Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns everything Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: You guys are so funny with your reviews! I'm sorry I scared you with Aro there. As you can see, academia people lack in social skills, and that's just the way they joke. ;)
Also, everybody thought Edward would make Mac&Cheese for Bella. I F-love you guys so much! JSYK, he almost did! ;)
Ok, sooooo... We've made it! This is it! Final chapter! OMG!
Thank you all who stuck with the story from beginning to end. From Doucheward, to Forkuphisassward to Marshmalloward.
As you know, this story wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my lovies Jax713 and mcc101180.
WARNING: There's onion chopping, and discussion of a difficult topic, that might induce tear-spilling.
I definitely have to stop at the grocery store, unless I want to make mac and cheese for Bella. I realize, sadly, I have no idea what to prepare for dinner. So I turn to my all-knowing best friend: Google.
Search: What to cook for your girlfriend?
Search Results: 5 Easy Meals To Cook For Her – AskMen(dot)com
Chipotle Shrimp Kabobs…
What the fuck?
Sautéed Lemon Garlic Chicken…
Really, AskMen(dot)com, really?
I groan and try again.
Search: Easy dinner for two
Search Results: Cooking for Two Recipes – Allrecipes(dot)com
Allrecipes(dot)com? I think I've heard Alice mention this site before.
Salmon with Raspberry Ginger Glaze…
Holy shit! And these are the easy ones?
I hit my forehead on the desk, repeatedly. Maybe I should try to make something I already know how to make… like grilled cheese. Or pasta! I could try to make some pasta sauce.
Search: Easy Pasta Sauce
Search Results: Easy Vodka Sauce – Allrecipes(dot)com
Now we're talking.
I write down all the ingredients and head to the store.
I'm chopping onions in small little squares when I get a text from Bella.
"I'm done with the semester! Woot! Woot! Do you want me early so I can help you with dinner?"
Yes… Please… No!
C'mon, I can do this. How hard can it be?
Just follow the protocol, Cullen.
"What? No faith in me, Swan?" I type quickly, getting onion juice all over my cell.
"I would prefer not to get food poisoning. I have an internship this summer! :)"
I smile at the screen.
"You're distracting me. See you here at 7. Ps: Smiley faces are lame."
"And you, my Grumpy, you are adorable!"
When Bella knocks at the door, it's only a quarter to seven. I have the garlic bread in the oven, and the sauce needs to cook for another thirty minutes. I was hoping to shower before she got here, but I've run out of time.
I open the door and find Bella smiling.
"Did you wrestle the tomatoes?" She giggles and tip toes to kiss me. "Hi…"
I want to pull her up to me, like I always do, but she's right —I'm covered in stupid, squirty tomatoes.
"Give me a sec." I remove my shirt and walk to my bedroom to change.
When I come back, she's by the sink. "Geez, Edward. How many things are you making?" She gestures with her hand to the pile of dishes.
"Just the one dish, Bella."
"Did you feel the need to use all of your pots and utensils? Were you trying them all out?"
"Okay, Swan. You're getting on my nerves. I'm trying to cook here," I say as I mix the sauce with the spoon.
"You should use a wooden spoon. That metal one would make the sauce acidic. 'Cause you know, the metal reacts with the acidic pH of the tomatoes and—"
I turn to glare at her. She has a wooden spoon in her hand and walks closer to me and the stove. I didn't even know I owned a wooden spoon —probably some of Alice's unused gifts.
"I've got it," I say, taking the spoon from her hands. "I almost have a PhD, you know?"
"Okay… Okay…Mr. PhD…" She waves her hands in the air in surrender. "Can I play some music?" She reaches my laptop which is still on the counter. "Oh my gosh…" She giggles. "You googled the meaning of sautéed?"
"Okay, that's it, Swan." I exaggeratedly drop the wooden spoon over the dish on the counter. "No dinner for you." I point a finger at her and struggle to keep a straight face.
"I'm sorry." She laughs. I walk closer to her and corner her against the counter. "It does smell delicious," she whispers, running a finger over my chest.
"And I haven't even showered yet." I drop kisses on her neck as my hand reaches for her back under her shirt.
"You do smell delicious too," she says huskily in my ear.
"Liar. I stink of onions."
"Only a little bit." She giggles into my neck as I pull her up on the counter. "Thanks for making me dinner."
"My pleasure," I say into her neck, running my nose from her collarbone to behind her ear— she is the one that smells delicious. I pull my face away and face her. "Congratulations on your internship, Bella. You absolutely earned it."
"Yeah… about that," she says with a nervous giggle. "I haven't said yes yet."
"Why not?" I look at her in confusion.
"Well, I have to think about it."
"Bella, it's an incredible opportunity. Aro has never offered an internship to a student after only a semester of work."
"I know… but…" She trails off and bites her lip.
