Thanks so much for reading ya’ll! Glad you’re still here putting up with my rambling. Also, thanks to my girls—E_Hunter, Seastarr08, and SydneyGen—for reading over the bones of this and getting it ready for you to read.
I’m not usually much of a pimp, but I have to recommend something this week. My dear friend E. Hunter has published her first book! It’s called A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries). If you like vampire stories, and I’m guessing maybe you do since you’re reading Twi-fic, you should check it out! It’s the first in a series of three and, since I’ve had the pleasure of pre-reading books one and two so far, I have to tell you they are pure win. OH! E. tells me book two will be available in December! A Hidden Fire is available on Amazon It’s on B&N and Smashwords too if you prefer those – here’s the link the Elemental Mysteries website
So…What could possibly be next on the agenda for our happy couple? Let’s see…
Some people were surprised that Alice put together her wedding in only six months, but not those of us who really knew her. She’d been taking notes at weddings and buying Bride magazine off and on for years. Planning Rose’s wedding had been a dream come true for her, and she took advantage of that research, applying it to her own special day.
She wasn’t admitting to it, but Rose and I thought Alice might have reserved a few key elements before she got engaged.
The bachelorette had been more than just Alice and Jasper’s last night out before they were married; it was the kick-off to Alice’s highly organized and insanely busy, wedding countdown. She had detailed plans outlining the decorations for both the ceremony and the reception.
She provided us with typed task lists and schedules. Each person was given specific duties based on what she believed were their strengths. I was not allowed to climb any ladders, Rose was not allowed near a glue gun. Emmett and Edward had the shortest “to do” lists because of their schedules, but Alice had given them assignments none the less.
Being busy was good because things at home were stressing me out. Maybe it was because we were so busy or maybe it was because we’d discussed where things were going in our relationship and, seven months later, Edward had yet to propose. Yeah—that could be it.
I’d tried to stay positive, thinking Edward was just trying to get a little closer to finishing his residency before we started planning our future. I thought that he was waiting for Alice and Jasper to get engaged, but months went by, and here we were days before their wedding and still—nothing.
Not only had he not proposed, he’d acted like a complete dick to Garrett at the bar. It reminded me a little of his jealous fit when I brought Riley home years ago, but it was more than that. He wasn’t usually that possessive. It could have just been because it was Garrett and he knew we had a history, but part of me started to question whether it was something about me.
Normally, Edward would have made sure we talked about what happened at the bar. He was always on my case about communicating and wanted to be sure we understood each other. But the morning after Alice’s bachelorette party, when I asked him if we needed to talk, he’d looked at me like he had no idea what I was referring to.
I didn’t know how it had happened, but we were certainly at a point where I didn’t understand him. I wondered if he hadn’t proposed because he wasn’t sure anymore? Did he not trust me or believe how much I loved him? Was he just waiting to get through his residency and then going to break up with me?
I pretended to be happy because Rose and Alice had too much going on to worry about me. However, truth be told, I was falling apart. I wasn’t sleeping well and I’d lost my appetite. I knew I had dark circles under my eyes; Alice was going to be pissed if I looked like hell for her wedding. If I could just get through that day, then I could have a complete breakdown and a come to Jesus with Edward. I had stocked the fridge with Ben and Jerry’s just in case.
Alice had commandeered Rose’s basement as her workshop/wedding supply storage area. On the Sunday before the wedding, the three of us were down there building centerpieces when the conversation became a little uncomfortable for me. Alice and Rose were talking about having babies and I tried to ignore them until the topic changed, but Alice wouldn’t let me.
“Can you imagine, Bells? All our kids are going to grow up together just like we did. I can’t wait.”
I smiled and nodded, unable to say anything, but she kept going.
“I hope we have a mix of boys and girls, you know, so the girls have someone to look after them.”
“Alice.” Rose could tell I was on the edge of tears. Shit. She had probably known I was a wreck for weeks. I could never get anything past her.
“What? I’m excited to start trying for a baby with Jazz, if I can’t talk about it with you two, who can I? I mean, you’re like my sisters.”
“I need to go upstairs,” I said, quickly standing and heading towards the stairwell.
“Bella,” Rose called. “She didn’t mean anything by it.”
“What? B, what’s going on?”
I took a deep breath and turned to face them. “What do you want me to say, Alice?”
“Tell me what’s going on.”
Biting my lip, I looked at Rose for help. I wasn’t even sure I could explain it.
“Al, she’s not engaged yet.”
In a nutshell—that was it. I wasn’t engaged. I wasn’t a sister. I wasn’t making plans to have babies.
“Maybe I never will be,” I said quietly.
“Of course you will be, Bella.” Rose pulled me into a hug while Alice had tears in her eyes.
