Monday rolled around and classes were as usual. Note taking, quizzes, lectures, reading etc. I shuffled through them, pretending to be a normal human being. Caffeine and I were having a very committed relationship throughout the day. Someone might suspect I was cheating, with all the attention I gave to my coffee. It was time for work finally and I headed in. I had parked and grabbed my stuff and walked into the shop. Standing with Brendan behind the counter was a younger woman. "Ah the woman of the hour." He smiled at me, and she was smiling as well. The female was shorter than me; slightly taller than Bella. She had long black curly hair. Her eyes sparkled an emerald green. She was on the chubby side. Her cheeks were a rosy red under her pale skin. She was covered with freckles. She wore silver earrings that were of Celtic design. On her left hand, a claddah ring sat on her ring finger. She smiled at me all too eager to introduce herself; "Hi I'm Branna Morgan."
I smiled, "Leah Clearwater."
She looked at me, "Native?"
I nodded, "Yep."
She smiled, "My parents are off the boat, I was born here."
I smiled, "I'm from here. Well I'm from La Push. I was raised on the reservation down there."
She smiled, "That's pretty cool. I would love to chat more, when you get the chance."
I smiled, "Sounds good." I then headed into the back office.
Brendan and Branna continued to speak, "Leah's my assistant manager. She works evenings, and tries to come in on weekends as well. I'd like to move her to manager, and make you assistant manager. We have two younger people here. Both great kids, but they work a combined total of 6 hours a week. They're in high school. Business seems to be picking up since I brought Leah on. She does this once a month story time on Saturdays for the kids. She's been trying to get some local authors, or smaller authors in here. It seems to be working out for us."
They both smiled. "Well here is your set of keys. Leah can help you out. I'm heading out for the day. I will be back tomorrow morning."
Brenna smiled and slipped the keys in her pocket, "See you tomorrow and thank you once again." Brendan left, and Branna looked around.
I was working outback organizing our newest shipment of books. We were doing an authors corner this weekend, and I needed to get everything ready.
Branna popped in, "I hope I'm not interrupting you."
I looked up, "No come in. Best you get to know where the extra stuff is kept."
She stepped in, and sat down, "I hope I've not upset you in any way."
I looked up at her from my list of inventory, "What? Why would you have?"
She shrugged unsure of what to say, "Well you've been back here."
I quickly shook my head, "Sorry just been super busy. I had a lot on my mind. I came in with my niece yesterday, and we cleaned the store from top to bottom.
Branna smiled, "Oh ok. I thought you were married because Brendan hired me."
I chuckled, "Trust me; he needs the help in the mornings. I could use it in the evenings, and weekends."
She smiled wide, her cheeks turning rosy red, "Oh good." She was relieved. "So are you married?"
I laughed, "No not yet. We're close enough you'd think we were. Actually we met in this bookstore. I bumped into him." She smiled, "Love at first sight" I smiled, and "You could call it that."
She grinned, "Awe that's awesome." I nodded agreeing. We chatted until she left.
I closed up shop and made my way home. I detoured through down town, seeing if there were any shops that caught my interest. I walked along the street and just glanced at the displays. Valentine's Day was looming, and it was too close. Hunter wasn't a materialistic person, I loved that about him. I wanted something special since this was our first Valentine's together. I lingered on the street, my thoughts were just lost. I wound up heading back to my car and getting in. I sat there feeling defeated. My phone buzzed in my bag, and I ignored it. I started the car and started my journey home.
I arrived to find my mother on the porch, with Charlie, and Hunter. I wasn't sure if they were leaving, or what was going on. I turned off the ignition, and grabbed my bag climbing out. My mom came off the porch over to me, "Where have you been?" She hugged me tightly.
I hugged back, and looked at the guys. "I left the shop, and then did some shopping, well window shopping."
She pulled back looking at me, "So you're ok right?"
I looked at her, and nodded slowly. "Yes I'm fine. Just a bit confused."