"What is it?" I cup her cheek with my hand and rub my thumb on it.
"Well… are we going to be okay if I join the lab for the summer? We'll have to keep hiding this, and I know it's been getting… um… difficult… for both of us."
I sigh in relief and smile at her. It's nice of her to include herself, when I'm the only one who has been making this difficult. The fact that she'd be willing to pass on this opportunity so that we could be together has my heart exploding in my chest. And in all honesty, I would do it for her too... in a heartbeat. Funny how things change.
"Yeah… about that…" I repeat her words. She looks at me expectantly. "I'm sorry I've been so difficult about the whole thing… but it turns out, we don't need to hide anymore. I mean, we should still keep things professional in the lab and all, but… Aro sort of knows."
"WHAT?" She pushes me back with a hand on my chest.
"I think it was becoming obvious, Bella. He didn't ask me directly, but he said our personal life had nothing to do with our work, and as long as it didn't affect our performance, he didn't care."
"He doesn't care?" Her tone is still high-pitched in surprise.
"Apparently his wife worked for him once too…" I shrug, getting back to our dinner. I give the sauce a little stir, put some salt in the boiling water, and add the spaghetti to it.
"That… that changes things."
I turn my gaze to her. She doesn't seem as relieved as I was when I realized Aro was on board and we didn't have to hide anymore. I step in between her legs again.
"What is it?"
"So, um… do you want me to take the internship? You won't get tired of me?"
"What kind of question is that, Bella?" I shake my head. "I have been hurting— physically aching right around the chest area— thinking that you might take an internship somewhere else and that you'd leave me for the whole summer."
Her smile is huge and ravishing. "You have?"
"Well, it looks like I won't be going anywhere."
"Good. Because I have a lot of work to do, and I could really use an over-achieving undergrad with some pretty amazing skills at the bench."
"I'd say my skills go beyond the bench. Wouldn't you agree?" she asks with a sexy smirk on her face.
"I would…" I say, pointing at her with the wooden spoon. "But don't distract me now, or I'll burn your dinner."
Dinner isn't half bad. We both eat while Bella goes over her classes, her finals, her classmates, and her professors. I just sit there and enjoy the way her eyes brighten in excitement, how the corners of her mouth lift up when she smiles, how her eyebrows pucker when she frowns, how she hand gestures everything while she speaks… Just the way she enjoys life, how passionate she is, it's so precious to me.
Bella is drying the last few dishes when I approach her from behind and kiss her neck. "You want to show off some of those non-bench skills of yours?" She turns around and I lean on the counter with my hands, lowering myself to her. I'm kissing her when I can smell it…
"God, I stink…"
She giggles. "It's fine."
"Do you mind if I take a quick shower?"
"Can I join you?"
I smile at her and seize her hand before I lead us to the bathroom.
My shirt and pants are gone before we make it there.
She kicks her shoes off and starts unbuttoning her jeans while I turn the water on.
"May I?" I ask, my hand closing around her wrist. She nods.
I unbutton her jeans and lower them to her ankles. On my way up, I kiss her calves, her knees, and her thighs, making her giggle.
"Your scruff tickles."
She steps out of her pants as I lift her shirt off of her.
"Ladybugs? I haven't seen this one before." I run my finger over the straps of her bra.
Once our underwear is out of the way, I pull her up to me and she wraps her legs around my waist. Our difference in stature makes this the most convenient position, for… well… everything.
She squeals when I jump in the shower, putting her directly under the streaming water.
Her lips are all over me, and I press her against the wall so I can move one of my hands from under her to her face. She pulls at my hair and moans when she feels how hard I am for her already.
"Put me down," she says hoarsely in my ear.
I do as I'm told. She kisses my chest and slowly lowers herself to her knees, trailing kisses on her way down.
"Bella…" I lean on the wall with my hand. I know what she's going to do. This definitely counts as one of her non-bench skills. She's done it before, just never in the shower, or on her knees…
God, that's incredibly hot…
I moan into my arm as she wraps her hands around me and licks the tip— her eyes on mine the whole time.
Holy mother of god…
She starts slowly at first, licking me, sucking me… it's the best kind of torture.
I resist the urge to pound into her mouth while she increases her pace with her hands around my hips.
She closes her eyes and moans. Holy shit, she likes this too!
I won't be able to hold on for long. I can feel the pressure building in my abdomen. My knees start to weaken.
"Bella…" I rasp warningly. "I'm… shit…"
She doesn't slow down; on the contrary, her hands tighten the grip on my hips, and her pace increases.
I'm unable to contain my moans. I reach for something to grab, but the shower curtain rod shakes under my hand, so I pull at my hair, as I groan on my arm and spill into Bella's mouth.
