This was my entry for the Fic This Gif Anon Contest

Gif #: 4 (see fic this gif blog!)

My first OS ever… Let me know what you think!

Beta'ed by HollettLA and PTB, thank you so much for the great work!


Better Together

"Bella, I want you to meet Mr. Bloomberg, mayor of the only city in the world that matters," Jake says with a wink. "Mr. Mayor, this is my fiancée, Bella."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, sir." I shake his hand. He has a firm grasp.

"The pleasure is all mine, young lady. It's no surprise Jacob has the most beautiful woman on his arm here tonight. I hope you have a lovely evening." And with a smile, he is gone.

It has been like this the whole evening; people come to greet us, as if by showing their face and sharing a few overly complimentary words they affirm a longstanding, close relationship, which is in fact non-existent. I'm exhausted, and the evening has only just begun. We are at the annual gala of Black Industries. It's one of the largest companies in the country. It started out as a relatively small business that sold car parts, but it grew into a billion-dollar enterprise that now represents all branches of transport. Honestly, to this day, I still have no idea what they really do. I know Billy Black is its CEO, and I know they make a hell of a lot of money. That's all I need to know. Well, there is one more thing. My boyfriend —no, fiancé — is Billy's intended successor. Heir to the throne, if you will. Which makes me the princess, the queen-to-be. The woman who is always by his side and whose only task consists of being beautiful and polite at all times. I don't remember the time when all I wanted was to play this role, when all I craved was to be Jake's nicest accessory. Was there ever such a time? Tonight I certainly don't care about any of it. The fact is, I haven't cared for quite some time now.

I used to, though—care, that is. We grew up together in a small town in Washington. There wasn't much to do, but somehow Jake always found ways to entertain me. When we were six, he imagined a country for me. It was called "Bells land", and we talked about it for hours and hours. I asked him every question I could think of about my very own country, and he had answers to all of them. When we were eleven, he took me to the shed next to their house and showed me all this wood he had somehow obtained. We designed our own tree house and spent the summer building it. Summers that followed led to building extensions, founding and nullifying secret clubs, playing made-up card games, drinking our first and many other beers, smoking our first cigarette, and sharing our first kiss. The other first thing we actually did in a bed, thank God. Jake was my best friend back then. I looked up to him. Now I believe it was because he was all I knew. I know a lot more now.

It was a few months ago. I say that like I'm not sure when I met you. I know exactly, though. It was four months and five days ago. I was sitting in a Starbucks with my laptop. For the first time in years, I was going to try and write something, anything. See if I could still do that. See if I could be something more, something better, than I was. You were sitting at a table, hunched over a piece of paper and furiously drawing. Your whole demeanor showed utter concentration and focus. I saw the piece of paper getting fuller by the minute, while my screen was showing nothing except the blinking of a cursor. There were no words on the screen, or in my head. There was only you, filling every imaginable corner in my mind. Every once in a while you would look up and see me, really see me. I felt like you were studying me, and without being able to see what you were drawing, I knew. And so I waited. I waited for you to be done and come to me. You were beyond cute, gorgeous, or handsome. I couldn't find the words that would do you justice. Your hair was an unruly brown and bronze mess, and it suited you perfectly. Your face was distinct with a strong jaw line, full lips, and even your nose was beautiful. I mean, who has a pretty nose? But the most striking feature on your face had to be your eyes. The colors in them hit me like a hurricane, and every time you looked up at me, I felt my heart stop for a moment. You were wearing a shirt of a band I didn't know, and one of your arms was covered with ink. I wanted to listen to the unknown band. I wanted to hear the stories behind the tattoos and trace every line with my finger. Never had any person had such an effect on me.

You stood up and grabbed the only things you brought with you: the notebook, a pencil, and your grey beanie.

You walked over to me, slowly, purposefully, as if you knew you were about to change my life. I wondered what your opening words would be. Honestly, I was so sure your words were going to turn my whole world upside down. They would tell me everything I needed to know—to leave the rest behind and go wherever you would go.

