Chapter 21

By the time Edward and I were dressed for dinner, the rest of our gang was already gathered in the sitting room with drinks. Edward pulled me down onto a couch with him, and I was immediately handed a glass of champagne.

"Where did this come from?" I questioned.

"There's a fully stocked bar, and the staff replenishes it ever day. The joys of an all-inclusive resort," Jasper answered.

"We'll be making good use of this!" Emmett offered.

Rose raised her glass. "How about a toast?" We all nodded and lifted our glasses with her. "To friendship and fun, and a fabulous trip!"

Glasses clinked all around before we drank our champagne.

Edward's arm tightened around me. "To us," he said quietly. I smiled and tapped my glass with his, repeating his words before taking a drink of the bubbly liquid.

Emmett's voice rang out across the room. "Awe, look at the lovebirds. If you just twist your arms together, you'd look like newlyweds!"

That earned him a smack on the back of his head from Rose. I laughed, but felt Edward stiffen next to me.

"Something wrong?" I asked quietly.

"Hmm?" he said distractedly. "Uh … no. I'm fine. Probably just a little jet lagged. I'll be right back." With that, he got up and ran into our room before I even had a chance to respond.

I looked around, puzzled, but no one else was even paying attention to help me decipher that strange exchange.

Edward returned quickly with a smile on his face, so I put the issue out of my mind when Alice announced that it was time to head out to dinner.

We all enjoyed the delicious Mexican cuisine, free flowing drinks and impeccable service at Mole. The waiter was not only attentive, but insistent that we order some of everything. He continually reminded us that it was all included so we should order as much as we wanted. I felt guilty that so much food would be wasted, but I shouldn't have feared with Emmett at the table. He made sure that everyone's plates were empty.

Once we were completely stuffed and slightly buzzed, we set off on a walk around the resort property. The sky was still clear and the moon was shining, casting a beautiful glow off the ocean and pool surfaces. Edward didn't let his arm leave my waist once while we were walking.

We checked out the other restaurants and Alice made notes on where we would dine each night. We found the main pool with swim-up bar, a grill for daytime eating, the breakfast and lunch buffet areas, as well as the spa. When we stumbled upon the main bar, Alice insisted that it was time to go in.

The ambiance inside was just as wonderful as the rest of the resort. The bar itself glowed from within with neon lights. Comfortable couches were placed randomly throughout the space, with regular tables and chairs interspersed around the dance floor. Quite a few people were already on the dance floor, moving to the beat of the music.

The guys went to get drinks while I settled on a couch with Alice and Rose.

"This place is awesome," Rose exclaimed.

"Do you mean the bar or the resort?" Alice questioned.

"All of it!"

I couldn't agree more. "It's so beautiful here. I can't wait to get my feet in the sand and relax by the pool tomorrow," I added.

The guys returned with our drinks, and we all sat and relaxed for a while, taking in the atmosphere. Alice was the first to jump up, insisting that Jasper dance with her. Groans sounded from the rest of the group, still too full from dinner and too tired from the long day to want to hit the dance floor.

Edward thankfully stayed with me, and I snuggled into his side on the couch for a while. We chatted a bit, discussing what we wanted to explore the next day.

"I definitely want you to take advantage of the spa at some point," he told me. "Your leg can't be doing great after that long flight. I'm sure a massage would help."

I smiled at him and kissed him for his thoughtfulness. He was right. My leg was stiff and painful, although it would loosen up eventually. "Will you go with me?"

"I've never had a massage before."

"The first one I ever had—if you don't count physical therapy—was on New Year's Eve. I think you'll like it. Plus, we can do it together. Alice said they do couple's massages."

"Okay. We'll set it up tomorrow."

Edward did eventually get me out on the dance floor, promising we'd go easy and just enjoy a few slow songs knowing my leg couldn't handle any more than that. He held me close the entire time that we swayed to the music.

"It's not often that I get to enjoy being on this side of the music with you," he murmured in my ear.

I hummed and laid my head on his chest. "This is nice," I concurred.

He hummed along with the music, his chest vibrating against me. I relished in his hands roaming my back and playing with the ends of my hair. He was always threading his fingers through my hair, and it was a feeling I enjoyed immensely.

"I better not get too used to this," I told him. "Because once we get back to Seattle, I'm going to have to give you up to the stage again."

He separated our bodies slightly and looked into my eyes, his green blazing into me. "You don't ever have to give me up. You know that, right? I'm yours, for as long as you'll have me."

With my arms around his neck, I kissed him gently. "Of course I know that. Just as I'm yours." I gave him a reassuring smile, not understanding where his insecurity was coming from.

