Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: All the love to my beautiful pre-readers Packy and Jaxy, and my kick-ass beta Mel.
Sorry for the delay, RL got in the way of things... but anyway, here is part 2 of the epilogue!
OMG so Twific Crackmum nominated MoV for Fic of the Week over at The Lemonade Stand. What an honor! There are great authors/fics there so go vote!
Dedicated to LadyN (Happy birthday, part 2!)
Epilogue. Part 2.
Thankfully, we get through LAX unnoticed. A swarm of paps would have done nothing to help my shitty mood. My neck and back are achy. My legs are stiff. At least, it's bright and sunny in L.A., only two in the afternoon, and in the mid-fifties — perfect December weather.
I'm still grumpy as fuck as I give my bags to Bernard. Flying just makes my pissy self become pissier. I cannot wait to get to Bella. I'm not even paying attention when Bernard slides the door of the van open and I climb in, grumbling.
The door's not even closed yet when the tiniest of bodies slams into mine. Her arms around my neck. Her lips over mine at the same time.
"Tee-Tee..." I breathe out when she releases my mouth. She's peeling stuff from my face: my shades, my earphones, my beanie. Once she's got all of it off of me, she smiles broadly. Her hands cup my face, and she runs her fingers over my jaw.
I slowly smile at her, but as I do, she frowns. "You're tired." I stretch my smirk wider, shaking my head at her, while my hands wrap around her waist and bring her closer to me. "You didn't sleep on the plane..." She scowls at me, before turning to Bernard. "Bernie, you promised!"
"I tried, Miss Swan." Bernard gets in the front seat, clipping his seat belt on as he looks at us. "I told him how I do it. He didn't listen."
"I didn't listen?" I scoff. "You fell asleep while you were explaining!"
At this Bella laughs, turning her attention back to me. Her fingers still run over my jaw as she seems to be assessing how tired I am. "Straight to your parents'?"
"Hell, no! Your place first."
Bella doesn't stop talking until we get to her place — about work, mostly. She mentions his name a couple times, but I let it slide. Our talking about him only ends up in fights, or basically me losing my shit and her comforting me. But I don't want to fight right now. It's been over three weeks since I last saw her. I will not waste my time on Paul.
Her keys barely make it to the table when I scoop her off the floor. Her squeal transforms into giggles as my lips go over her neck. It doesn't take long for us to land on her bed, and we're already half naked by the time we get there.
Her hands work quickly on the buttons of my jeans while I kneel on the bed, and I can't help but look because I love her hands on me. When she has me out of my boxers and both hands clasped on me, I smile.
That's what I'm talking about.
I rid her of her pants and underwear as well while I settle between her legs. As good as her hands look on me, they don't keep me distracted for long. My hand caresses her thigh, reaching up in between. My finger barely touches her clit when her legs and hands tighten at the same time, trapping my hand inside with the former and making me groan in her neck with the latter.
She lets out a little moan as my finger slowly slips in. "Shit, Bella, you're so wet already." I kiss her neck and nibble her earlobe before whispering in her ear. "I've missed you so much."
I focus my fingers on her, my breathing on her neck, and my mind on finally being able to have her. She starts stroking me as well, but as she gets closer to her release, her movements become erratic and she finally drops her hand before I have to ask her to.
Watching Bella come undone on my fingers is one of my favorite sights. Her hands alternate between fisting the sheets, covering her eyes, or clenching the pillow. She screams into the pillow, and when she's done, her hands are on my neck, with a death grip on my hair.
Our kisses are desperate, sloppy. "Ready for a second one, baby?"
She smiles beautifully with her eyes closed.
I grab her behind her knees and pull her to the edge of the bed where I stand.
She sits up and runs her hands over me, trailing her fingers over my chest and stomach. She keeps going down, and when her hands wrap around me again, she licks her lips, looking up at me mischievously.
I smile but shake my head, dropping to her neck to whisper in her ear. "Turn around."
She swallows loudly but complies, kneeling on the bed with her back to me before dropping on her hands as well.
I couldn't have planned this better, since we are now both facing the mirror on the door of her bathroom. She smiles again through the reflection, flipping her hair to one side.
I keep one hand on her hip while the other wraps around my shaft, positioning the tip at her entrance. I enter her slowly, gently, as much as I can manage, and we both groan in unison. She's slick and warm, and it feels so good, my fingers clench over her hip bones as I give myself a second to get used to it.
