When Day Ends and Night Begins
A Twilight Fan Fiction
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story contains underage drug and alcohol use, profanity, discussion of sex and sexually explicit acts. Mature readers only please.
This story is Unbeta'ed! Please forgive the occasional grammatical errors. I'm only human, after all.
Chapter 40: An Ending and New Beginning
"I just can't believe I'm not pregnant."
My voice was still shaky as Edward and I walked hand-in-hand towards our second period.
"Why?" he asked. "Aren't you glad?"
I turned to meet his curious gaze.
Yes, I was glad. Relieved. But… could it be true? What else could explain my late period?
The nurse had told me there were many other factors that could contribute to a missed period. Weight loss, stress, malnutrition. But honestly, I didn't feel I met any of the possible criteria. I wasn't under weight, I ate just fine. And I wasn't stressed… I didn't think.
I glanced over at Edward and studied his pursed lips. He was deep in thought.
"You know," I said, changing the subject. "I had a nightmare last night. Well, a few actually. Its how I realized I was late."
"What kinds of nightmares?" Edward responded. His frown deepened.
I waved his worried expression away.
"It was just about some woman and there was blood around her," I said. "I'm assuming the blood was a reminder of my monthly flow." I giggled.
Edward didn't laugh. He obviously didn't think my nightmare was at all humorous.
"What was your other nightmare about?" he asked seriously.
"Just some silly stuff. No biggie."
"Its really nothing," I shrugged and then I reached for the handle to my Politics class.
But before I was able to grip the smooth metal, Edward tugged me away from the door.
"Bella," Edward said. "Talk to me."
His face was serious and a little sad. I couldn't understand his expression.
"There are things going on in there," he continued, gesturing to my forehead. "I want you to talk to me. It's your turn to let me in."
"It's nothing," I insisted. "Its just… sometimes I have some nightmares."
"Look, I don't want to make you uncomfortable… but I know you still have that nightmare, the one from Port Angeles, whether you want to admit it or not."
I glanced up at him, meeting his piercing green gaze before I looked away.
"Why wont you talk to me about it?" he continued.
"Cause there's nothing to talk about."
"What happens in your nightmare?"
I sighed and tried to pull away from him.
His hand slid forcefully around my shoulders before he pulled me to him, keeping me securely in his embrace.
"Talk to me," he urged.
"Nothing happens," I snapped into his shoulder. "I dream that I'm at the concert again, only it's not the Sunshine Underground song that plays anymore. Now it's… a different song. And I'm searching for you and I feel like I'm suffocated by the shadows. And Rosalie is there and she's trying to pull me away from the concert and she tells me 'Run, Bella. Run. He doesn't want you anymore.' And then Nina is singing and the guys form Port Angeles are there and they grab me and hurt me and …"
I clamp my eyes shut as stupid unwanted tears began to pool in my eyes. I can see the scene right in front of me, even in broad daylight. I can see the parking lot, see Rosalie's frightened face… Edward's retreating form. The images were burned into my memory as if they had actually happened.
Edward hesitated for a moment before speaking.
"And then you see me…" he said.
"And then I see you… but you walk away from me and you tell me that you don't want me anymore. You leave me. It's only then that I wake up…"
The silence that follows the end of my nightmare is like a thick cloud between us. I know I've hurt him.
"This is why I didn't want to say anything," I defend. "I don't want to make you feel guilty."
The whole thing was emotional for me and very hard to talk about. It was a mixture of two things that scared me the most. Being all alone in a dark unknown place with unseen horrors in the shadows… and Edward leaving me.
Yes… Edward leaving me is probably my worst nightmare.
"Bella." Edward's voice was soft and hesitant. "I don't really know what to say to make you feel better, but I want you to know that I would never do that to you. I would never put you in harms way."
I clamped my eyes shut as the tears began to drip.
"Look at me, baby," he said. And then he forced my chin up to face him.
I kept my eyes closed.
"I care about you so much, Bella," he whispered against my lips. "And I'm so sorry for what I did. I'm sorry that I lied to you that night at the beach, when I told you I didn't love you. But I promise you that no matter what, even if something happens between us, even if you push me away or don't want me anymore. If ever we were to break up again, God forbid, I would never leave you in a situation like that. I promise you that I would always be there to protect you."
I felt my lips tremble as my heart squeezed tight in my chest.
"Look at me, baby," he said again.
