Chapter 10 - Epilogue - New Year's Eve

I woke up this morning with the expressed knowledge that I had a date this evening. A real date. One with a pulse and hair and soft lips. And a dick. Yes, he has one of those, too.

I've been giddy all day. Because of the man, not the penis.

Anyway.

Yesterday sucked. I was tired, cranky and not ready to come back here to my computer and my files, to count things and play with numbers, because that's what I do. I'm getting that corner office next month, so I had to remind myself I was here for a reason and not just to make sure Mrs. Cole was able to file her tax return on time. Being an accountant can get boring at times.

Today, though? Today has potential. I'm seeing Edward later. It'll be great.

I smile to myself like the Cheshire Cat, thinking of all the things that have happened since leaving for my vacation. Seeing my family, reconnecting with Edward, and then, reconnecting with Edward on a whole new level.

I can't wait to be able to invite him into my house and maybe relive some of those cold Vermont evenings with him. His arms around me, holding me. His lips on my skin. The coarse hair of his goatee brushing up against my collarbone. His tongue … his glorious fingers …

The last few days in Vermont without him were weird, like he should have been there with me, but he had to leave and finalize his move. I had gotten so used to his company, I felt like I was missing a piece of myself. That being said, I was finally able to catch up on my reading and relaxing before coming back to all of this madness, so I suppose it wasn't so bad. Besides, Edward and I texted each other sporadically when the cell service worked, and we spoke on the phone a couple of times, but it was different. Knowing he was now back in Seattle and I wasn't with him, was pure torture.

The knowledge that we would be able to take this relationship forward without the thousands of miles between us, was the only thing that kept me sane during the last few days in Vermont.

Unfortunately, we still had a few obstacles to conquer before seeing each other.

My plane landed on Sunday night, but it was way too late to see him. I had to haul ass to my apartment and go to bed in order to be refreshed enough to come to work yesterday. Last night was filled with laundry duties, extra work at home and an early bedtime, but not before speaking to Edward one last time before our date later tonight.

Because, yeah, we're cheesy and predictable. He asked me on an actual date, and I said yes. Today is New Year's Eve and the city will be packed, but he's picking me up at seven, so nothing else matters. I haven't seen him in like five days. That's one hundred and twenty hours. Or seven thousand two hundred minutes. No matter how you count it, the numbers are too big. He's been too far away, and I hate how clingy he makes me feel.

I hate that I miss him. I hate the ache in my chest every time I think of him and the fact he's not like right here.

I'm completely enamored with him and this fact seems completely ridiculous to me. I left my job to go off on vacation two and a half weeks ago, thinking I was going to come back rested and maybe a little better read, but instead, I came back with my head in the clouds and my heart on my sleeve.

Thinking back to my teenage years, I've recently wondered why I didn't get immediately attached to him. Why I didn't go completely gaga for the boy who pressed his lips to mine, giving me my first kiss, and changed my life irrevocably. I think it was the knowledge that, at the time, he was untouchable. He was older. He had the image of this tough guy with those eyes that were a window to his sweet, molten center. I knew then if I would have pursued him, he would have most likely broken my heart, or at least, that was what I had told myself. He was untouchable. He also wasn't around at all, which made putting him in the back of my mind a lot easier. The whole thing would have been completely pointless on my end.

Now, though, with his heart exposed and all the grand gestures he managed to pull off during our stay in Vermont, there is no reason to be scared. I know he won't hurt me. He has worked way too hard to get my attention only to squander it away. This knowledge is empowering and freeing. I know I can trust him. He has as much to lose as I do if this relationship doesn't work out.

I end up being completely incompetent at my job and unable to focus on anything during the rest of the day. Hopefully, all this fluttering inside me will settle down once the excitement from the holidays goes away. Or maybe I'll just kidnap Edward and we can go live on a magical island surrounded by snow and musical instruments. Because that is totally plausible. My fantasies need to be tamed and clearly this date needs to happen soon.

