Esme and I were out shopping for the apartment. It was supposedly just for the office, but with how often she’d delight in seeing something that would just be perfect for the living room, or bedroom, or kitchen. I had a feeling it was a losing battle and that Edward and I would end up doing the whole place.


We’d taken a break for lunch at one of her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, however, and conversation was – for once – not focused on redecorating or school.


“So have you two given any thought yet about Valentine’s Day?” asked Esme as she took a bite of her pasta.


Frowning, I poked my fork around my own pasta and shook my head. “Not really. I mean, I want to do something special and all, but with the trial starting the next day… I’d hoped to go away for the weekend, but… not really a good idea, considering.”

I hated that the trial put a wrench in my plans. It was bad enough that I had to go to the damn thing and relive that night, but for it to mar yet another special occasion didn’t sit well with me. Edward had suggested either just staying home or going to a restaurant, but I’d wanted something more.


Esme reached over to put her hand on mine and said quietly, “Have you heard of The Queen of Seattle yet?”


Looking up, I shook my head again. “No, I haven’t. What is it?”


She smiled, taking a sip of her white wine. “Carlisle took me there once, a few years ago. For Valentine’s, actually. It’s a steamboat cruise ship. Very quaint. It was really quite lovely. Good food, live music, and of course, a great view. I was thinking maybe you boys might enjoy that, too?”


I smiled, tilting my head as I gave it some thought. “That actually sounds like fun. Thanks, Esme! I’ll have to look into it.”


“You’re quite welcome, dear. If you like, we can go online and see if they have space available when we get home. I brought the link with me,” she said with a wink.


“Sounds like a plan. Speaking of which, what else did you have in mind for today?” I asked, taking a bite.


After lunch, we spent another hour or so browsing in one of her oft-frequented stores before heading home. Esme showed me the website for the cruise, and within minutes I had a table booked, and upgraded to include champagne, flowers, and a window seat. The lady I’d spoken to on the phone said I’d been lucky to get one this late, since they filled up pretty quick.


Esme promised me that she’d keep it a secret after I told her I wanted to surprise Edward with this. There were less than two weeks left before Valentine’s, so I figured I could manage that.


As she headed out the door to go home, she kissed my cheek and said, “Remember, though, to tell him you have made plans, even if you don’t want him to know what they are yet. It wouldn’t do to have him surprise you, too, and have everything clash.”


Grinning, I nodded. “I know. Thanks again, Esme. For the help with that, and just… everything,” I said as I hugged her.


“You’re quite welcome, sweetheart,” she said, hugging me back before cupping my cheek as she smiled. “You’re as much my son now as Edward is,” she murmured, her eyes fixed on mine.


I had to swallow hard past the sudden lump in my throat. “Thanks, Esme,” I said hoarsely, hugging her fiercely.


She held me for a while, making quiet shushing noises. It took me a bit to understand why, until I realized that I was shaking. Her words had a profound effect on me – one that surprised me a little, considering that my life was going so well now. Momma and Rose we both in my life, and therapy had helped a lot. So did knowing that Momma was starting to get on with her life, too. Still, to hear Esme say she thought of me as hers – valued me as much as she did her flesh and blood son… it meant the world to me.


After a while, Esme pulled away with a shaky laugh as she wiped her fingers under her eyes. “All right. I’m going to go now before I really get started. Carlisle’ll wonder what’s happened if I come home all red-eyed,” she joked.


I chuckled, nodding. Before she had the chance to move, however, I put my hand on her arm and whispered, “Esme? Would it… I mean,” I paused, lowering my eyes to the floor. “Would it be okay if I called you Mom, too?”


Why I was asking, I wasn’t sure, but I felt I needed to. My heart was in my throat as I waited for her reaction. Two cool hands cradled my face, forcing me to meet her eyes, which were shimmering with tears. The smile on her face was both brilliant and awed as she nodded and whispered, “I’d be honored if you did, honey.”


She gently pulled me down to place a soft kiss on my forehead, which made me smile, too. I nodded my thanks when she let me go, unable to speak at the moment. She smiled and patted my chest, silently telling me it was okay and that she understood. She took a steadying breath, then with one last kiss on my cheek she headed out the door while I stood watching her until she disappeared into the elevator.


Edward came home not long after she’d gone to find me in the middle of checking on dinner – just simple roasted vegetables and chicken, which I’d started while Esme was helping me with getting Valentine’s Day squared away.