Bella gets up from her knees and licks her lips, making my insides clench. I pull her up again and pant into her neck. "You are one talented woman."
With Bella wrapped around me, I walk clumsily into the bedroom. I slump on the bed— Bella beneath me— and I kiss her… everywhere.
God, I will never get tired of kissing her.
I kneel next to the bed and pull her legs so she's on the edge. I've got some skills of my own to show her. I kiss her thighs, and she squirms while I pull her legs over my shoulders. I caress her hips with my fingers and lick my lips.
Bella moans and writhes under me as I lick and suck and nibble… where she wants me… where I want to be.
"God, Bella, you taste even better than you smell."
Soon enough I have Bella screaming my name and her walls clenching around my tongue.
Bringing her pleasure this way, knowing I'm good at it, has become one of my favorite activities.
I plant little kisses all over her body as I work my way to her neck.
"Mmmmmm… Edward…" With a sigh, she releases her fist from the sheets and runs her hand through my soaked hair. "Very… talented… yourself."
I snort and kiss her.
I love you, I love you, I love you…
"Inside… now," Bella orders, panting.
"Bella?" I run my fingers through her damp hair spread over my chest.
"I… I want to tell you about my parents." She lifts her head, folds her arms over my chest, and places them under her chin.
She gives me a tiny grin and nod.
"You probably guessed that they're dead, right?"
She nods again. "I know they're not part of your life now… I figured something must have happened."
"My dad died when I was four," I say bluntly.
"I don't remember him, except for pictures, I guess…" I shrug. "Pretty aggressive colon cancer— killed him in two months."
"Oh my God, Edward… I'm so sorry."
"It's fine." I try to smile at her, but it probably comes out imperfect and crooked like she has mentioned before. "So it was my mom and me… for a while… but when I was eleven, she was diagnosed with breast cancer."
Her eyes widen, and she starts rubbing circles on my chest with her fingers.
"She was so strong, though. She fought it, for almost two years, with the most eager and positive attitude you can imagine. She was sort of like you in that way." I try smiling at her again. Bella's eyes are starting to tear up, but she remains quiet, letting me finish.
"When she started getting worse, we moved in with my aunt, uncle, and Alice. My dad's brother, Carlisle, happens to be one of the best oncologists on the West Coast. But after metastasis, there was pretty much nothing else he could do."
"And that's why you do cancer research."
"It was Carlisle's idea, really. He mentioned how frustrating it was, being an oncologist, waiting for new therapies, new drugs, and new discoveries. I figured it would make sense, for me to devote my life… to that."
"I know it's not a very profitable career…" Or how Tanya would have said, a waste of time.
"Profitable?" Her tone of disbelief surprises me. "What do you need so much money for anyway? You're doing something you love. Something meaningful. That's so much more important."
I'm rendered speechless by Bella, how she understands me, how good it feels to have her know me. I kiss the top of her head and we fall silent for a bit, until I decide to share with her the last piece of my story, as I promised her before.
"My mom… um… she loved The Carpenters. She would make me sing their songs to her all the time. At the end—when she was breathing through a tube and couldn't speak anymore— she wrote that note you saw on the CD."
"'I'll be with Daddy soon'?" Bella deduces, remembering the words perfectly.
"Yes…" I run a hand through my hair and stare at the ceiling, trying to breathe through the lump in my throat. "I still miss her… so much." I keep my eyes fixed on the ceiling and will them not to fill with tears. I blame the onions and their sulfenic acids when they do.
I take a couple deep breaths, and after I've collected myself, I turn to face Bella, who's sniffling over her hands.
"Bella, don't cry. Please."
"I'm sorry. It's just so sad. I'm so sorry." She cries over my chest, and I run my hand over her hair.
"I know. But I'm okay. I'm happy now."
"Yes, because of you."
She sniffles and giggles into her hands. She's crying and giggling at the same time. She'll never cease to amaze me.
"I love you, Bella." My throat burns with the conviction of my words.
She lifts her head again and stares at me through her wet eyelashes. I'm sure she can feel how my heart is pounding under her. I'm overwhelmed by my emotions, but I've never spoken truer words. After a few seconds, Bella's hand reaches behind my neck as her lips collide with mine. She kisses me passionately, her tears still spilling from her cheeks on to mine.
"And I love you…" She breathes in between kisses. "So… so… so much."
We fall asleep like this, with her over my chest. I feel relieved to have her know me— in a way no one has ever known me before. And even though I still worry about our future together, I don't have to figure everything out right now. Like Bella said, I would enjoy my time— my time with her, my time in school. As long as I have her by my side, nothing else matters anymore. I am doing what I love to do with the person I love beside me. It couldn't possibly get any better than that.
A/N: THE END. *snot-sobs*
Thank you, really, all of you. This was an amazing experience!
All the fluffy love in my heart! Ronnie.