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If every Word I Said Could Make You Laugh

(CH. 25- end)

By:

carmelinagunn

DISCLAIMER:
A) I don’t own any of the characters in the story and I do
not own any rights what so ever to THE TWILIGHT
SAGA in any way shape or form.
B) I did not write this story and I am not claiming to have
written it. I just really loved this story and I felt that it
deserves to be read (I know that sounds pretty cheesy
but what every)
P.S This is a human fanfic for twilight just letting you
know.
And The Story Continues

Chapter 25 - It Won't Be Long

We high fived our success as I climbed into the big red jeep and waved
one last goodbye to my mother. I wasn't sure who she was more upset
to see go, me or them.

I perched next to Edward in the middle seat of the giant vehicle and he
was glowing with satisfaction. I'm not sure why, it hadn't taken much.

We literally just asked and everyone if we could mix up the car


arrangement, and they agreed.

Now Alice and I were in the jeep with Jasper and Edward, leaving Rose
and Emmett in charge of my car. Rose drove it all the time around LA
and Emmett was skilled at driving the monster truck, so I had
absolutely no worries about them getting my car home safely.

The eight hours with Edward passed so much more quickly than it did
when I had been without him.
We started out blasting music and the 4 of us sang at the top of our
lungs. We craked up after one rest stop when Alice actually took at
turn drivng the monster vehicle and Jasper put on Edwin Starr's song
"War" and tied a bandana around his head as he belted out in a very
deep, husky voice:

" War, huh, yeah!


What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!
Uh-huh
War, huh, yeah!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!
Say it again, y'all"

He was climbing on the seats and making us laugh and sing with him
as he went into musical Rambo mode. It helped pass a few minutes
rather quickly.

After a while, when Jasper's theatrics ended, Edward and I shared his
iPod earbuds as he played me songs he had written and recorded. I
smiled at him the whole time the music played in my one ear.
Eventually we started entertaining ourselves by bringing my iPod out
and one of us taking one ear bud from each set so we could hear
music from both iPods at the same time.

We would pick a song and see how synched we could get when we
counted to 3 and both pressed play. It was hilarious for some reason.
Even we didn't understand why, but we laughed just enjoying each
other's company.

Since we had gotten the least amount of sleep all weekend we were
both pretty tired by the last hour of the long drive. I was starting to
feel my eyelids droop, each blink was harder and harder to get out of.

I was wearing the maroon zip up which Edward had given me earlier,
and it gave me such a comfy, comforting feeling I couldn't help but
sink into it more.

"Tired Bella?" He asked very softly leaning into me.

"Mmm-hmm." I didn't even have energy enough to form real sounds


apparently.
"Me too. Do you want a blanket?"

"Mmm-hmm."

He chuckled at my repeated response that was getting more and more


covered by sleep then reached into the backseat and pulled out a very
soft black blanket. It smelt of him and the sweetness overtook my
senses, calming me even more into my happy subconscious.

I felt him lean into me and place my head in the crook of his neck and
shoulder.

"You're smiling." He seemed curious.

"Mmm-hmm." I just agreed but honestly I hadn't realized I was. It was


probably the reaction to his scent from the blanket. Or just him.

He was silent for a moment then he leaned down even further but
didn't disrupt my position.

"Bella," he whispered.

"Hmm?"

"Can I hold your hand?" He was honestly asking.

I was tired, sure, but not tired enough to ignore that this was strange.
We have held hands before and he never asked. He definitely never
needed to, but it was odd.

"Mmm-hmm." I think it sounded like the other answers I had given but
in my mind it was deeper and more profound.

It wasn't until he found my hand under the blanket and grasped it that
I understood why he asked. It was different than all the other times.

He found my hand and touched his palm to mine gently and then slid
his fingers up my own and interlocked them together, slowly.

It was an amazing sensation. So loving, so comforting, so right. I


smiled again, wider, and fought the sleep with everything I had so I
could relish the sensation for as long as possible.

I woke up to Alice's small hand shaking me and the darkness of the


parking garage around me. We were home.
Edward and I were both sound asleep, our hands still clasped together
in the new amazing way under the blanket. I woke up fully before he
did and I watched his eyes flutter open as he took in our surroundings
and realized we were back.

Then I sat as still as possible and watched him take in our closeness. I
saw the slight smile creep across his face. He looked at me and said
nothing as I looked back at him.

His smile grew and he ran his thumb in tiny circles where it lay on my
hand, then sat up and stretched a bit before gathering his things and
helping me with mine, then climbing out of the jeep.

Rosalie and Emmett had beaten us back and they were already
upstairs in our living room when the 4 of us got up there.

Emmett already had Friends on and Rose was unpacking in the


bedroom. I just threw my bag on my bed and went back into the living
room. I hate unpacking.

We stayed up for a while, laughing at the show and playing some


Grape Toss. Emmett and I were beyond good now, we were always
beating a previous record. The only thing that ever stopped us was
Alice poking Emmett in the sides right before he caught a grape or us
just running out of them.

Emmett and Edward had to work early the next day so they left before
Jasper and went into to their apartment. It was kind of late so we all
turned in as well and I went to bed not really hating Thanksgiving at
all any more. Especially if I really could enjoy each new one with
Edward.

I was extremely caught up in my world with Edward as the weeks


continued to pass. It was December 10th now and we were getting up
early because we were going to Disneyland.

Yes, Disneyland.

Let me reiterate that one more time: Edward and I were going to
Disneyland! Together!

I thought I was going to combust from too much happiness in one


single day.
How did I get so lucky as to combine my 2 favorite things? Easy
actually. Jealousy.

It was about a week before:

"You guys do know my birthday is coming, don't you?" Rosalie asked


the whole goup but looked straight at Emmett.

"Uh. Yeah Rosie. December ten-twelfth." He was very close to getting


it wrong but Alice was behind Rose giving him hand singnals.

Rosalie smiled and nodded. "So what are we doing? Bella got a
surprise party after all."

"Which she didn't want." I said under my breath, getting a very hurt
look from Alice. "But still loved completely and totally!" I added in to
make her smile. She did even though she knew I was exaggerating the
excitement in my voice.

Edward was laughing beside me but asked, "Are you requesting a


surprise party Rosalie? Because if you know it's coming isn't it just a
normal party again?" He smirked and we all chuckled.

"No, I don't want a surprise party... unless you have already planned
one..." We hadn't. She could tell by our blank stares. "I just want to
celebrate, you know? I like my birthday! I want to do something fun
like Bella, she even got to go to Disneyland, remember?"

Oh yeah, with Jake. I had sort of forgotten about that. It seemed so


very long ago.

I felt Edward tense next to me even though we werent touching at all.

"You want to go to Disneyland?" Emmett was innocently as he looked


at her, seriously thinking that's what she wanted.

"No, I don't want to go to Disneyland Emmett. That's Bella's thing. I


want to do something...that's my thing." She was getting frustrated
and it was confusing Emmett.

"Um, do you want to go to Sea World?" He was still so innocent about


it and it made her grunt in frustration then leave the room.
"She doesn't want to go to Sea World man." Jasper laughed a bit and
shook his head at Emmett.

"Well how am I supposed to know if she doesn't tell me where she


wants to go?" He was searching all of us for the asnwers.

I was laughing and so was Edward. Alice had her face in her hand and
Jasper was trying to help his brother.

"Emmett, it's not about going somewhere... especially not a theme


park if I know Rose well enough. It's about doing something she wants
to do, something that she will enjoy."

"Oh." An evil grin spread across his face. "Like ME!"

We all lgraoned at his ridiculousness then and Emmett got off the
couch and followed Rose into his room where she had retreated.

"Rosie baby I got your brithday present! Yes... you can unwrap it
early..." He was using as much of a sing song voice as was possible for
Emmett and we heard Rose squeal and start to giggle.

"Alice, let's take a walk, you want to?" Jasper didn't wait for an answer
he just drug Alice past the giggle filled room and out the door into the
hallway.

"We should probably clear the vicinity too." Edward nodded towards
his room and I agreed then got up and followed him inside. He shut
the door and put on music and we were safe from the sounds.

"Poor Rose." I sighed and smiled as I sat down on the bed.

"Poor Rose? Poor Emmett." Edward sat next to me and shook his head.
"He's so clueless sometimes, it's like he's never dated before. But he
has!" He threw his hands up to emphasize the point then let them flop
back down on his lap.

"Well you managed to do pretty well with my present, so it doesn't


seem it should be that hard." I tensed after I let that sentence slip out.

Oh no. Did I just make is sound like I thought we were dating when
Edward gave me the beautiful gift of my lullaby? Is that weird? It was
the night he asked for time so did it count as something? Luckily he
didn't seem to mind if it meant anything.
"That's different Bella. You inspired something in me, I couldn't keep it
from you. It is yours."

I think I audibly sighed at how sweet it was. I know I lost the ability to
blink as I stared at him. He smiled crookedly, making it worse for me
remain upright and then he went over and grabbed his keyboard that
was faithfully leaning against his wall.

He lowered the volume on the stereo and began to play my beautiful


piece of music. It was still odd to call it mine. Just like I figured it
would be if Edward was ever done making me wait. It felt like he was
close, sure, but it was hard to believe that someday it would be real.

He looked at me as he played. "So does this compare to Disneyland?"

I was a bit entranced so I didn't really understand what he meant.


"Huh?" I asked, coming out of my trance.

"This, my gift to you," he glanced down at his moving hands,"did


it...does it compare to your trip to Disneyland?" He was really waiting
for an answer. This boy is absurd.

"Edward I told you it was the best present I have ever received.
Remember?"

He nodded and smiled. "I know Bella, it's just that I've also heard from
multiple sources how you love going to Disneyland. I know it's what
Jacob got you..." He trailed off a bit at the end and something clouded
his eyes. Jealousy?

"So?" I asked curiously.

"So I didn't know if that might have been, better. You know...your
favorite place to be with one of your best friends... it has all the
makings of a pretty great gift Bella. I sure as hell wasn't there to share
it with you."

He seemed almost angry now and he even missed a note. Edward


Cullen missed a note. He looked down and I was incredibly shocked.
He was actually jealous of the gift Jacob gave me! Like anyone besides
Edward could give me something that would be more important that
what he would give to me. He could give me a piece of string and I
would tie it around my figner and wear it forever. I'm that hopeless.
I giggled a little as I realized what was going on. "Edward... you aren't
jealous of Jacob's present are you?" I cocked my head to the side play
fully but he wasn't looking at me.

He kept playing softly. "Maybe."

There is was again. The maybe that was a definite "yes" in disguise.

"You are so absurd." I scoffed and almost sounded annoyed. How


could he think that? I threw myself at him after he started playing my
lullaby the first time. Not once did I throw myself at Jake at
Disneyland. Thank God.

"What? I can't help it if I want to share things like that with you my
Bella, uh, Bella." He seemed truly embarassed now. He had stopped
playing and he was looking at me with puppy dog eyes. He never
corrected himself when he called me "my Bella". I didn't like it. I want
him to think of me like that. We have to fix this.

"Ok then, what if we do share it?" I smiled at him sincerely.

He still looked like a helpless animal. It was extremely unfitting for


him.

"What do you mean exactly?"

"Well, there's no reason why you and I can't go to Disneyland any time
we want. Right?" I leaned towards him a bit, encouraging him.

"Right..." He said as he thought about it. I watched his eyes leave the
puppy phase and return to normal.

"So..." I was literally using hand motions now to get words and
happiness to come out of him.

He was laughing at me again. He grabbed both my hands in mid air


and leaned into me as well. "Isabella Swan would you like to go to
Disneyland with me?" He smiled brilliantly and I felt more triumphant
by that than anything.

"I guess. If you really want to." I shrugged and scrunched my face up
in an uncaring manner.
He laughed louder and set the keyboard on the ground then tackled
me onto the bed, tickle fighting me until neither of us could breathe
from laughter taking over.

So here we are today, December the 10th.

He was just as annoying as Jake was at the ticket counter and insisted
on buying my ticket. I couldn't throw a fit like last time though, for 2
main reasons.

1. He was still jealous of Jake and needed to do this for me to soothe


that. It was cute.

"Did dear Jacob buy your ticket?" He raised one eyebrow at me and
stared. He never got rid of his silly nickname for Jake.

I deflated. "Yes he did, but it was a birthday present Edward-"

He put his hand over my mouth to shut me up. "Well then, if this is a
just-for-fun present..." he decided not to tell me the rest of his
thought and let his hand fall as he smiled the devilish crooked smile. I
wondered why he never finished his sentence but I could have sworn I
heard him breathe something very low that sounded a lot like "...I
win".

2. I can't fight with Edward like I could with Jacob. He's got that
horrible thing on his side called, I'm completely in love him and his
smiles make me do things I don't normally find easy to do. Such as
accepting payment from other people for my theme park tickets.

We entered the park and my insides immediately lit up. It was almost
as wonderful as I felt every time Edward touched me.

I tugged on his arm like an eager 5 year old for the first half of the day
and he followed me around just as eagerly. We laughed as I
introduced him to Pluto and Goofy, then he laughed alone when I got
too star-struck to speak around Mickey Mouse.

He marveled at everything just like a good first timer should. I was


actually proud of him.

Seeing his green eyes light up all day at the surroundings was
wonderful but it was nothing compared to what they looked like at the
end of that night. Looking at me.
We were waiting for the fireworks show to start. I had the schedule
down- fireworks then Fantasmic. My favorite show at Disneyland
always has to be the finale.

We had to sit on the ground and wait for about 45 minutes for the
fireworks since it draws such a huge crowd in the main plaza. I was in
front of him due to the limited space, and we had adjusted into a
comfortable position I was quite pleased with. His legs were stretched
out in front of him and I was right next to them leaning my torso back
towards him. After my arms got tired of supporting me Edward pulled
my back into his chest, but only after chuckling as he watched me
struggling to find a comfortable position for about a minute.

"Thanks." I said too shyly as he pulled me into him. It was a very


sweet gesture and in Disneyland things that are sweet are naturally
heightened at least 10 times.

"Silly Bella, you should have started here." He almost whispered it to


me though no one around us was listening. Then he wrapped his arms
around my waist and held me to him.

I set my arms on top of his and he interlocked our fingers. This was
the most intimate we had gotten in a casual setting. I still couldn't find
anything to top the intensity of the ngiht he left before tour. But this...
I mean, people walking by would have no idea I was "waiting" for him.
It was too natural, too right. Maybe I wasn't waiting any longer. Maybe
I was walking through the door...finally being let in...

My thoughts were interrupted by Edward asking me questions about


the park and the shows.

"So why fireworks? Why are they so special here? I've seen them at
ball games all my life." He sounded sincerely curious.

"I can't exactly explain it...but you'll see. It's just magical. This is the
closest I feel you can get to the magical things everyone believes in as
a child but looses as an adult. It reminds you what it was like to
believe. It keeps me believing. It's truly breath taking at times, if you
can imagine seeing something like that."

I felt him turn his head into my hair slightly. "I think I can. But I can't
wait to see the fireworks either."

He chuckled and I giggled, almost nervously.


"But the real magic happens during Fantasmic." I continued even
though he was distracting me with his face still in my hair, then on the
side of my face.

"Hmm." He paused for a second, letting that sound reverberate off my


skin. "And what does this Fantasmic have that even fireworks don't?" I
could hear and practically feel the smile. He was humoring me.

"Again, it's hard to explain. They do so much more during Fantasmic.


But it's all still about believing I guess. It's about letting go of what the
world tells you is this or that and letting your imagination tell you what
it could be instead. It's forgetting about the rules. It's innocent and
marvelous and I can't explain it right but I love it!" I was excited by
the end of my speech and he was laughing softly at my exuberance.

"Well now I already love it too, thank you."

Then the lights dimmed and everyone stood up and the show started.
It got more crowded as every face turned towards the sky for the
show. I felt Edward's arms wrap around me again and I looked up at
him.

He glanced down adn then back up and smiled, "Just trying to make
more room so more people can enjoy the magic." He explained this all
to the sky and missed my wide grin. Well then. The more the merrier!

It was beautiful. It was everything I had remembered and expected it


to be but multiplied by a hundred because Edward's arms were
connected to me the whole time.

When it ended we shuffled out of the huge crowd, not being able to
converse before then because it's so chaotic in the moments right after
shows. I clung to his hand with the perfect excuse of not wanting to
get separated as we wove through the massive amount of people.

When we broke through I let go of his hand out of habit of not crossing
a line. He pulled my arm through his though, so it didn't matter what
silly habit I had, apparently we are forming new ones.

We found our spots for Fantasmic and we only had to wait about 5
minutes since the shows almost correspond. I snagged us a good spot
by a railing and I leaned over it, eager for the show to start. Funny
how one second I could be very much like a young adult in love, and
the next like an excited 5 year old running around...well, Disneyland.
Edward never judged me though. When the show started and I new
every word to the opening song he smiled humorously at me. When I
knew all of Mickey's openening number choreography he clapped
silently for me. When I finally stopped jumping up and down after the
Peter Pan part, the peak of the adventure, he wrapped his arms
around me to calm me. I felt him lean into me and said, "you know,
you are way more entertaining than the show in front of us." His
musical chuckle distracted me for a second and then I had to cower
into him with worry as the huge black dragon threatened life as
Disneyland knew it.

He held me as close as I would get to him and again interlocked our


fingers.

And then, right on cue, Mickey Mouse saved the world and the most
triumphant music you have ever heard threw itself over the audience,
bringing tears to my eyes as the spectacle came to a glorious end.

He turned me around to him then and brought both of his hands up to


my face. He used both of his thumbs to wipe the few tears that were
streaming down my cheeks onto my smile. His right thumb found a
place on my jaw and the other continued to trace down my face.

It was then I realized I had gotten my moment. The moment I had felt
so empty without the last time I was here with Jake. Even though
Jacob was amazing and accepted my outrageous reaction to all things
make believe, it was nothing compared to the look Edward was giving
me now. So full of understanding of who I was and what I loved and
held dear. We were so connected, it was beautiful to feel.

It was that moment that his eyes were more marvelous than anything
we had seen all day. And they were looking straight at me.

"Come on you emotional little girl, let's get you home." He smiled at
me and kissed the top of my head as I wrapped my arm around his
waist and started for the exit.

He drove home and again I fell asleep. Disneyland takes a lot out of
me.

We got back to the apartments and he walked me all the way into my
bedroom. Rosalie was in her bed sleeping but Edward waited on me
until I got changed into pajamas and climbed in.
He was over the covers but right next to me anyway. I let my head fall
to his side and he started stroking my hair.

"That is going to put me to sleep Mr. Cullen." I whispered for sleeping


Rose's benefit.

"Good. You need to sleep after your adventurous day." It was silent
and I let my eyelids fall. "Thank you Bella. Thank you for letting me
into your world today."

"Oh Edward, you belong in my world. I saw the little kid in you come
out and play today." I smiled and I felt him move with soft laughter.

"Well I still thank you, no matter where I belong."

"You belong right here." I wasn't sure he heard it. I wasn't sure I
wanted him to hear it. We had made some progress today but I just
wasn't sure how I would know when the waiting was up exactly.

He didn't respond to me, he just kept laying next to me and stoking


my hair until I fell asleep to his lovely hum and equally as lovely scent.

I can't be long now. I really don't think I'll make it until Christmas.

Emmett did really well in the end. He had planned Rose's birthday
perfectly.

We'd already done the surprise party thing. We'd already done the silly
hang out party thing. We'd already done the movies and the deli and
Mel's Diner and road trips and shows.

So we were making her a formal dinner. We are going to dine in, but
it's going to be quite the occasion, quite "classy". We're all going to
dress up and we bought an elegant table cloth to cover our small table
and we also bought a small card table to connect to it so there would
be enough room for all of us. It was a bit oddly shaped when we
pushed them together, but it worked. Just like the oddly shaped puzzle
pieces Alice had recently described all of us as.

Alice was obviously going over board with decorations, at first, but
Emmett calmed her down on most things.
"No Alice! I put my foot down at renting a chandelier. How are we
even supposed to hang it in the apartment?" He had his arms up in the
air in confusion and was just staring at her.

"Whatever Emmett, don't blame me when the party goes from class to
trash."

You just don't expect a good reaction when you tell Alice no.

Jasper and I were in charge of food. We were making the entire meal,
him on the main course (chicken something... it was a bit fancier than
what I was used to making) and I was doing all the sides. We were
both excited about the cake which we ordered from the new gelato
shop that oppened on Hollywood Blvd. Yes, they make gelato cakes.
Very unique. Very Rosalie.

Edward was in charge of keeping Rosalie out of the apartment as we


set up all day. Luckily, and oddly enough, they both had a very strong
attraction to cars. Fast, shiny, pimped out cars. Don't call them
"pimped out" in front of either of them though. I learned that the hard
way.

"Bella we are not interested in some TV show that allows X-hibit to


pretend he knows anything about cars." Rose looked disgusted.

"Honestly, what are they trying to prove with that show? A '98 Corolla
becomes acceptable if you put a waterfall and a plasma screen in the
trunk?" Edward matched her disgust and I mouthed "O-K" then krept
out of the room to let them continue their conversation that could
have been in a different language for all I knew.

So they were at some car-show-thing all day as we prepared the


apartment. Edward was to deliver Rosalie back to the boys' apartment
where Emmett would be waiting for her and would conduct the rest of
the evening. We weren't sure what he was planning before they joined
us for dinner, and we didn't ask. We just needed to know Edward
would arrive at 4 and we needed to be dressed and classy by 6.

"How did the car show go?" I asked eagerly as he entered our
apartment and handed me my keys since I had let them borrow my
car all day.

"It wasn't a car show it was a-" he looked down at me and realized it
didn't matter,"Good. The car show was good."
He laughed and I shrugged.

4:00 quickly turned into 5:00 and we were finally finished decorating
and preparing the food. Alice had strung even more white Christmas
lights all around the room, creating a nice elegant glow throughout the
apartment. She lit hgue white candles that were on our various
bookshelves and any other flat surface she could get her little hands
on. The table looked nice with the cream colored table cloth and roses
that were scattered all along the middle. The only thing that was off
were the chairs. We had the 3 chairs that usually went with our small
table, the one that used to be Sam's included, then we had a fold out
lawn chair and a cooler that 2 people would have to share. It was the
best we could do, and it worked for us.

Alice kidnapped me and worked quickly in her room to get me ready. I


wore a simple black dress that I'd had since high school but only worn
once in a play. It was knee length and strappless and Alice actually
approved right away when I put it on. She curled my hair again and
was finished in plenty of time like I trusted she would be.

I have to admit, the dressing up idea wasn't my favorite even though I


knew it would be special for Rose. But looking at Alice and I in her full
length mirror side by side I was very appreciative of this idea. It was
fun to be dressed up with your closest friends and not have to worry
about being elegant or graceful all night.

The funny thing was we weren't wearing shoes. It just seemed silly
because we were going to be walking around our apartment all night.

"Fashion makes it's own rules," was how Alice justified the barefoot
thing to herself. I don't really understand how that connects to us not
wearing shoes, but as long as it kept her from cramming my feet into
black strappy death traps I nodded encouragingly to her reasoning.

We walked out into the living room where Jasper and Edward were
already waiting and I couldn't stop myself as I walked directly towards
Edward and into his arms. He looked too good. No, not good,
ravishing. He was wearing black too, a simple black botton down dress
shirt. You see them on people daily, right? Not like this. I don't know
why it did so much for me, but I needed to touch him immediately.

I wrapped my arms around him and he chuckled.

How could he smell even better too?


"I like your dress." How silly. My dress was nothing compared to him.

"Thanks. I like your...well. You." I blushed but I couldn't not say it. It
was too true. I hid my face in his chest and he rubbed my back
reassuringly, probably feeling my embarassment build. We never
talked casually about our...understanding.

"I sure hope so," he murmured and then broke away and held me at
arms length, forcing me to look at his face.

He reached up and touched my blush like he did at the gas station


before Thanksgiving. Our moment was interrupted when Alice started
yelling for help because one of the strands of lights had fallen down
and we were, "very quickly running out of time, so someone tall better
get their butts over here and fix this for me because I will NOT let the
decorations be lacking when Rosalie enters this room!"

She was breathing heavily and Jasper was walking over to her now but
Edward was taller than him so he was the one that fixed the strand, in
about 2 seconds I might add, earning him a grateful hug from a now
calm Alice.

Emmett ran in then and leaned against the counter. He was in a nice
shirt and jeans already, but he was alone. He looked over the food
that Jasper was setting out and smiled as he grabbed a stuffed
mushroom (my only fancy claim to food fame) and popped it in his
mouth.

Jasper wacked his hand with the spatula he was holding. "Emmet! You
didn't even bring Rose with you, you can't eat!"

"I know..." Emmett started to talk while he was still chewing but he
paused and his eyes buldged slightly,"these are HOT!" He opened his
mouth and started fanning it with his huge hand.

"Yes, the oven does that." Jasper replied, unamused.

Emmett finally got the hot food down his throat and explained. "Rose
is changing right now so I thought I'd come see how things were
going. Nice dress by the way Alice, she loves it."

"I know." Alice smiled confidentially. She had bought Rose the dress
she was going to wear tonight.
"So does she have any idea what is going on?" I asked.

"Don't think so." Emmett shook his head. "She knows it's not Sea
World though." He chuckled and we joined in.

He left soon after and said they would be returning in 10 mintues.

Right on time the door opened and Rosalie walked in with Emmett
right behind her.

"Em, why didn't you just use the bathroom at your place this is a
waste of ti-"

She stopped mid sentence and stared at all of us around the room,
barefoot and dressed up, in the midst of our softly glowing living room.

"Oh my gosh! You guys...this is amazing!" Rosalie looked aorund the


room once more and took in everything as the smile grew on her face.

"It was all Emmett's idea," Alice informed her with a smile.

Rose didn't say anything, she just turned back to Emmett and threw
her arms around him.

"It's perfect Emmett. Thank you!"

"So you aren't disappointed we aren't really going out?"

"No, of course not! I was actually a little sad when I thought we


weren't going to be with everyone tonight." She kissed him quickly
then we all found spots at the table and got settled.

Rose, Emmet, and Alice were on the real chairs. Alice automatically
got one because she was too small for any of the other options. Jasper
was in the folding chair next to her which put Edward and I on the
cooler. I liked how things turned out, we had to sit close together to
fit.

We laughed and told Rose about all of our secret planning as we


dished out what we all wanted to eat and Emmett got drinks for
everyone. When every plate was full we held our glasses up for a
toast.
"Happy Birthday Rosie," Emmett began with his goofy grin,"I'm so
lucky I found you. I never want to share you with anybody, but since I
have to I am glad it's these 4 people in this room with us tonight."

I felt myself tear up at his comment. It was so sweet and so rare for
Emmett. Under the table Edward's hand found mine and he squeezed
it once and then didn't let go.

"Cheers to Rose!" Emmett said. "And to all this amazing food!" he


added in quickly making us all laugh. That's more like Emmett.

"Cheers to friends who really know what you want," Rose smiled at all
of us.

"Cheers to making something decent in that run down oven," Jasper


joked.

"Oh no! Cheers to making this room look decent even though someone
tired to stifle my vision," Alice gave accusing look at Emmett but
smiled at the end.

They all looked at me, apparently we were all getting a turn.

"Um, cheers to Alice allowing me to be barefoot?" I questioned it


because I wasn't sure it was good enough for the toast. The way
everyone cheered and Alice rolled her eyes proved to me it was
something everyone was grateful for.

Edward was last.

"Cheers to how our lives have changed for the better in the last 8
months." Everyone smiled their best after he spoke and he looked
down at me for a few seconds and his eyes danced wildly and his
simple smiled turned crooked and he squeezed my hand once more.
Then he quickly looked back up at the group as the toast ended loudly.

Clank

EPOV

"Cheers to how our lives have changed for the better in the last 8
months." I felt her smile next to me and I had to look and see it for
myself even though I'd seen it so many times before.
And cheers to waiting no longer.

Clank

Chapter 26 - I'm Ready, I Am

Clank

Edward lifted his hand out of mine to begin eating. The fork I picked
up was a poor replacement.

Everyone enjoyed the meal thoroughly. I had to hand it to Jasper, he


knew what he was doing when it came to chicken.

"This may be the best part of my birthday right here," Rose almost
moaned as she took another bite. Everyone laughed but there wasn't
much talking...we were too busy holding back moans of our own.
Before I met Edward I didn't know I could melt. Before I ate Jasper's
cooking I didn't know chicken could. In your mouth.

"Thanks a lot Jasper." Emmett was the only one that mumbled
sarcastically after Rose's statement and he threw a piece of the
chicken at Jazz, hitting him right in the face.

It made us all laugh again, harder this time. Alice was effected by it
the most just as she was taking a drink and it caused her to burst and
spray Jasper in the face with the liquid she was trying to contain in her
mouth.

That did it. Eating was second to laughing now. Poor Jasper was sitting
there with his face soaking wet, his calm face dripping, the honey
colored hair around his face damp as well. His two brother's opposite
sounding laughs rang out over the others.

"Sorry Jazz," Alice said through her own giggles, but as she said it she
reached up and high fived Edward's out stretched palms. The brothers
loved this stuff.

"Hey!" Jasper gaped at Edward for celebrating his misfortune.

In very un-Jasper like fashion he threw one of my stuffed mushrooms


at Edward. It hit him square in the chest and stuck, stuffed side down,
to the nice black shirt and then started slowly to slide lower and leave
a trail behind it.
Now I was offended.

Oh he did NOT just use one of my creations to cause my Edward and


his black shirt to look less ravishing!

Oh. No. He. Did. Not.

"Jasper," I called sourly to his grinning face that was still pointed at
Edward.

He looked. I threw.

Emmett cheered for me this time. "Right on Bellarina! My sister has a


perfect shot!" He stood up and high fived me across the table right
after my spoon full of mashed potatoes hit Jasper on the right cheek. I
learned all my good food fighting moves from Robin Williams in Hook.

"Emmett sit down! She got me too!" Rosalie was glaring at me now as
she started wiping some splattered potato off of her new dress.

"The dress! Bella you hit the dress?" Now Alice was actually standing
on her chair.

She picked up her glass and threw it on me, soaking me all down my
front as I gasped loudly and heard laughter erupt as I blinked my eyes
in surprise. Jasper was clutching his sides on laughter because now he
wasn't the only one who's face was dripping.

"Oh that's it- now the dress is going down," I heard Edward murmur
next to me and he picked up a handful of mashed potatoes and threw
it directly at Rose's dress faster than she could react. I smiled at him
defending me.

Alice saw his plan forming though, and she attempted to jump - yes
literally jump - across Jasper and onto Rose's lap to protect the dress.
She fell short and really only landed on Jasper causing them both to
nearly fall backwards in his chair. Good thing she was so tiny and
didn't bring down much force on him.

The whole scene was bringing Emmett to his knees in laughter. He had
actually sunk out of the chair and onto the floor with his head on the
table.
"You think this is funny?" Rose suddenly looked at Emmett's laughing
form and he just nodded into the table and gave a muffled, "oh yeah,"
through his laughter.

5 became 1 then and we all reached for something to grab on the


table and slung it at Emmett's head.

"What the hell?" He stood up and started wiping his head off
frantically, getting his own hands as dirty as all of ours.

"Oh that's it!" Emmett suddenly got up, reached into the gravy with
his two pointer fingers and wiped 2 lines across the bottom of his eyes,
like athletes do before heading into a game. He went into the kitchen.
He came back and stood at the head of the table with the perfect
gelato cake as he smiled devilishly and threatened us with it.

"NO!" Jasper and I shouted out together. I even reached my arm out
in a desperate fashion. That cake took us too long to find to let it go to
waste.

Emmett sighed and lowered his arms a bit.

"You're right. There's never a good reason to waste cake." He smiled


down at the cake itself and gently placed it back in the safety of the
kitchen and the fight was over before we got too crazy. Well, it was
mostly over.

"Bella," Edward beckoned me with his soft voice and I had my reflex
reaction of turning to it as fast as possible.

What was waiting for me when I turned around was his face, not even
2 inches away, sparkling eyes and all.

My breath hitched and my stomach tightened in a good way. He


looked very serious for a moment and leaned in just the slightest bit
more and then, as I thought I was going to pass out from his teasing
distance... he started chuckling. Louder and louder.

Then I felt it. His potato covered hand was on my face and he was
wiping it back and forth across my cheek, covering me in his mashed
weapon.

I narrowed my eyes at him and he laughed harder then leaned back


and took his hand away.
"You've fallen for that twice now, you know. Both times at birthday
parties." The crooked smile mocked me and I just started at him. He
wasn't very far away because we were confined to the small seat of
the cooler.

I smiled sweetly and said nothing. All I did was grab his hand and put
it back on my face, like I wanted to keep it there mashed potatoes and
all.

His eyes softened and he looked confused but he smiled back. I leaned
into him this time. I started saying the alphabet in my head so I could
keep a rhythm to breathe with as I got closer. I did not want to let him
distract me from my plan.

His eyes got a little wider as I got closer but the smile deepened. I
made sure our eyes locked and I swallowed the nervous lump down
my throat, acting more confident than I had ever, ever acted before.

"Oh Edward," is all I said, sweetly and softly, now almost as close to
his face as he was to mine not a minute earlier.

"What?" He practically breathed it and his expression turned alert and


confused in all in the same instant.

I was so close now I could whisper... H, I, J, K..."You fell twice too."

I said it slow and I drug out the last word as I reached my free hand
up and plopped it right in his hair, full of mashed potatoes, using my
own old move from my birthday party.

"THAT'S MY FREAKING SISTER!" Emmett boomed louder than usual


and everyone laughed.

I blushed redder than red now that I realized the whole table had gone
silent and was watching my performance as I got Edward back.

He was still just staring at me and my hand was still on top of his head
holding the potatoes there.

The darker shade of green took over as his gaze bored into me. I was
already blushing and he was already touching my face so our normal
reactions to this kind of moment weren't available.
"Touché." He bowed his head a bit at me but kept his eyes on me as
he also took his hand from my face and used it to remove mine from
his hair.

We were all laughing together now as we took a good look around the
table at the mess we had made of each other. It was quite impressive.
Alice was still dangling over Jasper and would occasionally dip a napkin
in his water and attempt to wipe a section of Rosalie's dress off.

When that wasn't working too well she finally let it be and ran into her
room to fetch her camera instead.

We got many pictures of our destruction. We even reenacted some of


the motions out for Alice's camera: Alice about to spray Jasper's face
with her cheeks full of water, Alice and Edward high fiving, me with a
spoon full of potato pointed at Rose who was holding her hands up in
fright, Edward holding a mushroom next to his stain and frowning,
Alice diving over Jasper with a napkin to clean off the dress, Emmett's
perspective of all of us with handfuls of food ready to be launched at
him, Emmett with the cake in his arms and the evil grin with Jasper
and I running into the frame to stop him, and of course Edward and I
with his hand on my face and my hand in his hair.

We took turns showering and cleaning up the living room and kitchen
afterward. Who ever wasn't in the shower was dancing to the music
that had been turned on and became part of the assembly line of
clearing the table that had been formed. I showered first, being the
most covered in edible products of all the girls and Emmett and Jasper
went to their apartment to get cleaned up as well.

We changed into pajamas deciding formal wear didn't really suit us for
long periods of time. I came out to find the boys had already returned
but Edward was still covered in food. Rose and Alice took their turns
and by the time they came out we had everything pretty much cleaned
up.

"Ok Edward, you have your choice of any of the 4 showers now..."
Rosalie hinted while giving a judgmental glance at his still dirty self.

"Yeah we've been done for a while brother," Emmett said as if he just
realized Edward hadn't cleaned up yet.

I turned to look at him a bit judgmentally as well. It wasn't like him to


want to stay dirty, he was usually the one that hopped in the shower
right after band practice because the small space was "too dusty to
feel clean in."

He shrugged and said, "It's not that bad. I'm kind of tired actually.
Maybe I'll just take a quick nap on the Love Sac." He looked directly at
me now and started edging towards my beloved Love Sac, threatening
to taint it with his food filled body.

"Edward Cullen don't even think about it!" I warned him with my eyes
and with the placement of my hands on my hips.

His smile widened.

"But if I'm tired I don't see any reason not to..." He started to sit down
and Alice squealed this time.

"No! Do you know how much that thing cost? It will smell like old food
for weeks!" She ran over to him and started pulling on his arm to keep
him from committing to his downward motion.

"Bella!" She called for my help and I sprang into action.

He was just so strong and we were the smallest 2 people in the room.
Now he was fighting back because it had become a game.

"Maybe I'll just never shower again," he mused at us to get a reaction.

"Edward!" I yelled and laughed and groaned and at the same time
Rose yelled, "Ewe!" and ran over to help us.

She got around him and started pushing on his back, which helped a
lot.

We managed to get him half way across the living room, though it was
a struggle. He was flailing now. He had one arm wrapped around me
which was limiting my movement, and his leg was keeping Alice at a
pretty safe distance. Plus we were all overtaken with laughter now,
which only made us weaker.

"Jazzy help us get your smelly brother into the shower!" Alice yelled
towards the kitchen where Emmett and Jasper were conveniently just
watching.
I almost scoffed. He may be covered in mashed potato but Edward
was far from smelly! Is she freaking delusional? I had been gladly
taking in the honey-esque sent this whole time.

Jasper walked over and circled the 4 of us a couple times as we


continued to struggle, trying to find a weak point to get in on.

He finally got a hold of one of Edward's legs and thus the dragging
began.

We were already pointed towards Alice's room so that's where we


headed to. We got him through her doorway and into the room. We
had a bit of trouble rounding the corner into the bathroom but once we
were inside he was basically trapped.

That didn't stop him from fighting though.

It was almost worse than in the living room. Rosalie was behind him,
pulling him towards the clear shower doors as he leaned forward
towards the exit. I was right in front of him pushing into his chest with
all my might but our forces against his were pretty much just keeping
him in the same spot. Since it was more narrow in there we could only
really be in a single file line which put Alice right behind me and Jasper
right behind her, practically outside of the bathroom

Alice jumped up onto her counter, trying to make some strategic


move, but it did nothing. She was just trapped above us now, yelling
directions that didn't help because all she said was, "push! Pull!' Rose
pull!".

Thanks Alice.

Suddenly Emmett's laugh covered every other noise in the small space
and none of us could have prepared ourselves for the force that hit us
all.

He leaned down and forced all of his body into Jasper, causing a
violent domino effect to break out down the rest of the line. Jasper
slammed into me, I smushed farther into Edward at an awkward angle
which made him start to fall. He stepped back to balance himself but
was still moving with the force of the push and slammed himself and
Rose into the shower doors making a huge BAAAAANG ring out and
stop us all right where we were.
It was silent for a heartbeat.

"Oh well I guess I should shower then," Edward said calmly.

He stood up, turned, opened the door, climbed in the shower, and
started the water.

"Really?" Rose asked with an excessive amount of sarcasm.

We all broke into laughter but Rose, Alice, and I screamed and pushed
past Jasper and Emmet when Edward's jeans came flying over the
shower door and his amused musical laughter followed us into the
living room.

"Bella, Edward told us to ask you to get him some pajamas. He said
you know which drawer they're in." Jasper addressed me as he and
Emmett walked back into the living room.

This caused everyone in the room to go "whooo" or some other form


of cat call and I blushed slightly.

"You guys, that's not even suggestive!" I spat at them before I dashed
into the hallway and shut the door, thankful for the escape.

I did know exactly where he kept them though. In the 3rd drawer
down on the left. Right under the T-shirt drawer which is right under
the "T-shirts I Like Better" drawer.

I grabbed him the black pair of sleeping pants and a plain white shirt
and then then snatched the almighty maroon zip up for myself.

I smiled when I put it on and felt connected to him again.

I padded back to the apartment and was glad when I entered and the
others were in the bowl chair and Bertha watching TV and not huddled
around the door with construction hats on waiting to send me more cat
calls.

I dropped his pajamas on Alice's bed then knocked on the bathroom


door. The shower was off and I forced myself to concentrate on words
and not on the image of Edward on the other side.

"Yes?"
"Edward I got your pajamas. I put them on Alice's bed for you."

"Thank you Bella."

"I took the zip up too." I knew he knew which one. Neither of us wore
a different one any more.

"Ok, I don't need that if you want to wear it."

"Uh, I already am. That's what I meant." I made an "oops" face to the
door at the misunderstanding.

His lovely chuckle echoed in the bathroom. "Ok, good."

I smiled and left the room, shutting Alice's door behind me.

He came out a few minutes later and joined the group. We were still
just watching TV and Edward climbed into the Love Sac with me and
under the blanket. He didn't look at me but I let the fresh shower
version of his smell waft around me as I closed my eyes to fully take it
in.

My eyes shot open a few seconds later as his hand went directly into
mine under the blanket. It usually wasn't this casual, this immediate. I
looked at him and he kept his gaze on the television but smiled when
he felt my eyes turn to him..

I just shrugged and turned to the TV causing him to chuckle slightly.

The episode of whatever generic sitcom we were watching ended and


Rosalie was ready for her gelato cake.

We put candles in it and sung "Happy Birthday" to her, the boys


extending the last notes for as long as possible. We clapped and she
blew the candles out and promised Alice she really did make a wish.

It was a very good cake and Jasper and I nodded at each other in
approval. Gelato cake. Who would have thought?

We were able to behave with the cake and everyone finished with their
hygiene in tact.
"This was the perfect way to spend my birthday you guys, thank you
all. And thank you Emmett for planning it and for loving me." She
wrapped her arms around him and he smiled victoriously.

We all "awed' and Alice snapped a picture of them.

"Ok! Sappy moment! It's group picture time!" Alice started waving her
hands in a motion that meant we were to gather together.

"Alice you have to be in it too or else it's not really a group picture," I
pointed out with a pout.

"I know! I figured out how to set the timer so I can jump in- just get
together."

She placed the camera on the counter and then climbed behind it to
position it where it could see all of us.

"With the angle it's at you guys have to get down. Sit on the floor or
something..."She was looking into the little screen of the camera and
directing us with arm motions.

Edward got down and sat on his knees.

"That's good Edward you are perfectly in the frame."

We took our direction from that and formed around him.

I sank down next to him and sat crossed legged and he put his arm
around me. His hand rested on my shoulder and his fingers started
rubbing small circles there, making my stomach flutter.

Emmet fell to the ground and laid his shoulders against my folded
legs, and Rose sprawled half next to him and half across him.

Jasper climbed in next to me and sat kind of leaning towards me


supporting his weight with his right arm.

"Ok that's good, Jazz I'm jumping in next to you. Ready?" She gave a
little squeal as she pressed the button and jumped off the counter,
racing the little blinking red light.

She hopped slightly over Rose and landed behind her next to Jasper,
but threw her legs over Rose's hip that was right in front of her.
"Wait what about Bertha?" Emmett suddenly exclaimed right before
the timer went off, making us all laugh as the flash took over the
room.

Alice clapped at our success and jumped up to check the picture since
it was a digital camera.

We all huddled around her, getting close so we could see the little
screen.

"I lied. This is the best part of my birthday. Right here." Rose reached
out and put her finger against the picture being displayed on the
screen.

It was perfect. Since we were laughing every smile was true and full.
It was a real moment of our happiness together. I realized in that
moment it was the first and only picture we all had together, all 6 of
us at once. I smiled.

It was our family photo.

I knew I needed a copy of it. It was proof that this happened, this
family and this life we had here. It was evidence that no matter where
life took any of us we had experienced this time together. It was solid
proof that the 6 of us had lived, and breathed, and survived, and
laughed, and cried, and shared, and loved together. No matter for how
long or how short. It was our time and our world and it will always,
always be ours. No matter when it ends. It will still be the time we
owned.

All of that was so clear to me in every aspect of the moment that was
captured. The way Edward was holding me and the way Emmett was
casually leaning into me, 2 different loves for 2 different boys I never
knew I would love at all 8 months ago. It was captured in the way
Rose was lovingly laying across Emmett and his hand rested in her
hair. Or in Jasper glancing at Alice, turned slightly towards her and her
with her head slightly leaned back as she laughed gleefully and had
her legs connected to Rose in such an uncaring, familiar manner.

It was us. It was always going to be us no matter if we weren't always


together.

I leaned into Edward a little more as I felt total appreciation of


everyone in the room around me.
Alice approved of the picture so she put the camera away and we
returned to our previous spots to watch a movie.

A high speed chase had broken out and was on the news though, so
we started watching that instead as I climbed back into the Love Sac
next to Edward.

I had next to zero interest in it and it was pretty late so I was finding
sleep very appealing within 20 minutes. I turned to my side, the side
Edward was on, and I curled up to give in to my tiredness.

He turned his head to me and smiled. I smiled back and we just laid
there for a second doing nothing but that. He reached over and
brushed some hair back from my face and I closed my eyes at the
sensation.

Jasper and Emmett quietly commenting on the chase was the last
thing I remember hearing before my eyes closed for a significant
amount of time.

I woke up to the sound of the front door closing rather loudly.

I opened my eyes and found it easy to see because it wasn't bright


around me like it usually is when I first wake up. I was still in the
living room and the only light was still the soft glow of the party lights.

I focused my eyes and Edward was still in front of me since I was still
on my side. He was turned to me now though, having shifted to laying
on his side as well. I looked around quickly and noticed the room was
empty, the others had left which is probably what I woke up to.

I turned back to him again and he smiled at me, saying nothing. It


was the emotion filled smile that was mine alone. It made me respond
in a similar manner and I got a bit lost wandering around in the green
of his eyes he had staring at me.

There was nothing to say. It was just an incredibly peaceful moment.

I noticed I had my hand up by my face when Edward reached his own


up and out of the blanket and moved it slowly up my arm. He kept his
eyes on mine and his smile across his perfect face. When his palm met
mine his fingers felt their way down my own, then started slowly
turning into the spaces between them and then back out again.
He sat there entertaining our hands and just staring at me. Things
were changing, I could feel it in his touch. In every move of his fingers
across mine. My own fingers started responding as we laid there with
only our gently moving hands touching. With each slow movement of
my fingers through his I was stepping out of the waiting room and into
where I belonged, shutting the door permanently behind me.

I have no idea how long we sat there, letting the change take us over.
We both knew it was ahppening though. We were staring into each
other's eyes watching our relationship finally evolve into something
more. We were accepting it together.

"Bella," he finally broke the silence with his velvety voice and
interlocked his fingers with mine, stopping any motion.

"Yes?" I answered through my smile.

"Do you want to watch a movie?" He was still smiling too.

Ok, not exactly what I was expecting. But with the new feeling I had
when he spoke to me, like he was almost speaking differently, freely, I
was sure it would be unlike any movie we'd ever watched together
before.

"Sure."

He got up and went over to the small pile of DVDs that lived in the
living room. Well, it was small compared to the rest of Alice's collection
in her room. It was probably larger than my full collection. Living with
Alice was seriously screwing with how I gauged things.

"What do you want to watch?" He motioned for me to join him as he


sat in front of the selection.

"I don't know." I got up and kneeled next to him, looking at the DVDs.

Right. Like I could give a flying hoot about a movie right now. Almost
as if he didn't want me to answer at all he wrapped his arm around me
and pulled me into his side. His finger traced up and down my side,
forcing any thoughts of movies out of my mind.

He looked at me and smiled.

"Um, I still don't know." I said quietly at him as I looked back.


He chuckled a bit and reached his arm out, still looking at me.

He lifted up whatever movie he grabbed first and held it up but kept


his gaze on me.

"This one?"

I didn't look at it either. I could see he had something in his hand, but
I had no idea what.

"Sure." I responded quickly, not having taken one glance at the DVD
box.

"Ok." He laughed quietly and gave me a small squeeze before letting


me go and crawling back over to the DVD player.

"Oh, we picked Shanghai Nights," he said with an amused tone as he


put it in.

Apparently neither of us were too interested in the specifics of the


movie we had just picked.

"I've never seen that," I said, trying to sound like I cared about the
stupid movie.

"Um, it's good," he said it with a very bland undertone. "But it's not
something that needs your full attention or anything."

I smirked but his back was towards me now so I couldn't see the face
that went with his words.

I leaned back on the Love Sac and bent my knees in front of me on


the floor as he attempted to get the DVD past the previews and to the
home screen.

He leaned back, into the place my body made a V with my torso and
my legs. He reached his arm that wasn't holding the remote out and
grabbed my hand, placing it on his chest and entwining our fingers
again, moving them around each other softly and slowly.

"No movie snack tonight?" I asked jokingly.

He looked at me and smirked. Oh God, the change that I was sure we


had went through only made his features more breath taking. There
was more to them. A happiness that took over and very much agreed
with him.

"No, I think I'll be ok tonight." He winked at me and I fell in love even


more.

"Yeah, I guess we've already had a lot of food tonight." I said


convincingly.

"Yeah, that too." He shook his head slightly at me and turned back to
the screen.

The home screen popped up and he said "ok" then started to get up to
move back into the Love Sac. He started lifting up the blanket and
looked at me but I couldn't get in yet.

"Um, potty break, sorry!" I said it quietly and rushed out of the room.
What an inconvenient time, stupid bladder.

I took the time to breathe. This was it. Things had changed. I could
feel it in every part of me. I could see it in him.

I looked in the mirror one last time before I walked back out to my
Edward.

I still looked exactly like me. Still plain with brown hair and brown eyes
and pale skin. I felt so entirely different though. So entirely complete.

I walked back out to the dark room and Edward. He lifted the blanket
up again but he was staring at the screen and the movie he had
already started.

I flopped down next to him and he dropped the blanket over me.

"You started it without me?" I laughed and asked him.

He shrugged. "You didn't miss much. It's not really important anyway.
None of it." He was smiling and still looking at the screen.

We weren't really touching and that was a problem. I assumed it was


my turn or something. This was the first time I actually felt
comfortable making the small move.
I took my hand and found his arm. I wrapped my fingers around his
forearm and leaned into him a bit. He sighed calmly and put his head
down on mine.

About a minute later his other hand reached across his body and he
set it on top of mine that was wrapped around his arm. He entwined
his fingers over mine and the now familiar motion started.

I replaced my hand that was entwined with his with my other hand
and allowed the first one to slide down his forearm and into his waiting
palm below. He held on tightly to me for a few seconds and then
loosened his grip and rubbed circles into the back of my hand with his
thumb.

With both of our other hands reaching across our bodies it was almost
an awkward position so I turned my self towards him, giving my arm
more space to reach to him.

He was still playing with my fingers and I looked down at our hands
moving together. I slid my other hand slowly out of his and brought it
up to cover his other one with both of mine. I just craved him now. I
couldn't sit still.

He finally turned to me then, feeling both of my hands wrap around his


one. He never stopped the motion with our fingers but he brought his
free hand up to my face once he was fully turned on his side as well.

He traced my face with one of his fingers. My forehead, my eyelids,


my cheek bones...

He played with that same pattern as I reached up to do the same. His


skin was smooth under my finger as I copied his pattern but also
added my own.

I slowly traced his forehead, his eyelids that covered my favorite


green, his perfect cheek bones, his nose, his jaw line, and finally his
lips. I did one soft sweep from one end of his bottom lip to the other
and then stopped. He smiled crookedly, raising my finger slightly with
it.

His own finger traveled from my cheek down to my jaw then across to
the corner of my mouth. He traced it around my lips on full time then
stopped right in the middle. All motion had stopped now and he was
just starting at his finger on my bottom lip.
He wasn't hesitating, it wasn't like those moments I had felt him stall
in before.

He was simply not rushing. I was simply not breathing.

He moved his eyes up from his finger, over my face, and into my own
eyes staring back.

He smiled sweetly and kept the lock on my eyes as he leaned in


further and further. I responded and met him half way. He paused
right before we touched, again not in hesitation. It's as if he was
allowing me enough time to capture this moment in my memory
forever, this perfect moment leading into the next moment that would
seal the change in us completely. His eyes pierced mine one final time
and they lit on fire just before he closed them and then closed the tiny
distance between us. I felt his finger leave my mouth and curve with
the rest of his hand around the side of my face just our lips finally
met.

My eyes shut violently as I let the pure joy shoot through me. No
sensation I had ever felt could compare to the amount of bliss I felt
with his lips connected to me.

My hand urgently moved from the bottom of his face to his hair and I
brought my other one up to meet it there. My fingers tangled in his
wild mess and it only made things even better.

His free hand moved to my back and he pulled he into him, right up
next to him.

His lips started moving then, and mine responded immediately. It


wasn't forcefull or paniced. It was sweet and comfortable and right.
Just like everything else we did together.

The kiss turned deeper and deeper and I never wanted it to end. Even
when it got to the point that it should end, it didnt. You always read
and hear about people having to break away for air, but I refused to
leave him after waiting for so long. I taught myself in those moments
that I kissed him for the first time how to get my air intake through
my nose all the while staying connected to him. I made up a new
method for all I know, I was just determinded not to be the first to let
go.

It was a while before we broke apart, honestly. Like, a long while.


When we finally did his body had shifted slightly on top of my own and
we remained close.

I wasn't out of breath, I was craving more of him the second he leaned
up and looked down at me.

He chuckled.

"Something funny?" I asked and raised an eyebrow. My fingers were


still intwined with his hair and his arms were trapped between my back
and the Love Sac.

"I just... I can't believe..." It was amazing. I had never heard him so
lost for words before."...I'm kissing you." He sounded as amazed as I
felt and he leaned in closer and chuckled softer as his lips came
dangerously close to mine, "I'm finally kissing my Bella." He started
his cheerfull laughter again but I smiled and pulled his face back down
to mine.

He responded properly and it was another impressive amount of time


before round 2 ended.

He pulled his head away from me again, this time he was completely
on top of me. Not very precariously, it was pretty sweet actually. It
was soley for the purpose of being closer than ever before.

He smiled down at me and gave me one, two, three, four...five small


kisses before rolling off of me and pulling me into him.

"Edward." I smiled at him and stated his name.

"Isabella." He responded, matching my tone and taking my hand in


his, playing again with all of my fingers.

"You just kissed me." I leaned into him and he smiled back at me with
and nodded.

"Yes I did. A few times." We both laughed and never stopped smiling.

I kept gazing at him and he never took his eyes from mine in the few
minutes we sat there. Soon he pulled my hand he had been holding
between us across his body and leaned into me, kissing me
passionately again.
We got a bit carried away again and it was a "few" more minutes
before round 3 came to a close.

"I love that I can do that now!" He proclaimed when we broke apart.

"Me too, believe me." I laughed and reached up to him for another
small kiss.

"Mmm" He said contently as our mouths met gently and then broke
apart gently as well. "It's so nice."

We laid like that for a while, on our sides, very close, facing each
other. He had one of his hands holding one of mine and his other was
on the side of my face moving from my hair to my skin and back
again.

We talked about everything we usually talked about then. Movies, our


friends, family, funny stories, everything. We laughed and joked and
hung out like every other night. The difference tonight being that
every other sentence or so one of us would lean in while the othe was
speaking and steal a kiss between words or even right on top of them.

It was such an easy transition though. "It's like this was how we were
supposed to be together," he said once after I interrupeted another
baseball story with a kiss. "It feels more natural than when we would
hang out before without the kissing!" We laughed at that and,
surprise! Kissed again!

"I was never like this with Tanya, you know. It was never this
comfortable or exhilirating, not even in the beginning." He smiled and
gave me another gentle, drawn out kiss, more meaningful than the
past few. "How come no one told me it should be like this?" We
chuckled at his joke and kissed again through our smiles.

"I know. I had a boyfriend for a bit in high school, and I thought that
was good. But no. It's nothing compared to this. This is better than
Disneyland!"

"Really? I rank higher than Disneyland?" He gave me a smug look that


was irresistable, and I smiled even wider when I realized I no longer
have to resist it. My fingers in his hair tightened and I leaned into him
again.
When we broke apart I breathed, "You've always ranked higher than
Disneyland. I can just tell you know."

Apparently he liked that statement and he leaned into me now and


took over. We ended up in the precariously sweet position again and
he leaned his head back from me after having moved his attention to
my jaw and my neck for a bit.

"Why do you think it's so much better?" I asked. Because it was.


Kissing him and being this close to him was so much better than any
of the hundreds of times I imagined it.

His face got serious but the smile didn't fade completely. He reached a
hand up and started stroking the side of my face. He hesitated for a
second. I felt it but I didn't quite understand it this time.

"For me it's because I love you Isabella." He whispered it to me and


ducked his head, placing another small peck on my neck.

I went into momentary shock.

I couldn't move but I smiled and replied in my own whisper, "I love
you too Edward."

He shifted his eyes back up to mine and leaned into me a little further
but didn't kiss me again. His eyes searched back and forth on my face,
really looking deeply.

He brought his other hand up to the other side of my face and sighed.

"Yes, I know. But you see... I am in love with you Bella. Fully and
completely and hopelessly. I know it's entirely too soon but I need you
to know. That's where I am."

I'm not sure what came over me first, the tears of joy or the
symphony of elation that erupted in my heart.

He was still searching me as I found my voice and let everything pour


out once and for all.

"Oh Edward, I'm there too! Fully, completely, hopelessly, incredibly in


love with you. I feel like I always have been."
I had brought a hand around to his face now and his amazing smile
beamed at me, matching the elation in my heart.

"Thank God," he breathed into my mouth as his lips beat his words.

He broke away much too soon but he just moved to my cheeks,


kissing each happy tear that had fallen.

"When...did...you...know..." he asked me between pecks on my face.


He looked up at me expectantly and held me closer to him, resting his
chin right below my face.

I sighed. I'd been dealing with it for so long, the way it began was so
blurred in my mind.

"I think I felt it before I admitted it actually." I concentrated harder."I


mean, you were off limits intitially. I was fighting it for so long because
it was so... pointless to fall for someone who wasn't available to catch
you." I shrugged and he kissed my jaw. It seemed like he only
expected to do it once but then he continued up farther and farther...

I ruined it by chuckling at a memory.

"What's funny?" he asked curiously against my skin. I could feel him


smiling in amusement.

"Well I actually saw you once, before I met you." I laughed again at
the memory.

"And why is that funny exactly?" He raised an eyebrow and looked at


me now.