Once I am able to, my hand caresses her ass cheek, running over to her lower back as I slowly move in and out of her. As my pace increases, one hand tightens around her hip while the other presses on her lower back.
She's panting, moaning, and I think I am too. When she turns her head and peeks at me over her shoulder, it's almost too much, but I force myself to keep my eyes opened.
She gives me some time before she starts meeting my thrusts, pushing back, letting me fill her deeper, and I know I won't be able to last much longer.
I focus on her face reflected in the mirror, her eyes closed, her bottom lip trapped in her teeth, until I can't keep my eyes opened anymore.
"Bella..." My fingers press into her skin, begging for her to come with me. "Please..."
Her arms give way, and she muffles a scream onto the mattress when I finally let go.
I ease her shaky legs down on the mattress and slip out of her. She hands me a towel without me even having to ask, and I clean both of us off before slumping next to her.
She puts a hand on my cheek and smiles. "I missed you."
"You only want me for my body," I say jokingly, and she explodes in laughter.
"I missed your face too," she says, once she calms down.
"Right..." I cover her hand, still at my jaw, with mine.
"And your hands..." She intertwines her fingers with mine. "Mine feel wrong... I don't know. It's not the same."
"You know? I had that same thought today." I feel the corners of my mouth stretch.
"Today?" I nod. "Like, on the plane?" I nod again. "Edward!" She smacks my shoulder playfully as she laughs.
"I'm sorry. What can I say? I was having these crazy dreams about you, and it was a long fucking flight, okay?"
Her laugh resonates in the room, and it's the cutest thing I've ever heard.
We stay in bed for a while until she declares it's time to go.
She steps in the bathroom as I try to rub the sleep out of my eyes. I look at the clock. It's only four p.m. here, but of course for me, it's around two in the morning.
"You should call your mother..." I barely hear Bella over the running water. "They're probably waiting for us."
I sit on the bed and look around for my pants. I get up, running a hand down my face with a groan. I am exhausted and ready to ask my mother for a rain check on the homecoming dinner. I find my boxers within the sheets and put them on as I spot my jeans on the other side of the bed. I stick my legs in, but before I can button them up, Bella's phone beeps on the night stand.
I grab it, thinking it's my mom, when a text appears on the screen.
"Belly-Bells. I got the tickets. When you wanna do this? Pauly-not-D."
My breath hitches as I read the text over and over again. Suddenly I'm pacing, the phone still in my shaking hand.
When Bella comes out of the bathroom, I still haven't buttoned my jeans.
"Did you call your mother?"
I shake my head, handing her the phone, afraid of what might come out of my mouth if I open it.
"Oh..." She looks it over, and a tiny smile appears on her face. I think I might have stopped breathing. When she looks up at me, she sighs.
I can't stay still anymore, so I start pacing again.
"Well, I guess the surprise is ruined," I think she says. I'm not sure though. I'm being consumed by anger, and it feels like my ears might explode.
I march out of the bedroom, my eyes on the floor, my hands in fists at my sides.
"Edward..." she calls behind me. "Edward, stop."
I stop by the kitchen and try to breathe, but the air doesn't seem to want to enter my lungs.
"I asked him to help me get tickets for Seth's game tomorrow. It's his last game with LA Galaxy. I wanted it to be a surprise."
I hear her words, but they don't really register in my brain, because it doesn't change anything. It doesn't matter why he's texting her.
I might be being irrational, but I don't care. I hate Paul. I hate that she works with him.
My fingers clench around the edge of the counter as I struggle to keep myself in check — to bury everything inside. I close my eyes tightly and force myself to breathe through my nose, but it doesn't work. My arms start shaking.
God, I hate this so much.
"Edward, talk to me." Her hand closes around my wrist as she pulls on it. "Please..."
What can I say, really? That I'm jealous? That I'm a possessive, overbearing and selfish asshole?
"I'm fine. I'm okay. I am," I make myself say, unable to look at her.
I turn to her in surprise. She's angry. She's upset. I've really done it now.
"Talk to me, Edward," she demands.
But I don't know how — I don't know how to tell her what I feel without ruining everything.
"I..." I struggle for words as she looks at me expectantly. There's no real anger behind her eyes, mostly concern... frustration. I force myself to try to calm down and be honest. "I'm just... I'm just trying really hard not to be angry right now."
"Why are you angry?" She sounds genuinely surprised, like she has no idea how hard this is. I can feel that switch flip in my brain, turning the filter off, and I know it's all going to come spilling out.