“Mmm, something smells good,” he said as he slipped his arms around me after I’d straightened up and closed the oven door again.


Turning around, I kissed him languidly, wrapping my arms around his waist as I leaned against the counter. “Hey, you,” I murmured, smiling.


“Hi,” he grinned. “Do you need help with anything? I’ll go change real quick, but then I’m all yours.”


Shaking my head, I chuckled. “I’d hope that was the case regardless, darlin’,” I teased.


He rolled his eyes, brushing his lips against mine. “You know it is,” he said quietly.


“To answer your question, though. I’ve got everything under control. Go change, baby. By the time you’re done, the food’ll be ready and we can eat.”


He hummed as we kissed for a few more minutes, just enjoying the moment until I finally sent him off with a smack on his ass to get him moving. As soon as he was out of the kitchen, I pulled out the serving dishes and turned off the oven. The two barbecue-rubbed half-chickens I’d put in smelled heavenly as I plated them and I hoped Edward’d like them.


As if on cue, Edward walked into the room as I put the food on the table. He took a deep breath, letting out a quiet sound of appreciation before asking if I wanted a beer. He disappeared back into the kitchen at my nod, and before long we were sitting at the table, talking quietly about our day as we ate.


I was wiping my fingers on my napkin as I said, “Oh, by the way, I’ve got Valentine’s Day covered. Mom helped me figure something out.”


Edward sat back in his chair, carefully wiping his hands and mouth as he stared at me, trying to process what I’d just said. I was fairly certain Edward had no plans made yet, at least, he hadn’t as of last night when we’d spoken about it for what felt like the hundredth time. He took a drink of his beer and tilted his head. “Your mom helped? That was nice of her,” he said, almost cautiously.


I blushed, shaking my head as I lowered my chin. Glancing up through my lashes, I said, “No, not Momma. Esme.”


The smile that graced his lips was amused and pleased at the same time. “Mom, huh?”


Nodding, I played with my napkin, twisting it between my fingers. “Yeah. She… er… she said that I was as much her son as you were,” I admitted quietly.


He sat forward, putting his hand on mine, instantly calming me. “I’m not surprised,” he said, his voice tender.


I smiled shyly up at him, running my fingers through my hair. “I asked her if it was okay if I called her Mom, too. She said she’d be honored if I did.” I frowned then, my eyes searching his as I added, “Are you okay with it? Me calling her Mom, I mean?”


He rolled his eyes, his lips twitching in amusement. “Of course I am, Jasper. I think it’s great that you two’ve gotten so close.”


His eyes flickered down to my hand as he began to play with my ring. I had to bite my lip to keep from spilling the fact that I’d gotten him one, too. I was determined to wait for Valentine’s Day to give it to him, though. During dinner on the cruise. It was something I hadn’t shared with anyone – not even Esme and Rose. It had taken me a couple of weeks to find one I liked for him, but it was supposed to arrive in about a week.


Edward brought me out of my musings with a quiet, “So you’ve got everything planned for Valentine’s, huh?”


He smiled at me and I nodded. “Yep. Well, dinner and after, at least.”


His smile grew lopsided then. “So the rest of the day’s still open?” he asked.


Narrowing my eyes suspiciously at him, I nodded again. “I suppose, yes. Why? What have you got up your sleeve?”


He shook his head. “Nothing as of yet. But if I do think of something, I’ll bear in mind the evening’s spoken for, promise.”


He leaned in and kissed me, and I forgot about everything else for a moment. After a few minutes, he pulled back with a grin, cupping my cheek. “Want to watch a movie or something?”


I nodded, and we quickly took care of the dishes before settling in to watch a few episodes of Stargate Atlantis instead. It was one of the gifts Edward had gotten for Christmas from his parents, and we’d been working through the season off and on when the mood struck us. Every now and then we’d talk, mostly about the show, but as tended to be the case lately, we discussed whether or not we’d give in and let Esme have free rein on redecorating the place. We went to bed later than intended after finally agreeing that we’d let her go ahead, and ended up falling asleep almost as soon as we’d cuddled up together.


Time went by quickly between school and working on redecorating the place. Esme and Carlisle had come over for dinner again after we’d told her we’d go ahead with it, and after much discussion we’d settled on a plan of attack. In a way, I was glad to have the distraction of it as the trial loomed ever closer. At times, I had the sneaking suspicion that Esme worked hard to have that be the case. Not that I minded spending most of my time with her.