"Because you were walking down the street, listening to your iPod, and
I was driving by. It was the intersection of Yucca and Whitley. Rose
and Alice were in the car with me and I almost crashed because I
couldn't stop staring at you. I literally forgot I was driving and swerved
into oncoming traffic." As I finished the story I stopped laughing and
began blushing. That is actually a really embarassing story.

He touched my cheek and began laughing loudly.

"Ok, so that's very embarassing and I shouldn't have told you." I took
my hands from his hair and covered my face as I groaned.
"Bella stop." He pulled my hands away from my face and entertwined
his fingers with mine. "I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing at us."

I don't get it. "Us?"

He nodded. "Yes. You see, I'm not that much better. Do you
remember the first night we actually met?"

I thought back. "Yes of course. The night of the roof party. You and
Jasper came over early to get us and you interrupted our dance
party."

The blush deepened with the memory. His first impression of me had
been mid dance party, on a chair, doing the Shimmy Throw.

"Mmm-Hmm. Remember how we came into the apartment?"

"Yes, you snuck up on us through the courtyard and into our patio
then you called us out through the screen door, embarassing us all by
being peeping Toms."

"Very good. Now, what you didn't see, as you were in the midst of a
shimmy throw, is that when I first got into the patio and spotted you
inside I forgot what I was doing too. I ran straight into your screen
door because I was watching you. Jasper didn't stop teasing me about
it for weeks." He smiled and leaned so close I could feel his breath on
me. "So you see my Bella, we were both fools for each other even at
first sight."

I smiled and he leaned in to give me another lingering gentle kiss.

"I think I knew I was falling for you in a serious way the night we slept
in the fort though." He admitted it with a smile and I smiled at the
memory as well.

"Really? Why?" I think I knew before then, even if I wasn't allowing


myself to admit it.

"Because someone gets rather chatty in their sleep." He leaned down


and kissed me again, but I didn't respond because I was laying there
in shock, unmoving. I had totally forgotten about that. I hadn't been
teased about it in so long, and Edward had never said anything to me
about it, ever. I thought maybe I had finally grown out of that
particular character flaw.
"What do you mean?" I asked, horrified.

He chuckled but the sound didn't ease me like usual.

"Well, you fell asleep first that night because my mind wouldn't stop
thinking about you, and the intense things I was feeling, and I was
finally falling asleep when you said my name."

My eyes widened. This was going to be bad.

He just smiled deeper though."You spoke it so clear I thought you had


woken up again. I just sat there listening for you to go on but you
were silent for a few more minutes. I thought I was going crazy due to
my internal battle I was having so I closed my eyes again. Then I
heard you shift on the couch and you mumbled my name again and
then the word 'forever'."

I groaned and he chuckled.

"Bella, it was amazing. The sensation of hearing you put my name


next to that word was none like I had ever felt before. I relished it and
then I let the guilt wash over me. Why did it make me feel so good? I
couldn't understand. You did it about 2 more times before going silent.
I got very little sleep that night."

He sighed and I groaned again.

"Any other sleeping conffessions I should know about?" He kissed my


pouting lips quickly and then sighed himself.

"There were a few other times, yes."

"Let me have it." Better to get it all out now.

He laughed at me again."Well there was the night of your birthday


party when we were all on Alice's bed. Again, I didn't get much sleep
that night due to my conflicting thoughts." He shook his head slightly
at the memory."You started mumbling about 'my party...stop the
dog...cake'. It was quite cute. Then you said my name clearly and the
words 'don't leave'. It broke my heart actually. It took everything in
me not to climb next to you and tell you I wouldn't leave."

I wasn't ebarassed or angry at myself anymore. I was staring at him


and engulfed in his love I never knew about before. I touched his face
and he leaned his head into my hand, turning to kiss my palm for a
second.

"There were a few more times, but usually it was just my name and
then things I couldn't make out very well."

"Well, I guess that's not so bad. I bet Rose heard some interesting
things over the past 8 months though."

We both laughed now and I was back in my elated state. This night
was almost sureal, except it felt too right to be fake.

"Tell me more. More things I don't know." I asked him with my most
pleading eyes.

He thought for a second then began again.

"Well, while I was on tour and in Forks I wore my maroon hoodie a


lot." He looked down at it and played with one of the strings in front of
our faces. He moved his eyes up to mine and displayed the crooked
smile, "Because it smelt like you from when I let you sleep with it
before we left for tour."

I giggled and he brought one of my hands up and kissed the back of it.

"That's why I started wearing it all the time, and why you're the only
other person I let wear it. I like keeping you a part of it." He smiled
and I smiled. We were just smiling fools tonight.

"That's why I like wearing it, too. I think it smells like you." I reached
up and kissed his cheek and he sighed.

"What else?" I want more.

"Let's see... When we went to that very first movie, that movie Jacob
got us into, that horrible romatic comedy..." I nodded that I
remembered, "...well I should have headed the signs then... but the
whole time we were there I wished that it was on a date. It's horrible,
I know, because I was still with Tanya, but it was too easy for me to
think of it that way with you sitting right next to me. Tanya and I
never really dated, we were friends and then we were more right
away. But that night, and many after it, were exactly like I thought the
perfect date should be. I was almost mad I couldn't consider it that.
I'm horrible."
He hid his face from me and I couldn't allow that. I pulled it back up
and kissed him quickly.

"That's adorable Edward. Granted Tanya might have a different


opinion..." he chuckled and the smile stuck after the sound faded, "I
can't believe you thought that way. That was a long time ago. I was so
sure I was falling in love alone."

He shook his head and leaned in,"No, not at all Bella. I was just too
scared to change things, too scared to feel what I really felt." He
kissed me over and over again,"Ugh. Why I would be scared of the
best feeling I've ever had, I'll never undersand."

He let go of my hands and wrapped his arms back around me and I did
the same.

It was one, long, satisfied, drawn out kiss this time. Meaning more
than even our meaningful words could portray.

"I'm sorry the wait was so long," he said keeping his forehead pressed
against mine.

"Worth it." I said shortly and closed the distance between our lips
again.

He chuckled in the middle of it and kept our foreheads together again


when I finally let his mouth go.

"Honestly, I am so glad I can do this right. I didn't want you to doubt


me. I was fighting it a lot in the past few weeks because I didn't want
you to think I was one of those guys"

"One of what guys?"

"Those guys that say they love someone and then meet someone new
and just seem to move on. I needed you to know it wasn't like that
with you and Tanya. I just hadn't felt the difference between loving
someone and being fully and completely in love with someone. I didn't
know the difference would be so..." he kissed me again," big."

He paused and just stared at me for a moment. "I hope you know I
am not like that. I won't leave you, ever. I waited longer to do this in
the hopes that it would be enough time to prove I didn't just act on a
whim with you."
"Edward I'm pretty sure you never have to worry about me thinking
you act on whims. I feel like the wait has taken forever, even if it was
worth it! Alice and Rose make it feel even longer with the way they
talk about it..." I giggled and he ran a finger over my mouth again.

"Good. As long as you know how much I really do love you." His eyes
never lied to me and I saw it in them now. The love that had always
been there. It was what made them so intense to look at. It bored into
me now and I drank it all up, praying I was reflecting it back at him.

That's why looking at him that day at my mother's house hadn't been
scary after she brought up his love for me. It was because nothing had
changed, just like I originally thought. What I didn't realize that day
was that his love for me had always been there starting back at me,
waiting for it's time to be unleashed by the rest of him.

"I know. I know. I know." I said it quickly and pulled him too me
needing to feel it in our connection again.

He broke away and rolled off me again, keeping an arm wrapped


around me.

"Do you want to sleep?" He sincerely asked me.

Let's see, sleeping or kissing Edward... how's a girl to choose?

Please.

"No." I said it bluntly and he pulled me into him, chuckling slightly.

"Do you?" I asked as I raised my eyebrows in shock.

"No, of course not."

He had me pulled all the way into him now and he was kissing me
lightly up and down the side of my face, from my temple to my jaw.
He trailed it to my mouth and placed one small sweet kiss there.

"I love you my Bella."

"I love you Edward Anthony."

This, by far, was the best part of Rosalie Hale's birthday.

Chapter 27 - Dancing With Myself


After such a wonderfully breath taking night it was odd to wake up to
such a piercingly disturbing sound.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!..." broke through my sleep getting louder and


louder and confusing me more and more.

I heard a very velvet, "Oh no," right beside me and felt 2 arms wrap
even tighter around me.

"...EEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Thud

Ow. The annoying squeal stopped but suddenly my side that was not
laying on the Love Sac hurt for a brief moment as something landed
on it.

Then I felt 1 more arm wrap around me and a very content sigh being
let out above me.

"Good morning Alice." Edward's voice held amusement and the thing
on top of me started giggling.

"Good morning to you Edward. Bella." She started giggling harder and
a smile broke on my face even though I was still fighting completely
waking up. "I bet it was an even better night though. Right? Edward?
Bella?"

I opened my eyes and her face was hovering above me, her small
body sprawled across both of us, one arm wrapped around each, both
of Edward's around me.

"Yes Alice, it was a very pleasant night. And morning..." Edward


chuckled and Alice started back into her chorus of squealing and
wiggled her little body in delight on top of us making me wake up
further and turn a bit.

I looked up to a smiling Edward and had to hold back a small squeal of


my own as I realized last night was not a dream. Edward had just
confirmed it had indeed been a very good night... and morning. Wait.

"A good night and morning?" I asked. Alice stopped wiggling then and
we both looked at him in confusion. Something was wrong if I didn't
know what he was talking about.
He glanced at the clock and then at Alice then back to me. The devilish
version of the crooked smile filling his face.

"Well yes, love, it's only 8 in the morning. We didn't finish... hanging
out until about 7:15."

That did it.

"AAHH! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!..." Alice was going to combust with


happiness as the squealing took on a new volume and the wiggling
commenced. I felt my face turn red, but I couldn't help giggling as he
just smugly smiled and rubbed my back.

Just then Emmett burst through our door with Rose and Jasper right
behind him.

"Is the fire alarm broken?" Emmett laughed out as he put his hands up
to his ears. Alice was just dying down but apparently the latest squeal
was just as effective from the other side of the door.

"No, but it could be because it was so hot in here last night, and this
morning apparently since these 2 went at it until- oh - about 45
minutes ago!" Alice was still wiggling as she tattled on us and it was
such a weird feeling, being underneath the wiggling. It made us both
laugh uncomfortably and shift even though there was no where to
escape it.

"HA!" Emmett let out a happy grunt,"My brother and my sister finally
hooked it up!"

Even Alice stopped wiggling as we all turned up to him and right on


cue Jasper's head fell in shame and he started shaking it back and
forth at his brother.

"Wait...no that's not good. Ewe." Emmett looked down in thought and
turned concerned. "I didn't just say that- that was weird. Sorry."

Everyone let out silent laughter now and Jasper sighed, "At least this
time he heard how in appropriate he sounded."

Jasper came over and rolled Alice off of us then took her place, but laid
down more gently than she had and hugged us both without a
disturbing sound.
"Thank you."

I looked at Edward then back at Jasper in confusion. Edward didn't


look like he knew what was going on either.

"Um, Jasper?" I asked carefully.

"Hmm?" He still had his arms around us and his face down in the
blanket that covered us.

Edward took over, "Why are you thanking us?"

The whole room started softly laughing then. Edward and I were the
only two still looking around in confusion.

"Because you won me 50 dollars."

"What?" We both said in unison.

"Dang it!" Emmett hit his hand on the counter in anger. "That's right.
You guys suck!" He was pointing at us and I was still too tired to keep
up. Why couldn't they leave us alone? So very alone... maybe I'm not
that tired...

Thankfully Jasper interrupted my thoughts. "You see, Emmett and I


had a little wager going on when Bella would finally get it over with
and jump you Eddie." He smirked at his brother and winked at me.

"Edward." He corrected Jasper calmly, but with an annoyed tone.

I giggled and Edward gave me a sideways glance and a smile.

"So what? You bet that I would make my move on Rose's birthday?" I
raised an amused eyebrow at Jasper.

"No, I bet it would be before Christmas though. Emmett didn't think


either of you had it in you until January." He laughed again and I
shook my head at both of them.

"Well you both got it wrong." I said, halting Jasper's smooth laughter.

"What?" Emmett was hopeful.

"I didn't make the first move - Eddie jumped on the ball!" I couldn't
help it, I was in such a freaking great mood.
"Edward Bella, please don't get sucked in!" He looked at me very
pleadingly.

"Sorry, I couldn't help it." I mumbled to him.

"HA!" Rosalie swatted Emmett on the arm. "Both of you pay up!" She
held out her hand and looked back and forth between Emmett and
Jasper.

"Dang it." Emmett muttered again.

Jasper slowly rolled off of us and went to hand Rose her money.

"So you are the only one that bet on me?" Edward asked Rose with a
hint of gratitude. He sat up then, bringing me with him. I guess we
really were waking up now. After only 45 minutes.

"Yep. I could see it in you. You weren't going to last much longer." She
smiled perfectly at him and then started counting her winnings.

I was still in shock at the gambling problem Edward and I had ensued
in our friends and family when Alice jumped up.

"Wait! How come I didn't get to bet? No one told me there was a bet!"

Rosalie started laughing. "Because, Alice, you have a tendency to


make sure things go your way. If we would have let you bet you would
have found a way to interfere and they wouldn't have naturally let it
happen. We may be playing games with our friend's love lives, but we
aren't dumb."

"I know that's right!" Emmett did his best impression of a woman and
flicked his hand with a lot of femininity then raised it for a high five
from Rose.

"Yeah, I probably would have interfered." Alice shrugged and admitted


it, making us all laugh.

She turned toward us again and the smile that was always pre-squeal
broke across her face. Edward still had one arm around me and I was
leaning my head sleepily on his shoulder. I braced myself, but it never
came. Instead it was just her little bell like voice.
"So... it's official now! Let's see you do something cutsie." She started
bouncing in place and stared at us like we were going to do a trick or
something.

"Alice we are hardly going to kiss on demand-" I didn't get the whole
sentence out though because Edward cut me off with a low, "shut up
Bella," then he leaned into me with a huge grin and crashed his lips to
mine right there in the middle of the living room.

I barely noticed the "EEEEEEEE!..." break out this time as my hands


instinctively went into his hair and I realized 45 minutes without this
was way too long.

He broke it off much earlier than any other time before and I was
actually grateful he at least remembered the others were still in the
room.

"You have to give the people what they want, right?" He winked and
smiled brilliantly at me and I nodded back. Screw the people, that's all
I ever wanted for the rest of my life.

After the final squeal ended and Jasper got Alice back down to a
normal breathing rate everyone settled in around the living room and
Emmett popped in Friends, season something or other.

Edward never took his arms from around me except when he moved
one hand into my own and started playing with my fingers again. I
think it was subconscious for him now, but I still felt every movement
of it.

Friends had never been funnier before. Hanging out in the living room
had never been more relaxing. The Love Sac had never been more
comfortable. Edward's closeness had never felt so right. Breathing had
never seemed so exhilirating.

Everything was a hundred times better because of what I had gained.


He kept leaning in and kissing me softly throughout the morning. It
wasn't awkward or squeal worthy. It fit right in with everything else
our group always did. We just hung out lke usual, all of us finally at
peace and just together.

The Thanksgiving episode with Brad Pitt came on and Alice made us all
promise to be quiet because it was her favorite episode.
"Alice, you don't need to listen to the words to admire the view,"
Rosalie said after we were all "shhhed" for the 14th time for sneezing
or coughing. Or in my case giggling at the things Edward was
whispering to me.

"Yeah, why do you think she likes Emmett so much?" Jasper was really
on one today and his little jibe at his brother got a pillow thrown at
him, hitting Alice instead.

Everyone was laughing but now Emmett was pouting.

"It's not true Emmett, you know that. I like your view and your voice."
Rosalie was babying him, which was weird to see from her. She really
must love him a lot.

"Thank you." He said, still sounding hurt and then they kissed sweetly.

I made a gagging face at their cuteness without thinking. It had


become a natural reaction I usually had right after they did something
extra sweet, but I usually managed to sneak it in when the others
weren't looking. It was a bahit I formed in the past few months to
keep my mind off of being jealous of the cuteness.

Edward looked at me concerned. "What was that for?" he asked


quietly.

Opps. "Oh, um, I guess it's just a natural reflex to cute coupley things.
I didn't even think about it. Sorry, it's like a bad habit." I looked at
him apologetically and he just chuckled.

"Well I'm just going to have to break you of your bad habit aren't I?"
He leaned into me and kissed me 10 times sweeter than Rose and
Emmett.

"Ok, break away..." I mumbled against his lips as he pulled away a


fraction, only to reconnect us again.

Alice let out a frustrated sigh. "Ok you guys! I'm going to the
bathroom, but when I come back out here it had better be quiet so I
can fully experience Brad!" She jumped out of the bowl chair and
stomped into her room, pausing the TV on a shot of Jennifer Aniston
and Brad Pitt mid conversation on the screen.
We were all laughing at her dramatic exit and Edward moved his face
into the crook of my neck and rested it there peacefully.

"He's hot," Emmett blurted out suddenly, looking at the paused TV


screen.

"What?" Rose asked abruptly.

"What?" Emmet mimicked her just as quickly,"No, wait! She's hot too!
What the crap?" He sounded just as confused and surprised as we all
felt and he looked around frantically for help that wasn't there.

"Not cool," Jasper said shaking his head and staring at Emmett.

"Leave," is all Edward said with his head still in my neck, pointing one
arm behind him towards the door.

Emmett still looked stunned and he climbed off of Bertha and walked
silently to the door.

"Yeah, I think I'm going to go shower and get some food." He smiled
meekly and left the room.

We all burst into laughter and received violent glares from Alice as she
reentered the room. She eyed us all evilly until we fell silent, then hit
play and started the show again.

When Brad finally left us and we were allowed to breathe again Alice
turned to Rose, having returned to her normal self.

"So we all know how the rest of Edward and Bella's night went..." she
looked at us and winked causing me to laugh nervously and Edward to
sigh and kiss my cheek.

"But what about you Rose? What else did Emmett have planned for the
big birthday night?"

"Wait," I said. "Do we want to know?"

Edward lifted his head then and turned it to Rose. Everyone waited.

She laughed lightly and scoffed. "Well I probably shouldn't tell you
everything but when he first brought me back to the apartment it was
covered in candles. Alice, I'm assuming you helped with that."
"Naturally." She confirmed with a bow of her head.

"He gave me 8 red roses, one for each month that he's known me, and
one white one to represent the rest of the months we will be together.
Which, as he informed me sweetly, is 'hopefully forever'."

We laughed softly because it was easy to imagine Emmett explaining


that to Rose in his sweet and stumbly manner he took on around her
in their sweeter moments. Edward reached his hand down and took
mine in his, squeezing it right after Rosalie said "forever".

"Then he gave me a card and I opened it and inside..." she covered


her mouth and a small laugh escaped. "Hold on." She got up and went
into our room and then came right back out. "These were inside."

She handed 2 small rectangular things to Edward and we all leaned in


to look at what it was.

"No way." Jasper said, starting to laugh.

"Oh yeah." Rosalie confirmed.

There, in Edward's hand, were 2 tickets to none other than Sea World.

"He really didn't let that go." Edward began to laugh loudly and we all
joined in.

"It's so sweet," she said as Edward handed them back. "I think we are
going sometime next week since we both have a day off."

She went to put them away and we all finished laughing then turned
on more Friends.

Emmett walked back in, still looking a bit dejected, right as Rose came
back out from putting her tickets away in our room. She went right
over to him and kissed him chastely with a smile. He wrapped his arms
around her and pulled away to look in her eyes.

"I like girls Rosie." He said it with conviction.

I snorted a laugh and buried my face in Edward's arm for support.


"I know Emmett. We all know." She nodded and laughed and kissed
him again, this time his smile broke and he dipped her down
dramatically as he kissed her, making us all "awe" at them.

Since none of us had gotten too much sleep the night before (Edward
and I definitely beating everyone with our 45 minutes. Thank you very
much.) we spent the rest of the day lounging around, Edward and I
blissed out beyond belief, and later that night I finally called my mom
to tell her the good news. I had to hold the phone away from my ear
to save my hearing and let Edward be a part of her spastic reaction
because she actually squealed an Alice worthy noise. Edward took the
brief opportunity to lean in and kiss me, making the unexpected sound
from my mother well worth it.

The next day we had school and the boys all had to work and there
was a show later that night.

I went through the motions in my classes now, finding myself feeling a


bit bland when it came to anything that had to do with auditioning or
"the business". It was all rather negative, if you ask me. We heard
endless stories of being lied to and cheated and how "that's the
business side of this business".

I still was very into my final scenes, though I found a running theme
through all 3 of them: I was playing the plain girl. Or at least the
plainest girl in the scene. Yes, I got to be sarcastic and throw my dry
humor all over the place, but it was something I noticed in the
description of all my characters.

I didn't let myself think about it too hard and I got through class for
the day then eagerly returned home to find Alice the only one at the
apartment.

I briefly told her of my small issue with the pattern I had found and
she scoffed it off.

"Please Bella, plain is so not an issue for you. Especially not tonight.
Not if I have anything to say about it! Now sit." She waved it off and
started in on my "show look" as she now called it. I actually started to
appreciate the time we spent together during these little make over
sessions she insisted on.
"Honestly Alice, I still can't believe it. I mean. It's Edward... what the
heck? This wasn't supposed to happen!" I laughed and threw my
hands up in disbelief.

"The hell it wasn't!" She laughed and I gasped in shock at her tone.
"Bella we have all been watching the 2 of you be so annoyingly perfect
for each other for months. The rest of us have been waiting for this
just as long as you have, you know." She raised an eyebrow at me and
I smiled. "I was about to kiss him myself yesterday, I was so happy he
finally sealed the deal!"

"Alice!" It was too false of an image to even laugh at.

"Sorry...So is he a good kisser?" She started nodding slightly, trying to


woo my answer out of me.

"Is Jasper?" I retorted quickly. I've never really discussed anything like
this with anyone before. Girl talk isn't really my thing. Hence all the
really close guy friends.

"Well of course he is. We're in love." She stated it as a fact and proved
my point.

"Exactly." I said confidentially.

"Bella..." She paused with the curler and a strand of my hair wrapped
around it held in the air and eyed me suspiciously. "Exactly what all
went down that night?"

"What do you mean?" The way she was looking at me made me


uncomfortable.

"Did you use the 'L' word missy?" She was smirking now, but still
trying to be serious.

"Maybe." I smiled when I realized I stole Edward's famous answer.


"But he said it first!"

Bad move.

"EEEEEEEE!..." She almost forgot she was connected to me via curling


iron and she started to bounce up and down before I said, "Alice!" and
pointed to my head in alarm.
"Oh sorry! I just wasn't sure it was going to come out that fast. Wow.
How do you feel? I know you've known your feelings for him for a
while... but hearing it from him! Wasn't it the best feeling ever?" She
looked at me dreamily now and it was almost comical.

I sighed anyway. "Yes. I was honestly surprised at first, but then he


told me stories about things I never knew he was doing or feeling and
I believed him entirely. Plus, the way he kissed me!" I let out a little
squeal of my own and she giggled. Girl talk is so dangerous.

"Yeah, that's a good way of telling." Then she paused and her small
features turned serious. "Do you think they'll really move in 6
months?" A small frown threatened her face.

"I don't know. I hope not. What do you think will happen?" I started to
get concerned again. I really hadn't thought about it. None of us had
brought it up since Thanksgiving.

"I don't know Bella. Clearly we can't live in these luxurious apartments
forever, playing wacked out Full House with each other." She laughed
slightly and I smiled, but both soon faded as we continued to think
about it. "I don't know," she repeated with a sigh and a shrug.

Before we could think about it for too long my phone buzzed and I
checked the text message.

On my way home. Tell Alice I require time with you before the show,
no arguments! Love you ;)

"What does he want?" She was smiling knowingly at me.

"He says to tell you he 'requires time with me before the show'." I
laughed and she rolled her eyes. "No arguments!" I wagged my finger
at her and she shook her head.

"Who even speaks like that anymore?"

I sighed. "Edward."

The smile over took my face and she laughed at me.

"Oh man Bella, you've got it so bad. I love it!"


She did finish with me in time, well barely. He had to threaten via text
to come over and drag me from her himself if she didn't hurry up. I
found it all very flattering and she let me go because she decided
"dragging could cause damage to your nicely curled hair! Not that
what you two will most likely be doing won't mess it up anyway..." she
mumbled the last sentence and I just shook my head at her and tried
not to literally run to the other apartment.

I opened the door and practically ran it right into Edward who was
standing dangerously close to it on the other side staring down at his
shut phone.

"Oh sorry. What are you doing so close to the door?" I closed it behind
me and he just pulled me into him.

"You are beautiful, do you know that?" He kissed me softly and I


melted into it.

"My directors don't seem to think so..." I said it under my breath and
he asked me to repeat it but I told him it wasn't important. I should
probably let that go...

"Back to my question, you and the proximity to the door?"

He chuckled. "Oh I was just giving Alice 30 more seconds to release


you. I was waiting for the minute to change on my phone so I could
officially just go get you myself." He smiled happily, very proud of his
little plan.

"Oh really? That's very cavemanish of you, don't you think?" I raised
an eyebrow at him.

"Would you have argued if I barged in there and threw you over my
shoulder and stole you back to my cave?" He nodded towards his room
and looked at me seriously, tightening his arms around me.

"No way." I smiled. I reached on my tip toes to get a kiss from him
and he leaned down into it.

We moved into his room and spent the rest of the time laying on his
bed laughing, talking, kissing.

"I still love that I can do that now." He said after one drawn out kiss
had ended.
"Mmm," I replied as I leaned into another one. "I still love you."

"Good." He replied with a smile and tangled our fingers together. Then
our mouths. Then our bodies.

"Ah young love!" Emmett's loud voice sighed suddenly form the
doorway and it made me jump even though I was tightly wrapped in
Edward's arms.

His contagious laugh boomed out and Edward camly but harshly said,
"Get out Emmett," then threw a pillow at the sutting door and the
fading laugh and turned back to me and pulled me into him again.

Emmett yelled from outside the door, "Alright- but this is your 5
minute warning kids! The party bus pulls out at exactly 6:30!" His
laugh faded completely as he walked away from the door and I
couldn't help but let my own laugh slip out, ruining the moment.

After about a minute of Edward trying to continue to kiss me and me


being too lost in a fit of laughter to kiss back he gave up.

"Ugh." He let his arms drop to his sides on the bed and off my back in
frustration. I let my head fall to his chest as I shook on top of him in
silent laughter.

"I'm...I'm sorry Edward... I just have the... the giggleberries or


something..." I lost it again. That was the curse of the giggleberries.
Once you get them you usually can't stop. Then when you describe
them to someone else and have to say the name, it only gets worse.

He started laughing too and just said, "Giggleberries?" under his


breath and ran his hands through his hair.

"Well we should probably get going anyway." He rolled out from


underneath me and held his hand out to help me up as I gained
composure of myself.

The show went really well and afterwards Mike invited us all over to
his house for a cook out. He had just moved into a nice little condo
with his sister, but she was gone for the weekend so he thought it
would be fun to hang out somewhere different to change things up a
bit. We all agreed and headed over to his new place for a new kind of
night.
It was a pretty nice place, 2 stories and decorated well. The kitchen
was large and the living room was spacious with one big white couch
and 2 smaller love seats surrounding a small entertainment unit. There
was a small patio out back with a fire pit that Tyler was trying to light
as we walked in. He waved at me and winked, seeing my hand linked
with Edward's. I smiled and waved back, Edward moved his hand to
my waist and held me closer and directed me further into the kitchen.
I winked back at Tyler before I was dragged out of sight and he rolled
his eyes dramatically but laughed a bit as well.

We sat outside for while as Mike and Emmett took turns cooking
chicken and burgers in the BBQ. We told stories and ate around the
fire.

It was that night, sitting outside with my little family and our closest
friends we had made in LA, that I realized what I really wanted in life.
Just this. Just happiness from simple things.

Nothing else really mattered to me at that point, and it hit me like a


ton of bricks. For so long throughout high school and my first year in
LA everything I had been focusing on was being successfull and
measuring that by grades, or numbers, or accomplishments on paper.
Not that those things weren't importnat to a certain degree. But I
didn't have anything else to really base my happiness on. I didn't have
anything providing me with the level of contentment you can't achieve
by yourself with just numbers and goals. I didn't know there was so
much more out there that fulfilled a different thing inside of you.

No career or money or fame or posession could make me happier than


simply sitting around with the people I loved. It was something I
always knew but never experienced outside of being with my parents.
I was never the type of person that chased material things, not a all.
But everything changed when I actually felt what it was like to be
completely fulfilled by friends and moments and memories.

I remained outside as the others went in to get ready to watch a


movie. I was still lost in my thoughts. I told Edward to go in without
me and that I would be in soon.

I was really going through something and I just needed a minute to


calm it all down inside of me. It wasn't bad at all, I was having a
happy realization. It just changed so much...

Rosalie came out a few minutes later and sat beside me silently.
"Bella, are you ok? I mean, you seem fine but you usually don't linger
outside by yourself." She laughed softly and I joined in.

"Yeah I'm fine Rose. I'm just thinking."

"Oh ok. Anything you need to talk about?"

"I don't know." I paused, not quite sure how to say it. "I think I've
changed Rose." That was simple enough to begin with.

"Yeah I think we all have." She drew her knees up into herself and
stared into the fire with me.

"That's probably true. I just realized it though." We laughed quietly


again at me. "I don't know, I just don't want the things I always
thought I wanted. I can't seem to get passionate about school
anymore, for example. It's just not there for me, you know? I don't
want to stay here my whole life and be told that 1/2 the people I meet
are going to lie to me! That's not what I want." I shook my head as I
said it out loud. That was our latest lesson in our school's strung out
version of business class: "Most of the people you work with in this
business will lie to you."

"Well Bella, if it doesn't make you happy anymore than maybe it's not
what you should be doing. It's ok, you know. It's not quitting or
failing. It's just what you said, changing." She smiled over at me and I
nodded my head, taking in her words.

"Yeah but I don't know what I've changed to." That was the hard part.
What now?

"Maybe you aren't supposed to know yet." She shrugged. Good point.

"Yeah. All I know is that this right here," I swept my arm across the
patio and into the house where we could see everyone, "this makes
me happy. This is what I want my life to be filled with. That's how I
want to gauge my success." I wasn't sure if I was making any sense
but I said it anyway.

"I understand that. Bella, before I met you and Alice I never really had
people outside of my actual family that I accepted fully. It wasn't to be
cruel or judgemental, but I guess I always considered people to be
temporary. Replacable. I never got attached or let my self care too
much. I had a lot of friends, yes, but nothing as close to what you 2
snuck into my life and became." She shot me a play full smirk and I
smiled.

"So I understand what you mean by your wants in life changing. After
I got connected to you 2 I realized how important to me it was that
you reamined in my life. I owe you so much for that Bell. For helping
me to love outside of myself for the first time. I mean, you have to
love your parents, but you choose to love your friends. Though with
you and her...," she nodded her head inside to where Alice was
standing on a bar stool drawing on Emmett's now bare back,"... well
with you 2 I'm not sure I had much of a choice either." She shrugged
again and I leaned into her and put my head on her shoulder.

"Who would have thought our one adventure would lead to all of this?"
We were both staring into the house now, where Emmett had a stick
figure drawn across his whole, huge back. He was flexing his muscles
in ways that made it look like the little man was dacing. Alice was on
the bar stool still, seemingly dancing along side the little back man and
laughing. Everyone else was in the kitchen watching the spectacle,
Mike of course on camera duty to capture the whole thing.

We started laughing and Rose sighed. "No one could have prepared
me for the adventure that is Emmett, I'll tell you that."

"We've known him for almost a year now and I still don't ever feel
prepared for him!" She nodded in agreement with me and I laughed.

"Congratulations by the way Bella, on the whole Edward thing. You


really deserve it. Both of you." She smiled at me and I blushed at the
kindness in her voice.

"Thanks Rose."

"You do know you'll be fine right Bell?" She looked concerned now. "I
mean, after making it through what you went through with him the
past couple of months, you better know you can do anything. Don't be
afraid of not knowing what you want exactly. Focus on what you do
know you want and trust that it will be enough to help you find
everything else."

I loved Rosalie more in that moment than ever before. I was so


grateful that I got the opportunity to see past the beautiful blonde
knock out and into her even more beautiful soul.
"ROSIE!" Emmett started banging on the sliding glass door to get our
attention as he shouted out Rose's name.

When she looked up he turned around and Tyler held a boom box up
right next to him so we could hear the sound of Jimmy Buffet's
"Escape" (more popularly known as "The Pina Colada Song") through
the sliding glass door as Emmett started to make the little man on his
back, which was now holding a drawn on fancy drink with a small
umbrealla sticking out of the top of it, dance to the music.

"You gotta love him," I said shaking my head.

"And I do." She said with a smile.

"Rosie! Beallarina! Do you see him, he's dancing!" Emmett was


laughing now and looking over his shoulder at us as he continued to
dance and point at his back at the same time.

"Yes Em! I see him!" She laughed and shook her head.

"He likes pina coladas!" Emmett's goofy grin took over his face. Oh, so
that's what the little man was holding now. "Come dance with him
Rose!"

She sighed and got up, smiling the whole way into the house. She
opened the sliding glass door and the music got way louder, as did the
laughing and other happy noises contained inside the house.

Before the door could shut again Edward appeared in the doorway and
looked out at me.

He smiled and pointed at me then turned his hand over and beckoned
to me with his pointer finger.

I got up and walked over to him, wrapping my arms around him.

"Are you ok?" He asked quietly as he leaned into the hug.

"Yeah I'm fine." I smiled up at him so he would know I was telling the
truth.

"Ok good. You looked serious for a few minutes."


"I had a good talk with Rose. I'm just thinking about a few things.
Things that truly make me happy and how to center my life around
that instead of what I thought was important before." I shrugged it off.
It sounded simple when I put it that way.

"Do I make the list of things that make you happy?" He looked at me
like he actually didn't know the answer.

"Top of it." I said. He leaned down and kissed me.

"I still can't believe I can just do that whenever I want now." He
whispered to me with wonder below all the noise around us creating a
private moment admist the Buffett blasting 3 feet away.

"Me either." I reached up and took one for myself to help convince
myself. "So do I make your list of happy things?" I smiled sweetly and
batted my eyes.

He laughed and smiled wider. "You are the list Bella."

"YOUR MOM'S THE LIST!" Emmett appeared, or rather jumped, next to


us and laughed at his joke as he continued dancing.

"Emmet!" I yelled in surprise as I laughed, and at the same time


Edward's brow furrowed and he said, "That doesn't even make
sense..."

Just then Emmett brought up a glass to his mouth that had a small
umbrella in it and looked a lot like the one the little man on his back
was holding. He sucked in through the straw until it made the very
distinct "schhheeewwwww" noise of the straw sucking up the last
remnants of a drink.

"JAZZ I'M OUT!" Emmett raised his empty glass high in the air and
brought it down onto the island in the middle of the kitchen with a loud
clunk.

"On it!" Jasper responded. I looked right past Emmett when I heard
Jasper's voice in the kitchen and saw him standing at the other side of
the island smiling evilly in front of a blender as he pressed a button
and filled the kitchen with the loud explosion of the blender turning on.

"Is he actually making Emmett pina coladas?" I asked with a laugh.


"Unfortunately for everyone who has to be in the same room as
Emmett, yes." Edward responded with a nod and a small laugh of his
own.

I walked over to Jasper and Edward followed me.

"You're giving him rum?" I asked with amusement.

Jasper smiled and nodded. "I like to enable him once in a while,
unleash him on unsuspecting townsfolk."

We laughed as Emmett restarted the pina colada song for the 3rd
time. That was the thing about Jasper, he was calm and collected a lot
of the time but he definitely had a mischievious streak and he knew
how to provoke people subtley for his own amusement.

"I just love this song! You guys!" Emmett came over to his brothers
and I. "I just had the best idea! We should cover this song! This is the
best song!" He didn't wait for their response he just turned around and
spotted Mike. "Mike-A-Loda! Hey buddy! Your band should cover this
song!"

We were all cracking up now and Jasper was pouring the new batch of
drinks into small cups as people came up and took some. Alice
grabbed one for her and took one to Angela where they were talking in
the living room.

"Take one to Emmett please, with any luck we can get him passed out
by movie time," Jasper handed one to Edward and they nodded in
agreement of the plan.

"Whoo! Eddie-Colada! Come to bring the big bro his drink!" Emmett
threw an arm around Edward and took his drink, attempting to make
Edward dance with him before letting him go.

Within the next 5 minutes he had everyone doing the congo line to
"Margaritaville" but was singing "Pina Coladaville!" at the top of his
lungs over Jimmy Buffett every time the chorus came on.

Jasper stayed at the blender all night and let Alice throw a big straw
hat on him she had found in Tyler's room and she started calling him
her cabana boy.
"I won that at prom at a karaoke contest!" Tyler said proudly as he
pointed at the big festive hat and Jasper shimmied a little in it as more
coladas blended. I had a feeling he had been sneaking a few himself
while blending.

No one else really felt the drinks like Emmett though, because he
could drink them so much faster than everyone else.

Soon the mood changed when Jimmy's cover of "Brown Eyed Girl"
came on and Emmett found the dimmer switch in the living room. He
dimmed the lights down about half way and pulled Tyler into him as
they slow danced to the first few verses. It's not the slowest song to
dance to, but they swayed pretty well with the beat.

"Can I cut in?" Rose tapped Tyler's shoulder and he bowed and made
way for her then grabbed Jess off one of the small couches and pulled
her up with him as she giggled.

Alice drug Jasper over from the kitchen into the living room and made
him dance with her too, twirling around him and stealing the hat from
his head to wear during the song.

Edward pulled me along behind them and I didn't object at all. Dancing
was not my thing, but I knew from the night he came back to me he
would take care of me the whole time.

He pressed our foreheads together and sang to me the entire song,


just moving us back and forth and holding both of my hands and
everyone eventually joined in to dance aournd us, but all I heard for a
while was his voice:

"Whatever happened
To Tuesday and so slow
Going down the old mine
With a transistor radio
Standing in the sunlight laughing,
Hiding behind a rainbow's wall,
Slipping and sliding
All along the water fall, with you
My brown eyed girl,
You my brown eyed girl."

His eyes came alive when he sang and he kissed me quickly after that
last line and then everyone in the room sang the chorus:
"Do you remember when we used to sing,
Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da!"

The "Sha la la la's" rang out with joy in everyone. We lost all
inhibitions and the whole room was dancing around the now, singing
loudly with each round of "sha la's" and "la te da's".

The rest of the song finished that way and Emmett fell to the floor at
the end of the song, finally burnt out from all his dancing and singing.

He ended up falling asleep where he fell on the floor with his head
Rosalie's lap and one of the little umbrellas still tucked behind his ear.

I was on one end of the large couch now, talking to Angela who was
on the other end, telling her the only other story I had of drunk
Emmett.

She was laughing quietly. "So thanks to drunk Emmett you and
Edward have actually been engaged for months now?" She laughed
louder and I joined in but a little flag inside of me went up.

Huh. That particular joke had died during the black hole days. I hadn't
even realized that until I brought it up in my story and Angela pointed
it out again. I laughed inwardly when I realized that Edward and I
would probably still plan a unique wedding like that if and when we
ever get to that point. No. I couldn't think if. Nothing about being with
him felt like an "if" anymore. Huh.

Edward walked over to me smiling then and Angela was still laughing
at the fact that we would probably be required by our priest, Emmett,
to provide pina coladas now that he had moved on from margaritas.

Edward laughed and agreed as he handed me the drink he had


brought over.

"Do you like pina coladas Miss Swan?" He smiled and the velvet was
play full and carefree.

"I don't know, I've never had one." I took a sip. I suddenly didn't
blame Emmett for drinking them so quickly. "You know I'm not old
enough to drink this yet," I said with a smirk and another sip.
"Mr. Buffett would want you to partake in the festivities tonight I feel."
He smiled and took it from me, taking a sip of his own.

We shared it as we discussed more of our forgotten wedding with


Angela. The topic didn't seem to bother Edward at all and I figured I
was being a girl and over reacting to a joke that was casual and fun. It
didn't need to mean anything more than it did before. It was just our
faux wedding that was alive again and we discussed how a Jimmy
Buffett cover band was definitely required for the reception now, and
how happy our faux preist would be at that news after he woke up
from being passed out drunk on the floor.

"We like to keep it interesting," Edward said as he threw his arm


around me and kissed the top of my head.

We watched Pirates of the Carribbean soon after that and I curled up


with Edward under a blanket on the big couch.

Angela and Jess left about half way through the movie because they
were tired and lived close by so they decided just to head home. Mike
moved up to his bed soon after they left and Tyler was passed out on
one of the small couches.

Alice and Jasper were curled up on the other love seat with their legs
stretched out on the automan and Rose had settled Emmett on the
floor then taken Angela's place on the other side of the large couch
Edward and I were on.

The movie ended and we were the only 2 still awake.

"Are you tired?" Edward sank down into the couch more and pulled me
with him.

"A little bit. I feel like I should be, but maybe I'm still so excited about
you I can't seem to settle down." I laughed at myself quietly so I
didn't wake the others and he moved with laughter too.

"I know what you mean." He kissed me softly then and when he pulled
away I couldn't help but think about the new feeling I wanted to center
my life around.

"What are you thinking?" He asked me quietly after a few minutes of


silence.
"About the future. What I want and don't want." I gave him a small
smile and shrugged in his arms because it wasn't that serious.

"Hmm." He had his own silent thoughts for a minute. "Do you really
want a Jimmy Buffett cover band at the reception? Because personally
I think we may want to explore some other options first."

I started laughing softly at that and he joined in too. I thought about


that for a minute then.

"Edward does it freak you out at all to talk about the fake wedding
now that, you know, things are official or whatever?" I didn't look at
him and I waited to feel a change in him. I waited for his body to tense
slightly or an uncomfortable movement. He just chuckled musically
though.

"Not at all. Does it freak you out?" He looked down at me.

"No actually. But I wonder if that should freak me out, you know?"

"Hmm," he said again as he thought silently. "I guess normally it


would seem odd for us to not be weirded out by planning a wedding
this early on, but for one you and I have done nothing normally. We
fell in love and then started dating..."

"Good point." I mumbled with a laugh.

"...and secondly it's all fake, right?"

I deflated a little. Not that I wanted to run off to Vegas tonight, but I
was definitely sure I knew who I wanted to be waiting for me at the
altar someday.

"Right." I said a little softer than I intended.

I sank my head down into his chest to try and stifle my unreasonable
sinking feeling. I stayed there for a few moments, silent, not looking
up at him.

"Bella, love, what are you thinking?"

"Nothing." I said into his chest.


"Well I know that's never true, you are always thinking something
interesting." He chuckled to himself but I didn't join in. "Please tell me.
I want to know."

He lifted my face up with his pointer finger and I was very close to his
face.

"Bella tell me."

I shook my head and pursed my lips together in an act of showing him


I wasn't saying a word.

He made a beautiful frustrated face at me and stared at me until he


figured it out. Why did I let him know me so well?

"This isn't about my fake comment about the wedding is it?"


Realization dawned on his face and I neither confirmed nor denied his
theory. I just stared at him keeping my chin resting on his finger.

He smiled warmly then and leaned in and kissed me until my lips


responded. It didn't take too long, something I'm sure he knew.

When he pulled away he smiled again and almost whispered. "What I


meant by that is simply that I will not let you be married to me by my
drunk brother and then dance our first dance to some shameless 50-
something- year-old that thinks he's singing the Greatest Island Hits of
all time, my love."

I smiled unwililngly at his joke and grabbed his hand from under my
chin to hold it in my own.

"Bella, I'm not saying that I don't want to think about marrying you
someday. I mean, I'm in love with you! Of course it's crossed my
mind. I just hope you don't have your heart set on some silly pina
coloada fountain or Jasper honestly standing in as your maid of honor.
Unless you really, truly want those things." His brow furrowed in
concern.

I laughed now and let a small sound come out. "No. The pina colada
fountain maybe, the rest of it no." I looked into his eyes then and
smiled, returning to my comfort zone.
He kissed me quickly and then said, "Good. I intend on making an
honest woman out of you one day my Bella. But I intend to do it
properly."

My insides warmed up to that thought quickly. One day. It was so


pleasant to think about. I didn't need to know the day yet, or the
place, or the time. I just needed to know that it existed somewhere in
the future for both of us.

"Well some of it we may need to keep, just because I am probably


going to be horrible at planning a wedding and I'll have to resort to the
faux wedding ideas for back up." I laughed and myself and he started
stroking a strand of my hair, making my eyes shut at the sensation.

"Alice will probably take over planning anyway, so you shouldn't


worry," he yeah. Problem solved!

'There is one thing I have always known I wanted though." He said it,
not me. I had never heard of a male who had put thought into his
wedding before he had ringed a female.

"What's that?" I whispered sleepily.

"One white grand piano." He spoke it softly and with care. "I've always
known that I wanted to write a song in replacement of spoken vows
for the woman I marry. Music says so much more than just words. You
can actually give your emotions to someone through a song. I've
always known I wanted to do that because I've always known that the
woman I'm meant to be with would inspire music in me." I heard a
beautiful smile in his words and I willed my eyes open so I could see
it.

I was still stunned by the vision I had in my head of Edward in a tux at


a huge white piano as I looked up to him. "That's the most beautiful
idea anyone has ever had." He looked down and me and brought his
face as close to mine as possible.

"Well I'm glad you think so because you, my Bella, inspire the most
magnificent music in me. More powerful than any emotion has ever
been inspired in anyone else ever before. And you will be the one I
play for someday at that piano."

I thrust my hands into his hair and pulled him the rest of the distance
to me and kissed him then, as if binding him to his words.
"Thank you." I breathed when we broke apart. I'm not sure exactly
why I said it but I knew it's what I needed to tell him. He understood
and he just smiled then kissed me softly one more time.

"I'm really going to miss this in a few days. I'm really going to miss
you." He sighed at rested his head next to mine.

My eyes shot open. I had been drifting into my new happy place that
consisted of Edward, a white piano, myself, and no Jimmy Buffett
what-so-ever. What is this crazy talk of missing me? Where was I
going?

"Excuse me, where do you think you are going without me in a few
days?" I looked at him acuusingly.

"Bella, Chirstmas is in about a week and a half. I assume we are all


going home for Christmas. You to Pheonix, me to Forks." He looked at
my calmly and kept stroking my hair but the calming sensation was
lost on me now.

I looked down sadly. Christmas? I'd totally forgotten about Christmas


and the ridiculous tradition of spending it with your family.

Oh Christmas, my former trusted alli! How could you do this to me? I


used to count on you for comfort and happiness at the end of each
year, now you are thrusting my Edward away from me? What went
wrong, Christmas? I thought I could trust you.

"Bella you look like someone just ran over your puppy." He was
actually laughing at my pout now.

"It's just not fair. You are supposed to spend the holidays with all the
poeople you love. You guys are going to be all across the country."

He sighed. "I know. But hopefully this will be the last year we spend it
apart, right? We'll work something out after this year. We'll only be a
part for a week... or 2." Now his voice started to sound sad.

"I don't like it." I was stuck in pouting.

"Me either." He sighed again but there was nothing more to be said.

I concentrated on the feeling of his hand in my hair and decided to try


and sleep and not worry about it tonight. I drifted off and couldn't help
but continue to curse Christmas in my head a few times at it's horrible
betrayal before letting myself go completely into sleep.

Chapter 27 - Dancing With Myself

After such a wonderfully breath taking night it was odd to wake up to


such a piercingly disturbing sound.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!..." broke through my sleep getting louder and


louder and confusing me more and more.

I heard a very velvet, "Oh no," right beside me and felt 2 arms wrap
even tighter around me.

"...EEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Thud

Ow. The annoying squeal stopped but suddenly my side that was not
laying on the Love Sac hurt for a brief moment as something landed
on it.

Then I felt 1 more arm wrap around me and a very content sigh being
let out above me.

"Good morning Alice." Edward's voice held amusement and the thing
on top of me started giggling.

"Good morning to you Edward. Bella." She started giggling harder and
a smile broke on my face even though I was still fighting completely
waking up. "I bet it was an even better night though. Right? Edward?
Bella?"

I opened my eyes and her face was hovering above me, her small
body sprawled across both of us, one arm wrapped around each, both
of Edward's around me.

"Yes Alice, it was a very pleasant night. And morning..." Edward


chuckled and Alice started back into her chorus of squealing and
wiggled her little body in delight on top of us making me wake up
further and turn a bit.
I looked up to a smiling Edward and had to hold back a small squeal of
my own as I realized last night was not a dream. Edward had just
confirmed it had indeed been a very good night... and morning. Wait.

"A good night and morning?" I asked. Alice stopped wiggling then and
we both looked at him in confusion. Something was wrong if I didn't
know what he was talking about.

He glanced at the clock and then at Alice then back to me. The devilish
version of the crooked smile filling his face.

"Well yes, love, it's only 8 in the morning. We didn't finish... hanging
out until about 7:15."

That did it.

"AAHH! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!..." Alice was going to combust with


happiness as the squealing took on a new volume and the wiggling
commenced. I felt my face turn red, but I couldn't help giggling as he
just smugly smiled and rubbed my back.

Just then Emmett burst through our door with Rose and Jasper right
behind him.

"Is the fire alarm broken?" Emmett laughed out as he put his hands up
to his ears. Alice was just dying down but apparently the latest squeal
was just as effective from the other side of the door.

"No, but it could be because it was so hot in here last night, and this
morning apparently since these 2 went at it until- oh - about 45
minutes ago!" Alice was still wiggling as she tattled on us and it was
such a weird feeling, being underneath the wiggling. It made us both
laugh uncomfortably and shift even though there was no where to
escape it.

"HA!" Emmett let out a happy grunt,"My brother and my sister finally
hooked it up!"

Even Alice stopped wiggling as we all turned up to him and right on


cue Jasper's head fell in shame and he started shaking it back and
forth at his brother.

"Wait...no that's not good. Ewe." Emmett looked down in thought and
turned concerned. "I didn't just say that- that was weird. Sorry."
Everyone let out silent laughter now and Jasper sighed, "At least this
time he heard how in appropriate he sounded."

Jasper came over and rolled Alice off of us then took her place, but laid
down more gently than she had and hugged us both without a
disturbing sound.

"Thank you."

I looked at Edward then back at Jasper in confusion. Edward didn't


look like he knew what was going on either.

"Um, Jasper?" I asked carefully.

"Hmm?" He still had his arms around us and his face down in the
blanket that covered us.

Edward took over, "Why are you thanking us?"

The whole room started softly laughing then. Edward and I were the
only two still looking around in confusion.

"Because you won me 50 dollars."

"What?" We both said in unison.

"Dang it!" Emmett hit his hand on the counter in anger. "That's right.
You guys suck!" He was pointing at us and I was still too tired to keep
up. Why couldn't they leave us alone? So very alone... maybe I'm not
that tired...

Thankfully Jasper interrupted my thoughts. "You see, Emmett and I


had a little wager going on when Bella would finally get it over with
and jump you Eddie." He smirked at his brother and winked at me.

"Edward." He corrected Jasper calmly, but with an annoyed tone.

I giggled and Edward gave me a sideways glance and a smile.

"So what? You bet that I would make my move on Rose's birthday?" I
raised an amused eyebrow at Jasper.

"No, I bet it would be before Christmas though. Emmett didn't think


either of you had it in you until January." He laughed again and I
shook my head at both of them.
"Well you both got it wrong." I said, halting Jasper's smooth laughter.

"What?" Emmett was hopeful.

"I didn't make the first move - Eddie jumped on the ball!" I couldn't
help it, I was in such a freaking great mood.

"Edward Bella, please don't get sucked in!" He looked at me very


pleadingly.

"Sorry, I couldn't help it." I mumbled to him.

"HA!" Rosalie swatted Emmett on the arm. "Both of you pay up!" She
held out her hand and looked back and forth between Emmett and
Jasper.

"Dang it." Emmett muttered again.

Jasper slowly rolled off of us and went to hand Rose her money.

"So you are the only one that bet on me?" Edward asked Rose with a
hint of gratitude. He sat up then, bringing me with him. I guess we
really were waking up now. After only 45 minutes.

"Yep. I could see it in you. You weren't going to last much longer." She
smiled perfectly at him and then started counting her winnings.

I was still in shock at the gambling problem Edward and I had ensued
in our friends and family when Alice jumped up.

"Wait! How come I didn't get to bet? No one told me there was a bet!"

Rosalie started laughing. "Because, Alice, you have a tendency to


make sure things go your way. If we would have let you bet you would
have found a way to interfere and they wouldn't have naturally let it
happen. We may be playing games with our friend's love lives, but we
aren't dumb."

"I know that's right!" Emmett did his best impression of a woman and
flicked his hand with a lot of femininity then raised it for a high five
from Rose.

"Yeah, I probably would have interfered." Alice shrugged and admitted


it, making us all laugh.
She turned toward us again and the smile that was always pre-squeal
broke across her face. Edward still had one arm around me and I was
leaning my head sleepily on his shoulder. I braced myself, but it never
came. Instead it was just her little bell like voice.

"So... it's official now! Let's see you do something cutsie." She started
bouncing in place and stared at us like we were going to do a trick or
something.

"Alice we are hardly going to kiss on demand-" I didn't get the whole
sentence out though because Edward cut me off with a low, "shut up
Bella," then he leaned into me with a huge grin and crashed his lips to
mine right there in the middle of the living room.

I barely noticed the "EEEEEEEE!..." break out this time as my hands


instinctively went into his hair and I realized 45 minutes without this
was way too long.

He broke it off much earlier than any other time before and I was
actually grateful he at least remembered the others were still in the
room.

"You have to give the people what they want, right?" He winked and
smiled brilliantly at me and I nodded back. Screw the people, that's all
I ever wanted for the rest of my life.

After the final squeal ended and Jasper got Alice back down to a
normal breathing rate everyone settled in around the living room and
Emmett popped in Friends, season something or other.

Edward never took his arms from around me except when he moved
one hand into my own and started playing with my fingers again. I
think it was subconscious for him now, but I still felt every movement
of it.

Friends had never been funnier before. Hanging out in the living room
had never been more relaxing. The Love Sac had never been more
comfortable. Edward's closeness had never felt so right. Breathing had
never seemed so exhilirating.

Everything was a hundred times better because of what I had gained.


He kept leaning in and kissing me softly throughout the morning. It
wasn't awkward or squeal worthy. It fit right in with everything else
our group always did. We just hung out lke usual, all of us finally at
peace and just together.

The Thanksgiving episode with Brad Pitt came on and Alice made us all
promise to be quiet because it was her favorite episode.

"Alice, you don't need to listen to the words to admire the view,"
Rosalie said after we were all "shhhed" for the 14th time for sneezing
or coughing. Or in my case giggling at the things Edward was
whispering to me.

"Yeah, why do you think she likes Emmett so much?" Jasper was really
on one today and his little jibe at his brother got a pillow thrown at
him, hitting Alice instead.

Everyone was laughing but now Emmett was pouting.

"It's not true Emmett, you know that. I like your view and your voice."
Rosalie was babying him, which was weird to see from her. She really
must love him a lot.

"Thank you." He said, still sounding hurt and then they kissed sweetly.

I made a gagging face at their cuteness without thinking. It had


become a natural reaction I usually had right after they did something
extra sweet, but I usually managed to sneak it in when the others
weren't looking. It was a bahit I formed in the past few months to
keep my mind off of being jealous of the cuteness.

Edward looked at me concerned. "What was that for?" he asked


quietly.

Opps. "Oh, um, I guess it's just a natural reflex to cute coupley things.
I didn't even think about it. Sorry, it's like a bad habit." I looked at
him apologetically and he just chuckled.

"Well I'm just going to have to break you of your bad habit aren't I?"
He leaned into me and kissed me 10 times sweeter than Rose and
Emmett.

"Ok, break away..." I mumbled against his lips as he pulled away a


fraction, only to reconnect us again.
Alice let out a frustrated sigh. "Ok you guys! I'm going to the
bathroom, but when I come back out here it had better be quiet so I
can fully experience Brad!" She jumped out of the bowl chair and
stomped into her room, pausing the TV on a shot of Jennifer Aniston
and Brad Pitt mid conversation on the screen.

We were all laughing at her dramatic exit and Edward moved his face
into the crook of my neck and rested it there peacefully.

"He's hot," Emmett blurted out suddenly, looking at the paused TV


screen.

"What?" Rose asked abruptly.

"What?" Emmet mimicked her just as quickly,"No, wait! She's hot too!
What the crap?" He sounded just as confused and surprised as we all
felt and he looked around frantically for help that wasn't there.

"Not cool," Jasper said shaking his head and staring at Emmett.

"Leave," is all Edward said with his head still in my neck, pointing one
arm behind him towards the door.

Emmett still looked stunned and he climbed off of Bertha and walked
silently to the door.

"Yeah, I think I'm going to go shower and get some food." He smiled
meekly and left the room.

We all burst into laughter and received violent glares from Alice as she
reentered the room. She eyed us all evilly until we fell silent, then hit
play and started the show again.

When Brad finally left us and we were allowed to breathe again Alice
turned to Rose, having returned to her normal self.

"So we all know how the rest of Edward and Bella's night went..." she
looked at us and winked causing me to laugh nervously and Edward to
sigh and kiss my cheek.

"But what about you Rose? What else did Emmett have planned for the
big birthday night?"

"Wait," I said. "Do we want to know?"


Edward lifted his head then and turned it to Rose. Everyone waited.

She laughed lightly and scoffed. "Well I probably shouldn't tell you
everything but when he first brought me back to the apartment it was
covered in candles. Alice, I'm assuming you helped with that."

"Naturally." She confirmed with a bow of her head.

"He gave me 8 red roses, one for each month that he's known me, and
one white one to represent the rest of the months we will be together.
Which, as he informed me sweetly, is 'hopefully forever'."

We laughed softly because it was easy to imagine Emmett explaining


that to Rose in his sweet and stumbly manner he took on around her
in their sweeter moments. Edward reached his hand down and took
mine in his, squeezing it right after Rosalie said "forever".