“He’s going to ask you, B. I know he is,” Alice said firmly.
“He is? Do you know something I don’t? Because he’s not acting like it.”
I saw Rose’s eyes dart to Alice and then back to me. “Bella, don’t do this.”
“What the fuck does that mean? You know something, don’t you?”
“B,” Alice tried to soothe me.
“Stop it. You don’t want to know.” Rose was always so level headed.
I stared at her for a second; she had a point. “I don’t know if I do or not.” I flopped down, sitting on the second step with a sigh. “What if he doesn’t want to marry me?”
My voice broke and I felt tears start to slide down my face before the girls sandwiched me into a hug.
“That’s not what’s going on, Bella,” Rose said quietly.
“He loves you so much,” Alice added.
I sighed again. “I don’t know you guys, did I do something wrong? Like, did he want to get engaged before, but something has changed? I mean, what is he waiting for?”
“I don’t know,” Rose said with her own sigh. “Things have been busy. We barely got through with one wedding and we started planning another. Maybe he’s just waiting until the two of you have your own time, but I don’t think he’s changed his mind.”
Alice had scooted to the step above me. She put her arms around me and I leaned back between her legs. “I’m sure he’s planning some elaborate proposal.”
Of course Alice thought that. She was the ultimate romantic, and I wanted to believe she was right. “I hope that’s it.”
We sat there quietly for a few minutes. It wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling, I just don’t think any of us knew what to say.
I let out a deep breath and stood. “I think I’m done here tonight, girls. I just need to go home and relax or drink a couple of glasses of wine—or overdose on ice cream and crawl into bed.”
They nodded and murmured agreements, hugging me again, before I headed up the stairs with a heavy heart.
I trudged up the sidewalk to the condo, torn between being glad I didn’t have any wedding related projects to do and being lonely because Edward was working late, again.
I’d decided to self-medicate with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra and a private showing of Pirates of the Caribbean, the original. It would work for a day or two, but then I’d be back to being depressed and confused. Ultimately, I knew that I needed to just suck it up and talk to Edward, but I didn’t have the energy. I was sticking to my goal of getting through Alice’s wedding, then I would deal with things.
I was feeling sorry for myself as I opened the door, thinking how much it would suck if Edward and I broke up, but my thoughts died when I took in the scene before me. Edward was in the kitchen with his back to me lifting something out of a bag and onto the counter.
He turned to face me, dazzling me with his smile. “Hey! Surprise!”
“Hey to you, too. What are you doing here? Wait—that came out wrong.” I laughed as I tried to figure out what was going on. I cocked my head. “Are you making dinner?”
It was his turn to laugh. “I’m not even going to try to lie; it’s take out.” He stepped aside and I had a better view of styrofoam containers stacked on the counter next to a few serving dishes.
“Okay, but I thought you were working a double?”
I stood in the doorway, not sure what to do with myself. Edward came over, grabbing my purse and keys, setting them on the side table where I normally kept them. He cupped my cheek, running a thumb under my eye.
His forehead crinkled in concern. “Have you been crying?”
“A little, but I’m okay.” I leaned into his hand. I wasn’t ready to tell him the real reason I’d been crying. “The wedding hormones are getting a little out of control.”
“Wedding hormones?” He laughed. “I don’t think that’s a real phenomenon.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Seriously? Have you spoken to your sister in the last week?”
“Okay, maybe there’s something to it.”
“Something,” I muttered, moving into the dining room. The table was immaculately set with a gorgeous silver candelabra and china that he must have gotten from Esme; I’d never seen any of it before. I looked over my shoulder at him. “How long have you been home?” He shrugged, trying to be mysterious and I had to laugh. “What’s going on?”
“What?” he teased. “Can’t I surprise you with a good meal and a night in together?”
“You can, of course you can. I’m just confused; I was supposed to be with Rose and Alice making centerpieces all night.”
“Right,” he said, and I saw that his cheeks were a little pink. He cleared his throat. “They—ah— they had instructions to send you home. Alice was going to ask you to come get some ribbon or something you bought for the ceremony—and surprise!” He made jazz hands and I burst out laughing. “I was going to be here with everything ready.”
Sensing I was still feeling a little off, he sighed and pulled me into his arms. His voice was quiet, “Things have just been a kind of nuts lately. I wanted to do something nice for you and squeeze in a night just for us.”
I held him a little tighter, taking deep breaths. “That sounds really good, Edward. Thank you.”
His hands smoothed down my hair and landed on my shoulders. “Why don’t I get you some wine and you can relax while I finish dishing things up?”
I nodded, glancing down at my feet for a second. Instead of steadying myself, it made me realize he wasn’t wearing scrubs but had on dark jeans and a golf shirt. I felt under-dressed in my ratty jeans and chucks.