We tackled the apartment room by room so as not to upset our lives too much. The office was done completely, and Edward and I both enjoyed being able to work together without cramping each other’s styles. Instead of the one – albeit large – desk that Edward had before, now we had a huge desk that basically wrapped around the room. One wall was taken up entirely by it, and our workstations with our computers were set on opposite sides almost, facing each corner, with more desk spanning out partially along the two adjoining walls. She’d somehow managed to squeeze in even more shelf space without crowding the room.


In short, Esme had done a brilliant job and was geared to work her magic in every nook and cranny of our home. We’d all agreed, however, not to start on anything major until after the hearing, so most of the time between finishing the office and Valentine’s Day was spent doing prep work. It was odd, in a way, to be boxing our stuff up in order to make it easier to redecorate, especially considering we’d really only just gotten done getting all my things taken care of.


Still, it was good to be busy – not just busy, but active. Edward and I went swimming again a couple of days before Valentine’s, where he admitted to wanting a quiet day in and wanting to spoil me, though he refused to say how. So when Sunday rolled around, I wasn’t completely surprised to wake to a naked Edward, straddling my hips and gently massaging my back.  


“Mmm… mornin’, darlin’,” I mumbled, stretching luxuriously before looking over my shoulder with a lazy smile.


Edward grinned and leaned forward, kissing me. “Good morning. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jazz.”


“And you. Love you,” I sighed, closing my eyes as he sat up and resumed his massage.


He chuckled. “Love you, too.”


It took me a minute to register that what I was smelling wasn’t any type of massage oil, but coffee and pancakes. Frowning, I turned my face to my nightstand to find a tray there with two plates with a three stack each, some butter, maple syrup, a small bowl of melon chunks, and two mugs of coffee. Glancing over my shoulder, I asked, “What the —? How on earth did you manage all that without waking me?”


Edward shrugged, grinning. “I have my secrets.”


Narrowing my eyes, I shifted, forcing Edward to move as I turned onto my back and scooted up to sit against the headboard. Running my fingers through my hair, I frowned at him. “Seriously? How?”


Normally I was always at least marginally aware if he left the bed, but I couldn’t recall him leaving this morning. Edward took my hand in his, bringing it to his lips. “Guess I tired you out last night, because you slept right through the alarm.”


My eyes widened as I leaned forward to look at his alarm clock. “No way,” I started, but Edward cut in, chuckling.


“Not that one. I set the one on my phone.” He tilted his head to where his phone was lying on his nightstand. Not in the place it was usually, but close to the edge.


Quirking a brow, I shook my head. He shrugged again, rubbing the back of my hand with his thumb. “I got up a little earlier than normal,” he confessed. “Wanted to surprise you with breakfast in bed.”


The impish grin on his face had me rolling my eyes, even as I smiled and leaned toward him. Hovering just millimeters from his lips, I murmured, “Thanks, babe,” before kissing him.


“It was my pleasure. Now let’s eat before it gets cold and my hard work’s put to waste,” he teased.


Turning, I grabbed the tray, balancing it between us. As we ate, I glanced over at him. “So,”  I asked quietly, trying for nonchalance. “What’ve you got in store for today?”


Edward grinned around a forkful of pancakes and shook his head, his eyes gleaming with amusement. “Mm-mm,” he hummed, then swallowing his bite added, “All in due time, sweetheart. You won’t tell me what you’ve got planned for tonight, right?”


Shaking my head, I huffed, “Not a chance,” earning me a quirked brow and an implied, “See?” Grumbling, I conceded his point, though Edward’s nudge to my ribs let me know he was all too aware that I wasn’t really upset.


As soon as I drained the last drop of coffee, Edward removed the tray, ordering me to remain in bed until he gave the okay. Confused, I did as I was told and settled back under the covers, trying to hear what he was doing to no avail. At least, not until he came back into the bedroom and headed for the bathroom, winking and raising his finger in caution as he passed the bed. I crossed my arms, narrowing my eyes at him, but he just laughed. I could hear him turn on the water and after a few seconds, Edward called out, “Get that cute ass of yours in here, Jazz.”


For a moment, I just blinked, gaping toward the bathroom. Tossing the covers off, I grouched, “My ass is not ‘cute’!”


Grinning, Edward stuck his head out of the bathroom. “Oh yeah it is, and so are you. Now hurry up and get in here before all the hot water’s gone.”