You looked at me with such an intense expression. "Do you come here often?" you asked. It was nothing like I had expected. It was boring, unoriginal, and it wasn't you. You kept that serious look as long as you could before the amused smile couldn't be stifled anymore. So happy that you were kidding, I laughed. I couldn't remember the last time I had laughed so hard. With a simple question you calmed my unnoticed nerves and put me at ease. That was precisely be the most surprising thing in the months to follow: everything between us is easy, developing so naturally and without any conscious thought.

When our laughing had turned into grinning, you told me that you had been sitting on the roof of your apartment building in Williamsburg that morning, and that you watched the sun rise, creating the most beautiful colors you could remember. "But you are still the most exquisite thing I've seen today. I couldn't leave here without drawing you. And although I hope you'll give me more than just a few minutes in a Starbucks, I just had to tell you. You're beautiful."

"Bella, can you please look a bit happier, like you actually enjoy being here? This night is important to me, and you know that. I don't understand why you're trying to ruin it with that sour look on your face." Jake used to be so considerate of my feelings. With going to college and, subsequently, studying for a master's degree, and then pretty much preparing to take over the business, that had completely changed. He wasn't that funny, attentive boy anymore. He had changed, which was okay by itself. Hell, I had changed as well. He just became someone who I didn't know anymore —even worse, who I didn't want to know any longer. We didn't really talk lately; the only times I've heard him speak full sentences he was on the phone speaking about targets, strategies, and stocks. I couldn't remember the last time he made me laugh or the last time he gave me any kind of satisfaction. We did still used to have sex – but only up until a few months ago, four to be exact – since it was a convenient way to pass the time without having to talk, but it did nothing for me. It used to be good —at least that's what I told myself. Now I know better.

You have a way of driving me crazy. It's not the big things – although you know I'm in love with your "big thing". It's a look you give me, it's the touch of your fingertip on my skin, it's that moment you stand so close to me without touching me, it's the way you take off your sweater, it's the way your back muscles move when you walk, or your lips when they're wrapped around a pencil. Everything turns me on. You turn me on in ways I didn't even know was possible. I suspect you're not even aware of most of these times, although I can't put it past you to drive me crazy on purpose. I do the same for you; you tell me so over and over. I remember the first time in your apartment when it wasn't just my body surrendering to yours. It was my heart, too. I was lying on your bed; every part of my body that I could move was wrapped around you. You held yourself up on your elbows above me. I turned my head and kissed your tattoo, the one that stood for strength. The one that you got the day before your grandpa died, who thought it was ridiculous you got a tattoo in his name. When I looked back at you, you weren't smiling. I didn't see the usual amused sparkle in the eyes I've come to love. You looked at me like I was the only thing in this world you couldn't do without, and I knew then and there that I was looking at you the exact same way. The same combination of fear, need, and love must have been showing in my eyes. You moved in and out of me, slowly but firmly, reaching places only you can find. Our breaths mingled; I can still taste the combination of the pizza we had for lunch and your toothpaste on my tongue. The third ingredient I will never be able to define. It's you, and it's that taste that will make you forever irresistible to me. When I came, I was completely silent, my wide-open eyes focused on yours. I remember so distinctly because I'm never silent —you know this, I don't have to tell you. You once told me you're going to spend your lifetime discovering all the different ways to make me scream. It's one of your better plans, and I have to say you're very committed to the task. I want that, too, you know, that lifetime together. It's the reason for this letter.

