August 25, 2010
“ I read the lines quietly, mostly to myself. “‘If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.’” I nodded, again to myself. “I know exactly what she means. And I know who I can’t live without.””
“Edward lay next to me and held my hand. “August thirteenth?” he asked casually after a few minutes of comfortable silence.
“That gives me a month till my birthday. I didn’t want to cut it too close.” ”
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Edward softly pressed his smooth, porcelain finger to my lips as I feebly attempted to protest his anniversary surprise. “Shh, Bella, my love,” he whispered in my ear, his sweet breath finding its way to my nose, intoxicating me. “I promise I haven’t done anything outrageous or overly extravagant. But it is August 13th – our second anniversary, love. You had to have expected something.” His perfect, angelic crooked grin widened, brightening up his buttery golden eyes and causing me to entirely lose my train of thought.
Edward was good at that.
When he realized I was mentally crippled by his dazzling effect, he delicately laced his fingers through mine, so gently – as if I were still a tender, easily-breakable human – then he led me out of the car and around the back of the Cullen’s over-sized mansion. Odd that we’re going around the back of the house, rather than in the house, I thought to myself.
“Wait!” I blurted out, stopping abruptly. “I have something for you, too. I should go get it so we can exchange surprises together.”
“Bella, you being my wife is far more than I could ever ask for. Every single day I have with you makes me feel like I’m living again. Like I’m breathing, like I’m alive. I–”
“– Just let me quickly slip in the house and grab your surprise,” I interrupted, wondering why Edward figured it was okay for him to refuse gifts, but if I did it he thought I was being ‘difficult.’ But I knew that, like me, Edward probably felt like he didn’t need anything else, because when you’re in love – truly in love – you have it all.
Like immortals, like us, love never dies. But gifts, they eventually get lost, or like most things, the excitement over a gift will fade away, wear off. The love that Edward and I share will never fade away, though, and the excitement will never wear off. For as long as we both shall live.
I didn’t give Edward a chance to answer before I slid my hand out of his and glided instantaneously through the house, then back out with his gift. I should say gifts; I had two things to give Edward for our anniversary.
Edward glanced down at the blue and gold gift bag and half laughed then, again, gently took my hand in his and continued leading me toward the large backyard. We stopped just before we turned the corner, but I could smell tea lights and flower petals. I could see the flickering of candles illuminating behind Edward, too.
“I wanted to keep it simple for once,” Edward began as he glided his hand out of mine and placed it around my waist. “Sometimes staying close to home, close to everyone you love, is the most comforting. I didn’t want to put you on a plane or in any situation where you’d have to fight the urge to go on a killing spree, Bella. I didn’t want to take you someplace where you would have to pretend to be something you’re not. With advice from Alice, I decided our backyard would be the perfect getaway.”
I felt relieved. I didn’t want a card with plane tickets in it. I didn’t want an expensive vacation to some private island. I didn’t want an expensive car, or a new house, either. I just wanted to spend the night with Edward, my love. My everything.
Keeping his hand around my waist, Edward led me around the corner to the backyard. I felt my jaw drop dramatically, maybe a little too dramatically, when I saw what he had done. I figured Alice played a large role in it too, and made a mental note to thank her later.
My eyes darted to the ground, which had no visible grass because it was completely covered in a multitude of different flower petals. Mostly purple ones; but there were white petals, and yellow ones, too. I rested the bag with Edward’s gifts in it on the ground and slowly stepped into the paradise that used to be our backyard.
The large trees were lit up with what had to be a million tiny glittery lights. Edward’s piano was propped up in the middle of the backyardon a huge plank of thick glass which had a purple light shining up from the bottom of it, illuminating the piano.
Tea lights flickered ambitiously from every corner of the backyard, but they were no competition for the fireflies that sparkled in the air, almost as though they were there for decorative purposes. But they were just natures bonus to the beautiful, glittery paradise, of course.
The dark purple and gold satin bows that clung to the tree stumps blew softly in the weak, warm wind, and the large mixed flower bouquets sat atop the giant rock garden that Esme made at the beginning of summer. Even the tiny waterfall that flowed through the rocks had tea lights and flowers petals floating in it.
