It's a concept which fills fairy tales.
It is taught to young babies usually just within minutes of their birth, when their parents hold them for the first time.
It's found in nursing homes, where the young hold the hands of the old, clutching the wrinkled palms tightly.
And it's between two people. And sometimes, if you're lucky, you find the real deal. The kind of love which takes your breath away and leaves you wondering how you've been living life without it.
He'd found that.
Six weeks had passed since the bee had stung Molly and caused an allergic reaction, which fortunately was not severe as far as reactions go. Six weeks had also passed since Bella had gotten the letter from Taylor, through Margaret Rivers. Six weeks had passed in which Bella had been unable to find a way to tell Edward about the letter.
But, six weeks had also passed in a whirling courtship that left both Bella and Edward breathless.
Edward had positively doted on her. He had taken her to dinners, movies, a concert, a baseball game, the mall, along with a sculpture garden where they had picnicked. They had brought Molly with on some dates as well, going to the zoo and a children's science museum.
Bella had never felt so happy.
The letter from Taylor, had in many ways freed her. She no longer felt conflicted or guilty about dating her late best friend's husband. Taylor had said to make sure they both lived their lives to the fullest as well as encouraging Edward to move on specifically.
To do what it took to make them happy.
Bella had learned more and more with each passing day; mainly there were few things as important in life as family, friends, faith and fun. All four of those things had laid a foundation for the life she was living now.
Edward on his part was equally as happy. Dating Bella was so different than anything he had ever done. He had lived with her for over a year, and she still found ways to surprise him. He loved spending time with her and only fell more in love with her as the days went by.
Talking with the tennis coach, Kessler, had really helped Edward in a way that no else could have. Kessler had helped him truly understand that he was not choosing Bella over Taylor in any way. It was a different situation. Bella wasn't a 2nd choice. She was his girlfriend, and the woman he focused so much of his attentions on.
Taylor had left this world, and Edward hadn't. That was the thing that once he had fully grasped and accepted, allowed him to life.
It was almost an obligation to live his life in a way in which he found joy and peace.
He missed her, but in order for him to carry on, he had to let go of hypothetical situations and rhetorical questions, ones such as: "If Taylor was alive, who would you pick?" or "If it was in your power to bring back Taylor, would you? Even with Bella and everything you have now?"
No one had asked him these questions except for his own mind. But you know what? He didn't have to have an answer, because they would not happen. Why should he deny himself happiness for fickle thoughts and questions?
Why should he deny himself a love he never thought he would find?
So, he was adjusting his life to keeping that love; to holding on tight and never letting go.
"Gee, Bella, I think you could have picked a bigger bed," Jasper huffed.
The three men struggled to move the giant four poster bed to the right spot in Edward's bedroom. Bella wanted it more in the center of the room and that was proving difficult, as it was heavy as stone.
"But doesn't it look good?" Bella replied, biting her lip and crossing her arms as she stared at the placement.
"Gorgeous," Emmett replied dryly.
Edward sighed as he dropped onto the mattress. "In hindsight, I probably should have put a weight limit when I told her to pick out whatever bed she wanted."
"Oh hindsight, thou art a fickle bitch."
Edward rolled his eyes at Jasper.
"Maybe you guys should go to the gym more," Alice teased, "Me and Bella could have had that done in half the time."
Emmett glared. "Shut it, Tiny."
Alice grinned at him. "Thank you for helping move the bed to our house, Emmett."
Edward had decided a few weeks ago that he didn't want the same furniture in his bedroom that had been in there while he was married to Taylor. He needed a new start in that aspect.
Also, with the way his relationship with Bella was progressing, he was mildly concerned about the repercussions of such activities on a bed he had shared with his late wife. Both of them deserved better.
"Yeah, yeah, you're welcome," Emmett grumbled, "Though I still don't know how I got roped in to your little bedroom swap."
"The masculine urge to lift heavy shit for a small amount of time before drinking beer and watching TV for the rest of the afternoon," Bella replied.
"Well…yeah, I guess," Emmett said, seemingly surprised by her accurate conclusion.
She just smirked.