She let out a sigh of relief, "We hadn't heard from you. Hunter said you're usually home around 6:00 pm. When you didn't show up, we got nervous. We tried your cell, but it rang then went to voicemail."
I pulled out my phone, "Oh didn't realize how late it was." 8:33 was displayed on my screen saver.
We walked inside, and Hunter took my coat, and bag. "You had us worried, with everything that happened recently."
I looked at him, "I'm fine. I'm sorry I got sidetracked."
He smiled at me, "So I have a reservation for us tomorrow evening. Well the family if you don't mind."
I smiled, "I just want to have fun, nothing over the top."
He smiled, "I promise nothing over the top."
Edward smiled as we walked into the kitchen. "It's not don't worry. Hunter knows you all too well."
I turned to look at him, "Thought reading again are we?"
He laughed, "No he asked me about his plan, I said it was great."
I looked at Hunter, "You're chummy with him already?"
Edward smirked, "I'm not a bad guy."
Hunter smiled, "True."
I rummaged through the fridge not finding anything, and shut the door.
"There's plenty to eat babe." Hunter smiled at me.
"I'm just no hungry right now. I do have some homework to do, if you'll excuse me." I kissed Hunter on the cheek, and waved at Edward before leaving for the sun room.
Hunter smiled, "I hope she'll like it."
Edward nodded, "She'll love it trust me. Bella would punch me if I tried to do that." He chuckled.
I sat down on the couch and flipped on the lamp. Renesmee came in and sat beside me. "You weren't home for dinner. I was hoping to see you."
I smiled, "I'm sorry kiddo. I had to work, and then went looking for a present for Hunter."
She smiled, "Any luck?"
I shook my head, "Nope nothing appealed to me. Guess I'm stuck with figuring out something."
She smiled, "Why not make him a gift? They always say the best gifts come from the heart."
I gently touched one of her ringlets, "So little, and so wise."
She smiled gently touching my cheek. I saw warmth, warm colors, and happiness. I saw Hunter, and I lost in each other's eyes.
"He makes you happy, and you do the same for him. Make him something. He'll love it." I smiled once again. "Oh and by the way Aunt Leah, I have an old soul just like you. We're young, but wise beyond our years." She snuggled up against me. I sat there with her quietly talking, until she yawned quietly and fell asleep.
I quietly pulled out my books without disturbing her, and went to work. It was about 2:00am when Bella walked in, "I can move her, if you'd like to go to bed. I know you have class in the morning."
I smiled, "She's fine. I just want to get my work finished up. It's just a lot of work at once. I'm doubling up on courses, just so I can finish sooner. I'm doing summer courses as well. Hunter works during the summer so. We'll graduate together which will be nice."
She smiled, "I was accepted to several different schools, but I'm thinking I may do the online thing. Get an English major degree. Jacob's finally doing home schooling. He'll be on course to graduate on time. That was a stipulation."
I smiled, "Good. He needs it. My nursing program is nice, just tough. It's what I want to do."
She looked at me, "Following in Sue's footsteps. She must be proud."
I nodded, "I think she is. We've not spoken a lot recently. Since everything's been going on."
Bella looked at me, "Talk to her. She's a great woman. I'm glad she and Charlie found one another."
I nodded and went back to my work. Bella quietly went to reading. It was 5:33am when I last saw the clock.
"Hey Leah its 7:30. You need to get up." I stirred, and realized Renesmee wasn't beside me. "She's having breakfast. Come on your mom's made breakfast. I can drive you today if you want."
I stretched, and went to reach for my books.
"They're already packed up for you. Bella did it so you wouldn't lose your place."
I opened my eyes to find Charlie leaning over. "I can drive today. I will be ok."
Charlie stood up giving me space to stand up. I blinked a few times, trying to focus my eyes. I was so tired; I wasn't sure how I would make it through the day. I slugged through upstairs to the bathroom. Twenty minutes later, I was showered and dressed. I chose a pair of jeans, and a turtle neck sweater. I slipped on my boots, and went downstairs.