"Then he gave me a card and I opened it and inside..." she covered


her mouth and a small laugh escaped. "Hold on." She got up and went
into our room and then came right back out. "These were inside."

She handed 2 small rectangular things to Edward and we all leaned in


to look at what it was.

"No way." Jasper said, starting to laugh.

"Oh yeah." Rosalie confirmed.

There, in Edward's hand, were 2 tickets to none other than Sea World.

"He really didn't let that go." Edward began to laugh loudly and we all
joined in.

"It's so sweet," she said as Edward handed them back. "I think we are
going sometime next week since we both have a day off."

She went to put them away and we all finished laughing then turned
on more Friends.

Emmett walked back in, still looking a bit dejected, right as Rose came
back out from putting her tickets away in our room. She went right
over to him and kissed him chastely with a smile. He wrapped his arms
around her and pulled away to look in her eyes.
"I like girls Rosie." He said it with conviction.

I snorted a laugh and buried my face in Edward's arm for support.

"I know Emmett. We all know." She nodded and laughed and kissed
him again, this time his smile broke and he dipped her down
dramatically as he kissed her, making us all "awe" at them.

Since none of us had gotten too much sleep the night before (Edward
and I definitely beating everyone with our 45 minutes. Thank you very
much.) we spent the rest of the day lounging around, Edward and I
blissed out beyond belief, and later that night I finally called my mom
to tell her the good news. I had to hold the phone away from my ear
to save my hearing and let Edward be a part of her spastic reaction
because she actually squealed an Alice worthy noise. Edward took the
brief opportunity to lean in and kiss me, making the unexpected sound
from my mother well worth it.

The next day we had school and the boys all had to work and there
was a show later that night.

I went through the motions in my classes now, finding myself feeling a


bit bland when it came to anything that had to do with auditioning or
"the business". It was all rather negative, if you ask me. We heard
endless stories of being lied to and cheated and how "that's the
business side of this business".

I still was very into my final scenes, though I found a running theme
through all 3 of them: I was playing the plain girl. Or at least the
plainest girl in the scene. Yes, I got to be sarcastic and throw my dry
humor all over the place, but it was something I noticed in the
description of all my characters.

I didn't let myself think about it too hard and I got through class for
the day then eagerly returned home to find Alice the only one at the
apartment.

I briefly told her of my small issue with the pattern I had found and
she scoffed it off.

"Please Bella, plain is so not an issue for you. Especially not tonight.
Not if I have anything to say about it! Now sit." She waved it off and
started in on my "show look" as she now called it. I actually started to
appreciate the time we spent together during these little make over
sessions she insisted on.

"Honestly Alice, I still can't believe it. I mean. It's Edward... what the
heck? This wasn't supposed to happen!" I laughed and threw my
hands up in disbelief.

"The hell it wasn't!" She laughed and I gasped in shock at her tone.
"Bella we have all been watching the 2 of you be so annoyingly perfect
for each other for months. The rest of us have been waiting for this
just as long as you have, you know." She raised an eyebrow at me and
I smiled. "I was about to kiss him myself yesterday, I was so happy he
finally sealed the deal!"

"Alice!" It was too false of an image to even laugh at.

"Sorry...So is he a good kisser?" She started nodding slightly, trying to


woo my answer out of me.

"Is Jasper?" I retorted quickly. I've never really discussed anything like
this with anyone before. Girl talk isn't really my thing. Hence all the
really close guy friends.

"Well of course he is. We're in love." She stated it as a fact and proved
my point.

"Exactly." I said confidentially.

"Bella..." She paused with the curler and a strand of my hair wrapped
around it held in the air and eyed me suspiciously. "Exactly what all
went down that night?"

"What do you mean?" The way she was looking at me made me


uncomfortable.

"Did you use the 'L' word missy?" She was smirking now, but still
trying to be serious.

"Maybe." I smiled when I realized I stole Edward's famous answer.


"But he said it first!"

Bad move.
"EEEEEEEE!..." She almost forgot she was connected to me via curling
iron and she started to bounce up and down before I said, "Alice!" and
pointed to my head in alarm.

"Oh sorry! I just wasn't sure it was going to come out that fast. Wow.
How do you feel? I know you've known your feelings for him for a
while... but hearing it from him! Wasn't it the best feeling ever?" She
looked at me dreamily now and it was almost comical.

I sighed anyway. "Yes. I was honestly surprised at first, but then he


told me stories about things I never knew he was doing or feeling and
I believed him entirely. Plus, the way he kissed me!" I let out a little
squeal of my own and she giggled. Girl talk is so dangerous.

"Yeah, that's a good way of telling." Then she paused and her small
features turned serious. "Do you think they'll really move in 6
months?" A small frown threatened her face.

"I don't know. I hope not. What do you think will happen?" I started to
get concerned again. I really hadn't thought about it. None of us had
brought it up since Thanksgiving.

"I don't know Bella. Clearly we can't live in these luxurious apartments
forever, playing wacked out Full House with each other." She laughed
slightly and I smiled, but both soon faded as we continued to think
about it. "I don't know," she repeated with a sigh and a shrug.

Before we could think about it for too long my phone buzzed and I
checked the text message.

On my way home. Tell Alice I require time with you before the show,
no arguments! Love you ;)

"What does he want?" She was smiling knowingly at me.

"He says to tell you he 'requires time with me before the show'." I
laughed and she rolled her eyes. "No arguments!" I wagged my finger
at her and she shook her head.

"Who even speaks like that anymore?"

I sighed. "Edward."

The smile over took my face and she laughed at me.


"Oh man Bella, you've got it so bad. I love it!"

She did finish with me in time, well barely. He had to threaten via text
to come over and drag me from her himself if she didn't hurry up. I
found it all very flattering and she let me go because she decided
"dragging could cause damage to your nicely curled hair! Not that
what you two will most likely be doing won't mess it up anyway..." she
mumbled the last sentence and I just shook my head at her and tried
not to literally run to the other apartment.

I opened the door and practically ran it right into Edward who was
standing dangerously close to it on the other side staring down at his
shut phone.

"Oh sorry. What are you doing so close to the door?" I closed it behind
me and he just pulled me into him.

"You are beautiful, do you know that?" He kissed me softly and I


melted into it.

"My directors don't seem to think so..." I said it under my breath and
he asked me to repeat it but I told him it wasn't important. I should
probably let that go...

"Back to my question, you and the proximity to the door?"

He chuckled. "Oh I was just giving Alice 30 more seconds to release


you. I was waiting for the minute to change on my phone so I could
officially just go get you myself." He smiled happily, very proud of his
little plan.

"Oh really? That's very cavemanish of you, don't you think?" I raised
an eyebrow at him.

"Would you have argued if I barged in there and threw you over my
shoulder and stole you back to my cave?" He nodded towards his room
and looked at me seriously, tightening his arms around me.

"No way." I smiled. I reached on my tip toes to get a kiss from him
and he leaned down into it.

We moved into his room and spent the rest of the time laying on his
bed laughing, talking, kissing.
"I still love that I can do that now." He said after one drawn out kiss
had ended.

"Mmm," I replied as I leaned into another one. "I still love you."

"Good." He replied with a smile and tangled our fingers together. Then
our mouths. Then our bodies.

"Ah young love!" Emmett's loud voice sighed suddenly form the
doorway and it made me jump even though I was tightly wrapped in
Edward's arms.

His contagious laugh boomed out and Edward camly but harshly said,
"Get out Emmett," then threw a pillow at the sutting door and the
fading laugh and turned back to me and pulled me into him again.

Emmett yelled from outside the door, "Alright- but this is your 5
minute warning kids! The party bus pulls out at exactly 6:30!" His
laugh faded completely as he walked away from the door and I
couldn't help but let my own laugh slip out, ruining the moment.

After about a minute of Edward trying to continue to kiss me and me


being too lost in a fit of laughter to kiss back he gave up.

"Ugh." He let his arms drop to his sides on the bed and off my back in
frustration. I let my head fall to his chest as I shook on top of him in
silent laughter.

"I'm...I'm sorry Edward... I just have the... the giggleberries or


something..." I lost it again. That was the curse of the giggleberries.
Once you get them you usually can't stop. Then when you describe
them to someone else and have to say the name, it only gets worse.

He started laughing too and just said, "Giggleberries?" under his


breath and ran his hands through his hair.

"Well we should probably get going anyway." He rolled out from


underneath me and held his hand out to help me up as I gained
composure of myself.

The show went really well and afterwards Mike invited us all over to
his house for a cook out. He had just moved into a nice little condo
with his sister, but she was gone for the weekend so he thought it
would be fun to hang out somewhere different to change things up a
bit. We all agreed and headed over to his new place for a new kind of
night.

It was a pretty nice place, 2 stories and decorated well. The kitchen
was large and the living room was spacious with one big white couch
and 2 smaller love seats surrounding a small entertainment unit. There
was a small patio out back with a fire pit that Tyler was trying to light
as we walked in. He waved at me and winked, seeing my hand linked
with Edward's. I smiled and waved back, Edward moved his hand to
my waist and held me closer and directed me further into the kitchen.
I winked back at Tyler before I was dragged out of sight and he rolled
his eyes dramatically but laughed a bit as well.

We sat outside for while as Mike and Emmett took turns cooking
chicken and burgers in the BBQ. We told stories and ate around the
fire.

It was that night, sitting outside with my little family and our closest
friends we had made in LA, that I realized what I really wanted in life.
Just this. Just happiness from simple things.

Nothing else really mattered to me at that point, and it hit me like a


ton of bricks. For so long throughout high school and my first year in
LA everything I had been focusing on was being successfull and
measuring that by grades, or numbers, or accomplishments on paper.
Not that those things weren't importnat to a certain degree. But I
didn't have anything else to really base my happiness on. I didn't have
anything providing me with the level of contentment you can't achieve
by yourself with just numbers and goals. I didn't know there was so
much more out there that fulfilled a different thing inside of you.

No career or money or fame or posession could make me happier than


simply sitting around with the people I loved. It was something I
always knew but never experienced outside of being with my parents.
I was never the type of person that chased material things, not a all.
But everything changed when I actually felt what it was like to be
completely fulfilled by friends and moments and memories.

I remained outside as the others went in to get ready to watch a


movie. I was still lost in my thoughts. I told Edward to go in without
me and that I would be in soon.
I was really going through something and I just needed a minute to
calm it all down inside of me. It wasn't bad at all, I was having a
happy realization. It just changed so much...

Rosalie came out a few minutes later and sat beside me silently.

"Bella, are you ok? I mean, you seem fine but you usually don't linger
outside by yourself." She laughed softly and I joined in.

"Yeah I'm fine Rose. I'm just thinking."

"Oh ok. Anything you need to talk about?"

"I don't know." I paused, not quite sure how to say it. "I think I've
changed Rose." That was simple enough to begin with.

"Yeah I think we all have." She drew her knees up into herself and
stared into the fire with me.

"That's probably true. I just realized it though." We laughed quietly


again at me. "I don't know, I just don't want the things I always
thought I wanted. I can't seem to get passionate about school
anymore, for example. It's just not there for me, you know? I don't
want to stay here my whole life and be told that 1/2 the people I meet
are going to lie to me! That's not what I want." I shook my head as I
said it out loud. That was our latest lesson in our school's strung out
version of business class: "Most of the people you work with in this
business will lie to you."

"Well Bella, if it doesn't make you happy anymore than maybe it's not
what you should be doing. It's ok, you know. It's not quitting or
failing. It's just what you said, changing." She smiled over at me and I
nodded my head, taking in her words.

"Yeah but I don't know what I've changed to." That was the hard part.
What now?

"Maybe you aren't supposed to know yet." She shrugged. Good point.

"Yeah. All I know is that this right here," I swept my arm across the
patio and into the house where we could see everyone, "this makes
me happy. This is what I want my life to be filled with. That's how I
want to gauge my success." I wasn't sure if I was making any sense
but I said it anyway.
"I understand that. Bella, before I met you and Alice I never really had
people outside of my actual family that I accepted fully. It wasn't to be
cruel or judgemental, but I guess I always considered people to be
temporary. Replacable. I never got attached or let my self care too
much. I had a lot of friends, yes, but nothing as close to what you 2
snuck into my life and became." She shot me a play full smirk and I
smiled.

"So I understand what you mean by your wants in life changing. After
I got connected to you 2 I realized how important to me it was that
you reamined in my life. I owe you so much for that Bell. For helping
me to love outside of myself for the first time. I mean, you have to
love your parents, but you choose to love your friends. Though with
you and her...," she nodded her head inside to where Alice was
standing on a bar stool drawing on Emmett's now bare back,"... well
with you 2 I'm not sure I had much of a choice either." She shrugged
again and I leaned into her and put my head on her shoulder.

"Who would have thought our one adventure would lead to all of this?"
We were both staring into the house now, where Emmett had a stick
figure drawn across his whole, huge back. He was flexing his muscles
in ways that made it look like the little man was dacing. Alice was on
the bar stool still, seemingly dancing along side the little back man and
laughing. Everyone else was in the kitchen watching the spectacle,
Mike of course on camera duty to capture the whole thing.

We started laughing and Rose sighed. "No one could have prepared
me for the adventure that is Emmett, I'll tell you that."

"We've known him for almost a year now and I still don't ever feel
prepared for him!" She nodded in agreement with me and I laughed.

"Congratulations by the way Bella, on the whole Edward thing. You


really deserve it. Both of you." She smiled at me and I blushed at the
kindness in her voice.

"Thanks Rose."

"You do know you'll be fine right Bell?" She looked concerned now. "I
mean, after making it through what you went through with him the
past couple of months, you better know you can do anything. Don't be
afraid of not knowing what you want exactly. Focus on what you do
know you want and trust that it will be enough to help you find
everything else."
I loved Rosalie more in that moment than ever before. I was so
grateful that I got the opportunity to see past the beautiful blonde
knock out and into her even more beautiful soul.

"ROSIE!" Emmett started banging on the sliding glass door to get our
attention as he shouted out Rose's name.

When she looked up he turned around and Tyler held a boom box up
right next to him so we could hear the sound of Jimmy Buffet's
"Escape" (more popularly known as "The Pina Colada Song") through
the sliding glass door as Emmett started to make the little man on his
back, which was now holding a drawn on fancy drink with a small
umbrealla sticking out of the top of it, dance to the music.

"You gotta love him," I said shaking my head.

"And I do." She said with a smile.

"Rosie! Beallarina! Do you see him, he's dancing!" Emmett was


laughing now and looking over his shoulder at us as he continued to
dance and point at his back at the same time.

"Yes Em! I see him!" She laughed and shook her head.

"He likes pina coladas!" Emmett's goofy grin took over his face. Oh, so
that's what the little man was holding now. "Come dance with him
Rose!"

She sighed and got up, smiling the whole way into the house. She
opened the sliding glass door and the music got way louder, as did the
laughing and other happy noises contained inside the house.

Before the door could shut again Edward appeared in the doorway and
looked out at me.

He smiled and pointed at me then turned his hand over and beckoned
to me with his pointer finger.

I got up and walked over to him, wrapping my arms around him.

"Are you ok?" He asked quietly as he leaned into the hug.

"Yeah I'm fine." I smiled up at him so he would know I was telling the
truth.
"Ok good. You looked serious for a few minutes."

"I had a good talk with Rose. I'm just thinking about a few things.
Things that truly make me happy and how to center my life around
that instead of what I thought was important before." I shrugged it off.
It sounded simple when I put it that way.

"Do I make the list of things that make you happy?" He looked at me
like he actually didn't know the answer.

"Top of it." I said. He leaned down and kissed me.

"I still can't believe I can just do that whenever I want now." He
whispered to me with wonder below all the noise around us creating a
private moment admist the Buffett blasting 3 feet away.

"Me either." I reached up and took one for myself to help convince
myself. "So do I make your list of happy things?" I smiled sweetly and
batted my eyes.

He laughed and smiled wider. "You are the list Bella."

"YOUR MOM'S THE LIST!" Emmett appeared, or rather jumped, next to


us and laughed at his joke as he continued dancing.

"Emmet!" I yelled in surprise as I laughed, and at the same time


Edward's brow furrowed and he said, "That doesn't even make
sense..."

Just then Emmett brought up a glass to his mouth that had a small
umbrella in it and looked a lot like the one the little man on his back
was holding. He sucked in through the straw until it made the very
distinct "schhheeewwwww" noise of the straw sucking up the last
remnants of a drink.

"JAZZ I'M OUT!" Emmett raised his empty glass high in the air and
brought it down onto the island in the middle of the kitchen with a loud
clunk.

"On it!" Jasper responded. I looked right past Emmett when I heard
Jasper's voice in the kitchen and saw him standing at the other side of
the island smiling evilly in front of a blender as he pressed a button
and filled the kitchen with the loud explosion of the blender turning on.
"Is he actually making Emmett pina coladas?" I asked with a laugh.

"Unfortunately for everyone who has to be in the same room as


Emmett, yes." Edward responded with a nod and a small laugh of his
own.

I walked over to Jasper and Edward followed me.

"You're giving him rum?" I asked with amusement.

Jasper smiled and nodded. "I like to enable him once in a while,
unleash him on unsuspecting townsfolk."

We laughed as Emmett restarted the pina colada song for the 3rd
time. That was the thing about Jasper, he was calm and collected a lot
of the time but he definitely had a mischievious streak and he knew
how to provoke people subtley for his own amusement.

"I just love this song! You guys!" Emmett came over to his brothers
and I. "I just had the best idea! We should cover this song! This is the
best song!" He didn't wait for their response he just turned around and
spotted Mike. "Mike-A-Loda! Hey buddy! Your band should cover this
song!"

We were all cracking up now and Jasper was pouring the new batch of
drinks into small cups as people came up and took some. Alice
grabbed one for her and took one to Angela where they were talking in
the living room.

"Take one to Emmett please, with any luck we can get him passed out
by movie time," Jasper handed one to Edward and they nodded in
agreement of the plan.

"Whoo! Eddie-Colada! Come to bring the big bro his drink!" Emmett
threw an arm around Edward and took his drink, attempting to make
Edward dance with him before letting him go.

Within the next 5 minutes he had everyone doing the congo line to
"Margaritaville" but was singing "Pina Coladaville!" at the top of his
lungs over Jimmy Buffett every time the chorus came on.

Jasper stayed at the blender all night and let Alice throw a big straw
hat on him she had found in Tyler's room and she started calling him
her cabana boy.
"I won that at prom at a karaoke contest!" Tyler said proudly as he
pointed at the big festive hat and Jasper shimmied a little in it as more
coladas blended. I had a feeling he had been sneaking a few himself
while blending.

No one else really felt the drinks like Emmett though, because he
could drink them so much faster than everyone else.

Soon the mood changed when Jimmy's cover of "Brown Eyed Girl"
came on and Emmett found the dimmer switch in the living room. He
dimmed the lights down about half way and pulled Tyler into him as
they slow danced to the first few verses. It's not the slowest song to
dance to, but they swayed pretty well with the beat.

"Can I cut in?" Rose tapped Tyler's shoulder and he bowed and made
way for her then grabbed Jess off one of the small couches and pulled
her up with him as she giggled.

Alice drug Jasper over from the kitchen into the living room and made
him dance with her too, twirling around him and stealing the hat from
his head to wear during the song.

Edward pulled me along behind them and I didn't object at all. Dancing
was not my thing, but I knew from the night he came back to me he
would take care of me the whole time.

He pressed our foreheads together and sang to me the entire song,


just moving us back and forth and holding both of my hands and
everyone eventually joined in to dance aournd us, but all I heard for a
while was his voice:

"Whatever happened
To Tuesday and so slow
Going down the old mine
With a transistor radio
Standing in the sunlight laughing,
Hiding behind a rainbow's wall,
Slipping and sliding
All along the water fall, with you
My brown eyed girl,
You my brown eyed girl."

His eyes came alive when he sang and he kissed me quickly after that
last line and then everyone in the room sang the chorus:
"Do you remember when we used to sing,
Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da!"

The "Sha la la la's" rang out with joy in everyone. We lost all
inhibitions and the whole room was dancing around the now, singing
loudly with each round of "sha la's" and "la te da's".

The rest of the song finished that way and Emmett fell to the floor at
the end of the song, finally burnt out from all his dancing and singing.

He ended up falling asleep where he fell on the floor with his head
Rosalie's lap and one of the little umbrellas still tucked behind his ear.

I was on one end of the large couch now, talking to Angela who was
on the other end, telling her the only other story I had of drunk
Emmett.

She was laughing quietly. "So thanks to drunk Emmett you and
Edward have actually been engaged for months now?" She laughed
louder and I joined in but a little flag inside of me went up.

Huh. That particular joke had died during the black hole days. I hadn't
even realized that until I brought it up in my story and Angela pointed
it out again. I laughed inwardly when I realized that Edward and I
would probably still plan a unique wedding like that if and when we
ever get to that point. No. I couldn't think if. Nothing about being with
him felt like an "if" anymore. Huh.

Edward walked over to me smiling then and Angela was still laughing
at the fact that we would probably be required by our priest, Emmett,
to provide pina coladas now that he had moved on from margaritas.

Edward laughed and agreed as he handed me the drink he had


brought over.

"Do you like pina coladas Miss Swan?" He smiled and the velvet was
play full and carefree.

"I don't know, I've never had one." I took a sip. I suddenly didn't
blame Emmett for drinking them so quickly. "You know I'm not old
enough to drink this yet," I said with a smirk and another sip.
"Mr. Buffett would want you to partake in the festivities tonight I feel."
He smiled and took it from me, taking a sip of his own.

We shared it as we discussed more of our forgotten wedding with


Angela. The topic didn't seem to bother Edward at all and I figured I
was being a girl and over reacting to a joke that was casual and fun. It
didn't need to mean anything more than it did before. It was just our
faux wedding that was alive again and we discussed how a Jimmy
Buffett cover band was definitely required for the reception now, and
how happy our faux preist would be at that news after he woke up
from being passed out drunk on the floor.

"We like to keep it interesting," Edward said as he threw his arm


around me and kissed the top of my head.

We watched Pirates of the Carribbean soon after that and I curled up


with Edward under a blanket on the big couch.

Angela and Jess left about half way through the movie because they
were tired and lived close by so they decided just to head home. Mike
moved up to his bed soon after they left and Tyler was passed out on
one of the small couches.

Alice and Jasper were curled up on the other love seat with their legs
stretched out on the automan and Rose had settled Emmett on the
floor then taken Angela's place on the other side of the large couch
Edward and I were on.

The movie ended and we were the only 2 still awake.

"Are you tired?" Edward sank down into the couch more and pulled me
with him.

"A little bit. I feel like I should be, but maybe I'm still so excited about
you I can't seem to settle down." I laughed at myself quietly so I
didn't wake the others and he moved with laughter too.

"I know what you mean." He kissed me softly then and when he pulled
away I couldn't help but think about the new feeling I wanted to center
my life around.

"What are you thinking?" He asked me quietly after a few minutes of


silence.
"About the future. What I want and don't want." I gave him a small
smile and shrugged in his arms because it wasn't that serious.

"Hmm." He had his own silent thoughts for a minute. "Do you really
want a Jimmy Buffett cover band at the reception? Because personally
I think we may want to explore some other options first."

I started laughing softly at that and he joined in too. I thought about


that for a minute then.

"Edward does it freak you out at all to talk about the fake wedding
now that, you know, things are official or whatever?" I didn't look at
him and I waited to feel a change in him. I waited for his body to tense
slightly or an uncomfortable movement. He just chuckled musically
though.

"Not at all. Does it freak you out?" He looked down at me.

"No actually. But I wonder if that should freak me out, you know?"

"Hmm," he said again as he thought silently. "I guess normally it


would seem odd for us to not be weirded out by planning a wedding
this early on, but for one you and I have done nothing normally. We
fell in love and then started dating..."

"Good point." I mumbled with a laugh.

"...and secondly it's all fake, right?"

I deflated a little. Not that I wanted to run off to Vegas tonight, but I
was definitely sure I knew who I wanted to be waiting for me at the
altar someday.

"Right." I said a little softer than I intended.

I sank my head down into his chest to try and stifle my unreasonable
sinking feeling. I stayed there for a few moments, silent, not looking
up at him.

"Bella, love, what are you thinking?"

"Nothing." I said into his chest.


"Well I know that's never true, you are always thinking something
interesting." He chuckled to himself but I didn't join in. "Please tell me.
I want to know."

He lifted my face up with his pointer finger and I was very close to his
face.

"Bella tell me."

I shook my head and pursed my lips together in an act of showing him


I wasn't saying a word.

He made a beautiful frustrated face at me and stared at me until he


figured it out. Why did I let him know me so well?

"This isn't about my fake comment about the wedding is it?"


Realization dawned on his face and I neither confirmed nor denied his
theory. I just stared at him keeping my chin resting on his finger.

He smiled warmly then and leaned in and kissed me until my lips


responded. It didn't take too long, something I'm sure he knew.

When he pulled away he smiled again and almost whispered. "What I


meant by that is simply that I will not let you be married to me by my
drunk brother and then dance our first dance to some shameless 50-
something- year-old that thinks he's singing the Greatest Island Hits of
all time, my love."

I smiled unwililngly at his joke and grabbed his hand from under my
chin to hold it in my own.

"Bella, I'm not saying that I don't want to think about marrying you
someday. I mean, I'm in love with you! Of course it's crossed my
mind. I just hope you don't have your heart set on some silly pina
coloada fountain or Jasper honestly standing in as your maid of honor.
Unless you really, truly want those things." His brow furrowed in
concern.

I laughed now and let a small sound come out. "No. The pina colada
fountain maybe, the rest of it no." I looked into his eyes then and
smiled, returning to my comfort zone.
He kissed me quickly and then said, "Good. I intend on making an
honest woman out of you one day my Bella. But I intend to do it
properly."

My insides warmed up to that thought quickly. One day. It was so


pleasant to think about. I didn't need to know the day yet, or the
place, or the time. I just needed to know that it existed somewhere in
the future for both of us.

"Well some of it we may need to keep, just because I am probably


going to be horrible at planning a wedding and I'll have to resort to the
faux wedding ideas for back up." I laughed and myself and he started
stroking a strand of my hair, making my eyes shut at the sensation.

"Alice will probably take over planning anyway, so you shouldn't


worry," he yeah. Problem solved!

'There is one thing I have always known I wanted though." He said it,
not me. I had never heard of a male who had put thought into his
wedding before he had ringed a female.

"What's that?" I whispered sleepily.

"One white grand piano." He spoke it softly and with care. "I've always
known that I wanted to write a song in replacement of spoken vows
for the woman I marry. Music says so much more than just words. You
can actually give your emotions to someone through a song. I've
always known I wanted to do that because I've always known that the
woman I'm meant to be with would inspire music in me." I heard a
beautiful smile in his words and I willed my eyes open so I could see
it.

I was still stunned by the vision I had in my head of Edward in a tux at


a huge white piano as I looked up to him. "That's the most beautiful
idea anyone has ever had." He looked down and me and brought his
face as close to mine as possible.

"Well I'm glad you think so because you, my Bella, inspire the most
magnificent music in me. More powerful than any emotion has ever
been inspired in anyone else ever before. And you will be the one I
play for someday at that piano."

I thrust my hands into his hair and pulled him the rest of the distance
to me and kissed him then, as if binding him to his words.
"Thank you." I breathed when we broke apart. I'm not sure exactly
why I said it but I knew it's what I needed to tell him. He understood
and he just smiled then kissed me softly one more time.

"I'm really going to miss this in a few days. I'm really going to miss
you." He sighed at rested his head next to mine.

My eyes shot open. I had been drifting into my new happy place that
consisted of Edward, a white piano, myself, and no Jimmy Buffett
what-so-ever. What is this crazy talk of missing me? Where was I
going?

"Excuse me, where do you think you are going without me in a few
days?" I looked at him acuusingly.

"Bella, Chirstmas is in about a week and a half. I assume we are all


going home for Christmas. You to Pheonix, me to Forks." He looked at
my calmly and kept stroking my hair but the calming sensation was
lost on me now.

I looked down sadly. Christmas? I'd totally forgotten about Christmas


and the ridiculous tradition of spending it with your family.

Oh Christmas, my former trusted alli! How could you do this to me? I


used to count on you for comfort and happiness at the end of each
year, now you are thrusting my Edward away from me? What went
wrong, Christmas? I thought I could trust you.

"Bella you look like someone just ran over your puppy." He was
actually laughing at my pout now.

"It's just not fair. You are supposed to spend the holidays with all the
poeople you love. You guys are going to be all across the country."

He sighed. "I know. But hopefully this will be the last year we spend it
apart, right? We'll work something out after this year. We'll only be a
part for a week... or 2." Now his voice started to sound sad.

"I don't like it." I was stuck in pouting.

"Me either." He sighed again but there was nothing more to be said.

I concentrated on the feeling of his hand in my hair and decided to try


and sleep and not worry about it tonight. I drifted off and couldn't help
but continue to curse Christmas in my head a few times at it's horrible
betrayal before letting myself go completely into sleep.

Chapter 28 - Home for the Holidays

Much to my discontent everyone booked their plane tickets home for


the holidays and I planned my lonely 8 hour drive.

"Honey it's not going to be that bad. You love Christmas, remember?"
My mother was trying to soothe me as December 22nd, the day the
last of my Hollywood family flew away, drew nearer and nearer. She
sounded more sad than I wanted her too.

"Mom of course I remember that I love Christmas." Honestly, what


kind of a question is that? I fell in love, I didn't get amnesia.

"I just... things are different this year. I know it will be nice in Phoenix
and I'll have fun,"lies,"but I'm just going to miss people-"

"Edward."

"Ok, Edward." She knows me almost as well as he does.

She paused then, not comforting me. Just letting me sit in my own
misery that now included making her sad about Christmas as well.

"Don't be sad mom. I'm excited to be home for a while." More lies.

"Don't lie to me Isabella Marie! I know where you heart will be all
week long." She sighed but then perked up, "Well, I don't even care if
you mope, I can't wait to see you anyway! And your father is pretty
excited too. You know, as excited as Charlie gets." Her laugh took over
then and I smiled at it. It was almost a musical sound as well, just not
as smooth or lyrical as Edward's.

I hung up soon after that and went over the next week's schedule in
my head again to make sure I had it right.

Rosalie leaves first on the 19th, then Emmett and Edward on the 20th,
then Alice on the 21st, then Jasper on the 22nd, then I head off myself
on the 23rd.

It sounds kind of ridiculous, doesn't it? You'd think they'd all


coordinate better since I was the only one able to drive everyone to
the airport. No. Communicating about things like airport schedules
wasn't this group's strong point. Grape Toss, dance parties, faux
weddings, forts, Halo, and Friends can bring it! But practical
scheduling - forget it.

Rose has to leave earliest because her family is spending Christmas in


the Bahamas this year. Well off, remember? Alice is going the 21st,
and Emmet and Edward were on the 20th, which was all reasonable.
The thing that probably makes the least sense is the Cullen boys' split
schedule. Emmett and Edward are leaving the 20th and Jasper the
22nd. I sighed as I remembered how much more clever Alice was than
I am.

"I can't be expected to carry all my luggage all on my own all through
the whole airport can I?" She pouted at me, reenacting her cute little
scene. I even fell for it for a second.

"That's what did it? That's all you had to say to get Jasper to stay a
few extra days?" My jaw didn't seem fair. I knew the real reson was
because he wanted to stay with her and I knew Edward would have
stayed longer if I had asked him to, but honestly I hadn't really
thought of it. I mean they were going home for Christmas, I assumed
Carlisle and Esme set up arrival and departure dates that worked for
the whole family.

So as it stands I will have one extra night here with just Jasper and I.
He said he could get a shuttle or something if I didn't want to stay in
LA and drive him to the airport, but that didn't make much sense to
me. Of course I would help him out.

Each day brought us closer and closer to the dreaded 19th when we
would be apart for a total of 2 whole weeks and 2 days. Rose was the
first to leave on the 19th and I was the last to come home on January
5th. My mother's birthday was the 4th so I was somewhat obligated to
stay through then. We were going to see "The Lion King" (you know,
the Broadway version) on her birthday and I was going to drive
straight back to Hollywood after that.
December 18th came and there was a show. The Holiday Show I guess
it was being called.

Alice dressed me in bright red and clapped when it didn't clash horribly
with my skin.
Edward made me blush by looking me in the eye for a moment during
one of their songs on a line that mentioned something about being
"red hot" and I smiled sheepishly.

When they finished their set and cleared their gear off stage we all
went outside to help load the jeep. We found this helped things move
quicker later on when it was time to leave.

Edward took my hand suddenly after I loaded a guitar case into the
open trunk of the jeep and drug me around the other side of the huge
vehicle so it blocked us from the view of people coming in and out of
the venue.

He pushed me up against the door and looked right into me, his green
eyes positively smoldering at me.

"Why would you do that to me?" He asked through the crooked smile.

"Do what?" I was smiling back idiotically because I didn't know what
else to do.

Yes, I had been kissing him as often as possible for nearly a week
now, but it's not like when we did that any of his God like perfection
rubbed off on me. He still had it all. He stunned me in this moment
just as much as he had the first day I saw him.

"Why would you distract me like that while I'm on stage?" He kissed
me slowly and then pulled away.

"I'm sorry," I laughed nervously when I could breathe again, and I


wasn't very sorry at all. Quite pleased with myself actually. "I was just
standing where I always do." I said it innocently and he smirked.

"I'm not just talking about tonight, love."

Gosh I loved when he called me that. He is always doing that to me


now. He's always saying things that make me wonder at how he sees
me that way. So differently from how I see myself.

We kissed again and then he released me some, walking us back


around the jeep to the others but keeping a hold of my hand.

"I'm sorry but I was thinking of that the whole show," he said to me
quietly with a smirk.
"No complaints here!" I raised my hands in surrender and he laughed
loudly, making me entirely happy.

Rose and Alice found me then and told me they were walking down to
the 7-11 a few blocks away for some snacks and stuff. They boys had
to stay and mingle and sell merch so we left them behind and began
our trek to the store, just the 3 of us.

We took our sweet time and sauntered back to the venue slowly, Alice
practically dancing the whole way as she showed us the sidewalk
version of her final dance number for school. Our graduation at school
was in January, about 2 weeks after the new year started. It's such a
weird time for graduation, we all speculated on that. But the thing is -
we went to acting school. Their motto might as well be: "Well it's not
real school at all so we can do whatever the heck we want!" At least
that's what it felt like.

We got back to the venue and waited for the show to end. No one felt
like hanging out at home so when we got back to the apartments we
decided to change, well I decided to change, and head to the beach.
Heck if I was wearing my "show look" to the beach. I grabbed the
maroon hoodie and my sandals, my hair curly hair the only survivor of
the "red hot" outfit from the show.

We drove to Santa Monica and parked then walked onto the sand. It
was incredibly dark and beautiful, still warm enough in a California
December to be there with just jeans and sweatshirts on.

We were all huddled around eachother just watching the water and
laughing at various things but then it got quiet.

I felt like we were all thinking about the separation coming up. Not
only that it was going to be for the holidays, but that someday it might
be permanent. Like this was just a preview of life ripping us apart for
good someday. I didn't like the feeling at all.

"Let's make a deal guys." Alice broke the silence with her little
voice."Let's promise that no matter what, 10 years from right now we
will meet back here. No matter where we are or what we are doing in
life we have to come back to this spot and hang out."

"Deal." I said too quickly.


"You don't expect us all to still be together in 10 years, Alice?" Edward
said behind me. He had his arms wrapped around me and was leaning
into my back.

"Well, I don't know. Not all 6 of us all the time like now. We have to do
something with our lives, right? We can't survive by hanging out
together in Hollywood for the rest of time, can we?" She was laughing
a little at that thought and it quietly spread throughout the rest of the
group.

"Maybe we could, if we found someone to sponsor us." Emmett


laughed.

"Like, we'd wear their logo around and be walking advertisements and
make appearances, and they'd paid for us to live together?" I asked
seriously.

"Heck yes!" Emmett laughed again.

"That could work, or we could become a traveling circus act." Rose


threw out sarcastically, mocking Emmett's silly sponsor idea.

"We could go deep into the south and hide out," Jasper said
mysteriously.

"Like in the underground railroad or something?" Rose laughed as she


said it skeptically, shooting down another silly idea.

"Oh yeah, can you imagine us showing up at people's houses in the


middle of the night, asking for shelter in their basements?" Alice asked
the group as more laughs broke out.

"No, no. I meant like witness protection. We could just take on new
identities. Stay on the move and law low. " Jasper defended his idea
and shrugged.

"We'd have to play music though Jazz, no way we can lay low doing
that." Edward was serious with that point.

"Oh yeah, man, music would still be involved." Jasper nodded with a
smile.

The mood was lifting now.


"We could make matching clothes out of curtains and run away from
real life to hide in the mountains, like the Von Trap family in the Sound
of Music." I laughed at my own joke and pictured Emmett in a pair of
floral patterened shorts and knee socks like the kids in the movie.

"We would be on tour forever!" Emmett boomed with satisfaction,


picking Rosalie up and spinning her around.

"Hey! We could finally form that band you guys made up in high
school." He looked at Jasper and Edward now, but they looked
confused. "Remeber? When mom and dad were planning on moving us
to Texas? What was that band called?" Emmett stopped spinning Rose
and looked at his brothers with laughter in his eyes as they both
remembered simotaneously.

"The River Bottom Back Door Band!" Edward and Jasper said it
together and then all 3 boys started laughing.

"What is that?" I asked on the edge of laughter myself.

Edward explained, "When we were in high school our dad was thinking
of transferring to a hospital in Texas so we were talking about moving
for a while. This was in the throws of the Maria era for Jasper," Edward
glanced to Jasper and Jasper dramaticaly shuttered at the name, "so
naturally he threw a little fit and refused to go. Nothing was certain
but he was still upset for days. He sat in his room and wouldn't talk to
anyone." Edward chuckled at the memory even though it sounded sad.

"I was moody in high school." Jasper shrugged it off.

"Anyway, Eddie decides to try and cheer Jasper up one day so he


comes up with this elaborate story about how living in Texas would be
fun. We could wear overalls with no shirts and chew on straw and play
music on washboards and stuff." Emmett was flailing his big arms as
he explained.

"He got me into the joke and we ended up forming a whole Texas life
for ourselves in our heads. We decided to form a new band, a 'Texas
appropriate band', and only play music with things you could cook and
or clean with." Jasper was smiling widely.

"I don't remember how we came up with the name of the band but we
made aliases from it as well." Edward smiled wider. "I was Johnny Bob
River Bottom and Jasper was Louie Draw Back." They were all
practically giggling now, or whatever the boy equivalent giggling is.

"What was Emmett's Texas name?" I asked through small giggles of


my own.

"Cletus!" Emmett said with pride and a heavy melodramatic Texas


accent. "Cletus Door Bottom, brother of Jon Bob River Bottom of
course." He stuck out his fist to Edward and they bumped them
together in the air as we all laughed at the enthuiasm of their story.

"We spent hours in Jasper's room that night talking in Texas accents
and writing songs for The River Bottom Back Door Band. It became the
running joke that if our parents really did move us to Texas, or
anywhere away from Forks for that matter, we would head down south
and forsake real life and become our new hick identities." Edward
smiled approvingly at the plan.

"Wow. So much information we did not need to know!" Rosalie


laughed.

"Awe Rosie, you wouldn't come to Texas with me and be Mrs. Door
Bottom? I wrote a song about her, you know. Well finding her
someday." Emmett leaned in and kisser her cheek.

"You wrote a song?" I raised an eyeborw. Emmett doesn't sing in the


band, ever. Apparently they really would change things up in Texas.

He nodded and Alice bounced a few times, "AH! We have to hear it!
Sing it now!" She was giggling and looking at all the boys hopefully.

"I don't think I remember it..." Jasper said uncertainly while he


thought.

"I might." Edward smiled.

"Oh I do!" Emmett laughed. He cleared his throat and started clapping
a beat out as he took a step back from Rosalie:

"Well I came on down to Texas, to get me a new lyfe,


I didn't think, however, that I'd be missing me a wife..."
He began the song in his thick, fake, ridiculous, Texas accent and
started bouncing his shoulers up and down in rhythm with the
clapping, making us all laugh harder and harder.

"I ain't got me a Chevy and I ain't got me no cow,


But down here in Texas I'll find all that some how,"

Now Jasper and Edward had familiarity in their eyes and they both
joined in the next line with their own hurrendous accents, appearing to
have remembered everything and suprisingly enough they even had a
bit of a harmony:

"You see all them flashy thangs can be paid fer with coins
But if you ask me what I'm wanting - what I'm cravin in my loins,
I've got one thang on my mind - one somethang fumblin' in my heart,
Deep down here in Texas I'm hankerin' for a brand new starrrrrrt..."

The last note was held out and Emmett was singing a very high
pitched comical note and then he let our a huge, "Yee haw boys! Bring
it home!"

All of us girls were silently dying with laughter, not wanting to


interrupt the performance. This was the most ridiculous thing they had
ever done. The chorus got fancy with Jazz and Edward singing back
up:

Em: "I need to round me up a wife!"


J & E: "Cletus needs a wife..."
EM: "I'm gunna lasso me a wife!"
J & E: "And she won't put up a fight.."
"So watch yer back boys, lock up yer ladies of you got 'em!
I ain't stopping my tour of Texas until I find the future Mrs. Cletus
Door Bottom!"

Alice literally fell into the sand in laugher when they ended and I was
hunched over trying to calm my breathing down. Rose was laughing
into her hand and the boys were cracking up as well, but in a more
proud and memorable fashion.

When Rose recovered she turned to Emmett, "Well, Cletus, I'm no


southern bell so I'm not sure how happy the south would be with Rosie
Door Bottom shakin things up."
I laughed at the image of Rose in overalls and suddenly got a picture
of all of us in plaid shirts and cut off jeans, having a hoe down and
raising chickens.

"Anything goes as long as we're together though, right guys? Even the
River Bottom band." Jasper mused.

"Yeah, we'd talk Rose into it eventually," I said smiling at her.

"We could be your Back Door Groupies!" Alice laughed and continued
to roll around on the sand until Jasper finally helped her up.

The laughter died out eventually and we settled back into the silence.
The mood was definitely lighter though, like having the fake back up
plan really did save us from having real lives someday.

"Man, we cannot do this beach thing in Forks." Jasper sighed looking


towards the crashing waves.

"Not even in the summer!" Edward mused beside me.

"Is it really that bad?" Alice asked. She loved the sun so much, it was
hard for her to imagine life without it.

"Yeah, it's practically the rainiest place in the world." Jasper laughed
and put his arm around her. "You would like it though. Shopping ins't
too far away so you would be inside all the time anyway." She giggled
and in a rare moment he leaned down and sweetly kissed her in front
of everyone.

Edward leaned down to me and I liked hearing the velvet again with
out Johnny Bob's southern twang tainting it's smoothness, "You aren't
going to react reflexively to that are you? With your bad habit and all?"
He smirked and I stuck out my tongue quickly.

"No, I'm fine thank you." I said it smugly and narrowed my eyes play
fully. I had given up fake gagging after that first day he caught me.

"Too bad." He sighed.

"Why is that too bad?"


More smirking, "because I was having a good time curing you of it."
He shrugged and turned to walk away from me towards the water,
denying me the kiss that was supposed to me my remedy.

"Oh no you don't Johnny Bottom!" I ran after him and grabbed his
shoulders, turning him around to give me some much needed "curing".

He was faster though, as usual, and he spun around first to start


tickling me.

When he relented I stood up straight and swatted his arm for attacking
me. He just laughed and put it around me.

That's when I noticed Rose was alone.

"Where's Emmett?" I asked her.

"Oh you know, he had business to take care of." She rolled her eyes
dramatically and pointed over her shoulder towards the ocean.

A few moments later Emmett came running up and the bottom of his
pants were soaked.

"Guess what I just did?" He sounded proud.

When none of us responded...

"I did number one in the ocean! The big relief in the big blue!" He
clapped his hands together and laughed proudly.

"Really? Number one Emmett?" I asked, not sure why I was so


surprised that he did it or that he still called it that.

"Heck yeah! It was f'kin awesome!"

The 3 of us girls looked straight at him then. It was more odd than
hearing the fake Texas accent and listening to him sing about rounding
up Mrs. Door Bottom. None of us really ever swore. We were ladies,
and I had been told that the boys "weren't raised that way". It made
sense once you met Carlisle and Esme.

But what Emmett just said wasn't even the whole word. It was just the
consonants. He skipped right over the "u" which made hearing it from
him even more unusual.
"Alright!" Jasper said suddenly, raising his fist to Edward. It seemed as
if another brother memory was happening.

They both looked delighted as Edward raised his fist up too and they
bumped them together.

"Cussin' day!" They said happily and in unison, just like when they
remembered the band name a few minutes ago.

"Excuse me, what?" Rosalie said looking to all 3 boys. You could see
the disbelief in all of our eyes as we watched the boys act exactly like,
well, boys.

"We started it when we were younger. This was way before the River
Bottom Band. We knew there were certain words we shouldn't say,
because mom told us not to, but Emmett would always try to get
Edward and I to say them anyway to get us in trouble." Jasper started
explaining to our blank faces.

"I was me so of course I never gave in and said them when I knew
that our mother had already told us not to." Edward smiled a proud
smile that still looked a little too boy-filled.

"So I made up Cussin' Day!" Emmett proudly proclaimed and then


they all looked at us like everything was explained.

Nope. Living in Texas, raising chickens, lassoing wives, and playing


washboards made more sense than this. This memory's humor was
lost on us girls.

"And this...Cussin' Day... it's a happy thing?" Rosalie was representing


us girls, trying so very hard to understand.

They all started laughing then.

"It was good for me! You should have seen proper little Edward and
quiet little Jaspie over here telling my friends to eff off., not knowing
what the heck it meant."

They were still laughing at memories and we were still confused as to


why it was such a great thing.

"So you'd have days where you'd all just sit around and say bad words
to each other?" I asked with a raised brow. "That seems productive
and wholesome." I nodded my head theatrically and my heavy
sarcasm was making Edward nervous, I could tell by the way his smile
faltered a little.

"Well you see, Emmett made rules so that we still wouldn't say the
words in front of our parents and then tell them he told us it was ok
and in turn get him into trouble. So he told Jasper and I that whenever
he said one, we would know that it was ok. It became a game of sorts.
As we got older and we knew what was really going it sort of evolved
and continued, and if Emmett slipped out of anger or somthing we
would return to the game and start to keep score to see who could fit
the most words in during the next 24 hours and still not get caught by
anyone outside of the 3 of us."

Their smiles turned sweeter as if they just told us the story of Emmett
helping them rescue a kitten out of a tree or something.

No. We were still talking about their brilliant Cussin' Day.

"Clever." Alice snorted with as much sarcasm as I had ever heard her
have.

"So why not say the whole word then? You left out the u if I remember
correctly." Rose was just egging them on now.

"It doesn't feel as dirty." Jasper shrugged and the mood got awkward
when nobody said anything more.

They weren't laughing anymore because it clearly wasn't as


entertaining as they thought it was to people outside of their little
Cussin' Club. Maybe they should take on the rules of Fight Club.
Namely the first one.

After that the ambiance of the beach was a little ruined so we headed
home.

I ended up in Edward's room that night as he started to pack and I


was just laying on his bed as he moved around his room.

"So... this Cussin' Day thing..." I started with a smile, knowing he


wouldn't want to talk about it with just me.

"Bella, don't."
"I'm just wondering...did you ever win a day?" I was holding in
laughter as I watched him shift uncomfortably. It was amusing, he was
usually so confident and gracefull.

"I don't remember, can you hand me that shirt?" He sped by his
answer and tried to distract me with his own question.

I handed him his shirt and continued to stare at him.

"Why don't you want to talk about it with me?"

"There's nothing to talk about, it's just a stupid thing I do, or did, with
my brothers. It hasn't come up in ages so it's nothing." He wasn't
looking at me, just down at his bag.

"Edward, seriously, you can't even look at me. I don't like that." I gave
him a sad face, knowing it would work.

He looked up then and his shoulders slumped in defeat when he


registered my sadness.

"What do you want me to say Bella? I dropped the "F Bomb" 36 times
in 24 hours and it felt great? It was a stupid game we played in high
school." He sounded kind of annoyed. This wasn't what I wanted.

"Is that annoyance I detect Edward Cullen? At moi?" I put my hand


over my mouth in dramatic surprise and finally got his smile to break.

He climbed onto the bed, half on top of me, and let himself relax.

"It's just weird to talk about with you." He laid his head down by my
neck and sighed.

I let my fingers find their favorite spot in his hair and I started running
them through the bronze mess, knowing it would confort him. "But
why? We've talked about so many other ridiculous things-"

"Because I don't want you to view me differently because of this Bella.


I don't want you to think of me as some mindless guy that thinks
saying some absurd word is amusing. That's so elemantary, it's so
crude, its-"

I cut him off my pressing my lips to his.


"Why did I get that?" He looked confused but pleased as I pulled away.

"Cause you're cute when you think that your gentlemanly ways are
being threatened." I smiled at him and was glad I finally understood
his odd behavior. He still looked unconvinced.

"So what if you and your brothers have guy moments Edward? You're
guys. I'm not going to view you differently. As long as you don't start
calling me your 'boo' or something I'm fine with the words that you
have been using up until this point." He chuckled and ducked back into
my neck and kissed it once. "You will always be a gentleman to me.
Besides, we've never told you this, but Rose, Alice, and I have Drinkin'
Day."

I practically felt him roll his eyes but I didn't stop. "Oh yeah, and
Gamblin' Day, and Sleep Around Day, and Smokin' Day..."

"Bella..." He kept his head down and laughed my name out but I didn't
stop.

"No really! The second Rosalie takes a shot, pulls a slot, drops her
pants, or lights up - it's on! The rest of the day is devoted to whatever
black moral crime we can committ." He was laughing fully now, which
was good.

"You don't view me any differently now because of all that do you?" I
looked at him seriously. "I'm still your Bella after all."

"Yes you are." He smiled and kissed me. "I'll take you, black morals
and all." Then he wrapped his arms around me and rolled us over so
he had his back on the bed and I was laying on him.

I put my head down on his chest and he stroked my hair and it was
just us laying there without and words for a few moments.

"I'm going to miss you." I confessed sadly.

"I know. You should really just come with me. We could send Emmett
to Arizona instead. I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to fool him into
going." We both laughed and I sighed.

"I reaslly do wish I could go with you though. Finally see Forks."
"I should just kidnap you. My mother would love that!" He smiled at
me widely.

"Mine wouldn't."

He sighed. "Next year then. You and your parents should come up to
Washington for the holidays! My mother would approve, she loves to
entertain. Plus, they all have to meet sooner or later, right?" He looked
at me with a nod and I nodded back.

"Right." Now I sighed. "Next year then." That will have to do.

"And the year after that." He added.

"And the year after that." I smiled.

"And forever after that."

He started laughing sweetly then and kissed me quickly before getting


up and packing some more.

Emmett decided to take Rose to the airport the next day, which made
more sense than the original plan of me doing it. Like I said, we
weren't the best at thinking of practical things.

I had to take Emmett and Edward the day after that, which was
horrible.

It was raining that morning before we left which was an ironic send off
for California to give to the guys before they headed back to the
always wet Forks.

I parked the car and Emmett got out quickly to check in his bags,
sensing the sappy goodbye that was to come. I looked after him for a
second. At least the rain had stopped.

Edward wasn't ready yet. "Walk me in?" He asked eagerly.

"Yep!" I wasn't ready either.

The goodbye went by too quickly, of course. I promised myself I


wasn't going to cry and I didn't. It was only going to be 15 days after
all. I'd gone 33 without seeing him before, and a then jillion more after
that when he was the black hole. It was like using the patch after
quitting cold turkey. The only thing was I had no intention of quitting
Edward after the patch expired.

"You're going to be ok then?" He teased me as I flung my arms around


his neck one last time and explained my 33 days to 15 theory.

"A-ok. This is as easy as pie. No wait, I don't like pie. Easy as cake." I
buried my face in his neck then, to get as much of the sweetness as I
could, not backing up my "easy as cake" theory at all.

"Easy as coffee cake?" He teased again, no doubt trying to keep my


light mood going.

I groaned. "Oh man, I'm going to have to live without the free coffee
cake for 15 days too!"

We both laughed but never let go of eachother.

"15 days Isabella, nothing's going to change. Absence makes-"

"Don't say it Edward." I warned, cutting him off. This was proving to
be harder for me than I thought it was going to be for some reason.
"Don't talk about my heart growing fonder of you, if I squeeze any
more love for you in there I swear it's going to burst. I'm on full Mr.!"

He squeezed me tighter then and breathed into my neck creating a


wonderful sensation down my spine.

"So do you want to grow a backbone and be the stronger one, or


should I?" I could hear the smile but it sounded sad as well. He had
learned to joke through pain from me.

"You take this one." I said sadly, clinging to him even harder.

He chuckled at waited for a moment while the invisible backbone grew.


Then he sighed.

"You have to let go of me, love, I don't think they will let me take you
as a carry on."

"I will. I'm mentally preparing." What is wrong with me? This shouldn't
be so hard.

He chuckled but made no move to leave either.


"Hey love birds, they're boarding first class. Eddie, swap the spit and
lets go!" Emmett was as sensitive as always and quickly walked away
from us and over to the boarding area where the line was starting to
move.

"Bella..." His voice sounded tor sweet.

"No Edward. Don't say someting horribly romantic and make it worse
for me. Backbone, remember?" I was in a death grip now. Or so I
thought.

He reached up and unlocked my arms from his neck, bringing both of


my hands into his.

"I don't want to leave you either Bella. It's just Christmas. 15 days."
He looked into my eyes and I memorized the green again for the
umpteenth time.

"You do know last time you went home you told me you were marrying
another girl, don't you?" Huh. Is that what this is about? I didn't even
hear that thought in my head before it came tumbling out.

"Is that what you're worried about?" He looked shocked now. His eyes
got wider and then shut tightly as he pulled me into him again, the
backbone shattering instantly.

"Bella, no! My God- Please don't think like that. Last time I went
home...last time was all wrong. I wasn't complete last time. I was
confused." He was talking quickly, frantically almost.

"I'm sorry Edward, I don't know where that came from. I guess I...
don't know. I'm sorry. I'm fine, I promise." I couldn't think of what
else to say. His panic had calmed me actually, and saying it out loud
had seemed to drain the worry out of me too.

He pulled away to look at me again and put his hands on either side of
my face. He sighed and smiled smally.

"We are hopeless aren't we?" He shook his head and we sarted
laughing at ourselves. He kissed me once. "Bella, I am so entirely in
love with you I constantly have to fight it from taking over everything
I do every minute of everyday. These 15 days won't be any different."
I nodded and he nodded back then he kissed me one more time,
longer, then walked away.

"Bye Bellarina! Love you sister!" Emmett boomed over the airport
crowd as Edward got to his side.

"Goodbye Emmett!" I wave at them both and smiled confidentially.

15 days. Bring it.

When Alice left we had another epiphany that Jasper should just use
my car to take her to the airport. This gave me a few hours to just
relax and hang out by myself. Which was the worst idea ever.

I laid helplessly on the Love Sac the entire time he was gone staring at
Friends but not really watching. Being alone no longer suited me.

"How did it go?" I asked when he finally walked in the door. "Tearfull
goodbye?" I smiled jokingly, I couldn't imagine Jasper crying.

"Hardly." He did sound sad though. "She was upset because she forgot
to pack her "plane jacket" in her carry on so we spent a lot of the time
going through her 4 different suitcases looking for it." He shook his
head and I laughed. Of course Alice has a plane jacket.

Then he sighed and said, "I actually found it right away but ignored it
and kept looking for a while so I could spend a few more minutes with
her."

He smiled apologetically and I laughed a bit then said, "Oh Jasper,


come wallow with me. The Love Sac is good for that." I patted the spot
next to me and he walked over and flopped down. He sunk in next to
me and we laid there for a while not talking. We were pathetic, but we
were pathetic together.

Friends went on for another episode or 2 and besides the small


laughter we both had we were silent.

"I miss Alice." He sighed finally after the DVD stopped because we had
reached the last episode.

"I know what you mean." I goraned. Now we were laying in silence
just staring at the blank TV.
It got a little awkward then. Jasper and I were close, like we all were.
But he and I never really had that much time when it was just he and
I. We'd spent a couple days here and there where we would lounge in
a living room and watch Lord of the Rings or play Halo, but we now
had a whole night. It was only 6pm and his flight didn't leave until
5pm the next day.

"This is ridiculous Jasper." I said after about 5 more minutes of


wallowing. "We don't need them for fun! We are the funnest 2 in the
group anyway." I looked over and smiled at him.

He laughed and looked back. "We are, aren't we?" I nodded and we
laughed some more to cure the silence we had been sitting in for so
long.

"Hungry?" He sat up suddenly.

"Sure!" I responded quickly.

We got up and he threw me my keys and we bolted out the door.


Maybe a change of atmosphere would get rid of the wallowing.

We decided to get pizza at this little place down the street that had
these amazing things we called Heart Attack Balls. They had a real
name but I don't know it. It was a ball of the dough stuffed with
cheese. They were greasy and fattening and delicious. It was the only
real reason for coming to this pizza place over any other one. My
obsession with the cheese balls was slightly embarassing so I tried to
supress it when we started to form an order.

"Um, peperoni?" I asked for the 3rd time. We had gone through the
pizza topping menu many times now, neither of us committing to
anything.

He shook his head. "Bella, I have to be honest with you, I couldn't care
less about the pizza. I really just want those Heart Attack things"

"Oh thank God, me too!" We laughed at ourselves and ordered far too
many orders of the cheesy wonders for just 2 people.

The lady at the counter eyed us suspiciously when I paid and I found it
odd because the order was funny to us, but not all together that
unusual.
"What was that for?" I asked him quietly after she walked away.