"Why do you go to him?! I could have gotten us tickets, Bella. Better tickets."
"Edward, stop. I wanted to get them for you."
"You never let me get you anything! Yet he gets away with everything, it seems."
"You're being ridiculous!"
"Am I? AM I? Do I have to bring up your birthday again?"
"Oh God..." She lets go of my hand and huffs in frustration, looking down.
"You let him throw you a party which I couldn't even come to, and you refuse to accept my present."
"He didn't throw me a party. It was the people I work with who did. How many times do I have to say this?"
She remains calm, which just makes me angrier so I pull at my hair.
"And you tried to give me an Audi as a birthday present..." she continues. "An Audi! Who does that?"
"I hate that piece-of-shit truck you drive."
"Hey, don't hate on the truck." She comes closer, her hand reaching for my cheek. "You know how much I love that truck."
I breathe through my nose, closing my eyes as she reaches behind my ear.
"I hate that he's here for you when I'm not." I hate not being here, period.
"Stop. Who cares about Paul? You're here now. Please, stop this."
"He calls you Bells. I hate that nickname."
"Everyone at work calls me that."
"I hate everyone you work with." At this she laughs. "I'm serious!"
"You're being a big baby. I can't take you seriously when you're being like this." She releases my face and starts pulling her hair up in a ponytail. "Are we going to your parents' or not?"
I groan. I want to say no. I'm exhausted, physically... mentally. I'm still pissed. And it's not just about Paul. I'm miserable... for missing her birthday, for missing everything. I hate this.
But, as usual, she's right. I'm here now, and I'm ruining it.
I focus on her eyes, which are still staring at me, and manage to take a couple of deep breaths. She slowly smiles at me, and that's the end of that. I give up and start getting ready.
My mother, as usual, is unable to not make a big deal out of things. When we arrive at their house, a party is in full effect. Alice is home already, and of course, Jasper is there too. Emmett and his family, and even Seth!
Messy, my six-year-old lab, slams into my legs, but before I can pet him, he turns to Bella who scratches his head.
"I see how it is, Messy. I see." Traitor.
I hug my dad, and my mom pulls my face down for a kiss before she disappears into the kitchen again.
Bella's father is here too. Even though I've never met him, my sister took it upon herself to have him and Bella over for Thanksgiving, which I missed due to a Champions League game. He's sitting on the couch, next to Emmett, watching the Seahawks game.
As soon as he sees me, Emmett gets up and wraps his arms around me in a bear hug. "That free kick against Barca was a beauty, you lucky son-of-a-bitch!" He cringes as he releases me and turns to Bella's father. "Sorry, Chief Swan," he says, completely unapologetically.
"Charlie," he says, waving Emmett off as he stands up.
"Beer?" Emmett raises his eyebrows at me.
Bella's father and I nod at the same time, and Emmett leaves us.
"I'm a big fan." Charlie shakes my hand and slowly pulls me closer, tightening his hand around mine. "But that's my daughter in there," he whispers in my ear, gesturing to the kitchen where you can hear the women bickering. "And when it comes to my daughter, I don't care who you are. If you hurt her..."
Charlie's overprotectiveness of Bella makes me smile. If anyone was going to end up being hurt here, it was going to be me. Because after only four months, I was ready for everything with Bella. Everything. I was already struggling to give her space, to let her be. I needed her. I needed her so much that I was ready to give up everything for her... to be with her. She had my heart in her hands; she could crush it, any day now.
So yeah... I wasn't going to hurt her. I couldn't.
"I won't, sir," I say firmly, convincingly, as he clasps a hand on my shoulder.
"You a Seahawks' fan?" He pats my back a little harder than needed, but not enough to really cause any pain.
"Sure..." I shrug, sitting down. I don't really follow American football, but whatever keeps me in Charlie's good graces.
Emmett returns with the beers and Bella trailing behind him. She sits on the armrest of the chair I'm sitting in, wrapping an arm over my shoulder and placing her hand in my hair. I rest my head back, and before I know it, my eyelids are fluttering closed.
At this rate, I'll pass out before dinner.
"Tee-Tee, stop..." With a little shake of my head, I turn to look at her. She smiles, bringing the bottle to her lips. I mimic the action and get lost in her eyes.
Emmett's not-so-delicate smack against my knee makes me spill some of my beer.
"Jesus, Emmett! What?!" I clean my chin with my hand.
"Why do you call her tittie?"
