A/N... LovinRob is my hero...just sayin'
Also, I know I failed at posting for a week now. What can I say, other than RL throwin' hammers at my head; with incredible aim I might add.
I would like to say though...WOW! . . . so many sub alerts and fav alerts and auth alerts this past week...just...holy shit! Thanks for showing interest!
I'm sure that you're tired of this blah blah blah...so on with the chapter.
Today starts the first day of Christmas break and Bella has already asked me to take her shopping. She's been very good about holding on to her calf money, but I just hope she doesn't spend every last dime of it on Edward. Surely the girl has more sense than that.
I had worried that after I paid the mortgage payment, the feed and fertilizer bills, and Edward that there might not be enough for much of a Christmas this year. So last week when the mailman brought me a certified letter, from the government no less, I feared that maybe we were being audited or something. With shaking hands, I opened up the letter and my knees went weak as I realized Riley had taken care of things, even after his passing.
SGLI… My son had a life insurance policy; apparently it was offered to him when he signed up and he had the forethought to take it, and now I have a monetary value... so to speak... as to what my son's life was worth to the military. That day went by in a haze; my mind was torn between the relief of having this money, and the regret that my son had to lose his life in order for me to have it. Of course, I would have handed over that check in a heartbeat to have my Riley home; safe and sound.
I didn't tell anyone about the insurance check, not even Bella. I knew that rainy days crop up at any time and I could rest easy that the money would be there if and when we needed it. But I did finally pay off the tractor because that just had to be done. But I also didn't want to be seen throwing too much money around; that would only lead to questions as to where I got that kind of money in the first place. And that is nobody's business as far as I'm concerned.
Now they eventually did find and arrest Edward's father. He was hiding out on the Newton's farm. He wouldn't tell them anything and they really didn't have anything to charge him with; other than scaring Bella to death, vagrancy and trespassing. And that wasn't enough to actually hold him so he walked out the same day they led him into jail. Edward had refused to go and see him; saying that he'd seen enough of his daddy to last him a lifetime and wanted nothing more to do with him.
I couldn't blame him really. Because of what he'd done so long ago, Edward had been left with nothing along with the fact that no-one would trust him on account of his daddy. Nobody has seen or heard from him since they released him from jail. Edward says not to worry about it; and yet I can still see worry and fear etched on his face.
Bella and Edward seem to have been behaving themselves lately as well. If I didn't know any better, I would say that she is the one who can't keep her hands to herself. Edward is a very handsome man and if I were ten years younger, I am sure I would take notice. I have Charlie to contend with though... the man is relentless. Since that night he kissed me, he's constantly coming over and just hanging around the farm. Always touching my hair and my arms... holding my hand; he's nothing if not persistent. I still have those urges, but I can't very well be sleeping with a man when I'm preaching to my daughter that she doesn't need to be doing that very thing. Hypocrisy is not something in my vocabulary.
My Alice looks so beautiful. It is true that pregnant women just glow. She seems so happy and while I still worry about her, I am happy that things are going smoothly for her and Jasper. He got promoted at work, and was given the option to move to first shift which he took. His being home at night has really helped Alice dramatically. I thought about giving them some of the insurance money for Christmas, but they need to know that they can make it on their own. If things get bad, the money will be here for them but if they knew about it, they might not try as hard to make it on their own.
Emmett and Rosalie came over for Thanksgiving this year. It was really wonderful to have such a crowd in the house for a change. They didn't leave early this time either, but instead stayed until the others left. I was disappointed though that Alec didn't come with them. Emmett said that he felt bad leaving his mother alone for Thanksgiving. Emmett however, said that she was going to Ponderosa and that she never cooks. He had said he wasn't about to miss out on the opportunity to eat our good homemade food... and pie of course.
Edward has been going to church with us now as well. Ever since I lowered the boom on those two, he has been different. I do love that he comes to church though. I was very surprised to hear him singing too. He has a wonderful voice. I do see people watching them in church; some smile at young love and others scowl... which looks awful, especially in a church. Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory are the worst; always rolling their eyes at Bella and then batting them at Edward. Church is not the place for flirtation; at least Edward doesn't give them the time of day.
I had heard shortly after homecoming, while at Houchen's, that little Miss Stanley threw a fit worthy of an Academy Award the night Bella won homecoming queen. The lady ringing up my groceries was all too happy to fill me in on all the details. Charlie and I had left before this happened and I'm very glad I wasn't around to see it. It is odd though that Bella never mentioned it to me. She probably knew I would think it was terrible. From what Gladys told me though, Bella and Edward were respectful even though Jessica was cussing and accusing; even ruined Bella's roses apparently.
