I glanced at the simple face of my silver watch and tried desperately not to fidget. The second hand ticked on at an agonizingly slow rate and I put my hand back down to rest on my lap so I couldn't drive myself mad watching the hands.
Instead I looked up and fixed my eyes on the table across the restaurant. I was waiting for her. I had no idea what her name was, I had no idea what she did for a living, how old she was, weather she liked living in Seattle or not. I didn't even know what her voice sounded like; I just knew I was going to marry her.
It had started nearly seven months ago when I had just experienced the shittiest day of my life. I'd dragged myself away from work, dejected and feeling pathetic. I hadn't even wanted to stop anywhere, I just wanted to go home and wallow in self-pity, but I had quickly remembered that my empty apartment had zero food in it. Frustrated with my lack of foresight, I had ducked into the nearest restaurant, looking for take out.
The phones had been ringing off the hook and no one had been available to even place a to go order, so I had succumbed to taking a seat. I really didn't want to sit around a restaurant and eat by myself, but I was starving.
Slumping into the chair, I hastily threw my coat over the seat across from me, trying to make it seem that I wasn't actually alone. I don't think I fooled anyone.
The tiny Chinese restaurant was nearly empty apart from one or two other patrons. I looked around bored and tired, wanting to eat as quickly as possible then get out, when I noticed her. She was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. She was sitting directly across the restaurant from me, her long brown hair swept over her shoulders as she hunched over a document in front of her. The black glasses that perched on her nose were cute and gave her a distinctly scholarly look. There was a large plate of untouched food in front of her and a small cup of tea that she reached out to every once in a while and sipped.
I was entranced.
Never had I seen anyone so captivating before.
I stared at her through my entire meal, eating as slowly as possible so that I could just keep watching her. She marked the document with strong determined shakes of her head and slashes of a red pen, but beyond that I couldn't see what she was doing. She seemed to be completely drawn into her work.
I watched as a waitress wandered to her table and then the most glorious thing in the world happened; she looked up at me and smiled.
I could have died then and have been blissful. She blushed when she realized I was staring at her and I nearly moaned. That blush looked gorgeous on her.
I should have looked away, I should have been polite and at least pretend to have been embarrassed staring at her, but I wasn't. I felt no remorse for it so I just kept staring.
To my utter delight, she kept staring back. Hundreds of things were spoken in our silence and when her phone on the table buzzed and she dragged her eyes away from me to stare at it, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I had fallen in love with her.
She had packed up her things and left, sending me one long look before she disappeared. The look had said it all. See you next week.
It had become a weekly habit of ours. Every Thursday without fail we'd both show up at the Golden Dragon. She would sit at her table, I'd sit at mine. Sometimes we'd bring work, sometimes we'd just stare at each other. I had learned so much from watching her. I knew she drank coffee with cream and no sugar. I knew she liked chicken lo mien but hated it when it came with beef. I knew that she was well read and I would assume she was well spoken as well. I knew she liked the colours blue and green and wore them often. I knew so much about her that it made it impossible not to love her.
I felt like I was in a relationship and so for the seven months I had been sitting with her, I hadn't looked at another woman once. I just wasn't interested because none of them were her. I had even tried once or twice coming to the restaurant on other days, desperate for a glance of her, but those trips had always proven useless. Thursdays at seven o'clock was our time.
As if my thoughts had summoned her, the front door opened and she stepped inside. My agitation disappeared the instant she walked into the restaurant. Her hair was wind blown and she had a book clutched in her arms. She looked across the restaurant, her eyes seeking me out. She found me and let a smile slip onto her face. She was truly dazzling.
I nodded to her in greeting and she nodded back before sitting at her table and settling in. She was exuberant tonight, giddy with news I had no way of knowing.
Not for the first time, the thought of actually getting up and talking to her crossed my mind. I discarded it though. This was how our game worked. This is how we got to know each other.
Still, a part of me knew we couldn't keep this game up forever.
She smiled at me and held up her book. I couldn't see the title from where I sat, but she held it out proudly then pulled it into her chest and grinned. The movement was clear. She was a writer. It was her book, possibly her first book. And it was published.