Alice and Jasper had just recently purchased a house together. They had been planning to wait until they were married before moving in a house, but they had found one they had absolutely adored. It was only about five minutes away from where they each worked, had a large yard and was gorgeous.
Since Edward and Taylor had spent good money when they had purchased their bedroom set, and it seemed like a waste to just get rid of it. So Jasper and Alice had taken it, though replaced the mattress with a nice foam one.
"Where's my woman?" Emmett asked as he began to make his way out of the bedroom.
"Still outside with Molly," Alice replied. Rose's pregnancy had not only made her unable to lift heavy things, but also left her with a hormonal urge to cuddle small children and animals to her bosom.
"Well, I think it's about time we crack open those beers," Jasper suggested, following him.
"We'll be right behind you," Edward called as the three left the room. Bella began to unfold the new sheets she had bought to match the color of the newly painted room.
Once they were alone, he went to stand behind her and wrapped his arms around her little waist. He nuzzled the side of her face with his nose as she looked at the room.
"Are you sure you like the green?" Bella worried. The previously white and navy walls were now ivory and olive.
"I love the green," he assured her, kissing the side of her cheek.
Bella smiled and leaned against him, allowing herself to melt in his arms.
"What about the bed?" she asked in concern. "I mean, I know it's kinda big, but I've always wanted a four poster bed…a side effect from having read so many Tudor age novels when I was younger. If you don't like it though, I mean, we can still-"
Edward's chuckle cut her rambling off. She felt his laughter against her.
"I love it, babe. This whole room looks great."
"Would you tell me if it didn't?" she wondered.
"No, probably not," he replied honestly, "But I don't see that being a problem what with your exquisite taste."
Bella turned her face towards him to see his grin.
"Exquisite," he agreed, leaning to capture her lips with his.
"Stop distracting me," Bella said after a moment. "We have to get the bed made."
She kissed that pout.
Edward regrettably unwound his arms from around her and helped her begin to make the bed. The sheets were nice and silky and Bella already longed for how it would feel against her legs.
"You really won't tell me where we're going tonight?" Bella asked as they worked to put the pillows in their cases.
Edward smirked. "I really won't."
He was taking her a date that night, while Molly was babysat by her favorite godfather and aunt. Edward had yet to tell Bella a single detail of the affair, opting to leave it a complete secret.
"You'll love it," he promised.
Bella rolled her eyes.
"That's hardly helpful. I love just being with you, anywhere."
Edward raised an eyebrow with a grin.
"You're so unhelpful," she sighed. "What am I supposed to even wear?"
"Alice and Rose know what will be happening this evening. They'll help you get dressed after your spa trip," he promised.
Bella huffed, but a grin made its way onto her lips regardless. She was excited for the evening, and seeing Edward so happy and secretive only left her more eager.
"Speaking of that spa trip," Edward said, checking his watch, "You guys should probably get going soon."
"And what will you guys be doing well we do our girly shit?" she asked.
Edward puffed out his chest. "Manly shit!" he exclaimed, sending her to a fit of giggles.
They threw the pillows onto the bed before stopping to admire their handiwork. "It looks good," Bella concluded.
Edward hugged her to his side, her arm automatically wrapping around his waist.
"I believe I said exquisite," he reminded.
Bella smiled and looked up at him, as he had nearly a foot on her, height wise.
Edward leaned down and kissed the smile on her lips, unable to resist.
A little bit later, Molly was happily settled on Emmett's lap. They were sitting next to Jasper, who had Simba on his lap. The two men were eating up everything the little girl said. She babbled joyfully about her Simba.
Edward saw the three ladies out the front door. He gave Bella a savoring kiss before she walked out the door. When she was about exit the house, Edward pulled a single rose from behind his back and handed it to her. There was a little white card attached to the stem that she looked at questioningly.
"You'll see," he promised with a wink before closing the door.
Bella stood on the front porch of the house in confusion. She looked down at the beautiful rose and squinted to see what was written in Edward's distinguished handwriting.
Your smile lights up an entire room.
Bella's eyebrows furrowed together, but smiled regardless. He'd explain eventually.
"We're taking your truck, right Bella?"