He chuckled and stuck his hands in his pockets casually. "Well


yesterday I came in here with Alice and she paid for our lunch. And the
day before that I came in here with one of my co-workers, Charlotte,
and she paid for that lunch. Now I'm in here with you, and you paid so
this lady has served me for the past 3 days and she's seen me now
with 3 different women. All who have paid for me."

"Oh. That's pretty funny Jasper." I could only imagine what this simple
woman probably thought of Jasper and his many paying ladies.

We were both laughing silently now and I got another case of the
giggleberries because of it, which passed right on to Jasper. I had to
lean on his shoulder for support when the lady came back out and she
continued to look at Jasper like some criminal, which made the
laughter worse.

We finally got our Heart Attack Balls and we sped away with them,
bursting through the door and letting our laughter loose all the way
home.

We got back and fell to the floor and ate there quickly, saving
whatever we couldn't finish for later.

We were both laying flat out on the floor as we finished our last ball for
round 1, both of us too full of bread and cheese to really move.

"I feel gross." I moaned.

My phone started ringing and I smiled as I answered it.

"My Edward!"

"My Bella!" The phone version of the velvet greeted me and my heart
became as full as my stomach.

"Oh man! I am so satisfied right now, it is incredible!" Jasper was still


rubbing his stomach and reveling in the aftermath of the food. He was
doing it rather loudly though.

"What exactly are you doing right now Bella?" Edward asked
skeptically.
"Um, laying in the middle of the floor with your brother."

"Your very satisfied brother!" Jasper lifted his head towards the phone
and yelled into it and I smacked his arm at his joke making him laugh.

"Uh-huh." Edward mused. "Enjoying yourselves, are you?" He was


holding back a laugh, I could tell.

"You know, we're making the most of what we have." I answered


casually and Jasper lifted his head to the phone and whispered, "yeah,
eachother..." into it seductively. I was seeing a very unleashed side of
Jasper I had never seen before, it was kind of fun.

"Did you get Jasper drunk?" Edward asked with an amused chuckle.

I laughed back. "Nope, not at all. But I'm beginning to think that
cheese is to Jasper as pina colada is to Emmett. We had Heart Attack
Balls for dinner."

Jasper was good after that and laid on the floor silently. I sat up to
finish my conversation with Edward but it didn't last long.

"Call me later, before you go to bed," he suggested that so I could


keep Jasper company.

"So what do you want to do now?" I asked Jazz when I hung up the
phone.

He sat up too and shrugged. "I don't know. We can do what we usually
do. Though I'm pretty sure you and I could act out the entire Lord of
the Rings trilogy by now!" He chuckled and I laughed a little louder
than necessary.

"Funny you should say that..." I trailed off still laughing.

"Why?" He asked me with a confused look.

I shouldn't have brought it up, the excessive amount of cheese must


be clouding my better judgement.

"Never mind, it's nothing." But I was still laughing and he was looking
at me suspiciosly.

"No way, why are you still laughing?"


I sighed. I could trust Jasper, right? We were kind of having a bonding
night.

"Ok, but you have to promise me that you will not tell anyone. Not
Alice, not your brothers, no one." I looked at him seriously and a smile
overtook his face.

"Ok." He said hesitantly.

I gave him another serious look then got up and went into my room. I
opened the bottom drawer of my night stand and then dug to the
bottom of that until I found the small DVD case I knew would be there.
I walked back to the living room and put the DVD in the player then
turned to him.

"I'm only showing you this because I think you will appreciate it. It's
going to be embarassing though." I smiled sheepishly and his
deepend.

"Belle you didn't do a Lord of the Rings adult film did you?" He wiggled
his eyebrows and I blushed instantly and smacked his arm.

"No Jasper! Ugh!"

He was cracking up and rubbing his arm like I actually hurt him. "I'm
sorry, I couldn't help it. It's just the way you were setting it up...you
make it sound so scandalous." I started laughing then and realized he
was right. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. Please, go on." He
shut his mouth in a show of his good behavior but his bright blue eyes
were still laughing at me. I continued anyway.

"Ok. In high school we had this project we had to do for one of my


acting classes. It was a film acting project. You had to create a parody.
My 2 partners and I decided to do a Lord of the Rings parody..."

His face lit up and he said, "Oh no, this isn't it is it Bella?" He pointed
to the DVD and actually looked excited, which gave me confidence.

"Unfortunately it is." I laughed a little. "I play 5 of the 12 characters


actually, since there were only 3 of us working on the project. Mainly
we focus on Sam and Frodo and Gollum, but we had to do the opening
scene with all 12 characters for comedic and story purposes."
He pursed his lips in anticipation now and I turned the TV screen on to
the opening shot. I turned it off again right away.

"Remember this is high school, completely low budget, no formal


acting training-"

"Bella just play it! It's going to be great no matter what, it's a good
idea." The look he was giving me was excited and encouraging and I
appreciated Jasper a lot in that moment.

I started it and hid my face initially. Then I started laughing along as it


went on and on. I forgot how much I had enjoyed it. Jasper laughed at
all the right places and completely appreciated every parody that flew
across the screen like only a true fan could.

When it ended I knew my face was at least a little red and I turned to
him sheepishly.

"That was great Bella, really. So funny. I didn't know you were that
funny." He was finishing laughing and I was flattered.

"Thanks. It's still embarassing though. You cannot tell Edward, Jasper!
He will beg me to let him watch it and there's no way I'm ever letting
him see this! He does not need to see his girlfriend running around as
a hobbit!" As I said it I was overtaken with laughter with him. I
couldn't imagine Edward understanding. He had seen the movies all at
least once but he was no fantasy buff like Jasper and I.

"I won't tell him if you really don't want me to, but he would love it no
matter what because you are in it." He looked at me sincerely with a
smile.

"Yeah that's true. He would probably say something like 'You, love, are
the most alluring hobbit this side of Rivendale'." I mocked a deep voice
for Edward and Jasper broke out laughing at my tease. "Which would
be a load of crap because Hobbits are not alluring in the slightest."

"He would say something like that. But it's better than what Emmett
would say. He'd say something ridiculous like, 'Those elf chicks are
hot, the femmie boy elves don't deserve babes like that'". He puffed
out his chest when he did his impression of Emmett and we laughed
harder.
"Then Alice would probably complain about how their combat boots
don't match their war paint on their faces."

"Oh yeah," Jasper agreed. '"I love her to death, but I can hear her
know, 'Jazzy? Why do the big ones have to be so dirty? Didn't they
have water back then?'"

He did a little voice for Alice and I fell over laughing. Who knew we
would bond even further at our friends' expenses?

"Who are we to tease though?" I said still laying on the floor after I
finally finished laughing. "We are the ones upset at them because they
don't understand Lord of the Rings!'"

We laughed a little longer at ourselves then. I really did feel closer to


Jasper, it was nice. Laughing always bonded me to people. There's just
something about sharing that much joy with someone that brings you
together.

"Oh man. This night has been so random." Jasper got up and took his
regular spot in the bowl chair and I climbed into the Love Sac.

"Yeah, it really has. I never thought I would show anyone that DVD. I
keep it because it's a good memory, but it's not my best acting or
anything."

"Wait a minute, I got to see you act before Edward!" He smiled


proudly.

"I guess you did. But you aren't allowed to tell him about it so it
doesn't really count." I looked at him sternly, reminding him of his
promise.

"Oh yeah." He looked let down. "Either way I still got the first look. He
would hate that, I bet. He's really in love with you, you know?" He
smiled at me but I was kind of surprised at how he just threw it out
there.

"Um, yeah, he's told me."

"Ha. Good. You know it's not weird for you to be so sad to be away
from him, Bella. Even for this short time. You guys just got into really
being toghether, you probably don't feel like it's been long enough at
all." He was being serious now, comforting. I appreciated it.
"Thanks Jazz. It does kind of feel that way. It's like, right when I make
progress with him in our relationship something pulls us apart in one
way or another. I know this time nothing will change, but I guess it's
odd because I'm not a part of his life in Forks." I shrugged it off as he
listened.

"That makes sense. It's weird for me to think of Alice back home with
her family and friends that I don't know."

"Yeah, but last time Edward was home he decided to marry Tanya so
him being in Forks leaves me with bad memories." There it was again.
I wasn't upset or worried, just working through why him going home
without me caused such a bad reaction in me.

"Oh, right. I forgot about that. That was the stupidest thing my
brother has ever done. You know that wasn't anything serious, Bella.
They spoke about it for about 10 minutes, if that. He told me about it
afterward. They were at the river or something and she was asking
him about his plans for when the band failed-"

"Ugh." I scoffed. That was rather unsupportive.

"I know..." Jasper rolled his eyes, "I guess he said if the band didn't
make it he knew he would end up back in Forks. She took that as an
opportunity to go on and on about how she saw her life going for the
next 10 years or so, and how if he planned to be a part of it he needed
to know marriage was included. He of course agreed, being the good
boyfriend he was to her, and that's where he got that silly 'I'm
marrying Tanya' stuff from. It was literally nothing. Just her telling him
what his life would be like with her after he failed horribly at his
dreams." Jasper looked angry now and I understood why Emmett had
once said he rather have me as a sister instead of her.

"That is so wrong." I almost whispered."That's probably why he


sounded so dead when he told me about it."

"Exactly." Jasper siad confidentially. "His plans to marry her didn't


correspond with what he really wants to do with his life. He couldn't
have both and he assumed he had to choose. Clearly he chose poorly.
He had that ridiculous 'I have to save this relationship' complex with
her. She's not exactly a bad person, Bella, but Tanya knows how to
manipulate people, especially people she knows inside and out."
Wow. This new information was making me sick and comforting me at
the same time. When Edward talked about marrying me the other
night it was through his own free will. Sure I had asked him about his
feelings about the faux wedding to lead into the conversation, but he's
the one that declared it would be me he would sing his vows to.

My heart swelled as I realized how different the 2 situations were, and


how very much alive he was when he had been softly telling me about
how he envisioned his wedding. It was the exact, extreme opposite of
how he sounded when he spoke of marrying Tanya.

"Tahnk you Jasper, you don't know how good it is to know that. Not
that Edward went through that... just the truth I guess." I smiled and
he returned it.

"Anytime sister."

I raised my eyebrow at his use of Emmett's term for me.

"What?" He looked amused and raised his arms. "I think of you like a
sister too, it's not just Emmett. Just because I don't shout it at you all
the time doens't mean I don't feel that way." He chuckled and I
laughed. Oh, Emmett.

"Thanks Jasper." It's all I could say without getting sappy and
ridiculous.

'"Oh, I should probably tell you..." he looked hesitant now.

"What?"

"Well, every year our parents throw a New Years Eve party. It's
nothing big, just a casual gathering of the people from town. But every
year Tanya and her family come..." He made an "uh-oh" face and
assumed I would catch on.

"So she's going to be there this year." I said it very blankly. I didn't
really have any emotions about it. I mean, I know Edward loves me.
He knew they would see eachother again and said it would be "civil".
But why didn't he tell me about it? He probably didn't want me to
worry. I bet my little comment in the airport didn't help. That's
probably why he freaked out so bad...
"Edward is going to ask our parents to not invite them this year, but
we're fairly sure they won't do that. They have been friends with
Tanya's family for years and my father is very, um, neutral when it
comes to the dating matters of his sons. Being the town doctor and all,
he gas to be pretty understanding with everyone." He laughed slightly
and shook his head. "Anyway, you have no reason to worry but
Edward's trying to dodge the whole situation to make sure he knows
you don't. I think you deserve to know though. In case you do want to
talk to him about it."

I sighed. "No, I think I'll let him deal with it. I trust him to tell me
when he's ready. Thanks though, brother."

We smiled at each other but didn't hug or anything like that. We just
heated up the rest of the Heart Attack Balls and spent the rest of the
night talking about the finer details of Middle Earth.

I called Edward before I went to bed like I said I would and then
missed him way too much after I hung up.

Tomorrow I drive the lonely road to Phoenix. Farther away from


Edward. Suddenly my favorite holiday song, "Home for the Holidays"
seemed way too ironic.

Oh Christmas. Again I ask, how did we let things between us go so


terribly wrong?

Chapter 29 - The Last Lie I Told

EPOV

"Good flight?"

"Good enough."

I had been elected to pick Jasper up from the airport because our
mother was too busy redecorating the kitchen before Christmas
arrived, our father was working, and Emmett was lazy. I don't mind at
all, however. Driving is nice. I miss driving.

The Volvo purred and the sound was still familiar to me as I gave it life
again and pulled away from the airport. I turned down the music a bit
so talking would be more convenient.
"Did you have a good night alone with my girlfriend?" I smirked at him
and glanced sideways and saw his smile break as well.

"Good enough."

Jasper laughed and I reached over swiftly and punched him in the
arm, which only made him laugh harder.

"What did you guys do? Is she ok?" The first question wasn't exactly
relevant. I'd heard all about their night of cheese foods, bonding, and
something about a parody of Lord of the Flies already from Bella when
I spoke to her as she drove to Phoenix.

Was she really ok though?

"Yeah man, she's fine. As fine as the rest of us." He gave a small
chuckle. The joyful sound faded and he sighed heavily. "I miss Alice."

"I know what you mean."

It was not one of our finer "guy" moments, it's true, but Jasper and I
were both ok with that. Jasper has a way of making you feel secure
about simply feeling. I've always appreciated that.

It was silent for a few moments and I was tapping my fingers along to
the song in the car until he spoke again.

"Hey Edward, I told her about Tanya coming over on New Year's Eve."

"What?"

Had I been a lesser driver I probably would have swerved when the
upset hit me. Jasper and his damn big mouth. No, wait, that was
usually Emmett... "Why?"

He shrugged nonchalantly. "I thought she should know."

"Don't you think that's going to worry her needlessly, Jasper? She
mentioned something about Tanya at the airport right before I left, but
I wanted to speak to dad about everything before I had that
conversation with her. I don't want her to start needlessly worrying
about something that she shouldn't if I could have avoided the entire
situation anyway." I vocalized my frustration with a loud sigh and a
possibly over dramatic smack on the steering wheel.
I wasn't exactly mad at him, I just didn't understand why he had to
say something before I did. I noticed my grip on the steering wheel
had tightened. I loosened it until my knuckles faded from the
unnatural shade of death-grip white back to their normal shade of
almost white, and I worked to calm myself down. I ran my hand
through my hair and pressed a little harder on the gas pedal.

"Eddie..."

"Edward."

"Yes I know, Edward. Look, the only reason I said something is


because she seems pretty fine with everything surrounding Tanya, just
a bit curious. I don't want you to spring something on her when she
can handle it all just fine. You don't have any reason to lie to her."

"I didn't lie to her at all!" Being falsely accused wasn't helping me
remain calm.

"Half the truth, man..."

I threw him and annoyed look.

No. I had not lied. I wanted Bella to be involved in every part of my


life, including the tiny fracture of it that still had to involve Tanya.
There was no lie in motion here, just timing.

I wouldn't dream of lying to my Bella. If Jasper was right and this


situation did count as some sort of convoluted lie it would be the last
one I ever uttered to her by mistake or otherwise. I would see to that.

My brother sensed my frustration and shifted in the seat next to me.


He spoke again with a lighter tone, no doubt trying to lift my sour
mood.

"I'm sorry if I accidentally meddled. It's your relationship, I get that.


Maybe Alice's influence is starting to rub off on me." He chuckled and I
smiled at his joke. "I am glad I got to talk to her about it though. I feel
like I understand Bella a lot better. We talked about a lot last night,
she's pretty cool."

He nodded his head at me, almost in an approving manner.


I broke an even larger smile at his assessment of my love. "Yes, thank
you Jasper. I'm pretty sure I've already registered just how 'cool' she
is."

The sarcasm of my tone reflected the way Bella's influence had


somewhat started to rub off on me.

I shook my head slightly and we laughed together again. "I didn't


mean to react that way Jas, I just want her to feel comfortable with
everything and I don't want her to act like she feels better about
things than she really does, you know?"

"Yeah... she is a good actress." He started laughing to himself then


and I didn't understand. We aren't exactly having a humorous
conversation.

"Why are you laughing?"

"Because, Bella...and acting... and...ha...oh man... Bella Baggins..."

He lost it then and I was just looking back and forth between him and
the road trying to put his nonsense together. Who is Baggins?

"Jasper what are you talking about?"

"What?" He looked at me and his eyes were still half shut from
laughter but he was recovering from the fit.

"Well, we were discussing Bella and then out of nowhere you started
laughing and mumbling broken sentences like one of our father's
'unique' patients."

"Sorry, I can't tell you." He smirked evilly.

I glared at him. This concerned Bella, I should probably know.

"Fine, I'll tell you in a minute, but first things first: Did our parents
agree to conveniently not invite Tanya and company to New Year's?"
He looked over curiously but he asked me in a tone that hinted he
already knew the answer. It was almost mocking.

"No."

"Didn't think so."


Jasper sighed for me and turned back to watch the road ahead.

"Talk to Bella, Edward. Sooner than later. It's not a big deal if you
don't make it one. She can handle it."

He is right, I wasn't giving her enough credit. I don't try to be that


way. I just promised I wouldn't hurt her again. I don't want to do it
now, especially over the holidays when it already hurts to be apart.

I nodded and Jasper reached out and turned up the music, a sign that
the conversation was over and through with. He'd done his part.

"Wait, what were you laughing about a minute ago? You said
something about Bella's acting and a bag?..."

The laughing fit came over him again so I waited.

"Alright Edward, I promised Bella I wouldn't tell you but, ha, you are
not going to believe how funny she is. Listen to this..."

Chapter 30 - The Roads You Can Take

"Come on Edward... if you don't make your move in the next 2


minutes and 26 seconds I'm going to sleep. For real this time."

Here I am, laying on my bed near the middle of the night waiting for
Edward to call me.

No, I'm not actually speaking to him yet. I've been threatening him
like that out loud to myself for about 26 minutes now. He said he
would call at 11:30 tonight and it is definitely almost 11:58.

Ever since 11:30 I've resorted to flipping my phone around and around
in my hands while mumbling to myself about only giving him "5 more
minutes" before I just put it down and fall asleep. His loss, right?

Yeah, right.

So I'm currently counting down the last few minutes of the latest 5
minute time frame I've allowed him to have.

The last few minutes ran out and still there was nothing from my
beloved boyfriend.
"Alright, this is just dumb." I mumbled to myself and opened my
phone, flipped through to his name and hit send. I didn't have to ask
myself like I used to.

Girlfriends could call boyfriends.

I put a sour look on my face even though he wouldn't be able to see it.
We knew each other so incredibly well I was pretty sure he would be
able to sense it. I wanted him to anyway.

This is my first night home and I haven't talked to Edward since I


pulled in my drive way this morning at some horribly early hour. I
spent most of the day sleeping and we agreed to talk again tonight. So
I am nowhere near tired and nowhere near patient either.

Had this been a few weeks ago I would have laid on this bed
pathetically clutching the phone and biting my nails, letting the
sadness of being forgotten creep into my bones and take me over. I
would have let my imagination present me images of Edward and
Tanya reuniting, and touching, and forgetting anything like a Bella
even existed. A few weeks ago I would have been lost to despair by
now, but still would have waited all night for his call in a very
desperate fashion.

But this is not a few weeks ago, this is now. I have Edward's love and
he has mine. It's a little odd how knowing he miraculously feels the
same about me as I do about him gave me a new found confidence.

Tonight he's not my unattainable Edward that can hurt me with just
the wrong look in his eyes or tone in his voice. Tonight he's my
seemingly forgetful boyfriend who is about to own up to whatever he
put in front of me, his all to eager to speak to him girlfriend.

It actually took 3 rings.

"Bella..." The velvet sounded groggy. Still beautiful but with a few
ripples in it.

"Oh, so you do remember me?" I smirked through my sour scowl.


Hopefully he would hear both.

He chuckled but it was groggy too. "Wait, what time is it? Oh. Oh no...
I fell asleep!"
Ok, since when did the smooth voice sound so plain cute?

"Uh-huh. I didn't."

I was full on smiling now though because I could so easily picture him
at this very moment, waking up. The way he blinks a few times rather
rapidly when he first sits up after sleep. And then he runs his hand
through his wild mess of hair, which is even wilder right after he's
been sleeping on it, making it even more tempting. Then, when we are
next to each other at least, he looks at me and the crooked grin is still
sleepy when it takes it's place on his face.

Suddenly my small annoyance at him faded and I just missed him fully
and completely.

"Were you watching a movie?" I sighed as I asked.

"Yeah." He sighed back. We both knew he almost never made it


through them awake. "I'm glad you called me. I'd much rather be
doing this than sleeping." He was fully awake now, his voice was clear
and perfect and his tone was perky.

"I'd much rather you be doing this too. So, I'm assuming Jasper got
home alright considering if his plane crashed or something you
wouldn't be lounging around sleeping."

He gave a small laugh. "Yes he arrived all in one piece. I picked him
up from the airport actually. We had a good talk in the car... he gave
me an interesting piece of information about you, my love."

There was something in his tone that shouldn't be there but I couldn't
figure out what. Over confidence? No, that was almost always there.
Mischievousness? That was closer...

"What do you mean?" I asked carefully. These Cullens always had a


way of throwing you for a loop. "What could Jasper possibly know
about me that you don't...oh no." I knew the last 2 words were filled
with the dread that I felt.

No. He didn't. He wouldn't! He promised. That blonde back stabbing


son of a-

"What's wrong Bella? Or should I say, what's wrong Bella Baggings?"


I will kill Jasper. Mark my words.

"I don't know who Bella Baggings is Edward, so drop it." I made my
tone flat and serious.

"If I'm not mistaken that would be you, Miss Baggings. Am I


mistaken?"

I was incredibly red from the thought of Edward ever referring to me


as a hobbit and thinking of me running around the forest dressed as
one. I was incredibly angry at that backstabbing poor excuse for a
"brother" Jasper who ratted me out. I was also the tiniest bit amused
that Edward was so clueless to the ways of Lord of the Rings he kept
saying "Baggings" instead of the real name "Baggins".

"Edward, I said drop it. I'm not going to talk about it with you or
respond to that name. Ever." The scowl was back.

"I'm sorry, love. Would you rather Miss Hobbit?"

"Edward. Stop."

"Or would it be Miss Hobbitess? I'm not sure how that works..."

"Edward."

"I want to travel to Mountain Doom with you next time you go."

I didn't even reply. I just glared at my ceiling and tried not to correct
him when he said "Mountain Doom". It's just Mount Doom, duh.

"Miss Baggings? Are you still there? Do you get bad reception in Middle
Earth?"

I rolled my eyes and continued to glare as I laid on my bed in a pool of


anger. I could hear him chuckling at his own lame jokes.

"Bella? Are you not speaking to me now?"

I sighed into the phone and crossed my arms. No. I wasn't speaking to
him now.

"Well this is a first." He sounded a bit surprised. "Isabella the silent


treatment is very childish you know."
Oh yeah Edward, insulting me is going to me to talk to you. Brilliant
tactic.

It was silent on both ends for a few moments and I felt the mood
change. He was no longer chuckling.

"Bella, I'm sorry. Please speak to me again. I honestly thought you


would laugh." He was definitely worried. I've never ignored him
before. Good to know it has the right effect.

"Please say something? Anything. Be angry if you wish. We can talk


about anything else you want. Please, let me hear your beautiful
voice."

Damn him!

Charm was dripping from his last sentence and my body melted a little
into my bed. Anytime he complimented me like that I marveled at it.
He was so perfect but he managed to think things like that about all
my plain characteristics.

I wasn't done being mad though.

"Ok Edward. Let's talk! Let's talk about Tanya and New Year's Eve. I'd
love to hear more about that. Jasper likes to open his big mouth to me
too, you know." I smirked and felt satisfied with myself for a small
second but then was greatly displeased when he chuckled.

"Ah yes, Jasper told me you two discussed that issue. I spoke to my
father about that, by the way. I was hoping, given the circumstances
this year, we could forgo inviting them. I knew it was a long shot but I
had to try. Unfortunately they are still invited and most likely still
attending. I wanted to see if I could avoid the situation before
involving you. There's nothing to worry about though, I promise."

"I'm not worried Edward. It's more like annoyance I guess. It just
doesn't seem very fair that she gets to be there with you and I have to
be here alone." I had swiftly moved into pouting.

"Think if it this way, she will not be here with me at all. Tanya and I
will be existing in the same house, sure, but my heart, my soul, my
thoughts, they are with you."

"How do you do that?" I almost whispered.


"Do what, love?"

"Well a few minutes ago I was so mad at you for teasing me I wanted
to scream and rip my pillow open. Then you say something like that
and now I'm swooning over you harder than ever before. It's not fair,
at this rate I'm never going to win any arguments we ever have!"

We laughed together and then he spoke again, "I am sorry for teasing
you earlier but I couldn't help it. Jasper spent practically the whole ride
home from the airport describing this DVD you let him watch but
promised not to tell me about and I had to get him in trouble for
breaking his promise to you. I'm sorry but I also decided to have some
fun with it as well."

"Oh, I guess it's fine. Mostly because I love you and, again, I reiterate
the "me never winning arguments" thing. And also because you
weren't even getting the names correct in your jokes so it might not
even count as proper teasing anyway." I was the one chuckling now.

"I got the names wrong?" He sounded a bit upset with himself.

"Yes Edward, it's not Baggings it's Baggins. Frodo's last name is
Baggins."

"Baggins." He said it slowly and with concentration. He was taking it as


seriously as I was.

"Very good. And for the record I don't think you have to say hobbitess
ever again, and normally we just refer to it as Mount Doom."

"Hm. I think I can remember all of that. I know I will after you let me
watch the DVD at least." The smile was on his face, I knew it.

"Sorry but you will never see it."

"But Jasper got to see it!" Now he was the closest he ever got to
whining. It didn't matter though.

"No way Edward."

"Bella, I want to see it very badly! I've heard it's very good. Jasper
said you are very funny in it."
"Is that what you want? You want to see me be funny? I can do that
without showing you that DVD, I know a ton of jokes."

"Bella..." he was amused at least.

"What do a grape and an airplane have in common?"

I could only hear a chuckle.

"Come on, you wanted funny so I'm giving you the funny. What do a
grape and an airplane have in common Edward?"

"I don't know my Bella, what do a grape and an airplane have in


common?"

"They both have wings...except the grape!"

I cracked up at myself. Honestly, that's my favorite joke. It's funny


because it makes no sense. It's funny because it's absurd.

Edward was silent.

"That wasn't funny at all." He sounded amused but bored. I stopped


laughing and pouted again.

"Of course it's funny! You just don't know how to appreciate fine
comedy."

"Show me your Lord of the Rings DVD." He was commanding now.

"No!" I was defying.

Silence.

"Why do you want to see it so badly anyway? Soon I'll be doing my


showcase for graduation and you can see me do real life acting. Isn't
that enough?"

I was almost pleading with him now. I was very comfortable with him
watching my final scenes in a few weeks, we'd been working hard on
them. I have been training for a few years now and I would be on a
stage with other trained actors. I wouldn't be running around in a curly
wig and baggy pants pretend crying about not having any more Elven
bread to eat.
"I can't wait for that, of course, but nothing will ever be enough! I
want to know everything about you Isabella Swan. Because every time
I get to know another thing about you, every time I get a peek into
something new, I love you more and more. You may have said you are
full and can't fit any more love for me in your heart, but I will never be
through filling up on you." I knew he wasn't trying to make me feel
bad about my "being full" statement from the airport, he was just
being honest. He wasn't speaking softly and sweetly, he was speaking
like he does when he gets very excited. And he was speaking of his
love for me!

"Again you prove me wrong Edward Cullen. Right when I think I can't
love you anymore you say things like that and my full heart makes
more room for you. I lied Edward. I am not full. I'm always finding
ways to love you more and more as well." I knew we were both
smiling hugely, sitting in empty rooms, looking like love struck fools.

The soft and sweet tone that had been lacking earlier took over now.
"You're really not full yet? You can find ways to love me more and
more?"

His question and tone intrigued me. It always seemed like I was the
one that was grasping for these small facts from him. I was always
craving his words of love and devotion because he is the perfect Greek
God come down to Earth to love me, the simple mortal. I guess I have
overlooked the fact that he probably liked to hear those words too. If
not for reassurance that plain old me will never stop loving him, then
for the sheer joy of hearing your love reflect your own feelings back to
you.

I could understand that. I could give him that.

"Well it's not very hard to find them." I giggled a little and I pictured
him smiling at my words. I let my own voice get as soft and sweet as I
could and continued, "I do believe that I love you more and more with
each breath that you take Edward. That's all it takes."

"Every single breath? I take them a lot you know. What about this
one?" His voice was play full and he breathed heavily into the phone
and I giggled again.

"More." I simply said.


"And this one?" The velvet turned deep and alluring. The breath wasn't
much different.

"More." My own voice was a bit deeper as well.

"This one?" He was practically whispering.

"More." I did whisper.

It was silent then and the only sound was both of us just breathing
softly.

"You don't know what that does to me Isabella. What you do to me. I
miss you so much. My love grows just as rapidly for you. Every breath.
More. More. More." He was soft and sweet and deep and alluring all at
the same time now.

I took a deep breath to calm my own overwhelming feelings. I missed


him too much. It wasn't normal.

"My mom is worried she's going to wake up one of these mornings and
I'm going to be gone and she's going to
find a note saying I ran away to Forks for the holidays." I was
lightening the mood before I got lost in the intensity of wanting his
arms around me.

He laughed lightly. "That's not a bad idea."

"That's what I said! She just rolled her eyes and put a padlock on my
door." We were both laughing now and I was surprised that it wasn't
true. My mother really had looked worried.

"We aren't very normal are we?" I threw out the question and heard a
small sharp laugh leave him.

"What do you mean?"

"I just feel like normal couples that meet in college and stuff are able
to leave each other for 2 weeks at a time and be alright. People who
meet at college are often from different parts of the country, and they
all fall in love and spend the holidays apart. I've never heard of it
being so hard though. I feel like I'm taking this harder than any
normal person should." I sighed and waited for his opinion.
"I suppose we aren't very normal then." He didn't sound too concerned
but I still kind of was. Is it bad how hard we were taking this? How
hard I was taking this small separation?

"Is that ok though? I feel like I should at least try to feel normal."

I kind of got the feeling he didn't think it was as much of a potential


problem as I did. It wasn't that I wanted to be normal or anything, not
a day in my life had I considered myself that. It was the fact that I
didn't want to worry my mother and father about my need for Edward.
I didn't mind it, but would it effect other people around me?

"We could try if you wish. I don't think there's anything wrong with the
intensity of our feelings, but I understand your concern. It may be
impossible not to miss me as much though." There was the cockiness
he liked to throw around every once in a while.

"Oh, now I'm determined to miss you less. Is it time to go yet? You're
kind of keeping me up." Here I was, being stubborn.

I smiled as he chuckled. His ego was attractive at times when it shone


through his music or the way he held himself. When he directed it at
me I always tried to play with it a bit.

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was keeping you." He was enjoying this
too, knowing I was bluffing completely. "Go fall asleep now, love."

Using my irresistible nickname wasn't going to work. "Ok, goodnight,


um, Edward, is it?" He laughed at my extreme joke.

"Goodnight Isabella. Try not to let your overwhelming thoughts of me


keep you up now." He was still playing but we both knew neither of us
was hanging up any time soon.

"I don't think I know what you mean, my regular boyfriend for whom I
have totally controlled and normal feelings for." I stated my joke but
didn't earn a chuckle this time, just an even more irresistible voice.

"I mean for you to try you very hardest to fall asleep without being
kept up by the thought of how much you miss my arms being slowly
wrapped around you..."

It worked. I instantly missed it 10 times more.


"...Or the way my lips feel when they are pressed against yours. Again
and again. Don't even dream of how we stare into each others eyes
right before those kisses. The way the fire burns between us and the
love is the deepest in those moments. Go ahead my Bella, be normal
and don't let those thoughts cloud your mind tonight, my completely
irregular girlfriend whom I miss a very abnormal and very uncontrolled
amount."

He won.

"You win. We will never be normal and I wouldn't ever want to be."

He laughed and his alluring tone was gone.

"Now hurry up and get yourself down to Phoenix before I explode from
missing all of those things so much it hurts!"

We spoke of lighter things after that, laughing and joking. We told


each other of ways we planned to spend our time, Christmas traditions
and all that. I told him about how my mom holds "open house" on
Christmas and all of our family and friends come in and out all day.
When I got around to how I usually play basketball in my driveway
with my cousins and uncles he laughed.

"What?"

"You play basketball?" He was clearly referring to my complete lack of


grace without straight up calling me clumsy.

"It's not impossible for me. I usually just cheat and jump on my
uncle's back right before he shoots. I do avoid running, and dribbling,
and shooting though. Ok, I just kind of hangout with them and yell
encouraging things and hold up my hands once in a while until
someone looks like they are actually thinking of throwing me the ball.
Then I hide."

He finished laughing at my basketball tactics then spoke, "I still find it


hard to imagine the weather being appropriate for a drive way
basketball game on Christmas. We even get snow every once in a
while up here."

"Is it very cold now?" I wondered. It was like 2 different worlds,


Arizona and Washington. Suddenly so connected by us.
"Mmm-hmm. I think it was about 50 today. Not bad for us, but you
wouldn't fare to well." He chuckled smally again and I shrugged to
myself. I probably wouldn't. I thought California got too cold
sometimes.

"Well it's good you took the hoodie then, you clearly need it more than
I do." I smiled and thought of him in the hoodie, our hoodie.

We decided a bit ago that we had joint-custody of the maroon zip up


since we had both taken to wearing it so often. I made him take it with
him on his trip though, since technically it was his to begin with. I'd
been hogging it for the past few weeks anyway.

He tried to fight with me and tried to make me take it over the


holidays but I refused. I put it around him and zipped it up as if that
was binding it to him until the new year.

"There." I said proudly and I stepped back from him.

He had been just standing there when I slung it around him. He looked
pretty adorable with the maroon zip up flung clumsily around his
shoulders, his arms not even though the holes but the zipper zipped
up his chest anyway. "You have to take it now. I zipped up my love in
it for you, to take safely with you." I had smiled at him widely and it
brought one to his own face and he couldn't disagree then.

That had quite possibly been the cheesiest thing I had ever said, but I
knew it was going to work to convince him to take his own piece of
clothing back. He had then put his arms through the holes and pulled
me into him telling me he would zip up his own love and give it back
the second we returned to Hollywood.

"Yes, I am glad I have it. But I was sad earlier because my mother
confiscated it from me this afternoon." I was brought back to the
present and I heard a sad tone in his voice.

"Esme took the zip up? Why?" And why is he so sad about it?

"She washed it." He spoke the words like the were a sad news story.

"Oh no! Clean clothes! Is your mother ok? Has Carlisle checked her
vitals?" I was laughing and he scoffed.

"Hush, Bella. It made me sad."


"But why? That's actually really nice of your mother." I was in charge
of my own laundry when I was home, that's for sure.

"Because when she returned it back to me your scent was almost


completely washed off of it."

"Oh." I finally got it. How sweet was this? He was sad that the hoodie
got washed because it no longer smelled like me.

Of course we washed it a lot in LA, but I always threw it back on


immediately after so I guess he never had a chance to occupy it
straight out of the wash without me tainting it first.

"I'm sorry, I guess." I didn't know what else to say. It was such an
odd thing to be sad about.

"It's alright, I'll just have to make sure I get more than enough of you
in it as soon as we get back." He did sound better as he had that
thought.

I enjoyed it too. "That sounds like a very good plan."

My body betrayed me then and I yawned, which set off Edward's


ridiculous reaction to whenever we were on the phone and he heard
me do it.

"Oh it seems it's bedtime for Bella."

"No I want to keep talking." I was actually whining, knowing I was


going to loose like always.

"We will talk again tomorrow, you need sleep. It's almost 2 in the
morning." He yawned himself then and I realized we were both
probably more tired than we were allowing ourselves to be.

"Fine." I sighed and crawled into the bed I had previously been laying
on top of. "Good night Edward Anthony." I let my voice get sleepy and
was glad he was the last thing I would hear before sleep took me.

"Goodnight my Bella. I miss you." He was speaking as soft and smooth


as ever.

"I love you." I responded with conviction and I smiled then pictured
the smile he kept only for me on his face.
"I love you too. More. More. More."

My heart swelled as he used what we had spoken about earlier to


remind me his love was only growing with each breath.

"More. More. More." I echoed back to him.

We uttered more small good nights and then I hung up appreciated


every single breath I took.

Christmas Eve passed without much happening. I spoke to Edward and


yelled at Jasper.

"You are a liar Jasper!"

I yelled at him the second I heard Edward pass him the phone before
he could say anything to me. It would probably have been a lie
anyway. Liar.

He just laughed at me. "Bella, I'm very sorry. I don't know what came
over me."

"Oh I'll tell you what came over you, betrayal! Betrayer!" I was
fighting laugher of my own, but I was still upset at the same time.

"You are nearly shrieking, you know that?" His voice was cool and
collected. I didn't anger him at all, which made me more angry.

Then I heard Emmett enter the room they were in and ask, "Dude who
are you talking to? Did Alice swallow a squeaky toy?" His laugh
boomed and I smiled at it. I missed that too.

"No man, this is Edward's phone," the liar informed him.

"Oh- that's not Bellarina is it?"

I heard movement and then, "Bellarina? What's up sister!"

"Hi Emmett. Merry Christmas Eve." I was happy to be talking to


Emmett, but still angry at the fact Jasper was totally unaffected by my
rage with his betrayal.

"Merry Christmas Eve indeed. Why are you yelling at Jasper? You
sound like a mating hyena."
I heard 2 laughs in the background. One pleased laugh from the
traitor, and my favorite one from Edward. It only fueled my anger
more.

"Emmett do me a favor and hit Jasper for me. Hard. It can be your
Christmas present to me."

"Ok." I knew he wouldn't question it.

I heard a loud thud sound and then a very annoyed "Ow, hey! Geeze
Emmet..." and then wild musical laughter erupted and I was still
ticked.

"Edward too, please." I asked Emmett sweetly. They both had a hand
in my embarrassment. They both needed to pay.

Not one second after I asked I heard another thud and a more
beautiful, "Ow! Damnit Emmett!"

The laughter died after that and even if they were holding it in so I
wouldn't ask Emmett to keep delivering the pain I was pleased with
the small revenge I had been provided with.

"Thank you Emmett! That was the best Christmas present I have
gotten yet!"

"Anytime sister. Maybe I'll slip a in few more later, just for good
measure, eh?" I agreed and we both laughed then I heard Edward in
the background.

"Ok, enough plotting mine and Jasper's demise, give me my phone


back."

That was the most exciting that happened yesterday. Today is


Christmas. Even though we may have had a falling out recently I was
determined to be civil with my favorite holiday when it approached.
We had a lot of history, you see. No sense in throwing that all away if
some of the relationship can be salvaged I suppose.

I went through the morning tradition of opening presents with my


parents, our small family of 3 huddled around the Christmas tree
opening presents in turn. It was a nice tradition and I gratefully felt
the Christmas spirit creep into me as my mom smiled non stop, and
even my dad had a sparkle in his eye every time one of us opened a
present and smiled widely. We drank apple cider and played Christmas
music in the background and my heart felt as full as it could without
Edward and the rest of my extended family around. The warm fuzzies I
had been lacking up until this morning were finally making their
appearance. Maybe there was a chance for Christmas and I after all.

There was a period of time between finishing present time with my


parents and the start of "open house" and in that time I found Alice's
name flashing across the screen of my phone.

"Alice!"

"Merry Christmas Bella!"

It was so nice to hear her shrill voice again. I hadn't talked to Alice
since she left, which had only been a couple days, but it felt pretty
long considering I was used to living with her.

"Merry Christmas Alice! How many small countries did your dad buy
you this year?" She laughed and we discussed what we really did get
for Christmas. We shared our plans for the day; I was waiting for my
family to arrive and hers already had. They had been there all week so
she was able to take time and call everyone today without being rude
to thier guests. soon we moved on to the other obvious topic: the
boyfriends.

"So I heard Jasper ratted you out to Edward. Something about your
little secret video thing." She snickered and I rolled my eyes. Everyone
knew now, didn't they?

"Ugh, it's starting to sound like something scandalous. Everyone just


needs to drop it, seriously. That's the only present I want from all of
you! No more discussing The Video!" We laughed together and she
promised never to bring it up again. I knew I loved Alice.

"So how bad do you miss Edward? Like on a scale of one to ten." I
kind of laughed at her question. Had it come from anyone but Alice I
would have scoffed it off, but she loved this kind of stuff.

"On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd say at least 105." She squealed at my


extreme answer. She was still very excited about everything to do with
Edward and I being in love. I laughed at her and then she agreed
that's about where she was at with Jasper.
"I talk to him everyday but it's just not good enough. Bella, I've never
been like this with a guy before! And we haven't even had sex yet!"

"Alice!" I was shrieking again but I couldn't help it. She said it without
warning! Not that I couldn't talk about sex, it was just we were talking
about her and Jasper...I didn't really need to know, you know?

"What? I'm just saying. Usually it's harder to be away from someone
when you miss that part of them too. But I haven't even met that part
yet. Little Jasper and I aren't even pen pals."

Now I was just confused and still weirded out. "Ok Alice, new rules. 1.
Warn me when you are going to bring up sex, I don't like screeching.
2. Warn me when you are going to bring up, um, Little Jasper. Again
with the screeching thing. And 3. Please explain the pen pals thing to
me because I'm not exactly sure how that even makes sense." I was
laughing now at how Alice's brain functioned sometimes.

"First of all, Bella, number 3 wasn't a rule, it was a question. And I'm
telling you right now I can't promise I will follow the first 2 rules. It's
perfectly healthy to talk about sex, especially with your closest
girlfriends. So how 'bout it? Have you met Little Edward yet? Are you
pen pals? Phone buddies? Friends with benefits?"

I was bordering between loosing myself to either laughter or


embarrassment. It was resulting in my face turning tomato red and
my breathing becoming shallow and ragged. "Alice, no! I am not
having this conversation with you. Especially not on Christmas!"

"What difference does it make? We can make the conversation


Christmassy if that will help. Have you unwrapped Edward's package
yet Bella?" She was giggling now and it was causing me to laugh,
which was not helping her take me seriously.

"Alice, stop!" I gave her more laughs to egg her on...

"Have you trimmed his tree? Have you...ate the pretzel?" Her voice
turned flat when she asked the pretzel question and I froze mid
embarrassed giggle.

"Ate the pretzel? That's a weird metaphor, even for you." I felt my
brow furrow and she stayed flat when she spoke again. She was also
speaking much softer.
"Sorry Bella, my grandma entered the room. She still thinks I'm holier
than the Virgin Mary so I had to change the subject quickly." Then I
heard her crunch into the phone.

"Are you eating pretzels?" I asked with a laugh, understanding where


her swift subject change was inspired from.

"Oh no Bella, that's still my question to you. Are you eating the
pretzel?" I could almost hear her winking at me.

"No Alice. I don't even like pretzels." I said it with as much boredom
as I could muster, hoping she would get the hint I was done talking
about sex, or things we were suddenly alluding to sex, and drop it.

"Did you just come out to me Bella? Because if you don't even like
eating the pretzel than that can only mean-"

I gave a very frustrated sigh and cut her off. "Ok Alice! You win! I
want to eat the pretzel someday...I'm just not hungry right now, ok?"

She giggled out of control because I had finally played along. I


returned to my nervous giggling and was pleased when the
conversation drifted to Rosalie and what we thought Christmas in the
Bahamas must be like. None of us had talked to her since she left
because she was not in a good area for cell phone usage.

I was much more comfortable with that discussion, I must say. I do


not particularly ever want to talk about sex. It's just not me.

No, I've never done it. Yes, Edward and I have discussed it. We both
want to wait until marriage. The nice thing is, we had that discussion a
few months ago when we were just talking as best friends. It was nice
entering into the relationship without that pressure. We already knew
we were both on the same page. Not that I didn't crave him that
way... but I would resist "the pretzel" until the fateful day he was
legally mine. Call it what you will, we both had a virtue complex I
guess.

Soon after I hung up with Alice my phone started flashing again with
my Edward's name.

"Marry Christmas, love." The voice was honey smooth today.

"Merry Christmas. I miss you."


He chuckled at how quickly I uttered the words and replied, "More.
More. More." with a sigh.

Apparently our new little saying applied to more than just our love
growing out of control. I missed him more with each breath too.

"How has your morning been?"

I retold him my day's events so far. The present opening, the


discussion with Alice. I left out the parts about Little Jasper and
pretzels, but I figured he would find out later when Alice told Jasper
and Jasper blabbed to Edward since apparently he had to know every
single thing Jasper knew. Yes, I may still be a bit upset with my
second faux brother.

"Bella, someone wants to speak to you, hold on." Edward sounded


joyful as he handed off the phone and I expected one of the boy's to
wish me a Merry Christmas next. I was surprised when it was a very
lovely female voice instead.

"Happy Holidays Bella!"

"Esme! I mean mom! Happy Holidays to you too! I miss you and
Carlisle." I was filled with warmth at the thought of Esme wanting to
speak to me. I hadn't spoken to her since Edward and I had officially
been together, and I really did miss my Washington parents.

"We miss you too, dear. Edward told me his plans of having you and
your parents up here for Christmas next year. I fully approve, Carlisle
and I would be thrilled to have all of you."

I beamed into the phone and tried to will the next year to pass in the
next second. No such luck.

"Thank you Esme! I have to run it by my parents still, but I think they
will like to change things up for a year. Especially since I plan on being
with you guys next year no matter what." I laughed lightly and she
joined me, her laugh closer to the music of Edward's.

Carlisle leaned in a wished me a Merry Christmas as well and had


Esme ask if the apartment managers were taking care of any needs we
had. Then I heard Emmett boom into the room in the background.
"Joy to the world! The turkey's done! I'm going to eat A TON!" The
deep voice was even deeper than usual and I assumed he was using it
to entertain his family with his redition of the Christmas classic, as well
as speak the truth.

I laughed along with Esme and the others I could hear in the
background then Esme asked my loudest brother if he wanted to
speak to me and I was handed off yet again.

"Bellarina! Feliz Navidad mi hermana!"

"Um, Feliz Navidad Emmett." The spanish was new. Little did I know
that would be the most normal thing he would say to me in the next
few minutes.

" Bellarina, did you know that if we lived in Venezuela we would have
been up all morning roller skating? I'd feel bad for the people who
spend Christmas with you sister, you'd take 'em all out before early
morning mass even started!" He chuckled a bit at his joke and I was
more confused than when Alice made her pen pal comment about
Little Jasper.

"Um, what Emmett? Roller skating and mass?..."

He never explained though, he just continued talking like I was adding


to the conversation.

"I'd probably move to Portugal for the holidays before Venezuela


though, because then we could start the feast early in the morning on
Christmas. I'd be able to eat holiday food all day long! Unlike some
places I live!" He yelled the last 4 words away from the phone and I
heard Esme yell back a stern "Hush! We are waiting for the rest of the
family before we eat, that's what we always do, Em!" and I could only
wonder at how many times she had already shooed him out of the
kitchen this morning.

And then, before I could ask him about his crazy talk of roller skates
and all day feasts he was off, "Sorry sister, I have to go, the cookies
are out and ready to give me their delicious Christmas present of their
deliciousness! Merry Christmas! Or as the Bohemes would say, ' Vesele
Vanoce'!"

Then he was gone.


I heard Esme start speaking sternly, "Emmett, no! I told you already,
you have to wait until everyone gets here! Emmett put the cookie
down!" Then I heard his booming laugh of victory fade farther and
farther away and I imagined he ran out of the kitchen with his prize.

My Edward was back with a soft chuckle to clean up the confusing


mess Emmett's conversation had left me with.

"Since when did Emmett become so confusingly worldly?" I scoffed a


laugh.

"Oh, yeah, that. He watched a special on "Christmas Traditions from


Around the World" last night on the History Channel. Now everything
is, 'in Spain they do this...', 'in the Netherlands they do that...'. Mostly
he focused on the countries that celebrate by eating all day, but a few
phrases and other traditions slipped in as well." He laughed then and it
all made a little more sense.

I talked to him for as long as possible after that, all the way until our
first Christmas guests arrived in Phoenix and it would have been rude
to stay on the phone. I hung up and turned my attention to my own
home filling with family and friends, holding on to the fact that I
should make the most of it since it could quite possibly be one of my
last.

One thing I learned over my holiday time in Phoenix: It is fun to tell


people about your incredible boyfriend.

Edward was my favorite subject. The good new is, he became every
one else's too. On Christmas day I got to gush about him hour after
hour, with encourgement from my mother the whole time.

"Oh Bell, tell Aunt Vicky about the song he wrote for you!"

My aunt and every single famle cousin I had were all crowded around
the little dining room table listening to every detail I fed them, with my
mother yelling things like that over to us from where she was busy in
the kitchen. I got the proper amount of "awes" and "ohhs" as I
traveled through the epic tale of Edward and I's love.

It didn't stop there. Everytime a family friend would visit over the next
few days I would have to spill my story again. I never got tired of
talking about it, and my mother never got tired of watching me glow
when I did.
One day, the 28th I believe, we were sitting outside after one of the
many "I need to see Bella before she leaves again" visitors left and I
decided I needed to have a conversation with my mother.

"So, mom. I have something I need to talk to you about." I started


slowly.

"Sure honey, what's going on?" She was still smiling at the millionth
retelling of Edward's promise to me about the white piano and the
musical vows.

"Well, it's about acting school and all of that... I, um, I don't really
know..." I wasn't sure how to start because I was afraid of
disappointing her in some way. She understood me rather well though.

"You aren't sure if that's what you really want to do anymore?" She
looked at me then, not with judgement or disappointment, she was
just waiting for my confirmation.

I nodded my head and looked down to my fidgeting hands in my lap.

"Bella, that's ok sweetie, you look ashamed."

"I'm not ashamed exactly, I just feel like maybe I wasted time and
money by going to school and then at the end of it all being like,
'Opps! Guess not'!" I threw up my hands and made a big exaggerated
face to be over dramatic.

My mother laughed at me and shook her head. "Of course you didn't
waste anyone's time Bell, have you even seen yourself in the past
year? Look at how you've changed from this whole experience! If you
had never chosen to go to Los Angeles you never would have met Alice
and Rose..."

"That's true." I mumbled.

"You never would have met Edward or the other boys either. Think of
that and then tell me if you feel like you wasted any time." She winked
at me and I smiled, seeing her point completely.

I sighed then, feeling better knowing my mom wasn't upset with my


ever changing mind. "The only thing is, I don't know what to do now.
I'm excited for graduation and the final showcase but I have no idea
what's after that." I looked at her again, this time for help instead of
acceptance.

"Well honey, that's the great thing about life. You have have limitless
roads to take! You are still young enough to be able to explore what
you want to do and be. I'm not worried about you, I think you are
perfectly normal for feeling this way at this age. Your father and I will
always support you in your exploring of life Isabella, I hope you know
that. Just make sure and tell us if you move to Bosnia to become a nut
maid or something."

"A nut maid, mom?" I laughed at her and she shook her head
frantically at me.

"I don't know, I fell asleep to the History Channel the other night and I
thought I caught something about Bosnian Nut Maids...or something."
We laughed together then and I started to fear the amount of
influence the History Channel was having on my family's craziness
level.

That night I was feeling a lot better about things. It was due greatly to
the conversation I had with my mom, and also slightly due to an
awkward discussion my father decided to have with me about my life
as well. He didn't open up as well as Renee, but we understood each
other so I managed to understand he was supporting me no matter
what I chose to do with my life, Bonsia Nut Maid option and all.

"...and I don't know what your mother was talking about with that
maid business, but if you want a future in the cleaning service I'm
good with that too."

I choked out a laugh and smiled at him. "I don't think the maids mom
is so intrigued with all of a sudden clean dad, but I'm really not
concerned about it anyway." I laughed awkwardly and he smiled.

"You're going to be with him no matter what though, aren't you?" He


grew more serious and awkward at the same time and I knew the
"him" he was referring to by the inflection he put on the word. He
didn't say it in a mean way, he said it in a fatherly way.

"That's actually the only thing I know for sure right now dad, yeah." I
looked up at him apologetically, afraid of what my father thought
about foolish 20-year-old love.
He just nodded and sighed, then pulled me into and awkward one
armed hug.

"We are more alike than you know Bells. I would have followed your
mother anywhere in the early days. Heck, I did!" He leaned down to
me then and almost whispered, "Have I ever told you how much I hate
the desert?" He pulled away and I shook my head. He nodded and
then looked towards the kitchen where my mother was. "Yep. Hate it.
I could have lived in Colorado. I had that choice open to me for a while
after we met. There's real weather in Colorado. Trees and mountains...
But when she decided this is where she wanted to be there was no
choice to be made at all."

He was silent for a minute then and I was just standing there, not sure
if I should move my arm up and hook it around him since he hadn't
moved his yet. I ended up just letting it hover behind his back while I
tried to make my decision quickly. It was nice to hear my father talk
about my mother that way though, awkward hug or not.

He sighed and finally dropped his arm from me so I could relax.

"Just make sure he takes care of you Bell. From what I saw on
Thanksgiving he's up to the job... I suppose that big one looks out for
you too though." He chuckled then and walked away, not even
needing conformation from me that Edward was indeed good at taking
care of me. Or that Emmett was pretty good at protecting me as well.

It was a few hours after that I received a call from a very, very
enthusiastic Edward.

"My Bella! How are you?"

He was like a child that had just consumed a bag of sugar.

"I"m great Edward. Thanks for asking... um, I had some good
conversations with my parents today. I-"

But he cut me off before I could tell him anymore, which was odd. He
never interrupted me.

"I'm sorry love, but I have to tell you something first! I promise we
will get back to that."
Remarkably enough in this new enthused state he waited for me to
respond and I slowly said, "O-K. What's going on?"

"I actually have 2 things to tell you. First, I saw Tanya at the store
today!"

Ok, weird. He spoke with enthusiam worthy of sighting The Beatles or


something. No. He said he definitely said he saw Tanya.

"Well that's just awesome Edward!" I replied with as much mocking,


sarcastic enthusiasm as I could. I made a face to myself about how
odd his excitement was over seeing her.

He laughed loudly, a product of the oddly placed crazy trip he seemed


to be on, and I waited. "She bought a truck! A big truck!"

I didn't have anything to say. Why am I getting Tanya Fun Facts fed to
me by Sugar Rush Edward? Where did the idea that Tanya owning a
big truck would bring joy into our lives come from?

Part of the crazy? Possibly. But what was making him so crazy?

"Bella? Are you there?" He was still speaking quickly and I was still
trying to figure out how the hell this made any sense.

"Yeah Edward, I'm here. But you're kind of freaking me out right now.
Why are you telling me this? And why are you practically throwing a
party over Tanya's new truck?"

He laughed again and I rolled my eyes."Because, my Bella, I haven't


told you the best part yet. I spoke to her in the parking lot!"

More uncontrolled excitement that made no sense whatsoever. "Oh


good! I was really hoping you two would get a chance to catch up! Did
you get engaged again?" I couldn't help it. The annoyance had taken
over and the sarcasm wouldn't stay in. He needed to explain, now. I
was done being confused.

I just got more laughter. I felt like I was close to actually growling but
then he finally explained, "Not even close, my love! She's moving! To
Alaska!"

Suddenly the crazy made sense. The enthusiasm, the excitement, the
thrill in his voice...I caught it all too!
"What? Really?" I felt the sugar rush flow through my veins as I
started literally dancing around my room to music that wasn't playing
as I listened to him go on.

"Yes! She's leaving tomorrow so she can be up there for New Years
Eve which also means-"

"She won't be at the party!" I actually raised the roof as I finished his
sentence for him.

It may have been childish, but I felt like I won a game or something.
Tanya was leaving Forks! She was leaving Forks, tomorrow! She
wouldn't be around my Edward anymore, and he was just as thrilled
by it as I was!

I continued dancing silently and then tripped over myself and fell on
the bed as he explained to me how they bumped into eachother and it
was indeed civil like he had said it would be. Apparently he had asked
how she was doing and that's when she told him she was good, just
picking up supplies for her road trip. To Alaska. Where she was
moving. Tomorrow!

I got up and started dancing again.

"I honestly wasn't worried before Edward, but I just feel a lot better
for some reason." I sighed and finally laid down on my bed, finishing
my silent dance of celebration. He seemed to be coming down off his
crazy trip too, and his voice smoothed back out and the frantic edge
left it.

"I know, I feel better too. I just didn't want her in my house again
after all that's changed. It would have been awkward and made me
miss you even more." I smiled at his words and was calm enough to
remember he said he had 2 exciting things to tell me but so far I'd
only heard 1.

"What was the second thing you were excited about?"

"Oh! Well, we had a band meeting last night and we've decided to go
on another tour! Pretty much right after your graduation."

He wasn't as excited as before but he was definitely happy about it. I


frowned. Tour was not good. Tour meant more time apart.
"Cool," was my only response. No raising the roof for this.

"You sound upset." He didn't sound concerned like he usually did when
he knew I was upset. Is the crazy lingering?

"I am upset. I'm not gunna lie Edward, I hate tour. It just means
being without you again. That sucks." I laid it all out there with a sour
tone and all.

"What if I told you we wouldn't be apart?" He spoke slyly and I was


intrigued like he probably indended. Still upset that he was playing
with me this way, but intrigued none the less.

"Explain." I said business like.

He chuckled and continued, "My brothers and I discussed it, and we


know we need to do this tour. We are going all the way to New York
and back, it's something we've been planning for a long time and
we're finally getting it booked which is exciting for all of us. But we
quickly ran into a delimmea. Our girlfriends." He paused and waited for
a response.

The wheels in my head started turning then but I didn't want to let
myself think about where I thought this could be going. If I was wrong
I would be greatly disappointed.

"Continue," Business Bella replied.

"We couldn't really see fully appreciating our long awaited cross-
country tour if we were too busy moping about missing you 3, like we
have been latley- for the record," I smiled as he threw that fact in for
my benefit,"so we discussed it and we all agreed. You should come
with us. All 3 of you if possible."

I squealed and jumped off my bed, returning to the dance celebration


I was having earlier.

"Edward! You better not be lying!"