Rolling my eyes, I fought the smile wanting to form on my lips. Before I could say anything more, however, Edward grabbed my hand and pulled me close, pressing his lips to mine and murmuring, “C’mon, I’ve got plans for you, mister.”


Stepping under the spray, I automatically reached for the shampoo, only to have Edward slap my ass. Yelping in surprise, I looked over my shoulder, “Hey!”


Edward feigned innocence. “What? I told you to get in here and that I had plans for you, didn’t I?”


“Yeah, but—”


“But nothing,” he smirked. “I said I wanted to pamper you today and I will and that means you’re going to let me.”


Stunned, I turned to stare at him. “But—” I tried again.


Cupping my cheek, Edward smiled, adding, “Let me take care of you, baby.”


My eyes searched his briefly. Nodding, I leaned in to kiss him softly, murmuring, “Okay,” before turning around. For the next several minutes, Edward took his time with me, washing my hair, soaping me up, cleaning every bit of skin he could reach – including inside. Or at least, it felt like that at first. He’d already worked me up as he was washing me, so I was aching and wanting nothing more than to move onto the part where he’d make love to me. I was so certain that’s where we were headed that it didn’t even occur to me he’d had something else in mind.


That is, right up until the feeling of his fingers teasing my hole was replaced by something utterly foreign and completely unexpected. I’d been leaning against the wall with my arms crossed, my forehead resting against them and my eyes closed, simply enjoying what Edward was giving me. When he spread my ass cheeks, I moaned, pushing my hips further toward him, silently asking him to take me – beyond caring if he’d do so right there and then or take me to bed first. But when  something slick, warm, and equal parts silky and rough swept over my entrance, I gasped, eyes snapping open.


“Edward?” I croaked, moaning and shuddering when he pressed the tip of what had to be his tongue in slightly. “Oh God, Ed, what—?”


He pulled away far enough to look up at me, a mixture of uncertainty and want in his eyes and a blush on his cheeks. “I-I wanted to give you something new – an experience you hadn’t had before,” he admitted quietly, almost pleading as he added, “Will you let me? Promise, I’ll make it good, baby, just…”


As he was talking, his thumbs kept caressing my hips. He stayed as he was, knelt at my feet, looking up at me while he waited for me to respond. It didn’t take me long to consider, remembering the initial feeling – aside from the shock – and I nodded with a shuddering breath. I wouldn’t have been able to speak, but it was enough for Edward, who smiled and pressed a kiss to my thigh before shifting behind me again.


Now that I knew what was coming, I relaxed more – well, as much as I was able to, knowing Edward was going to tongue my ass. For a brief moment, I worried about how it’d be for him – the taste, feeling, everything. And then all thought fled once he started to kiss and lick and probe. All that existed for me were the sensations he was giving me, that he was pulling from my body along with multiple curses, pleas, and whimpers I had zero control over. Not that I wanted it at that point. I’d happily give Edward all control over me if he’d just keep doing that thing with his tongue.


Much sooner than I’d have thought possible, I cried out, my legs shaking as I came without Edward ever having touched my cock. I was vaguely aware of him chuckling behind me, of him nipping lightly at my ass cheek before standing up with a groan. Of the water having cooled down to be nearly uncomfortable. None of it mattered or even really filtered through, I was too blissed out. Too shocked at my body’s response to what had just happened – in a good way, but still.


Edward slowly pulled me away from the wall and turned me around to face him. Laughing shakily, I wrapped my arms around him. He grinned, kissing my neck as he reached behind me to turn the water off, then murmured in my ear, “I take it you liked that?”


My voice was hoarse as I huffed a laugh, “Jesus, Edward… I never….” Clearing my throat, I pulled back to look him in the eye. “I’ve never felt anything like that. Ever. That was… I don’t even know.” Edward bit his lip, trying not to smile, causing me to roll my eyes and add, “Yeah, I liked it. As if that wasn’t obvious.”


Edward laughed, his eyes bright with pleasure. When I leaned in to kiss him, he turned his head slightly, muttering, “You don’t have to, Jazz.”


Rolling my eyes again, I cupped his face in both hands and kissed him with all I had, not caring about anything but showing him how much I loved him.  When I finally let him come up for air, I grinned and murmured into his ear, “Thank you. Now would you please take me to bed and make love to me?”


Edward coughed a laugh as he pulled me closer until I was pressed against him. I groaned quietly at the feeling of so much skin touching, not to mention the evidence of his desire digging into my thigh. “Yeah,” he said huskily, “I think I can handle that.”