Bella looked over at the driveway to where Rosalie and Alice were standing by her cherry red truck.
"Sure!" With the rose in hand, Bella walked over to join them.
When she got settled in the driver's seat, she noticed there was a rose tucked above her, in between the sun visor and roof. Bella shook her head with a smile and gently grabbed it, seeing another little white card.
The cup of tea you have every night before bed makes you the most adorable person in the world to me.
She read the note with the joy of a giddy school girl.
When she had scanned it twice, unable to stop the smile on her face, she noticed Alice and Rose were suspiciously quiet.
"What do you two know about this?" she asked accusingly.
Alice quirked her lips while Rose shrugged. "Nothing at all," she lied. "Is that a rose?"
Bella rolled her eyes before putting the key in the ignition.
She set the second rose next to the first.
They arrived at the spa, eager for an afternoon of pampering. They signed in and got various things situation before being taken back to a very elegant locker room of sorts, where they were given divine, fluffy robes to put on.
Rose was off for her prenatal massage first, followed by Alice with a rather beastly looking woman masseuse. Bella was the last to be ushered back in a room for her massage. She waited somewhat nervously to see who her masseuse would be.
The man that came in left Bella with a sigh of relief. She had been worried about getting an attractive guy. The man in front of her, Eli, was homely at best, but had a kind and reassuring smile.
Bella raised an eyebrow at the rose he handed her, one with a little white card.
You are the funniest person I've ever met.
"I don't suppose you'll tell me anything about this, huh?" Bella asked with a grin.
The masseuse merely winked in response, his eyes twinkling.
Bella's massage was heavenly. She hadn't been to a spa in years, as she was perfectly competent at painting her own toenails and fingernails, and rarely found time to get a massage. Eli got knots out of her back that she didn't even know she had, and left her feeling for relaxed than she could ever remember being.
When the massage was over, she met back up with Alice and Rose who were looking as jellified as she was. They were settled in large, comfy chairs and had their feet soaking in large tubs of warm water. Bella joined them with no qualms.
Three women came out to join them shortly after, their nail stylists. Bella was hardly surprised that one was holding a rose and handed it to her with a grin.
You are not only incredibly smart, but brilliant and wise beyond your years.
Bella smiled, but then glanced over at her friend and sister, still suspicious. "Is it just 'Boost Bella's Ego Day'?"
Alice smirked and settled into her chair. "Something like that."
They continued to chat on as they got their pedicures. Bella had stopped asking about her upcoming date, but they hadn't stop their little exchanges of grins.
As their toenails began to get their finishing touches, a server brought out three fruity, slightly alcoholic drinks to each of them. He also had a rose in his hand. He handed it to her along with her cocktail, as the overhead music changed into a familiar song.
Rose started humming along as the opening strands of "Brown Eyed Girl," began to play.
Bella read her 5th rose.
Your eyes are such a beautiful color, especially in the sun, that it gives me a weird sense of hope and purpose; you're my Brown Eyed Girl.
Bella was more excited than ever for her date. She was practically bouncing up and down for the entire duration of her manicure.
She needed to see that damn man that she loved.
Rosalie and Alice sensed, if not anticipated her eagerness, and made no move to leave the spa slowly. Edward had enlisted their help to make sure Bella had a perfect evening.
With her now five roses in hand, Bella entered the house a couple hours after they had left. It was empty, as the guys had gone to Emmett and Rose's house. Edward would meet her at where they were spending their evening. She wasn't really sure how she was getting there…nor was she sure where "there" was.
It didn't take Bella long for her gaze to settle on yet another rose. This was one was laid on the lap of a teddy bear that she had long ago got Molly. She walked over to the living room to pick it up and read the card.
You treat Molly as if she were your own. Thank you.
Bella very nearly became teary eyed with those words. However, Rosalie and Alice hardly allowed her time, as they insisted that she had to start getting ready.
The three of them entered Bella's bedroom, technically the guest bedroom, but hardly. Bella had not slept in the same bed as Edward for the past few months, as each of them needed to become independent in their slumbering habits before they could turn to each other. Plus, it was far too tempting.