"Of course I'm not lying. I don't lie to you Bella Swan. I take it you like
the idea?" He was serious with the first 2 statements and then his tone
lightened one joyfull notch as he asked the question at the end.
"Edward, I love that idea so much, I'm literally dancing right now. You
can't see me, but I promise you I just raised the roof for the second
time during our conversation! Best idea ever! When do we leave?"

He laughed at me, then with me, then I settled down again and took in
all the details of the tour. We would be leaving 2 days after my
graduation and we would be on tour for about a month. The best part?
Well, besides being trapped with my 5 most favorite people in a jeep
and traveling the country with them for a month, the best part was
that we were going to be spending 2 weeks in Forks! The plan was
that after they played their NY shows we were going to make our way
back to the west coast and spend 2 extra weeks hanging out in Forks
before returning to California.

But this time I would be there instead of Tanya. This time we would all
be together and I wouldn't be crying myself to sleep over my broken
heart. This time everything would be jsut another leg of the grand
adventure I was far to excited to embark on.

I called Alice immediately after I hung up with Edward and waiting for
her excited, "Bella!"

"We're going on tour!" I shrieked into the phone.

She shrieked with me then immediately started planning the shopping


trip we "had to go on" before we left. I didn't even mind this time. She
could buy me a whole mall full of clothes if her little heart desired, we
were going on tour!

Chapter 31 - The World You Love

"Ok Jasper, repeat after me."

He sighed heavily. I decided to ignore it.

"Ok Bella."

I put on my most serious voice: "I, Jasper Cullen..."

"I, Jasper Cullen..."

His tone was flat but I decided to ignore that too. At least I was
getting what I wanted. I continued with a smile he couldn't even see.
"...Am a lying, deceitful, betraying, backstabbing, blonde big mouth..."

"That's a lot of redundant adjectives, Bella. Can't I just choose my


favorite?"

I heard him laugh his cool, low chuckle into the phone and then I
heard a very faint ghost of the musical one in the background.

"Emmett!" I yelled into my phone, knowing he could hear it.

I heard fast movement and some mumbling and then Jasper's cool
laugh again right before it was cut off abruptly.

Then my Edward's voice angrily barked out, "Thank you Jasper, now
can you please get on with it so Bella can call off The Hulk?"

I giggled silently at his Hulk joke, not quite sure why he sounded a bit
odd or angry. I knew Emmett had done his job though, so I let Jasper
continue.

"Ok, repeat it again please Bella. I wasn't really listening last time..."
He started chuckling, again, but I went back to ignoring the small
details. At least my Enforcer seemed to be doing his job.

I had all 3 Cullen brothers on the phone right now, speakerphone


actually (on their end at least). Jasper was finally apologizing to me for
telling Edward my secret and we were using Edward's phone so he was
acting as the witness. Emmett was there simply as my brute force to
make sure they both stayed on track with how I wished Jasper to
redeem himself. Edward and his lying brother were quickly proving
Emmett's large presence necessary, as was just demonstrated.

It was now the morning of New Year's Eve and apparently my dear
brother Emmett had not been bluffing about "slipping a few more in
for good measure" after the first few revenge punches he had thrown
for me a few days ago.

Edward had called me about 15 minutes ago and put Jasper on the
phone, both of them willing to do whatever it took to gain my
forgiveness and have me call off Emmett's atttacks.

It seems Emmett had been doing fantastic things to them all week to
help avenge me! Not only the classic punch-in-the-arm like before, he
also got a little creative just to be annoying. One night he set both of
their alarm clocks ahead by 5 hours, then set the alarms for about
1:30am, causing them both to wake in a panic for no reason at all and
wonder why it was still dark out at "8" in the morning. He had tricked
Jasper into pouring hot sauce on his ice cream (apparently Jasper was
a fan of strawberry sauce so Emmett switched contents in the bottles),
and he had also hid all of Edward's left shoes sometime yesterday.
There were a few more, but those were the highlights I had picked up
on.

So here we are now, all 4 of us playing our roles in Jasper's official


apology to me, which is the only thing I require to end the
punishment. Edward doesn't have to do a formal apology, it wasn't
exactly his fault his brother was a liar. Plus the things Emmett did in
the past week were punishment enough for Edward's lame teasing and
I also loved him more than anything in the world so he gets exemption
due to that as well.

"Alright Jasper, are you ready to try again?"

I have to admit, it is sort of immature of me to need to hear these


words form him, but it is pretty humorous for me as well. The reason
why I loved these boys so much is because, even though I was slightly
getting made fun of at the same time, they were playing along.

"Yes, let's get this over with." He sighed and still sounded too cool to
be apologizing to me.

"Emmett are you still there just in case he's lying again?"

"Heck yeah Bellarina! I've got his arms pinned behind his back right
now for not being a good boy on the first try, and I've also got the
pretty one in a headlock as well, as proof we aren't messing around!"

"He's not lying, love." I heard the perfect voice inform me. Oh! That's
why Edward sounded a bit off earlier, he was in a headlock.

"Wait guys, I thought I was the pretty one..." Jasper spoke up all of a
sudden, sounding more concerned about that than the apology he
owed me or the fact that his arms were being pinned behind his back
by his giant brother.

I laughed at all of them, "Well, it's ok Emmett, Jasper can remain


contained but you really don't need to keep Edward in a head lock. I'm
not really mad at him at all."
"Oh no sister, that one's for me. It's an older brother thing... you just
deal with the blondie."

I laughed again and shrugged, no sense in interfering with brotherly


matters I suppose. I heard Edward scoff and Jasper laugh again and I
continued.

"Ok. I, Jasper Cullen..."

"I Jasper Cullen, the pretty one..." he added the pretty comment in
and I was so amused with it I ignored it as well.

"...am a lying, deceitful, betraying, backstabbing, blonde big mouth."

"...am a lying, deceitful, betraying, backstabbing, blonde big mouth."

"And I promise, from this day forward to never, ever, under any
circumstances betray my sister Bella's trust again. No matter how
pretty I am."

I threw in the last part to humor him. He was being a good sport in my
little childish demand, after all.

He repeated it all and I accepted it. Emmett let go of Edward and


Jasper and all was well again. With peace between us once more I
took this opportunity to finally tell Jasper about how Edward got all of
the Lord of the Rings names wrong when he was trying to tease me
and we laughed together at his ignorance. That's when my
speakerphone privileges got taken away.

"So you can tease me with Jasper but I cannot tease you?" Edward
scolded me when we were suddenly privately speaking again. He was
smiling though, I could hear it.

"Pretty much, yeah."

"That doesn't seem very fair. Oh, and how come you are so willing to
let Jasper be the pretty one? What does that make me?"

I didn't even hesitate. "You're the perfect one, duh."

He scoffed and I giggled. It was true to me, anyway.


"Happy New Year's Eve, by the way." His sweet voice made it sound
like there could possibly be something happy about another day we
were apart.

"Happy 5 days until I get to see you again." I focused on what really
mattered.

"Yes, that's better."

"So Edward, are you excited for the big par-tay? Are you going to get
crunk and dance on the table with your top off or something New
Year's Eve worthy like that?" I started out laughing at my own joke but
then drifted into serious thought when I actually pictured him with his
shirt off... dancing and singing... to me... being on a table couldn't
hurt...

"Bella? Where did you go?"

I shook my head and realized it'd been a while since I had drifted off in
a fantasy like that as he was speaking to me. I never really needed to
do it since we had started dating, I had the real thing in my arms all
the time. Even shirtless sometimes... just like in the fantasy... not on
a table maybe, but on a bed... or a Love Sac... or the one time in the
elevator...

"Isabella Swan did I piss you off again or are you not speaking to me
just for fun this time?"

His urgent tone snapped me back again. Being away from him and his
body was not good for my concentration, that's for sure.

"Oh, no, sorry Edward. I was just... thinking."

"What were you thinking about?" Ah, the famous question.

"Uh... pretzels." I smiled and appreciated Alice. Technically I wasn't


lying to him at all.

"Pretzels? You don't even like pretzels. Bella, you are acting strangely.
Are you crunk right now?"

I burst out laughing. "Crunk" was not a word you ever expected to
hear in Edward Cullen's lyrical verse that is his speech. Not out of the
blue like that. He was laughing lightly at my laugh and I regained
composure to continue the conversation.

"Sorry. I was temporarily distracted. Ok, in all honesty, are you


excited for the party?"

"I guess so. I mean, it's the same people every year. I think Jazz,
Emmett and I will mostly stick together. We get the same questions
every year, 'How's the band?', 'Any new songs?', and the ever classic,
'Bagged any groupies lately?'"

All sorts of odd things were coming out of Edward's mouth tonight.

"People actually ask you if you have 'bagged any groupies'?"

"Well it's usually only Uncle Felix, our dad's old friend that we've
known our whole lives. He's a bit, um, colorful. Emmett likes to detail
his 'bagging' escapades sometimes and Uncle Felix gets a kick out of
it. He was a bit more carefree in the art of "bagging" before Rosalie
came along, you see. So Uncle Felix and Emmett usually get along
pretty well."

"I can only imagine." I laughed at the image of an older version of


Emmett asking young boys at shows if they have "bagged their
groupies" yet.

Hmm, if and when I ever have children they are not spending too
much alone time with Uncle Emmett...or Great Uncle Felix.

"Anyway, it's easier for the 3 of us to stay together most of the night
and give them all 3 birds to throw their stones at."

I shook my head at his analogy but understood.

"What about you my love? Are you going to party in the new year?" He
was chuckling at that image and I couldn't blame him.

"Actually I was planning on spending it alone until this morning. Some


old friends from high school got a hold of me today and they are
planning on coming over to hang out. I don't think I've seen them for
at least a year, so hopefully it will be fun."

"Anyone I know?" I scoffed a laugh at his joke then realized he did


know of one of them.
"I've actually told you about one of them. I don't know if you
remember, I told you a while ago. Brady."

"Ah yes, the boy who's admired you for years." So he did remember.

Brady was not the boy I dated for a while my senior year, he was the
boy that wanted to be that boy. Brady is the only boy that had ever
endlessly pined after me. Seriously, it'd gone on at least 3 years. You'd
think it would flatter me, right?

Oh no. It was just an annoying hitch in our friendship. Not like with
Jake where when I denied him everything went wrong and we stopped
basically talking. For almost the whole second half of high school Brady
was annoyingly persuing me. I had no idea why either! He would
obtain other girlfriends perfectly fine, heck, he had a ton of them
before we even met in the after school theatre program the beginning
of junior year.

I never led him on or had more than friendship feelings for him
though. I would let him down easy every single time, but it never felt
like "letting him down" because he was always completely happy to be
around me, even after denial after denial. We never had the weird
time where he has to get over me and I have to loose a friend. He
would tell me, "Ok, I understand, just friends, I can do that. Don't
worry." And we would go back to normal for a while.

But it always led to another conversation a few weeks later with me


explaining, again, why we couldn't be together. I could never be mean
to him because of my horrible guilt thing. Telling him we should just
be friends and him accepting that was one thing. It sort of became
regular conversation to us, like saying "What are you up to today?
Wanna date yet?"

"Oh just I'm hanging out, no I'm still not interested in you."

"Ok, I'll try again next week!"

Telling him off and letting my annoyance get the best of me was
another thing though. I was sure I wouldn't be able to handle that. So
round and round we went on this never ending friendship-romance
chase that I could never get out of until I moved to Los Angeles and
he got a steady girlfriend.
Granted I still hadn't met her, and for some reason he wasn't spending
New Year's with her...but she existed and I was seemingly off the
hook.

Edward knew how I felt about him, and that nothing had even
remotely romantic had ever happened between us, so I knew he
wouldn't mind me seeing him again. 2 other friends from high school
are going to be there too and Brady will probably take one look at me
and question his ridiculous behavior towards me in high school
anyway.

"Well good, now I don't feel so guilty for letting you spend New Year's
Eve alone. I was very close to hopping on a plane this morning and
coming down to you." Edward teased me and I freaked out inside,
wishing he wouldn't have dangled that possibility in front of me.

"Well it's a good thing I was lying about the stupid high school friends
then! Get on a plane Edward, I'll be so very much alone tonight and
we can't have that! I'll meet you at the airport in, what? 3 hours? 4?
Ok, get going..."

His laugh was light but somewhat bitter I think. "Oh my Bella, I wish.
If I really could come to you do you think I would let a few high school
friends stop me? Never."

I sighed and realized it was true. "Good point. Are you sure you really
can't make it happen?"

I was trying to plead a bit now. I knew if I really laid it on thick I could
probably convince him to walk all the way here if he thought it's what I
truly desired of him. Even if the ground was covered in lava he would
do it. Ok, maybe that was extreme, but the point is there.

I didn't want to push him too far. I also didn't want to play the "rich"
card, but it was understood that the Cullens were pretty well off like
Rose and Alice. I was the odd duck in that case. Even though Edward
and I never spoke of it, it was the truth. I tried the last thing I would
let myself try.

"I mean, aren't you guys kind of, sort of, really rich? Is a last minute
plane ticket that expensive?"

The minute I said it I felt bad. Not bad enough to take it back if it
worked, but bad enough. Selfish Bella.
He sighed heavily then, "Well that's the thing Bella, I'm not so sure of
our financial situation right now."

I wasn't expecting that.

"What are you talking about Edward?"

"Well, I don't know for sure, but all of us - my brothers and I - think
that something may be going on with our parents that they aren't
telling us about." He did sound worried. He'd been hiding it from me.

"What do you mean? Like their marriage? No way, they love each
other too much." I couldn't believe that was the problem, I'd seen
them together. I've witnessed their amazing love first hand. It
practically leaked out of them when they were in the same room.

"No! That's not it at all. Of course not. That's the one thing I will never
worry about with them."

I breathed again. For some reason I couldn't believe anyone could


make it if I knew Carlisle and Esme couldn't.

"So then what are you talking about?"

"Well that's just it, we don't know for sure. Our theory is that they
want to get through the holidays before telling us any bad news. Little
things are off though... It's probably only things we would find odd.
We are planning on asking them if anything is wrong tomorrow, after
all the holidays have passed."

"Oh, ok. Well good luck, I guess." Here's where my father's traits
come out in me. I suddenly felt awkward. What do you say to that?
Even to Edward, who I could say anything too, I didn't know what to
say.

"Thank you, but no more worrying about it. I'm sure it's just
something temporary."

I let it go since he was clearly fine not discussing it, but all this talk of
worry got me worrying about my own problems. I had spoken to
Edward about my little life revelation a few days ago. You know, the
one where I realized I don't want to be an actor but now I have no
idea what I do want to do with my life? He was amazingly supportive,
of course, and had as much faith in me figuring myself out as my
parents did.

We spoke some more about trivial things and when we got to the part
where it was time to hang up we spent way too much time saying
goodbye, as always. It seemed the new year couldn't come fast
enough.

"So... you just throw them at each other?"

I dropped my head in frustration. This was the 3rd activity I'd


attempted with these high school friends of mine. Patience, Bella. They
do not have the class and sophistication of the Hollywood elite like you
do.

"Well, yes, we are throwing them at each other. But there is a goal,
Paul. You want to get it into the other person's mouth."

They all nodded at me then, the purpose of Grape Toss suddenly


becoming very clear. I'd already attempted to teach them the shimmy,
but seeing as how they were all guys it hadn't worked out too well.

I'd also attempted a sing a long, I've been craving music lately, but
none of them knew any good songs apparently.

So now I was in the throws, literally, of teaching them Grape Toss as a


last ditch effort of entertaining the 3 boys that had come over to spend
New Year's Eve with me. Needless to say they were quite different
from the 3 boys I was used to occupying my time with and were not
very capable of making a fun situation out of anything. I was working
very hard to keep myself entertained.

Jared had suggested we play Scene It: Friends Edition that I had
gotten for Christmas, but I was so sure I would beat all of them in 3
minutes flat I had shot that idea down. When I played it for the first
time I was going to challenge Emmett. You know, real competition.

Paul was paired with Jared and I was paired with Brady, the boy I had
the annoying history with.

He was still looking at me like he used to in high school, too intently.


He hadn't done anything past give me the too intense looks tonight,
though, so I was pretty comfortable hanging out with all of them
again, besides the fact it was like trying to function in an alien world of
course.

"So, for now the first to 50 catches wins!" I tried to be as enthusiastic


as possible as round one of lame ass Phoenix Grape Toss started.

Paul threw his too hard and too straight and a purple streak flew past
Jared's face and a grape smudge appeared on the sliding glass door
where the frozen grape he misthrew had impacted the glass. I threw
perfect, of course, but Brady attempted some odd jump-and-catch
combination thing so it just hit his eye and then bounced off.

They all found it wildly amusing. No one in this room understood the
delicate balance of thrower to catchee. No one in this state understood
why I was now just holding a bowl of frozen grapes, staring at 3 boys
like they were ruining my life.

Grape Toss was a bad idea too.

It was11:30 now and I was already anticipating my call from Edward


that was due in about 25 minutes. Clearly we were going to bring in
the new year together, in the only way we could be together. Until
then I had to keep busy. I had no more ideas left though, so I
retreated outside for a second to get some air and possibly call Edward
30 minutes early to check in.

I was flipping open my phone when I heard the screen door open and I
looked up. A figure was walking towards me but I couldn't quite see
who it was in the dark.

Oh no.

Brady sat down in the chair next to me and gave me the too intense
look as I turned my head away from him.

Not now, please New Year's! Don't travel down the same tattered road
as Christmas...

"Hey Bella." His voice was quiet and rough. Boyish almost, too.

"Hey Brady! How's it going?" I was trying to keep it light. Trying so


very hard to chase the intensity from his eyes.
"Pretty good. How have you been?" He leaned in and and reached out
and took my hand in his. He used to try this all the time. The touching.

My eyes widened to the size of quarters and I snapped my gaze down


to his unfamiliar grip on my palm. This was not right, not the hand
that should hold mine. It felt as alien to me as trying to live back in
the world that was so separate from the one I loved. This needed to
end, now. It would be ridiculous to go through this with him, again.

"I've been great, actually. I have a boyfriend, you know." I looked up


at him then, giving him a pointed look with my head tilted down and
my eyes practically glaring.

But we were indeed working into the round about dance we had done
too many times in high school, I could feel it.

"Oh. Yeah, that's great." He retracted his hand and sunk into his chair.
I let out a breath and relaxed.

"Yes it is great. I really love him. He lives in my apartment building


with his brothers. I love them all very much actually." I wanted him to
really understand my situation. This is not high school. I am not the
same, I have been permanently changed and things cannot go back.
"How's, um, Lindsey?"

"Leah." He corrected me and I nodded. Bringing up his girlfriend of


almost 2 years sounded like an excellent way to keep the situation in
control.

"Leah, that's right. Are you still with her?"

He smiled at the ground and nodded.

"Well great!" I said with too much enthusiasm.

"How do you know you love him, Bella?" He was looking at me again,
seriously. Intensely. Completely ignoring the light mood I was trying to
force around us.

I sighed and ran my hand through my hair. I realized what I was doing
and smiled to myself. There was his answer right there.

"Because I am more connected to him than I have been to any other


person I've ever been close to. Even when I'm miles away from him
I'm deeply connected to him. Because I don't think I would really be
me if there wasn't a him. And because the first time I kissed him I
realized I had never known what kissing was supposed to feel like until
that moment. Those are the first few reasons that pop into my head at
least." I shrugged and checked my phone. 11:38.

"Wow. So you knew the first time you kissed him?"

I just nodded confidentially. Dumb regular boys and their one-track


minds. Is that seriously all he heard me say?

"You never kissed me you know... you never gave me that chance...to
show you what it could be like with me..."

I let my head drop and groaned.

No! We are not doing this! This is not my life anymore, not the world I
want to function in.

It was then that all the frustration took over and I let it all flow
through me for the first time in my life. I don't get angry with people
often, but I was holding in so many emotions in that moment I was on
the edge of screaming anyway. I am not who I was before, he needs
to know that. Or maybe I need to know that. To prove it.

"Please don't do this Brady, it's been years! I just told you I am in love
with someone! That shouldn't even matter anyway because - what
about Leah? Don't you love her? You've been with her for 2 years!
Why aren't you with her right now? On New Year's Eve! Give up this
chase already! I know that's the most exciting thing for you, winning
the prize - but it's never going to end the way you want it to! I've
been very honest with you about that for years and you keep putting
me here in this awkward position, having to go through the same
motions over and over again. I'm sorry, you've been a good friend to
me, that's why I've let this continue for as long as it has, but I'm
never going to be added to your list of successful catches! Move. On."

I was standing now, so upset at what he was doing. I wasn't even


upset for me anymore, what about what he was doing to Leah? I felt
so bad for this girl I had never even met. After being in love - real,
honest, forever, true love - I couldn't not be mad at him for claiming
to love her and then coming here and doing this. Flat out perusing me,
again, knowing full well when he decided not to be with her tonight
and came here what he was going to do.
"I'm sorry Bella, I just... I can't help it! Ok? I've always felt this way
about you! Just because you left and have this new life in Hollywood
doesn't mean the rest of us back here haven't held on to some things."

That's when I realized how glad I was that I had gotten out. Phoenix
isn't a small town at all. It's a rather large city, but the idea of leaving
home and letting yourself change and grow somewhere else applies to
everyone, no matter how large their "home" is. I had done that and I
was proving it to myself right now. I was not the Bella I had been 2
years ago before I left for Hollywood. I was stronger and more
confident. Maybe I didn't know exactly what I wanted to be, or do. But
I did know me. These thoughts calmed me down and held me in my
resolve against Brady at the same time. I was no longer afraid of the
future, I would figure it out and I would have the peopel who really
knew who I was now supporting me the whole way.

"It doesn't matter what you've held on to, it isn't right. You don't even
know me anymore. And you don't do things like this to someone you
love. Not consciously." I was near tears now. Anger does that to me
very easily, I hated it.

"I know." He was standing too but his whole posture was slumped in
defeat.

"You need to go." I said it quietly, trying to ignore the way the liquid
was blurring my vision slowly. "All of you, please."

He nodded and padded over to the door but paused before he opened
the screen and walked in. He turned around and looked at me with big
sad eyes, like a child that got his hand slapped away from eating the
dog's food, again. Like a child trying to convince you they honestly did
not remember they weren't supposed to eat Skippy's food.

"I just want you to know this was never about obtaining something I
was just chasing. I knew there were other girls out there I could have
been with the whole time I chased you." He paused then and waited
until I met his gaze. "But Bella, why would I choose water when I
could have wine?"

I almost gagged right there in front of him.

Things like that should never be uttered by the boyish voices of the
Brady's in the world. The people who don't know how to mean them
and not just say them for the sake of saying something poetic. Things
like that are reserved for people like my own love, my Edward.
Someone who would never, ever utter anything close to that to
anyone but me, their one true love. And Edward would know the right
way to say it too, to make it something more than what it is, the way
it is supposed to be said.

"You can't have the wine though, Brady. No one ever told you that you
could."

With that it was over. He left and I waited until I heard their car pull
away before I let the liquid escape. I didn't hesitate as I flipped open
the phone and pressed send. I needed to connect to my love, my
world, my normalcy.

"You are a few minutes early, love, not that I'm complaining."

The velvet was like a warm blanket covering me and comforting me.

"Sorry, I needed to hear your voice." I knew I wasn't in much shape to


talk since crying, no matter how slightly, always made my voice raspy.

"Bella what's wrong?" His voice was urgent now, I should have thought
this through. Of course he would immediately panic.

"Nothing Edward. Well, nothing anymore. I've just had a weird night."

I retold the whole scene and he was not pleased, something I had
figured and wanted. I wanted my anger to be validated in his
corresponding anger.

"That boy had no right to force you into that sort of situation! This is
wrong, we should be together, I knew it. I'm sorry, I really should be
there with you. You should not have any reason to cry right now. I'm
so sorry."

Crap, he was angry at himself. That was not the anger I wanted.

"Edward stop talking like you've failed me in any way. The upset
should be directed at him. Not that I think he intentionally upset me,
but he really needs to get a clue. Or a life. Or a brain." I was clearing
up now, going back into my sense of humor.

"I agree. You said he has a girlfriend, correct?" I heard the angry edge
in his voice be place itself correctly and I felt even better.
"Mmm-hmm. From what I hear she's great too! I don't get it." I
scoffed and shook my head to myself.

"Well, I suppose I can sort of see where he's coming from." Edward
was quiet and thoughtful now, and taking me a bit off guard.

"Are you sympathizing with the guy who just hit on your girlfriend?
Seriously?"

My tone got a small chuckle out of him and he explained, "All I mean
is that it would be hard not to want you, even after years and years of
being denied. I see that side of it. If you left me now I would be stuck
in that position. I would not be fully happy with anyone besides you,
my Bella. I think that's already been proven given the circumstances
we met under."

"Huh." I thought out loud. He had a point, I guess. "I guess. But that's
a bit different Edward, you and I were, like, made for each other. It
was fate or something. I mean, how else can you explain why you are
miraculously attracted to me?" I let out a sharp laugh.

"You don't see yourself very clearly Bella. Do you know that?" The
honey voice was serious and it was pouring out at me in those 2
sentences, just filling me with it's pure sweetness.

"Edward I miss you."

That's the only thing I could get out at the time. I had no reply to his
question. I suddenly felt very alone sitting in my backyard though.

"You too my Bella. So much."

We were both quiet then and I noticed something odd.

"Weren't you guys having a New Year's party tonight?" I asked with
surprise. It was completely silent in the background on his end of the
phone and it had been the entire time we'd been talking.

"Yes, the party is going on as we speak."

"Then how come it's been silent in the background since you answered
your phone? Did you step outside before you answered?"
"A great deal before, yes." He chuckled and then continued. "Emmet,
Jasper, and I came down to the river about 20 minutes ago. We
weren't enjoying ourselves very much in the house. It doesn't feel
right this year."

That made sense to me completely.

The conversation turned a bit lighter then, I told him about my failed
attempts to involve the block heads in our normal activities and he
laughed at the Phoenix boys' inability to hold my interest.

Midnight came and all 6 of us were connected because Jasper and


Emmett were on their own phones with Rose and Alice. Alice had
stayed up to call Jasper at midnight his time, despite being in a
different time zone claiming that, "my new year starts where my heart
is, not where my body just so happens to be!"

It was 8 in the morning or something in the Bahamas and Rosalie was


using the hotel phone to call long distance to share the celebration
with Emmett. The boys all held their phones up at midnight and we all
cheered as the we counted down the last second to the new year,
again being as together as we could be when we were spread out all
over the half the globe.

I laughed and felt proud of all of us. We stayed connected in our own
way and I was satisfied with our ability to do our best to beat the
odds. Our little family's love was as strong as Edward had once
described mine and his friendship: stronger than time or distance.

"I promise to more than make it up to you for not kissing you at
midnight the minute you get back in my arms Bella."

His words made me smile and I didn't even blush. I wanted it too
badly to be any sort of embarrassed.

"I'm going to hold you to that Edward Anthony. But how exactly do
you plan to do that?"

"Easy. I will simply not stop kissing you from the moment I touch you
again until midnight the following day. Every part of you I can get
too."

I still didn't blush but I swallowed hard and felt my insides start to
burn.
"That sounds reasonable." I said in a shaky voice.

He laughed, very satisfied with himself I'm sure, and we all hung out
on the separate phones for an hour or so. If I closed my eyes as I
spoke to Edward I could hear Jasper and Emmett in the background
and it was sort of like being in the living room of our apartment, each
couple in their own section of the room talking amongst themselves
but keeping the group feeling alive. The very beginning of my new
year managed to almost feel normal.

The next day I was tired and anxious. I was on the other side now, it
was the new year officially. I only had a few more days to get through.
I only had to make it through my mom's birthday celebration and then
I would officially hit the road and it would be 8 short hours until I was
back where I belonged.

Little did I know life had a different plan. No one ever knows that
though, do they?

When I answered the phone that evening and expected my Edward's


lovely soothing voice I was worried by the strain I found in it.

"Edward, what's wrong?"

He sighed heavily. I imagined a hand staggering through his hair, it


always lingered when he was dragging it through with frustration
instead of just unconscious thought.

"Bella we spoke to our parents today. It was a family meeting of


sorts."

"Ok, what's wrong?" I was pressing for information.

"My father is being sued for malpractice. I don't care to go into details
about the absurd reasons why... I rather not throw another fit today...
but long story short we can't afford many extra things at the moment.
That's why things have been a bit different for us since we've been
home. We have no idea how the lawsuit is going to pan out. Of course
my father is not at fault, but these things happen in the medical field
all the time. Some idiot is out to get an undeserved pay off. We could
loose... a lot."
He sounded extremely upset and I felt incredibly bad for the Cullens.
No way did Carlisle deserve this! Or Esme! Or any of them! They are
my second family, so many parts of my heart. I hurt for them.

"I'm so sorry Edward, is there anything I can-"

"Bella, hold on. There's more."

A lump rose in my throat. He doesn't interrupt me unless it's


important. Unless he feels it really is urgent. That fact mixed with the
weight of the velvet wasn't making me very comfortable.

He took another moment and then changed my world again, like only
things concerning Edward ever could.

"We've discussed it as a family and as a band, Jasper, Emmett and I.


It was an extremely hard decision to make, but we know what we
have to do for our family. As you know, our parents help us pay for
our apartment. We only work to pay for food and band costs. But
things have changed now and we cannot ask that of them any longer."

All I could get out was one small, "Ok." Then he continued.

"The 3 of us fly into Los Angeles on the 3rd, as you know. Once we
return we are planning on subleasing the apartment as soon as
possible. We are going to remain in Forks after the tour, to help our
parents here and to relieve them of the expenses they put out for us
to be in LA. Basically we've decided to move home early."

I was silent after that. My throat was dry as I processed what his
words meant. Those last seven words were a stone breaking away the
shell of the world that I loved so dearly. I barely registered my favorite
voice as it tried to continue on a few moments later...

"I have only one thing to ask you... Bella?...did you hear me?..."

In that small moment I didn't hear him at all. I was letting reality
crash down on me from all sides before I found the will to asnwer him.

I literally let my legs give out and I half fell to the floor of my
bedroom.

Just like that our time was taken away from us, my small family and I.
We weren't even going to be given the whole year we had been
counting on. We were barely going to get 9 full months. My world, my
comfotable life, was breaking in a matter of the next few weeks. Would
we still have the tour? Yes. He said they were still going on the tour.
We would go too, right? It would be our last month together, the 6 of
us. One month. Then what? What about Rose and Emmett? Or Alice
and Jasper?

Or Edward and I?

My eyes clouded and I let him drift back into my dark consciousness,
slowly. Edward and I. We would not be torn apart, that I needed to
confirm. The rest I would deal with, fix at a later time, but I needed to
know I would stilll be with him.

Had he said something about a question?... Things were suddenly


moving too quickly but then I focused on his voice again.

"I'm here Edward." I said very, very quietly.

"Bella please listen to me, love, I need to ask you something


important."

Please ask me to come with you, please Edward, just ask me and I will
go...

Chapter 32 - The Teaser Chapter!

I have a few official IEWIS things for you! Because I love you
all and I miss posting something real, haha.

First - I have another "song for the future" posted on my


profile, just like I did with Damien Rice's "Amie" for Chapter
16. If you want to check it out I highly recommend doing so as
it will benefit you in a later chapter to be familiar with the
song.

The new song is "The World You Love" (yesterday's chap title!)
and it is by Jimmy Eat World. There's a link on my profile under
"Musical Goodies". Everyone seemed to love "A Praise Chorus"
a whole bunch and I don't think JEW will disappoint this time
either. But yeah, check it out for a future chap on our day off!
Second - Since you are all amazingly wonderful and I just have
all the love in the world for you, I will give you a small excerpt
from the real Chapter 32, which will end up being Chapter 33:

Chapter 33 – Are We the Waiting (excerpt)

"Marry me."

"Um, I'm going to go with no."

"Why?"

"You really need me to tell you why?"

"Yes."

"Ok-"

"Wait! No. I guess know why. At least kiss me."

"No."

"Still no?"

"Always no."

"Well. Things have certainly taken a turn for the worse now,
haven't they?"

"Are you sad and lonely now?"

"Eh. It's nothing Naked Five O'Clock can't fix."

There you go my dears! Hope you liked the sneak peak at Chap
32!

So be free now! Check out the music for the future, continue to
be fantastic, and drop me a line if you feel like it! The sneak
peek can get tiny reviews too, if you feel so inclined :)

Zipping up my Love for all of you,

~Car~

Chapter 33 - Are We the Waiting


"Bella please listen to me, love, I need to ask you something
important."

Please ask me to come with you, please Edward, just ask me and I will
go...

"Bella, are you there? You are really starting to frighten me..."

Oh yeah. I need to speak again. Out loud.

"I'm here Edward. I'm just... I just don't know what to think." Lies.
There's only one thing this moment will allow me to think.

Ask me to go with you. Tell me you want me to go with you. Please.


Ask me. Ask me. Ask me...

I closed my eyes and sat in the middle of my old bedroom's floor


waiting what felt like an eternity for his voice again. For the only
question I wanted to hear.

Ask me... Ask me... Ask me...

"Bella, will you come with me? Move with me to Forks?"

...Ask me... Ask me... Ask - Wait.

Yes! YES! YES!

"YES!"

"What?"

"YES!"

"YES?"

"Of course yes! Edward, I can't believe you asked me!"

"Of course I asked you, I can't believe you said yes!"

His voice sounded breathless and excited, matching what my stomach


felt exactly.
I let my torso collapse and fall back to the floor as tears ran down my
face. They were everything tears. Sad, happy, relieved, mournful,
angry. It was a total emotional release.

My heart was pounding faster than ever as I laid there and replayed
his words. He wanted me with him, he really, truly did. He didn't even
pull an Edward like I thought he would. He didn't pull the, "It's too
selfish of me to ask you to come with me when you have a life to lead"
thing.

No. He asked me and I said yes. And he was surprised...

"Edward, how could I have possibly said no? Tell me." My voice was
strong as I commanded an answer from him.

He chuckled then and it sounded different than ever before. It was still
one of my favorite sounds but it was full too, like my tears.

"I don't know my Bella, how could I not have asked you to come with
me? You tell me that."

"Well, you like to play the 'I'm too selfish' card a lot so I guess I
figured you would see asking me to change my life for you as
something entirely too selfish of you to do." I said it casually and
shrugged to myself. It made perfect sense to me, and probably
everyone else who knew him well.

"Hmm. I see your point. Now that I think about it, it does seem pretty
selfish..."

"Oh no you don't Mr.! You've asked me already and you cannot back
out now, I'm practically already packed in your suitcase!"

He laughed at me and it was joyful but a little off too. The strain was
out of his voice now, though.

"I know the damage is already done Isabella, I honestly hadn't


thought about it though. I literally just got done speaking with my
brothers, making the decision to move, the second before I called you.
Calling you was the first thing I did because the only thing I could
think was that I needed to ask you that question, and I needed you to
say yes to it. The rest I knew I would figure out later. I wasn't able to
brood over my morals like usual."
He chuckled again and I understood. I hadn't really thought about my
answer either. The second the need for him to ask me to go with him
popped into my mind I was ready to say yes. We were both just too
desperate to make sure we stayed together to really think at all.

"So what now?" I asked with a sigh. There was so much more to figure
out now that I could think again.

"I don't know actually. Jasper and Emmett are talking to Rosalie and
Alice about it right now. Well, Emmett is attempting to speak to Rose
anyway. She gets back to Los Angeles tomorrow so he will speak to
her then at the latest."

That meant Alice was getting the news right now. What would they
do? I had already broken my ties with California before this all
occurred. The only thing that would have kept me pinned down here
was now leaving and taking me with him. That was not the case for
my 2 best girlfriends, my sisters.

"So we only have about 2 weeks left in Hollywood." I stated it quietly


as I tried to imagine Rose without Emmett or Alice without Jasper. It
wasn't working too well.

"Yes, once we all return there's about 2 weeks before we leave for
tour. We still have that, remember. The tour is a whole month."

He was trying to comfort me as we mapped out the last leg of our


family's life. It was too odd to take seriously. I decided I would have to
take this one day at a time.

After I hung up with Edward that night I just couldn't stop thinking
about Alice and how she was handling the news all by herself. I
decided to text her before I tried calling. Maybe she was still on the
phone with Jasper or something. Maybe I was scared of hearing the
sadness in her voice.

I just got off the phone with Edward. How are you?

I shut my phone and waited for a response. It didn't take very long, so
I knew she wasn't still on the phone.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know how to feel.
I had never gotten such straight forward, serious answers from Alice,
ever. It was just wrong. Of course, I'd never been through anything
like this with her before, not when she was the one that was in too
much pain to be herself. So I suppose I didn't have much of an idea
how happy little Alice would react to something like this.

Do you want to talk? I can call you right now. I love you so much.

I waited again.

No I don't really feel like talking, thanks. I'm happy for you Bella, that
you can go with Edward. Love you too.

Jasper must have heard that I was moving with them and alredy
relayed the news to Alice.

After I read that text I closed my phone and silently cried. I was angry
because there was truly nothing I could do for my friend that was in
too much pain to even talk to me. My little Alice, always so happy and
always so positive. I cried out of anger for her. I cried because I knew
she really was happy for me, and that Rosalie would be too. They were
the ones that sat up with me night after night and comforted me when
it seemed like I had no hope. They were the ones that had chosen to
go on a stupid adventure with me and then keep me around long
enough to actually love me as much as I loved them.

Then I cried because of how very much I was going to miss them. The
3 of us have gone through so much together in the past year. They
pushed me out of my shell, made me dance and sing in cars and living
rooms. They dressed me up countless times but did so much more for
my inside than they could ever do to my outside. I cried because even
though I needed to be with Edward, leaving them was going to be
hard. When you fall deeply in love with someone like I have you just
gain more love inside of you, it doesn't take anything away from the
people you already don't want to live without. I would be leaving some
of myelf with them after we parted ways. They both held parts of my
heart. Very distict, special parts.

My mom found me in my room silently crying that night. After I told


her about the situation and my decision to go with Edward she
wrapped her arms around me and gave a very audible sigh.

"One adventure only leads into another Bella. Feel your feelings about
missing your friends, but trust that it will work out fine. Cherish the
time you have left. Anyone who has spent 2 minutes around the group
of you can tell your love for each other is strong."

I nodded and wiped my tears away. Strong indeed. Stronger than


time. Stronger than distance. Stronger than this.

The drive home took far too long. 8 hours? Yeah right. I was probably
driving for 3 days. That's close to what it felt like at least. I just could
not get home fast enough! My life was a whole string of hurry up and
wait now.

First we had to hurry to the theatre because my dad had forgotten the
tickets to the show and we had to turn back and get them. We rushed
in the parking lot, rushed into the lobby, rushed quieltly into our seats,
and then I waited for the show to drag on and on and finally end. My
mom allowed me to leave straight from The Lion King, so I was on the
road around 4pm. Thankfully we had gone to the matinee.

It's currently 12:16am and now I'm waiting for the horribly slow gate
to open to the parking garage, and that's taking forever.

Why now? Why is the gate so slow now? It's never been this slow
before, I'm sure of it. Is it broken? Who's in charge of knowing when
the gate is broken and then fixing it so people like me who have been
waiting for over 2 weeks to see Edward don't have to sit here and wait
for this ridiculously slow poor excuse for a gate? Who's not taking that
job seriously?

After about another 3 days it opened and I raced to my parking space,


threw the brake on, threw open the door, threw myself out of the car,
decided to leave my luggage for later, rushed to the elvator, tripped
on the way and then caught myself as I hit the "up" button, then
waited for the sloth of an elevator make it's way down to the parking
garage.

The "ding" announced it's arrival (yes, another 3 days later) and I
rushed inside and frantically hit the "1" button 7 times rapid fire, then
waited as the doors slugged closed and I started the stupidly slow trip
upwards.

I took this time to pull my dead cell phone out of my pocket, just for
something to do. My phone had died about 3 hours before I arrived,
right in the middle of a conversation with Edward, so I had no way to
tell him that I was home.
I was the last to arrive back in Hollywood. Rosalie had gotten back first
on January 2nd. The boys flew in the day after her and Alice the day
after then, which was almost the same day as me since it was only 20
minutes into the day that I was arriving back.

"Ding"

I thrust my phone back into my pocket and squeezed sideways past


the too slow doors that would surley be opening themselves for the
next 10 minutes.

I turned the corner and flat out ran down the hallway. I got to the door
to my apartment and opened it. Empty. I thrust the door shut and ran
down the hallway towards 110. I turned the final corner and stopped
in the middle of the hall and took in the picture before me.

Right there in the middle of the hallway was Emmett, Jasper, Rosalie,
Alice, and my Edward.

They were moving the big gray couch out of the boys' apartment and
heading towards the direction I had come in. Rose was in the doorway
to the apartment walking out behind everyone else and swatting
Emmett on the butt with a drum stick. Emmett was holding the end of
the couch that was fathest away from me and he was laughing at Rose
spanking him with the stick and trying to kick her away with one of his
legs. Jasper was supporting one of the sides of the couch, but was
mostly just paying attention to Alice who was right in front of him
laying down on the coushions as they transported her with it. She was
singing "Roxie" from the muscial "Chicago" in a deep, sultry, dramatic
voice but she was saying her name in place of Roxie's.

Edward was holding the end of the couch that was opposite of
Emmett. The end that made it so his back was towards me when I
rounded the corner.

I took that whole vision in for about a second until my gaze focused on
his back and everyone besides him saw me.

Emmett smiled really wide but said nothing. Jasper moved over to
Edward as Alice stopped singing and Rosalie stood up straight,
relenting her beating.

Jazz leaned into where Edward was and started placing his hands
under the couch in place of Edward's. "Here, let me get this for you."
Some blonde locks fell in his face as he smiled widely and Edward just
sort of stood there letting Jasper move into his space.

"Why?" The finally crisp, un-phone-tainted velvet voice asked.

That one word melted me and filled me up all at once.

Jasper smirked and I saw him brace himself for the weight of the
couch right before he said, "Because Bella is right behind you."

My Edward turned to me then. Faster than I had rushed through the


theater lobby or the drive or the parking gate or the elevator door. It
took him no time at all to turn to me, become overtaken with the
crooked smile that could save lives, and then stride towards me and
take me into his arms.

He was a bit too exuberant and he flew into me with enough force to
knock me over. I had a death grip on him the second he came close
enough though, so it resulted in us both falling to the hallway floor.

It didn't matter or hurt. In one swift motion, as if he had planned on


throwing us to the floor, he was turning us over so his face hovered
inches above mine.

"Bella, my Bella! You are home! You are-"

He cut himself off by crashing his lips to mine and I was finally
breathing again for the first time in over 2 weeks.

My fingers took hold of his bronze mess and my our legs tangled
together.

We broke apart and he just smiled at me.

"Welcome home, love" he said quitely and with care, not rushing like
before.

"Edward."

It's the only thing I could say before pulling his mouth back to my
own. It was the only word my mouth could form, the only image my
mind could hold, the only desire my heart held as we laid in the middle
of the hallway floor.
We were interrupted by the only acceptable form of interruption then.

"Edward stop hogging her!" Alice's voice rang out and I smiled against
his lips. There was my Alice. There was her cheerful voice and her
lovely demands!

"Yeah man, I know it's been a while but the hallway? Classy." I heard
Jasper's chuckle as Edward helped me up off the floor.

They had set the couch down and had all settled in to watch mine and
Edward's hallway show apparently.

Jasper was sitting on the arm of the couch closest to us with Alice
leaning over his lap towards us, his hand on her back rubbing it up and
down. Emmett was on the other end with his legs outstretched
towards us and Rose was on the arm of the couch behind him, leaning
sideways into his back with her hand on his shoulder where his met
hers.

"Bellarina! Come to the couch party!" Emmett motioned me over with


a big wave of his arms and then opened them to me in invitation.

I pulled Edward along behind me the few short steps to the edge of
the couch and then let go of him right as I threw myself into Emmett's
outstretched arms.

"Do I get the same reunion as Edward did?" He wiggled his eyebrows
at me and puckered his lips.

"Emmett," I said in a disgusted tone, but didn't leave his arms. My


mistake.

He tightened his hold on me and leaned in.

"Why not Bellarina? I know you want to. All the girls want to kiss Big
E!" He started laughing but kept his lips puckered at me and kept
leaning closer.

"Big E?" It was Rose who spat that out and then burst into laughter as
did all the others. I was still trapped in Emmett's arms and I was to
busy to laugh because I was hiding my face in his chest to escape his
lips.
"Emmett! Stop! I will never kiss you!" I laughed and screamed it at
him, highly amused and slightly afraid at the same time.

He kept his game up for a few more minutes until I finally squirmed
out of his arms and into Edward's. He had sat down in the free space
on the couch while his brother assaulted me. God forbid he reamain
standing and strain himself as I wrestle with the bear.

"You will kiss me one day. I'll see to that." Emmett winked at me and I
shook my head.

"At least he has goals." Jasper bowed his head slightly at Emmett and
we all laughed together.

We sat there for a few more minutes and spouted off jokes like
nothing was wrong. Just as if we weren't beginning the countdown to
the last 2 weeks we had together in LA. Just as if we were spending
another regular night in the boys' living room on the couch and not
sitting on it in the middle of the hallway.

"Why are we sitting on the couch in the middle of the hallway?" I


suddenly asked as that last thought crossed my mind.

The others all stopped and looked around, as if this was the first they
were learning of us being there.

"We were moving it to your apartment actually." Edward informed me.

"Really? Do we have room?" I was sort of confused. We already had


the Love Sac, Bertha, and the bowl chair in our apartment. The couch
too?

"Well yeah Bell, they can't keep it in their apartment." Rose said it
calmly but her eyes turned heavy and she ran her hand through
Emmett's curly hair.

"We are starting to show the apartment to interested people the


morning after tomorrow, so we have to be moved out by then."
Edward was the one speaking to me again, informing me of what I
should have already figured out. That was the plan after all, sublease
the apartment as soon as possible.

We got back to business then. The couch got movied but it only took a
few minutes of us trying to fit it in the over crowded living room for
the happy mood I had walked up to in the hallway to take over again.
We simply had to have fun together.

"I cannot back up, Emmett, because I do not wish to get intimate with
the counter tonight, thank you."

Jasper sarcasically scolded Emmett as they tried to pivot the couch


around, again, with not much success. Jasper had somehow gotten his
back up against the couch and was holding it awkwardly behind him,
which resulted in his front side rubbing agianst our counter.

"Well I sure as hell can't move either if Rose has any plans of
children!" Emmett yelled back. He was wedged between the small
dining table and the corner of the couch. His manhood being the only
cushioning between them.

"Well if this is a reproduction issue then I say we save the world the
trouble now." Japer thrust forward then and Emmet let out a sharp
"oh!" and nearly growled at his smirking blonde brother who was not
free from his couch and counter prison.

"Oh that's it you pretty little-" In one rather gracefull movement


Emmett thrust the couch forward, crushing Jasper and freeing himself.
He let his side of the couch drop and threw himself over it. He crawled
the lenght of it to Jasper and pulled him down onto the cushions with
him, Jaspers back landing on the couch. Emmett sat on him and they
resolved their problems the manliest way possible, of course.

Or Emmett started tickling him and Jasper shrieked like Alice with a
new pair of shoes.

"You guys are girls!" Rosalie shouted from the kitchen and threw some
of her popcorn over the counter at them.

That distracted Emmett enough. He forgot about Jasper and started


diving for the popcorn that magically started falling around him.

Jasper took that opportunity to attack and jumped on Emmet's now


exposed back, then reached around and started rapidly slapping him
lightly in the face. It wasn't hard but I could only imagine how
annoying it was.

"Weak!" Edward yelled at his brothers from next to me on the Love


Sac where we were lounging.
Both of their heads snapped towards Edward and they stopped all
motion except for Emmett's one hand that reached out of the cushions
and placed a piece of pop corn in his mouth.

"How did he get out of all this?" Emmett asked Jasper over his
shoulder, keeping his gaze on Edward and narrowing his eyes.

"I don't know," Jasper said as he furrowed his brow.

Just like that they both got up and charged Edward. I screamed and
rolled out of the way just in time as Jasper and Emmett landed and I
had to clear the vacinity as the huge mound of boy started moving and
wrestling around the room. Apparenlty it was every man for himself.

After about 20 minutes of that Rose, Alice and I finished moving the
couch into place peacefully. All 3 boys were sprawled on the ground
catching their breath and occasionally reaching over for an extra slap
or punch.

We decided that moving the couch was as far as we were going to get
that night. The boys had already gotten boxes packed, it was mostly
just clean up and clear out left for tomorrow.

Everyone went straight to bed that night, no movie or anything. We


were pretty tired from wrestling, or lifting, or laughing, or driving, or
holding in emotions we weren't letting pour out.

Sleeping arrangements were pretty much understood without being


talked about. Jasper in Alice's room, Emmett in Rose and I's, which left
Edward and I on the couch in the living room.

He flicked off the light and then crawled under the blanked with me.
His arms immediately went around me and I snuggled into him.

"I'm sorry we are stuck with your least favorite place to sleep," Edward
said with a smirk.

"What are you talking about, we've been sleeping in the living room off
and on for months, I don't mind it." I gave him a questioning look and
shook my head slightly.

"No, I mean this couch. You've always fought so hard not to sleep on it
I just assume you must loathe it."
I looked up at him then and saw the smirk was still playing on his lips.

"Well I have no objections to it when you are on it with me! The


problem I had with it before was your absence. Problem solved." I
smiled to him sweetly with my last two words and kissed his cheek
softly as I snaked my own arms tightly around him.

"Problem solved indeed." He was using the low, alluring voice as he


said that, using it to draw me into him as if he needed another device
to reel me in with.

He kissed me then and it was long and deep. He let out a satisfied
moan as he broke his hold on me but kept his face very close to mine
as he said, "I've been wanting to do that for hours."

"Me too," I breathed out before he was connected to me again. I


missed this so much. The feeling of him against me, his smell, his
voice, his lips.

He shifted so that he was above me and he continued to kiss me more


and more. When he broke from my mouth the next time he just
traveled along my jaw and then down my neck.

"I have not spent enough time kissing you," he mumbled into my skin.

"No. No you have not," I said quickly and moved my hands from his
back to his hair as he chuckled at me between the movement of his
lips on my neck.

He moved back up to my lips and I entwined as much of my body as I


could with his.

"Bella," he whispered, taking a second to break away from me.

"Hmm?" I answered back not bothering to try words since his lips were
over mine again.

He pulled away enough to speak but I felt every movement of his


mouth on mine.

"I never want to be that far away from you again." He stated it sternly
as if saying the words out loud would assure that his want would be
fulfilled.
"Then don't be." I answered just as seriously as he leaned our
foreheads together and connected our eyes.

"I love you," he said more sweetly than should be possible.

Hearing him say it for the first time in person in 2 weeks had a huge
effect on me. I loved seeing him say it rather than just hearing it. His
eyes grew deep and alive at the same time.

"I love you Edward Cullen. More than anything or anyone has every
loved before." I smiled and he returned it, pressing his forehead even
deeper into my own. He closed his eyes slowly as if he was letting my
words wash over him.

"More. More. More." He said quietly.

I loved the meaning of that simple word so much now that we had
tagged our own special depth to it. I reached up and kissed him again,
not being able to stand being separated from his lips any longer.

I broke away quickly to smile at him but he just said, "More." Then he
dove into me again, letting some of the sweetness go.

I pulled away again, playing a game now, and this time I smiled my
own devilish smile at him as his eyes finally opened.

They were dark and smoldering and he grabbed the sides of my face
and said, "More," with the deepest part of the velvet then kissed me
very un-sweetly.

When he pulled away next I followed him, lifting up my head and


gasping, "No, more."

That sent the crooked grin flying across his face for a tiny second
before he took me over, letting his hands and mouth roam freely.

This was one of those times Edward ended up with his shirt off and
stayed that way as we finally settled down and curled into each other
for sleep. I sighed and ran my hand up and down his chest one more
time.

"I'm never going to sleep if you keep that up, love." He caught my
hand and kissed it before placing it around himself and pulling me into
him.
"Maybe I don't want you to sleep." I said with a smirk. I yawned
nearly on top of my words though, so he just chuckled and started
stroking my hair.

"Edward I'm glad we are able to stay together after all of this. I don't
know what I would do if I were Alice... or Rose..." I don't know what
came over me right then, we had been sharing such happy moments,
but it all came crashing down on me. The thought of them having to
give up being with their own loves was painful for me too.

"I know Bella, I cannot imagine knowing I was leaving without you."
He kissed the top of my head and then let his face rest there. "They
will figure it out. We'll all get this whole thing figured out."

I knew then that he wasn't only speaking of the 6 of us, he was


including his parents as well. Carlisle and Esme had a huge problem to
deal with and we were all sacrificing for them now. It sort of eased the
pain to think of it that way. They would do the same for any of us, I
was certain.

I sighed and tried to let it all go so I could get some rest. The last
thing I heard was my lullaby being hummed softly into me ear by
Edward. This couch was definitely not the worst place to sleep, ever.

Such was the night that began our two week count down. Our 2 week
wait for the end of LA.

The next night was the Christmas gift exchange. We had decided
before we all left that we would handle presents after we all returned.
Since things had gotten shaken up we had forgotten about it last
night, but Alice was quick to mention it the next day.

We were standing in the empty living room of the boys' apartment. It


looked too big and too white without all of their stuff crowding it. Too
unfamiliar.

Emmett had just taken down the Friends poster, the final thing left
hanging, and we were all standing together in the center of the room
as if furniture was still crowding the edges.

Emmett sighed a heavy sigh as he rolled up his poster and it all felt
really final. We still weren't discussing the inevitable, so instead of
letting the mood deepen Alice chimed out, "We have to do Christmas
presents! Right now!" She flitted out of the room and we all followed,
Edward and I lingering behind to actually lock the door.

After the lock clicked into place and he pulled the key out he turned to
me and took my hand.

"That's the first time I've ever done that." He laughed slightly and I
smiled with him as we walked down the hall after the others. I looked
back at the door that I had never seen locked before and smiled to
myself. I was hard to believe I would never enter apartment 110
again. I sighed and looked back ahead.

That was my brief goodbye to one place I would never forget,


apartment 110. One of the 2 places that had housed the best times of
my life.

Present time was spirited, of course.

Emmett was so excited to give us his gifts he got to go first. He got


everyone shot glasses.

"What?" He asked us all as we he handed them out and we stared at


him with varrying looks of confusion on our faces.

"None of us drink." Japser stated to his brother in a "you knew that"


kind of tone.

"So?"

"So why shot glasses?" I asked with a laugh. I was more amused than
Jasper was.

"I don't know. I wanted to get you all something I didn't think you
already had." He shrugged and smiled the goofy grin.

"And shot glasses were the first thing that came to your mind?"
Edward asked as he raised an eyebrow.

"Well, first I thought that you could all use shirts with my face on it,
but that was too expensive. Shot glasses were the cheapest option at
the make-your-own stuff place."

He picked up Rosalie's and showed it to all of us. That's when I saw


what none of us had noticed before. Each of our small glasses had a
picutre of Emmett on it. It was one of Alice's pictures of Emmett from
the Jimmy Buffett night, him passed out on the floor with the little
umbrella behind his ear.

Underneath the picture it said "Wasted away again in Pina Colada


Ville".

We all laughed as we took in the picture and I had a feeling that 5 non
drinkers suddenly had very strong connections to thier shot glasses.

Jasper went next and he had gotten us all different, unique presents.
He gave me a Jimmy Eat World CD, their earliest one from their
collection that I didn't have.

After he handed out his small gifts he announced, "But the real
Christmas present I have for all of you comes a little later. These are
just to hold you over for a while."

No one had any idea what he had planned, but I was happy with just
my CD, so we let him keep his little secret and we continued.

Rosalie was going to treat us all to a date night, she said. "Dinner and
maybe a movie if we want. But I can't promise I'll put out afterwards!"
she joked. Everyone laughed but I saw that Emmett's face fell a little
as he looked down slightly. Then he caught sight of Rosalie's shot
glass on the table and picked it up and smiled again to himself
(literally).

Edward out did himself and got everyone unique gifts as well. I say he
outdid himself because he made me a CD of his own compositions,
which blew me away. After he brushed that off as something he was
making for me anyway he gave me my "real present". He actually got
me my own longboard.

"You are good enough now, you deserve your own," he said as he
smiled at my shocked face.

"You just want yours back, don't you." I cocked my head to the side
and gave him a knowing look.

He shrugged and then I hugged him, secretly really excited he thought


I was good enough for my own board.
Alice's turn came next and she handed out 5 wrapped packages that
looked exactly the same. We opened them quickly and I heard Rosalie
give a little gasp as she got through the paper first, and thenall the
boys grew quiet as they finished opening theirs. When I got the paper
off of mine I turned it over and gave a small gasp myself.

She had framed the family photo we had taken the night of Rosalie's
party and had given each of us our own framed copy. They were in
nice black frames and under the picture she had escribed the words "I
want to always feel like part of this was mine". It's one of the line's
from the song "Praise Chorus" that we had all been known to sing
together from time to time.

I instantly teared up and Alice already had tears falling as we all got
up and took her in our arms together. I noticed right before I got to
her she was clutching a small black frame to herself, her own copy of
it, and I knew it was another way we were all going to stay connected.

Everyone thanked her a thousand times and the emotional group hug
ended and it was finally my turn.

"What's is gunna be Bellarina? Do I get my kiss yet?" Emmett winked


at me and Rose swatted his arm.

"No," I barked at Emmett before taking a deep breath. I can't believe


I'm doing this.

I held up my index finger to the group as an indication that I needed a


minute, then I went into my room. I walked over to my night stand,
opened the bottom drawer and felt around until I found what I knew
was in there. I pulled out the DVD and hugged it to my chest, much as
Alice had been doing with her frame, and I made my way back into the
living room where 5 pairs of eyes were watching me with interest.

I let one of my hands drop and Jasper gasped.

"You are not!" He exclaimed and pointed accusingly at the object in


my hand.

"Merry Christmas," I said weakly as I smiled uncomfortably at him.