The reception part of the evening is over, thank God. Everyone is led to their table. Before the dance floor will be officially opened by Billy and whichever sleazy whore he found to accompany him tonight and by Jacob and me, we first have to sit through a six-course dinner. Oh, goody. We're seated at a table for twelve: Billy plus date, and four other members of the management team and their dates . Seth is one of Jake's colleagues and the only one I actually know. I'm being introduced to the rest. Shaking sweaty hands and smiling politely, I play my role perfectly. I sit down beside Jake, and my hand goes to the necklace he gave me earlier this evening. It's three intertwined strings of diamonds. They feel too heavy around my neck. Jake pulled out a Tiffany box before we came here, handing me the necklace with the words, "Maybe the diamonds will avert any attention from that zit you have on your chin. Can you please put on some more makeup?" I think he gave it to me because people would notice if his fiancée was not wearing something exclusive, something expensive. I couldn't care less. About the necklace or the reputation. He is being more of an asshole than usual tonight. I stopped wondering where or when it went wrong a long time ago. It felt like I stopped thinking at all, actually. I seem to have settled for this life, not knowing what else to do or where to go. Stuck in a situation I never envisioned myself in, without knowing how I got there. I lead a luxurious life, have every material thing I could wish for; nothing is missing, right? The need to change something or leave has always been lingering but was never very strong. Now, however, everything is different.

Do you remember the day you took me to the beach? It was a Tuesday; not many people were around. You brought your sketch book; I brought my camera. You buried me in the sand and started drawing me. When I had an itch, you scratched my nose before reprimanding me to stay still in that professor voice I like. I took pictures of every part of you while you were drawing two boys who were trying to surf. We ate baguettes with cream cheese and sand because I dropped everything when you were chasing me, yelling things about catching your prey. We made out like horny teenagers and went as far as we could go on a public beach. Turned out, we could go pretty far. We sat by the surf, feet in the water. I was daydreaming. You played with my hair. Until the water surprised us, and we got wet. You laughed your ass off at my girly screams, as you like to call them. If you would have asked me that day to run away with you, I wouldn't have thought about it even for a nanosecond. We could have been in Mexico by now, baby.

Seth looks at me and winks. I wink back. Jake sees our eye contact, and Seth is quick to avert his eyes. He's afraid of Jake. It makes sense, I guess; my fiancé – God, I hate that word – could make or break his career. Seth doesn't need any kind of suspicions, but I wish he would just be up front about all of it. Jake knows Seth is the only colleague he has that I like. He thinks we talk occasionally at these kinds of formal events. He has no idea. Our waiter approaches the table. I look at him in shock. His beauty renders me speech- and thoughtless.

"Good evening, everyone. I will be your waiter tonight. My name is Edward. If you need anything at all, please let me know. Really, anything." His eyes are focused solely on me when he speaks those last two words. Is it hot in here?

I decide to speak up. "Thank you, Edward. I'm sure you will fulfill our needs beyond our expectations tonight." I smile at him while Jake glares at me. I see in my mind all those times where Jake flirted with waitresses, flight attendants, and receptionists, and I decide to add an innocent wink. A little flirting could make this night a whole lot more entertaining. Vibes of fury come my way, and I don't have to look at Jake to know the way he is looking at me. I've seen his outraged, condescending, and just plain pissed look too many times already. It gives me satisfaction to know I can still do this to him. To know I still have some kind of impact. At the same time, it makes me sick to see myself behaving this way. Why do I even put energy into making him angry? When did I turn into this bitch? More than ever, I realize we have to end this. When together, we are damaging, we are breaking. We are bringing out the worst in each other instead of doing the opposite. Jake always voices his beliefs that my college degree in English is enough, that I don't need to work. Doesn't he provide for me, isn't that enough? I never ask him if succeeding Billy is really what he wants; I never push him to discover other things than the path that was chosen for him. And now it is too late for us. Recently, I finally realized what it is I am missing, and what I couldn't express before.

The third time we met, you asked me what I was writing when you saw me at Starbucks. Not wanting to tell you the truth, I made up a story. We were lying on your bed, and we were naked. I never felt comfortable being naked until you were the one who was naked with me. I started telling you a story about a girl who grew up in the circus. I told you every little thing about her: about her mother who was a tightrope walker, her father who was a lion tamer, and her best friend who was an elephant. The story was absurd, but you never interrupted me, only laughing when I made a joke and looking sad when Mr. Elephant died. When I finished, you told me I should write it down sometime. You already knew me; you knew that I didn't type one word that day we met in Starbucks. Instead of judging me, you encouraged me. Since then, I tell you about all the stories I want to write. You tell me which ones you love and which you think are stupid. I can't thank you enough for that.

