Driving Forces Chapter 19
Looking back on my relationship with her, I know for a fact that I’ve never felt this before. The warm feeling that fills up my chest when I look at Bella? No, I've never felt that.
At Thanksgiving, we went to her mom and dad's, and they made me feel as if I was one of them. They called me son and made sure I was comfortable. Emma was in her element, running around with the other kids calling Charlie Pop-Pop and Jasper Uncle. We were family, and it felt so good to be a part of that. After so many years wanting this, I finally have it.
A few days after the holiday, Bella is ready to go into her daughter's room and start cleaning it out. I repeatedly ask if she’s sure about this. She never told me what was said between her and Jake, but the fact that he isn't here and she doesn't want his help means that he said something that changed her mind about wanting to include him.
We gather all the items we need like trash bags, cleaning wipes, and some other odds and ends. I take her hand as we stand at the door. I could open it for her, but I feel that would be taking something away from her. I kiss her temple, telling her how much I love her and how amazing she is. She takes a shaky breath and turns the knob, opening the door with a creak.
There’s more dust now than when I opened it weeks ago. Bella walks in first, never letting go of my hand as she stands in the middle of the room. I wait, letting her lead. Bella lets go of me and walks over to the partial crib, running her fingers across the wood and lightly tracing the tribal symbols engraved into it.
“Jake wanted her to know her heritage.” She turns to me, wiping the wetness from her cheeks. “Let’s donate the crib to the shelter.”
I nod and begin taking it apart. Soon, I feel her presence behind me. “It wasn't long after we lost her that he started to tear it apart. He was interrupted when I started yelling at him for touching it. I kicked him out, banning him from the room.”
I look up and see her blurry eyes; she’s seeing something from the past. Her arms wrap around her torso.
“You want me to wait, love?” I stand up to embrace her, but she shakes her head.
“No, it's time, Edward.”
I don't question her again. While I take the crib apart, she talks about the different outfits and how she found them as she puts them gently into bags. When I hear her pause, I turn to her. She’s holding this cute little frog outfit. I sit next to her on the floor, wrapping my arm around her shoulders.
She lets out a shaky breath. “Yes. This was going to be the outfit that she came home in.”
“You should keep it. Maybe we can make a shadow box with this and a few other items,” I suggest without really thinking.
Her smile is small. “I think I would like that.”
We manage to get the crib in the garage and a few bags of other items from her room. Bella keeps the outfit, a bib, and a small blanket that Sue made for her. The most precious find is a few pictures; one of her pregnant and glowing, which makes me want to see her pregnant with my child more than I care to admit. And there’s another one of Bella holding her stillborn daughter.
I join Bella as she cries over it.
Just a week before Christmas, the remodel is completed to our satisfaction and we place Clara's shadow box in the living room. Bella had me make one for Emma, and we place them next to each other.
Bella told me the name of her daughter was Clara Nicole Black. Bella’s made so much progress with her healing since we cleaned the room, and she’s begun referring to her daughter by her name.
Bella walks into the room, collapsing next to me.
I pull her into me, kissing her lips. “Good or bad?”
She chuckles. “It could have been worse, but Sam and Jake now have a schedule they agree on, and they’ll reevaluate when she starts school.”
I know that Bella is ready to be done with Jake’s case.
Leah was already put away, and her rights to her unborn son are going to be terminated the moment he’s born. He’ll go to Sam the moment the cord is cut. She’s looking at life without parole because she stabbed a guard while she was in jail awaiting her trial, and he died.
All that was left was the visitation schedule between Sam and Jake.
“It's all done, then?” I kiss her again, realizing we’re alone. Emma is with Charlie and Carlisle.
She moans into my mouth. “Yes, it is.”
My heart races, but in a good way. I lean over her, forcing her to lay on her back as I hover over her, grinding lightly against her body. Bella’s hands move to my back, pulling me closer as we make out like teenagers. My hand slips under her shirt and trails along her skin. Her moans grow louder as my hand goes higher up her shirt.
“I love you so much,” I pant, trying to catch my breath, but I don't want to stop. My body freezes as my mind plays out what just happened. I don’t want to stop.
Bella pecks along my jawline. “Are you okay, baby?”
I look down at her lust-filled eyes. “I’ve never been better.”
We kiss and grind for a while longer before we stop to make dinner and discuss what gifts we need to get yet.
Bella is out with the women while I am out with the guys, including Charlie and Carlisle. I guess it’s tradition for the men to shop together while the women do their thing. We break apart when we hit the jewelry lane in the mall. I can't help looking at the selection of engagement rings, especially one in particular. It’s a silver band with princess cut diamond hearts on the side of the main diamond, and a few little diamonds on the band. It’s simple and screaming to be put on Bella's hand.