Slowly, I opened my eyes.
He was starring down at me, his face only inches from mine. He didn't look sad or upset, only serious and determined.
"I love you," he said. "I love you so much and I need you to believe me when I say that I'll never leave you again. I'll never push you away again. I regret doing it once and I know I'll regret it for the rest of my life."
I nodded, my lips pursed tightly together. I was afraid that if I spoke I'd start outright sobbing.
"Baby, please," he pleaded. "Tell me you believe me."
"I believe you," I croaked, and then the sobbing came.
Edward pulled me tighter into his arms and held my shaking shoulders while I cried into his white shirt, smearing it with my black eyeliner and mascara.
"I don't know what's wrong with me," I gulped. "I'm such a mess lately."
"Maybe you're period is coming," he joked into my hair.
I giggled and pulled slowly away. Only Edward could talk about my period with such a straight face.
"I should probably make an appointment with Dr. Aro," I joked back. "I'm a mess."
I giggled again and wiped my eyes with the back of my wrist.
"You know," Edward murmured against my forehead. "That might not be a bad idea."
"Are you serious?"
"Kind of. I mean, you've been having this nightmare since it happened… and you're not getting your period. Maybe you're stressed out."
"I can still be pregnant," I said seriously. "The nurse said I shouldn't rule that out just yet."
"Yeah… but it can still be stressed related, Bella. I mean, with cheerleading, school, homework… me. I've given you a lot to worry about lately." Edward dropped his head slightly. "I'm sorry about that, by the way."
I rubbed my thumb along the rough edge of his prickly jaw in response.
"You should give her a chance," he continued. "Dr. Aro is really easy to talk to. And it might actually help with the nightmares."
I gazed into his eyes for a moment. There was nothing in them except love. I could feel his devotion.
"Ok," I agreed. "I'll do it. I can't see any harm in it."
"Of course not."
Edward embraced me one more time, pulling me to his chest so that he could give me a deep kiss. But just then, my classroom door banged open and there stood Mr. Jefferson, glaring down at us in his brown suite.
"Ms. Swan. Were you ever planning on coming to class?" Mr. Jefferson said.
I stood there, spluttering before Edward quickly pulled out our nurses pass.
"Sorry, Bella and I had an appointment this morning," Edward said firmly.
Mr. Jefferson took the note before ushering me inside.
When lunch finally rolled around, I was instantly bombarded by a very scared, and pissed-off looking Rosalie.
"Let's go," Rosalie hissed into my ear.
I was standing in the lunch line with Edward.
"Go where?" I asked.
"The nurses office," she snapped. "Come on."
Rosalie wrapped her small hand around mine and pulled.
"Oh… I already went," I responded sheepishly.
"This morning, with Edward."
Edward threw a quick glance in my direction before turning back towards the front of the line. He was giving me some privacy.
"Well?" Rosalie's eyed were wide and earnest. "What's the verdict?"
"False alarm, I guess."
She sighed heavily. "I knew it! Jesus fucking Christ. You scared the shit out of me."
"Out of you?" I argued. "How do you think I feel?"
"Feel?" she asked skeptically.
"Rose, I still need to go back for a second test next week."
She studied me for a moment, her blue-green eyes darting across my face.
"It'll be fine," she said, optimistically.
And I felt like for the first time in my life, I knew that no matter what, everything really would be fine.
I turned and glanced at Edward, at his beautiful profile as he piled food onto a single tray. This boy had proven so much to me today. His loyalty, his love, his support. He loved me and cared about me and I knew that no matter what, he'd always be there for me. Always.
During our free sixth period, I walked with Edward towards the nurse's office. He was supposed to have his second meeting with Dr. Aro today, and so I figured I should use that opportunity to set up an appointment, in person, instead of waiting for later.
We walked hand-in-hand through the campus and the blistering cold. And when we finally reached the nurses office, Edward made a right towards another door. On the frosted glass signage, just to the left of the door, was the name Dr. Jane Aro, Ph.D Psychology, Ph.D Minor Statistics, B.A. English Literature.
"Come in?" a woman called from the behind the door.
Edward squeezed my hand and gave me an encouraging smirk before he pulled the door open.
"Edward," Dr. Aro greeted.