After I got the insurance check I had given Edward what I called a Christmas bonus. He tried to make me keep it; saying that there were bills to be paid, but I insisted. I told him that I had several weeks pay to make up for and that he had been more than patient with me. After some effort on my part I had convinced him that the bills were indeed paid for and that I was not going to take no for an answer. He finally accepted the $8,000. His eyes had been as big as silver dollars and I'm sure that he'd never in his life seen that much money. It felt really good to settle things with him.
Bella wanted him to come with us to Christmas shop, but he told her that there was no way he was walking through the mall this close to Christmas. He has a point. It's a mad house this time of year. I did notice however, that he wasn't putting on his work boots as we were leaving. I'm sure as we head north to shop, he will be heading south to do the same thing. He just has that gleam in his eye; the one that little boys get when they're excited over getting to do something they didn't dream they'd get a chance to do.
I have cooked all day it seems. Bella was in charge of cleaning house and I think she got off easy because I am exhausted. But the baked ham makes the entire house smell so good, and the sweet potato casserole and corn pudding only add to the aroma of holiday cooking. I see Bella quickly put more gifts under the tree.
"I thought you had wrapped everything the day we shopped. You forget a few things?" I ask her; fishing for answers, because she seems to be trying to slip them in without me noticing.
"I just had a couple things I didn't want anyone to know about just yet. Don't worry, I still have a little money left. You thought I'd spend it all, didn't you?"
"As a matter of fact, I did. I also figured that all of your gifts would be for Edward."
She grins at me and comes into the kitchen to wash up the pots and pans.
"Mama, I just want to thank you for... well, for everything. You've been too good to us. I know you didn't expect things to turn out like this, but I want you to know that I've never been happier." She stops what she's doing and looks at me for a response.
"I am glad that you're happy Bella; that you are both happy. I still worry that you two are taking things too fast and someone will get hurt. That is my biggest fear. That something's gonna change and you will get your heart broken over him. I don't want that to happen, Bella. You know that I think a lot of Edward, but you have to see this from my point of view. You are my little girl and he is the man who has come along and completely swept you off of your feet. I just want you to be sure about all of this." I don't know how else to tell her. I just want what is best for her.
"Mama... I promise you, he's not gonna hurt me."
"Fine. Can you set the table, and then maybe, I can sit down for ten minutes before they all get here." I don't want to argue about this. She's as passionate about it as I am and it is Christmas Eve and I really don't want to get into this tonight.
We're all sitting around in the living room. Everyone is patting their bellies and half asleep. The kitchen is cleaned up and there is nothing left to do except exchange gifts. I want to do this tonight as Christmas Day will just be for Alice, Jasper, Bella, Edward and I. Tonight though, I wanted a houseful and that is exactly what I have. Alec came with Emmett tonight but he just doesn't seem that thrilled to be here. He is a quiet kid but lately, it seems he just excludes himself. I got him a gift anyway... hoping that it might break the ice some and bring him out of his shell.
Bella and Rose got up and passed out gifts and an hour later, there was a mountain of paper and ribbons and bows on the floor. I couldn't help but think that next Christmas... there would be a little one watching the lights on the tree and playing with the paper as his or her toys would be overlooked. I really am a little excited about that. It's been 18 years since I've had a baby to buy for and if I'm getting this excited about it now, Lord knows how bad I'll be by next Thanksgiving.
Edward comes back in the den with a trash bag and starts to clean up the mess, just shoving it all in there.
"What are you doing?" Bella asks him loudly enough to turn all the attention on her.
"I'm just cleaning up. What's the big deal?" Edward asks; obviously confused.
"You don't just throw out all those pretty bows Edward! Just look at them! There's nothing wrong with them and we will use them again next year!"
I notice Edward's face light up; probably with Bella's unintentional declaration that there will indeed be a next year for them.
"Well, excuse me! I wasn't aware that you were in the habit of saving all things bow related." He smirks as he throws a bow at her and then another.
She grins at him and then grabs a shirt box and starts lining the bows in it, being careful not to crush them. She then looks up at him with her own smirk.
"Oh, and before you start throwing away perfectly good boxes, we re-use them too."
I had to hold back a giggle at the look on Edward's face when she told him that. Poor man; she has him right where she wants him and he doesn't even know it... or maybe he does.
"Geez... you two sound like an old married couple or something!" Rose yells out as she rolls her eyes.
She then throws her boxes and bows at Bella. Emmett gives her a pointed look and she returns it back at him quickly. I then notice that all the young men seem to share looks back and forth with each other at that same moment. That's odd.
"What are you tryin' to say Rose?" Edward asks as he balls up some wrapping paper and throws it at her.
"Nothing! It's just that you two act like my mom and dad or something. Like you've been married forever already, that's all."
