Author's Note: Thanks again to EKSmith and miaokuancha for pre-reading. Stephenie Meyer owns all characters.
So I posted the prior chapter late Thursday and apparently FF was doing some kind of maintenance, so no one could review. It should be working fine now if you'd like to go back and review that one before reading this one. I'll wait. ;)
Epilogue: I Do
Friday, September 14, 2012
I lean my head against the tiny window and close my eyes. I know I should try to sleep but my mind just refuses to shut down, running through the last few months.
Though there's been both good and bad, the last seven months have been the best of my life.
After three weekends of searching, Edward and I settled on a four-bedroom house about 15 minutes away from Mike and the kids. We moved in shortly before Easter. I hosted Easter dinner for Edward and his parents, and then Esme stayed for a week to help us redecorate the house. It's gorgeous now — everything I ever wanted. Edward says it's very me.
I was a little worried about facing Edward's parents, but they were very gracious to me. Edward swore to me that they didn't hate me for the lies I'd told, but still I was skeptical. Their visit turned out ok, but I could tell they haven't completely forgiven me for the lies I told.
I introduced Edward to my children the first weekend after he returned from his trip home to Forks. Nessie was taken with him right away, declaring that he was much cuter than Justin Bieber. Once Edward played her a couple songs on his guitar, she was head over heels for him. I ended up buying Ness a guitar for her tenth birthday, and Edward has been giving her lessons every time the kids stay with us. Mike wasn't too thrilled about that until he saw how happy it made her.
It's been a bit of a tougher road with the boys, especially Seth. He was already acting out somewhat before I moved out, but after that, he started causing trouble in school. I talked to Kate about it, and she suggested family therapy for all of us to help the kids deal with the changes in their lives. Nessie said she's fine and didn't want to go to therapy, but she's almost taking this too well, and I don't want to deal with a rebellious teenager in three more years, so I am making her go, despite her protests. Edward was a little bit intimidated by such young kids at first, and I think the boys fed on his nervousness. But as spring arrived and Edward began showing them how to throw a baseball and swing the bat, they came around a little bit. He's more like an overgrown big brother to them than a father, though.
Mike's mom stayed with them for about a month, until Mike was able to get his caseload reduced enough to ensure that he could always get the kids to the bus stop before he had to go into the office. A string of teenage girls from the neighborhood would take turns watching the kids from the time they got home from school until Mike got home from work. There were a couple nights when he had to work late and Mike's parents were unavailable, when he asked me to stop by to stay with them, which of course I was happy to do. When school got out for the summer, Mike's mom started helping out more again, plus Mike enrolled all three kids in summer camp activities. School has been back in session for several weeks now, and it's back to the old routine with teenage babysitters.
When I got my kids for two weeks in July, Edward and I took them to Phoenix to see their grandparents. It was also the first time Edward met my parents. My mom — cougar that she is — thinks Edward is just adorable. I know he was intimidated by my father, but I managed to stop Dad from greeting him with a shotgun. Still, I was mortified when Dad asked Edward when he was planning to make an honest woman out of me. I had to remind my dad that I was still married — on paper, anyway.
Our final divorce hearing is coming up next week. I've talked to Irina about my chances of getting more time with the kids than what I had initially agreed to. She believes that by showing the court that I can provide a stable home environment after my behavior last year will be the biggest hurdle. Thankfully, she doesn't think Edward's past should factor in at all, once we explained the situation. I'm not hopeful that any changes to the custody agreement will be made next week, but if we can convince a judge to revisit things in six months or so, I will feel like I've won the first battle.
The first step toward providing a stable environment was my job situation. After talking with HR at my old company, I stopped taking on new consulting clients. By the end of March, all of my existing projects were finished and I went back to the corporate world. I'm working in a new position now on the Pricing side and I love it. I work normal hours with very little overtime and I get to see one project through to completion, instead of doing the same thing month after month. It's a bit of a pay cut from my previous role but so worth it. While the majority of my co-workers welcomed me back with open arms, there are several who have been more judgmental about my choices. I try not to let it upset me too much — after all, I expected some backlash.