Five o'clock comes by quickly and I turn off my computer, grinning because I know I'm only two hours away from seeing Edward. Two hours. That's one hundred and twenty minutes minus all that time I'll use up showering, shaving and polishing myself into being ready to see him. I'm pulling out all the stops tonight. He's seen me in every state of dress and undress imaginable, but tonight I'm going with sexy siren. I want him to want me. I want to remind him why he did all those grand gestures and why he should always try.

I don't know where we are going and the only hint he gave me was to wear pants. I suspect he may actually pick me up on his bike. The mere thought makes me all giddy. It's cold outside, but not that bad. Or not bad enough to stop me from straddling that bike and holding on to Edward for dear life.

At seven o'clock sharp, the doorbell rings and I'm ready. I've been ready for a good ten minutes, chewing my thumbnail and fidgeting with lip gloss.

I don't even check who's there before swinging the door open.

My eyes instantly water and my lips turn up into a huge smile. "You're here."

My heart hammers a thousand beats per minute and I think I'm going crazy, but then his arms are around me and his face is in the crook of my neck. "I'm here, sweetheart."

We stand there for a few moments, him with his arms firmly surrounding me and me with my fingers clutching to his leather jacket as if it were my last lifeline.

"I missed you." I sniffle a little and giggle. "God, this is so weird." I feel like a teenager going on her first date. This should have been what that felt like, but I don't ever remember it feeling this way—because now it's amazing.

He pulls away a little, just enough to softly press his lips to mine. "Hi," he whispers against my lips and leans his forehead against mine. "I missed you, too."

"I missed you more." My lips graze his and we're kissing again. I'm soaring with every swipe of his tongue stroking mine and each movement of his soft fingers against my jaw, my neck and then my hips.

I'm not sure who pulls away first, but we both look goofy and lovestruck; I'm sure of it because Edward looks exactly how I feel.

"You're wearing leather," I comment and giggle, then I look behind him and see he actually did pick me up with his motorcycle.

"And you wore pants." He wiggles his eyebrows. "It's cold, but I promise we aren't going far," he adds, threading his fingers with mine. "Are you ready?"

I pull the door closed behind me and give the handle a jiggle to make sure it's locked. "I've been ready my whole life."

Edward's bike is big and shiny black. The helmet he hands me fits pretty well, and the way he looks wearing his is totally worth the inevitable helmet hair I'm going to have at the end of this little ride.

"Now, you make sure to hold on tight, okay?" He nods before getting on the bike and making it, and himself, look better than anything I've ever seen.

I was right; Edward on a bike is a panty destroyer.

Doing as I was instructed, I carefully lift my leg up over the seat and press myself against Edward's back. His warmth is welcoming and so is the feel of his muscles against my body as he moves to start the bike. Before I know it, we're speeding off down the street, the motor rumbling in my ears and beneath my ass, and my arms wrapped firmly around his middle.

Edward was right, it's cold, and I'm glad I had the foresight to bundle up in my warmest jacket, but with my chest pressed against his body, it's not too bad, it's actually pretty exhilarating.

We don't ride long before he drives into a garage and stops the bike. He then takes off his helmet and turns his head. "So this is it." He helps me hop off the huge rumbly shiny bike and this reminds me of all those times he helped me out of the big blue truck last week. I smile at myself. I hope these things never change. It's sweet.

I take off my own helmet and subtly try to shake out my matted hair. "Where are we?" Looking around outside, we're on a residential street with no restaurant in sight. "I thought you were taking me out," I tease.

He steps close to me, a smirk playing on his lips. "I took you out, sweetheart, and then I brought you home." He threads out fingers together and tugs my hand. "Come on. Dinner is in the oven."

I follow him, giddy and soaring. "You made me dinner?"

"I wanted you all to myself." His breath is warm on my cheek before he pecks it and unlocks the door. "Mi casa es su casa, me lady."