My face split in half with my smile and she grinned back. She was practically glowing.
When the waitress, who's name was Amy, came by, I asked her to send my girl a glass of champagne and to bring me one as well. Amy, who had witnessed our entire relationship, merely nodded and went off to fetch the glasses. When she returned, I held my glass firmly and watched as Amy handed my girl the other. She looked up at me, big brown eyes wide and I smiled at her, holding my glass out in a silent toast. She grinned then, holding hers out as well.
We drank to her success.
The next week everything changed.
I walked into the Golden Dragon and took my seat, smiling at Amy who immediately brought me a coke and some egg rolls. I sat and waited the usual ten minutes for her to show up. Tonight I was going to change everything. Tonight I would talk to her.
I touched the bouquet of flowers I had brought her nervously and took a deep breath. I could do this.
Ten minutes passed. Then twenty and she had still not arrived. As time ticked on I grew more and more agitated. What if something happened to her? What if she was in an accident and had to be taken to the hospital? What if she had met someone else, someone who would actually talk to her and take her to dinner to eat at the same table like a normal person?
The thoughts flew through my mind viciously and by the time the Golden Dragon closed that night and she still hadn't shown up, I was in full panic mode.
I had been such an idiot. What if she never came back? I'd probably never see her again because I didn't even know her name let alone a phone number I could reach her on.
The next week passed miserably. Each moment was a stabbing reminder that I had been an idiot to not talk to her sooner.
I prayed for Thursday to come, and when it finally did I was a ball of anxiety and nerves.
I waited for her that night, and again, she didn't show up.
Four weeks had gone by without sight of her. I was spiraling down deep into depression. I needed her back, I don't know what it was but she was like a drug I had gotten hooked on. Life seemed absolutely meaningless without her.
I had tried to avoid my family as much as possible in those days without sight of her. I knew that they would all just give me a hard time and I honestly didn't want to hear any of it.
That Wednesday, mom called me demanding my presence for dinner. I tried to decline, feigning work and exhaustion, but Esme would not hear of it.
So that evening I headed to my parent's house.
My little sister Alice was there with her boyfriend Jasper and so was my big brother Emmett. Alice had brought a friend she had wanted to introduce to me, claiming we'd be a match made in heaven, but I had warned Alice not to. I was in no state to be civil, let alone flirtatious with one of my sister's annoying friends.
As soon as I entered the house mom was on me, hugging me tightly and scolding me for not coming around more.
I hugged her back but said nothing.
"Edward what is wrong with you? You look horrible." Alice said as soon as I made my way to the living room where everyone was gathered. I ignored her remark and gave everyone an empty half smile before plopping down on the sofa exhaustedly. There was a gorgeous blond woman sitting across from Emmett and I assumed it was Alice's friend she had wanted me to meet. I watched as the woman eyed Emmett, who was watching her back just as intently. They stared at each other about two minutes before Em finally stood up and sat next to her so they could talk.
For possibly the first time in my life, I wondered why I couldn't be like my big brother. It hadn't taken him eight months to move to the seat next to the woman he was interested, just two minutes.
I could feel someone poking my arm and looked up at Alice who was glaring at me.
"You are zoning out so hard." She accused. "What is with you?"
"Long day." I muttered, settling my gaze on the view outside the window. It looked out to the yard, and beyond that to the sound. It was a really stunning view.
"Edward seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?" Alice asked perching on the arm of the chair I was slouched in. I glared at her.
"Leave it Alice."
She glared back at me. "Stop being such a dick head." She snapped, standing up and stalking over to where Jasper and my dad were talking. I huffed and turned back to the view. I didn't want to be mean to my sister, but I seriously just couldn't focus on her right now. I was wallowing in self-pity. Didn't she see that?
My hand sank into my pocket and thumbed over the engagement ring that my Grandma Elizabeth had passed down to me before she died. I'd been holding onto it recently, giving myself another constant reminder that I had let 'the one' slip through my fingers.