“That would be a perfect ring for my daughter.” Charlie's gruff voice makes me jump a bit.
My heart picks up and my palms get sweaty, and all I can think about is how I’ve probably offended him because I didn't talk to him first.
He pats my back. “Bella would have our hide if you ever thought to ask me first.” He chuckles, reading my mind, or maybe he sees it written all over my face.
My hand goes to the back of my neck, rubbing it nervously. “Yeah, she is independent like that.”
He hums. “Bella couldn’t do better than you.”
I turn to him. “I think that’s the other way around, Charlie; I couldn't do better than Bella.”
He smiles. “Thank you for bringing her back to life. I thought I lost her after everything that happened. And I will be proud to call you my son.”
I swallow back the emotions that fill my chest. “Thank you, sir.”
Charlie stays while I buy the ring and then we join the others for lunch. Much to my appreciation, Charlie never mentions the small velvet box that’s sitting in my coat pocket.
Shit, I’m going to propose to Bella, and I don’t want to wait long to ask her.
Christmas morning is something out of a Hallmark movie with presents everywhere, and Emma has no idea what to do with herself as she digs into them. Bella takes pictures as we open our gifts. I kept the most important one with me, waiting for everyone to arrive for dinner.
It isn’t long before everyone is here. We eat dinner and then pass out the gifts for the adults.
I take Bella’s hand and get onto one knee, opening the little box that’s been burning a hole in my pocket. Her eyes pop wide, and the whole room grows quiet. I don't think anyone is even breathing.
My hands shake and I can feel sweat running down my forehead. “Isabella Cullen, when I walked into your office I was a broken and scared man, but you never made me feel that way. You showed me that I’m not a victim, but a survivor. You’re the most patient and caring woman that I’ve ever encountered. You make me want to take on the world knowing that I have you next to me. I love you. Marry me?”
Her hands cover her mouth as tears stain her cheeks. “Yes.”
“Yes?” I smile.
She squeals, “Yes!”
I jump up, bringing her into my arms and kissing her deeply. I hear our family cheering us on. Pulling my lips away, I retake her hand and slip on the ring, and then place a kiss on her finger.
“I love you.” Bella kisses me again.
I don't get to respond as the women pull her away, needing to hug and squeal as they look at the ring. Her brothers all pat my back, congratulating me and welcoming me to the family officially.
But my gaze never leaves her. My Bella.
When everyone goes home around midnight, Emma manages to get her Aunty Rose to take her home, leaving me and Bella alone.
The air is charged around us as we go to bed. I stand in front of her, kissing her gently, and then lift her shirt off of her. Her nipples harden as the cold air hits them. I place my hands on her hips, watching as her eyes darken with lust. I walk her to the bed and she lays back. I pull off her leggings, leaving her in nothing but her underwear. I can't help but admire her; she’s so beautiful laying there wanting me. It’s her gentle nature letting me lead that makes me pounce on top of her, grinding my hardness against her and kissing her with as much passion as I can muster.
“Oh, Edward,” she moans into my mouth. “Are you okay with this?” She gently reaches for my shirt.
I pull away just far enough that she can see my eyes. “I trust you.”
She pulls my shirt off, her hand trailing down my chest to my stomach. Panic rises as she reaches my scars and continues to go lower.
“Look at me, Edward.” Her voice is soft but firm.
My gaze meets hers.
“We can stop here, baby. I love you no matter what.”
I growl in frustration because I don’t want to stop. I want this. I want to have sex with my fiancée. Goddammit, I’m going to have sex with her.
I get up, taking my pants and boxers off and walking back over to her. She quickly takes her underwear off. My lips go back to hers and we kiss as we tease each other more and more. The panic is gone as I finally thrust into her. My head falls to her shoulder as I move slowly. Her hands trail up and down my back.
“That feels so good, Edward,” she moans.
I pick up my speed just a bit, feeling ready to explode any second. At this moment I can feel the insecurity rising up in me as my impending orgasm builds. I know that Bella hasn't orgasmed. There’s no way, it's only been a minute or two.
Bella pulls me down for a kiss. “It’s okay, Edward, this is perfect, so perfect.”
I grunt, kissing her hard as my body shakes and I reach my peak. “Oh god.” I collapse on top of her.
She peppers me with kisses as her hands rub my back. “I love you so much, baby.”
“I love you, too,” I murmur, shy and embarrassed that I didn't last long.
She whispers in my ear, “It’ll be better next time, and better the time after that. We have the rest of our lives to perfect this.”
I smirk against her shoulder. “Yeah.”
It isn't even an hour later that I need her again. Between her body arching off the bed and the loud screams coming out of her, I’m confident that I did much better.