I studied her small frame as she stood to shake Edward's hand. She was tiny, about my height, or maybe even a little shorter. She was very thin and had shoulder length light brown hair, dark brown eyes and very pale skin. She was pretty, but kind of creepy looking at the same time. She looked like one of those Russian dolls. A Matryoshka. Her head was very round and her eyes were very wide. She looked like a child at first glance, but the slight laugh lines around her narrow lips gave away her age.
"Jane," Edward greeted with a smile. "This is my girlfriend, Bella."
"Oh," Dr. Aro said with a smile as she turned to me. "Bella, how nice to meet you."
I sensed a bit of an Italian accent.
"Hello," I said. "It's nice to meet you too."
"What can I do for you?" Dr. Aro asked me.
"Well… I um…" I didn't really know how to go about this.
Dr. Aro's gaze darted between Edward and I. I imagined seeing myself through her eyes. Small, my head barely reaching Edward's shoulder, as I hid nervously behind him. This wasn't how I wanted my first impression to go.
I stepped forward.
"You see," I began. "Edward and I went to a concert with our friends a while ago. I… we came across a kind of… confrontation and ever since then I've been getting this nightmare. I don't know if it means anything, but it doesn't seem healthy to hold on to this private issue. So, I guess I was wondering if… you know, if you have time… if maybe you'd be able to talk to me about it? You know, for my peace of mind."
Dr. Aro studied me for a moment before offering me a slow nod.
"Yes," she said. "Of course, Bella. I'd love to help."
Dr. Aro offered me a seat across from her before she began pulling out manila envelopes and various forms.
"I need a parental permission form?" I asked, horror stricken.
Dr. Aro met my gaze.
"Not if you don't want to," she responded.
I instantly relaxed.
"There are various rules and regulations, some ethical guidelines we will need to cover before we get started," she continued. "Are you free this Friday?"
"Actually," I said as I gestured towards Edward with my thumb. "We have a game this Friday. I'm a cheerleader."
"Alright. How do you feel about… Tuesday next week?"
"That's fine," I responded.
Dr. Aro handed me some forms to read and some Terms of Agreement. And then she sent me on my way. I gave her one last handshake before offering a small kiss on Edward's cheek.
"I'll see you during practice," I whispered to him.
He smiled back at me before kissing me fully on the lips.
My face was as red as a tomato as I left Dr. Aro's office.
Practice flew by very quickly and before I knew it, I was back home alone. Edward told me he had a lot of homework to do and some reading to catch up on. I thought it was strange, considering he'd already read most of our reading list, but I didn't bother him about it. I had some homework to do as well.
I spent the next couple of hours at the kitchen table going over notes for my Politics class and starting on some Math homework before I finally took a break and started on dinner.
I decided on steak stir-fry.
I was halfway through chopping the vegetables when I realized we didn't have any rice, bread or potatoes to eat with the meat.
I groaned loudly before pulling on my hoodie and digging some cash out of the 'food money' jar.
I spent longer than necessary at the market than I should have. I took my time browsing through bags of beans and various selections of rice and potatoes. I decided on buying some white jasmine rice and some golden potatoes for dinner. And when I finally paid for the food and left the market, the sky was already darkening.
It felt nice to be out in the cool brisk air. Because Charlie had been keeping me hostage for the past week, I was suddenly able to appreciate the night sky.
I stared up at the rolling clouds for a couple of minutes. I couldn't really see any stars, but the clouds still looked beautiful just the same. I glanced around the parking lot, at the slippery wet asphalt and the bright green trees that towered over every building. It was beautiful in Forks.
I took the long way home.
I drove down various streets, familiarizing myself with the local twists and turns of Forks, when I came across an unfamiliar path. I took it. It was a wide rode with many twists and turns. It was kind of dark, twilight, but the trees and flowers that lined the road glowed wild with life and were lovely to look at.
I giggled and continued on.
I had only been driving for about five minutes when I went over a sudden bump in the road. A loud screech came from the right side of my truck before my tires began to skid and my steering wheel began jolt left and right out of my hands. I knew what had happened before I even pulled over.
I pulled to a stop along the right shoulder before I hoped out and rounded the truck.
"Fuck," I hissed into the night, my breath coming out in a soft white puff.
My tire was flat.
I glanced around the deserted highway, suddenly feeling very lost and alone.
I turned back to the truck and hopped in. I didn't bother cutting the engine. It was too cold to worry about wasting gas, let alone the battery.
I pulled my phone out of my sweatshirt pocket and dialed the first number that came to mind.