I think I blink twice, trying to take in what he just said... and in front of Charlie for fuck's sake!
"It's not tittie! It's Tee-Tee!" I try explaining, realizing that it's my fault. I have never called her that in front of anyone before. Bella laughs next to me before heading back to the kitchen.
"Sounds like tittie to me." Emmett leans back on the couch, drinking from his beer.
It's safe to say the nickname is now officially ruined.
I look at Charlie, who does not seem to have heard anything, or at least is pretending not to, so I relax into my seat and pretend as well.
Dinner goes over smoothly. My mother insists on stuffing everyone's faces, even Seth's who has clearly stated he has a game tomorrow. It all goes well until my dad asks me about contract renewals. I give him a vague answer that satisfies him for the moment, but for the rest of the dinner, that is all I can think about.
I am refusing Real Madrid's offer.
The biggest club that ever existed. I am going to say no to them.
My father will be supportive of whatever it is I decide to do, but just thinking about telling him kind of makes it official.
I lose track of the conversation, and all of the sudden, plates are being cleared. I help with what I can until I am kicked out of the kitchen. The guys are back in front of the TV. I smile at my sister, who is on Jasper's lap making him grin at whatever weird thing she's saying. Seth is on the floor, playing with little Collin and a stuffed football. I hesitate to go sit with them, until I decide it might do me well to get some fresh air and clear my head.
I don't have the door half opened yet when Messy squishes between my legs, desperate to get out.
"All right, all right, you freak!"
The air is chilly, but it's not that bad. The smell of salt fills my lungs immediately, and I take a deep breath. I walk halfway to the shore, to the log that has been there since I can recall.
I laugh at Messy, already hunting for creatures he can terrorize, and drop on the log with a sigh. Mom's gonna be pissed. He's already made a mess of himself.
I stay there for a while, enjoying the sound of the waves, trying to keep my mind from thinking too much.
When Messy drops a half-eaten crab and snaps his head up, I already know there's someone coming. The twist of my stomach tells me it's Bella.
I turn back and smile, finding that I'm right. She's wearing one of my hoodies and trying to peel Messy off of her.
When she succeeds, she smiles, coming closer and sitting next to me.
Messy finally calms down and sits at my feet as I run my fingers behind his ear absentmindedly. Bella's hands are in the front pocket of the hoodie, keeping them warm.
My eyes land on her as she takes in the view in front of her with a satisfied sigh, and I decide right now is as good as ever to tell her what's been on my mind.
"I miss this," I say, grabbing a loose branch and throwing it for Messy to fetch.
"I bet," Bella says, turning to smile at me. "It's beautiful here."
I smirk at her too. It is nice here, but that's not what I'm missing.
"I've been thinking..." I start, suddenly getting nervous. "Um... I could probably talk to Aro, see if he can get me a deal on a transfer to LA Galaxy."
Bella's eyebrows scrunch in the middle. "Galaxy? Why?"
Her words sting. I thought the possibility of me moving here to be with her would be... I don't know... less confusing, more exciting.
"Well... I've proven myself in Europe," I try to elaborate. "I could bring something back… to my country, you know?" I keep my eyes on hers.
Tell me you want me here, Bella. Tell me you need me just as much as I need you. I'd give up everything. I'd do it.
"You wanna play... here?" Her laughter is genuine, but it feels like a bucket of icy water running down my spine.
I look down at Messy who comes back with the stick. I scratch the top of his head and throw the stick again.
"You'd be miserable, Edward. No one cares about soccer here. Things might have changed at an international level after the World Cup. But not at the national league level. At least not yet."
I stay looking down, my feet kicking around some sand, as she gives me the same speech I gave Seth a while ago.
"Here they won't care about how you play. They'd care about who you date, what you wear... It's ridiculous!"
"You're right." I get up, wiping the sand from my hands, not being able to take her dismissal anymore. "Don't know what I was thinking," I mutter under my breath.
It is obvious to me now that Bella is on a very different page than me at the moment. She's not ready for this.
"Hey..." Her hand gets a hold of my sweater sleeve, and she stops me. "Are you okay?"
I allow myself a couple seconds to compose my expression before turning to face her. "Yeah..."
She eyes me suspiciously, not buying it one bit.
"I'm just tired," I say with a shrug. "It's like four in the morning for me." I try to give her a smile.
I know she's not convinced and that she won't let this go yet, but at least she agrees to leave.
But of course, as soon as we get to her place, she's quick to ask, "What's wrong?"