Idiot wasn't a strong enough word.
There was a knock at the front door and mom rushed to answer it. I could hear her talking, but to whom I couldn't tell.
"I'm so sorry to interrupt your dinner Esme. I just wanted to stop by on my way home from the hospital to thank you and Carlisle. I don't think I would have made it through all this without you two." The woman at the door said softly. I was surprised to hear such a melodious voice. It was almost like a song it was so beautiful.
"Oh dear of course. Please come in and have dinner with us." Mom pleaded. The door shut and I could hear footsteps echo through the marble foyer before mom appeared in the living room. "Dear have you met any of my wonderful children?" Mom asked. "This is Alice and her boyfriend Jasper, and that is Emmett and sweet Rosalie who we have just had the pleasure of meeting." She said smiling at everyone. I looked up at mom from my corner then past her and froze.
It was Her! The woman who had completely captivated me, body and spirit! She was here and she was staring right back at me, the same relief and joy on her face as I felt on mine.
I was moving before I could realize what was going on. I jumped up from my chair and hopped over the coffee table and I realized with a grin that she was running to me too. I gracefully jumped the sofa and landed right in front of her, taking her into my arms and kissing her like I'd been waiting to do for eight months.
That kiss shattered my world.
I never thought I'd see her again and here she was, in my arms, kissing me as if her own life depended on it. God I loved this woman. When we finally pulled away from each other, I held her face in my hands as we gasped for breath. Some part of my mind knew my whole family was watching us, but I just couldn't bring myself to care.
Dropping down on one knee, I pulled out the ring box from my pocket and heard her gasp.
"I am so insanely in love with you. Will you marry me?" I asked. They were the first words I'd ever spoken to her. Her brown eyes widened and she stared at me for a moment before smiling.
"Yes." It was the first word she'd ever spoken to me. It was really the only word that mattered. I stood up and pulled her to me again, kissing her fiercely. I could hear my family talking, but I paid them no attention. She was here, in my arms and she had just agreed to be my wife. I was the luckiest man in the world.
When we pulled away again I slid the engagement ring onto her finger and she smiled at me, staring at the dazzling ring.
"I'm Edward." I whispered quietly. She looked up at me and giggled.
"Bella." She said softly. I smiled at her. What a perfectly fitting name. Bella.
The sound of a throat clearing caught my attention and Bella and I both looked over at my family who were gaping at us.
"What just happened?" Emmett asked staring at us with wide eyes.
"We're getting married." I said pulling my arm around Bella's waist. She melted into me, a perfect fit.
"I had no idea you guys even knew each other, let alone were dating." Mom said looking lost. Dad was eyeing us curiously and I just shrugged looking back at Bella. I couldn't get enough of her. I'd missed her like crazy this last month.
"Are you alright?" I asked, remembering she had mentioned the hospital. Instantly she knew what I was asking.
"I'm sorry. I tried to get back but my dad has been in the hospital. He's been having heart problems. Your mom and dad have been amazing help to us." She explained.
"Is he alright?" I asked concerned. She nodded.
"He will be."
I hugged her tighter.
"Edward." Alice hissed finally snapping out of her out of character silence. "Why didn't you tell me you were seeing someone?" She snapped, glancing briefly at Rosalie then back at me.
"You never actually asked Ali. You just assumed." I said casually. She continued to glare at me.
"Well, should we eat dinner?" Mom asked clapping her hands and trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy. Dad nodded and wrapped his arm around her waist as he led her to the dining room. We all followed suit.
Bella stopped just before we entered the grand room and I looked down at her curiously.
"What's wrong baby?" I asked softly. She smiled at me.
"I love you too." She said softly. "I love you so much it scares me and I'm so happy that I found you again and I don't think I ever want to go that long without seeing you ever again." She said wrapping me in a tight hug. I held her to me and smiled my relief.
"Good, because I'm going to make sure that never happens." I promised.
We settled around the dinner table and Bella sat right next to me. I looked at her and smirked. This was such a change from our usual seating arrangements. She smiled at me knowingly and I couldn't help but grin when she touched the engagement ring on her finger lightly.