"Hey," Edward answered smoothly.
"I have a flat tire," I responded instantly.
"A flat tire?" Edward laughed. "Where are you?"
"Um… I'm… I'm not sure."
"You're not at home?"
"No, I had to go to the market and then I decided to take a drive."
"And now you're lost?"
"I'm not lost, I just don't know what street I'm on." I sat up onto my knees and peered around through my cab windows.
Edward sighed deeply.
"Ok," he said sternly. "Does Charlie know where you are?"
"Have you called him?"
"Why not?" Edward asked bemused.
"I don't know. You're the first person I called."
"Are you serious? Your dad's the chief of police. Why didn't you think to call him?"
"No idea. Look, its really cold and I'm all alone. Are you gonna help me or not?"
Edward chuckled at the sassiness in my tone.
"I've just pulled my shoes on," he said. "Do you remember the last street you were on?"
"Cedar Avenue, maybe?"
"Bella, I need you to think. How am I supposed to find you if you don't know where you are?"
"I was on Cedar, ok? And then I made a left onto a side street. It looked pretty deserted and unfamiliar…"
"So you thought it would be a good idea to go explore it," Edward finished for me.
"Exactly," I snapped.
"Awesome. I know where you are; I'll be there in a few. Do you need me to stay on the line with you?"
"No, I'm fine," I said, rolling my eyes.
"Ok. Lock your doors."
I closed my phone and sat there in silence for few minutes before I decided on calling Charlie. He answered on the third ring.
I told him what had happened and where I thought I was. He was royally pissed off… again… and scolded me for a half hour before he told me he was leaving the station and heading over. I didn't bother telling him that Edward was on his way as well.
When Edward finally showed up, he parked his Volvo behind my truck and trudged over to the driver's side carrying a large metal tool shaped like an X and another metal contraption on wheels.
"What are those things?" I asked as I shut off the engine and climbed out of the truck.
"Are you serious?" Edward asked skeptically.
"Bella, have you ever seen anyone change a tire before?"
"Nope," I said with a smile.
Edward chuckled at my expression before he placed the tools on the floor. And then he turned back towards his car, opened his truck, and retrieved a flashlight. I watched as he bent beside my truck before peering beneath it before he slid the metal contraption underneath it.
"This is a Jack," Edward said, gesturing towards the metal thing on wheels.
He explained that the Jack mount was used to raise the vehicle so that we could change the tire. Then he reached for the X shaped thing and told me that it was a Lug Wrench, used to loosen the bolts on the tires.
I stood back and held the flashlight while Edward worked. He moved quickly and effortlessly as if he'd done it many times before. And I had to admit, he looked hot doing it.
"This is fun," I said with a smile.
Edward glanced up at me from his hands and knees where he pumped the rod of the Jack up and down. His eyes were glowing a brilliant green from the flashlight.
"Easy for you to say," he teased. "You're not the one working."
"Have you done this many times?"
"Enough. Living here, its easy to get a flat."
I laughed and nodded when a sudden pair of bright headlights flashed across the road. I recognized the headlights before I even saw the car.
Charlie parked behind Edward before quickly making his way towards us.
"I was just about to call your buddy Sam," Charlie said to Edward, "But I see you've already got this under control."
Edward stood up to face Charlie.
They stared at each other for a minute, an unspoken exchange passing between them. Then Charlie gave a small nod before patting his hand twice on Edward's shoulder.
"Thanks for being here, kid," Charlie said.
"Of course, Charlie," Edward responded.
And then, just like that, the exchange was over and they both got back to work.
I stood aside with the flashlight in my hands as I watched as my father and my boyfriend work together to change my ruined tire. They talked about work, school, and the football game coming up this Friday before they finally turned to tease me about how Friday was also my birthday.
I smiled and let them joke around. I even laughed when they said they were going to buy me flowers and candy with big pink balloons and teddy bears. I couldn't bear to break their sudden bubble of happiness with my distaste for attention. Seeing them together talking and laughing was worth all of the silly pink teddy bears in the world.
"So, you comin' over for dinner?" Charlie asked. "Bell's making steak stir-fry and potatoes." Charlie finished his statement with a very enthusiastic rub to his stomach.
"Sure," Edward agreed. "I'll come over for a bit."
The three of us exchanged a few 'see you in a minute's before we turned towards our designated vehicles.