Edward's head was snapping back and forth between Jasper and I as
he out the pieces together.
"Bella, this wouldn't happen to be Lords of the Ring would it?" He
smirked at me and I shook my head.

"Rings Edward," I said slowly as if he were hard of hearing or just of


comprehension in general. This poor boy.

"What?" Edward asked.

"It's Lord of the Rings." Jasper cut in. "Even Emmett knows that!" he
threw out there with a nod towards Emmett.

"Heck yeah I do! I love that movie!" Emmett proclaimed proudly. "But
why is Bella's gift to us some bootleg version of Lord of the Rings?
Hey, is it the porno version?" Emmett looked seriously at me and then
down at the disk in my hand.

"I may be using this after all, excuse me..." Jasper got up and grabbed
his new shot glass then walked into the kitchen as he shook his head
at Emmett and we all laughed at him.

"No, it's better than a porno," Edward said suddenly with a sly smile.

"Edward!" I was taken back and couldn't control my outbrust.

He looked surprised and asked, "What?"

"Uh... I don't know. I guess I just didn't expect you to say 'porno'..." I
trailed off and made a face at the memory of the word coming from his
mouth. It was just not an Edwardy word.

"Yeah that was weird." Rose chimed in with a nod of her head.

"What? I'm not allowed to say porno?" Edwward asked loudly as he


raised his arms in question.

"Edward stop!" I was kind of laughing, kind of cringing, kind of yelling.


Porno and velvet just didn't mix. Alice was giggling uncomfortably and
making a face too.

"Try 'pornographic media'," Alice suggested sincerely and the whole


room looked at Edward expectantly. This was definitely getting enough
attention off of Bella Baggins...
He looked like he was going to resist but then sighed and dropped his
defenses.

"Pornographic media." Edward said with a defeated tone.

"Oh yeah, that one works." Alice nodded in approval. "Use that."

Edward just looked around the room at everyone, helpless because we


all thought it was too odd for him to say "porno" and we were helping
him find alternate terms to use, and he didn't understand why.

"So do we get to watch the porno or not?" Emmett asked casually as


he shoved some of Rosalie's popcorn in his mouth. The boys had foud
a huge box of the snack in their cabinet when they were clearing out
the apartment. We basically had 2 weeks to consume it all.

"It's not a porno!" I scolded Emmett.

"If it's not a porno then why is it such a big deal?" Rosalie asked,
sounding bored.

I was about to answer when Edward sat up looking angry.

"Wait, all 3 of you just said porno!" He gestured towards Alice, Emmett
and I.

Almost all of us yelled, "Edward!" in an accusing tone at his use of the


word again.

"What? Am I the only one that doesn't seem fit for a raunchy word
every now and again?" He looked truly lost and upset and I felt bad
but now we were all laughing at him because he had just honestly
asked if he was "fit for a raunchy word every now and again". Case
and point.

"Let it go Edward, we want to watch the porno." Jasper joked from the
kitchen, to mock him further and to egg on Emmett who did indeed
yell "whooo!" and sink further down into Bertha.

I wasn't entirely convinced Emmett didn't know this wasn't really a


Lord of the Rings porn that I had gotten them all for Christmas.

I took a deep breath and looked around the now focused room before I
started.
"Ok. This is not pornographic in any way!" I looked straight at Emmett
and he mouth "shoot" then outed a little bit. "This is my Christmas gift
to all of you because I know that some of you want to see this more
than you want many other things." I gave Edward a pointed look and
he was still pouting but he smiled at me slightly in appreciation."I am
not planning on showing it to anyone else, ever after tonight so
consider yourselves privliged."

I sighed deeply and pressed play. I glanced over at Jasper in the


kitchen and he raised the shot glass to me and then took a swig. I
couldn't see what it's contents were but the DVD was starting so I
didn't have time to think about it anyway.

I sat on the floor and leaned on Edward's legs, not comfortable enough
to sit next to him on the couch where my face and it's 93 shades of
red would be on display.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Edward was quiet the
whole time and I assumed he was concentrating on the details of the
story so he wouldn't mess up all the names and places later on.
Emmett found everything entirely too funny and Rosalie and Alice were
commenting on and laughing at the costumes and very home-made
looking props, which was part of the essence of the parody.

It ended and I got a round of applause as I walked over and removed


the DVD from the player.

"Bella Baggins is probably my favorite thing ever, just so you know,"


Alice smiled at me and giggled.

"Thanks. But I'll never reply to it so don't ever call me that again," I
smiled sweetly at her and she rolled her eyes.

"Hottest hobbit, ever - my sister!" I wasn't surprsed at his enthusiasm


but I still appreciated it.

"Uh thanks Em, but we are never speaking of this again, any of us!" I
pointed around the room and they all held in laughter but nodded their
heads in understanding.

Then I went into my room, buried the DVD in my bottom drawer, and
was relieved that it could finally be dropped. Maybe my Bella Baggins
days were finally behind me.
A few days later we were at school for rehearsals and I realized just
how quickly time was flying by. We only had a week until graduation,
which only ment a week and 2 days until tour.

We were busy all the time, the 3 of us girls planning with our families
as they made their arrangements to come to California to watch us
graduate. The boys had found someone to move into the apartment
and they were all finishing up at their jobs and practicing for their final
show in LA. It was supposed to be a big turn out which would be a
good send off and a good kick off show for the tour.

Besides all of that we were all 6 living together now, so there was
never any down time.

I was walking down the school hallway towards where I was supposed
to meet Rose after rehearsal when I heard a familiar voice call my
name.

"Bells!"

I smiled and turned around to see Jacob coming up behind me. He had
his own familiar smile on and I tried to think of the last time I had
seen it directed at me. It had been months.

"Hi Jake!"

He got too me and threw his arm around me casually just as he always
had before things got so weird.

"How are your scenes? Are you excited for graduation?" He asked me
quickly and we started walking together. We had spent the last few
months not talking at all, only waving across rooms and saying quick
"hey's" in passing. I was really happy at how normal his voice and
touch were.

"My scenes are good. I'm having fun with them anyway. I'm excited to
be done with school, that's for sure." We laughed and he nodded in
agreement. "How about you? Are you happy with your scenes?"

"Yeah, that's actually what I wanted to talk to you about."

We were outside now by the grassy knoll, the place we had filmed our
own scene a long time ago in what felt like a whole different life to me.
"You want to talk to me about your scenes?" I asked clearly confused.

"No, I wanted to talk to you about our scene. Did you hear about what
they are doing with the film scenes yet? I think they just announced it
this morning."

I shook my head. I hadn't heard anything about the film scenes we


had done. I guess I just assumed they would be graded and forgotten
about.

"They are 'premiering' them in the Ivar Theatre! You know the one
that's just down the street? It's scheduled for the afternoon before call
time for our final showcase. We get to see our scene on the big
screen, Bells!"

I got excited then, it was the only chance I was ever going to get to be
on "the big screen"!

"Really? That's awesome!"

"I know! So I don't know what your plans are for that day because you
probably have family coming and everything, but we have to sit
together to watch it, Bells! I just wanted to make sure you knew that
it was happening, and that I want to watch it with you." He smiled at
me again but his eyes turned almost apologetic. I knew it was because
he was here to confirm that he did want me to share this with him
even after we had lost contact so greatly.

"Of course I'll sit with you Jake! You're my Joel." That made his smile
break even wider, but nothing extra was there when he hugged me
and rushed away. It was so nice to be comfortable with Jake again.
Even though I knew he was not going to be in my life for very much
longer I was pleased to know everything seemed mended between us.

Rosalie met me pretty soon after that and we headed home to get
ready for date night.

We weren't as productive as we usually were when it was time to get


"decent". We were supposed to be getting ready for date night but
instead we were on her bed hugging and crying. I had started it.

When I had walked into the room I saw Alice in there just staring at
the black framed family photo as she sat on her bed. She didn't even
hear Rose and I come in. She looked pretty well put together, as if she
had already gotten totally ready for the night, but her little face was
full of sadness. Her happy features were not meant to look like that.

I walked over to her and put my arms around her and started crying.
She turned into me and flung her arms around me in response, letting
tears finally escape her too.

"You guys...stop." Rosalie said sternly from the door way as Alice and I
embraced on the bed. "You are ruining Alice's make up." But her voice
cracked at the end of her sentence and I released one arm from Alice
and held it out to Rose. She quickly walked over and joined in the hug
and the tears.

It was the first time the 3 of us had been alone since everything about
moving and leaving had come up. It was the first time we were able to
take on the burden of being torn apart together. We didn't need to
discuss why we were doing what we were doing. As I've said before it
was there in all of us now, just under the surface and constantly
threatening to break free if we didn't put effort into holding ourselves
together. It was that lurking feeling of the end that overtook us now,
in Alice's room.

"I can't believe you guys are leaving me here by myself." Rosalie
broke the silence and I didn't understand her words.

"Alone?" I asked tearfull as I pulled away to better see her face.

She nodded and wiped her tears. "Yes, hasn't Alice told you?"

I shook my head and turned to Alice.

"Oh yeah, I guess Bella and I haven't got a chance to really talk yet."
Alice smiled at me and brushed her own tears off of her face. "I've
decided I'm not going to stay in LA either, Bella."

"Wait, so you are moving to Forks too?" I asked frantically. What the
heck would Alice do in Forks?

Before I could let my mind wander too far down that road she stopped
me. "No, I'm not going to Forks, but I have decided to move to
Seattle." She smiled a little and continued. "They have a good fashion
design school up there, so that's what I'm going to persue. I love it
just as much as I love performing so I figured, why not? It's not the
best school in the fashion education world, but it's the closest one to
Jasper so it's the best school for me."

She shrugged and smiled some more. So Alice was going to be in


Seattle. That wasn't so bad! She would be close enough to Forks to
visit on weekends and holidays. We could even go see her all the
time...hang out in the city!

"Alice! That's great! We'll still be close!" I threw my arms around her
again and smiled to myself before I realized that while this was better,
it wasn't complete.

We broke apart and I looked at Rose. "Rose what are we going to do


without you? How am I going to seduce men?" I tired to make a joke
but the tears were starting in all of us again.

Rosalie scoffed at me and shook her head. "Bella, you never needed
me for that. Plus, you've already bagged one of the best men I know
so my services are no longer needed." Her perfect smiled shone at me
through her tears and I threw myself at her now, tackling her down on
the bed.

"Thank you for everything Rosalie. Thank you for going on that first
adventure with me and always seeing things in me I couldn't see in
myself. Thank you for laughing with me and making fun of me and for
being perfect!" I was rambling out my words and she was laughing at
me the whole time. "And thank you for brining Alice along so she could
decided we needed to be friends too," I added in as Alice jumoed on
top of us.

That's how we stayed for nearly 30 minutes, just crying and laughing
at memories we were going to have forever.

"Ok, remember when Bella had a crush on that guest teacher in film
class?" Rose asked Alice with a laugh.

"Oh! She was so cute! She scheduled herself for every crew position
possible that semester, just to hang out on set with him." They
laughed at me and Alice continued remembering my stupid crush, "Oh!
Remember how he asked her to grab him a cupcake from the store
next time we went, and she did, and then her told her to keep the
change from the 3 dollars he gave her..."
"And she kept it all!" Rose finished for her with a laugh. "She kept it in
a little heart shaped box on her nightstand forever!"

They were both laughing at me now and I had my hand over my face.
What can I say? It was before I met Edward, guest teacher John had
been the most attractive guy I had ever seen.

"Whatever happened to the Sacred John Change anyway?" Alice asked


turning serious. They both looked at me and I smiled.

"I still have it."

We all laughted then and I decided I could probably go ahead and


spend that now.

"Remember that one night we walked down to the Kodak Center and
gave Alice coffee at 12:30 in the morning?" Rose asked me with a
laugh.

"Oh yeah, who's genius idea was that?" I barked out, turning to her.

"I can't resist her when she begs," Rosalie sighed and Alice cackled
because it was true.

"That was one of the best nights ever!" Alice sang out, lifting her arms
off the bed.

"Yeah, you got us to sing 'Summer Nights' with you in the middle of
the shopping complex!" I shrieked at the memory. Alice really could
move mountains with that pout of hers.

"That's right! I was Olivia Newton John and you were my John
Tavolta," Rosalie said turning to Alice. "Bella who were you?" She
questioned me, not remembering.

"The backup singers. All of them." We laughed as we all remembered


out impromtu performance in the Starbucks courtyard at the Kodak
Shopping Center. "That was so embarassing!" I concluded.

"No way, we were amazing, and you know it. They should have hired
us for nightly entertainment!" After she said that Alice jumped up on
her bed and started to sing:
"Summer loving, had me a blast!" in her deep John Tavolta - esque
voice as she pulled Rosalie to stand on the bed with her.

"Summer lovin' happened so fast!" Rose quickly got into Ollivia


Newton John mode and flipped her hair play fully as she sang.

"Met a girl crazy for me..." Alice's deep voice just got more and more
comical as she sang.

"Met a boy, cute as can be..." Rosalie responded sweetly.

We all sang the next part:

"Summer days, driftin' away to uh-oh those summer nights!"

Then I stood up for my big part, "Well - oh - well -oh -well - oh - UH!"

We all thrust our hips on the "UH!" and we cracked up as we continued


through the whole song.

I joyfully sang my back up parts of "Tell me more's" and "well - oh -


well - oh - well - oh - uh's" thrusting on the necessary syllables and
dacing around them on the bed as they sang the tale of their summer
romance.

We ended on the high pitched note of the song and then fell to the bed
laughing at ourselves.

"Rosalie, do you have to stay here?" I asked in a small voice after we


had recovered from our song outburst.

"Yeah Bell, I think I do." She sighed and it got quiet.

"I love you guys." Alice said, her little eyes tearing up yet again.

That's how we ended up on the bed, hugging and crying when we were
supposed to be primping and curling.

All of a sudden Jasper's voice broke out, "They're all in here!" and we
all turned to the door way to see him standing there looking very nice.

Emmett appeared behind him and said, "Awe we missed the good
part!" as he took in all 3 of us lying on the bed together with our arms
around each other. "They've already moved into cuddle time."
We all laughed and then Rosalie got up to shut the door on the boys so
we could actually start getting ready. Right before it shut I got a
glimpse of Edward and he threw me a smile and a small wave before I
was shut off from him.

"Alright girls, back to business!"

And with that we were off into the land up curling irons and make up.

Date night was fun. We went to The Grove and ate at The Cheesecake
Factory. Emmett was greatly disappointed whenhe opened his menu
and it didn't consist soley of cheesecake. He had been pretty excited
about having dessert for dinner, but besides that everyone was
completely happy all night.

We held hands and watched the light show that the large fountain in
the plaza put on. Edward wrapped his arms around me and whispered
that he loved me repeatedly into my ear. It was so nice to be one of
the couples that fit into this setting so well.

We headed home and decided to finish the night comfortably by


watching a movie.

I was changing into my pajamas in my room and just as I finished


there was a knock on the door. I walked over to it and opened it,
revealing Edward smiling dazzling at me on the other side.

"Well hello," I said play fully and smiled back at him.

"Hello Miss Swan." He leaned down to me and gave me a quick peck.


"I have a present for you." His smile turned sweet and I narrowed my
eyes at him.

"Why?" I asked seriously. Needless presents are just... needless.


Especially when he gives me so much of himself everyday.

"Because I saw it when I was out today and I thought you might need
if for Forks." He stepped in then and sat on my bed, holding his arms
behind his back the whole time.

"Ok. What is it?" I remained serious, still not convinced this was
necessary.
He stood up and plopped something on my head. It was heavy and
warm and it came down around my face.

"Edward!" I laughed when I turned and looked in the mirror. It was


one of those ridiculous furry snow hats that had the flaps that came
down around the face. It was poofy and gray and animal like, and
actually really really warm.

"Do you like it?" He was smiling at me in approval, clearly pleased with
how silly it made me look.

"Well it's pretty warm, yes, but I don't think I should parade around
Forks like this!" I pointed at my head and he laughed. "I mean, I'm
going to stick out as the new girl that can't handle the cold anyway.
Do I really need an animal on top of my head to help point me out
even further!"

He laughed some more and said, "I think it looks cute," before leaning
in and kissing me sweetly.

"That's not going to work, I still think I will look ridiculous being the
only person in Forks with a rabbit hat." I gave him a stern look as he
pulled away but continued to smile at me.

"Not the only one." He smirked and then lifted up his other hand that I
hadn't noticed was still behind his back. He reached up and plopped a
matching furry hat onto his head.

"Ahh!" I shrieked and jumped up and down at the sight of him in the
big fluffly hat. "You have one too?" I was laughing too hard at his
perfect face surrounded by all of that fur and his green eyes sparkled
at my joy as he threw his arms around me and we fell to my bed.

"Of course I have one too! I saw them and couldn't resist." He leaned
in and kissed me sweetly again. We were laying on our sides facing
each other and when we pulled away I just smiled at him.

"You look pretty cute yourself," I complimented him as I grabbed the


flaps on either side of his head and tugged playfully.

"Never as cute as you though. I needed to make sure you were warm
enough, my little snow bunny." We laughed at his lame nickname for
me and he leaned in for another kiss but then I thought about it some
more.
I pulled away right before his lips met mine. "You know, if I really was
your snow bunny I wouldn't need this hat..."

He rolled his eyes at me and leaned in again, but I pulled away more.

"No, think about it. Snow bunnies are actually made for the snow,
right?" I looked at him like I wanted to answer and he just said,
"Bella...' longingly as he leaned in yet again, only to be denied.

"Seriously, Edward! A snow bunny should have built in warmth. It


wouldn't need to wear it's friend on it's head to make it through the
winter. Now a regular bunny might need this hat..."

He let his head drop into the mattress in defeat as I continued talking
instead of kissing him. It was fun to play with him like this, to make
him want it even more.

"Edward, don't you agree with my logic?" I picked up one of his flaps
and then let it fall to his face.

"This is what I get for buying you presents, isn't it?" he laughed into
the mattress but then turned his head to smile at me.

"Yes. But you can also have this as well." His smile had broken me
down and I leaned in to finally give him his kiss.

He reached up and grabbed the furry flaps on my hat, pulling my face


even deeper into his. When he finally broke away from me I was
breathing heavily and was very satisfied with the rabbit hat.

"Suddenly I'm not so sure I'll need the hat to keep you warm." He
smiled devilishly at me and I smiled back.

We left my room then and joined the others before we got too carried
away and ruined group date night.

We decided to watch RENT, Alice's pick of course, since the boys had
never seen it before she declared they needed to.

"So they are all sick?" Emmett asked when the movie finished and the
credits were rolling.

"No, not all of them," Alice started to explain. "Just half of them."
"Then why were the other one's singing sad songs too?" Emmett
replied with and honestly cncerned face.

"Because they were sad for the sick ones." Jasper answered sweetly.
Alice had surrounded him with musicals so he was more comfortable
with how they worked.

"Oh. I was sad for the sick one's too, but you don't see me breaking
into song!" Emmett laughed at himself and everyone just sat there
because it wasn't very funny.

"That's because your life is not a musical," I said sadly. I had this
theory that life would be better as a musical. Alice backed me up 100
percent.

"Well if I sang all the time it would be, right?" His face lit up and he
started nodding, not really needing any of us to agree.

"That would be a start." Alice laughed quietly at him.

"Rosalie, my little Rosie!" He stood up and started singing in a deep


voice. "I very much wish to ravage you! Let's do the things married
people do! I promise my lovin' will not get you sick, but I cannot
promise I can make it quick... Get - in - the - beeeeeeeeed!"

He finished he song by picking her up out of Bertha and hauling her


into the bedroom where we could hear that he continued to sing even
though we couldn't hear what he was saying.

Edward had fallen asleep, of course, but was woken up my Emmett's


song. He was now groaning tiredly into my neck where his face was
burried. Apparently he wasn't planning on waking up fully.

"Well, date night was fun but we're calling it a night." Jasper said and
started to get up. But before they could leave Emmett's singing
stopped and he stomped out into the living room again.

"Something wrong Emmett?" I asked. He was clearly upset.

"Rose said we cannot do the things that married people do, because
we aren't married." He folded his arms and flopped down in Bertha.

"Well then marry her." Alice said with a straight face.


"I tried!" He threw up his hands in disgust and scoffed. "She won't do
it."

Rosalie's laugh rang out from the bedroom and I was amused by how
upset Emmett was pretending to be.

"You laugh now woman, but you'll be sad when another lady snatches
me up!" He yelled into the bedroom but she just laughed again then
appeared in the doorway.

"And why should I marry you, besides the obvious reason of 'getting
your body forever'. Which, for the record, is the only reason he could
give me in the bedroom." She lifted her head up and explained the last
part to us, and we all nodded. It sounded like an Emmett reason to do
something.

"Well for one we love each other and I don't ever want to loose you to
someone else." He smiled sweetly at her and her face changed a bit.
She wasn't expecting such a cute answer and she said, "oh Em,"
quietly as she smiled.

Then he continued.

"And for two we could have Naked Five O'Clock whenever we wanted!"
He smiled proudly and her smile was wiped away and she shook her
head.

"Naked Five O'Clock? What the hell is that?" She put her hands on her
hips and the whole room waited.

"It's when we all get naked and hang out. At five in the morning." He
said it with a straigh face and looked at her expecting her to just
accept it as if he had just proposed a dinner party.

She shook her head at him incredulously and we all just laughed. Well,
Edward groaned again and shifted further into me, but I just rubbed
his back to comfort him.

"Well if it's just naked hanging out we could have naked Five O'Clock
now, you know." Jasper egged on his brother. "We could start tonight,
it's already pretty late."

"Yeah!" Emmett cheered and looked at Rose.


"No!" She cheered back, mocking him.

"Yeah, I'm not to into Naked Five O'clock, I'm going to be honest." I
said to the group.

"At this rate all of you are just going to leave me sad and lonely. No
marital relations...no Naked Five O'clock. Just Emmett...all alone. With
no love or nudity." Emmett pouted a little and if you ignored his words
it was actually a bit sad.

"Awe, I kind of feel bad now," I said sweetly, not being able to help it.

"Oh please," Rosalie mumbled and left the room.

"Marry me Rose!" Emmett yelled into the bedroom, trying again.

"No!" She yelled back, just as determined as he was.

"I'm never going to get any action at this rate." Emmett said in a
defeated tone to himself. Then he looked over at Alice.

"Alice, you'd marry me right?" He winked at her and she giggled.

"Sure."

"Really?" Emmett wiggled his eyebrows and smirked at her. "You'd


leave Jasper for me?"

She turned to Jasper and feigned surprise, "Oh Jasper! That's right. I
forgot, I love him.Sorry Em, how can I leave Jazz when he's looking at
me with that sad face?"

Jasper was indeed pouting at her ever since she agreed to marry
Emmett but he broke into a smile and put his arm tightly around her
when she denied Emmett instead.

That only left me.

"Bellarina!" He got an excited look in his eye that I didn't trust.

"No." I said, already knowing where is train of though was going.

"The man you love is unconscious right now so I have a better chance
with you..." he ignored my first answer and gestured toward Edward
than paused and smiled at me.
"No!" I said again, trying to stop the question before it started. He just
set determination in his face and stared at me.

"Marry me." He didn't even ask me, he commanded.

"Um, I'm going to go with, no." I emphasized the "no" more than
necessary since it was the third time I said it to him in the last 30
seconds. At least he heard it this time.

Alice and Jasper started laughing and I kept a straight face as Emmett
got upset all over again.

"Why?"

"You really need me to tell you why?"

"Yes." He folded his arms and waited for an answer.

"Ok-" I started but he cut me off. It seemed he formed another idea in


his head.

"Wait! No. I guess know why. At least kiss me." He smiled then,
returning to his new, odd goal of getting a kiss from me.

"No." I answered flatly.

"Still no?" He actually managed to look surprised, as if I would cave in


and attack him with my lips any second now.

"Always no." I reiterated.

"Well. Things have certainly taken a turn for the worse now, haven't
they?" Jasper laughed out at his brother.

"Are you sad and lonely now?" Alice asked in an over dramatic
concerned voice, recalling Emmett's words from earlier.

"Eh. It's nothing Naked Five O'Clock can't fix." Emmett said and then
got up. "Or at least Underwear Midnight. Hey Rose, what do you think
of that?" He finally retreated into the bedroom then, and shut the door
leaving us all in peace.

"Underwear Midnight." I repeated into the silence. "What do you


suppose that entails?"
"I'm guessing it's roughly the same idea as Naked Five O'Clock,"
Jasper sighed.

"Ok, enough of this crazy naked, underwear, marriage talk! We really


are going to bed now," Alice said as she pulled Jasper up from the
chair.

I said goodnight to them and Jasper turned the light off in the living
room before he shut their door so I wouldn't have to get up.

"Finally," Edward lifted his head and looked at me with a smile.

I gasped, "You are totally awake!" I laughed and swatted his back.
"Why have you been faking?"

He shrugged. "I was enjoying just laying with you and not having to
participate in the absurd conversation. I mean, honestly? Did we really
just have a discussion about a Naked Five O'Clock?" He chuckled and I
shook my head. Yes, we actually did have a conversation about that.
And almost one about an Underwear Midnight.

I laughed and ran my hand through his hair. "You really did fall asleep
during the movie though didn't you?" I asked with a smile.

"Yes, of course. It was good but some of the music at the end was
slow and that was that." He shrugged and I laughed some more.

"Did you like the music you heard before you fell asleep?" RENT has
some of the best music I'd heard, especially for a musical. Most of it
was based on rock music, so I had been expecting Edward to like it.

"Yes I did. I liked everything I heard except for that one song with all
the numbers in it. That one got stuck in my head and it's a bit
annoying." He scrunched up his face and I laughed to myself because I
knew exactly what he was talking about.

One of the songs in RENT is called "Seasons of Love" and one of the
most repeated lines in the song is:

"525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.


525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?"
"Five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes", isrepeated
a lot in the song, and is often the only thing people can remember
when they first hear it.

"All I can hear over and over again is, 'five thousand, twenty five
thousand, six thousand minutes...' It's driving me crazy!" He gave a
frustrated sigh and I laughed as he buried his head back down in my
neck.

"You aren't even singing the right numbers!" I laughed at him as my


hand found his hair again. "You said 'thousand' after every number!
That doesn't even make sense!" I was still laughing at him and I felt
him laugh into my neck, which sent a more serious feeling down
through my body.

"I don't care if it's correct or not, I just want it out of my head!" He
said heatedly into me and then brought his face up to laugh with me.

I kissed him and he groaned again, but this time not from tiredness or
annoyance.

"I'm glad you didn't agree to marry Emmett," he smiled and said to
me between kisses.

"Oh yeah, I was pretty close to saying yes, but I decided to hold out
for you instead." I joked and then kissed him again. In the middle of
the kiss things turned serious and he tightened his arms around me
and kept his face close when he broke away.

"I will marry you someday Isabella," he told me and then kissed me
again, deeply.

"I will marry you someday Edward," I replied when he released me.

He smiled and then and mumbled, "And someday I suppose I'll


actually propose to you properly too."

We both laughed silently at his remark. Then we settled into the couch
and I waited for sleep to come and get me so I could wake up
tomorrow and continue waiting for another week to pass, and another
end to come.

Chapter 34 - Gimme Shelter


The next week managed to pass even more rapidly than the one
before it. Before I knew it we were on Thursday. Our families came in
on Friday, the final showcase was on Saturday, graduation was on
Sunday, the boys' last show was on Monday and we left for tour on
Tuesday.

This was it. The final days in Los Angeles with life as we knew it.

Living together was...rough. Not in the sense that we weren't having a


good time with all 6 of us in the same apartment, we had basically
lived like that before everything changed. But that was when we had
options in regards to living rooms. It was just so darn crowded in
there!

There was practically no floor considering the bowl chair and Bertha
were up against either side of the couch and the Love Sac was right
behind it. You had to literally climb over the couch to get from one side
of the living room to the other, which made things just great when
Alice woke up insanely early and had to climb over Edward and I to get
to the kitchen or out the front door.

After dress rehearsal on Thursday we arrived home to an oddly empty


apartment.

"Crap, they changed their minds and left without us." Alice sighed as
she fell into the couch.

"Ah, well. Now we can have our apartment back," I laughed as I fell
down next to her.

"It's not going to be our apartment in a few days, girls," Rosalie said
as she sat quietly next to me.

The laughter faded and silence took over. It really wasn't funny.

"What are you and Emmett going to do?" I asked her carefully. We
hadn't had time to discuss it yet. Again, we had crowd issues these
days.

"We are going to stay together, of course, and do long distance for a
while. My family has more than enough money to help me out with
plane tickets and stuff." She shrugged but still looked sad.
"So you are going to stay here alone then?" Alice asked as she looked
across me to Rose.

"Um, no, I don't want to stay in this apartment. After everything is


cleared out of it I'm going to break the lease early and find somewhere
else. I can't imagine staying here...alone." She didn't look at either of
us, but just stared straight ahead blankly. "I spoke to Victoria about
getting an apartment with her, she's looking for something in a month
or two as well."

"Oh..." I was the one that responded quietly and almost with a
surprised tone.

Rose had plans to live with someone else? How did I not know? I
looked over at Alice and her face told me she hadn't known either.
How did neither of us know? We were so used to knowing everything
about each other all the time. But then it hit me. This is what it will be
like now, when we are away from each other. We won't know every
little detail of each other's lives. We will make new friends and go on
new adventures separately. Despite how close we will always be as
friends, life will go on.

I din't like it. I knew Victoria from school and she was great and all,
but should she really deserve to live with my Rose? Ugh, probably not.

Rosalie shook her head a bit then to rid herself of the blank stare and
she turned and gave me a gorgeous smile. "I'll come visit all the time
you guys, you know Emmett can't last very long without me." She
winked and got up off the couch. She was done thinking about it.

Emmett burst in then and we all turned to him but none of us said
anything. Edward was right behind him and they both sort of stopped
right by the front door, not sure what to make of the solemn mood in
the room.

"Hey ladies, having a wild party I see." Emmett went into the kitchen
and wrapped his arms around Rose and she just raised her eyebrows
at him in a "yeah, sure" fashion.

Edward came and sat next to me and I let my head drop to his
shoulder. This was all happening way too quickly. I felt extremely
exposed to change. Where do you find shelter from that exposed
feeling? What tiny space do you crawl in to stop time?
"Where's Jasper?" Alice asked and it was only then that I noticed he
wasn't there.

Edward shrugged and Emmett said, "He wouldn't say. We had band
practice and then he said he had something to take care of and he was
going to hang out at the space a while longer, but he told us we could
leave."

"He didn't say why?" Alice asked with a confused look.

"Nope." Emmett replied simply.

"That's odd," Alice mused to herself.

We waited around for Jasper to return and eventually Emmett got up


to use the bathroom.

"What the heck?" His loud voice boomed from behind the closed door,
then a minute later the toilet flushed and he emerged from the
bathroom with a bottle of whiskey in his hand.

"Why was this on the back of the toilet?" He asked the room with a
confused expression.

He held out the bottle and shook it at us, each of us as confused as he


was.

"I have no idea," I said raising my hands up in the air and looking at
Rosalie since it was technically our bathroom.

"Beats me," she shrugged. "I saw it in there earlier but I don't know
how it got there."

"You didn't find it odd that a bottle of whiskey was just hanging out in
your bathroom?" Alice asked with a laugh.

Rosalie looked at us all sincerely and said, "I don't know! Don't ask,
don't tell!" She laughed then and we all shook our heads, but no one
had an explanation for the bottle.

Emmett went back into the bathroom, I assumed to put the whiskey
back on the toilet, but instead of coming out empty handed like I
expected he did the exact opposite.
He had put on Rose's pink and yellow flowered robe and also the
shower cap that had been hanging up to dry. He had the whiskey
bottle in his hand and he was stumbling around jokingly as he
reentered the living room.

He spoke in a low, raspy voice as he put on a show for all of us as we


laughed at his ridiculousness.

"Who put my whiskey on the toilet?" he demanded at the room.

He looked so absurd in the robe that barely covered his now bare
chest with his plaid shorts that stuck out from the bottom. The shower
cap had been hastily thrown on and didn't even cover his whole head,
causing stray curls tp stick out everywhere. The whiskey was sloshing
around in the bottle he carried and we were cracking up at his joke.

"I had it stored safely in the bathtub but someone moved it to the
toilet! Who would do that?" He raised his arms up and then broke into
laughter himself, falling into Bertha next to Rose and sighing loudly.

"What was that about?" she asked him with an amused smile and a
curious look.

He shrugged. "I don't know, that seemed like the only kind of person I
could think of that would keep their whiskey on the toilet." We all
laughed again and marveled at the places Emmett's mind took him.

"You should go knock in the door to our old apartment in that get up,"
Edward suggested with a laugh. "The guys that moved in wouldn't
know what to think."

We all laughed again at that thought because it was definitely true.


The apartment had gone to 2 guys who were pretty straight laced and
boring. They had been overwhelmed with Emmett the first time they
met him when they were signing over the lease, and he had been
behaving that day!

"I really should, huh?" Emmett said with a wicked look in his eye.

"Do it!" Alice encouraged.

He laughed and then got up and headed out the door.

"You aren't really doing it?" I asked as we all got up and followed him.
"Why not?" Emmett smiled over his shoulder. "What else have we got
to do?"

Rose, Edward, Alice and I followed the ridiculously dressed Emmett


down the hall as he made he was back to 110 for the first time in
almost 2 weeks. We all crouched behind the wall at the corner of the
hallway that led to their old door and Emmett continued on. Right
before he knocked he tucked the whiskey in one of his pockets, hiding
it from view.

I stiffled a giggle as he knocked and the door opened.

"Uh, can I help you?" I confused male voice said from inside the
apartment.

"Yes. I don't know if you remember me, but my name is Emmett


Cullen. I used to live here." Emmett used a very business like tone
that clashed completely with his robe and disheveled shower cap,
creating a humorous paradox with just smoothness of his voice.

"Yeah, I think I remember you. Is everything alright?" The poor


confused man asked.

"Actually I think I left something in the bathroom that I really need.


Do you mind if I take a look around?"

"Um, I don't know...we didn't find anything when we moved in..." his
voice was unsure and I thought to myself I probably wouldn't let
Emmett in either if he showed up like that to my house.

"Dude! Come on! It's not like I'm gunna steal the f'kin toilet!" We all
snickered at Emmett's famous Non-Cuss-Word-Cuss and Alice
whispered, "Cussin' Day!" excitedly and we laughed even harder.

"I left something very important to me in there." Emmett looked at the


guy like he had slapped him in the face and I thought I was going to
die from holding in laughter.

"Ok..." the other man got out right before Emmett pushed passed him.
It was quiet for a few minutes before his voice boomed out again, "AH!
YES!"
He appeared in the hallway now with the bottle of whiskey in his hands
and he opened the cap and took a giant gulp as he turned back to the
man.

I cringed and Rosalie gasped as the lowered the bottle and wiped his
mouth with his palm.

"Thanks man. I didn't think I would ever find this baby." Emmett
smiled and then patted the bottle lovingly. "But alas! I have victory. Or
should I say... whiskery?" He lifted the bottle up in a victorious
manner and then he winked and then walked swiftly down the hall. We
all turned and ran back to our apartment ahead of him.

Everyone fell on the floor laughing and Emmett walked in shortly


behind us, his own chuckle echoing over us as he stepped over our
laughing mound.

"That was awesome," I breathed once I was composed enough to sit


up.

Emmett was sitting in Bertha, still in his get up and smiling proudly.

"You guys should have seen that guy's face when I took the shot from
the bottle." He said with a deep laugh.

"How did you do that by the way?" Alice asked, making an "icky" face
at the bottle. "Straight whiskey is not a good time."

Emmett shrugged and looked down at the bottle. "It's actually not that
bad." He twisted the cap and took another swig then smiled as we all
groaned in disgust.

"Oh no you don't," Rosalie said as she took it from him.

"What?" He asked innocently watching her hands take his prop away
from him.

"You've already used the term 'whiskery' and that was from only one
shot!" She got and headed back towards the bathroom. "We are not
having another repeat of 'Pina Colada Ville' tonight!"

We all laughed and she emerged from the bathroom without the
bottle. It sat on the back of the toilet for days after that, and the
Whiskey on the Toilet Mystery never did get solved.
When Jasper finally did come home later that night he wouldn't say
anything about where he'd been but he smiled coolly and dodged all of
our confused questions. He just brushed it off and changed the
subject.

"What time is it?" He asked with a smile.

"Um, about 9:30," I responded.

His smile widened and he got a glint in his eye.

"You guys want to get out of here tonight? I know something we can
do. Something we should do before we...can't." He looked uneasy as
he almost said "before we leave" but he kept the smile on his face and
we all chose to ignore it.

"Is this the surprise present?" Alice asked excitedly as she bounced in
front of him and clapped her hands.

He chuckled and took both of her little hands in his. "No, it's not the
Christmas present, that's still for later. You guys are going to love it
though. Make sure and get a jacket or something, you'll need it."

We all looked around and shrugged. Jasper seemed happy enough


about wherever he was taking us. We dispersed quickly to get
something warm to wear.

"You or I tonight my Bella?" Edward said as he lifted up the maroon


hoodie to me.

"Um, you can have it tonight. I'll take my scarf, and if that gets to cold
I'll just climb in there with you." I smiled sneakily and he winked at
me, approving of the idea as he flung the hoodie around him.

"Zip up your love?" He asked me innocently with a fake pout as he


held his arms out to me with the unzipped hoodie hanging off of him.

I smiled and walked over and zipped him up, amused by his
appreciation for what I had said weeks ago. When I got the zipper up
to the top of his chest he leaned down and kissed me. "Thanks, love."
He smiled and then put his arm around me.

Jasper said we would need to take a car where we were going, but
that he didn't recommend the jeep. That meant we had to squish into
my car, all 6 of us in a 5 seater. Jasper drove since he actually knew
where we were going, and Emmett sat in the front seat since he was
clearly not "squish in the back" material.

"Alright! Eddie and the ladies! Way to go little bro!" Emmett looked
back and winked at Edward sitting in the middle of all the girls and
Edward just smiled crookedly in response.

Rose and I were on either side of him and Alice was laying across all of
our laps, far more comfortable than any normal sized human would be
in that position.

We took off and it only took a few minutes before a part of Jasper's
plan was revealed.

"We're going on Muholland Drive?" Alice asked excitedly as we turned


onto the famous road.

"Yep." Jasper smiled into the rear view mirror at her as he started the
journey upwards.

"Fun! I've never been on it before," she said as she gazed out the
window as we started to climb up the twisty mountain.

"It's just a big, curvy, joy ride!" Rose said happily to Alice.

"YOUR MOM'S A BIG CURVY JOY RIDE!" Emmett yelled back and then
boomed laughter at himself.

Rosalie rolled her eyes but we all laughed at his ridiculous joke. This
time it was a good one.

We were driving for a few minutes before everyone stopped laughing


and started admiring the view. Muholland Drive is a very long, very
curvy road that winds up and down some of the Hollywood Hills. When
you get to the top of these mountains, as we were starting to, you can
see for miles and miles. You can see all of Los Angeles laid out before
you, all lit up. We rolled down all the windows and kept our gazes on
the city before us.

It was easy to get lost in Los Angeles. Not in the literal sense, but in
the sense that you forget what a huge city you are living in. Like us for
examle. We formed our little bubble world and it was small and
comfortable and didn't seem overwhelming at all. But seeing this
breath taking view of the sparkling city lights really reminded you that
you were part of something larger. A living, breathing, working,
changing city. A place some people only dream of seeing.

I was glad in that moment to have seen it from this point of view and
not just from the dirty streets around our apartment, or the normal
everyday places we traveled. I was glad I would have this beautiful
image of it in my head when I thought back and remembered it.

I got so lost in my thoughts I didn't even notice when the car stopped.

"We're here." Jasper turned and smiled at us as he undid his seat belt
and opened the door. We filed out and looked around.

"Uh, dude, it's an empty visitor center." Emmett scratched his head as
he looked around unamused.

We were indeed at an empty visitor center. There was one street light
on in the small parking lot we had parked in, but other than that it was
dark and vacant. There was a wooden bench to our left and a display
case that had a map of Muholland and of the city below along with
some information on the history of Hollywood.

"We aren't quite done yet, it's over here." Jasper grabbed Alice's hand
and she bounced along behind him as we continued to follow our
fearless leader.

He took us around the display case and started walking in the dirt, into
the actual mountain itself.

"Jasper, why are we going into the wilderness?" Rosalie asked as


Emmett held a branch back for her.

"It's all part of the adventure Rose, go with it." Jasper called over his
shoulder.

"Alright. I just wasn't sure if you knew you hadn't informed us about
the hike, that's all." She laughed back at him. "You know we can't all
be Bella Baggins all the time."

I yelled "Hey!" at the mention of the one thing I forbid them all to talk
about ever again, and I tried to swat Rose's arm but I was currently on
top of a large rock and the motion sent me into a forward plunge. A
laughing Emmett had to catch me.
His face turned serious and then he smirked. "Bellarina! Ready for a
kiss in the forest, eh?" He pulled me to him then and Rose passed us,
gracefully hoping over the rock I was just falling from.

"Good luck," She mumbled with a smile and a nudge to me, leaving
me defenseless in her big bear's arms.

"So what'll it be sister, your tree or mine?" Emmett was winking at me


now, causing me to laugh and pull away all at once.

"Emmett, you know I will not kiss you so put me down!" I started
flailing and he couldn't hold on to me anymore because of the
awkward way I fell into him.

I huffed at him when I got my feet back on the ground and then
managed to get over the rock safely.

As we caught up to the others who weren't too far ahead Emmett


continued to harass me.

"Bellarina, what can I do to get a kiss from you?" He grabbed Rose's


hand again but looked longingly at me as she rolled her eyes.

"I don't know, become Edward." I shurgged and replied as Edward


smiled down at me.

"Good answer," he said and he leaned down and kissed me sweetly.

"Show off!" Emmett yelled with a laugh and I turned around to face
him.

"Why do you want it so badly Emmett?" I asked with a laugh as I


latched onto Edward's arm and felt him laugh too.

"Because you're the only girl in the world that won't willingly kiss me!"
He stated it as pure fact and I couldn't help but scoff.

"Alice won't kiss you!" I defended, hoping maybe, just maybe he


would divert some of his kissing energy to her for a while.

"Sure she will, Alice!" He called to her and her and Jasper turned
around.
"Yes Emmett?" She asked politely. She was smirking and I was almost
sure she had heard the whole conversation up to this point.

"You'd kiss me right?" He winked at her and she nodded nonchalantly.

"Sure!" She released Jasper's arms and bounded over and placed a
quick peck on Emmett's mouth as he leaned down to her.

He smiled up at me victoriously and said, "See?" with a huge grin. "So


what'll it be Bellarina? There has to be something I can do to get one
kiss from you."

I thought about it for a minute as we kept walking. What can I say to


get him to drop it? I laughed at myself. Silly Bella, there's probably
nothing I can say to get him to drop it completely. He's Emmett
Cullen.

I thought of the first thing I could and tried to make it random so that
the conditions would never be met. "Ok Emmett, here's the deal. If we
are ever in Delaware at the same time I will kiss you there." I smiled
at him and made a mental note to never visit Delaware.

"Delaware..." He rubbed his chin as he thought about it and then


smiled at me. "It's a date sister!"

Everyone laughed and I shook my head. At least that seemed to keep


him away for now.

"You're starting to cave a little bit. Should I be jealous?" Edward asked


with a smirk as the laughter died down.

"Oh yeah, me and Emmett, we are always about 2 seconds away from
hooking up. It's getting hard to for me to resist. Be frightened." I said
in a monotone as I stared at him.

He laughed at me and from behind me Emmett boomed "I knew it!


Bellarina wants me! Delaware here we come!" as loud as he could,
making us all laugh again.

A few minutes later Jasper led us into a big clearing and as we stepped
out of the heavy bushes surrounding the clearing a noise drifted into
the air... it was music! Good music!
It got louder and louder as we walked across the dirt clearing to the
edge of the mountain where Jasper had stopped.

He smiled at all of us then pointed down the canyon. "This is it."

"Holy crap, is that the Hollywood Bowl?" Emmett asked with surprise.

"Sure is," Jasper replied coolly.

We were literally right above the Hollywood Bowl, one of the most
famous amphitheater's ever. Since it was so far back in the mountain
and we were right above the canyon it was in we could hear the music
very clearly as it floated up through the night to where we were
looking down upon the show.

"Oh man, it's The Stones." Edward said as his face lit up and looked
over to Jasper with a smile.

"The Rolling Stones?" I asked in disbelief as I listened harder. Sure


enough, it was.

The Rolling Stones were pretty popular in our group on car rides and in
the background of living room hangouts. It was mostly due to Jasper
and Edward's love of classic rock music, but I had also grown up
listening to it with Charlie. The man didn't sing or dance, but he had
owned a good record or 2 in his early years.

Now that I focused I very distinctly heard, "I can't get no...
satisfaction!" ringing through the air.

Alice squealed and I even wanted to scream a little bit. This was like a
free Rolling Stones concert... in the air! From as high up as we were
you could only see tiny dots moving around in the crowd and on stage,
but the sound was clear and loud enough to dance and sing too. We
had our own private balcony seats on a mountain.

Alice started dancing and singing immediately to the music and joy
filled all 6 of us as we moved along to:

"I can't get no satisfaction,


I can't get no girl reaction"

We all yelled out the next line, getting louder with each "try":
"Cause I try, and I try, and I try, and I try!"

Edward and Jasper started playing air guitar with their backs together
and Rose and I were throwing the shimmy wildly as Alice jumped into
Emmett's arms and he flung her around. We all belted out the rest of
the song:

"I can't get no, I can't get no


When I'm ridin' round the world
And I'm doin' this and I'm signing that
And I'm tryin' to make some girl
Who tells me baby better come back later next week
Cause you see I'm on losing streak
I can't get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that's what I say!
I can't get no, I can't get no
I can't get no satisfaction
No satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction."

We cheered and jumped and lifted our arms in the air when the song
ended, as if we were front and center in the audience.

They played "Ruby Tuesday" next and we ended up throwing our arms
around each other and swaying to the song together in unison.

We sang out the chorus all together getting louder each time:

"Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday


Who could hang a name on you?
When you smile with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you..."

I couldn't help but think of the very city we were singing above as I
sang the chorus over and over again. It was the perfect setting to look
out upon as the music played and we swayed back and forth. How
coincidental too, we were leaving on a Tuesday...

"19th Nervous Breakdown", "Under My Thumb", "Jumpin' Jack Flash",


and "Gimme Shelter" came and passed with us dancing and playing
invisible instruments and singing at the top of our lungs to the stars.
"You Can't Always Get What You Want" started to play and by the end
of the song we ended up linked together in a circle smiling the last
lines at each other:
"You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need!"

Jsaper sang out the last "Awe baby!" and threw his head back as we
laughed and "whooed" at our private concert. We clung to each other
in our tight circle and relished in the sensation of how loud we were
allowed to be in the middle of the wilderness of Los Angeles.

The last song began and the very sultry opening notes of "Time is on
my Side" rang out. Next to me Edward let out a soulful moan and
pulled me into him as the other two couples broke away and fell into
their own embraces as well.

"I love this song,"he practically moaned again as he started swaying


us back and forth to the music.

When the lyrics began he bored his eyes into mine and had a very
sensual smile on his face. The darkness of the night and the mood of
the song made his green deep and soulful to match the notes that
were being played, and I couldn't help but sway loosley in his arms,
letting his look and the music in general take me over. Then he started
singing the slow opening verses and the velvet was as sensual as
ever:

"Time is on my side, yes it is


Time is on my side, yes it is

Now you always say


That you want to be free
But you'll come running back
Youll come running back
Youll come running back to me"

He spun me around then and I let my torso swing a little further than
usual, the uncontrolled motioning fitting with the spirit of the song. He
moved one of his hands up my back and pulled me back into him as he
leaned in further and sang more:

"Go ahead, go ahead and light up the town


And baby, do everything your heart desires
Remember, Ill always be around
And I know, I know
Like I told you so many times before
Youre gonna come back, baby
cause I know
Youre gonna come back knocking
Yeah, knocking right on my door
Yes, yes!

Well, time is on my side, yes it is,


Time is on my side, yes it is"

Cause I got the real love


The kind that you need
Youll come running back
Youll come running back
Youll come running back, to me"

The next part found us all dancing closer together, chanting into the
night with the beat of the music and it practically became our very
heartbeats as we willed the words to be true, just for tonight:

Yes time, time, time is on my side, yes it is!


Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is.
Oh, time, time, time is on my side, yes it is!
I said, time, time, time is on my side, yes it is!
Oh, time, time, time is on my side,
Yeah, time, time, time is on my side.

I was breathless from singing and dancing and looking into Edward's
eyes for so long. We had been singing the last lines in pure irony. Time
was actually against us, racing past us too quickly these past few
weeks. But tongiht the music sheltered my fears of what I was losing
and only brought us closer together, giving us just one more
experience full of unique memories. In these moments, in the middle
of the music and the mountain, time was ours.

The final showcase went well and graduation was bored me.

I really loved the film scenes though. It was pretty fun to see all of my
school mates on the big screen but as we got closer and closer to mine
and Jake's scene I got more and more nervous. I was tapping my foot
through the first 5 scenes and both Edward and Jacob noticed as I was
sitting right in between them.
"Bells, it's fine! Settle down." Jacob laughed at me and patted my arm.

"Jake, we haven't even seen what we filmed! What if it's not fine?
Remember that take where I shuddered. What if that's in there? How
do I not know that I'm about to be made a fool of?" I know I was
being unreasonable, but the screen was just so BIG looking now that I
was imagining my own face on it. Were movie screens always this big?
Surely not. They must have gotten an extra large one shipped in just
to embarass me.

"Bella, why the heck would they include the take where you
shuddered? That makes no sense at all." Jacob looked at me like I was
crazy and Edward sighed.

"It's because she's unnecessarily nervous and she likes to throw little
fits when she lets her imagination get away from herself." Edward
looked down at me disapprovingly and then glanced up at Jake.

"Tell me about it, one time in one of her 'little fits', she actually
stomped her foot at me! I thought that only happened in cheesy
sitcoms!" Jacob laughed and Edward smiled back.

"Wow. I've never gotten the foot stomp before. You must have really
done badly." He smirked now and I looked back and forth between
them. I originally was afraid of the two of them being so close for
jealousy and awkwardness reasons, but I never imagined I should be
afraid they would bond over my over dramatisms.

"Yeah, I committed the worst crime possible. I paid for her!" Jake said
and Edward nodded in agreement.I expected him to tense up like
every other time my Disneyland trip came up, but no. He smiled and
agreed.

"That will do it." They laughed together again and I folded my arms. I
guess this is better than silent tension, but did they really have to
laugh about me as if I wasn't there?

Suddenly Jacob was on the screen and I swallowed hard as the camera
panned over to me. I was in a daze as I watched us play out the scene
I had once been so connected to. The audience laughed at the right
parts and when it got sweet and romantic Edward reached over and
grabbed my hand and I saw him give an uneasy glance over at Jake
who was smiling widely. He didn't even let go of me after the scene
was over and I leaned into Jacob for a hug. This was more like what I
was expecting.

Next we headed over to my final showcase, which was live on stage.

I had to keep from laughing when the curtains first opened in the
small theatre we were performing in and I sat on stage as the very
first person to be seen. My character started out simply sitting in a
chair, waiting. The reason I had to keep from laughing was because
the second the lights came on I couldn't see anyone in the audience,
but I heard a very loud voice whisper, "Bellarina!"

Needless to say my very bored and upset character was suddenly


fighting back a smile.

When we did our curtain call I couldn't help but smiley widely as the
stage lights dimmed and I saw mine and Rose's families intermingled
with our boys.

Jasper was sitting next to Edward, who was next to my mother, who
was next to my father, who was next to Emmmet, who was followed
by Rose's dad and then then her mother. We had a whole row devoted
to our fan club and we laughed as they gave a standing ovation.

Edward winked at me and held up some flowers in front of him to let


me know what was coming. I smiled back only for him, and then raced
into his arms after we cleaned up and were released.

That night all of our families went to dinner at CPK, or more commonly
known as the California Pizza Kitchen. We took up the biggest table on
the outside patio and we filled the restaurant with laughter and stories
from our parents.

"So, you are letting Bella move all the way up to Forks?" Rosalie's
mother asked mine across the table with a smile.

"I'm not letting her do anything! She's made her decision, and once
that's happened there's no talking her out of it. She gets that from her
father." Our mothers laughed together as my mom patted Charlie on
the arm and he shrugged.

"Rosalie was the same way with her decicion to come to Hollywood
and be a movie star." Rose smiled as her mother beamed at us.
"Have you told them the good news yet Rosie?" Her father asked her
with a proud smile.

"No, not yet." Rose replied and the whole table got silent as we all
turned our attention to her. Emmett put his arm around her and
smiled as proudly as her father.

"What's the news Rose?" Jasper asked as we waited.

"Well, there were a couple of casting agents at the showcase, as you


all know, and I spoke to one after the show..." she trailed off and
smiled up at Emmett who rubbed her back and beamed back.

"And!..." Alice egged her on.

"And... I got a job! They want me to be the spokesperson for this new
line of make up that's coming out. It's mostly commercials and print
work, but it's a long running job and I will get to travel all over the
world for press releases and parties and things like that. It's really
good for networking actually. I already have a meeting Monday
morning to meet the founders of the company and sign the contract."

Alice squealed and I gasped as a smile took over my face.

"Rosalie! Congratulations! That's so amazing for you!" I couldn't hold


in my excitement for her and she just smiled and nooded as all of us
agreed over and over again how great it was.

"We have another announcement," Emmett said loudly after about a


minute and we all turned our attention back to two of them.

"You both have an announcement?" Edward asked skeptically.

Emmett nodded and continued. He looked more serious than I had


every seen him before and it made me a little uncomfortable. "Rose
and I have discussed this with each other and with our parents." He
looked at Jasper and Edward then and said clearly, "Both sets of
parents."

Hiis two brothers nodded silently that they understood and Emmett
cleared his throat then continued.

"Rosalie is tied to LA now, even more than before since her new job is
anchored here. We've discussed doing a long distance relationship with
the move coming and all that, but it just never felt right whenever we
tried to tell ourselves it would be ok." He shifted in his chair and
leaned towards where Edward and Jasper were listening intently next
to me.

"So I'm staying with her, here in Los Angeles. I can't go back to Forks
if she is going to be here."

A few things happened at that moment. I gasped rather softly,


Edward's head twitched up to meet Emmett's eyes, Jasper slumped a
bit down into his chair, and Rosalie's father reached over and patted
Emmett on the back.

It was silent for few heartbeats and then Edward spoke.

"Of course you are Emmett. I can't imagine life at home without you,
but I can't say I wouldn't do the same in your situation." He reached
under the table and took my hand. His eyes were strained but his
voice was steady and he smiled sincerely.

"Thanks bro. Jazz?" Emmett looked to Jasper who was looking down at
the table. The 3 of them really were close, and I really understood
then that they weren't just brothers or band mates, they were friends
on top of all of that. Jasper looked pained but I knew he would never
hold this against Emmett.

"What can I say, man? You have to do what feels right." He finally
looked up and smiled at Emmett, easing any fears he would have had
about Jasper being upset. "I have to admit I will miss you though. It
won't be half as fun getting Edward drunk and trying to get him to say
crude things."

All of our laughter broke then and Rosalie's mother went, "What?" as
her eyes went wide.

"We could always let him say 'porno' every once in a while to liven
things up!" Alice chirped between laughs and Edward shook his head
as we doubled over and continued to laugh at our inside jokes.

All of the parents chuckled nervously, having no idea why their


children they thought the knew really well were laughing about getting
the most clean cut guy in our group drunk and then "letting" him say
porno.
Rosalie's mom was still looking around asking, "What?" with confused
eyes as Rose leaned over and said, "Don't worry about it mom," and
patted her hand.

We let the conversation turn light again. Things were still changing
daily with us. I was almost waiting for Jerry Springer to come out and
announce that Alice was secretly a stripper at night and Emmett was
leading an underground cock fighting organization that none of us
knew about.

Our families came and left quickly and before my parents left we
worked out all the moving arrangements. It was easier to fly back
after tour and take care of getting my car and all my things to Forks
then. Since Emmett and Rose were going to be staying in our
apartment with Victoria there was no real rush to get everything done.
It was the only thing that didn't seem like it was pushing it's way
towards me faster and faster.

Monday was quiet as we lounged around the apartment watching


Friends and waiting for Rosalie to return from her meeting and for it to
be time to start getting ready for the show.

She returned and informed us that the meeting went well and
everyone she would be working with seemed really nice. I was so
proud of her, not that it wasn't obvious she was perfect for something
like this.

"Ok, let's do this one last time!" Alice sang from her door way as she
pointed to me and then into her room.

I groaned and crawled out of Edward's arms as I made my way into


Alice's bedroom salon for the final time.

The door shut and I turned to see not only the standard make up and
curling iron laid out on the bed, but clothes too.

"Alice," I said in a warning tone. "What have you done?"

She smiled and skipped over to her bed and picked up a dark blue top
with a deep V neck. "Nothing I haven't done before. Just some
shopping Bella." She smiled sweetly and threw the top at me.

Rosalie laughed as we changed and I kept being handed different


pieces of clothing by Alice until she found the right combonation.
"Don't move Bella! This is it! This is the final show outfit!" She waved
her arms in front of me and then Rosalie turned around and whistled.

"I may be fighting Emmett for a kiss from you tonight Bella," she said
as she smirked at me.

I laughed and then turned to the mirror to see my kiss worthy self. My
eyes widened. It was... nice. Ok, it was more than nice. I walked
closer to the mirror to stand next to Rose as my hands traveled up to
my chest.

"What happened here?" I said with wonder as I looked down at the


area that was suddenly not so flat as it usually was.

Alice laughed and flitted over to me. "It's all about color and cut Bella."

"The V of the neckline helps shape the Ladies," Rosalie winked at me


through the mirror as she applied blush.

"Mary Kate and Ashley aren't as willing to come out and play as your
Ladies are," Alice said as she looked down at her own chest, "But the V
neck usually helps them too."

