadn't figured out yet how to ask.
Edward's lips pushed out in a pout as he crawled up onto all fours. "Fine. Keep your secret, Gar; you know I'll worm it out of you eventually."
The clicking of Linus's claws on the hardwood floor stopped our banter, but we were smiling as we climbed out of bed to clean up and get dressed.
It was overcast on Sunday, so we got the car out to drive to Revere Beach for the fried clams Edward had been craving. We ordered a seafood feast at Kelly's Roast Beef and sat under one of the sun shelters to eat, while Linus napped at our feet and the ring box burned a hole in my pocket. The usually jam-packed sands were sparsely populated, dotted here and there with diehards trying to soak up the weak rays, and the beach was wonderfully quiet, filled almost solely by the sounds of the surf and low wind.
"Sorry the sun's not out for your birthday," I said as I aimed a forkful of fried sea scallop into a cup of tartar sauce.
Edward shrugged and smiled. "I'm not. This is really nice. I don't have to shout over the sound of a thousand car stereos to hear myself think."
"And what are you thinking so hard about?"
"Nothing. Everything." Edward's eyes moved from mine to look out at the beach again. "How much some things have changed in a year, while some have stayed the same."
"Do you always get existential like this on your birthday?" I asked, keeping my voice low so that Edward knew my words weren't purely teasing.
Edward nodded slowly. "Sometimes. I certainly did some heavy thinking on my last birthday," he said, laughing softly as he turned to look at me again. "I'm good this year, though. This birthday has been low on the drama."
"Without being boring?"
Edward shook his head and dropped a forkful of lobster roll into his mouth, rubbing his chest through his Wu-Tang t-shirt as he chewed and swallowed. "Bored? I don't have time to be bored while I'm busy crushing you to dust playing Scrabble."
Just like that, I knew exactly how I wanted to give Edward the ring. I couldn't help snorting loudly at his cocky words though. "You're such a pain in the ass."
"You need to work on the way you say 'Happy Birthday' to a guy, Garrett. Jeeze."
"Happy Birthday, you pain in the ass. I love you."
"Much better. I love you, too, baby."
Edward rolled his eyes when I pulled out the Scrabble box after we got home. He went to the kitchen for some beers while I was fishing tiles out of the bag, and my heart jumped as I reached for the ring box.
"Can I get lime in my beer, please?" I asked, racing with nervous fingers to put everything into place as I'd imagined.
"Sure, sure. Don't look at my tiles, Garrett!" Edward called over the sound of bottle caps popping. "You really should learn to quit while you're ahead, you know. Not that you've been ahead with the games, mind you."
"Oh, shut up, you. Listen, we don't have to be at your parents' house for hours. What better way to wish you a 'Happy Birthday' than to let you beat me at Scrabble, maybe get a little drunk, and then take a nap before we go for dinner?"
"Mmm, that does sound nice," Edward said as he walked around the kitchen island, a beer in each hand and a sexy smirk on his face. "Feel free to wake me up with your dick whenever the mood strikes you, by the way."
I smiled and took the beer he offered me but my heart was hammering too hard to allow me speak. All I could do was watch Edward take his seat and look at the rack containing six Scrabble tiles spelling 'LOVE YOU' with a simple platinum band resting in place of the second 'O'.
Edward grew very still as he stared at the rack. Moving carefully, he put down his beer bottle, and reached to trace the top of the ring with one finger. He looked almost dazed when he lifted his eyes to meet mine, and his Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed, seeming, for once, to truly be at a loss for words.
Putting down my own beer, I scooted along the couch, moving closer to Edward and taking his free hand. "Edward?"
He blinked at the word, his fingers tightening reflexively around mine as he nodded, and licked his lips when I reached to pluck the ring from the rack.
"I've been thinking, too. About us. About how much has changed since you came into my life." I rubbed his fingers gently, grinning when Edward smiled at last. "I don't see myself with anyone else, ever."
"I feel that way, too," he murmured, his cheeks flushing pink as we watched one another.
I nodded, glancing down at the gleaming band between my fingers and then back at Edward. "I think we should tell everyone that we feel that way. I think we should get married."
"You do?" Edward's smile and voice were slightly shaky, but his eyes were shining as bright as I'd ever seen and I felt as though my heart might explode.
"Yes, I do. I love you, Edward. Will you marry me?"
"Yes," he said, nodding as his smile grew wider. "Yes, I will."
"Oh, thank God," I said in a rush that made us both laugh.
I raised my hands to cup Edward's face and remembered the band I was still holding between my fingers. Then I remembered the matching band I'd bought for myself that was still in my pocket and pulled it out, which only made us laugh harder. Taking Edward's left hand in mine, I slid the band over his ring finger and then held my breath as he pushed the other band over my knuckle. My heart thundered in my ears as I looked at the bright gleam of white alloy against our skins, and I pulled Edward close, overwhelmed by my feelings. The moment felt more right and true than any I had ever expected before and I heard myself whisper 'thank you' without thought of the words ever forming in my head.
Edward turned his head to bury his face against my neck. "I love you, Gar," he said, his quiet words soothing me like a balm.
This time, when my hands rose to cup Edward's jaw there was nothing to stop me from kissing him. His lips were warm and soft, lingering on mine as I closed my eyes and let myself fall into the pleasure I knew so well. I caught Edward's lower lip between my teeth then swallowed his sigh as he wound his arms around me. His tongue slid between my lips, making me groan as I opened my mouth against his and slid my hands into his hair.
Our hearts raced and our hands roamed, drawing soft noises from one another. We were breathing hard when we finally broke apart, and laughing as we fell back together against the couch.
"This isn't some kind of elaborate plan to get out of losing at Scrabble again, is it?" Edward grinned when I shook my head.
"Not at all, sweetheart; the ass kicking can start whenever you want. And this proposal is definitely on the up and up, I promise."
Edward's smile was blinding. "Then tonight is definitely my lucky night, baby."
Aaaaand, sigh. I'll miss these guys. I've decided the only solution is to write more Garrett/Edward. Poor me. LOL
Thank you very much for reading, and sticking it out with me.
I'm posting an Edward/Emmett drabble called One Summer Night, linked on my profile.
The CharlieCard is a stored value smart card used for electronic ticketing Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) at its stations and on its vehicles.
Boston Public Garden is a large park in the center of Boston, adjacent to the Boston Commons. The pond in the park hosts a small fleet of pleasure boats called Swan Boats. The boats are powered by the operators, who pedal from paddleboxes concealed by large, white swans.
The Wanted are an English-Irish boy bad.
Revere Beach is a public beach in Revere, Massachusetts, located about 4 miles north of downtown Boston.
Kelly's Roast Beef is a regional fast-food chain in the Boston area; its flagship store is located on Revere Beach. I hear they serve dynamite roast beef sandwiches, but I've never eaten it – I'm always too busy eating the fried seafood which is to die for.
Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a gameboard marked with a 15×15 grid. I got the idea for the Scrabble proposal from a photo I saw on tumblr.
The Wu-Tang Clan is an American East Coast hip hop group from Staten Island, New York.