In the midst of being awestruck I heard a door slam shut and noticed Jake walking from his small house – which was also covered in decorations – out of my peripheral and heading towards the driveway. He was in a rush and tossed a somewhat genuine–sounding “happy anniversary you two,” over his shoulder. “Oh… and I’m sure if you look up ostentatious in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of the backyard,” he scoffed, a little louder now that he was out of Edward’s reach.
“I knew I could smell dog,” Edward teased, his voice a low growl. “I assumed it was just your stench lingering from earlier. Thought you were going to Forks for the night with everyone else, Jake?”
“Yeah yeah, I’m going now. I forgot something and had to come back – then noticed that the mother of all flowers and tea lights vomited in the backyard. Thank God I’m leaving,” Jake retorted before hopping in his car and taking off.
I laughed. “How’d you get everyone to leave for the night?”
“Persuasion is one of my strong points,” Edward answered, still standing still as a statue.”They’re all coming back early tomorrow. Esme wants to have a small celebration with all of us together.”
I nodded and continued eying up the glittery backyard. “It’s really one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen,” I breathed. “But you said –”
“– I said I’d keep the gift simple,” Edward reminded me, his velvety voice cutting me off. “Alice wouldn’t negotiate on the decorations.”
I smiled, unable to take my eyes off of Edward now and then took three steps to close the gap between him and I. Wrapping my arms tightly around his torso, I softly whispered, “I love you Edward” in his ear.
It was twilight, and the last hints of purple and pink were gradually vanishing from the nearly cloudless sky. Edward’s face glowed beautifully in the faint moonlight making him look even more angelic than usual.
Kissing my forehead and then somehow pulling me even closer to him, Edward whispered back, “I love you too, my Bella.” I felt my legs go weak and tightened my arms around his neck, for leverage… just in case. I knew vampires didn’t faint, but Edward had a way of making me feel human again.
It was more of a mental weakness than a physical weakness, but when you’re intoxicated by love it can be hard to tell the difference.
“I could hold you all night long like this, but I’d like to play a song I wrote for you, if you don’t mind love?” Edward asked tenderly.
If vampires could blush, I would have been the color of an overly ripened tomato. “Of course,” I said, mentally preparing to be serenaded by the most beautifully, dazzling boy in the world. It was times like these that made me feel like a little girl with her first crush on the boy of her dreams.
If I could still dream, those are the moments I would dream of; moments with Edward. Each second I spent with Edward was surreal. I knew the intense feeling would never fade away and that I would be living a perfect dreamlike existence for forever, blissfully. What I never could understand, however, is how I got so lucky.
Edward sat down on the long piano bench and I sat down next to him, wondering how I had missed the giant glowing ice sculpture shaped like a swan next to the picket fence. “Swan… brilliant, Alice,” I whispered under my breath half laughing.
Before I was done smiling, Edward’s smooth porcelain fingers were dancing gracefully across the piano. It was my lullaby, at first, then it melted into another melody. It flowed so perfectly together, so seamlessly. The melody became more dynamic with every stroke, every measure, and more full of life with each flawless movement of Edward’s fingers. My expression changed at least a dozen times as the tune washed through my ears and into my chest where my heart used to beat.
When it was over, I was speechless.
Edward lifted his hands from the piano keys, turned to me and gripped my jaw in his hand then pulled me towards him, our lips smashing together. “I don’t even know how to describe that,” I began, in between kisses. “Edward, that was… it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.”
He smiled. “I wanted to add a continuation to your lullaby because you can’t sleep anymore, love. You have no use for a lullaby. I made the melody stronger, more tenacious, like you.”
“It’s perfect. You don’t even know how listening to that made me feel.” I took Edward’s hand and placed it to my chest, right where my heart used to pump. “I felt it here.”
“I will play it for you anytime you like. All you have to do is ask, my beautiful Bella.”
I lifted Edward’s hand from my chest and brought it to my lips, kissing each one of his fingers gently before giving his hand back then bolting towards his gift in the blue and gold gift bag. “My turn,” I said, holding the bag out to Edward.
He sighed. “I have one more thing for you.”
“No Edward. This is all so much as it is. This night I get to spend with you is –”
He cut me off, trying to dodge another lecture about how he already does too much for me. “Just follow me,” he said through a grin. Placing his hand on the small of my back, Edward guided me inside the huge house. I asked at least ten times where he was taking me, and he just smiled, refusing to drop even the slightest hint. We could have walked faster, but we walked at a normal, human pace. It was as though Edward wanted to drag it out, torture me longer.
