“You’re thinking too hard, Bella,” he said, pulling back and brushing his fingers down my cheek. “What are you stressing about?”
I smiled, pushing back my insecurities. “Nothing, baby,” I answered. He furrowed his brow, his jaw clenching. I sighed, knowing that he was not buying my lie. “Same old insecurities.”
“I will tell you every day for the rest of my life, our lives, that I love you,” he whispered, pressing his forehead to mine. “Now, we have reservations at Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf and then …” Reaching into his pocket, he produced two tickets to Hamilton. “You said you’ve been dying to see this. A client gave me tickets and I can’t wait for you to see it.”
“I can’t believe you,” I giggled. “And I love you more than words can say. Thank you for being so patient with me.”
“Good things … great things come to those who wait. I’ve waited a lifetime for you Ms. Swan. I’m not going anywhere,” he said, grinning my favorite smile, slightly crooked and totally sweet, just for me. “Now, let’s head out. I didn’t eat lunch because I wanted steak.” I kissed his jaw, allowing him to put on my winter coat. I grabbed my purse, riding down to the first floor. Edward guided us to a waiting limo. I gave him a look. “What? I want to spoil you.”
Clambering inside, we drove the restaurant and were ushered to a small, private room. Dinner was delicious and it was a romantic restaurant. Hopping in the limo after Edward paid the bill, we made it to the theater just before the curtain rose. We were in a private booth. Edward held me on his lap as we watched the musical that had been hyped up all year long. I was entranced by the performers, the unique twist on history and Edward’s arms around my body. I couldn’t have felt more comfortable.
That was until we got ready to leave.
“Isabella … long time no see,” came the gravelly voice of my mom’s new husband and my abuser. I blanched, gripping Edward’s hand, turning to see him and my mom, dressed in their finery. “I thought it was you. You look amazing.”
I couldn’t say anything. Edward glared at him. “Do you want to go, mon amour?” he asked, his voice icy cold. Unable to say anything, I nodded.
“Don’t be rude, Bella,” Mom said, teetering toward me and hugging me. “Let’s go out for drinks. Put all of this unpleasantness behind us.” Her lips were to my ear. “You will apologize to him, Bella. I can’t believe that you would make such accusations. Phil loves you like a daughter.”
“He raped me, Mom. The fact that you believe him over me … I can’t do this. I won’t do this,” I hissed back. I jerked back and tried to keep upright. “I’m sorry, but we have a big weekend. My best friend is getting married and I’m the maid of honor.” I turned, dragging Edward with me. Once we were outside, I stumbled, my heart cracking and my stomach churning.
“I’m here, Bella,” he whispered, practically carrying me to the limo. Outwardly, I kept my emotions off, but was trembling in anger, fear and anxiety. Once in the limo, Edward knelt in front of me, keeping his eyes on mine. “Look at me, gorgeous.” I clamped my eyes shut, memories of my abuse assaulting my brain. His hands took my face. “Bella, I won’t let him hurt you. Look at me.” Opening my eyes, I saw the soft jade green of Edward’s orbs. Not the harsh gray of Phil’s angry stare. “I love you. I’ll always love you. Please, breathe with me.”