There are a few boxes scattered by the door, but all in all, the place seems nice and clean. "Nice place." I wiggle off my jacket and hand it over to him.

"Yeah, I was impressed. Rose did good." He takes my hand and pulls me to him, wrapping his arms around my waist. "Rose did real good."

I smile and whisper against his lips, "Good indeed." I press my lips to his and revel in the warmth of his palms sliding from my hips to my shoulder blades and back down. A low moan escapes when his tongue teases against my parted lips. I'm not sure how we'll make it to dinner at this point because he's what I want to eat right now. I want the full Edward meal deal.

With that in mind, my hands find his belt buckle but immediately get halted by his long, deft fingers as he pulls away from me, licking his lips as he shakes his head. "Nah uh uh." His lips turn up in the corners. "First we eat."

"But—" I huff as he laughs and makes his way down the hall toward what I can only assume is the kitchen.

Following behind him, I see how nice he's set up the table and smile when I watch him set a basket of bread in the center. "But I made dinner and you're going to sit and eat with me." He looks up from beneath his eyelashes and there is no way I'd say no to any of his requests.

"This is nice." I lean against the wall and watch him go around the kitchen and take what looks like a pasta dish from the oven. "I had no idea you cooked."

He places the dish on the table and comes to stand in front of me, his fingers skimming my cheek and his palm resting against my jaw. "I can do lots of things, including making dinner and serenading my girlfriend when the clock strikes midnight."

I swear my heart skips a few beats and my breathing hitches. "And is she okay with me being here?" I smirk and watch his lips curl into a smile. We haven't had the "girlfriend-slash-boyfriend" talk yet, but I suppose that was his subtle way of laying it out there. I'm not even going to bring it up because I like the sound of it too much to jinx it.

"Bella, Bella, Bella," he takes a deep breath and leans in, his lips next to my ear, "she better be, or else she'll miss out on what I have planned for her after I've fed her and sang to her."

"Mmmm, and can I ask what that is?" I thread my fingers through the hair at the back of his head as his breath fans over the skin on my neck. Jesus, he's driving me crazy.

He kisses a path from below my ear to my chin and back. My toes are curling and I'm about ready to forget whatever he baked and get on my knees to have my own dinner.

"Trust me, you'll like it." His whispered words send a shiver down my spine and make my head spin. I'm so dizzy with lust that it takes me a few seconds to realize he's stepped away from me and is now pulling out a chair for me to sit on.

"Edward." His name falls off my lips in a silent prayer. Dude better put out later, I swear. I shake myself out of it and clear my throat. "Smells delicious."

He sits himself across from me and proceeds to dole out a good portion onto my plate. "It's my grandmother's recipe. I hope you like chicken and broccoli." He's all handsome and dimples when he starts eating, and I'm still too struck dumb to function.

Christ on a cracker, was it this bad when I was in Vermont? Probably not. If this is what distance did to me, then that cannot happen again, because Bella Swan does not go crazy over boys. I'm in deep, and sitting here I realize how bad it is; how bad I've really got it for this man.

I take a deep, cleansing breath and close my eyes to clear my thoughts. I can't believe how much Edward's mere presence affects me.

"Are you okay, Bella?" Edward's voice breaks me out of my little freak out, and I look up to meet his eyes.

"Yeah, I'm," I lick my lips, taking a deep breath, and pick up my fork, "I'm great. This looks fantastic, Edward. Thank you."

Edward pours me a second glass of wine as we discuss his life, move and upcoming new job.

Dinner was great. He's a fantastic cook, and I tell him as much. He tells me his grandmother, who taught him to cook, lived with them during his entire life up until he was sixteen. He sadly alludes to her passing in her sleep. He goes on to tell me how messed up that made him. How much he missed her. He also explains that her death was the real reason why his parents had chosen to move to Forks once he graduated high school. They didn't have any other family in Chicago.