They both smiled confidentially at me and I smiled meakly back. Who


knew there was an art to cleavage?

"Do you read this stuff somewhere? How do you know what...the
Ladies want?" I asked hesitantly as they chuckled at me.

"It's all about being familiar with them." Alice said happily as she
continued to gaze down at Mary Kate and Ashley.

"That's right," Rose agreed. "You have to know your Ladies, Bella. It's
your duty as a woman!"

We all laughed then and I shook my head and gazed at myself one
more time before Alice pulled me over to curling town.

It wasn't like the Ladies were giving anyone a free show or anything.
They just usually didn't look so...there.

A little while later Alice had curls surrounding my face and I shook out
my hair to get the wild look that was fitting for shows. Everything was
going fine, and we were almost finished until Alice pulled a pair of new
dark blue stiletto heels out of her closet and held them up to me.

"Bella..." She sang to me as she stalked towards me with the shoes in


her hands.

"No way Alice! Do not even come near me with those things!" I started
backing up and she just laughed at me.

"Come on! I got them for you. I believe in you Bella, you can handle
heels now, come on!" She keep creeping towards me and I stopped
suddenly as my back hit her door.

"No Alice! I let you accentuate the Ladies, and that's all fine and good,
but I will not let you put me and anyone who comes within a 5 foot
radius of me in danger! Think about Edward!" I pleaded with her and
now Rose was laughing and coming towards me too.

"Just try them Bella," Rosalie said with a smile.

"No!" I was determined. I've never had the desire to wear high heels. I
don't know if it was a defect in me, but I was perfectly fine with flat
shoes. I had enough trouble navigating myself safely through flat
surfaces, thank you very much.

They lunged at me then and I opened the door and screamed as they
both knocked into me and we all came tumbling out into the living
room.

All 3 of us were cracking up and sprawled on the floor as I struggled to


get away from them and the boys all turned to watch the action.

I was face down on the floor and Alice was sitting on my butt, making
it harder for me too pull myself up and away from them. Rose was
working on holding down my feet and getting the shoes on, but I was
having a pretty high success rate with kicking enough to keep her from
reaching her goal.

Finally I rolled over and Alice fell off of me onto her side.

I picked myself up and darted over the Love Sac, but I didn't clear the
couch and I fell right into Emmett's lap.
"Hold her down!" Rosalie yelled to her boyfriend, who smiled widely
and fipped me over so I was pinned underneath him on the couch.

"Hey sister! Looking good." He smiled and I heard the girls laughing
behind me.

"Let. Me. Go." I commanded, looking Emmett straight in the eyes. This
wasn't fair at all.

"I'm gunna go with no." Emmett laughed as he turned my words to


him a few days ago around on me.

"Edward!" I pleaded, looking up at him. He was no help though. He


was staring at me with an odd look in his eye. Lust? Oh dear, the
Ladies were doing their job but it was pretty bad timing.

"Sorry, love, this is far to entertaining to get involved in." He winked


at me and I sighed in frustration. Boys!

"Emmett, please! They want me to wear heels! Do you love me or


not?" I pouted and and he smiled down at me an chuckled.

"I'll tell them to back off if you kiss me." He smirked and I scoffed.

"Sorry, last time I checked we did not teleport to Delaware!" I laughed


then but he just shrugged and said, "Alright."

Then reached one of his arms up and started slapping me repeatedly


on the face just as Jasper had done to him a couple days ago. I had
been right, it wasn't hard enough to hurt at all but it was the most
annoying sensation I had ever felt.

Now Rosalie and Alice were laughing, all thoughts of shoes seemingly
out of their heads.

"Emmett stop!" I shrieked between laughs as I tired to turn my head


in any direction that would escape his hand. No such luck. There was
nothing to shield me from his attack, nothing for my face to hide
behind at all.

He stopped then but kept his hand close to my face. "Are you going to
kiss me?"

"Is that the only way you will free me?" I asked with a sour look.
"Eh, your face is pretty priceless during the slapping. I could do that
for a while if you are so set on Delaware." He smiled smugly and I
groaned in frustration. "So what will it be Bellarina? A kiss or a slap?"

"Or the heels!" Rosalie said as she raised them high above her head.

"Or the heels." Emmett repeated seriously.

I weighed my options. This was the oddest situation I had ever been
in.

I sihged and closed my eyes. "Slap away."

I heard Rose and Alice groan but Emmett just yelled, "Alright! Slap it
on!" and then commenced swatting my face.

I head Jasper mumble, "Slap it on?" under his breath and then he and
Edward chuckled at their brother, offering no help to me whatsoever.

They left me alone after that and I sat on the couch with my arms
folded for a good 5 minutes as I pouted away my unfortunate
situation.

Edward came over cautiously, knowing he was in trouble for not


helping me.

"Hello my Bella," he said with the crooked grin as he scooted up next


to me.

"Don't you 'hello my Bella' me!" I said as I glared at him.

He laughed and then sighed. "Sorry about that. I was a little taken
back by your, um, look tonight."

He glanced at me nervously and I blushed a little. I'd forgotten all


about my "look" tonight in all the excitement of being ganged up on.

"Oh...thanks I guess. Alice had some tricks up her sleve apparently." I


laughed nervously and he chuckled.

"Well that's a very nice top on you," he said calmly, holding something
back in his voice. I laughed and nudged his side, forgetting my upset
at him with every cute and guarded compliment he gave me and the
Ladies.
"Oh yeah? What exactly do you like about it?" I asked slyly.

He turned to me with a smug look on his face and said, "It's a nice
color on you, that's all." The lust was still in his eyes though and I just
nodded and said a small "oh" before I let the smile take over my face.

He didn't turn away from me though, he just stood up and grabbed my


hand then and drug me into my bedroom. Or what used to be my
bedroom before I started sleeping in the living room.

Once he shut the door he turned to me and the look on his face was
stunning. I would never, ever get used to looking at Edward. It was
always breath taking. The green was still filled with his want for me
and the bronze above it was as wild as I suddenly felt inside as he
pulled me into him.

He wasted no time with words as he put his lips to mine and held me
as tightly to him as possible.

He broke away and continued down my jaw and my neck as I giggled.

"You really do like this color, don't you?" I asked as he chuckled


against my neck.

"You have no idea," he murmured as he traveled back up to my


mouth. We stayed in the room for a few more minutes as Edward
explored his very strong reaction to his new favorite color. We both
groaned when Rosalie knocked on the door and said she needed to get
her purse.

"I can't wait to get to Forks," Edward whispered as he kissed me on


more time.

"Why's that?" I asked.

"Beacuse I have my own room there," he laughed and winked then


kissed me once more and pulled the door open and motioned with his
hand to come inside, not breaking the kiss at all.

"Oh jeeze Don Juan, get a room!" She laughed as she just walked past
us. "Well, get a different room.," she corrected, causing us all to laugh
and Edward and I to finally break apart.
It was time to leave shortly after that so we piled into the jeep, not
even bothering to take my car this time. Being together as much as
possible was becoming a subconscious effort in all of us these days.

We got to the show and it was pretty crowded already. It seemed that
everyone who was there showed up to support the boys. Their smiles
were huge the whole night as they hugged people and talked with
almost everyone in the room.

It seems "goodbye" shows are a great way to get kids to come out,
which is kind of ironic if you think about it.

It was so odd to think of this as "the last show". With the decision
Emmett had made about staying with Rosalie it wasn't just the last
show in Hollywood anymore. It was possibly the first of one of their
last shows ever. That definitely changed the mood of the night as the
guys got ready to play.

Mike, Tyler, Angela, and Jess were there too of course. We laughed
and caught up with them and sat outside for a while as we told them
all of our various plans after the tour.

They all looked pretty bummed to see us go, and Mike said we had to
come hang out at his place again after the show.

We danced to the music that we could hear even though we were


outside, and we passed around a bottle of Mountain Dew and some
Doritos that we had gotten at the 7-11 down the street.

"I can't believe you guys will never play here again," Angela said as
she shook her head and took a few more chips.

"You never know," Edward said with a shrug. "We may stop through
on our reunion tour." He cracked a smiled and we all laughed.

"It's not much of a place, but it's been good to us." Jasper sighed and
we all looked around at the outside of the venue.

"It's not that bad." Mike said defensively. All of them had practically
grown up in this venue.

"Oh no. It only needs a new paint job like Emmett needs volume
control." Jasper said sarcastically
"And some new mirrors in the bathroom!" Alice chimed in seriously.

"And a new floor." I threw out. The torn up carpet wasn't cutting it
anymore.

"And a new name..." Rosalie said as she took a swig of the Mountain
Dew.

"And updated lighting wouldn't hurt." Jasper threw in with a nod.

"Ok! Ok! So it's a dump! Wow. No wonder you guys are leaving."
Angela held up her hands in surrender and we all laughed at our litle
rant.

"Someone should fix it up." Jasper said seriously. "Enough kids know
about and come out to it as it is, just think what a little face lift could
do for it."

We all thought about his words and agreed it was true. I tried to
imagine it as the place it had to potential to be. It definitely would be a
place I would want to spend a lot of time in, that's for sure. Music
venues shaped kids lives these days, they were like second homes. I
silently hoped that this little place we had grown so attached to would
get it's Cinderella moment someday, and that I could come back and
see it.

We finally got around to the boys' time to play. They set up on stage
and we took our places in the front, as usual. Edward handed me his
cell phone and smiled at me, like usual. There was no indication that
this was the last time the small routine would be performed in this
room, for this crowd. There was no glitch in the system as Emmett
waved to people in the crowd and Jasper tuned his bass and Edward
ran his hand through his hair in anticipation of starting.

He turned around suddenly, also like usual, and the songs began. It
was nothing short of a celebration as the whole room moved to the
music. I looked back and couldn't see one empty spot or unmoving
section of people. They really had made an impact out here, even if
only on this small venue.

The last song of the regular set ended and the crowd demanded more.
"Encore! Encore! Encore!" was being chanted and Edward smiled then
turned to Jasper as he ran his hand through his hair again.
"You up for more, man?" Jasper asked with a smile.

"Of course," Edward responded with a nod.

Jasper turned to the back of the stage, "Emmett?"

"Let's do it to it brother!" They all nodded once at each other and he


raised one drum stick in the air, holding it up for one dramatic second
before it came crashing down on a symbol. The encore began as that
note rang out and I could only guess they had this cleverly planned
2nd Act down perfectly from their large shows in Forks. It was nice to
see them in action here.

The three extra songs passed quickly and then it truly was the end of
their set.

The crowd wasn't done yet though. They still wanted more. We
laughed joyfully at the love for them that was being chanted all around
us and Edward leaned down to Angela, whispering something in her
ear. She nodded happily and started talking to Jess, who ran to Mike,
who grabbed Tyler.

"Working for the Weekend?" I asked Edward when he leaned down to


me for a quick kiss.

"Oh yeah." He nodded and then headed back on stage.

Unlike last time all 7 of them played together, both bands becoming
one for the first and last time. Emmett got up from his drums so Mike
could play, but he just grabbed a tambourine and danced and sang
into the mic with Edward. We danced and sang in the front row, louder
than before, and it felt like we were throwing a giant party in the
venue that just refused to end.

Working for the Weekend ended and as the crowd erupted in praise
Jasper leaned into Edward and Emmett and said something quietly.
They both looked confused but nodded and then jumped off the stage
and stood with us, Edward next to me and Emmett on the other end
next to Rosalie.

"What's going on?" I asked Edward as he took the spot next to me.

"I'm not sure. Jasper just said we didn't need to pack up yet, but to
get off the stage." He shrugged and we turned out attention back to
the front where Jasper was still on stage, as was Mike, Jess, Angela,
and Tyler.

Jasper took what was normally Edward's mic stand and set it center
stage. He had slung a guitar around him that I had never seen before,
and he looked around at the other 4 on stage with him then nodded
once before looking back out into the crowd.

It got quiet as he asked everyone for their attention and when the last
voice faded out he smiled and his blue eyes sparkled in the stage
lights.

He looked down at us then. Edward was next to me with his arm


around me. Alice was on my other side in between Edward and I and
Rosalie and Emmett. She was holding her little hands up to her mouth
in awe as we watched Jasper take the whole room's attention. He was
never one for the spotlight, at least not when he was alone. None of us
knew what to expect.

He had our total attention and he made sure to look all 5 of us in the
eye before he spoke.

"This is the last song of the night, and possibly the last song I will ever
play in Hollywood. It's something very special to me and I hope you all
enjoy it. This is for the 5 best people that I know." He paused then and
looked down to the floor, seeming to struggle with something inside.
When he looked up his eyes were a bit darker and he simply smiled at
us and said, "Merry Christmas."

Then he nodded to Mike and a steady drum beat began to play.

I recognized it instantly, and the others weren't too far behind me. He
started softly singing "The World You Love" by Jimmy Eat World.

His hair fell in front of his eyes as he gently sang the first verse:

"I got a story it's almost finished


all i need is someone to tell it too
maybe, that's you."

He looked up and sang to us then:

"Our time is borrowed and spent to freely


every minute i have needs to be made up, but how?
I'mlooking for a nice way to say 'I'm out.'
I want out"

On "I want out" the music built and the song changed into a faster
harder beat. He closed his eyes as his voice sang those 3 words
stonger than he had sang the rest. His motions were heavier now as
he strummed and moved his mouth into the microphone.

He continued as he looked down at the front row filled with his family
and my eyes teared as I mouthed the words with him:

"I fall asleep with my friends around me


only place i know, i feel safe...

His eyes closed again as he sang the line:

"I'm gonna call this home."

He opened them slowly and looked to the back of the room now,
getting lost in the song:

"The open road is still miles away.


Hey nothing serious,
we still have our fun.
Oh we had it once.

Windows open and close


that's just how it goes..."

I was completely entranced with Jasper as he poured his heart out to


us on stage through this song. I felt exactly what he felt as he leaned
into the mic and sang the chorus:

"Don't it feel like sunshine after all?


The world we love forever, gone.
We're only just as happy,
as everyone else seems to think we are."

Tyler started singing a higher pitched backup to the next verse and it
gave the second half of the song new dimension:

"I'm in love with the ordinary,


I need a simple space and rest my head-
Everything gets clear.
Well I'm a little ashamed for asking,
but just a little helps,
it gets me straight again-
helps me get over it (over it)"

Jasper sang the next lines with conviction and closed his eyes again as
he put his heart into the words:

"It might seem like a dream,


but it's real to me"

I started singing with him then, softly, and I felt Alice start to move
next to me as the chorus came back around:

"Don't it feel like sunshine after all?


the world we love forever, gone.
we're only just as happy,
as everyone else seems to think we are"

Then the song moved into a chorus of "whoa-oh oh-oh, whoa-oh oh-
oh, whoa-oh oh-oh's" and he threw his whole entire body into playing.
His arm flew up and down the face of the guitar as he played, his face
scrunched into itself as he practically yelled the line over and over
again, getting help from the crowd and from all of us in the front row.
I closed my eyes tightly and sang out the words loudly with the other
4 surrounding me, letting myself feel the release of the song as it
reflected the feeling of our time here and it's ending so strongly.

I'd never seen Jasper let loose so very freely. There was so much
emotion in the way he was playing and the abandon he was singing
with. I knew he was releasing his frustration of the coming split. I
knew he was feeling all of our burdens then, and he was releasing the
pain of that through singing and playing. He was normally so put
together, so cool and collected. His gift to us was releasing his
emotions to us, showing us the love and the pain wrapped up in our
situation.

He took a deep breath and everything softened as he looked down and


sang the calmest part of the song to the floor. I imagined his eyes
were heavy and alive even though I couldn't see them:

"you should see the canals are freezing,


you should see me high,"
He shook his head a little to himself as he sang:

"You should just be here,


be with me here.
It doesn't seem theres hope for me-
I let you down"

He looked at straight at Alice when he sang "I let you down" and her
little tear filed face shook violently as she denied it. He put the strain
back in his voice as he choked out:

"But i won't give in now,


not for any amount!"

Then there are 2 sharp drum beats and then dead silence as the whole
room stopped, time itself seemed to stop and his voice rang out
clearly:

"Don't it-"

After the pause everything exploded and so did my emotions as he


continued to half yell, half sing the rest of the song to the loud music
accompanying him:

"-feel like sunshine after all!


The world we love forever, gone...
We're only just as happy
as everyone else seems to think we are...are."

The last note rung out and Jasper closed his eyes and I saw one single
tear form in the corner of his eye but not fall, as he breathed heavily
and took in the applause from the thrilled crowed.

Alice jumped up on stage immediately and wrapped her arms around


his neck, whispering something frantically into his ear as he held her
to him.

I looked up at Edward and his face was full of the same emotions I
was feeling. I looked over at Rosalie and Emmett and he had both of
his arms around her as she wiped her own tears away.

We walked up and joined Jasper and Alice on stage then, all of us so


stunned by his gift and the perfectness of the music.
"Jasper, that was amazing. Thank you." Rosalie said as she hugged
him.

"I thought it was a proper goodbye," Jasper smiled and shrugged and
all of us girls welled with more tears at his words.

The venue was loud with the sounds of people raving about the show
and rushing to get outside for air. But our tight little circle on stage
heard none of it. We were sheltered in the serenity of our situation, of
fully appreciating our gift from Jasper and preparing for the last night
we had together in this city. We were taking it all in together, just like
we had braved every other obstacle life threw at us in the past 9
months.

"I love you guys." Jasper said calmly as he looked at all of us and we
started linking arms and hands together.

"I love you guys too." Edward said as he looked around the circle at
everyone in turn.

"Same here." Alice sniffled into Jaspers shoulder.

"More than anything." Rosalie said with a smile.

"Forever!" I let out with a smile.

It was quiet for a second and then Emmett said, "Yeah, you guys are
pretty cool I guess," with small shrug.

We all laughed and shook or heads and Jasper kicked him in the shin
for his smart ass remark.

"Well it's not my fault I prefer friends who would partake in Naked Five
O'Clock with me!" He bommed and made us all laugh harder.

Tyler came over and wedged in the circle then, between Rosalie and
Jasper as he shut his eyes and started singing "Kumbaya" in mock of
our little intimate gathering.

We laughed and then he asked if we were really heading over to Mike's


after the show.
We all decided it would be fun so we started packing up the equipment
and headed out a few minutes laster. As we drove away from the
venue Alice gave a big sigh and waved at it through the window.

"You know Alice, this is only the first of our long list of goodbyes to
this city," I said as I gave her a small smile.

She said, "I know," with a very un-Alice like grumble and we all
chuckled at the sound.

"But it's a giant 'HELLO' to the open road ladies!' Emmett boomed
from the driver's seat.

"That's right, tour life is just as exciting as LA," Jasper nodded at all of
us.

Emmet gave one of his famous "whoo's" then and stuck his head out
the window yelling, "TOUR ROAD TRIP! YEAH!"

I laughed and turned to Edward, "Does this enthusiasm last the entire
tour?" I nodded to the still yelling Emmett and he shook his head.

"No, it only gets worse. Just wait until he decides it's a good idea to
moon semi's."

I sighed and let out a big puff of air in exasperation. "My whole life is
about to change, isn't it?" I asked with a worried look.

He laughed with his head thrown back and nodded. "Yes. But don't
worry love, I'll protect your from Emmett's more 'interesting' tour
antics". He kissed my forehead and I nodded.

"That's all I'm asking."

Chapter 35 - The Fool on the Hill

EPOV

When the jeep pulled up to Michael's condo the mood stayed light
between the 6 of us, which I was greatful for. My oldest and least
subtle brother still had his big head out the window yelling, "Mike-a-
colada! Hide the rum! Emmett's back!"
I rolled my eyes and Rosalie yelled, "No! No rum!" as she jumped out
and raced Emmett to the front door, laughing the whole way.

I pulled my Bella out behind me and smiled at her as she grabbed my


hand and we walked to the door.

She looks so very...good tonight. Not that she wasn't extremely


beautiful before But it was different tonight. Tonight I had to work very
hard to be a gentleman with my thoughts, and actions.

The emotions in her eyes have been swimming for days, churning
around and around, driving me crazy. All I want to do is soothe her. I
want tell her that is going to be alright and take her pain away. If only
it were that simple. If only I wasn't feeling the exact same pain the
whole time as well.

We got to the front door and I paused to let the door shut between
Jasper's back and Bella and I.

"Something wrong?" She asked as she looked up at me with her deep


chocolaty eyes.

"I just don't want to go in quite yet," I smiled at her and then I could
resist no longer and leaned in for a kiss.

I felt her smile beneath my lips before they responded to the


movement of my own. I kissed her deeply, like I was always doing
these days.

She pulled away from me and I instantly longed for more, still as
hopeless for her as ever, if not even more with every kiss.

"We should go in," she said hesitantly and breathlessly as she wrapped
her arms around me, giving me a sensation gave me the urge to do
things that did not involve joining the others.

"Should we really?" I asked in the deepest part of my voice as I leaned


into her again.

She shook her head "no" and entwined her hands in my hair as I
kissed her again and again.
I simply cannot help it. I've never been like this with a woman before,
so unable to keep my touch from her. I love it though, my need to be
connected to her as much as possible.

I had no doubt in my mind I would have kept her out there to myself
all night, but the inevitable interruption in the form of Emmett came as
he opened the front door and found us on door step in the middle of
our kiss.

"Get it Eddie!" He hollered and I groaned into Bella, but she was
already laughing and pulled away.

I reluctantly followed Bella inside then and passed a smirking Emmett.


I reminded him, again, "Don't call me Eddie," with a punch on his arm.
He just laughed and said something about Delaware that I didn't care
to hear about. His new obsession with kissing Bella was humorous, but
not very amusing to me, her boyfriend. Her soul mate. I was definitely
more amused by her constant denial of him, and my new aversion to
the east coast.

When we got inside Angela, Jess and Alice pulled my Bella to the living
to talk but I continued on into the kitchen. It was rather loud in the
house and I was a bit tired from the long show and the emotional
performance of Jasper's. I notice Rosalie and him were outside where
a fire had been lit and I decided to go join them since it seemed far
more calm out there.

"Hey man," Jasper greeted me with a nod of his head.

"Hey Jas, Rose." I smiled at both of them and sat in one of the plastic
chairs that was vacant.

"Rosalie was just about to give me a bit of news," Jasper informed and
we both turned to her.

"Oh, yeah," she said as if she was caught off guard. She looked into
the fire and then back up at us with a deep smile embedded on her
face.

"Do you want me to leave?" I asked as she continued to hesitate. I


had just walked out here after all, I wasn't sure this wasn't something
she wanted any one more than Jasper to know.
"Oh no, that's fine Edward. I can tell you too, I just don't want it to be
a big production yet..." she took a deep breath as I settled back into
my chair. "Emmett and I are engaged."

Jasper said, "What?" as his eyes grew wide and I felt my jaw drop in
surprise.

"Really?" I asked, as if she would joke about this.

"Yes, really. He asked me the other night when we were on the


mountain above the Hollywood Bowl. It was during that slow song
when we were alone together dancing." The smile refused to leave her
face as she reminiced. Jasper started nodding his head and I ran my
hand through my hair.

Wow. Emmett. Engaged.

"That's quite a feat, Rose," Jasper said with a chuckle. "More power to
you!" He smiled and raised up his fist and she laughed and bumped
her fist into his in proper response.

"Edward, you still haven't said anything," she looked at me warily, the
smile still place.

"Well, of course I'm happy for you two! I'm just caught of guard. Do
mom and dad know?" I asked as I tried to picture my mother and
father's reaction. They would be thrilled, certainly.

"Yes, as do my parents," she said with a small nod. "We just haven't
announced it to the group yet because, let's face it, we've got a lot
more to deal with right now." She shrugged and we nodded.

"Plus Alice would go on a Wedding Planning Binge and it'd be nothing


but flower options and bridal catalogs for the whole tour!" Jasper
shuddered and Rose and I chuckled but agreed with him. It's better for
all of us this way.

"Exactly," she said."We are planning on telling everyone officially when


the tour is over, but I just couldn't keep it in any longer." She went
back to smiling widely and I was truly happy for my brother and her.

Just then the groom to be himself opened the sliding glass door and
presented himself to us, in nothing but his boxers with Mike and Tyler
behind him in similar fashion.
"Hey guys, look! Mike and Tyler are into Underwear Midnight!" His
laughter boomed out into the previously silent night. Then Emmett and
his 2 henchmen were off to show the girls in the living room their
lovely escapade of "Underwear Midnight".

"I better go call him off before he attacks Bella and she has to wrestle
him off of her in nothing but his boxers... I can just see her face
exploding in red now," Rosalie laughed and got out of her chair and
headed inside.

"I better go to," I said and got up suddenly to go rescue my Bella.

We walked in and Emmett was on the coffee table in the living room
dancing and singing to "Stacy's Mom" by Fountain of Wayne as he held
a framed picture of Mike's mother in his hands and sang to it.

"And this is all without rum?" Jasper leaned in and asked Rose with a
raised brow as he pointed to our boxer clad brother.

She sighed. "Yes. This is all natural Emmett." She shook her head and
smiled then said, "This is my future."

"You're the fool who said 'yes'," Jasper laughed as he patted her on
the back and then strode into the living room, no doubt to egg Emmett
on as he usually did.

I turned my gaze to Bella then and I watched as her joy filled face
laughed at the scene before her.

I love her so much, it's unbelievable. Her smile makes me feel like I
can do anything. I want to keep this look on her face forever.
Everytime I see it I promise myself I will do my best to keep there as
often as possible.

"So when are you going to pop the question?" Rose leaned in and
asked me with a knowing smile. She must have caught the way I was
staring at Bella. The way I am always staring at her.

"Soon." I said with confidence. "Not soon enough, but soon."

Rose nodded in approval and then my Bella looked at me and smiled.


She mouthed "I love you" and I had to fight ever fiber in me from
running over to her and officially asking her to be mine forever right
then and there in the middle of Underwear Midnight.
Chapter 36 - Us Little Kids

BPOV

We woke up too early the next day. I was not pleased.

"Bellarina... Bellarinia, wake up sister."

I did not open my eyes but I could feel Emmett hovering over me as
he actually used a soft voice to try and coax me out of my sleep.

I groaned and turned my face into my pillow. I heard many laughs


break out to the right of me, but I wasn't amused by it, I was
annoyed.

"Sister it's time to get up for tour! If you don't get up you are getting
left behind..." His voice was a little louder now, more excited even.

A flash of something like happiness flew threw me at the mention of


tour. I knew I should want to get up and partake in it... I was just still
too asleep to care though. The more minutes I could squeeze out of
this game the better. This was a game I knew I was going to loose but
was not ready to give up on. At least until he pulled out the big guns.

"Ok Bellarina. If you do not get your sleepy little butt up in the next 30
seconds I am going to pin you down and kiss you right here, right
now, screw Delaware. Edward's approved it too, so you better make
your decision quickly. Wake or kiss." He was laughing now, as were all
the others, as I laid there and hated life for a few moments.

About 23 seconds later I finally sat up and glared at my big brother


that I did not want to kiss now or ever.

As I glared at him his big goofy grin broke out and he reached out to
ruffle my already messy hair with his hand.

"There's my sister! Ready to hit the open road?"

I slapped his hand away from my head and said, "Don't touch me,"
then rolled off the couch and looked around miserably.

Everyone else was in the kitchen doing various breakfast things like
eating toast, or drinking milk, or laughing at me.
"I told you it was unpleasant." My Edward crookedly grinned at
Emmett and then winked at me as he took a bite of toast.

"I really didn't think it would be that bad. Will she ever like me again?"
Emmett wore a small smile as he asked the question and I tried to
smile back at him to comfort him. I tried to let him know I would
probably like him again when the sun was up and it was appropriate to
be awake, but putting in the effort to smile just made my face muscles
upset so I gave up and let him worry.

"She'll come around eventually. The first time I had to wake up


Sleeping Beauty she told me I was 'the worst friend she'd ever had'
but that's clearly not true." Rose smiled smugly and brushed the whole
thing off with a wave of her hand.

"Well I'm glad I warned her and didn't go straight in for the kiss! I
could have lost an eye!" Emmett half laughed.

"Or worse..." Jasper mused, making the others laugh harder.

I was standing in the center of all of their attention and their laughs
were waking me bit by bit but I was still wishing for sleep more than
anything.

Well, almost anything. I padded over to Edward who was sitting on a


bar stool at the kitchen counter and leaned into him as I let my head
fall into his chest.

"I do not want to be awake." I whined at him, taking in his sweet scent
as he wrapped his arms around me.

I felt the chuckle shake his body and then he softly said, "I know but
this is the tour life, my love."

Then I smelt something wonderful and warm and I opened my eyes to


see him lifting his piece of toast up to my mouth to share with me.

I opened my mouth and he gave me a bite, which actually helped


brighten my attitude. I looked up at him and mumbled, "thank you,"
through my food, keeping my mouth as shut as possible as I spoke.

He looked absolutely perfect smiling back at me, even though it was


some God-awful time in the morning and I knew he hadn't done
anything but roll off of the couch where he had been next to me. It
almost didn't seem fair to look at him. Especially since I knew what I
probably looked like with my curly hair in sleep disarray all around my
groggy face.

He brought his hand up to my mouth, wiping away the bits of crumb


the toast left there. He leaned down and replaced his thumbs with his
lips when he had it all cleared and I smiled under him.

"I don't care what they say," he whispered to me when he pulled


away, "I love you in the morning as much as any other time of the day
and I cannot wait to wake up next to this everyday."

He chuckled and I smiled widely, now having swallowed my bite of


toast.

"Yes, but you still let Emmett take the heat this morning, I see." I
gave him an accusing look and he just laughed coolly and continued to
speak softy, privately to me.

"Well my Bella, when the time comes for us to wake up next to each
other every day I will be free to use more... pleasant methods of
waking you. I don't think you would be very angry with me after that.
No matter what time it is."

The smoldering in his eyes did it. I was fully awake now! Heck, I was
ready to grab him and sprint from the group and go practice these
"pleasant" methods right now. Where do we go? Can't they all just get
the hint and leave?

But of course Edward is a tease so he just leaned away from me and


bit off more of his toast, his emeralds smoldering at me the whole
time. Tempting me with what was to come.

He held his breakfast out to me one more time and I angrily took a
bite but smiled at him when he just laughed and shook his head at me.

We didn't have much to pack up since we hadn't planned on staying at


Mike's when we left for the show the night before. The plan now was
to stop by the apartment and pack our bags into the jeep then head
off to Phoenix where the first show was. That's part of the reason we
had to get up so early, we had an extra stop to make now that we
weren't starting from our apartment.
About 20 minutes later the kitchen was cleaned up and it was the
inevitable time of departure. The excitement of tour was setting in as
we headed towards the door. This was something I've always thought
I would enjoy doing. I was about to be traveling across the country
and listening to live music almost every night! Waking up too early
seemed like something I could bear for a little while once that thought
set in.

We had all been completely ready to go as we walked towards the


door. Literally walk-out-the-door-drive-away ready, but suddenly we
weren't.

Turning to say goodbye to Angela, Jess, Mike and Tyler was like hitting
a wall.

We were suddenly faced with four very solemn faces. Four faces that
we had loved and laughed with many times, and that had reassured us
and connected to us. Four real people that were in a sense being left
behind.

"Have fun on tour guys," Jess said quietly as she reached out to Alice
for a hug. Her eyes were liquidy and her voice was shaky.

Many more things of that nature were uttered between us as we all


made the rounds and said our goodbyes individually.

"Tell your boyfriend in Phoenix I said hi," Tyler laughed as he hugged


me. "Or better yet just have Edward tell him hi for me. I'm sure he'll
make sure to get the message across."

We both laughed at the old joke and Edward just scoffed through a
smile during his hug with Jess.

After most of the hugging was over everyone separated except for 2 of
us. Mike and Emmett were still clinging to each other for a few extra
seconds.

When Mike pulled away Emmett patted him on the back and stepped
back into our group.

"I'm coming back, Mikey, remember? We'll still hang out." Emmett
reminded Mike in a happy voice.
"I know, it's the fact that the band won't be back, the group won't be
back." Mike said with a shake of his head.

"Yeah, you guys became like extended family to us." Angela said with
a smile. "The four of us have known each other our whole lives and
we've never kept a group of friends around us like this."

"You have to know how cool it was for you to let us into your little
world like you did." Tyler said with a smile. It was full of so many
things. Pride, sadness, gratefulness, goodbye.

"No way, you guys let us into your venue and your scene. We owe
you!" Emmett said with a point towards them.

"That's true," Tyler nodded with confidence."But that's not like what
you guys have here. I can't explain it. I can only thank you for letting
us be a part of you." He gestured at all of us standing in a broken line
in front of them and I realized what they were saying. They were the
only ones to break the barrier and become attached to whatever it was
we had. Our "world". If we were family they were indeed extended
family, the people who accepted us for who we were and fit in with the
life we formed around ourselves.

We walked out with promises of keeping in touch and visits and such. I
knew that driving away from them would not be the hardest thing in
our future, but it didn't stop the small pain that did build up.

Alice waved goodbye to the second part of our LA lives that we left
behind and the jeep roared down the road towards the apartment.

Leaving the apartment wasn't very sad at all because we were all
coming back to get our stuff after spending some time in Forks after
the tour. It wasn't a goodbye so much as it was a "see ya later." That I
could handle.

Edward and I were the first to make it down to the parking garage
because I packed considerably less than Alice and Rose. We threw our
longboards into the back and then leaned against the side of the jeep
to wait for the others. Edward was right next to me on my left side and
I grabbed his hand then let some of the tiredness take me over as I
closed my eyes and leaned my head back.

"Rose and Emmett are engaged." He broke the small silence with that
surprising sentence and my head and eyes snapped up and open.
"Come again?" I asked in disbelief, pretty sure he was just trying to
keep me from becoming too sleepy.

"Rosalie and Emmett are engaged." He looked at me and smiled when


he said it this time, and I knew it was true. I would be able to tell if he
was playing around.

"How come I didn't know?" I asked while more confusion clouded my


face.

"Rose only told Jasper and I last night. She doesn't want the group to
know yet."

"But you are telling me anyway?" I asked suspiciously, not sure why
they would keep such good news from all of us.

"Alright, she doesn't want Alice to know yet." He said with a humorous
smile.

"Oh. That makes more sense actually. It would ruin the tour." I
nodded and understood. Alice is going to snap into wedding mode the
second she hears this news.

Then I thought about it for a good second, after the shock of him just
blurting it out wore off. They were engaged. To be married. Rose and
Emmett.

"Wow. That was quick." I said out loud suddenly as my thoughts


caught up with me.

"Yes. But it's right, don't you think? For them to be together." Edward
looked at me curiously but there was something deeper in his look that
I didn't quite get. It was something that made me feel bad though.
What is it?

"Of course I think it's right. Look at them! Who else could handle
Tough as Nails Barbie or Doesn't Have a Filter Emmett?" I made him
laugh lightly at my exaggerations of them and it made me feel a little
better. "I just didn't expect it this soon I guess. Someday, sure. But
not this soon." I shrugged and went back to leaning against the jeep.

His right hand was in my left and as I closed my eyes for the second
time I felt him move his hand in mine just slightly. His thumb started
rubbing small gentle circles on the top of my ring finger. The one I
would wear an engagement ring on, someday. I'm not sure if he was
aware he was doing it or not. There are always little things he does
like this. With Edward they can either be very intentional devises he
uses to provoke thoughts in me, or just small gestures his
subconscious provides due to his own deep thoughts.

"You are happy for them though." He stated it because he knew I was.
How could I not be? But he seemed to need confirmation from me for
some reason.

As I turned to face him he remained looking straight ahead with no


emotion on his face. It was as if he was scared to let anything show in
fear of it showing too much.

"Edward, how could I not be happy for them? Rose is one of my very
best friends and Emmett is my big brother." I was speaking softly, all
the while letting most of my mind wander around and try to figure out
what was wrong with him.

Then I got it. Just as he could always read every emotion in my face I
could always read the lack of emotion in his.

I smiled to myself and leaned in closer to him. I reached up and


turned his stone face to mine, begging with my eyes for him to crack a
smile before I spoke. I got more than I begged for and he leaned in
and kissed me softly, smiling smally just before our lips touched.

He went to lean away but I grabbed his face with both of my hands
and held him inches away from me.

"You are ridiculous, do you know that?" I asked with a smile of my


own.

His smile faded and the stone man was back. "That's not a very
appropriate thing to say to someone who has just kissed you, love."

I giggled softly and then continued, keeping his face close to mine.

"Edward I love that Rosalie and Emmett are getting married, I just
didn't expect you to blurt it out to me in the middle of the parking
garage." I paused and a little bit of life seeped back into his eyes as he
listened and smiled again.
"But even if I did not love the idea of them getting married, it would
not effect how I feel about our relationship." I looked at him sternly
then, making sure he understood what I was saying. More of the
bright green that I loved took over the dullness that he had placed in
front of it.

"I clearly don't know what goes on in the others' relationships privately
or intimately so I wasn't aware that Rose and Em were ready to make
this commitment. I knew that they would make it someday, sure, but
how was I to know that the man who invented Naked Five O'Clock just
a few days ago would be ready to pop the question?"

We both laughed now and he brought his own hands up and wrapped
them around mine that were still on his face. His features waere back
to normal and my Edward was smiling back at me, finally
understanding where I was going with this.

"The one thing I do know is what goes on here, between you and I. So
you have to promise me that no matter what opinions I have about
other people and their relationships or decisions you will not let it
infect your mind with doubts about things we discuss. For us. Do you
understand?"

He was smirking at my commanding tone now, but he nodded his head


like a good boy and I rewarded him with a kiss.

"I'm sorry Isabella. I did not doubt you, or anything you have every
said to me. Just your reaction to the threat of what normal people
should feel like." He smirked again as he brought up my old fear of not
being normal when it came to our feelings and I threw him a play full
glare.

"Yeah, I got over that normal crap a while ago. I'd rather be crazy with
you than normal with a thousand other guys."

He laughed freely then and I loved it. Edward is a very happy person
normally but it's not too often he laughs with such abandon. It was like
winning a prize every time I was the one that got it out of him. It was
his purest form of joy.

"Well I am crazy for you my Bella, so normal is out the window."

He kissed me again and came around to the front of me as he pressed


me against the jeep this time, deepening the kiss with every second
that passed. He brought one hand up to tangle in my hair and the
other to my side where he moved it up and down very slowly,
teasingly. My hands actually left their usual spot in his wild hair and
drifted down to his sides, gliding under the hem of his shirt to his
smooth skin. He moaned into my mouth at the sensation of my hands
on him, no fabric between the two, and I smiled under his lips.

Edward felt me smile and I knew he was instantly determined not to


"loose". He moved his mouth from mine but never took it from my skin
as he worked his way down my jaw and to my neck. My fingers dug
into his sides at the sensation and I felt his mouth twist up in a smile
against my throat in small victory at my reaction. But that wasn't
enough for him, which was just fine with me.

More. More. More. That all I could think when he did this to me now.

He moved in conflicting directions then, his hand going down under my


shirt to the flesh on my side, and his mouth up, finding it's way to the
space just below my ear. That was it. Amazingly he had never hit that
spot before in our hours and hours of this, almost like he was saving it
for the most opportune moment.

"Edward..." I breathed out, barely audible, entirely pleased with what


he was doing.

He kept his hands where they were but lifted his mouth off of my skin
long enough for one victorious chuckle.

I missed the connection to him so I twisted my head down to press his


lips against mine. I could feel the smug smile remaining there,
reveling in the effect he had on me. I worked with the movement of
my mouth to rid him of it but he was barely responding, not through
taunting me with his stubborn smile.

I got a tad bit annoyed then.

"I'm glad you're so pleased with yourself Edward Cullen, but you
should really be kissing me when I want you to," I said it breathlessly
against his lips but he just chuckled at me, coaxing me to try harder.

I scoffed inwardly then and did everything I could to get him to kiss
me back the way he had been before. I moved my own mouth off his
and down to his neck as I trailed my hand very lightly up his side,
under his shirt. I felt him tense underneath me then, and his hand in
my hair tightened it's grip as he took in a sharp breath. It was my turn
to let him feel my smile.

"Touche," he said softly as he relaxed and then pulled my head up


level with his to crash his lips on mine, attacking me with passion.

I was pleased with myself, I'm not going to lie. I was extremely
pleased I could get him to react in that way. I never would have
imagined I could, ever. I would have imagined someone like Rose
being able to do that to someone like Edward. They were on the same
level. But me? This was a feat to be proud of. Alice was in that league
too, I thought. All of them. God knows what Alice's little pout alone
can do...

I pulled away suddenly as a thought occurred to me.

"Wait, so we have to keep the engagement a secret from Alice? That


doesn't seem safe." I looked at him as I wrinkled my nose in worry
and stared at his surprised expression.

He panted lightly for a few seconds and just stared at me with wide,
swimming, irresistible, surprised eyes.

"I was just kissing you... like that, and you are thinking about Alice?"
All signs of his former victory fled his face as he stared at me in
question, still only inches from me.

I couldn't help but laugh at his cute reaction to my distraction from


him. I brought up one of my hands to my mouth in an attempt to hide
the laugh even though it didn't help because he was still staring at me,
still pinning me to the jeep even.

"No, I wasn't thinking of Alice. I..." I lost myself to a fit of giggles


again as his face twisted into annoyance. I noted that he did not move
back from me even an inch though. "I'm sorry. It was just something
that popped into my mind."

"During that?" He asked again with a shocked tone and a short breath.

"Um, yeah, I guess." I shrugged and smiled innocently. His body went
limp against mine in defeat, no longer pinning me against the jeep.

Well we can't have that!


"Not the whole time though! I'm sorry Edward, I'm not sure how it
happened, really. The thought just hit me suddenly. The rest of the
time I was thinking about... well I guess I wasn't really thinking
because I never really can think when you are that close to me." I
grabbed his hand and entwined us together after I spilled the truth out
to him, trying really hard not to laugh again at his defeated demeanor.

He sighed and smiled at me, believing me and apparently deeming my


answer forgiveness wothy.

"I know the feeling." He leaned into me slowly, and I was losing the
ability to breath and think just as slowly as he moved until he got
within inches of me again.

Then the smoldering was back on. I was almost surprised with the
speed it swept back over him as he attacked me again, against the
jeep.

"What are you thinking now?" He asked a few minutes later with an
unusually deep, husky voice as his lips continued to move against my
own.

"Nothing." I said quickly so as not to waste time speaking.

He chuckled and continued kissing me in a very passionate manner,


his hands wandering up and down my sides again.

Far too soon the elevator on the other side of the parking garage
dinged loudly, giving us fair warning of our privacy being interrupted.

I groaned as he pulled away and a smirk danced across his face. At


least he was pleased with himself again. He leaned in once more a
pecked me on the lips before whispering, "And yes, we do need to
keep the engagement a secret from Alice."

I nodded that I understood and soon Alice herself was bouncing over
to us, singing and dancing the whole time.

Within minutes we were piled in the jeep with Emmett yelling, "TOUR
ROAD TRIP! NEW YORK AND OTHER VARIOUS STOPS ON THE WAY,
OR BUST!" then laughing at himself wildly as we pulled out into the
streets of Hollywood and on to our first destination.
The first few shows went well. We made to through Phoenix the first
night only to find out that the show had been cancelled, the venue
shut down.

"Sorry guys," the promoter of the show had said over the phone after
we arrived to the vacant venue and called him in question. "I guess we
forgot to call you."

We had a good laugh about it and headed over to my parent's house


early. It was nice that we were going to be able to stay there for a
night. My mom was thrilled at least.

"All my kids are back! I love it!" She beamed as we walked through
our front door and announced our arrival.

"Yeah, the Jonas Brothers got cancelled on," Rosalie teased as she
nodded towards the boys then hugged my mother first.

The boys scoffed and the rest of us laughed as Charlie came out to say
hi to everyone as well. I notice Edward pull Charlie into him for a
moment after they shook hands in greeting and say something quitely
to him as the others conversed with my mother. I watched Charlie nod
back at him and then a smile spread across both of their faces as they
broke apart.

I was going to question Edward as he turned back to me but I was


interrupeted by, "Where's the food mom?"

I turned my attention to Emmett as smiled and suddenly started


pulling my mother behind him into the kitchen.

We decided to order pizza and we sat around the dining room with my
parents just laughing and talking for most of the night until we
dispersed and the boys went to watch a game in the living room while
we helped my mom clean up in the kitchen.

It was an all around peaceful night, and we were off again at a decent
time the next mornin and headed off to New Mexico. Roswell, the
destination of the next show, was about 9 hours away from Phoenix. It
wasn't a very long trip so we entertained ourselves with light things
like sing a longs and games. Eventually the music got turned down
and we settled into a nice game of "Would You Rather."

"Would you rather have a centaur as a pet or a dragon?"


I smiled at Jasper's question and thought about it really hard for the
minute we were allotted to think.

The alarm went off on Rose's phone after a considerable amount of


silence over took the car and Jasper said, "Ok thinking time is up.
Rose, you're first this time."

" A centaur for sure. They are half man." She smiled perfectly and
everyone nodded at her answer, understanding her "half man"
reasoning..

"Edward."

"Centaur. They are supposed to be very intelligent, aren't they?"


Jasper and I both nodded and he smiled. "That would be helpful in a
pet."

"Alice?" Jasper turned to her and smiled.

"Hmm. I still don't know. Can you come back to me?"

He nodded and moved on. "Emmett?"

"Centaur of course! They are fighters and I like that. Imagine wrestling
something that has arms, legs, and hooves. You beat that and you are
pretty f'kin awesome!"

"Cussin' Day!" we all cheered after his sentence. It really ment nothing
to us, no one but Emmett would continue to use his faux cuss, but it
had become habit for all of us to cheer about it after Emmettt started
it that first night on the beach and it actually became amusing.

"That leaves Bella."

"Dragon, clearly. They fly and are more pet like." I shrugged and
Jasper nodded at me.

"Same for me, dragon." he said confidentially. "Alice we need your


answer now."

"No way! You guys are crazy! You can't choose dragon!" Emmett
suddenly yelled from the driver's seat as Alice was about to speak.
"Oh because centaur is so very logical," I mocked from the back of the
car.

"It's better than dragon!"

"No way Em. If you start out with a baby dragon you have something
cute and little to take care of, like a puppy." I smiled at that thought
and Edward looked at me with a smile. He looked like half of him
thought I was cute for my answer and the other half was calculating
just how crazy I was.

"You can get a baby centaur." Rosalie said suddenly, defending


Emmett since it was her choice too.

"Yeah, but that's going to suck!" I said loudly. "That's not like having a
pet, that's like having a baby. No way." I folded my arms and shook
my head. Baby dragon would be so much cuter, hands down.

Alice and Jasper were sitting in the middle of the jeep and her little
head was turning back and forth between the other 5 of us as we
debated. She seemed to be taking every point we made into
consideration for her own decision.

"A baby? It has horse legs." Edward informed me with amusement and
doubt. "I'm not sure if you had some odd reproduction lessons when
you were young, but a baby centaur would most likely not be much
like baby human."

"It doesn't matter what you say Bellarina, it's still better than a
dragon." Emmett shook his head and kept his eyes on the road.

"Not a baby dragon Emmett. What's the problem with raising a baby
dragon?" I asked the group.

"When it grows up IT WILL EAT YOU!" Emmett boomed out half


laughing. "There's your problem right there!"

The whole car was laughing now, but not done debating.

"Not if you raise it correctly." Jasper defended sternly when the


laughter quickly died down.
"Yeah, haven't you ever seen The Lion King?" I added from the back.
"If you raise it right, it will be on your side. Hence, no eating." I smiled
happily at my excellent point.

"Oh right, the cartoon character's life decisions are excellent things to
measure your own decisions against." Rose said sarcastically.

"Rose, we are speaking of owning a dragon." Jasper spoke to her like


he was communicating with a small child. "I'm pretty sure in this
conversation the catoon characters are just as valid as the mythical
creatures we are arguing over."

Rosalie rolled her eyes but most of us agreed that was a valid
statement.

"Centaurs are part human, you can reason with them, you can talk
with them." Edward voiced suddenly. "The dragon is all monster, it
could loose control and hurt you."

"Not if it grew to love you enough." I looked at him in the eye when I
said it. "If it loved you enough it would resist it's natural instincts for
you." It was silent for a second as he smiled at me sweetly, probably
at what he considered my naivety.

The serene moment was broken by Emmett making a very loud


gagging sound.

"Not if it grew to love you enough," he mocked me in an extremely


high pitched tone and then scoffed. "This isn't a freaking romantic
fantasy here sister, it's a dragon! It acts on instinct. If it wants to eat
it will eat. What it wants when it wants, no matter what."

"No Emmett, that just sounds like you," Jasper injected suddenly with
a snicker.

I laughed from the back seat at Jasper's retort and Emmett just
reached behind him to punch his brother in the leg, but Jasper dodged
it.

"Both of them pose risks, actually." Jasper said calmly after the fist
stopped swinging. "With a centaur you risk resentment and hostility at
being in captivity." Emmett grunted in response and Rose nodded
once.
"That's true." Edward agreed. "It won't eat you though."

He poked me in the side to tease me further and I grabbed his finger


to stop it from poking me again. He just spread his hand out to take
mine in his and I smiled despite him diapproving of my pet dragon.

Jasper continued his argument now that we had them agreeing with
one of our anti-centaur points.

"Even though it may not eat you it could still do some damage."

"That's what she said!" Emmett laughed out suddenly from the front of
the jeep.

"Emmett!" Rosalie said as she smacked his arm.

We were consumed in laughter at his sudden joke but calmed down


after a minute, shaking our heads at Emmett's mind.

We entered New Mexico then and the welcome sign at the state line
said: "New Mexico: Welcome to the Land of Enchantment"

"The land of enchantment? I pretty much still just see rocks." Rosalie
said as she looked around dramatically at the desert that continued to
surround us, just like all of Arizona.

"Yeah, that doesn't seem correct." Edward added with a chuckle as we


all continued to stare at the almost bare land around us.

"Well if my dragon was frollicing around the desert you would all be
more enchanted, I'll tell you that!" I said as I turned my voice towards
Emmett, not letting it go.

"Oh yeah, and lets see how enchanted you are when my centaur army
shoots down your dragon for flying over the countryside and burning
down the entire village!" He yelled back.

"You guys that's ridiculous." Jasper cut in calmly."Centaurs would


never form an army, nor would they shoot down a dragon that wasn't
threatening them directly."

I ignored him to keep yelling at the front of the car towards my big
dumb anti-dragon brother.
"That will be a lot better than when your own centaurs turn on you and
perform mutiny!"

"That's pirates," Rosalie corrected me with a tone I didn't appreciate.

"I'm pretty sure mutiny stands for any organized group that turns on
it's leader." Jasper corrected again and was ignored, again.

"What happens when your big dumb dragon swings it's big dumb tail
and takes you out with one of it's spikes?" Emmett asked smugly.

"Then I intervene and avenge her honour!" Edward said proudly from
beside me.

"You can't kill my dragon!" I said sternly as I swatted his arm.

"But he killed you first!" Edward said defensively.

"Oh no, that's just the evil centaurs brainwashing you into thinking
you need to kill the dragon!" I pointed my finger accusingly at him and
his eyes widened.

"What?" Edward laughed and scoffed at me.

At the same time Rosalie yelled, "That's right! Our side has magical
powers! Not only are they hott, they are powerful!"

"Centaurs don't have magical powers exactly-" Jasper tried to explain


but got cut off by an angry Emmett.

"You think the centaurs are hott?" He turned a glare to Rosalie.

"Well yeah. Half man, half beast. Who wouldn't go for it?" She
smirked, I cringed, and Alice squealed, "Ewe!"

"Would you leave me for a centaur?" Emmett demanded suddenly with


a frown.

"I don't know I haven't met any yet." She smirked and teased him.

"That's it, the centaurs are going down right after the dragons!"
Emmett yelled as he slapped the steering wheel.
"Oh no you don't! What if I loved him? Would you take that away from
me?" Rosalie asked loudly with a raised eyebrow at her, I guess,
finance.

"I'll fight for what's mine!" Emmett boomed back.

"See! It's a boy thing!" I intervened. "They don't care what you love,
they will kill it to feel better about themselves!" I looked accusingly at
Edward and he held his hands up defensively.

"IT KILLED YOU BELLA! Of course I have to do something about that!"

"YEAH! A stupid horse man can't please you like I can Rosie! If I get
rid of them all then I can protect you!"

"NO!" I shouted at Edward.

"No!" Rosalie echoed me to Emmett.

"You guys, I'm fairly sure neither of you could kill either a dragon or a
centaur yourself anyway. They are both very strong creatures..."

Jasper's cool voice was cut off by Rose, Edward and I saying, "Shut up
Jasper!" in unison and Emmett throwing a water bottle at him.

It was silent after that for a moment, all of us brooding over our
mythical loves or foes, depending on which sex you were.

Jasper broke the silence.

"Alice, you never got to answer. You have clearly heard agruments
from either side... though I'm not clear exactly what those sides are at
the moment..." We all looked around nonchalantly with arms still
folded and chins still raised as we continued our silence and ignored
Jasper's words about us. "So what will it be for you? Centaur or
dragon?"

She was silent for another moment and then she simply asked, "Do
dragons only come in green, or could I get a red one?"

We all lost it then, the tension over our mythical creature fight was
gone. Of course Alice would base her answer on color preference and
nothing else. Of course.
We got to a tiny town outside right of Roswell and decided to stay
there for the night. Rosalie's parents had decided to pitch in for some
motels along the way, to keep their daughter from sleeping on the side
of the road in a jeep. Originally the boys weren't too pleased with the
generosity. They said it took away from the "tour essence". We came
to a compromise by promising we would only stay in cheap motels,
nothing fancy, and we would only get one room to cram in, therefore
keeping some of the "roughing it" ambiance they were so concerned
about.

We pulled in to a little motel called the Super 3 1/2 or something like


that, and Emmett and Rosalie decided to go in and pay for a room by
themselves so as not to parade around the fact that there were 6 of
us.

They came back out a few minutes later, both of them looking
annoyed.

"The broad in the lobby didn't believe there was only 2 of us." Emmett
said as he got back in the driver's seat.

"She saw the jeep." Rose explained to us. "We told her you were all on
your own for the night, deciding amongst yourselves what to do and
that we had already decided to get a room for us, but she wasn't
having it."

"Why does it matter to her anyway?" Alice asked sounding annoyed.

"At least there are more places to stay," Edward said as he pointed
across the street and down a little. "Right there, there's the Crash
Inn." He chuckled a bit as we drove over to the motel and marveled at
it's cheesiness.

It was full blown cliche Roswell with it's name alluding to the UFO
crash incident and signs in the window of the office that said "Come
crash with us" and "Aliens Welcome".

"I bet we can't get in this one either." I said with a huff.

"Why not?" Alice asked.

"I bet the lady from the other motel has already called the front desk
of this one and has warned them about the 6 hustlers in the big red
jeep." I laughed a little but I wasn't entirely joking.
Edward, Rose and I decided to go in this time. That way it made more
sense for us to need a room with 2 beds and a roll away, and also
because Emmett had apparently gotten a bit worked up with the last
woman when he was denied a room.

We walked into the lobby and there was only one girl at the front desk,
she looked about our age. She was on the phone.

"Ok. Thank you Mrs. Cope...Mmmhmm. Thank you..." she hung up the
phone abrubtly and looked at us with a smirk.

"No way." I said as she looked at the 3 of us.

"What?" Edward asked innocently, confused.

"That was her, wasn't it? The lady from across the street?" Rose asked
the girl behind the desk and she just shook her head.

"I knew it!" I turned to Edward and smiled in satisfaction. "You small
towners are so predictable." I smirked at him and he looked like he
was going to argue but then he deflated.

"I suppose this would happen in Forks, too." He shook his head to
himself.

"So what happens now?" Rosalie asked the girl, Samantha is what her
name tag said.

"Well I don't really care what Mrs. Cope says, everyone knows she's a
little..." She held her pointer finger up to her head and twirled it
around in the classic "crazy" motion. "Not to mention paranoid. The 3
of you can do whatever you want. If there are more of you then I don't
need to know about it. Just know that if the owners come by tonight
and find out there are more of you in that room than there should be
you could get kicked out. They aren't expected to come by tonight
though." She smiled sweetly at us and we all kind of looked at each
other and shrugged.

"Sounds good to me." Rosalie said and she handed the credit card to
Samantha to purchase our 3 person room.

We got all of our bags into our tiny room and claimed our beds. Alice
and Jazz were on the roll away since Alice was so tiny and it was the
smallest bed.
"So if the owners come by we get thrown out?" She asked nervously
as she sat cross legged on the bed and clutched onto a pillow.

"Yeah but she said they weren't supposed to come by tonight, right?"
Emmett replied and asked the 3 of us that had gone in.

"That's right." Rosalie said. "Even if they do, what's the worst that
could happen? We get kicked out of the alien hotel and have to sleep
on the Jonas Brother's tour bus?"

Alice joined Rose and I in laughter, though hers sounded nervous, and
the boys just rolled their eyes at Rose's annoying nick name for them.

"What if that woman at the other motel calls the owners and warns
them about us?" Alice looked around the room at each of us as she
asked the question. "What do we do?"

Her little face was so worried and I was so surprised that Alice was
nervous. She was always so bold. I suppose it was the fact that we
were breaking some rules or something.

"Half of us will hide in the bathroom," Emmett laughed quickly,


practically disragarding her worry.

Suddenly there was a knock on our door and Alice shrieked loudly then
jumped up to a standing position on the bed, still clutching the pillow.

We all just stared at the door, not knowing if we really should hide half
of us in the bathroom or not.

"Answer it!" Alice commanded in a whisper as she pushed Emmett's


shoulder.

"Um, no! I'm pretty sure they know a girl is in here after your shriek. I
don't want them to hear that and then see me asnswer the door!"

Rosalie sighed and then walked over and turned the door knob as all of
us stiffened. What was our problem? It's not like we were going to go
to jail for over stuffing a motel room.