We finally reached the very top floor of the house and stood outside the door to a room the Cullens used for storage. Mostly Alice used it to store all the clothes and shoes she bought online. “You got me a storage room?” I joked.
“Not exactly,” he laughed quietly, wrapping his hand around the door handle and slowly twisting it. He teased me by opening the door slightly, then shutting it. Finally, he opened it the entire way then stood back so I could take everything in.
“You got me a library?” I screeched. “Edward this is…” I couldn’t finish because my eyes flickered to a copy of Wuthering Heights that rested all alone on the over-sized brown leather sofa, which was flat against the wall and framed by bookshelves. It was a rare first edition of Emily Brontë’s novel. There was no doubt that the book had cost at least six figures, and a lot of persuasion to get.
Edward was right; persuasion was one of his strong points.
I picked the book up delicately, careful not to damage it in anyway. I decided to leave out the questions and forgo the lecture about how he had already done too much for me. Instead, I looked up at him and whispered a soft “thank you,” then gently placed the book back down on the sofa and ran over to Edward – who was still in the doorway – and kissed him slowly, all over his neck – one of his biggest turn-ons.
In between animalistically kissing Edward and ripping my clothes off, I breathed: “I…need…to give you…your gift…. still.” Although I didn’t want to stop, I managed to pull myself off of him to grab his gift bag.
“You forgot to read the letter I wrote for you though, love,” Edward said, pointing to the sofa. I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t noticed a letter sitting there because I had been blinded with excitement from the limited edition book.
I glided to the sofa and picked up the most beautiful letter, written in Edward’s elegant script. I’m not as good with words as Edward is, so I thought I’d just add his letter here for you to read, if you want:
How could I thank him for everything? He made our anniversary the most magical night possible, and I felt so undeserving, but so lucky. I’ve always been a good person, but I don’t know what I did to deserve this perfect boy.
It was obvious that tears would have flooded the room if it were possible for me to cry. The library was perfect; each shelf full of books I’ve read, and others that I had planned to read. There was a laptop sitting on the hardwood floor with about ten different bookmarks resting next to it. It was my own little escape.
It was perfect.
“I have no words. How do I thank you for all of this? Sometimes, I still feel like I don’t deserve you. You’re too perfect…” I didn’t know how to word everything I wanted to say, so I just let Edward into my mind.
“Shhh, my love,” Edward soothed as he traced his fingers around the curves of my lips. “I feel the same way about you. I wish so badly I could let you read my mind so you could see how similar our thoughts are.”
“Okay, ” I said assertively, trying to gather my thoughts. “I have to give you your gift now. It’s not a library, or a song… and it’s not a gorgeous, glittering backyard. But, I hope you like it. Carlisle helped me with it.” I held the bag out, and Edward took it slowly from my hands.
“I made it myself,” I whispered nervously as he pulled the large scrapbook from the tissue paper. I hated watching people open gifts from me. I liked the ‘making them happy’ part, just not the initial unveiling of whatever awful present was awaiting.
Edward’s smooth buttery golden eyes were so peaceful as he opened the book and began flipping through the pages, my favorite grin creeping up one side of his face. “Bella, how did you get all of these photos?” he asked pointing to the page with the large black and white picture of his mother, Elizabeth, and father, Edward Sr.
“Carlisle helped me out. We hunted for every photo we could find of you and your family. Carlisle had a bunch that he’d forgotten about until I asked him.”
His expression continued to warm each time he flipped a page in the scrapbook of pictures. “I haven’t seen all of these photos,” he said, unable to pry his eyes from the book. Flipping the page again, his smile met his eyes as he pointed to another photo. “That’s a painting of me when I was a baby. Incredible!”
“Keep going,” I murmured shyly, biting my lip. I was excited for him to see the progression of photos, from when he was born, to the most recent. The book was filled with photos and paintings from when Edward was a human; then pictures from before he met me – of him and the Cullens – and finally, it ended with a snapshot of Edward, Renesmee and I standing in a pile of leaves. We were all smiling, the widest, most genuine smiles.
