Monday, August 6, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 142 - Edward

~oOo~

Seattle... Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 8:14 A.M.

"Bella," I sang, pressing kisses to the back of her head.

"No, no, no," she protested into her pillow, reaching down to pull the covers over our heads. "We're not awake. If we're awake then that means you're leaving today."

"Oh, sweet girl," I chuckled and groaned at the same time, rolling her over to face me, though I left the covers over us. "It's just two and a half weeks, baby. We've so got this," I whispered, brushing her hair from her face. "This is nothing compared to how long we've gone before."

"I know," she sighed, a small smile just barely curling the corners of her mouth as she traced every inch of my face. "I'm just ready to keep you."

Grinning, I said, "Trust me, I'm ready to be kept." I dropped kisses to her forehead, the tip of her nose, and each cheek, finally pressing my lips to hers. "I can't wait to come home, love. I can't wait to see how long it takes for me to drive you crazy."

She giggled, rolling her eyes.

"No, I'm serious," I laughed, dragging my fingertips up and down her spine. "You have no idea... I might squeeze the toothpaste from the middle, I might drink straight out of the milk jug, or I might leave my clothes all over the house. You don't know."

Bella laughed, her head falling back. "Do you?"

"I'm not telling you," I huffed dramatically. "You'll have to wait and see."

"Edward," she chuckled. "I don't care about those things."

"Ah, you say that now, but just wait," I told her. "Maybe I have bad aim in the bathroom."

"You do not have bad aim!" she said, cracking the fuck up.

"Not that you've seen," I countered, kissing her exposed neck. "I've been working extra hard at it when I'm around you."

"Edward, shut up!" she finally laughed, wrapping her arms around me. "Just shut up..."

"Come on, beautiful," I crooned, nuzzling her neck. "I still have a birthday present for you, but I can't give it to you unless you let me take you to breakfast."

"Babe, you were my present," she argued, looking uncomfortable. "You coming here was more than enough."

"Hardly," I scoffed, popping the side of her thigh and tugging the covers down. "Up, Miss Swan. I don't want to waste a single minute I have with you before I need to leave. Okay?"

"'Kay," she sighed, leaning to press a kiss to my lips. "I love you."

"Love you, too, sweet girl," I sighed contentedly. "Shower with me." I didn't give her a chance to answer; I got up from the bed, yanking the covers all the way down to the floor. "Now, Isabella," I ordered, grabbing her by the ankle.

Her squeal into laughter made me smile, but I didn't stop. Bending down to pick her up and toss her over my shoulder, I carried her into the bathroom.

~oooOOOooo~

There were endless ways I wanted to spoil my girl; coming to Seattle for her birthday was just a small fraction of proof. I could've thrown a party, but I knew she would've been upset that Em and Jazz weren't there. I could've bought a giant ass cake, but shit, she baked better than any fucking bakery, so what was the point? Flowers, streamers, clowns, singing telegrams – it would all have been too much...yet not enough.

"Can I help you, sir?" the hostess asked as I glanced over my shoulder.

I was supposed to be using the restroom in the dining room downstairs at the hotel, not on some super-secret mission. Luckily, Bella was sitting in the far corner.

"I need one single birthday candle. Please tell me you have one," I begged her, trying not to notice that my uniform was drawing attention.

"I can do better than that," she chuckled. "We can have the waiters come out with a cake and sing."

"Oh, no. She'd kill me," I laughed, shaking my head. "Just a candle, if you have one."

The hostess, whose name tag said her name was Amber, grinned and nodded. "Give me a second. I'm sure we do." She came back a minute later carrying a single pink candle and a book of matches. "If no cake, then..." she started to question with a laugh.

"No, that's the easy part," I assured the girl, gesturing to the brunch buffet line. "Thank you."

"Lucky girl," Amber stated, peering around the dining room.

"I'm the lucky one," I told her, spinning on my heel to quickly grab a dessert plate and one single oatmeal raisin cookie.

Bella was staring out over the water view when I came back to the table. I set the plate with the candle and cookie down in front of her, along with the small box containing her present.

"Happy birthday, Bella," I said softly, sitting down beside her.

"Edward," she chuckled softly, glancing back and forth between me and the cookie. "Fitting, babe."

"I thought so." I huffed dramatically. "It's probably nowhere near as good as yours, but I liked the symbolism," I explained, grinning when she laughed again. "Make a wish, sweet girl."

If it were me, I'd be wishing that the next two and a half weeks flew by. Judging by the look on her face just before she blew out the candle, I was pretty sure her wish was the same.

"Anything in a box this small is usually too much," Bella scolded, eying me shrewdly.

"Nonsense," I scoffed, rolling my eyes. "Just open it."

Bella cracked the black velvet box, revealing a fragile chain with a pendant. "Oh, babe, that's beautiful."

"They call it a journey pendant," I told her in a whisper against her temple. "It's supposed to represent several steps in a relationship. It seemed fitting. We've been through a lot, but we've still got a lifetime to go..."