Every time our waiter is near me, he breathes out so I can feel the air – his air – on me. On my neck, on my ear, on my face. It's killing me, very slowly. He knows what he's doing to me, I can tell. Jake is talking business with the men at the table, as usual. I look around at the other women. Two of them are talking with each other. I think it's about the ring one of them is wearing. Boring. Billy's date is looking at him with a strange kind of adoration. Weird. Seth's date is bored, I can tell. Her attention is more focused on Jake than on Seth. The fact that he brought a date annoys me. Why does he want to keep his feelings a secret? By the way he looks at me, he knows what I'm thinking. He gives me a slight nod with his head in the direction of the toilets. I tell Jake I'm going to the ladies' room. He barely acknowledges me, and I suppress the need to hit him in the face. The hallway where the bathrooms are is as good as empty, fortunately. Seth comes around the corner and smiles at me. I can't help but smile back at him; we have this chemistry, and he's always able to cheer me up.

"Bells, how are you, babe?"

I frown a little. "Don't you 'babe' me, mister. Why did you bring a girl here tonight?"

"Bella, I can't tell him. Especially not tonight. You know how major these gala evenings are. They are crucial for the relations Black Industries has in town."

"God, Seth, you sound just like him. You need to get some courage and show him the real you," I tell him.

"I know, I know. You're right. And I will tell him, soon. Just…not tonight, okay? It's not the best time. I hope you're not planning on doing something equally stupid tonight," he says with a little warning in his voice. I look away.

"Bella? Bella!" he says way too loud. He grabs my upper arms. "Bells, I know how you feel, and you should do something about it. I support you completely in that decision, like I told you a hundred times. But not tonight. Please, Bella, not tonight," he pleads. "Change your life tomorrow."

Someone coughs, and we both look up in alarm. It's Edward, our waiter tonight.

"Are you all right?" he asks while his gaze slides from the place Seth's hands are grabbing me tightly to my face. Seth seems to realize Edward is getting the wrong impression by our poses. He lets go of me quickly and looks at me one more time. Without words, he begs me to play my role one last night. I look back at him, silently telling him that I don't know if I can do just that. He sighs and walks away.

"She's fine," he tells Edward in passing.

Edward looks at me and asks, "Are you?"

I nod. He approaches me. Such a sexy, gorgeous man. He comes to a halt right before me, standing too close to be just a friendly waiter. His eyes are locked with mine. The green in them is blazing and smoldering. I can't seem to look away. His fingers touch the place Seth was holding only a minute ago.

"I didn't like the way he was touching you," he tells me quietly.

"It was nothing. He was just concerned. Really, I'm fine."

"Oh, you're fine all right." His face changes completely when he grins a lopsided smile. Is he really hitting on me right here, so close to the man I'm supposed to marry? I can't believe the guts this man has. In spite of my rational side that – let's be honest – isn't my best side anyway, I return his smile.

"Glad you think so, Edward." His name rolls off my tongue; I can almost taste every letter. His eyes darken, and he lets his gaze travel south to my lips.

He leans into me, slowly. Turns his head a little to the right. I keep looking at him, not moving, not stopping him. His lips come closer by the second, and I find myself overwhelmed by a feeling of anticipation. When he's so close that all the air I can breathe comes from his slightly opened mouth, he stops. He looks at me with apprehension. I realize he's giving me a choice. I can stop this. I can push him away, turn around, walk back, and take my seat next to Jake. The thing is, that's not what I want; it's not what I need. At all. Instead of doing any of the above, I raise my hand and touch his cheek. He turns his head and kisses my palm before finally pressing his lips to mine. His kiss turns my whole world upside down. It starts out tentative, his lips and tongue seeking approval. I don't hesitate once and happily give him permission by opening up to him. He groans in my mouth and his tongue licks my lips before pushing in. What started out cautiously quickly turns into something heated and urgent. Any distance disappears when he presses his whole body against mine, and I'm not surprised at all by the way my body melts against his. It fits. We fit. I move my leg up and down against his, my foot finding a path from his ankle to the inside of his knee. My hands find the back of his head and while one of them slightly scratches his neck, the other grabs his soft, unruly hair. He feels so good. His hands are at my hips. He lets go with one hand and I immediately feel the loss, until he cups my cheek with it. His fingers under my ear. He breaks the kiss and I moan out of desperation. He kisses his way to my ear where his teeth find my earlobe. My weak spot.