Meanwhile, Edward's career has just taken off. He finished a second movie score and is working on his third now. As a housewarming gift, Edward's parents paid to have his baby grand piano from their house moved into ours, and we turned the formal living room into his music room. I'm so proud of him for no longer letting his past hold him back from realizing his dreams.
Edward has had to make a few trips to LA while working on his projects. His longest trip was for two weeks and I thought I'd never survive his absence. How did I ever think I could live the rest of my life without Edward?
I can't say that our relationship is perfect — no relationship is. But we have much more of an equal partnership than Mike and I ever had. Edward is still semi-useless in the kitchen, aside from loading and unloading the dishwasher, but once the weather turned nice, he began grilling outside several nights a week. Guys seem to be born knowing how to work a grill. I try to cook a few healthy meals per week to go with Edward's meat, meat, meat. We also eat out a lot, as my waistline can attest.
But it's the little things that make me feel so blessed. Just like last summer in Forks, Edward seems to have this need to be touching me almost constantly. Or he leans over and kisses me for no reason at all. And of course our sex life is better than ever. I still can't get enough of him. I hope that never ends. I hope the butterflies never end.
In the past couple of months, Mike has started dating again. His girlfriend is a 35-year-old widow with a son and daughter around Nessie's age. Jessica introduced them. I wanted to tease him about how well that worked out for him the first time, but I wisely refrained. I'm happy for him — I never meant him any ill will. Speaking of Jessica, both she and her parents have practically cut me out of their lives, which was pretty much to be expected. Mike is civil to me for the kids' sake, but we're not what I'd call friends.
"The Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belts sign. Please fasten your seat belts in preparation for landing."
"Edward," I say, nudging him awake. "We're almost there."
He blinks at me, bleary-eyed and adorable. I can't resist leaning in for a quick kiss.
"Did you sleep?"
I shake my head. "I'm too keyed up."
Edward laughs. "You'd think you're the one getting married."
About a half hour later, we file off the plane and then walk hand in hand to the rental car desk. Edward's parents offered to come pick us up at SeaTac, but we didn't want to put them out making such a long drive. It's close to 7pm by the time we're on the road, so we stop for some fast food before we start the long drive to Forks.
When we finally arrive at Edward's parents' house, we're both exhausted, especially with the two-hour time difference. After greeting his parents, we head upstairs to his old bedroom and fall asleep within minutes.
Saturday morning, we have to be at Alice's parents' home by 11am. Both Edward and I are part of the wedding party. Edward is one of Jasper's groomsmen — his brother Jared is best man — while Rose and I are sharing the bridesmaid-slash-maid of honor duties. I feel awful that I didn't have enough vacation time to fly out early and attend the bridal shower or bachelorette party or anything like that, but from the pictures I saw — Rose did a wonderful job.
By the time we arrive and I make my way to Alice's old bedroom, she already has her hair and makeup done. She looks beautiful. I hug her closely, trying not to mess anything up, and wish her good luck.
Rose and I help Alice into the sequined, lacy white dress that she designed herself, and then it's our turn to get dressed. Alice was a doll and chose black, knee-length off-the-rack dresses so that I could buy my dress in Chicago and both Rose and I would be able to wear them again.
The ceremony goes off without a hitch. I can't stop staring at Edward in his dark gray suit and green tie — he's absolutely breathtaking.
After a buffet lunch in the Brandons' backyard, Alice and Jasper cut the cake, toss the bouquet — which Rose catches — and then the dancing begins. Alice didn't have a lot of money to spend on her wedding, but she just wanted a simple party with her family and close friends, anyway. It's perfect.
"You look beautiful," Edward whispers as he spins me around the makeshift dance floor.
"You're not so bad yourself. If you'd worn a tux, I don't think I would've been able to control myself."
He laughs before dipping me.
"Stop it," I laugh. "You know I can't dance very well — not to mention the four-inch heels Alice has me in."
"I'll never let you fall," he whispers before pulling me close.
When the dance is over, Edward leads me to the gazebo in a private corner of the yard.
"What are we doing here?"
"There—there's something I wanted to ask you."
"Ok…" I'm confused as to what he could need to ask — right now — that would require privacy.