“Let me go change real quick and I’ll take you up on that.”
“Don’t change, unless you’re putting on something more comfortable—or taking it all off.” He waggled his eyebrows at me with a sexy smirk.
Shaking my head at him, I grinned. “Such a flirt.” I leaned up and gave him a quick kiss. “I’ll be right back.”
Going down the hall, I went into our room and closed the door, leaning against it with a heavy sigh. Leave it to Edward to do something amazing and throw me completely off balance yet again. I bit my lip, trying to figure out what was really going on. This dinner could be a really good thing or a really bad thing.
Of course the bad was so much easier to believe than the good; it always was. What was I going to do if this was all so he could tell me he was happy with things the way they were and he didn’t want to get married? Or worse yet, what if he was truly upset about seeing Garrett talking to me and thought we needed to cool down, or take a step back? Somehow I’d turned into the uncertain girl I hadn’t been in years. Stupid Barbie—stupid dance club—stupid childish insecurities.
I wasn’t sure of anything with Edward anymore, except that I loved him and it would probably kill me to lose him. Whatever it was that was happening, I couldn’t hide from it. I found some yoga pants in my drawer and changed, taking a deep breath before I joined Edward again.
True to his word, he’d poured me a nice glass of Merlot. He’d also turned some music on and Ray Lamontagne played softly in the dining room as he finished bringing the food to the table.
I looked at the food and saw pasta, salad and a loaf of french bread. I smiled, realizing he’d picked up dinner at Panevino Trattoria. It was one of our favorites, but we rarely made it there to eat in the restaurant, we just grabbed take out for ‘dates.’
We talked quietly as we ate, but it was nothing of importance. Edward was sending me a lot of mixed messages, which was kind of freaking me out. He smiled at me a lot and at one point he lifted my hand to his lips for a gentle kiss, but he also seemed distracted, staring past me into space once or twice and his leg had bounced with nerves so much he made the silverware on the table rattle. I wanted to believe the positive signs, but everything else was making me nervous.
I tried not to think the worst as he went to the kitchen to get coffee and dessert. Maybe nothing was going to happen. Maybe it really was just a nice dinner for the two of us. Maybe I needed to take a couple of deep breaths before I had a panic attack.
Edward came back balancing plates of panna cotta and two steaming mugs. With his elbows on the table he leaned forward, sipping his coffee. He watched me for a second, then frowned, setting his drink down and reaching out to feel my forehead.
“Are you okay? You look pale.”
“I’m fine, just tired.” I forced a smile, trying not to look too freaked out.
He bit his lip, which was usually my move, and raised his eyebrows at me. “It’s been pretty rough lately, yeah?”
I nodded, thinking about Russian Barbie and her endless supply of vodka and misunderstandings on the dance floor.
“I can’t believe how busy we’ve been. I feel like I’ve hardly seen you.”
I was still smiling at him, but inside I was really confused. Busy? That’s what he thought had made it a rough lately? Were we living in the same relationship?
He scooted his chair towards me and reached forward to take my hand. His thumb stroked over the inside of my wrist. “Thank you—for putting up with all of my residency bull shit. I know I’m not easy to live with, and that never knowing when I’ll be around is a complete pain in the ass.”
Nodding again, I found myself looking into his eyes. “It’s been worth it.”
“Past tense?” He gave me a teasing smile.
“What? No, I didn’t mean that!” I shook my head and started to feel sick again. I looked down at our joined hands then back at him. “Edward, what’s going on?”
“Hey, stop freaking out,” he said gently. He scooted his chair even closer so our knees were touching and rubbed my back with one hand. “Nothing’s going on; everything’s fine.”
I looked at him for a few seconds, then excused myself to go to the kitchen to replace my coffee with another glass of wine. He wasn’t even trying to hide his laughter when I sat back down at the table.
“What?” I asked before I took sip.
“Wedding hormones,” I mumbled, but his chuckle let me know he heard me.
“It’s not even your wedding!”
Exactly, I thought, while on the outside I tried to smile.
He shook his head, still laughing a little. “You’re not making this easy…”
I felt my face fall and my stomach lurched. “I’m not making what easy?”
He sighed, leaning in to put our foreheads together. “Belly, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me, do you know that?” He paused and licked his lips. “I can’t imagine getting through my residency—or anything else really—without you. I used to think people were full of crap when they talked about soul mates and finding their other halves, and then I let myself really fall for you.”
I gasped a little, realizing what was going on.
“I get it now. I can’t imagine myself with anyone else, ever. I think about my future and it’s you and me, and our family. Please, tell me you feel the same way.” He slid down to one knee on the floor beside me, pulling a little blue box out of his pocket.
I let out a small sob as I watched him open the box and my hand flew up to cover my mouth.