"Baby, oh, what you do to me," he whispers hotly, needy. I nearly come from his voice and his words alone. There's no doubt in my mind this man is a magician, working his incredible magic on my body.

Someone loudly clears his throat. I look up to see Billy standing there. He doesn't look surprised. What does he know? Edward immediately steps away from me. I try not to focus on the feeling of emptiness but instead on the situation at hand. This is not good. Waiting for Billy to say something, I try to smooth my clothes. When he speaks, he's nothing but calm.

"You are going to go to the ladies' room, wash your face, and go back in there. Jake didn't notice you were gone. Like he hasn't noticed your absence on many occasions these last few months. You're going to sit next to him, enjoy the meal, and participate in dinner conversation. You will dance with my son and show everyone here tonight what a wonderful daughter-in-law I will soon have. Then, at the end of the evening, you will go home with him. Do you understand, Bella?"

Home. I once thought the three-story apartment Jake bought in downtown Manhattan could be home. Now that I've been somewhere else, I know better.

You know I love your apartment. Every time I'm there, I feel like I'm on vacation. I leave all other things behind when I open your front door and walk inside. You gave me a key because you like not knowing when I show up; this way I have the freedom to do that. I never tell you about the times when I'm there and you're not. It happens every now and then. I call your name, but you don't answer with mine, or with a glistening look in those eyes that show my favorite color in the whole world, or with – and this is the absolute best response – a kiss. You're out: doing groceries, meeting your friends, or drawing. I never leave right away, though. I watch your paintings and try to imagine the stories behind them. The colors always draw me in. You manage to hypnotize me without even being in the same room. It's a talent only you have. Sitting on the floor of your loft, looking at the paintings you laid against that one wall, I can see you working at them. With those eyes squeezed in concentration, your tongue darting out to wet your lips every now and then, your hands messing up your hair when you think about the next stroke of paint. I love watching you paint, and I can see you do it whenever I want because the image is imprinted in my mind. I love being in your apartment because, even when you're not there, I feel close to you. And I feel free. I never knew you could feel such freedom by loving someone. My love for you and the knowledge that you feel the same way —it sets me free. I can only hope I do the same for you.

Billy is standing there, not expecting any kind of retaliation but waiting for me to move and do as I'm told. He used to be my dad's best friend. They're not as close as they used to be; physical distance can do that to friendship. Billy, the father of my soon-to-be ex-fiancé. He's known this whole time. I know it was too easy. Easy to hide my affair from Jake. Surprisingly easy to not feel guilty. Jake hasn't been paying attention to me. It's likely that he's doing the exact same thing that I am. Fleeing, hiding, escaping. That our life together isn't worth paying attention to should tell us enough. I'm not saying he deserves what I'm doing to him, but my cheating on him will hurt his ego far more than his heart.

"What if I don't want to do that, Billy?" I ask him with almost sincere interest.

He watches me, studies the for once completely open expression on my face. I'm done with putting on a mask. Ready to show everyone the truth.

"You little bitch," he starts, and immediately Edward is in motion. I stretch my left arm to touch him, trying to convey the message to stay still and let Billy talk. Let's hear what he has to say. He regards Edward for a moment before looking back at me again. All signs of calm are gone.

"My son gave you everything you could possibly want. There is a life laying ahead of you that is more than you could've dreamed of. More than you're worth. And it's yours for the taking. Now you're standing here saying that you don't want it? I should've just let him get married to that Lauren he was banging last year or set him up with Tanya Denali. That marriage would be highly beneficial for business as well," he ponders out loud. Those names mean nothing to me. They only confirm all my thoughts and suspicions regarding my relationship with Jake; they sure as hell endorse the decision I made a few days ago.