Tuesday passed, and Brenna was doing great. Finally it was Wednesday evening, Valentine's Day. I chose to give Branna the opportunity to close up the shop. I headed home. We were going out to dinner, alone from what I knew. They had live music there, and Hunter was excited. This was our first Valentine's Day together. I was rather nervous, because I hadn't done this in a long time. I was also in a different state of mind, and was much such, and naive. This time, I was complete. This time, my heart was whole. I was no longer a broken Leah. Hunter had walked into my life, and solidified the liquid that made up my heart. I no longer needed bandages, or stitches. Never again would I need to buy band aids for it. Hunter Emerson was the perfect mate.
I quietly slipped in the front door. The house was bustling with laughter, chatter, the smell of food, sweets, and music. I suddenly felt someone shorter then myself beside me.
"Let's go." Renesmee's dimpled smile, pulled me towards the stairs. She was moving faster than normal. "You're not moving fast enough." I was being tugged up the stairs. I heard Edward laugh, "Oh hush. You weren't always fast." He laughed even harder.
Before I could grasp my bearings, I was being stripped of my clothing. "Whoa there what's going on?"
Alice's giggle relaxed me a little. "Sweetie I dress people for a living. I'm married, and girls aren't my type. You do have an amazing body. However I need you to get in the shower, so I can get you ready. Now when you get out, make sure your hair stays up in the towel. Now get going." She pushed me out of my bedroom, and into the steam filled bathroom.
I did as I was instructed, and showered. Twenty minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom, and Alice grabbed me smiling. "Pixie?"
She grinned, "Wolf girl." She smiled hugging me, "I'm going to make you look amazing. This is perfect your hair is longer now. Oh I can't wait. Let's get started."
Alice dressed me completely, well she let me put on my bra, and panties. She picked them out. She chose black, lacey, and well they made me blush. She giggled, "Oh you deserve to feel sexy." She stood me in front of the mirror, once she was done. She had my eyes covered, but made sure not to mess up my makeup. "Ok look." She dropped her hands, and held me by my shoulders. I couldn't believe I was looking at myself. "Well?" I was speechless. "Oh please don't tell me you hate it. I just thought you would look good with side swept bangs."
I started to tear up, "Alice I've not dressed up since my dad's funeral, and that was all black."
She hugged me, "Sweetie you look great. I've done your hair with a messy bun, with a few strands hanging down. I chose this dress because the lines are great with your body, and this color of lavender is great with your complexion. I chose to do heels with a strap, because I don't know how long it's been since well."
I smiled, turning and hugged her, "It's perfect." She grabbed my coat, scarf, gloves, and my clutch.
She bounced downstairs ahead of me. "She looks amazing."
Edward laughed, "Oh jeez you found another Barbie doll."
She turned looking at him, her dress twirling around her. "She deserves this smart ass. She's not a Barbie. Have you seen that thing? Barbie is small wasted, huge boobs, blonde with blue eyes. I'd rather consider her my," she tapped her foot. The black flats she wore mad a tick, tick, tick noise, like the moving hands on a clock. Edward raised an eyebrow waiting for a response. "American Girl Doll, that's it."
Bella was smirking, "She told you Edward." She smiled.
I quietly stepped off the bottom step. "Ah the masterpiece appears." I blushed. "You do look great." Bella smiled. Renesmee came around the corner,
"Oh Auntie Leah you look so pretty. " She hugged me, and then went over to Bella. Charlie, Jake, and my mom walked out.
"So where are you heading too?"
I shrugged, "Some place that has live music."
My mom smiled, "Well be careful ok."
Alice grinned, "They'll be fine so do not worry. I have everything all set up."
I felt the butterflies start to take flight in my stomach.
Alice looked at her watch, "Well we need to be going." I slipped on my scarf, coat, and gloves.
Bella handed me my clutch.
"Alright be safe. See you later." My mom kissed my cheek, and we were out the door.