"Don't go cruising around streets you're not familiar with," Charlie snapped before I had a chance to climb into my truck. "I don't want you getting lost again on some random highway by yourself. And you don't even have your mace on you. You know what could have happened?"
"I know, dad, I'm sorry," I groaned. "But can't you yell at me at home? Its cold."
Charlie rolled his eyes before turning back towards his cruiser.
Back at home, Charlie and Edward sat in the living room to watch the end of a baseball game while I hung out in the kitchen preparing dinner.
I drifted over towards the living room every once in a while; simply to eves drop on their conversation. They spent most of the hour talking about various players and who they would like to have on their team if ever they were to be ball players.
"We should start up a fantasy baseball league," Charlie offered.
"Yeah, we should. Carlisle and Emmett would be willing. Maybe even Mike Newton," Edward added with a nod.
"And a few of the guys from the station would too."
I snorted softly to myself. Fantasy baseball, what a nightmare.
"You planning on playing football in college?" Charlie asked.
"I think so," Edward responded.
"You should look into some scholarships," Charlie suggested.
"Have any schools in mind?"
"A few. Originally, I was planning on moving back to Chicago to go to school. I had my eye on Northwestern for a time."
I frowned. This was news to me.
"Chicago, huh?" Charlie released a low whistle.
"Yeah, but you know how it is… things change," Edward said. "Plans change."
"Yeah? And why's that?"
Edward turned and glanced at me over his shoulder.
I blinked, stunned by the discreet look in my direction.
Charlie's gaze flickered to me before he turned back to Edward.
"I see," Charlie said. "Chicago's a long way away."
The conversation ended there, followed by mutual silence.
I took that as my cue and I left the living room to finish up dinner.
As I stirred to combine the onions, peppers, meat and seasonings, I thought about what Edward had said about Northwestern.
I knew that he wanted to move out of Forks. He had told me so once, a while ago when we were sitting alone in his car. He told me that he had planned on leaving Forks one day. At the time, I assumed it was because he was running away. But… if he were running away, wouldn't he want to run away from his hometown?
I thought about what it must mean to him to go back to Chicago. And as I thought this over, I even considered the possibility of going with him.
"Psh," I scoffed at myself.
As if I could ever get into Northwestern University.
But even as I served three plates of food, the idea still wasn't far from my mind.
The next couple of days passed in blur.
School was busy, but not as busy as practice was for us cheerleaders and the football players. Edward was getting out of practice feeling tired and sore every evening. But still, he continued to come over a few hours each night to spend some time with Charlie and I.
Ever since my flat tire, the two of them had gone back to their familiar relationship. Sure, I was still grounded and so Edward couldn't stay over past 8, but the atmosphere inside my house was so much lighter. Charlie and I were talking again, and I even took a few moments to apologize to him properly for sneaking out of the house last week. I knew it was wrong and disrespectful, and I told him so.
Charlie forgave me and told me to remember that I was still his sixteen-year-old daughter. But he chuckled and added 'seventeen' under his breath.
Friday morning, I woke up bright and early with the smell of something burning wafting through the house. I scrambled out of bed, worried that the house was probably on fire as I made my way down the stairs.
I found Charlie in the kitchen with a towel slung over his shoulder, attempting to cook.
"What are you doing?" I asked with a chuckle.
Charlie turned and offered me a wide smile.
"Happy Birthday, Bell!" he called out.
I laughed and shook my head.
"Hungry?" he asked. "I made breakfast."
I moved towards the stove. Sure enough, the bacon looked very dark and toasty, but luckily the eggs looked nice and fluffy. I pursed my lips, fighting hard to stifle my laughter.
"What?" Charlie snapped. "At least I know how to make eggs."
"It looks great, dad. Thanks."
I sat with Charlie and ate a delicious serving of eggs and over cooked bacon before I rushed up stairs to get ready for school. Because today was our home game, I made sure to dress in my cheerleading uniform before pulling my teal blazer over my shoulders. I did my makeup, and even put my hair up and tidy ponytail. The bow, however, would have to stay nestled in my bag until later.
After I packed my backpack and gym bag, I made my way downstairs to meet Edward. But once I reached the kitchen I was faced with a large gift surrounded by three pink balloons on the kitchen table.
"What's this?" I asked in shock.
"I told you I was getting you balloons," Charlie said with a smirk.
