"Bella, you'll fall."
"I won't fall. When did you become such a worry wart?"
Edward gripped her hips as she climbed the step-ladder. "I became a worry wart the day that pregnancy test came back positive. Please, please be careful."
Bella sighed heavily and placed the star on top of the tree. She was only a few months along, and he was already a nervous wreck. She couldn't imagine how he'd handle it when her water broke. Or the delivery. Or the first time he had to change a diaper.
That particular thought made her smile.
It had been a year since they met, and in that time, their world had changed in ways they never could have imagined. The bed and breakfast was thriving, thanks to an unseasonably warm spring and summer that had seen an influx of tourists to the area. With the inn doing so well, Edward quit his job at the insurance agency and began writing full-time for the Forks Forum. It had taken some time, but after a few months, his stories had caught the attention of the Seattle Times, and he was now juggling freelance articles while working on his first novel.
Personally, their lives were just as fulfilling. Despite the fact it took Charlie a solid month to say his name correctly, he and Edward had hit it off instantly and were now weekend fishing buddies. Edward's parents weren't as enthusiastic about the whirlwind romance and their son's decision to move to Forks, but after many family visits and with much prodding from Alice, his parents accepted that their son's happiness was truly all that mattered. The entire family had made the trip to Forks for their small wedding, and Alice had stood by her new best friend's side as they recited their vows.
While Esme and Carlisle accepted and loved Bella, they were still working on their relationship with their son. Bella and Edward had a feeling that the birth of a grandchild would finally heal the hurt.
Life was almost too perfect, and sometimes, it scared them, but they talked. A lot. And with the support of their family and sponsors, they took care of each other. They reminded one another to take one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time—just like the serenity prayer taught them.
Edward breathed a sigh of relief when Bella finally climbed down. She rolled her eyes and told him to flip the switch on the lights. Seconds later, the tree was aglow, and they both stepped back, taking a long, lingering look at their second Christmas tree.
"Beautiful," she whispered.
"Very much so."
She turned to find him gazing at her, his face a mask of wonder and love.
"I have a gift for you," Bella said, smiling and pulling him by the hand toward the couch.
"But it's still three weeks until Christmas."
She handed him the wrapped gift she'd hidden behind the pillow. "I know, but you're going to that book convention in Tacoma next week. This might come in handy."
Edward gave it a little shake before untying the bow. He grinned when the paper fell away, revealing a new GPS for his car.
"I wouldn't want you to get lost again," Bella said softly.
He smiled and tenderly stroked her cheek.
"Not a chance, sweetheart," he whispered, leaning in to press his forehead against hers. "It took a long time, and a lot of wrong turns, but I think I've finally reached my destination."
Thank you, as always, for your reviews and support. I'm trying to juggle fanfic, my original novels, and my real life, and sometimes fanfic has to be placed on the back burner. But I love it, so I'll keep doing it as long as I can. Some of you have asked about my original novels, and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have. Just send me a DM. :)
Until next time,