When he speaks again, it's in a menacing tone. "Fine, Bella, break it off with him. I couldn't care less. You will do it tomorrow, and we will let our publicist make up some story involving you and some kind of a mental illness. You can go back to the little, sad fisherman that you call your father. When you talk of that pathetic figure so proudly, I never know whether to laugh or cry."

"You fucking assh —" Edward all but yells. Billy doesn't let him finish, though.

"This has nothing to do with you, you dickhead. Go get me a beer or something."

He's saying things to intentionally hurt me. Never did I expect it to go like this. I know I was wrong to go behind Jake's back. Even if it was a long, long time ago, we did once like each other. In the name of our friendship, I wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to break up with him in a room where it was just us two. Where I could explain everything to him calmly. Now, however, I know what he and his family really think of me. It changes my decision completely. To hell with all of them. I don't want to wait anymore; I'm done. I let go of Edward's arm and walk toward the main room without giving Billy so much as a glance. Upon entering the room, however, I notice something is going on. Jake and Seth are both standing at opposite sides of the table. Seth looks scared and pissed. Jake is just pissed. Not good.

"If she's really your date, Seth, why don't you kiss her?"

"Look, Jake, I didn't know it would mean something to you if I brought Lauren here tonight."

I let my eyes wander to the blond-haired woman sitting next to Seth. She looks happy and stupid. But maybe I'm biased on the latter part.

"I don't care, Seth. Bring whoever you want. But if you're so into her that you would bring her here, to the biggest formal event we host every year, one would assume she's important to you, right? Then why do you look like you're afraid of her?" The words may not be so harsh, but his voice implies the opposite. He's out to hurt. It's working, too; Seth looks pale. I feel everything he feels: on the verge of exposing your biggest secret, displaying your feelings publicly, telling Jake a truth he certainly doesn't want to hear. It's scary as hell, but we both need to find the courage to do it. Tonight. I give Seth a look that hopefully shows him I have his back, always. He glances back at me and nods. Here we go.

"I won't kiss her, Jake, because I'm in a relationship with someone else."

The truth, part one.

"Who?" Jake demands to know.

"Marcus." Seth looks as if he's about to cry and laugh at the same time. I'm so proud of him.

"Who?" Jakes repeats, his face scrunched up in confusion.

"Marcus, your art director. You should really get to know your own employees a bit better, Jake." There's the confident Seth I know and love.

"You're a fag? I have a goddamn fag on my management team?" Jake bellows with a kind of hysterical laugh.

Seth doesn't have to slap him, because my hand already hits Jake in the face. Hard. Apparently, a good slap also hurts your hand. While I'm trying to shake it off, Jake directs his fury at me.

"You bitch! Bella, what the —" Before he can finish the sentence, Seth slaps the other cheek. What a team we are.

"Jake, I'm breaking up with you. It is a long, long overdue change we both need. Go be with Lauren, or Tanya, or whoever the hell you want. Be happy with someone else, 'cause you're not with me. And I sure as hell am not happy with you."

I only notice now that the whole room is silent. Oh, crap. Jake's honor is in danger. He will not take this well.

"You're doing this here, Bella? Are you trying to ruin me?" he asks, while trying to keep his voice down.

"I'm trying to do the opposite, Jake." I start to walk away, but his words stop me.

"You were always beneath me, Bella. You worthless, stupid whore. Probably fucking ten others, aren't you? I should've known you couldn't be trusted. Give me back that necklace; it's worth a hundred times more than you are to me."

I turn around to look at him. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Edward being restrained by some of his colleagues. He is livid. I have to do this on my own, though.