When he gets down on one knee, I know exactly what he wants to ask me.
"Isabella Swan, you have given me more happiness than I ever thought possible… will you marry me?"
I'm crying before he's even finished the sentence. Nodding my head, I kneel down, grasping Edward's face in my hands and kissing him firmly.
"I love you, Edward. I would be honored to be your wife."
He reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a small box. When he opens it to reveal a gorgeous platinum ring with one large round diamond, surrounded by several tiny diamonds, I gasp in surprise.
"Edward, it's beautiful, but it's too much…"
He shakes his head. "Esme gave it to me to give you. It was her mother's."
As he slips the ring onto my finger, I'm amazed to see that it's a perfect fit. I look at him questioningly.
"I, uh, borrowed one of your rings to get your ring size and she had it resized," he admits sheepishly.
We leave the gazebo, fingers entwined. "Do you mind if we wait until tomorrow to tell everyone?" Edward asks. "I don't want to take the spotlight away from the happy couple."
"I think that's a wonderful idea," I smile.
Saying our goodbyes, we hop into the rental car and drive back to Edward's parents' house.
"I really, really wish we were staying at a hotel or something," I say as we pull onto the gravel road leading to their home. "The things I want to do to you tonight won't be quiet."
Edward laughs. "My parents' room is at the far end of the hall and my room is pretty much soundproof," he says with a wink. "Esme did that so I didn't keep them up all night playing my guitar back in high school."
"Bless your mother."
Parking the car, we run up the stairs to Edward's room, locking the door behind us.
"Do you know," he begins with a predatory look in his eye, "What every guy's fantasy is?"
I remember how this goes. "No, but I bet you're going to tell me."
"Every guy," he whispers in my ear, "Dreams of" —kiss— "getting lucky" —kiss— "in his childhood bedroom."
In response, I reach out my hands and loosen Edward's tie, then pull it over his neck and toss it to the side. Next, I slowly unbutton his white dress shirt and tug it out of his slacks. As I unbutton his pants and slowly pull the zipper down, Edward reaches his hand out to stop me.
Complying with no hesitation, I feel his hands slowly tugging down the zipper on the back of my dress. He pushes the straps down my arms and it falls to the floor. Stepping out of the dress, I slowly turn around to face Edward, wearing only my black lace bra and panties.
"Nice," he nods appreciatively.
"Where do you want me?" I ask with a wink.
"Hmmm… so many choices. Let's start with on the desk."
He shrugs. "I had a lot of fantasies."
I walk over to Edward's childhood desk and jump up on it. When he stalks toward me and reaches for the waistband of my tiny panties, I lift my hips so he can pull them down.
Edward kisses me slowly and I don't even notice as he pulls his cock out of his boxers. I look down as he rubs it between my legs, gathering my wetness before plunging inside. "Hang on tight," he growls.
"Oh God," I scream as he lifts my right leg up to his shoulder and begins thrusting into me deeply. I want to reach out for him, but I need my hands flat on the desk to keep my balance.
I lean up, capturing Edward's lips in mine. We kiss lazily as he brings me closer and closer to a climax.
"Are you close?" he asks. At my nod, he plunges his tongue into my mouth, swallowing my moans as I fall over the edge. Edward follows seconds later and stills, still mostly dressed.
"As good as your fantasy?" I ask, breathless.
"Even better," he replies. "Because it's you. I love you so much, Bella. Thank you for agreeing to be my wife," he says, leaning his forehead against mine.
"If you ask me a thousand times, I'll say yes every time, Edward." I kiss him sweetly. "I love you."
"You know," he whispers in my ear. "I kinda had a fantasy about my bed, too."
"I thought you might have," I reply, jumping down from the desk. "Race you!"
A/N: That's it. The end. I hope everyone enjoyed the journey. :)
My one-shot for the "Taste of the Forbidden" contest won Honorable Mention - Judges Vote as well as SoapyMayhem's choice for Judges Favorite! It's called "Oh Brother" and is posted on my profile now. I will be continuing the story, with the first new chapter up within a week or two. Hope everyone will check it out. :)