“Isabella Swan, will you marry me?”
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I nodded my head over and over like a human bobble-head.
“Say the words, B. Please, say yes.”
I giggled and dropped myself down into his lap, wrapping my arms around him, and he steadied himself on the floor. “Yes, of course. Yes! Yes! Yes!”
He exhaled in relief and held me tight for a few seconds, then sat back and kissed me, laughing into my mouth when he finally pulled away. “Do you even want to put the ring on?”
“Oh my god! Yes!”
I held out my left hand as he took the ring from the box and slid it on my finger. He didn’t release my hand right away, but held it in between us as we both examined the ring and how it looked on my hand. It was a simple platinum band with an emerald cut diamond and tapered baguettes on each side. It was beautiful. And perfect. And I found myself crying again. I leaned forward, trying to kiss him even as my tear drops slid down my cheeks and fell onto his shirt.
He pulled back from me after a second, tilting his head but keeping his eyes on mine as he tucked some hair behind my ear. “What’s going on in there?”
Wiping my eyes, I glanced down at the ring and then back up at him. I closed my eyes and asked the question that I couldn’t get out of my head.
“Are you sure about this? You’re not just asking because it’s what I want, right?”
“Isabella, please look at me,” he said quietly. “I want to marry you. I want to spend my life with you. What are you thinking?”
He was so patient. I couldn’t believe how calm he was, but it was certainly helping steady my nerves. “I just…I mean…Fuck. I don’t know. There’s been all of the weird stuff lately. Bitch Barbie. Jealousward. I’ve just been freaked out.”
The corner of his mouth lifted. “Jealousward? Nice.”
I shrugged. “You went a little caveman at the bar. What was that about?”
He shook his head like he didn’t really know. “Jealousy—insecurity—alcohol. I think that sums it up.”
“God, Bella, I don’t know how to explain it.” He ran his hands through his hair. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve waited to propose? I mean, I told Charlie I was going to marry you the weekend of Jake’s wedding, that’s how I ended up drinking that damn moonshine with him.”
“What did he say?” I was sure it couldn’t have been good.
He grinned. “He said I didn’t deserve you, but that he knew I made you happy. So he made me drink that shit and tell him all the reasons why I love you and how I plan to keep you happy.”
“He didn’t?” I asked, laughing. Leave it to Charlie to make Edward lay his heart on the line.
“Of course he did,” he laughed. “Anyway, I’ve been planning this—forever. I was going to ask you after Rose and Em got married, then Alice and Jasper got engaged and I freaked out about my mother not being around—it wasn’t just about Alice, I wanted her there for me, too. That really threw me off; I hadn’t missed my parents like that in years.”
Taking a deep breath, he took my hand in his, looking at my ring again. “You know, I had every intention of proposing to you in the meadow by my parent’s, but it’s impossible for the two of us to have enough time to get up there together. I tried, and our plans to go home for the weekend fell through—twice.”
“So, that’s why you’ve been acting crazy?” I chuckled, thinking that I’d been acting just as weird.
“Yeah, I guess.” He smiled. “When I saw you on the dance floor and he put his hands on you…” He shook his head. “It wasn’t that I was jealous, not at first—Jesus, Bella, the look on your face when you realized it wasn’t me behind you? You looked terrified and I felt so far away. I was scared for you, and I was pissed at him and myself. I wasn’t jealous until he said you were hot, then I wanted to kick his ass.”
“Did you see him try to give me a water? He meant I looked hot, literally.”
“He did?” Edward laughed. “I must have missed that, you know, when I was focused on not tearing his balls off.”
“Must be.” I sighed. “I love that you were worried about me. I hadn’t really thought of that, but the jealousy? There’s no need for it.”
“I know that, usually. Everything just sort of came together…”
“Wedding hormones?” I giggled.
“Something like that—smart ass. Anyway, you wanted to talk about it, but I knew it was a one-off. And that I’d end up saying something ridiculous like, just marry me already…so I just avoided the topic.”
“I noticed,” I said rolling my eyes. “What happened to all of your, ‘we have to communicate’ messages? Those don’t apply to you?”
“They do, of course they do.” He smiled sadly at me. “I’m sorry.”
“All right, here’s me communicating, okay? You’re it for me. You don’t need to be jealous, and you certainly don’t have anything to be insecure about.”
“Back at ya, Swan,” he said, a true smile coming back to his face. “I love you. I love everything about you. And Bitch Barbie, Slutty Barbie, Sneezey Barbie—it doesn’t matter; you’re the only one I want.”
I looked into his eyes, and felt his fingers still gently playing with my engagement ring, I believed him.
“What Barbie am I?” I teased.
He threw his head back laughing before he answered me.
I could live with that.
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