"This will be the last time you humiliate me, Jacob Black. I don't ever want to hear your voice or see your face again. And I'm deeply sorry for all the time we spent together, when I could've spent it with the love of my life." With those parting words, I raise my hand to the front of the beautiful but worthless necklace I'm wearing and give it a hard pull. Diamonds are flying everywhere around me. Some of them hit Jake in the face. Perfect.

Seth walks over to me, and together we leave the room. We leave the world of Black Industries and the Black family. Ready to start something new. At the entrance, he stops and turns to me.

"You know I couldn't have done this without you, right?" he asks me.

"Back at you, sweetie." We smile. It's finally over. We did it.

"I'm so proud of you," I tell him.

"Me, too." He grins. "And if possible, I'm even prouder of you. Great move with the necklace, it added the drama this evening was missing."

He makes me laugh at times like this, and that's why he's my best friend.

"Leaving tomorrow, right?"

"Yes, but I'll call you as soon as we arrive, and we'll make plans for you and Marcus to visit us, okay? I don't want to be without you for too long."

"I could use a change of scenery after this. Who knows, if you like California… Marcus has always wanted to go to a sunnier place anyway." They're moving to the other side of the country as well?

"That would be so fantastic! I have to go now, though; he's probably anxiously waiting for me."

"Yes. Go and kiss the crap out of your beautiful man, and I'll go do the same. Talk to you soon, babe."

I hug him, very tightly. "I love you," I tell him with a muffled voice because I'm talking to his shoulder.

"Love you, too."

With a smile on my face, I walk outside, and there he is. My man. Leaning against the side of his pick-up truck, hands in his pockets. Waiting. Longing. Loving me. There is nothing more in this world I could ask for. He sees me but makes no move to walk toward me. I have to go to him. He's waiting for me, always waiting for me. But this was the last time. No more waiting.

I throw my arms around his neck and kiss him on the lips. He responds eagerly. After a few moments, I pull away. "You make me so insanely, completely, immensely happy. Thank you for being here tonight. And although I had no idea 'being here' would mean you waiting on our table, I'm glad you were there."

"You were here. That means it was the only place I wanted to be."

We look at each other, both beaming, knowing that this moment is changing everything, forever.

"So, this letter I got…are we still doing that?" he asks a little hesitantly. He has nothing to worry about though.

"My stuff is being shipped to Santa Barbara as we speak."

"Good, 'cause all my stuff is on the way as well. Plus, I made reservations at the cheesiest motel I could find, just a few hours away. Since I'm whisking you away from a world of diamond necklaces and fancy dinners, I thought it would be best to get used to our new, opposite way of living as soon as possible." He winks at me.

He is my perfection. "We should go then."

Kissing me again, he manages to open the door for me and guide me to the front seat. He never moves his lips away from mine. Such talent, and all mine. He closes the door but keeps his head near mine, leaning through the open window.

"I love you, Bella, and I don't ever want to be apart from you again."

"I love you, too, Edward, and I promise from now on you'll never have to wait for me again."

"Except when you're going away on a book tour," he tells me with a grin. His faith in the children's book I wrote is unwavering. I have a meeting with a publisher on the West Coast in two weeks.

"Well, yes. But you're the one I'll always come running back to as soon as possible."

"Good."

He kisses me one more time, and then walks around the car to take his seat behind the wheel. We're going. It might be hard, and we will face obstacles. But as long as we're together, there is not another thing in this world I need.

Fear is keeping me where I am, it's keeping me away from a life with you. It's a fear of failing. But what I realize now, Edward, is that I'd rather fail at life with you than succeed with anyone else. I'd rather fight with you than make love to anyone else. Tomorrow, I want to start a life with you. Not only because I love you – 'cause I do, so, so much – or because you don't just accept the crazy in me, but you appreciate it. Not only because you know which flavor of ice cream I want before I do, or because you push me to do things that make me uncomfortable, like that time we went sailing. Not only because you still find me sexy when I'm wearing sweaty clothes and I'm not wearing any makeup, or because of that time when I told you which of your paintings was my favorite and you said I was on your mind the whole time you were working on it.

I want to run away with you, because we're not good together, we're better together. Come with me?