We both broke out into a fit of laughter, both of us enjoying the comical scene. Charlie and I were too much alike. We didn't care for decorations or silly balloons. However, the gesture was still so sweet, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Tears not brought on by the hysterics.
I stopped laughing and allowed myself to truly absorb the scene before me. Charlie standing beside a purple and silver wrapped box, surrounded by three very pretty pink balloons.
"Dad, this is…" I began.
"I know, Bell. Its hilarious," he laughed.
"No," I argued with a small shake of my head. "Its really nice, dad. Thanks for doing this for me."
I watched Charlie's smile slowly curve into one of gratitude.
"Come here, kid," he said. And then he pulled me in for a tight hug.
"You coming to the game?" I asked into Charlie's chest.
"Yup," Charlie said. "Gotta support my daughter and her boyfriend, don't I?"
I laughed, shaking my head.
Edward arrived fifteen minutes later and he even jumped out of his car to help me push my bags into his back seat.
"Is this new?" Edward asked, eyeing my new AmeriLeather backpack.
"It was a present from Charlie."
"Happy Birthday," he said softly to me.
I giggled and glanced up at him.
His smile was wide and eager as he peered down at me.
"Sweet seventeen," he added. And then he threw his arms around my waist before crushing his lips to mine.
His kiss was deep and eager and delicious. Exactly what I wanted for a birthday present.
"I love you, Isabella Swan," he whispered against my mouth.
"I love you too, Edward Cullen," I responded.
Our classes went by fairly quickly. Everyone was excited about our first home game and during my walk from class to class; I caught glimpses of many kids wearing teal and white war paint on their faces. I laughed and offered my thumbs up at people, especially when I caught a glimpse of the number 20 on someone's cheek or the word Trojans on another.
The entire school was full of excitement throughout all of my first four classes and the cafeteria was even worse by lunch.
What was even more awesome, no one, except Edward and I, knew that today was my birthday.
"I have a surprise for you," Edward whispered in my ear as we stood in the crowded lunch line.
"A surprise?" I asked skeptically.
Edward gave me an encouraging smile.
When we reached the front of the line, I watched as Edward piled on two hamburgers, two fries, two cokes and a handful of napkins before grabbing forks and a knife.
"A knife? Really? Maybe you've forgotten, Edward, but I eat hamburgers the same way you do."
Edward chuckled at my statement before paying for our food, a gesture he'd been doing ever since we started school again.
Once our food was paid for, Edward took my hand pulled me towards the cafeteria doors.
"Where are we going?" I asked surprised.
"To our spot by the parking lot," he said.
I giggled and followed after him.
We walked quickly through he tall trees before finally finding the small clearing, only today, the clearing wasn't exactly empty.
There, sitting right in the middle was a familiar pink blanket.
I turned towards Edward in questioning.
"Come," he said, the wide crooked smile still plastered across his face.
I took a seat on the blanket and waited while Edward placed the tray down beside me before pulling his backpack from his shoulders. And then, very carefully, he removed two packages.
One was in a small brown box and the other was wrapped in lavender wrapping paper.
"Happy Birthday, baby," Edward said as he handed me the two packages.
"You really didn't have to do this," I said as a warm blush crept up my face.
"I wanted to," he responded.
I nodded and opened the first package. The lavender one.
Inside was a thin clear case with a single silver disk.
"They're songs," Edward said. "Songs that… are about you."
I glanced up in surprise.
"You… you wrote them?" I asked.
Edward nodded. I watched as slight flush of pink slowly covered his cheeks.
"Edward," I gasped.
"Tell me you love them after you listen to them," he laughed.
I giggled and tucked the clear case safely into my bag before I turned to the second package.
I carefully removed the silky lavender bow and then opened in. Inside was a glass container, and inside the glass container was a small white cake with the words Happy Birthday Bella sprawled clumsily over it.
Tears burned in my eyes as I peered down at the obviously hand made cake.
"Esme helped me," Edward said. "It's chocolate with a cream cheese frosting."
I sniffed and quickly wiped the fallen tear from my cheek.
"This is great, Edward," I said softly. "Thank you."
I felt his hand softly caress the bottom of my chin before he tilted my head up towards him.
He didn't say anything as he gazed down at me. He just stared, his eyes roaming every inch of my tear stained face before he dipped his head and kissed me. His kiss was soft and tender, as he sucked on my lips and hummed into my mouth.
"Candles," he suddenly said as he pulled away.
