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“But, I had to get to know you,” he said, his fingers gliding down my arm and to my wrist before he elegantly dropped to one knee. “I had to see who I wanted and in this past month and a half, I’ve seen so much, cara. You’ve shown me that being with someone is not a weakness, but a strength. You’ve made me laugh, reminding me to have fun. You’ve brought me light. Isabella Marie Swan, I just came from your uncle’s diner and I asked for his blessing. Mia Cara, will you do me the distinct honor of marrying me?”
My knees were barking and Bella was staring at the engagement ring in its box. Her eyes were shining with tears as she held her hand up to her face. Should I tell her that I love her? She wouldn’t believe me. I do care for her, but is it love? Could she love me? Come on! Answer, damn it! “Bella? Dolce?” I whispered.
“You’re really asking me?” she choked out, blinking up to me. “Is this real? Not a business proposition?”
“It’s very real, Bella,” I chuckled. “And I’m old. You’re eleven years my junior, cara. I’d love to hear what you say to my question. Will you marry me?” For longer than a year? Forever sounds nice.
She bit her lip, her pale skin flushing a warm red and making her look more beautiful. She nodded, a shy smile overtaking her gorgeous face. I beamed, getting up and picking her up and spinning her around. She laughed as I covered every inch of her face with kisses before capturing her succulent lips with my own. I put her on the ground, cupping her heart-shaped face and leaning my forehead to hers. “You’re not what I expected, Edward,” she whispered, her fingers toying with the hair at the nape of my neck. “You’re different. At least, different with me. You’re kind, sweet and … protective.”
“I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you, cara,” I murmured. “When you called me, upset, crying, I thought the worst. I hate that you were hurt because of your association with me. I will do everything in my power to protect you.” I love you. I took the ring and slid it onto her finger, beaming when I saw that it fit perfectly. In more ways than two … the band hugged her finger, but the diamond didn’t overwhelm her hand. Also, it was the most elegant, exquisite accessory for her beautiful black and white chiffon dress. “Do you like your ring?”
“It’s so big,” she said, wiggling her fingers. “It’s absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never seen a stone cut this way.”
“It’s called a cushion cut, but the setting is something called a halo setting. It seemed fitting since you’re an angel,” I said, picking up her left hand and kissing her knuckles.
“Being held up by my devil horns,” she snickered.
“I’m the devil, cara,” I deadpanned. “You are anything but goodness personified.” She blushed, ducking her head and tucking a stray hair behind her ear. That’s when I noticed her other jewelry. She wore my mother’s earrings and tennis bracelet. Mom had promised them to me, for me to give to my wife. Apparently, she felt that Bella was worthy and gave them to her as a gift to wear for the benefit.
My mother approved of my fiancée.
I captured her chin and kissed her again, just because I could. She melted against me before I brought her inside. Mom was talking to some photographer. She normally hired someone for when we had these benefits to document our family and get some nice photos. “Alice, you and Jasper look like you’re going to your prom,” she sighed. “Look natural, not posed.”
“This is natural, Aunt Es,” Jasper grumbled. I looked at them and they were standing the landing of the grand staircase. It really looked like a prom photo. A bad one at that. Mom got frustrated and moved them, changing them from a staged formal photo to something more organic. The photographer just snapped away, deeming them finished and then barked at Emmett and Rosalie.
“Come on, baby doll,” Emmett said to Rosalie. She blanched, following Emmett up the stairs. She caught my eye, looking haunted. I was behind Bella, giving her an evil glare and she acted like she was head-over-heels in love with my brother. However, her eyes were dead. But, when she saw the sparkle on Bella’s ring, something clicked. Her eyes narrowed and the deep-seated hatred reared back.