I walk into the bedroom, getting rid of my beanie and sweater. The whole ride here, I haven't come up with anything better to tell her than the truth.
I sit on the edge of the bed with a huff. I really don't want to get into this right now.
"Why is this so difficult?" I say into my hands as they cover my face. She's next to me in an instant, peeling the fingers from my face.
"This! Us!" I snap, my eyes finding hers again.
"I lied, okay? I'm not fine. I'm not okay with this. I miss you. I miss you so fucking much, Tee-Tee." My hands pulls at my hair as I try to deal with the truth of what I'm saying.
"I've missed you too."
"... and yet, you feel the idea of me moving back here it's ridiculous!"
"Not because I wouldn't like to have you here! But because I don't think it's what's best for you!"
"What's best for me is to be with you."
She sighs and sits next to me. "I know it's hard but—"
And I cut her off because I just have to get this off my chest. "I got offered a four-year contract with Real Madrid."
Her face lights up immediately, and she opens her mouth — to congratulate me I'm sure — but I stop her. "I can't do this for four years. I barely managed to stay sane these four months."
She rubs her hands over her thighs a couple times before she gets up.
"Okay, let me tell you what I can't do." Her hands are on her hips as she stands gravely in front of me. I have a bad feeling about this.
"I'm not going to be one of those WAGs." She waves her hand off at the term.
"One of those what?"
"WAGs. You know? Footballers' Wives and Girlfriends," she explains.
"I'm not gonna just stand by your side and look pretty and have your babies. Support you from behind the curtains..."
"I mean, I will support you and stand by you, but that's not all I'm going to be. I'm going to have my life and my career. I love journalism, and that's what I will do. Whether you like who I work with or not."
"Okay," I say in defeat, looking at my feet. I knew it. It's too soon. I can't ask her to come with me, and she won't let me come here.
It's long-distance or nothing.
So it's long-distance...
At least for a while longer.
Her hand on my cheek surprises me, and when my eyes find hers, I see nothing but warmth and truth.
"Now let me tell you what I can do." I nod at her briefly, and when my hair falls over my forehead, she runs her fingers in it, pushing it back, before she continues. "I can do all of that, while being with you."
Yes, but a thousand miles apart...
"I know... I'm sorry. I'll try harder. I'll be okay." It's only been four months. I need to respect her decision. I need to make this work.
"Edward, you're not listening."
I take a deep breath, trying to be strong for her, but just thinking about going back to England alone crushes my chest and I can't breathe — I can't think.
I try pulling my pieces together, holding on to the feeling of her fingertips running on my jawline. I can do this — I have to. She might only need a few more months. Maybe just until the end of this season. I will have more time next summer to be with her…
I manage to open my eyes and force myself to smile at her. I don't know what it looks like, but I might have not succeeded because she doesn't smile back but sighs instead.
With both hands on my face, she forces me to look at her. "Listen to me," she orders, and I do my best to hold her gaze. "I can look for a job in Madrid."
"I'm sure I can find something." She shrugs. "Not to brag or anything, but I am fluent in Spanish, remember?"
"W-what... what are you talking about?"
"Edward, I love you." She pulls my face up again. "I've missed you like crazy. These four months have been torturous being so far away from you."
I have to remind myself to breathe as her words sink in.
"You... y-you..." The words get stuck in my mouth, and I suddenly feel a million pounds lighter.
"I love you," she says again, and I could be seeing things, but I'd bet there are tears prickling at the corner of her eyes.
Her hands still cup my face as I get up, wrapping her legs around my hips, bringing her up with me.
"Say it again," I whisper, my forehead touching hers.
"I love you," she repeats between giggles.
"God, Bella... you know how long I've been waiting to say that to you?!"
"How long?" she asks teasingly.
"Months!" I lose the fight against the grin that insists on spreading on my face.
"Months?!" She rushes a hand to her chest in mocked surprise.
"Yes! And now you beat me to it!"
"I'm sorry?" Her eyes, a sea of melted chocolate brown, burn fervently as she stares at me.
"Well, good, 'cause I love you."
My lips seal the words in hers, and I kiss her as if I need her to breathe, which isn't really an exaggeration.
A little over four months ago, Bella walked into my life to alter it completely for the better. I owe her one of the greatest experiences of my life: winning the World Cup. And from that moment on, she hasn't stopped making me whole. As we start this new stage of our lives, finally together, I am convinced there will be many more moments of victory to come.
Well, there you have it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing (and researching) it!