And then he cleared his throat while he pulled a small 1 and a small 7 from his backpack.
He took the cake from me and removed the lid before sticking the two candles into the frosting and lighting them with his black Bic lighter.
"Are you going to sing for me?" I asked with a scratchy giggle.
"Yes," Edward responded before he quickly cleared his throat.
"Happy birthday to youuuuu…" he sang goofily. "Happy birthday to youuuuuuu… Happy birthday dear Bellllaaaaa… Happy birthday tooo youuuu!"
I laughed hysterically and swatted Edward's hands away when he pulled his phone out to take a picture of me. And then I leaned forward and blew out my candles.
"And many moreee…!" Edward continued.
I shook my head and watched as he snapped a few more shots before scrolling through his phone.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"You'll see," he said.
I watched as he clicked a few things before he sat his phone down on a nearby rock.
A smooth acoustic guitar followed by a harmonica played through his speakers. At first I thought it was a Bob Dylan song, but I soon discovered it wasn't.
"Come here," Edward said as he reached for my hands.
I took his and allowed him to pull me to my feet.
He took a few steps away from our blanket before placing my hands around his neck while wrapping his around my waist.
And then we were dancing, moving slowly from side to side against each other.
"Who's this?" I asked softly against this shoulder.
"Do you like it?" He asked in response.
"It's Niel Young. Heart of Gold."
"Why this song?" I asked.
"It… it reminds me of you, Bella. Or rather, the person you've made me. The person I've become."
I frowned, confused by his statement.
"This song is about a man of virtue, with good intentions who hasn't actually gotten around to acting upon them. He hasn't found peace with himself. He's searching for the meaning of life, and yet he can't ever find it. He's searching for a heart of gold."
"Are you saying that, in some ways, this song reflects who you are?" I asked.
"Who I was, before you. Who I was when I met you. Its because of you, Bella, I've found my heart of gold. You are my heart of gold. You're my meaning of life."
I closed my eyes, letting his words sink in.
"What did you wish for?" he asked softly.
I sniffed and wiped the fallen tear away from my eye.
"Nothing," I answered.
"Nothing?" he asked.
I felt Edward pull away slightly so that he could peer into my face.
I looked up at him, allowing all of the love and happiness to flow freely from my face and heart.
"Nothing," I said again. "Because it has all come true. I'm so happy, right here, right now. There's nothing more I could ever ask for. I love you, Edward. I'll love you forever, for the rest of my life."
I watched a small smile pull at Edward's lips before he bent to kiss the tears away from my cheeks.
And then he leaned down and pressed his warm lips against mine once more.
9 Months Later
"Over the four years of our high school experience, we have overcome great obstacles and have exceeded all expectations." Jessica Stanley's voice rang out from the podium. "As a class, I believe our greatest accomplishment is our unity as a school, the amount of graduates we have, and the culture we've created this year. We have made it a place of pride, spirit, acceptance and support. Many of us have reached unimaginable heights, and will be venturing off into a new world and a new life. In front of me, I see faces of greatness. I see artists, scientists, doctors, lawyers, musicians, and soon to be professional athletes. Set your sights high, fellow graduates and I'll see you on the flip-side!"
Everyone around me, including myself, erupted into an outpour of screams and hollers.
"Congratulations class of 2014. This is only the beginning."
I felt Rosalie's hand tighten around mine as we sat up and tossed our caps into the air.
Finally, the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
I turned towards my best friend and gave her a tight hug.
"I love you so much, Rose," I said through the sudden lump in my throat.
"Promise me you'll text me every day," she choked back.
"I promise. Every day."
I held her for a moment, savoring her warmth. The girl who had been there for me ever since my first day at Forks High. She'll always have a little piece of my heart with her.
When I finally released Rosalie, I turned and began hugging all of the friendly faces I was going to leave behind. Alice, Jessica, Angela, Carmen, Bree, Tanya, Kate, Irina… and Tyler, Mike, Emmett, Jasper, Eric, Austin, and Kirk. People who have made my high school experience one that I would never forget.
But as I finished my last hug, I turned in search of one particular man. The man who I was going off to college with. The man I was leaving this all behind with.
"Hey you," Edward said as he moved towards me. "Congratulations, high school graduate."
He ran his hands through my hair before cupping my head and bringing my lips to his.
"Charlie's waiting," he murmured.
"Ok," I responded.
I let Edward lead me away from the crowd of screaming graduates and out towards our family.