After quickly drying off – something he grudgingly allowed me to do myself in order to get down to business faster – Edward and I went back to bed. We ended up spending most of the morning there, making love, giving massages, and generally worshipping each other’s bodies in every way we knew how until we were both pleasantly exhausted and starving.


We decided to just lounge around in our pajama pants until it was time to get ready for dinner, so we had an easy lunch of sandwiches and coffee which we ate while watching more episodes of Stargate Atlantis per my request. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time we’d been able to kick back like this and just be — I was even able to forget about the upcoming trial tomorrow.


When it was finally time to get ready, we took separate showers. I had Edward go first so I could lay out the clothes I intended to wear as the only clue I’d give him for tonight. I was rewarded when Edward walked into the bedroom, still scrubbing his hair with his towel, and his eyes fell on the casual charcoal suit I’d chosen. His eyes widened as he took in the burgundy shirt and shimmering black tie before flickering to mine questioningly. I grinned and nodded as I walked past him, only barely refraining from slapping his ass.


By the time I was freshly showered and shaved, Edward was dressed in his dark brown suit, a cream shirt, matching brown, paisley-patterned tie and was putting on his socks. He looked up, quirking a brow in question. Walking over to him, I grabbed the back of his neck, tilting his head up even as I bent to kiss him. “Gorgeous,” I whispered against his lips, earning me a chuckle.


Edward’s fingers trailed across my abs as he murmured, “So are you, but you’d better get dressed if you expect us to go anywhere tonight.”


Laughing, I heeded his advice and got dressed. As alluring as the idea of staying in and making love again was, I had plans that I was loathe to break. I asked Edward to call a cab for us, so he went to the living room, giving me time to retrieve the ring that had arrived only days prior. Resisting the urge to look at it again, I slipped the pouch with the ring into my pocket and went to meet him.


While we were waiting for the taxi, Edward tried in vain to get me to tell him where we were headed. By this point I was enjoying this game too much to give in, so I made a point of taking the cabbie aside to give him our destination so Edward wouldn’t be able to overhear. The look on his face as we got closer to the bay and it became more and more obvious where we’d be going was priceless.


By the time we pulled up in front of the The Queen of Seattle, his eyes were wide, as was his grin. He turned to me, awed, and said, “Seriously? You got us reservations here?”


“Yup,” I replied as I paid the cabbie and thanked him.


Edward followed me out of the car, slipping his hand in mine as his eyes took in the boat. “So this is what Mom helped with?”


Grinning, I nodded. “Yeah, it was her idea, actually.”


Edward pulled me in for a kiss and smiled. “Remind me to thank her. I’ve always wanted to go. Hell, I even tried to get a reservation for us but they were full up.”


Frowning, I looked at him. “Did you tell her—?”


He shook his head. “Nah. I just remembered Dad taking her a few years ago and Mom was raving about it for months. Thought it might be nice, you know?”


I nodded, brushing my lips against his. “Great minds, I suppose.”


Edward chuckled and winked. “Must be.”


We made our way inside where we were directed to the bar. There were already quite a few people there, so we decided to get our complimentary glass of champagne and head up to the deck to people-watch and enjoy the sights. The ring I’d gotten for Edward was burning a hole in my pocket but I resolutely ignored it, though I couldn’t quite keep from wondering if Edward would like it and what he had gotten me. I knew it couldn’t be very big, since he wasn’t carrying anything obvious, and we’d agreed to exchange gifts after dinner.


As if reading my mind, Edward turned his face to look at me with a grin. He was leaning against the railing, one foot on the banister, his glass cradled between his hands. He shifted so he was facing me, his jacket falling open. At first, I couldn’t see anything, but a closer look showed the edge of an envelope peeking out of his inner pocket.


Before I could comment on it, however, the boat began to move and we both got distracted by the change in scenery. It wasn’t long before we were called in for dinner. When we reached our table, Edward paused, his eyes widening at the bouquet of blood red roses and bottle of champagne that awaited us. I stepped up behind him to help him in his seat, but instead of sitting down, he turned around and hugged me, whispering, “Thank you for this.”


Blushing, I patted his back, not sure what to make of his reaction. Once we were both seated, he explained that none of the guys he’d dated had ever gone to this length for him – especially not Alec, for obvious reasons. Edward shrugged, playing with his napkin, his eyes focused on mine as he said softly, “It was usually me making the grand gestures, so to speak. You have no idea how much this means to me, baby.”