A memory flashes in my mind. Rose going to her grandmother's funeral. Rose being sad. We were about eleven and I didn't know how to comfort her. I remember trying my best and distracting her, but it was a hard time for her. I'd never been close to my own grandparents and had never lost anyone, so I couldn't really understand the depth of her sadness back then.

Rose wasn't even as close to their grandmother as Edward had been, so I can only imagine how hard it must have been for him. She was a very nice lady with a heart full of love for her grandchildren. Rose still talks about her sometimes.

Edward explains how he was lost then and how going to New York and putting distance between his parents and himself had helped him grow. He made some good friends there, but unfortunately last year his buddy Garrett passed away from an aggressive form of cancer. Losing him had been a blow to their group of friends.

"After Garrett died, I realized how important seeing my parents and the rest of my family for more than a few weeks a year was to me. Garrett made me promise to start living and stop going through life like music was the only thing that mattered. I'm not going to lie, it was hard to take a long look at my life and see it for what it was, but I didn't have too many connections in New York, so the decision to move back wasn't that difficult. This entire time, most people went in and out of my life onto other things, and I barely ever noticed. That even included some girlfriends, but nothing ever felt right; permanent." He shrugs and takes a drink of his wine before continuing. "After Garrett's death, even his girlfriend had moved on, and I just couldn't stand being around any of our friends after that. It was too difficult," he explains, while I sit there and drink it all in.

"So you called Rose?" I ask, fascinated that he's sharing all of this now. Before, when we were in Vermont, I wasn't sure I wanted to hear any of it. When we were in that bubble, everything felt temporary and superficial, but now, it feels like we're building something real. I want to drown myself in all of it; in all of his memories, good and bad. I want to know everything about him.

He nods, taking a sip from his glass of wine. "Yeah, I called Rose on a whim last summer and started the ball rolling. I wanted to know about the area and how it had changed. Rose and Emmett had been bugging me for years to move back, but it didn't feel like the right time."

I nod in understanding. "And now?"

"It feels like everything is falling into place." He smiles warmly and scrapes his teeth over his bottom lip. "I wasn't supposed to go to the wedding because I was so busy packing, but I don't regret any of it."

"I'm glad you went," I tell him honestly. I remember how pissed I was when I got there, but none of that matters now.

"Once she said you'd definitely be there, I couldn't not go. I had this nagging feeling about you all these years," he confesses, glancing down then back up to meet my eyes.

I smile, a blush creeping up my cheeks and spreading over my chest. "So I heard."

He stands, the chair scraping over the linoleum. "Come with me, I want to show you something."

"You don't have pictures and newspaper clippings about me, do you?" I tease, making him roll his eyes.

He chuckles, shaking his head. "No, no I don't."

It's getting late and when he guides me into the living room, I know we're in part two of this date he's set up. "So, this is when you serenade me." I grin and join him on the sofa.

"It dawned on me that I never got to play for you while we were at the wedding. Since music is such a big part of my life, I figured I should show you." He picks up his guitar and plays a few strings, tuning it as he goes. The tips of his ears are pink and he looks like he's about to shit himself.

I give him my full attention, sitting back comfortably. "I have no doubt about your abilities."

He smirks, his eyes meeting mine. "I know you don't, sweetheart."

I listen intently as he starts strumming that guitar; his eyes closed and his features peaceful. He looks like he's in his element, humming along with a tune I quickly recognize.

I smile and bite my bottom lip to keep from blurting out anything. I know he's told me his voice wasn't great, but to me he sounds awesome as he sings along to "How Can I Tell You". His deep voice reverberates as he hits the low notes and drifts back up along with the high ones. He sounds a hundred times better than Cat Stevens ever did, but my opinion may be a little biased on that one.

Tears trickle down my cheeks, and every time he mentions love I want to scream to the rooftops that I love him too, but I don't interrupt. I want to hear the rest of this beautiful song and then show him what he means to me.