I embraced Charlie immediately, throwing my arms around his neck and allowing him to hug me close.
"I'm so proud of you, Bell," he said into my hair.
"Thanks, dad," I chocked out.
I let him hold me for a moment before we turned towards the Cullen's. Esme was the first to congratulate me, followed closely by Carlisle.
"Congratulations, Bella," Carlisle said with a wide exuberant smile.
He had his arm slung over Edward's shoulders, his hand rubbing lovingly along his son's arm.
We hung around with our parents for a few more minutes before Edward quickly ushered me away.
"We have some plans," Edward said to Esme, Charlie and Carlisle.
Charlie released a booming laugh before waving us away.
With that, Edward and I turned, hand-in-hand and dashed out of the gym and towards the parking lot.
"Where are we going?" I asked with a giggle.
"To lunch," Edward said with wide smile.
We pulled off our teal gowns and threw them into his back seat before climbing into his Volvo. And then we were off, hitting the 101 and making our way towards Port Angeles.
"That was a pretty good speech, don't you think?" I asked.
"Jessica kicked ass," Edward agreed. "It was a little cheesy, but with an ending like that…" Edward released a low whistle, a habit picked up from Charlie.
"I can't believe we finally graduated," I mused. "It feels like years ago when we actually started applying to colleges and stuff."
"Yeah," Edward agreed.
I turned and caught him smiling down at me. His eyes were soft and full of his unspoken love and admiration. I smiled back, knowing and feeling his excitement.
Twenty minutes later, we pulled up to Barbara's.
"Barbara's!" I exclaimed. "We haven't been here in forever!"
We climbed out of Edward car and quickly made our way over towards the waitress. And then once we were seated, we both ordered the Chicken Parmesan and two cokes, with a slice of chocolate cake for dessert.
"God, I forgot how awesome this place is," I said, looking around and the wire statues and glinting Christmas lights.
"I can't believe we're doing this," Edward said suddenly. His gaze was on me.
"Doing what?" I asked confused.
"Leaving. Moving to Chicago. Going to Northwestern University."
"Yes, that." Edward paused for a moment. "Are you nervous?"
"I am," I answered honestly. "I can't help but be a little nervous, but I'm still very, very excited."
"This is gonna be great," Edward continued. "You've got your grant, an English and American Literature major…"
"And you with your full football scholarship," I added exuberantly.
"And you with your part time job in the campus library… I still can't believe you got that job, actually," he added.
"When somehow you landed a job at a local coffee shop, Signor Barista?"
"And with a little financial aid and little help from my parents, we're able to fly out there in two days, just in time for orientation," Edward finished.
"Its really happening," I added, bewildered.
"It really is."
"College…" I continued.
"Secret study halls…"
"Us… together." Edward's teasing smile slowly turned serious.
Edward gazed at me for a moment in that familiar way, as if he was trying to memorize my face at that very moment.
"Just you and me, Bella," he said. His voice was deep, like honey running down my spine. "You and me."
"You and me."
"Are you sure I'm enough?" he asked, teasing me again.
"Yes," I said seriously. "Enough for forever."
Gah! So… I guess this is the end, guys. BUT I DON'T WANT TO SAY GOODBYE! :'(
I hope I did well. I hope I ended this in a way that made you all feel good and happy and not completely dissatisfied or underwhelmed with the way it went.
Anyway, Thanks so much for staying with me, for reading, reviewing, and being totally awesome readers. I LOVE YOU ALL! It was such an enjoyable ride for me. It's the first story I've written all the way through, from beginning to end. I hope you all loved reading it as much as I loved writing it. (Let me know if there are stupid grammatical errors. Lol)
As far as future stories go, I have two right now and have been working on some drafts. One is again going to be about high school students, set in Chicago with similar themes (an E/B Pov), and the other is about a man, a criminal, who used to work for an organized crime group (E Pov with possible chance of B Pov). So, follow me so that you can get my updates and maybe have a read? ;) I'm also considering getting a Beta because editing my own stories is such a fucking pain in the ass. Lol So if you'd like to recommend someone, please do. :D
I AM planning on maybe doing a sequel to this story, College E/B. But I still need to work out all of my plans before I start posting.
Also, I've recently created an account on FictionPad just in case this, or any of my other/future stories get pulled. My username is PuppetStrings19 on there as well.
Till next time. xoxo