But Edward hadn't just let Bella pick a bed because he didn't want to; he had her pick it out because he hoped she would be spending a lot of time there in the future, and not in a sleeping capacity.
Bella noticed another rose on the nightstand next to her bed. It was placed over her opened glasses.
When you wear your glasses, I swear my heart melts.
That damn man, indeed.
"We have concluded that this is the dress you must wear," Alice announced, drawing her attention back over to her closet. She was holding up a light grey dress, strapless with a sweetheart neckline. It went down mid-thigh, and the fabric was chiffon. It was relatively simple, but one of the favorite dresses she owned.
"And this is appropriate to wear in whatever situation I'll be in?" Bella questioned, as she had no qualms with the dress in itself.
Alice pretended to look hurt. "Bella! Have we ever led you astray?"
Bella's response was a single eyebrow raised pointedly.
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Go get your pair of champagne colored heels."
Bella was hardly at the position to do anything but comply. She kept her overflow of shoes in Edward's closet, since he had much more room than she did in that aspect.
"I'll go get them," she conceded.
At that point, she had expected to find a rose. There was a single one resting in the middle of the newly made bed. She leaned over and picked it up, reading the card.
You held me when no one else knew I needed to be held.
She heard Alice's call from the other bedroom, "Well you're at it, go shower!"
Bella clutched that rose closer to her, because those words made her heart flutter. Oh Edward.
She did as she was told and showered. She shaved her legs, all the way up to her thighs, and took extra care to make sure her underarms were smooth as well. She shampooed and conditioned at her leisure before doing a final rinse and stepping out of the shower.
Bella was about to clear a circle in the steamed up mirror before she noticed that there were words written on the mirror, as well as a rose. It was placed on the bathroom counter, where her gaze had not noticed before stepping in the shower. This rose had no note, so she looked at the words on the mirror, Edward's handwriting visible.
YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL.
Bella picked up the rose and sniffed it, allowing its delicate aroma to overwhelm her senses. What a sweet, amazing man. By her count, that was the 9th rose, and if Edward was going with the classic dozen, there were three flowers that remained.
Her heart pounded in her chest at the thought.
Despite her desire to rush, Bella took her time getting ready. She blow dried her hair before letting Rosalie do whatever the hell she wanted with it. She did her makeup while Rose curled and pinned, and Alice searched for a necklace that would match the champagne pumps.
Bella had never felt so doted on, or special in her life. She felt beautiful and cherished by a man who hadn't spoken a word aloud to her in hours. She felt loved beyond words or reason.
"Alright, get on the dress, slip on the shoes and you should be ready to go, sista!" Rose announced, throwing her heads in the hair as she finished with the brunette's hair.
Bella smiled at her reflection. Rose had softly curled her hair and pulled the front strands to the back in a waterfall braid. "Thanks guys," she said sincerely.
They both smiled before Alice made a hustling motion. "Get going! Your ride will be here soon!"
Knowing better than to question, Bella did as told.
The answer to her question was presented a half hour later when a sleek black car pulled in to the driveway, and a sharply dressed man got out of the driver's seat with a rose in hand.
"He hired a car service?" Bella asked with wide eyes.
Alice raised her eyebrows. "This surprises you…how?"
Upon their encouragement, Bella slipped out the front door, her heels clicking on the wooden porch and then down the few stairs as she walked to the car. The driver smiled, but said few words as he handed her a rose and then opened the backseat door for her.
The driver got settled into the luxurious car as Bella got comfortable in the back seat, her heart fluttering as she read the newest card.
You are patient, kind and gentle as a lamb, even if you don't always see it.
Bella watched with avid interest as the sun began its descent down the sky while the car traveled smoothly towards the big cities. Bella wasn't sure what part of the Twin Cities they were going to, but she was eager to find out, and even more eager to see Edward.
They got deep into the city of St. Paul before the driver began to slow the car down. Bella recognized the tall building they were pulled in front of, knowing it was a hotel as well as high end restaurant. The driver got out of his seat and rushed to open the door for Bella.
"Thank you," she said as he helped her out.
He smiled. "You're welcome. Enjoy your evening, ma'am."