"So how did you two meet?" Mom asked. She seemed to still be in shock but was trying to stay polite. I started serving myself food and without prompting, Bella handed me a dish I was about to ask for. I smiled at her and leaned over to kiss her, making her giggle.
My father cleared his throat in amusement and I realized I had completely ignored my mom's question.
"We met at a restaurant." I said spooning the mash potatoes on my plate. I handed Bella the basket of bread and she pulled out a roll, splitting it in half and placing one of the pieces on my plate. I grinned at her.
"When?" Alice asked, still glaring at me.
Bella gave her a sweet smile. "Tomorrow it'll be nine months ago." She said grinning. I smiled back at her and my family's jaws all dropped.
"How have you been in a relationship for nine months and not told us?" Alice hissed. I shrugged at my little sister and looked up and down the table looking for the salt and pepper. Bella frowned at me.
"You eat too much salt." She complained handing me the pepper. "On top of your already high stress level it can't be good for your blood pressure." She continued. I should have been surprised by her insightful words, but I wasn't. Instead I just smiled at her.
"You worried about me." I said in a soft voice. She glared at me.
"Of course I did." She said shaking her head. "Half the time you looked like you were ready to keel over." She said bringing up a small hand and placing it on my cheek. I brought my own hand up to hold her's to me.
"Jesus Edward, it's like you guys have never touched before." Emmett groaned. I looked up at him and smirked when I saw Bella flush.
"We haven't." I said shrugging and dropping my hand to Bella's thigh. She shivered under my touch.
"What?" Alice asked frowning. Bella looked at me and gave me a small smile and a shrug. I nodded and turned to my family.
"In fact I'd never heard Bella's voice until today. Though I have to say, what I imagined wasn't nearly as good as the real thing." I said looking back down at her. She blushed and reached up to kiss me.
"Back at you." She whispered.
"Wait, stop." Mom said waving her hands in front of her. "Please explain to me what is happening." She demanded.
So I did.
I told my family about how I'd fallen in love with Bella the instant I saw her and how I would come back Thursday hoping to get a glimpse of her.
I told them how I'd been going crazy the past month and I could feel Bella shrink closer to me as I explained our story. By the time I was done, everyone was staring at us in shock.
"And to think." Dad said breaking the silence. "If you hadn't been such a brat and had visited us when we had asked you to, you would have seen Bella a whole month sooner." He said smirking at me. I grinned at him and Bella rolled her eyes.
"You're too stubborn." She whispered to me. I laughed.
"I could say the same about you baby." I whispered back at her. She grinned.
"And you guys are seriously just going to get married after one kiss?" Alice asked loudly. I glanced at her and smiled before kissing Bella again. My little sister glared at me and Bella giggled.
"I know how I feel." I said shrugging and wrapping an arm around Bella. "Just because we didn't talk doesn't mean we didn't communicate." I said.
"Edward you can't just get married to a stranger!" Alice protested. "No offense Bella, I'm sure you're an amazing person, but my brother doesn't know anything about you!" She complained. I glared at her.
"Alice don't tell me what I do and don't know." I growled. Bella placed her hand on my thigh and I looked down at her trying to relax at the small smile she was giving me. She turned to Alice and smiled.
"I know you're worried about your brother and I really appreciate that." Bella said quietly. "But I know a lot more about him than you'd think." She said gazing up at me. "I know that his favourite colour is blue, I know that he plays the piano though not nearly often enough. I know that he is compassionate and considerate and generous. I know that he is loving and loyal and kind and I know that there isn't a thing in this world that could make me love him any less than I do." She declared. My family all stared at her in stunned silence.
Finally mom looked over at dad and glared at him.
"I told you they would make a good couple." She hissed. Bella blushed and I couldn't help my laugh as I reached down to kiss her cheek.
"That is going to be one hell of a story to tell your kids." Jasper said making everyone chuckle. I looked at Bella who was smiling at me.
"Yeah, all four of them." I said looking at her. She grinned wider.
"You read my mind." She whispered.