Reaching out, I took his hand and smiled. “Then I’m especially glad I was able to pull this off. You deserve to be treated well, Ed.”


This time, it was he who blushed. He cleared his throat when the server arrived with our food. I’d had to order when I made the reservations, so I hoped my choice would meet with his approval. Luckily, it did and we both enjoyed the filet mignon. All through dinner, we talked quietly about everything under the sun. Our kids, the team, family, what we’d liked – in PG terms – about the day so far. Everything, other than the trial.


When it was time for dessert, New York cheesecake with fresh berries, Edward pulled out the envelope and put in on the table. I bit my lip as he pushed it toward me with a smile. “You go first,” he said softly. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Jazz.”


Why my hand was trembling as I picked it up, I wasn’t sure, but I carefully opened it and took out the folded card inside. Unfolding it, a piece of paper fell onto the table, which I ignored after making sure it hadn’t landed on my plate, choosing instead to read the note Edward had written me.




It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to give you. I know how much you’d hoped to get away this weekend, and how disappointed you were when that fell through. I thought long and hard about this, and I’ve already cleared it with Dad – at least, as far as working out time off goes.


Anyway, my gift to you is a two week vacation to Hawaii. Tanya’s got a place there we can use at our leisure. When we go will be up to you (and of course, whether I can get that time off from the office).


I thought it would be nice to have something to look forward to after the trial.


I love you with all my heart.




I had to reread the card three times to make sure I’d understood right. Then I remembered the piece of paper that had fallen out, which upon closer inspection turned out to be a voucher for airplane tickets to Honolulu. Swallowing hard against the lump in my throat, I looked up and whispered hoarsely, “Are you serious? Two weeks? In Honolulu?”


Edward smiled softly and nodded. “Yeah. Thought it’d be nice to get away for a while. Do you like it?” he asked quietly, his eyes suddenly worried.


Like it? Are you kidding? I love it! Thank you so much, baby. I… wow,” I said, staring down at the voucher again as I ran my fingers through my hair.


Edward’s audible sigh of relief had me looking up. “I’m glad. Like I said, I’ll leave it up to you when you want to go. I didn’t want to assume anything, what with Rose and Emmett getting married soon and everything, so…”


Nodding, I chuckled. “Yeah, I’d almost forgotten about that. Probably wouldn’t do to leave right away, she’d lynch me.”


He grinned. “Had a feeling that might be the case. Besides, I’ve taken next week off for the trial, so it’ll be a bit before I can take vacation again.”


Sighing, I nodded and cleared my throat, determinedly pushing thoughts of the trial aside for now. I wasn’t going to let those guys spoil today if I could help it. Biting my lip, I slipped my hand into my pocket and rubbed the fabric of the pouch between my fingers before plucking it out and handing it to Edward with a quiet, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Edward.”


His eyes widened as he felt the ring inside, then quickly opened the small bag and shook out the content into the palm of his hand. He gingerly picked up the black Tungsten band between his fingers, turning it this way and that.The infinity loop was similar to mine, though his was continuous whereas mine was made up of several loops back-to-back.


“I, er,” I started.


Edward’s gaze met mine and the emotion in his took my voice away, so instead, I took the ring from him and placed it on his left ring finger. Holding his hand in mine, I stared at it and smiled. There was no way I could put into words how I felt at that moment – how right it was to see him wearing my ring.


“Thank you,” he whispered, squeezing my hand slightly. “It’s beautiful, Jasper.”


Glancing up, I could see the same feelings that were coursing through me reflected back at me. For a moment, neither of us spoke. The relative silence only broke when the server came to clear our table. After that, we talked in hushed tones about our upcoming trip to Hawaii, even broaching what we hoped our future might be, though we only touched lightly on that particular topic. It felt too intimate to really delve into in that setting.


We spent the rest of the evening simply enjoying each other’s company. We listened to the live music, even finding a quiet corner to dance in. It didn’t take long for other couples to join us, which only made me smile — I felt accepted, as if all was right in the world, as it should be. It was such a contrast to how I’d felt the last time we’d gone dancing, where I’d still been somewhat uncertain. Our friends had been cool, of course, but I knew not everyone had been appreciative of seeing me and Edward together, and that wasn’t even counting the guys that had attacked me.


Now, though, there was none of that and it made me feel as if I could take on the world. Yes, the trial would be very difficult for me, but I had no doubt that I’d make it through okay. At least as long as I had Edward by my side.