"So I'm dropping you off at the restaurant. Then Hunter has the key to the hotel."
I looked at her, "Hotel?"
She laughed, "Relax ok. It's a place for you both to have the time you need. Even if you just talk, it's privacy. Let's go, I'm driving you." She bounced over to a sleek black Mercedes. "Carlisle loaned it to me. He and Esme are off Hunting, and that's how I'm leaving it."
I laughed, "Oh the awkward thought of one's parents."
Alice giggled, "Oh please its Emmett, and Rose I fear going back to hearing. I think they went away, well one can only hope."
I laughed, "Really that bad?"
She nodded, "Trust me, Emmett makes awkward a whole new awkward." We climbed in the car, and were on our way.
We pulled up to this restaurant called Bella Italia. Alice smiled, "It's where Bella, and Edward had their first, "Date". She snickered, "A date with someone who doesn't eat."
I undid my seatbelt, and slid out nervously, and fixed my dress. Alice came around and adjusted my bangs. "I will get you in the front door; take your coat, scarf, and gloves. Then you'll know where to go." We walked inside, and I handed over my items as she instructed. I looked to the right of the host's podium. The restaurant was packed, which was to be expected.
The host stepped out from behind the podium, "Right this way." Alice smiled staying behind, and I followed the young gentleman. There was a full house. Music played softly. I saw Hunter standing there smiling. He was wearing black dress shoes, with a pair of black dress pants. He had a purple collared, button down shirt tucked in. The light reflected off of the silver buckle on his belt. He held a single Calla Lily in his hand. I blushed biting my lip. My heart started to beat faster, and my blood pumped faster through my veins.
The music changed, and he smiled wide. He walked towards me, and smiled, "Hi beautiful." He kissed me softly on the lips. He smelled divine. Aqua Di Gio by Armani enveloped his body.
"You smell amazing."
He chuckled, "You as well."
The drums picked up the room again, and pulled everyone's attention to us. Hunter looked at me, and gently wrapped his arms around my waist. I slid my arms around his neck. The singer started singing, and Hunter had his eyes locked with mine.
We watch the season pull up its own stage
And catch the last weekend of the last week
Before the gold and the glimmer have been replaced
Another sun soaked season fades away
You have stolen my heart
You have stolen my heart
Invitation only grant farewells
Crash the best one of the best ones
Clear liquor and cloudy eyed
Too early to say goodnight
You have stolen my heart
You have stolen my heart
And from the ballroom floor, we are in celebration
One good stretch before our hibernation
Our dreams assured and we all will sleep well
Sleep well, sleep well, sleep well, sleep well
You have stolen, you have stolen
You have stolen my heart
I watch you spin around in your highest heels
You are the best one of the best ones
And we all look like we feel
You have stolen my, you have stolen my
You have stolen my heart
· When the song ended he looked at me, I was teary eyed. "Oh baby." He pulled me close, and the restaurant roared to life again with applause. "So you've stolen my heart. I talked to Charlie; he said he's going to arrest you for that."
I chuckled, licking my lips. Hunter walked me over to the table, and pulled out my chair for me. The waiter came over, "Here are your meals." He set down two dishes, one in front of each of us. "Miss this is Chicken Breast Saltimbocca. It is Corn-crusted chicken breast with prosciutto, fontina, sage, and pinenuts, served with pasta. For you sir, Tuscan Steak grilled with rosemary. You have grilled vegetables, along with garlic whipped potatoes. Enjoy."
I looked at Hunter. "Alice called ahead so the food would come out once you arrived."
I smiled, "She's good." Hunter nodded agreeing.
Dinner was absolutely delicious. We passed on desert.
"I didn't get you a gift." I told Hunter.
He nonchalantly shrugged, "I don't need anything materialistic. I have you, that there is a present."
I smiled. After dinner, we left quietly together. Hunter kept a hand on my waist, keeping me close to him. Once we arrived at his car, he opened my door for me. I slid in carefully, and put my belt on. He shut my door, and walked around getting in.