I loved that photo because none of us knew it was being taken. In fact, I didn’t know about it until Alice danced into the room when I was making the scrapbook. She didn’t say a word; just placed the photo down, smiled impishly and danced back out.
Still grinning, Edward finally placed the book down beside him.”Bella, you don’t know how much this means to me. It’s the most beautiful, perfect gift I have ever received since the beginning of my existence; next you you, of course.”
“I’m glad you like it,” I said with a nod and a smile. “There’s one more thing in the bag.”
Edward lifted the small gift card out of the bag and laughed, a roaring laugh, once he saw what it was for. “You got me a gift card to The Doors & Banisters Hut.” It wasn’t a question. He put his head down in embarrassment and thanked me shyly.
“I figured that since Renesmee and Jacob have been getting closer lately, you could benefit from it,” I laughed. “Esme fixed the last one, but the next one is on you.”
After exchanging gifts, I looked around my new library some more, then Edward led me back downstairs and into the backyard. There was an iPod nestled into a speaker mount, and he flicked it on. The play list was perfect: a mix of some new indie bands we’d been listening to lately, some Debussy, Stravinsky and we even slow danced under the moon to Pachelbel’s Canon. The night was perfect.
After slow dancing, Edward lifted me up and placed me gently on the huge bed of flowers, then kissed me ethereally from the top of my head, to the tips of my toes. Feeling Edward’s smooth lips caress my entire body so delicately made me feel numb; like I was dreaming, and in the dream I was paralyzed by my own love for the beautiful bronze haired boy.
“You know,” I started, somehow breathless, “you have this way of making me feel like a delicate, fragile egg shell. It’s not fair. I thought that once I was turned, you wouldn’t be able to impact me the same way and make me feel so warm inside. So dazed.”
Edward rested his nose on the top of my head and breathed in deeply, taking in my scent. “I know exactly what you mean, love.” Without further explanation he lifted me up and rested me on his lap and I wrapped my legs around his waist.
Slowly, I unbuttoned his black shirt – one button at a time – melting my lips into his in between. But I couldn’t keep at the slow place much longer and finally ripped the last three buttons open simultaneously, smoothing my hands across his chest then pulling him closer to me.
I ran my fingers through Edward’s hair as he delicately undressed me, in the most gentlemanly manner possible. I froze like a statue every time his lips made contact with my body; or his sweet-smelling breath blew in my face.
In that moment, I felt completely intoxicated by his love.
There, under the mellow – almost cloudless – night, Edward and I made love to each other. The moon illuminated Edward’s body, highlighting his already angelic exterior, and I was sure to take in every detail of those moments.
Every smell, every look, every crooked grin.
Just because we live forever, doesn’t mean each beautiful moment together isn’t worth capturing and adoring. I treasured every moment I spent with Edward, and always would.
“I’ll love you forever my beautiful Bella,” Edward whispered as dawn began to break. We were still laying on the bed of flower petals, unclothed, cradling each other tightly. The music was still wafting softly through our ears, and most of the tea lights had already burnt out.
“I love you so much Edward,” I whispered back, tracing my fingers up and down his stomach, my eyes locked on his. “Happy Anniversary.”
P.S. Before I go, I thought I’d leave you with two songs from the play list that Edward and I danced to on our Anniversary. One is a song I mentioned earlier: Pachelbel’s Canon. The other is one of my new favorite songs. It’s called ‘Roll Over,” and it’s by Uniform Motion. I hope you enjoy.
EDIT: Looking for a new love story to read? I have written a novella called, ‘My Darrling.’ (This is not the Willow series I’ve been working on, rather it’s a small side project. The first book in the Willow series will be up in the early portion of this year). For now, I’m so excited for you to check out the novella I’ve written:
You can read a preview and purchase ‘My Darrling’ HERE. I can’t thank you all enough for your endless support, and I promise to run contests to give back as soon as my books get off the ground!
For those of you who’d like to follow the progress of my Willow series, please ‘LIKE’ it on Facebook here. You can also read a tiny preview if you click ‘info’.
Feel free to stop by my personal blog here, where I post songs, pictures and will soon be giving more previews from ‘Willow.’ Thank you all so much for reading and for the support and encouragement you’ve all given. You have no idea how important your encouragement and kind words has been.