I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with a great rest of the year to come.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your reviews and for reading this story!
I put my hands on my hips and surveyed my small dorm room.
This is my second and final year at UDub, and I'll be spending it as a Resident Assistant. Even though Edward's grandparents are still generously paying for my tuition, this will help to lighten the load. My room and board will be free, and I'll receive a small stipend from the University. I'm nervous to be leaving UDub and starting my adult life, but I also look forward to what will come next summer.
Edward and I have officially set our wedding date for August 13, only about 350 days away from now. I looked down at the beautiful ring on my finger and I couldn't hide my smile if I tried.
"Bella? Your residents are starting to arrive." Kate, one of the directors of housing, poked her head in my room and grinned at me. "Ready to go?"
"Yeah, I'm ready!" I exclaimed, glancing around my room one last time and making sure everything was in the proper place. Organization really helped me to handle my anxiety- knowing that I could control my physical possessions made it seem easier to work through things that were out of my control…like Edward's recovery. He's hit a little plateau in his therapy. He was improving so wonderfully before, but right now he's at a block and it has been very frustrating for the both of us.
Luckily, we still have a wonderful support system in our family, friends, and in each other. Some days are harder than others, but in the end we both know how lucky we really are.
"So are you looking forward to your last year of school?" Kate asked as I locked the door to my room and we walked down the hallway side by side.
"It's bittersweet," I said, and Kate nodded knowingly. "I've loved being here, and I love the safety and familiarity…but I'm looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life."
"Ah, you're getting married after graduation, right? I'm sure you're looking forward to that." Kate reached for my hand and examined my engagement ring. I nodded, smiling widely. "When are you having the wedding? I hope you've given yourself plenty of time to plan, because your year is going to be especially busy!"
I laughed along with her. "We've given ourselves plenty of time to plan," I assured her. "We've also had a lot of help…my future mother in law and sister in law have been amazing with all those little details that I would never think of, you know? But my final dress fitting is next month and we're picking out the bridesmaids dresses not long after that…it's all happening pretty fast."
"I can imagine," Kate agreed, just as we reached the lobby of the residence hall, where my new residents, some of their family members, and the majority of their possessions had started to congregate.
As I look back on the last several years of my life, I realize that things can only get better from here, and I intend to make a wonderful life for myself and for my future husband. My last year at school will be bittersweet, as it is for most people, but I am so looking forward to getting to be a RA. I've gone through many problems of my own since starting college, and I hope that my experiences can help me be a better mentor and friend to the people that will, hopefully, be looking up to me.
"How was your first day, baby?" Edward asked, brushing my hair back behind my ear.
I grinned over my shoulder at him, knowing what he wanted. "It was great, thank you very much. But don't forget that I'm on duty and my door is cracked open," I said pointedly. Edward pouted and dropped his hand, but not before kissing my temple softly.
"I knew this RA thing would be my demise," he teased, and I punched him gently in the arm. "Ouch!" I rolled my eyes at him, but couldn't help but smile at the exaggerated pout on his face.
"Hey, it's time to do your exercises," I reminded him, pointing to the time display on my phone. "Get up and get on the floor."
Over the past couple of months, Emmett has taught me how to help Edward with his rehab so that he doesn't need to see a therapist every day. Instead, he has check-ups every other week or so, and either me or one of his family members help him out twice a day.
Edward got on the floor without complaint, much unlike how it had been in the beginning. He had hated having to rely on anyone other than Emmett for his therapy, and handing the reigns to me had been even harder than it had been for his parents or Alice. But eventually he was able to see that I'm here for him no matter what, and I want to help him carry his "burden".
I chatted aimlessly as we went through his routine, but Edward was mostly silent. He was still a little frustrated over his recent recovery stall, and was working harder than ever to try and overcome it.
We were about halfway done when we were startled by a knock on my door and loud voices.
"Bella, can we- oh shit…sorry!" Three of my new residences stood frozen in my doorway, a little taken aback at the scene in front of them. It must have looked a little odd. Edward, who was over six foot, was sprawled out on my floor, propped up on his elbows while I helped him stretch his legs. "Um…were we interrupting something?" One of the girls, whose name was Liz, finally found her voice, and the rest of them started to giggle softly.
I laughed, scooting away from Edward slightly. "Very funny. No, this is my boyfriend, Edward. We were just doing some stretches," I explained. "Edward, this is Liz, Annie, and Laura."
"Nice to meet you," Edward said with a tight smile, and I quickly helped him up off the floor and back onto a seated position on my bed.
"What can I help you with, girls?" I asked, putting my hand on Edward's shoulder.
They started talking and the little incident was forgotten, put behind us for now.
"So your boyfriend, Edward, he uses a cane?" Annie asked. It was about half an hour later and Edward had just left. Annie, Liz, Laura, and several of the other residents in my hall were gathered in my room to watch a movie together.
I nodded, focusing on trying to figure out the DVD player that Edward had just set up for me. Edward's cane wasn't something that I even noticed anymore- it had become a part of him, just like the accident had become a part of our history together.
"Is he okay?" she ventured further, and I noticed that the rest of the people in the room were quiet, waiting for my response.
"He's fine," I assured all of them. "He was in a car accident a couple of years ago and he's still recuperating. He's very lucky that he was able to walk again, even with the help of the cane. We're actually getting married in the summer, so he's working harder than ever to strengthen his legs."
The topic of conversation was quickly changed to my wedding plans, and the girls all fawned over the pictures of my dress and the beautiful engagement ring on my finger.
With my responsibilities as an Resident Assistant, my last two semesters of classes, all the planning for my wedding, and maintaining my relationship with Edward, my year is going to be incredibly busy. But I welcome the challenge, and I know that the next chapter of my life will not be without its challenges, but it will be amazing as well.
"God, Bella, you look so beautiful," Esme exclaimed, wiping tears out of her eyes.
I twirled around in the mirror, totally in love with the reflection that looked back at me.
I looked like a bride- Edward's bride. I was counting down the months to my wedding, and I was amazingly impatient for it to get here.
The dress I had painstakingly selected was one of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen, and I felt fantastic in it. It was the first dress I tried on, and I had absolutely fallen in love with it. Intricately embroidered lace covered the whole thing, and the dress hugs me tightly until it fans out with a voluminous trumpet skirt. The sweetheart neckline and the slight train make my feel like a princess, and I can't imagine myself wearing any other dress on my wedding day. It's just like how I can't imagine myself being with anyone other than Edward for the rest of my life.
We have not had a fairytale romance without any problems or ups and downs. We've been through an incredible amount of pain, suffering, and uncertainty, but when it comes down to the wire…we are what we are.
Edward has been the only boy for me, before and after the accident. That fateful night does not define us or our relationship; it is just another part of our wonderful story.
One to three chapters left, ladies (I assume you are all ladies but who knows, I could be wrong. I'm wrong a lot.)
Only three months until baby number three is born! It's coming up so soon but it seems so far away…we are very excited, of course. Unfortunately I STILL have morning sickness! I never had it so late in a pregnancy but my doctor assures me that the little peanut is okay and so am I.
No worries…just a lot of time throwing up =)