"You look absolutely amazing."
I smiled, "You like making me blush huh?"
He chuckled, "I like seeing you relaxed." He put on his seatbelt, and started the car. He smiled at me, and then focused on the road.
We arrived at the hotel, and I looked at him. "Leah what is it?" I took a moment looking down at my hands. He carefully lifted my chin, making me look at him, "You've never been quiet. So what is it?"
I swallowed back the nervousness, "I don't feel right about this. I just would like to go home. Sleep in our own bed."
He looked at me, "Oh Leah. No nothing like that. Alice just thought we might like some time to ourselves. Just to talk, relax."
I sighed, feeling like an idiot. "I'm sorry. It's Alice, and well she can go overboard."
He looked at me, holding my face in both of his hands. "Relax ok. You've been going like crazy. Well I just wanted a quiet night to hold you. Cuddle you. Be with you, without there being some sexual expectation."
I felt a tear slide down my cheek. He gently wiped it away with his thumb. "Let's get our bags, and head inside."
We were given the key to our room. Hunter flipped on the lights, and set the bags down by the door. White, pink flower petals decorated the table top. Two champagne glasses sat together like an old couple who'd been married for years. A bottle of sparkling cider waited with them. Hunter walked up behind me wrapping his arms around my waist, resting his chin on my shoulder. "I told you not to worry." He kissed my cheek, and unpacked our clothes. Alice had packed me a pair of satin pajamas. They were beautiful. It was a long sleeve button down shirt, and matching drawstring pants. They were a beautiful black. Hunter had matching pajamas.
"Mind if I leave my shirt off?"
I shook my head no. I loved looking at his bare skin. It wasn't a sexual arousal I got from looking at him. He was mine. Our bodies were to hold, touch, and keep. I turned and looked at him. His gaze met mine.
I smiled, and moved closer, "Would you undress me."
He looked at me, "Are you sure?"
I nodded, "I just want to feel you touch me. Caress my skin. Hold me, nothing more. Maybe a few kisses on my bare back, that's all."
He smiled, and gently unbuttoned my coat. The feeling of the fabric sliding down my bear arms, caused goose bumps. He carefully placed it on the back of the chair at the table. "Turn around please." I slowly turned around, stepping out of my shoes. He slowly slid the zipper down the back of my dress, exposing my back. He placed a soft kiss at the nape of my neck. Carefully he slid my dress down off my arms, and let it fall to the floor. I stepped out of it. Hunter carefully laid it across the spare bed to our right side. He whispered in my ear, standing behind me, "Should I continue."
My reply was soft, "Yes."
Carefully his fingers maneuvered the hooks that kept the bra together. I felt the tension release from my shoulders. I slid out of it, and tossed it on the bed. Hunter stood there, still fully dressed. Once again he kissed my shoulder, "You're absolutely beautiful." He pulled the pajama top out of the bag, and helped me into it. I smiled feeling such a pull to him. He then helped me into my pajama bottoms. I turned around and looked at him, "Thank you." He smiled, and quietly changed out of his clothes.
Once we were changed, he walked with me over to the bed. He pulled back the covers, and helped me into bed. We laid down together. My back to his chest. He kissed my neck, "I love you beyond any words can describe."
I felt my heart melt. "I love you too. There aren't enough words I can tell you in a day, a life time for that matter."
He pulled me as close as possible. "I can't wait to grow old with you. Until I can call you Leah Emerson. Until we have children. Those will happen with time. For now, let us enjoy the time of one another."
So we did. We talked, until Hunter asked me a question, and I took a while to respond. "Leah?" he asked softly.
"Mmm yeah?"I replied quietly.
"Did you hear my question?"
I shook my head gently.
"Want me to ask it again?"
I nodded, "Yes."
He smiled, "Ok. Leah, will you marry me?"
I smiled replying softly, "Yes." I then felt his arms tighten, and a kiss was placed on the side of my head.
"Sleep my love." And so I did.