"I love it. Thank you," she breathed, kissing my lips quickly before looking back down at the necklace.

"Now," I said, turning her face to mine with my fingertips under her chin, "I know that between now and when I come home, you'll probably wear my dog tags, but after...maybe this instead?"

She was already nodding before I finished my question. "Yes, definitely." Bella's phone vibrated on the table, and she glanced at it. "The girls are on their way," she stated, her voice subdued but wavering.

I nodded, swallowing thickly. "Okay, well, let's get out of here. We'll grab our things and meet them at the front."

The elevator ride up was silent, Bella leaning into me, her face buried in my neck and my arms all the way around her. I noticed that this time, there was no panicked feel to my leaving like there had been in Tampa, just a simple unwillingness to stop touching, to memorize every little thing before this last separation.

The room hadn't been cleaned yet, so I held back a chuckle at just how destroyed the place was – covers twisted and discarded on the floor, towels dropped by the bed, a shirt here, a pair of underwear there. It was insane.

"Wow, we're slobs," Bella chuckled softly.

"It's good to know that now," I muttered, shrugging a shoulder.

"Yeah, something to work on when you get home," she stated, wearing a silly, sweet grin.

"Absolutely," I snickered. "Come on. Let's pack, love."

It actually didn't take but a few minutes to get our things together; it wasn't like we'd worn a lot of clothes when in the room. Though, I made sure to send her with two of my shirts that I'd worn over the weekend just so she'd have them. Once all our bags were stacked by the door, I sat down on the edge of the bed.

"C'mere," I told her, pulling her to stand between my legs, but she opted to sit on my lap, my dog tags in her hands. I took them from her, putting them on over her head and pulling her hair back out. "This is it, Bella," I whispered, my own fingers playing with the tags. "There's no going back after this. Next time, it's permanent."

"I'm holding your piano hostage," she said with a grin as she ran her fingers through my hair. "This is the last time I can bear to give you up. I can't wait for permanent."

Chuckling once, I nodded. "Good," I sighed, pulling her closer by the chain around her neck. Her forehead fell to mine, her hair falling around us just a bit. "This last stretch will be over soon, love. I promise. Can you hang in there for me?"

She nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. "I'll miss you anyway. I can't help that, Edward."

"I know, baby. Me, too," I admitted, my eyes locking with warm, watery brown.

Finally giving in, I kissed her. Hard. My hands threaded into her hair, hating the thought of letting her go, of not seeing her, but the end would be so fucking worth it. I kissed her with long, slow sweeps of my tongue, trying to memorize the taste of her...with deep inhales against her cheek just to take in as much of her beautiful scent of her that I could. I needed to hold on to the feel of her hands in my hair, the weight of her on my lap, and the sweet whimpers that pushed out against my skin. I needed it because despite the fact that it was only two and a half weeks, it was going to be a fucking long two and a half weeks.

We pulled apart when both our phones alerted – mine signaling that I needed to head to the airport, hers letting us know that the girls were most likely downstairs waiting for her.

"I love you...so fucking much," I huffed, cupping both sides of her face. "Do you hear me, Miss Swan?"

She nodded, sniffling a bit. "Love you, too."

I sighed, thinking she was more and more beautiful every time I looked at her, whether she was laughing, pensive...or like now, crying. "Don't cry, love. This is nothing, remember?"

She nodded, leaning into my hands as I gently wiped away her tears. "Call me when you land?" she asked, finally standing up from my lap.

"Definitely," I vowed, wrapping one arm around her shoulders and picking up our bags by the door. "And tomorrow on your real birthday, too...and every day up until I leave."

"And email, text..."

"Carrier pigeon." We both laughed at the same time.

When we made it downstairs, I sighed a breath of relief at the sight of Rose and Alice waiting in the lobby. I knew that as soon as I left, my girl would truly lose it, that she was merely holding onto her composure for me. I hugged them both, unable to let go of Bella's hand for the moment, thanking them for their help. From the looks on their faces, they knew they were in for a bit of girl time. However, Alice offered to have the valet grab my rental car for me.

Turning to Bella, I cupped her face. "No tears, sweet girl," I whispered, kissing her forehead. "It hurts to see you cry. This is the last time. Right?"

She nodded, wrapping her arms around my neck.

"Say it, Bella. Say it, and mean it," I ordered gently.

"Last time," she said, finally cracking a smile.

I grinned, wrapping my arms all the way around her, and hugged her tight. "Good girl."

With a few more murmured "I'll miss yous" and "I love yous," I finally set her back down.

I pressed a kiss to her forehead, whispering, "Prepare yourself, Isabella. Bad aim...I'm telling you..."

Her snort turned into the most adorable sniffly laugh ever. "Shut it, Edward. Just...call me when you land."

My "Yes, ma'am" coming out on a chuckle, I kissed her lips quickly and picked my bags back up, separating myself from her for what I knew would be the very last time.

~oOo~

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