She throws the paper back at Edward and he stuffs it in the bag. I notice his ears and the back of his neck are crimson red and as he turns and looks directly at me his cheeks are also flushed. His eyes are desperate and pleading and I don't know what he has to be embarrassed about; Rose was only joking around.
Bella gets up and puts the stacked boxes on the stairs to be put in the attic later.
"Where are you going?" Edward asks her nervously.
I still don't understand this scared and nervous look on his face. What is his problem tonight anyway? She turns and comes back, sitting down next to Charlie and me, and then leans in, giving me a huge hug.
"Edward, what is wrong with you? You feel okay?" I ask him as he kneels in the middle of the floor.
He doesn't answer me, but crawls over to us and reaches up and takes Bella's hand in his. He swallows hard and just stares at her before turning his eyes to me.
"Esme, I want you to know that I love your daughter; more than life. I've never loved ... I've never felt this way in my life… ever. I know that if things were different, that I would be having this talk with her daddy. But… just because he's not here that don't mean that I don't need a blessing. That I don't need… your blessing."
I feel the tears welling up in my eyes and realize just what he's doing and look at Bella and she already has tears falling off her chin.
He glances over at Bella and smiles at her; earning a smile in return, along with more happy tears. When he looks back at me, I realize he wants an answer, he needs me to answer him. He is asking for her hand in marriage and although I think she is too young, I do believe that what they have is strong. In my heart I believe that he wouldn't be here on bended knee if he didn't truly love her. I know, I have seen that he is willing to do what he must to make her happy. I nod at him and wipe tears from my face. When I look at Bella, her smile tells me all I need to know.
Edward reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a grey velvet box and I hear a collective gasp from around the room. He looks down at the box and with shaking hands; he opens it and presents it to Bella.
"I love you Bella . . . so much, and I know this is a little... unexpected, and… sudden, but I don't want to let another day go by without letting you know how important you are to me. I want you to be my wife. I want to deserve to be your husband. I just want us to be together, the way it should be; the right way." He looks down at the floor and swallows loudly before looking up at Bella again. "Will you marry me... Bella?"
You could hear a pin drop and I feel Charlie's hand grasp mine and give it a squeeze. I chance a look at him for a second and find him with a genuine smile on his face. He pulls me against him and kisses me gently on my cheek. He then wipes my tears before holding my hand again. I look back at Edward, who only has eyes for Bella just as she nods.
"Yes. I mean I . . . will." Bella falls into Edward's arms and now they are both crying.
He wraps his arms around her and holds her tightly to him. He looks up at me with tears in his eyes and nods his head.
"Thank you … I won't let you down … either of you. I promise."
I try to speak but can't; so I just nod and give him a smile. I look around the room and Alice and Rose are both wiping tears while the guys roll their eyes. After a few moments Rose approaches Bella.
"I didn't mean that you two needed to be married or anything! I was just jokin' around!"
The room erupts in laughter as Rose looks around at Emmett with confusion etched on her face.
"What?" She asks.
Edward and Bella are lost in their own little world as he slides the solitaire on her finger. The two of them look in each other's eyes and it seems that they have forgotten there are other people in the room.
Edward gently kisses her and she just seems to melt into him. Emmett starts clapping and Alice shoots him a warning glare but it's alright. That's just Emmett and we wouldn't have him any other way. Charlie pulls me to him again and whispers in my ear that it will all be okay. I have to believe that it will.
After another hour or so everyone has gone home and I find myself unable to sleep. I'm sure that if I lie here long enough, it will come, but there is just so much to think about now. Edward had told me that he would wait until Bella was ready and that meant waiting until school was out for sure. They both had agreed that there was no rush and I felt reassured that at least Bella wasn't pregnant and that she had enough sense to wait.
They are happy though. Bella is happy and that means more than anything else. I guess now I know what Edward spent his Christmas money on, and I have to wonder if I'd given him enough money sooner... would he have proposed before now? I also wonder just how he plans to provide for them when they finally do get married. See? So many things on my mind. Merry Christmas to me.
Well? First off...I would like to give a shout out to one of my readers...chatterbox33. She informed me on the benefits of SGLI...and also I want to tell her "God Bless" for her service and her son's service as well. Many thanks from this country girl. Is anyone as shocked as I was? These two...I swear! I knew Edward wanted to make things right, but I didn't expect him to take this route...and so soon. What is going on in our boy's head? I know I don't deserve it...after failing to post for an entire week and all, but show me you are still out there...let me know you are reading and haven't left CWWS for greener pastures...reviews are always welcome and usually responded to. Thanks for reading everyone...I hope to be back on my regular posting schedule after tonight. I just have to dig these hammers outta my skull and kick some RL ass! =D