Rose opened the door slightly then her whole posture relaxed and she
let the door swing open, causing Alice to fall to the bed in a sitting
positon as if she was going to get in trouble for standing on it.
"Hey guys." Samantha gave a little wave from the other side of the
door and we all relaxed instantly.

"What's up?" Rose asked with a smile.

"Well I'm off for the night but I wanted to stop by and let you know I
spoke to the owner of the motel. It seems Cope couldn't keep her big
mouth shut and she called him. He called the front desk to let me
know that if you stopped by here I should give you a room with no
trouble at all..." she smiled at us and Alice finally let go of her death
grip on the pillow.

"So you have no worries for the night, I just wanted you to know
before I left. Also, there's a pool around that building if you want to
use it. Goodnight."

We said goodnight and thanked her by yelling over each other as


Rosalie shut the door. I heard it click shut and braced myself for what
I knew was coming.

"There's a pool!" Emmett's grin was a big as ever as he raised his


arms in victory.

It took the boys a while to get their pool time because the cat was
almost let out of the bag.

"Rosie come swimming with me please?" Emmett was on his knees in


front of Rose, begging her to come to the pool with him and the boys.

"I don't want to Em. I don't even have a bathing suit with me." She
smiled apologetically at him.

"Neither do we!" Emmett said, almost happily.

"Right, but unlike you I'm not thrilled by the idea of swimming in my
underwear." She gave him an annoyed smirk now and pulled away.

"Rosalie..." He whined, still on the floor.

"Drop it Emmett! Go have fun with your brothers and leave me be with
the girls," she sat on the bed in between Alice and I and we all smiled
at him.
"You guys aren't any fun! I can't believe you don't like swimming."
Emmett looked hurt as he stared at both Rose and I together and then
his play full glare set on Rose. "How did you ever get me to propo-"

The whole room tensed at his words. I felt Rose stiffen next to me and
I saw Edward stop moiving completely as Jasper threw a pair of socks
at Emmett to interrupt his sentence. Emmett's eyes snapped open at
his realization of his slip up.

"What did you just say?" Alice demanded in her sweet little voice as all
her attention turned to Emmett. "Were you about to say proposed?
You proposed to her?"

She was standing on the bed again, hovering over Emmett who had
stood up in the midst of his shock, her bright eyes dancing to the
rhythm of the wedding bells already going off in her head.

"Um, no." Emmett said, his face suddenly turning into an unconvincing
"are you crazy" look.

"Yes you did." Alice said firmly back.

"No he didn't." Rosalie said quickly with a pointed look at Emmett and
then a sincere smile at Alice.

Alice was actually starting to bounce on the bed now slightly, but
stopped when she got denial from both of them.

"Uh-huh! Bella you heard what he was going to say, it sounded like
'proposed' didn't it?" She looked at me and my mouth dried up. I'm a
horrible liar.

"I wasn't listening, sorry." I shrugged and smiled at Alice who just
looked like she would be shooting lasers at me with her eyes if she
could.

"Fine. Lie to me Bella, that's just fine." She turned towards the boys.
"Edward? Didn't you hear it?"

Edward looked a little off guard for a second but didn't falter. "No
Alice, I did not." He smiled the crooked smile at her and she did not
seem to think it was as dazzling as it was meant to be.
"Jazzy, you will back me up. Since Deaf and Deafer over here aren't
going to help me..." She gestured towards Edward and I who just
smirked at each other.

"Nope, I didn't hear it, sorry Alice." He cringed under her glare but
smiled smally to try and keep the mood light.

"Honestly Alice, you heard wrong so sit down and stop making a big
deal out of nothing." Rosalie was a little stern now, clearly getting
nervous by the crazy look in Alice's eye at the mere possibility of a
wedding.

"Yeah Alice, it's not a big deal." Emmett said, his eyes going back to
their normal size as our little friend sat down in defeat. We were
almost out of the clear but Emmett didn't really understand when to
stop. "I was going to say 'How did you ever get me to pro...pa...gate
you?'"

He smiled widely and Rosalie's eyes closed slowly at his lame cover up.
Jasper's head dropped in shame at his brother and Edward mothed
"propagate you?" at me with a disbelieving look, making me giggle.

"That doesn't even make sense, man." Jasper said quitely to the floor
with a laugh.

"Well I'm Emmett! I don't have to make sense, right?" He was


desperate now, trying to get Alice's little glare off of him and save all
of us from turning this into the Wedding Tour of the century.

Alice's eyes darted back and forth from Emmett to Rosalie for a few
minutes until she decided to drop it for good. "Whatever," she finally
mumbled and then smiled. "I can start planning it in my head without
the official word from you guys, so it doesn't really matter if you are
lying anyway."

Everyone laughed nervously then and the boys left to swim, glad to
leave the cenversation behind them.

"Actually I think I'm going to go." Alice announced after we laid around
for a few minutes and found there was absolutley nothing on TV.

She changed quickly, having been the only one of us to actually pack a
bathing suit. Actually, she probably packed at least 5 knowing Alice.
Then she flitted out the door and I wasted no time turning and
confronting Rose.

"So, you are really engaged, huh?"

She looked shocked, on guard again for a brief moment, but then she
settled down.

"Did Edward tell you?" She asked knowingly.

I nodded. "He said the only person we can't tell is Alice. For the
obvious reasons."

We laughed as I gestured to where she has just been bouncing on the


bed minutes ago and Roslie sighed as she shook her head.

"Are you excited?" I asked with my own excitement apparent in my


voice.

"Of course! It's surreal almost though, you know? It seems like it
happened so fast." She shook her head but kept the smile on her face.

"I'm so happy for you Rosalie. Do you have a date set yet?" It was
almost weird for me to be asking these questions. Rosalie was the first
of my friends to get engaged, I'd never gone through the motions of
this conversation before. Luckily they all seemed to come naturally.

"Yes, we are thinking May of next year. That way we have time to get
settled into whatever kind of life we will have after tour before we tie
the knot."

"That makes sense." I said as I nodded my head. "That so great! We


will have an excuse to come to LA next May at least!" I felt my face
brighten at that thought. No matter what we would have to return and
be together for this event. It was nice to have that reassurance.

"You always have an excuse to visit LA, Bell!" She said sternly as she
pointed at herself.

I laughed and nodded my head. "I know Rose, but I have no idea what
life is going to be like in Forks after tour either, you know? Eerything is
so uncertain for Carlisle and Esme. And for me..." I trailed off as I
thought about it. I was still so unclear about what my life was going to
become in so many ways.
"Yes, but Edward will be with you so you will be fine."

I looked at Rose and smiled brightly. She had said the magic words.
"Yes he will. I still don't believe it most days, actually. I was so sure
for so long that I would never have his love, not in the way I desired
it."

"Well you don't have to worry anymore, that's for sure." She laughed
lightly and rolled her eyes. "It's almost annoying the way he looks at
you Bella. It's like that's what he wants to spend the rest of his life
doing. Well, at least until he kisses you... then I think his desires
change..."

We giggled like girls should after a comment like that and I sighed
then it was silent for a moment.

"If he proposed to you what would you say?" She asked me suddenly
and seriously.

I looked her straight in the eye and searched for a second before I
answered. "Why are you asking me this?"

"Because Bella, I don't think you see him or yourself very clearly. You
two fell hard and fast for each other, which is dangerous enough as it
is. But to make things even more interesting you both denied it for so
long and let it build up inside of yourselves until you both nearly
exploded from it!"

We laughed then at her accuracy. I really did feel like I was going to
explode some days from the extreme amount of emotions I felt for
Edward before I was allowed to act on them. It had been torture at
times.

"So I was just wondering if he took that step and asked you, like right
now, what wold you say? Pretend he just jumped out of the pool, ran
over here, flew through the door and popped down on one knee in
front of this moldy old bed, still dripping wet and said, 'Isabella Marie
Swan, my love! My life! What would I do without you? Please say you'll
be my wife for the rest of time!'"

I as laughing very hard because Rose had actually dropped to her knee
and took my hand in hers, then proceeded to speak to me in a deep
and smoothe voice, nothing like Edward's but rather comedic to be
hearing from her mouth.
"Yes! Yes! With all my heart yes!" I bounced up and down on the bed
in a fit of laughter, not just at the image of Rosalie propsing to me, but
in the joy I felt of the thought of it actually being Edward.

"Really?" she asked seriously as she lowered her head and looked up
at me through her brow. "That would be your answer if it was Edward
asking right now instead of me?"

"Yes." I said seriously with a nod of my head.

And I knew it was absolutley true. I've clearly known for a long time
that I wanted to marry Edward someday, but I'd never thought of
what it would be like if he actually asked me, and soon. We always
only talked about it happening someday. I guess our comments about
it every so often were indeed different from him "asking me properly"
as he had once put it.

I knew from the image she painted in my head and the way the
thought of that image of him on his knee in front of me made my
heart race that I would say yes before he even got the words out.

"Oh that's so exciting Bella! I have no idea when he's going to do it or


anything, but I'm still excited for you. It's seriously the best feeling in
the entire world!"

We shrieked like girls are supposed to after a conversation like that


but we got interrupted when the door to the room opened and Alice
came running in.

She paused and took in the scene before her: Rose was still on one
knee in front of me, holding my hand and both of us smiling like idiots.

"Ok, what is going on here? Is this like Secret Propsal Day or


something?" Alice had her hands behind her back and she looking at
us accusingly with narrowed eyes.

"Oh no, Bella and I were just rehearsing what she will say when
Edward pops the question." Rose said coolly as she got up and threw
me a wink.

"Oh." Alice said with a smile, but I still saw suspicion in her eyes.
Suddenly her face brightened though, and she smiled wickedly. "So
guess what I found out when I got over to the pool?"
We both looked at her curiously as her smile spread.

We shrieked for the second time that night as she pulled her arms out
from behind her back and dopped 3 pairs of boxers at our feet.

"The boys do have Naked Five O'Clock!" She clapped her hands and
jumped up and down with glee.

"Seriously?" I said as I stared at the small pile of boy clothes in front


of me. "In the pool? I didn't know Naked Five could carry over into
pool time."

I shook my head and Rose checked the clock. "Technically it's only
one, but who would have guessed they like Naked Pool Time?" She
lifted up what had to be Emmett's boxers and I laughed at the teddy
bear patterned boxers in her hands.

"Did they see you take these?" Rosalie asked with an evil smile.

"Nope," Alice said with a smile of her own.

"Well then. Coming back to the hotel room should be fun for our naked
boys, shouldn't it?" Rosalie said with a laugh.

We all burst into giggles then and rolled on the bed at the thought of
them walking the halls of the Crash Inn in all their Cullen glory.

"We are such little kids you guys." I giggled as I traied to control my
laughing fit.

"I don't know Bella, the mythical creature debate was a little junior
hight geek convention-ish, yes. But catching a Cullen in the nude..."
She wiggled her eyes suggestively and we burst into girly giggles
again then anxiously awaited our boy's reutrn, not sure how they
would handle their lack of clothing.

Chapter 37 - Up Nights

Knock.

Knock.

Knock.
Our eyes got wide and we started giggling again as the very slow
knocking broke our attention from the TV.

"Answer it!" I quickly said to Alice in a whisper.

I'm not sure why I was whispering, it's not like they didn't know we
were inside. For some reason my only instinct was to hide though.

"No! I did the dirty work, you answer it!" She whispered back at me
with a small push on my shoulder towards the door.

"Um, no thanks! You are the one that has to answer to what you did!"

I was trying to get out of going over to the door, yes. I was not
prepared for what was on the other side. Knowing them, they just
tromped right back to the room sans clothes. In theory it was a funny
and somewhat interesting situation. In practice I was not prepared to
meet any "Little" Cullens tonight.

"What's wrong Bella? Still afraid of the pretzel I see." Alice snickered
at me quietly.

"What the hell is the pretzel?" Rosalie cut in then, not whispering at
all, looking at me like she already figured out exactly what the pretzel
is.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

The knocking was faster this time, a bit more urgent.

"Go!" I whisper yelled at Alice.

"NO! You have to face your fears Bella. Take the pretzel by the horns!"
She threw herself into a fit of giggles at her twisted little made up
saying and rolled over on her back kicking her little feet in the air with
glee.

"Why 'the pretzel'?" Rosalie asked me over the flailing Alice in between
us. "Wait, is there something wrong with it?" She gasped and looked
truly concerned.

"Oh my God! No! I mean, I don't think so...I don't know!" I was
already fire truck red and I could feel the blood burning in my cheeks
as I threw my face into my hands.
Alice now had pillow over her face, trying to muffle her laughter.

"Well if you are going to nickname it 'the pretzel' it suggests that there
might be some... issues," Rose informed me. She let one side of her
mouth droop down and made an "oops" kind of face as she looked at
me sadly.

"Alice nicknamed it... on accident...she didn't mean to... her


grandmother!" I was trying to spill out information to explain the
nickname but I was trying to talk between my own fit of laughter now,
joining in with Alice. It wasn't helping Rosalie to understand at all.

"Alice's grandmother nicknamed it?" Rosalie was more confused then


ever as both Alice and I shrieked out, "No!" and then fell into even
more laughter.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

It was a command now.

"We know you are in there ladies!" Emmett's voice came from behind
the door and shut us up.

"And we know what you have." Jasper added with an edge to his
voice.

"Well since you two are clearly no help I'm going to go check out this
pretzel business myself." Rosalie got off the bed and walked over to
the door. Just before she opened it she asked, "Who is it?" in a very
sweet and mocking tone.

"Housekeeping!" a very high pitched and fake ethnic voice answered,


followed by deep musical and rumbling laughter.

"Sorry, we don't want any," she replied with the sickenly sweet voice
from before.

"Rosalie Hale don't make me break down this door! You can't hide in
that room forever so you should just let us in now!" Emmett used a
deeper voice than usual and pounded on the door with a very loud
BAM.
"Plus, it's fairly cold out here ladies." My Edward's velvet had some
humor mixed in with it and I smiled faintly as the voices on the other
side agreed with his statement.

"It's up to you Bella." Rose looked at me and smiled evilly. "Are you
really going to keep the boys out in the cold? Or are you ready to face
the potato chip?"

"Pretzel!" Alice laughed out, correcting Rosalie.

"Whatever..." Rose said with wave of her hand.

"What about you Alice, are you BFF with Little Jasper yet?" I raised an
eyebrow at her and smirked, trying to get some of the pressure off of
me and my unfamiliarity with, well you know.

"No, for your information we aren't even acquaintances yet. Not that I
wouldn't be pleased to meet his... acquaintance..." she giggled some
more and I hid my face again. "Little Jasper doesn't scare me though."
She said it confidentially enough, but I'm not quite sure I believed her.
Something was off in her eyes. "It's not like you and the big scary
pretzel at least!" She used a dramatic voice and lifted her arms up like
you do when you are telling a little kid a monster story when she said
"big scary pretzel".

"The Pretzel and Little Jasper." Rosalie said, shaking her head sadly. "I
am certainly glad you two don't get to nickname my family jewels.
Talk about getting a complex..." She shook her head at us then turned
to the door. "Ok boys, tuck 'em in, you've been granted entrance."

She pulled the door open slightly to ease them in, but suddenly
everything exploded at once.

The door flew open and Emmett ran in, grabbed Rose by the waist,
and flung her over to the bed with a big yell.

"Waaaaaaaa!" I screamed and ran.

Well, I made any loud noise that escaped my mouth when it first
opened and jumped out of the way, rolling over the roll away bed and
pushing my self up against the mirrored doors of the small closet.

Alice squealed one loud "EEE!" and rolled the same direction that I did,
then ran into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
We had to roll over the beds because the only way to cram the roll
away in the tiny room was to put it at the foot of the other two beds,
blocking the walk way to the bathroom, closet, and the little counter
that sat in between the two. It wasn't that inconvenient to have to
cross the beds to get to this corner of the room. At least it wasn't until
we were trying to escape a possibly naked charging Emmett.

Everything calmed down almost as quickly as it had exploded and I


took a second to look around the room and take inventory of the
situation.

Rose was still laughing slightly, pinned underneath Emmett on the


hotel bed we had just been laying on. I was still pushed up against the
closet doors, panting slightly from my swift escape from the bed. Alice
was poking her head out of the bathroom, still clutching the pillow and
peering out into the room. I knew she was more nervous about naked
Cullens than she let on.

I finally got a good look at the boys then. Emmett was straddling Rose
on the bed, Jasper was hunched over by the still open door laughing to
himself, and Edward was standing casually at the other end of the roll
away bed, smirking at me amusedly.

All three of them were wearing tiny towels like loin clothes around
their pelvic regions. They were the little white towels that even the
cheapest hotels provide. It was covering enough of them, but not
much. They had been crafty and tied two together so each of them
had one small towel in front, and one in back.

My face flooded redder than ever before when I realized exactly how
much Cullen was exposed in this room. No "Little Cullens" were
present, exactly, but there was a lot of leg and torso action going on.

I looked down at the floor and fixed my gaze on a very old looking
brown stain, only looking back up when I heard movement.

Emmett finally rolled off of Rosalie and stood up next to the bed,
putting his hands proudly on his hips.

"So who wants some Emmett first?" He winked around the room and
we all laughed lightly, me and Alice nervously, and Rosalie scoffed as
she sat up on the bed.
"I've had my share for the night, thank you." She smiled at him and
he gave her an extra special wink, making her smile extra special
back. It was almost cute until I re-registered the ratio of Emmett to
towel.

"Alright then, that just leaves the 2 ladies in the corner!" He pointed at
the corner the bathroom and the closet created, the one Alice and I
had fled to.

In an instant he very gracefully jumped up on the bed and ran over it,
then jumped off right in front of us.

Alice screamed and then slammed the bathroom door shut again, her
shrill laugh echoed inside as I ran over to the door, but tripped and got
there too late. She had already shut it in my face and I was leaning on
it helplessly.

"Bellarina! Come hug you brother! Or kiss if you like my new outfit
that much." He took 2 big steps towards me and held out his arms,
scooping me up easily against his bare body.

"Edward!" I screamed to him for help out of habit, forgetting that he


was wearing the exact same "outfit" as Emmett.

I was laughing incredibly hard as I heard the others break out in their
own laughs around me. I even heard the door behind me open and
then Alice's quick little movements take her to the other side of the
room, to safety as I consumed all of Emmett's attention.

Finally I saw Edward's face appear behind the small section of


Emmett's shoulder that I could actually see over.

"Bella, close your eyes." He said softly to me. His green eyes were
dancing with amusement and I was captivated for one small moment,
just by them alone.

"Huh?" I asked in a daze, suddenly remembering if I tilted my head


down I could get a different view of him.

"Close your eyes, love. There's only one way to bring down the bear."
He tilted his head towards Emmett and smirked at me right before I
closed my eyes, trusting Edward knew what he was doing.

Emmett yelled, "What the crap?" right before dropping me instantly.


I kept my eyes shut and prepared myself for the ground, knowing that
even if I landed on my feet my balance issues would bring me
tumbling down anyway. In the darkness of my shut eyes I could hear
the others laughter break out even louder as I was dropped and
Edward took whatever action was necessary for Emmett to permit my
release.

Edward's arms caught me just as my senses caught his lovely scent


and his equally as lovely laugh. I curled my arms around his bare torso
out of habit then froze when I remembered the small bit of cloth that
was separating me from...I sighed inwardly at Alice infecting my
thoughts... the pretzel.

"Can I open my eyes now?" I asked quickly as I withdrew my arms


from around him.

"Yes, it's safe now." He chuckled at me, backing away as he sensed


my obvious discomfort.

I opened my eyes and choked out a laugh when I took in the sight
before me.

There was Emmett to my left glaring at Edward and holding the ice
bucket that had been sitting on the small counter outside of the
bathroom up to...um... "Little Emmett."

The towels/loin cloth he had been barely wearing before were on the
ground and I figured out what Edward had to do to get me free.

"Well, there goes any hope of chilled drinks tonight," Jasper said with
a smirk at he glanced down at the bucket pushed against Emmett.

"You... de-toweled him?" I asked with amusement as I glanced up at


the safest spot for me to look at this moment, Edward's face.

He shrugged and smiled devilishly at me as I quickly looked away


before my gaze wandered.

Emmett had his back up against the door to the bathroom to keep
anyone from getting any peeks at his backside, but he looked far too
comfortable standing there holding the bucket up with only his one
hand.
"Rosie, I know you are enjoying the view, but do you mind getting me
some clothes?" He smiled at her and she rolled her eyes at him but
grabbed some sweats and a T-Shirt out of his bag and threw them at
him.

I noticed Jasper was now leaning against the closed front door, and
Alice was sitting on the roll away bed, stealing small glances at him
every few seconds.

After Emmett retreated into the bathroom I felt Edwards arm wrap
around me as he drew me closer to him. I gulped and felt my face
heat up as I felt more and more of his flesh against me. It didn't even
matter that I was fully clothed, I could barely handle him fully covered,
how I was supposed to get through this if he decided to tease me?

"Bella, you haven't looked at me for more than 3 seconds at a time


since I've gotten back." He was speaking lightly in my ear and I
shivered slightly.

"Sorry." Is all I could say with a small laugh.

I felt him return the laugh more than I heard it. I shivered again at
that sensation.

"Is there something wrong with me, love?" He cooed in my ear.

"No, there's something very naked about you Edward."

Did that even make sense? Probably not. Thinking was out the window
at this point. Now I was just concerned about breathing.

"We are going to take a walk... to return the towels," I heard Alice say
in the background of my mind.

"We'll be back soon," Emmett said in a tone that sounded like a


warning more than a statement. Oh, so he must have changed and
come out of the bathroom already. Huh.

"Hey Eddie, you want to throw me your towel so I can return it for
you?" I heard Jasper laugh out, it sounded distant like the others but
still I knew he was teasing.

"No thanks." Edward said very clearly next to me. "I think it's a bit
necessary at the moment." His body shook slightly with laughter and I
accidentally let my gaze fall to his chest. It was maybe the second
safest place to look since I had seen him shirtless before, but still
slightly dangerous since the cloth hung a lot lower than his pants
usually did.

"Alright..." Alice's voice sounded farther away now, "Bella, don't be


greedy and eat the whole pretzel in one sitting..."

I heard her high pitched giggle ring out in the far away place it came
from and right after that Emmett's distant voice boom, "Pretzels?"
until the door shut and there was nothing but silence and Edward's
slow breathing hitting my ears.

"Bella are you alright?"

Edward's voice broke the silence and his chuckle followed it.

I smiled and continued to stare at his chest.

"Mmm-hmm," I said as I let a smile creep across my face. It wasn't so


bad now that the others were gone...and I was still looking at a "safe
zone".

He put his finger under my chin and slowly pulled my head up to meet
his gaze. I smiled wider when I realized he was going painfully slow on
purpose. It seems Mr. Ego was out to play again and someone wanted
their girlfriend to get an eye full of the goods they knew they had.

"What?" He asked as my smile and gaze turned accusing.

"Showoff." I said clearly as I looked into his eyes.

"Why Miss Swan, I have no idea what you are talking about."

The most charming version of the crooked grin took over his face and I
felt my knees buckle underneath me as it did. God he was perfect. No,
more than perfect. What word describes more than perfect?

Oh right. Edward.

I threw my arms around his neck and attacked him with my mouth
with enough force to back him up against the small counter behind
him. Apparently the others being gone helped me shed my
nervousness considerably.
He pulled away after a moment and laughed.

"Who's showing off now?" He smirked at me and I blushed, suddenly


realizing that I'd basically just jumped him while he was wearing next
to nothing.

"Sorry." I said as I released him and backed away a little. I let my


gaze wander now, no longer afraid of what was before me. "Never
mind. I'm not sorry at all." I said with a shake of my head as I took in
his perfect torso, legs, arms, neck, face, everything.

He threw his head back and laughed. He was way too comfortable
standing in nothing but that towel.

"I'm starting to get the feeling our clothes got stolen for more than
just comedic purposes," he said with a sly smile.

"Oh no, Alice did all the stealing!" I defended with a laugh. "Rose and I
were not involved until she came back with her findings."

"Oh really?" He eyed me skeptically and put a hand up to his mouth as


if he were examining me closely. "I am to believe this was not a group
effort?"

I shook my head. "No sir. I have an alibi. Rosalie was proposing to me


while Alice was playing thief."

I gestured towards the bed where Rose had been down on one knee
acting out my faux proposal.

"She proposed marriage to you?" Edward asked as he dropped his


hand and turned confused.

"Mmm-hmm," I said with a smile and a nod. "It was very beautiful.
She went down on one knee and everything." I spoke of it casually but
let a light smile spread across my face as I did.

His face dropped. "Well that is no good, I wanted to be the first to


propose to you."

He fake pouted and I chuckled and filled with warmth at his words. He
was so cute when he was pouting I almost forgot he was nearly naked.

Almost.
I swept my gaze across him again and felt the rush of adrenaline I did
the last time.

"Well nothing's stopping you now. Better late than never right?" I
winked playfully and he smiled at the gesture.

"Good point." He said as the crooked grin made another appearance.

Then he pushed off of the counter he was still leaning on and


sauntered the one and a half steps it took to get to me. He took my
hand in his and stared into my eyes as he started to lower very slowly
to the ground.

I was entranced with his close proximity again so it took me a few


seconds to notice what was going on.

No way.

I grabbed his bare shoulders just as his gaze was level with mine and
he was bent slightly at the knee, causing him to stop his downward
motion.

"What are you doing?" I said quietly and urgently.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" He asked just as quietly with a
smirk.

"Going down on one knee?" I asked it because I couldn't state it for


some reason. It was so unexpected.

"Very perceptive, Bella. That's one thing I love about you." He smiled
more devilishly as he teased me and started to lower himself even
further, all the while holding my eyes with his own.

"No." I kept speaking quietly as I tightened my grip on his shoulders


and he stopped moving again.

"Why?" He asked sternly, the smile turning into a seriousness that set
on his face.

"Because...your...naked!" I said it quietly and frantically glanced down


at his very uncovered body. That was the first reason that popped into
my head.
The smile returned to his face but he simply said, "Not entirely. The
towel, remember?" He reached a hand down and tugged the towel a
bit, which caught my eye and distracted me for a second.

"Now can I get on with it?" He asked through the smirk that might as
well be living on his face now.

"Don't you want to be clothed when you...for this?"

I couldn't say it. I could not say "propose" for some reason so I
frantically spat out the clothing suggestion. Yes, I truly enjoyed the
image I had been seeing when Rose pretend proposed to me as
Edward, but he was not towel-clad in it. It just seemed wrong.

He searched my face, smirk still in place, and then lifted himself up


back to his full height.

"You're right." He said confidentially. "I'll just get dressed then."

He leaned down and kissed me chastely before turning to walk towards


the bed he had to climb over to get to his bag.

"Wait!" I said suddenly before he stepped up onto the furniture.

"Yes?" He turned and asked me casually. Well his posture, voice, and
smirk were casual. His eyes were dark and alluring.

"Um, let me get them for you. Too much movement in that," I pointed
loosely at the towel wrapped around him, "might cause...um,
problems."

I pushed past him and hopped onto the bed with ease. I wasn't sure if
I could handle the idea of him possibly proposing to me 2 minutes
after I got a peep show during his trek to his clothes.

I dug in his bag and pulled out the black sleeping pants I loved him in
and the maroon zip up.

I threw them across the bed and he said, "Thanks, love" with that
damn smirk a wink before going into the bathroom and changing.

I sat down on the side of the bed that was furthest from the bathroom
door and stared at the wall.
Is he seriously going to get dressed and then pop down on one knee
and...do it?

My heart raced at that thought. Was this it? Had Rose merely been
taking me through the dress rehearsal not 2 hours before this?

My thoughts were frantic until I heard the door open and I stood up
quickly and turned to look at him.

He looked up and smiled at me, our maroon hoodie hanging open on


his body. He ran a hand through his hair and then slowly lifted his foot
onto the bed and walked across it over to me.

It was during this time my frantic thoughts calmed. As my Edward


walked towards me I filled with warmth and excitement, shedding all
the frantic feelings I had been experiencing before. I could do this. I
was ready. It must have been that damn towel making me nervous
earlier.

He hopped lightly off the bed and landed next to me as his feet hit the
ground.

He held his arms out for me and I knew what he wanted. I smiled as I
reached out and "zipped up my love" for him.

He pulled me into him then and just hugged me tightly and I squeezed
back.

When he pulled away he asked, "Am I decent enough to continue


now?"

I nodded and kept my eyes locked onto his as he started to lower


himself again, more quickly this time.

As his knee hit the ground I braced myself for his beautiful voice to
start spilling the most beautiful words I had ever heard uttered to me.
I stared at him and waited to be swept off my feet in classic Edward
fashion. I waited. And waited. And waited...

I frowned and he put his other knee on the ground and stared back up
at me with a small smile.

"You actually let me get all the way down." He sounded surprised
when he said it. Almost as surprised as I felt.
"What do you mean I 'actually let you get all the way down'? Aren't
you...weren't you...?" I trailed off in disbelief and he just laughed and
took my hand in his and kissed it, moving his one knee up back into
proposal position.

"I was just fooling around Bella! I never thought you would let me get
onto my knee in the first place. You're reaction when I was still in the
towel was exactly what I was expecting... you allowing me to get to
this," He gestured with his free hand to his position on the floor, "was
a surprise."

He raised his eyebrows and I settled down a little bit, understanding.


It was a test, a game, a tease.

"Oh." I said simply.

It wasn't filled with disappointment or hurt, because that's not what I


felt exactly. It was just a realization.

He kissed my hand again and smiled. "Please do not believe for one
moment that it has anything to do with you, love. I simply cannot
imagine asking you that beautiful question here, and the oh-so-
luxurious the Crash Inn." He raised his eyebrows at his sarcastic
remark and I smiled, understanding. "There's no possibility of me
ruining that moment for you by doing it in an unfamiliar and rather
dumpy hotel room."

He shook his head and I lightened up. Of course it couldn't be here.


Edward was impulsive sometimes, but he was also quite the romantic.
He would need a different setting to be in the right frame of mind for
something like a proposal.

He was still on his knee when the door flew open and Emmett yelled,
"We're back! Finish up or make room for more!"

Laughter filled the room as they all entered and I looked up like a deer
caught in headlights. Everyone paused in the doorway and Alice
gasped very loudly.

"It is freaking Secret Proposal Day!" The craziness started clouding her
eyes and I started to panic.

I pulled Edward up to stand next to me and started shaking my head.


"No, no, no! That's not what this was! We were just joking!" I was
searching for the right explanation but I was not finding it.

"That's right Alice, it was more like a run through. Not the real thing.
No questions were asked, no rings handed out." Edward calmly
explained next to me, but I heard a little panic in his voice as well.

"Liars!" Alice yelled at us. Then she turned to face Rosalie an Emmett
and pointed at them. "All of you are liars!"

She went over to her bag and grabbed what looked like pajamas out of
them, then stomped across the beds and shut the bathroom door
loudly, the whole time mumbling to herself something that sounded
like, "good-for-nothing secretly engaged lying best friends...wedding
will be crap if they don't let me get started soon...fine just fine..."

After the door closed we all started laughing and Emmett looked
pointedly back anf forth between Edward and I.

"So?" He asked suggestively.

"No! Honestly." I said as I raised one hand in an oath-like manner.

"Really?" Jasper asked with a raised brow.

"Truly." Edward said, lifting my empty left hand up for show.

"Well that doesn't mean anything." Rosalie said quietly as she leaned
into us. "We aren't getting my ring until we get back to LA."

Edward just shook his head and replied, "I know, but we were
seriously just messing around. Nothing happened. We'd tell you."

They believed us then because there was no reason to keep it a secret


form the 3 of them if it was true.

I laid in the hotel bed that night snuggled up against Edward and I
smiled as I imagined the various ways he would propose to me
someday. It had taken a while to calm Alice down, but once we finally
did she agreed that there was no way we were engaged.

"Edward would look smug and Bella would be glowing." She said
confidentially as she informed us why she suddenly believed us. "I
won't need there to be a peep out of either of you when it finally
happens. I can read you like books."

That was the last thought I had before my one and only night in the
Crash Inn ended. I would be glowing indeed.

After New Mexico we went through Texas (where many River Bottom
Back Door Band jokes were made) then up through Oklahoma,
through St. Louis.

The tour was going great. The shows were fun, even if the crowds
were small. In St. Louis we met a bunch of great people and hung out
at a pizzeria next to the venue with them afterwards, only to find out
they were on vacation from New York and would be back there by the
time we got there and they decided to attend that show as well.

That was one of the great things about the musician's life: people. We
met, talked with, laughed with, shared with, and sang with more
people in the past two weeks than I had ever met in my life! It was
fantastic. We all had the same thing in common, the music, and it was
enough to bind complete strangers together for a few short hours.

Nothing was better than being with our small family though. Well,
except for the one night we ended up sleeping in the jeep at a rest
stop. I could have done without them that night.

"Looks like we are here for the night ladies and gentlemen." Jasper
announced as he turned off the jeep in the parking lot of the rest stop.

We were having oil issues or something right outside of St Louis. We


had been attempting to drive most of the night to the next destination
in Illinois, but the jeep started having problems so we pulled over at
the rest stop and the next thing I knew Rosalie and Edward were
closing the hood and getting back in the car saying something about
oil, so I assume that's the problem. I'm not exactly up to date on Car
and Driver if you know what I mean.

Emmett leaned behind him and Rose in the back seat and pulled out 3
blankets to be passed around the car.

Edward and I were in the middle seat and it was at least big enough
for me to lay down on for the night. Edward curled his body around me
and I was grateful for the extra warmth. I think his feet hung off the
end of the seat a little, but he didn't seem to mind. I'm sure the boys
were used to this from previous tours. The blanket he wrapped around
us was thick and warm and it was my night with the hoodie which was
good since winter weather was still haunting the mid west and the
days had been getting colder as we traveled north.

We were settling in for sleep and it was almost quiet. I was dead tired
since today had been one of those days we got up insanely early. Also,
Edward and I hadn't made the best decisions the night before. Well I
totally approved of the decisions, it was the repercussions that were
troublesome. We had retreated to the jeep to have some "privacy" and
we got a little carried away. No, there was no "pretzel eating" as I had
to keep reassuring Alice (in the jeep, really?), but what we did do
ended up leaving us a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes worth of sleep.

So Rosalie's giggles from the backseat were not exactly what I wanted
to be hearing as I tried to let sleep have it's way with me.

I groaned and nestled my head deeper into Edward's chest.

"Hey guys, it's bedtime, remember?" Jasper said from the front seat,
making Alice giggle a little bit for some reason.

"What kind of a jeep slumber party is this if we are actually going to


sleep?" Emmett asked with a laugh.

"A good one." I mumbled against Edward's chest tiredly.

A few moments of silence went by and then Edward broke it, "Emmett
stop playing footsie with me." He sounded annoyed and stern.

Laughs broke out from either side of us and I groaned again.

"I'm not tired." Alice whispered loudly to Jasper from the front seat.

"Me either." He said back to her.

Great.

She started humming the Gaston song from Beauty and the Beast and
I rolled my eyes, even though they were closed. It was better than
talking but my head wouldn't stop singing along with her hums!
Once she got to the famous line Rosalie decided to egg her on by
singing loudly, "And every last inch of me's covered in hair!" in the
deep man voice she used whenever she sang that song.

The car burst out laughing and I felt Edward trying not to shake with
his own laughter next to me. He must not be as tired as I felt. Figures,
he would be more energized than ever after making out in a car
practically all night. Boys.

"I beg to differ!" Emmett said after she sang that line, then did
something that threw her into another fit of giggles.

"Please be quiet you guys! I'm seriously tired." I knew my whining


wasn't going to help, but in this state of tiredness my voice just
automatically falls into the whine.

"Awe, someone spent too much time snacking on the pretzel last night
to get the proper amount of sleep." Alice joked from the front seat.

"I still don't get the pretzel thing," Rosalie said seriously before I could
retort. We never really got to explain it to her after the small
discussion in New Mexico.

"I keep hearing things about this pretzel too," Edward mused
suddenly. "What does it mean?"

I felt him tilt his head down towards me and I cursed him in my head
for crossing over to the dark side where the people who were awake
carried on conversations.

Alice burst into giggles at Edward's question and Jasper spoke up then.

"I don't think I've even heard about it before. Alice?"

It was silent for a few moments and then he said, "Oh!" with a chuckle
and I realized Alice must secretly have told him an abridged version of
the story of how "Little Edward" got his nickname.

"That's funny." He said matter-of-factly after a bit more laughing.

"I want to know!" Rosalie demanded from the back seat.

"You already know, kind of." Alice responded with a small giggle.
"Alright, I know what the pretzel is, but I don't know why." Rosalie
corrected herself casually.

"Is it food?" Emmett asked. "Because I could really go for some


pretzels."

I rolled my closed eyes again. Emmett's need for food wasn't going to
help my "Let's go to sleep" campaign.

"Edward?" Alice asked suggestively, like he should be the one help


Emmett with his craving. I groaned again at how out of hand this was
getting and also how very far away from shutting up and letting me
sleep everyone was.

"Why does it always refer back to me?" Edward wondered with a bit of
annoyance in his tone.

Alice lost it then and she exploded into the story as I laid there in
disbelief. "...suddenly my grandma walked into the room and I had a
bowl of pretzels in my lap..."

This is hell. I cannot sleep, I cannot escape the embarrassing stories, I


cannot make them shut up...

"Oh." Edward said with understanding as she finished the story.

"Now I get how grandma was involved." Rosalie exclaimed happily.

"Dude, The Pretzel. How unmanly is that?" Emmett laughed from the
back seat.

"Excuse me, I don't find anything feminine about it." Edward


defended.

"Well it's not exactly complimentary in any way." Jasper added in,
fueling the fire that was this dumb conversation keeping me up.

"Does it really matter?" I half groaned as I rolled away from Edward as


much as I could. When I'm annoyed I don't like to be touched.

"It matters to guys." Emmett said with confidence.

"Well it shouldn't. That's dumb." I said angrily throwing my arm over


my face in an irritated manner.
"We should go to sleep," Edward said carefully to the group as he took
in my body language and stopped worrying about stupid boy
nicknames.

"You're right." Jasper said and I heard him and Alice settle back into
the front seat.

"Fine." Emmett said with a heavy sigh. "Goodnight guys. Goodnight


Pretzel," he taunted in a sweet voice and snickered. I felt him kick
Edward's legs at the edge of the seat.

"Get over it Emmett." Edward practically growled. I was surprised at


how angry he was with the teasing.

"Ease up bro," Emmett kept going, apparently he was determined to


push me over the edge of anger. "It could be worse. It could be Bako
Bit or Small Fry."

Now Jasper joined in the laughing and I heard muffled giggles mixed in
as well.

"Stop teasing him!" I yelled suddenly, determined to end this and


actually feeling like I needed to stick up for Edward.

"Bella it's fine, Emmett's just being Emmett," Edward sighed and
pulled me back towards him.

I was still angry though. If I was going to be kept up I wasn't going to


lay by and let my Edward take all the heat.

"At least I don't call Edward little like some people I know." I said
smugly. "Alice." I stated is accusingly and I heard her shift in the seat
in front of me.

"Bella..." She warned with her bell like voice.

"Wait, what do you mean 'little', Bella?" I smiled at Jasper's question.


It seems his curiosity got the best of him.

"Nothing Jazz. I only happen know that Alice throws around the term
'Little Jasper' pretty loosely, that's all." Alice squealed angrily and
Emmett barked out a laugh as Edward just reached down and kissed
my forehead.
"That's a bummer dude," Emmett said as his laugh faded out.

"Whatever, it's actually pretty funny," Jasper said quietly and


unconvincingly from the front seat causing Emmett to laugh at his
brother's expense again.

"Emmett I don't know what you are so entertained by," Rosalie said
suddenly. "I have a nickname for you too... I've just never told
anyone."

"Spill!" Alice said happily from the front seat, probably excited at the
prospect of it being worse than a name that contained the word "little"
and hurt her Jasper's feelings.

"Felicia."

Rose said it confidentially and with flair, catching us all off guard.

The whole car burst laughing then, even I cracked a small noise or two
through my tiredness.

"A lady's name?" Emmett asked in a shocked tone. "Rosie, why? Why
would you do that?" He sounded helpless but Rose was too locked into
her own laughter to respond right away.

"I'm just kidding Emmett... I don't have a nickname for you, I just
wanted to get a reaction out of you." She sighed as she finished
laughing and explained the name to him.

"Ugh. But now whenever you girls are talking about us it will come up
and you'll joke about 'Felicia this' and 'Felicia that', and it will become
permanent. I know it." He sounded hurt and I imagined big Emmett
pouting and folding his arms in a sad manner.

"You know girls pretty well." Alice giggled from the front. "Felicia it is!"

We laughed a little bit more and I wrapped an arm around Edward,


trying desperately to will everyone to silence by settling myself back
into sleeping mode even though I was amused now.

"I'd rather be 'little' than be a girl, man," Jasper said with what
sounded like a smile.
"Yeah, I bet The Pretzel sounds good to you now," Edward smugly
stated.

"Your pretzel will never sound good to me brother. That's gross."


Emmett retorted, still sounding bummed but keeping his sense of
humor.

"Alright sleep time." I said loudly and prayed they would all be too
wrapped up in private thoughts of nicknames to keep talking.

Alice kept snickering though.

"You know, we could make our own musical about Edward and Bella,"
she said quietly after a moment. "Screw Lady and the Tramp, we have
'The Ladies and The Pretzel'."

I groaned and Rosalie said, "That's sick Alice," and 2 of the boys just
laughed.

"That sounds an awful lot like pornographic media, Alice." Edward said
calmly. There were quiet laughs at his use of the term we had given
him permission to use.

"Ewe, I guess it does," Alice said with realization, clearly not having
thought about the implications of the name before hand..

"Sleep! Please?" I started begging the car. We were going to remain


awake forever at this point, talking about pointless nicknames and
'pornographic media'.

"Sorry, love." Edward said quietly to me and held me tighter. We were


still for a few moments then he said loudly, "Emmett! Feet. Move
them. Now."

Emmett laughed one more time and I literally hated them all for
keeping me awake for so long. I will pay for a motel room myself if I
need to next time. I will push the jeep to the next town myself. I will
find a way to get some decent sleep and never ever have a jeep sleep
over again when I am this tired. The spirit of the jeep just kept
everyone too awake.

We arrived in New York about 2 weeks into the tour and it was the
most exciting thing that happened after the horrible Jeep Sleep Over
from Hell.
After St Louis we went through the bottoms of Illinois and Indiana,
then Ohio, Pennsylvania and arrived in finally New York, New York.

It was amazing driving into the city. We had to stop for gas right
outside of it so I took that opportunity to call my mother before we
entered into the craziness of Times Square. Renee had requested a call
from New York, she'd always wanted to visit and was planning on
living vicariously.

"Bella! How are you?" Her voice was happy and excited and I missed
her suddenly upon hearing it.

"I'm really great mom, tour is pretty much the best thing that's ever
happened to me." I smiled and winked at Edward who was pouting at
me at my last statement. "Ok, the second best thing."

He smiled at my correction and my mom laughed at me knowingly.

"Well honey, where are you now? New York? Please tell me it's
wonderful."

"We aren't in the city yet, but I can see it from here and it looks pretty
great so far. I'll call you to give a full report from wherever we end up
staying tonight if that's ok. I know it's with Rose's cousin, but I'm not
sure how late we will get there."

"That's fine Bell, you can call whenever. It helps that you are 3 hours
ahead of me now, remember."

"Oh yeah! Ok, I'll call later tonight then."

Just then something happened that I was not prepared for. It was
insanely cold out these past few days, but Alice had purchased me a
very nice heavy coat before we left Hollywood (I only learned about it
yesterday, when the coat became necessary) so I was holding up
pretty well. Edward and I were sitting in the open doorway of the jeep,
waiting for the others who were pumping gas or using the restroom
and suddenly, as I was on the phone with my mother, one white flake
drifted past my face.

Then another. And another. And another...

"Oh my gosh, mom. It's snowing."


My mouth dropped open and I stared in disbelief. Snow? Oh no. I think
I hate snow. I don't really know because I've never been in it , but I
know I don't like cold all that much so snow probably falls into the
"things Bella doesn't like" category as well.

My mom was ecstatic however.

"Oh Bella! Catch a snow flake in your mouth for me!" She sounded like
she really wanted me to do it. I made a face at the phone.

"No thanks," I said almost rudely. Is that sanitary?

"Let me talk to her," Edward said to me as he held out his hand for my
phone. He could probably hear her excited tone through the phone. He
loved talking to my mother when she was excited.

I handed it to him and started fiddling through my purse, looking for


some money for a warm drink from inside.

"Hello Renee," Edward's smooth voice said next to me. I smiled as I


imagined my mother's own smile when she suddenly heard his voice.
She loved him entirely already.

Apparently Charlie had voiced a new found liking for him too, so that
helped my mother's own love grow for some reason. Not that Charlie
had problems with Edward before, he just seemed to "trust him now"
or something. That what my mom had said after we left Phoenix at the
beginning of the tour. It didn't matter much to my why they approved
of him, just that they did. He was here for good and things would be
easier for the rest of my life if everyone was happy with everyone else.

"It is indeed," he said with a smile as he looked at the snow now


falling steadily around us. He chuckled and then smirked at me. "She
won't? Well she's no fun, is she?"

I shook my head at him and sighed. He loved to egg on my mother


when it came to me.

"Well I will catch one for you, hang on." He smiled and then stood up
in the door way of the jeep and lifted his head towards the sky and
opened his mouth.

I laughed at the image. He was catching a snow flake in his mouth for
my mother because I would not. I love him.
I stumbled upon my camera in my purse and lifted it out then snapped
a picture of him hanging out of the car with his mouth open and
holding the phone up to his head.

"I got one!" He said happily into the phone after the camera
clicked."It's my pleasure mom. Ok. Bye. Love you."

He sat back down next to me and smiled as he held the phone back to
me and leaned in to kiss my cheek.

"He spoils you," I said as I held the phone back up to my ear.

"Oh please, it's nothing compared to what he does for you," my


mother laughed and I agreed.

I said goodbye to her soon after that then went inside and bought a
gigantic hot chocolate for Edward and I to share. We piled back into
the jeep and drove over the bridge and into the city.

The excitement of it filled me up as the buildings and lights started to


surround us from all sides, and I just knew New York was going to be
another great memory for the 6 of us to make.

Chapter 39 - Teaser Chapter 2.0!

The following is an excerpt from the final EPOV Saturday, Chapter 40:

"You are the superhero of my heart, Edward."

"I can't do this."

"Don't you love me?"

"Of course I love you...Bella... I just don't really know how to-"

"Grow some balls and just do it."

"That's not helping."

"Sorry. You are just taking so damn long to spit it out-"

"Alright, alright. Will you marry me?"

"That's it. That's all I get? I don't get the whole 'you are my
life, you make me complete, you are everything I've ever
hoped wished, dreamed, longed for' stuff? You're so good at
that stuff."

"I didn't think that it was very necessary..."

"Of course it's necessary! You are not cheating me out of the
whole experience. Not get down on your f'kin knee and ask me
properly. Dazzle me Edward. I want to know what all the fuss
is about."

"No. Forget it. I can't do it this way."

"Don't you walk away from me!"

"I officially hate Delaware."

Chapter 40 - The Vast Spoils of America

EPOV

I am not angry in the slightest. Not yet at least. Annoyed, however... I


may be a tad annoyed.

My first mistake was falling asleep shortly after leaving New York.

After we pulled out of the city and the excitement of saying goodbye to
it had died down in the jeep I stretched my legs out and relaxed. Since
Bella, Alice, and Rose were in the backseat discussing cake filling
options for the now Alice-Obsessed wedding I did not have my
beautiful angel by my side to distract me from sleep.

I was extremely tired due to the fact that I did not sleep very well the
night before. After I obliged a highly intoxicated and very amusing
Jasper with a brother-hug I was nowhere near sleep. Try as I might,
all I could do was lay there and watch the love of my life sleep in my
arms, exactly where she belonged. I want so badly to ask her the
question that will officially bind us together forever but I cannot seem
to get the words out every time I feel the urge.

I know her answer will be yes, I do know that. But I want to get it
right. I only plan on asking this once in my entire life, and I only plan
on her hearing it once, so I want it to be perfect for her. I want her to
feel the obscene amount of love I have for her in the moments I ask
her to be my wife. The more I hesitate the more my desire to ask
builds. Drifting off to sleep while we drove west was rather relieving
actually.

I woke up to her lovely voice yelling my name frantically.

"Edward! Help!"

My eyes snapped open in a flash and I sat up even faster, only to see
one of her precious hands slide off the edge of the door frame where it
had been grasping.

"Put me down! EDWARD!"

I bolted out of the jeep's open door and caught sight of Emmett
carrying Bella over his shoulder and away from the vehicle.

That was when the confusion set in, which was my second mistake.

Why are we stopped? We are supposed to be on the road, back to


Forks. We were not as a rest stop or gas station, I could see that from
looking around at the highway we were pulled to this side of. Bella
wouldn't be screaming if we were... Bella!

I stopped thinking of the "why" of the situation and focused on the


"what". That's when I heard what my panic had clouded before: her
lovely laughter. But she was still yelling my name...

"Edward don't just stand there, come get me!"

I must have still been caught up in some of the sleep before this point
but then I suddenly saw the whole picture.

Alice had her camera out and her little legs were racing her behind
Emmett as he carried my Bella. Rosalie was smirking as she walked
casually behind the whole group, and Jasper was sitting on a rock near
by with his sunglasses on (even though it was fairly cold and quite
overcast) looking, well, a bit hungover.

None of that was important to me though. The most important thing in


this moment was the "Welcome to Delaware: The First State" sign that
Emmett was bounding towards with my laughing, screaming Bella in
his grasp.

"No!" I gasped to myself.


I took off as fast as I could, but not fast enough. I couldn't help the
small smile that ran with me. He actually did it. My damn brother
actually took a detour to Delaware to make his ridiculous kiss with
Bella a reality.

I slowed when they crossed to the other side of the welcome sign and
Emmett turned to face me with his huge smile mocking me across his
face.

"Too slow Eddie," he teased me.

I ran a hand through my hair and stuck my other in my pocket


instinctively as I sighed in defeat and he set Bella down on her own
feet.

"I'm sorry, love." I said apologetically as she folded her arms across
her chest and pouted at me.

"Oh it's fine Edward. I was awake, I should have caught it." She
playfully glared up at Emmett who just smiled proudly and wiggled his
eyebrows at her, causing her to scoff a laugh.

If he wasn't so loveable he would be immensely more annoying.

"Alright, sister. How do you want it?"

Bella looked extremely uneasy as she stared up at Emmett and the


realization of what she had to do set in That's when the annoyance set
in.

If it had been any other situation I would intervene. But we all know
that this is just an elaborate joke, and something that will not end
until Emmet gets his way, here in Delaware. Of course the
blasphemous kiss will not mean anything. I doubt it will hardly even
resemble a true kiss at all, but watching your love kiss your brother is
never, ever going to be enjoyable. Growing up as the youngest brother
of 3 teaches you things though. If a deal is made such as this one then
you follow through, if only for comedic effect. Bella made her own
decision in this. It was a joke that Emmett was in essence delivering
the punch line on.

My hand fiddled in my pocket as I stepped closer to them and leaned


casually against the welcome sign of what was to become the most
annoying state I'd visited yet.
That's where we are now. And, no, I am not angry. Yet.

"Just a peck, and then we are done. Got it?" Bella scolded Emmett and
I smirked at the fire in her eyes.

"I get 3 seconds to linger," Emmett demanded. "That's the only way it
qualifies as a real kiss."

"No way! Lips touch and then part immediately." Bella replied
seriously.

"Bellarina! I haven't kissed like that since...well ever!" Emmett smiled


and threw his hands in the air. "Even in kindergarten I was pulling 5
seconds with the ladies under the slide. 7 on average."

Bella looked at him like he may have been insane. She thought about
it for a second and then her flawless face set in determination.

"2 seconds, with Rose holding your arms behind your back. Final
offer."

She cocked her perfect hip to one side in a very sassy manner and the
annoyance built inside of me. I am pleased she is trying to make this
as short and as contact free as possible, but every curve of her begged
for me constantly. No other man should even be able to entertain the
idea of feeling her skin against theirs.

Curse this horrid state for existing.

"Ok, deal. As long as Alice get's it on film for evidence." Emmett


happily nodded toward Alice who held up the camera proudly.

"It's going in the slide show at the wedding," Alice chimed out proudly.

Rosalie actually high fived her for that comment.

I'll be damned if it goes in the slide show at mine and Bella's wedding.
The one that we can't begin to plan because I am failing miserably at
officially asking her...

My thoughts were interrupted with a hand coming down on my


shoulder.
"Are you really that concerned about this stupid kiss, man?" Jasper
asked with a laugh, and then a small cringe, probably at how the laugh
effected his sensitive head.

"No, no. This is all fine," I waved my hand clumsily in the direction of
Emmett and Bella who were now shaking on the newly negotiated
terms of the kiss. "It's a little annoying, but nothing I can't handle."

He raised and eyebrow at me, but I just shrugged underneath his


hand.

"Then why do you look like you are going to tear Alice's camera to
shreds and then force feed them all to Emmett?"

He chuckled and I smirked as I turned my head to him.

"That's not the worse idea you've had, Jas."

We laughed together for a few seconds until he cringed again and held
one of his hands up to his head and rubbed his temple.

"Remind me how much I hate margaritas next time a jar of one is set
in front of me," he moaned raspily. "Particularly the green ones."

"Deal," I said with a silent laugh.

Then it was time. My annoyance peaked as Alice giggled and Emmett


leaned into Bella who was leaning back very slightly.

Rose was indeed holding Emmett's arms behind his back, and she
smiled at me reassuringly right before the connection was made.

It went by in a flash, thank God.

"One, two...EEEE!" Alice's squeal filled the air as she bounced up and
down, staring at the little screen on the camera.

"Whooo! I kissed my sister!" Emmett was yelling rather loudly now,


causing Jasper to cringe even worse than before, probably in pain and
shame due to our brother's incestuous celebration.

Bella started wiping her mouth off, but she was fighting a smile at the
same time.
"Alright Emmett! You got your stupid kiss, now you can never mention
it again!" She pointed her finger at him accusingly and glared, still
fighting the smile her luscious lips wanted to form.

"I'll agree to that, but when you inevitably crave more of Big E don't
hesitate to ask."

I rolled my eyes as the others laughed and Bella's smile broke then
brought mine on as well. Even through the annoyance I felt joy when
she did.

She turned to me and walked slowly over to where I was leaning,


teasing me with every step even though she didn't know it.

"Are you ok?" She asked with a small, irresistible pout.

I shrugged nonchalantly, keeping a blank face. I saw her try to read it.
Her deep brown eyes searched mine. I knew she would see whatever I
felt in them, she always did. My hand that was still lingering in my
pocket tightened as I stared into the face I couldn't live without. The
fire burned inside of me. The words I wanted to ask burned even
hotter, as they always did, but I knew I had to resist them now. Now
is not the time. Delaware will not share Emmett's kiss and my
question.

"Edward, you aren't upset are you?" She looked truly concerned now.
My eyes must have betrayed me with their strain at the burning inside
of me.

"I'm fine Bella." I smiled at her and I saw her relax. No need to worry
her over something that merely annoyed me.

I reached out and pulled her to the Philadelphia side of the sign as I
leaned down and kissed her softly but with feeling. Some of the
annoyance melted away.

"There." I said touching my finger to her full lips, sealing my claim on


them again.

She smiled sincerely and then Alice flitted over to her and showed her
the "evidence" that I had no interest in seeing.
Shortly after we reentered the jeep and crossed back into Delaware to
find a small town to stop in and maybe get some gas and perhaps
lunch.

After we ate in a quaint cafe on the end of the small town's main
street we wandered our way down the rest of it, window shopping and
laughing amongst ourselves just enjoying the afternoon.

The entire time we walked my hand that wasn't holding Bella's was in
my pocket, fidgeting. I don't normally fidget.

As we made our way back to the jeep Bella's phone rang and she
parted from the group to answer it. By the way her face lit up I could
tell it was Renee. She got into the jeep for some privacy as she caught
her mother up on our time in New York and the rest of us hung outside
until she finished her conversation. No one is in any rush to take off.

"Edward are you ok?" Alice asked out of nowhere.

"I'm fine." I said with what I knew was a rather confused look.

"You do look kind of off," Emmett said as he assessed me himself.

"Kind of upset," Rosalie added in as if it was a helpful tip.

The rest of the group nodded and looked at me expectantly.

I sighed and gave in. It may be better to talk about it anyway.

"Alright, something is bothering me but I cannot talk about it here.


Come on."

I glanced into the jeep where I could see the back of Bella's head
resting against the seat. She was still speaking to her mother but I
didn't want to risk this conversation right outside of where she sat,
where she could hear.

Everyone followed me a good distance away from the vehicle to a


small public patio area that had a few wooden picnic tables and a short
stone wall in a half circle around it.

I leaned on the wall and waited for them to gather around me, like I
knew they would.
"I need to propose to Bella-"

"I knew it!"

I didn't even get to complete my sentence and Alice was already


bouncing herself wildly in front of me.

"Thank you for your enthusiasm, Alice, but we came over here to
discuss a problem I had, remember?"

She turned serious and still.

"Wait, how is you proposing to Bella any sort of problem? That's great
Edward! You can't possibly be nervous she'll say no! The girl's
practically been a nun in the church of Edward for almost a year now."

I saw confusion dance across the faces everyone else around me but I
was the only one to question Alice's remark.

"A nun in the church of Edward?"

"Yes! Fully and completely committed to you. I bet she'd even wear
that ugly get up they have to live in if she thought you wanted her
too."

I stared at her for a bit longer, wondering at her eccentric little mind,
then I shook it off and continued.

"Whatever you say Alice. Anyway, my problem is not in what I fear her
answer will or will not be. I would not be asking if I thought she
wouldn't accept. I'm having a problem battling my nerves over how to
ask her. Every time I feel like it's the right moment to ask my mouth
goes dry and I get lost in thoughts of ruining it for her. I don't want to