Bella was about to take out her phone and text Edward, wondering what she was supposed to do, when an elderly doorman appeared in front of her with a rose.
"You must be Ms. Swan," he said with a smile. When she nodded her offered her the rose. "Allow me to escort you up to your fella," he offered her his elbow.
Bella slipped her hand into the crook of his arm as he led her in the doors and through the lobby, over to the elevators. She didn't notice what button he pressed once the doors had shut, as she was reading the 11th rose.
You made me believe in love again.
The elevator dinged, making Bella look up from the note. The doorman gestured with his hand to proceed out, and that's when Bella's eyes widened as she felt the summer night's air.
She had stepped into a whole new world.
In front of her was the city skyline, a beautiful sunset painted around the darkened buildings. Twinkling lights formed a barrier around the room, giving the space a magical quality. But her eyes soon focused to the most beautiful sight of all.
In front of her, standing in the middle of the beautiful decorated roof top, was her Edward. He was smiling the crooked grin she adored, and was dressed in devastatingly handsome manner, wearing a light grey suit with a black tie.
In his hands was a rose.
Bella felt her eyes water as she looked at the man who meant everything to her, even in an impossible way. Yes, she realized inexplicably, I really do love him.
"Hi," she whispered, walking slowly to him.
"Hey there," he whispered back, his lips still crooked upwards.
Bella lost all words when they got close enough to one another for him to hand her the final rose.
When we kiss…I just know.
A tear managed to wiggle its way out of the corner of her eye as she read his words, while he watched her, his heart nearly bursting.
"Oh, Edward," she gasped softly, lifting her eyes up to his.
Before he could say words, she lifted her mouth up to his in a kiss she had been needing to give since the first flower.
"You know what those cards were, right?" Edward whispered after they had broken apart and he had rested his forehead against hers.
Bella lifted her gaze to meet his, and Edward saw her twinkling eyes as she shook her head, knowing she was going to make him say it.
He was perfectly willing to oblige.
"Those cards were all of the reasons that you have stolen my heart. I love you, Bella."
Bella felt her heart nearly burst out of her chest.
"I love you beyond word, beyond doubt and beyond reason. I love you in the way that you deserved to be loved, and I cherish every day I've spent with you."
Before Edward could say anything else, he felt her fly into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck as if he were a lifeline that she was unable to let go of.
She mumbled something into his neck that he didn't quite understand.
"What was that, beautiful?" he whispered, hugging her against him.
Bella pulled away from his neck so that she could meet the gaze of the beautiful green eyes that she so loved. She met his questioning stare with a brilliant smile of her own.
"I said, I love you too," she ran her fingers through his hair as she shook her head with a smile, "I love you, you incredible man."
She kissed his cheek, letting her lips linger against his freshly shaven face. "You didn't have to do all this just to tell me."
Edward looked her in the eyes with a serious gaze.
"Yes, I did. I want…no, I need you to know that you are special, and cherished and completely loved, Bella."
As they gazed at each other in utter love and adoration, each of them knew. She knew that it would never be a competition between her and her best friend in his eyes; she was his in a way that he had been hers. And he knew that nothing, earthly or not, could ever diminish the love he felt for the woman in his arms.
"You made me realize that magic is real," she said quietly.
"What?" he whispered, not following her.
"It's one of the many reasons that you have snatched my heart away irrevocably."
"Don't worry," he smiled, "I'll keep it safe."
We watch the season pull up its own stakes
And catch the last weekend of the last week
Before the gold and the glimmer have been replaced,
Another sun soaked season fades away
And from the ballroom floor we are in celebration
One good stretch before our hibernation
Our dreams assured and we all, will sleep well
I watch you spin around in your highest heels
You are the best one, of the best ones
We all look like we feel
You have stolen my
You have stolen my heart.
Stolen, Dashboard Confessional
AN: Excuse me, my heart just melted. It has been a bit of ride to get here, and we still have some to go, but I just adore writing these guys.
Speaking of writing guys, I'd also like to invite anyone who hasn't read my recent one-shot to do so! It's called Outside Agency, and you can find golferward on my profile!
Lemme know what you thought about this! :)