"Take a walk with me?" he asked suddenly.

"Sure."

He led me off the dance floor. We stopped momentarily to let our friends know that we were leaving before walking out of the bar.

"Where are we going?"

He shrugged. "Do you want to walk on the beach for a little bit?"

"That sounds nice."

We made our way through the lobby to the bridge I had seen when we arrived. My heart was thumping wildly at the romantic view ahead of me; the moon was shining brightly over the sand and surf at the end of a long, wooden bridge. It was picture perfect.

We strolled hand in hand across the bridge, stopping at the end to remove our shoes. I held my sandals in one hand and Edward's hand in the other as our toes took their first dip into the sand. It was cool from the lack of sun, but soft around my feet.

Edward led me down the beach in the direction of our building. We walked slowly, enjoying the night air and the serene sound of waves crashing on the shore. It was the perfect setting to be with the one you love.

Eventually, he stopped and turned around, grasping both of my hands in his own larger ones. "We've only been here a few hours, and already I feel like everything is perfect," he said quietly.

"Me, too." I looked at his face and took in the serious but loving expression.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, running his thumbs softly over the backs of my hands.

"I think I loved you before I even knew you," he told me, causing me to smile at him. Looking into my eyes, he continued. "You were so different … so perfect. I don't think I ever told you, but I remember watching you a few times before we met. You were so happy, even when you were by yourself, never looking for attention like all the other women I saw every night.

"It was exactly a year ago that I decided I would do whatever it took to meet you. Did I ever tell you that I tried to find you that night?"

I shook my head, still smiling at him. Even though the memory of what happened the next day was difficult, knowing he wanted to meet me as much as I wanted to meet him made it all worth it.

"You stayed in one spot most of the night while Alice came and went, and you looked so content. I knew you were beautiful on the outside, and I think I knew I'd find you just as beautiful on the inside, too. I ran off the stage as soon as we were done, but you were out the door before I could get to you. I promised myself that I wouldn't miss the next opportunity.

"Of course, no one had any idea what would happen the next day," he said, squeezing my hands gently. I pursed my lips but nodded gently, wondering where he was going with all of this.

"If there's one thing I learned from that, it's that life is too short, and when you know something is right, you need to go after it and never let it go."

"Definitely," I agreed with confidence.

With another deep breath, he released my right hand and dropped down to one knee in the sand. My mouth fell open and my eyes went wide. He couldn't be … could he?

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of lightening and thought we might get stormed on any minute, but couldn't care less as Edward started speaking again.

"Bella, I don't want to spend another minute of my life without you. I love you more than I ever thought possible, and I want to share in every joy with you, and even the sorrow. Nothing would make me happier than having you by my side for the rest of our days and calling you my wife. Will you marry me?"

My breath hitched as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a velvet box.

Edward didn't even have the box opened before I answered him. "Yes! Yes, I'll marry you, Edward," I said, dropping down in the sand in front of him and throwing my arms around his neck. I kissed him with every bit of love that I had in me, and he responded in kind.

"I love you, so much," I choked out when we came up for air. I could feel the tears rolling down my face, but I didn't care. I had never even thought about getting married, but knew I gave him the right answer because the vision of growing old with Edward, surrounded by our children and grandchildren flashed through my mind and looked absolutely perfect.

"I love you, too, baby. Thank you." He was smiling, but I could see the tears in his eyes, the glassiness highlighted by the moon. "The ring!" he suddenly exclaimed.

I had forgotten all about the box he'd been holding. He quickly opened it and pulled out a stunning three stone ring, slipping it on the ring finger of my left hand and placing a kiss right above it. It was a perfect fit.

"The three stones represent past, present and future," he told me.

"It's perfect," I said, admiring the platinum setting with one larger round stone and two smaller ones.

We kissed deeply again until I noticed more flashes. "Is that lightening?" I asked, curious because there still wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Edward chuckled. "I don't think that's lightening, baby." He nodded his head toward the pool deck, just off the beach. "I think we were followed."

"Can we come down now?" Alice shouted, already halfway down the steps to the beach.

"Yes," Edward and I said in unison, matching mile-wide smiles on our faces.

The rest of our friends bounded toward us, shouting congratulations the whole way. Alice nearly knocked me over with her hug, but Edward was there to catch me, as always.

"I got pictures!" Alice exclaimed.

"Of course you did, Ali," Edward said, shaking his head. "Somehow, I knew you wouldn't be far behind us."


A/N: I hope you enjoyed some more of the vacation, and of course, the engagement! I posted a picture of Bella's engagement ring on my Facebook profile.

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