I sniffle, and Edward's eyes meet mine as the last words drift from his lips. "I love you, Bella."

I nod, smiling, a blubbery mess. "I love you, too." And lean forward and kiss his lips softly. "Thank you, that was beautiful."

He puts down his guitar and pulls me closer. "I know it's quick, but I've never felt like this. You are amazing, more than I ever thought, and I want to start this new year with you in my arms."

I look at my watch, noticing it's twenty to midnight. "I think we can make that happen."

He kisses me then, nice and slow. His warm lips tugging at mine and his teeth softly nipping. His fingers drift across my thighs and he pulls me on top of his lap to straddle his legs. I moan when I feel him growing under me, wondering how I've made it my whole life without knowing what it was like to feel this way.

He makes me feel wanted and loved and cherished; like I'm worth a bazillion bucks. To an accountant, that's something.

I grind against him and thread my fingers through his hair, kissing the side of his neck and nipping at his earlobe. "The best part about being here is that we can't get cockblocked," I tell him, smiling and leaning back to look at his face.

He chuckles, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me into a bone-crushing hug. "How do you do that? How do you make me laugh like that while I'm hard as a rock, huh?"

I press down on his crotch. "I don't know, but this isn't funny." I give him my most innocent look, eyes wide and serious. "We need to take care of thisbig, 'hard as a rock'—" I pull out of his embrace, chuckling, and stand up. "Show me your room, Edward."

He takes my hand and tugs so that I'm lying back on to the sofa, and swiftly stretches himself over me. "As you said, there is nobody here to cockblock us. I think we should christen this new furniture."

I smile and pull him against me by wrapping my legs around his waist and locking my ankles together. "I like that idea."

He kisses me, slowly and lovingly, running his hands up my thighs and grinding against me. He feels good, so good, as he grinds into me. His fingers move up under my shirt, lifting it as he goes, and he undoes my bra, letting my tits fly free as his lips move to my throat.

He groans as his tongue lavishes one nipple then the next, and I close my eyes against the onslaught of all these fluttery feelings inside, most of which take me higher and higher with every little stroke and twerk Edward gifts my body.

With light touches and soft kisses, we each move to shed our clothes. When we're both bare, Edward slowly enters me, kissing my lips and stroking my tongue with his. This is love, so much love spreads through my body and when my climax spreads through me, I call out to God and tell Edward how much I love him. I may also tell him I love his dick, but we'll blame the way he makes my body sing for that one.

"It took me a week," he pants, pulling out and sliding back into me. I run my hands over his shoulders, my eyes meeting his. "I fell in love with you in a week, Bella."

He tilts his hips and pulls one of my legs higher while I moan and whimper, feeling a second orgasm start to spread from my pussy down to every nerve ending in my body.

"You are so wet for me, sweetheart," he grunts. "So tight." He grunts again, but this time his eyes close and he practically stops breathing all together as he thrusts as deep as he can possibly get a few more times.

We're both breathless and covered in a thin sheet of sweat as Edward kisses me and buries his face in my neck.

I scratch his scalp and revel in the feel of him covering me. "Seven days was all it took for me too, you know."

He raises his face from my neck and kisses my lips. "It's past midnight. We missed the countdown." He smirks and pecks my cheek.

I shrug and push his matted hair away from his forehead. "I don't care. I got what I wanted right here." I smile and search his face. "Happy New Year, Edward."

He leans down and touches his lips to mine. This kiss holds a bunch of promises for the upcoming year, and I have no doubt that together we'll make them happen.

THE END

...

A huge, HUGE thank you and much love to my sweet Midnight Cougar who beta'd and encouraged this story from the beginning. I couldn't have done this without her.

Also big thanks go out to Maplestyle for pre-reading and making me giggle with her comments.

And I can't forget to thank each and everyone of you for reading and reviewing and following and pimping this little ride.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday.

'Til next time,

xox

Missy