“Ewww, kissing!” High pitched voices chimed through the crystal clear December air.
Edward reluctantly broke the delicious contact with the softest pair of lips this side of the Rocky Mountains as frosty snowflakes rained down on his and Bella’s heads. Languidly he opened his eyes, focusing on the pools of chocolate bliss twinkling amusedly before him. A crooked grin spread slowly across his face as a second wave of icy confetti rained down between them He realized a chunk must have fallen down the back of Bella’s jacket, as she arched her back and yelped, jumping out of the warm clasp of Edward’s muscular arms. The frosty air nipped at his chest and neck where Bella’s warm body was previously snuggled.
”Whose idea was it to bring the snarky children?” Bella queried as the children wove between her and Edward, separating them further on the path.
“You’re the one who bought them all toboggans at the first hint of snow,” reminded Edward as he stepped toward Bella, placing his hands on her hips. He hooked his thumbs in her belt loops and pulled her close to him again. Leaning into her thick cocoa colored hair, he inhaled the intoxicating scent of her deeply, sighing, “You knew Alice would hold you to the promise of taking them tobogganing.”
“I know, I know; I promised I’d take them. Although I didn’t realize they’d be so averse to our kissing.” Sighing, Bella recalled every time Edward leaned in to kiss her, or she cuddled up to him to warm up, one, or all, of the children would make faces, sticking out their tongues, groaning and “eww”ing at them. Bella tipped her head back, thinking of her best friend Alice’s adorable children and their age appropriate reactions.
As she lifted her head, exposing her neck, her warm floral scent drifted up and filled Edward’s senses. His stomach tightened, and growling softly, he dove into the smooth creamy white skin of her neck, nipping and nibbling. Spurred on by her soft moan, he continued upward, sprinkling a line of kisses tenderly along her firm jaw, finally arriving at her silky lips. Satisfied his plan was working perfectly Edward placed his lips gently on Bella’s, taking her bottom lip in his, gently sucking.
Laughing and bouncing along the tree lined path, the small pack of intrusive children paused to scoop up handfuls of powdery snow, abandoning their destination to turn and cast an additional flurry of white at their enamored chaperones.
“We said no kissing!” the children hollered, as they fired crystallized ammunition at their targets.
Involuntarily Bella backed away from Edward, already missing his electric touch, but just in time, as a blur of white whizzed by her head and landed smack in the center of Edward’s chiseled face. The snow bomb caught him off guard and knocked him on his backside. Peals of musical laughter filled the wooded walkway as Bella looked down at a startled Edward. His green eyes flashed as he raked his hand through his bronze hair, melting snow making the ends stand up fiercely.
With one hand clutching her stomach in mirth, Bella reached out to help up her partner in puckering. “Edward, we need to take cover!” she squeaked out, as another round of snowballs pelted them, covering them in a layer of fine white snow as the snowy missiles exploded on contact.
Something in Edward snapped at that moment. Plan or no plan there was no way he was going to let a bunch of tyrannical preschoolers ruin this magical moment with his beloved. A deep growl emerged from deep within him. “It’s on! The Sesame Street Posse is going down, old school style!” Directing Bella to duck between the bushy green trees, and grabbing a toboggan, Edward leapt behind her, disappearing from sight.
“We sure got you, snowman!” Slapping his mittened hand on his leg, JJ teased. As the snow settled on the tree lined aisle, he turned to gaze at his targets. “Uncle Edward? Bella?” The pint sized combatants glanced around nervously. Their uncle and his sweetheart, their godmother, was no where to be seen.
“Aw, no hard feelings. Right, Uncle E?” entreated JJ, backing up, stretching his arms out to round up his smaller siblings.
“Where Uncle E?” chirped the blond sprite bundled up so severely only a tiny button nose and two violet saucers for eyes were visible. “Did he get on his knee yet?” the sprite continued. “Mama say he drop that di-mond ring in the snow, he never gonna find it.”
“Shhh! He didn’t do it yet!” hissed Alisha trying to quiet her baby sister.
Edward and Bella crept through the bushy evergreen trees, sneaking up behind the small band of snow flingers. The cold, cloudless air carried their voices unobstructed to Bella’s ears. The innocent exchange between her lover’s nieces slid effortlessly into her brain, the words settling into her consciousness. Knee. Diamond. Ring. In its ever discerning capacity, Bella’s brain strung those words together in the only way a young woman in love would.
He’s going to propose! As the thought struck her, Bella gazed at the broad shoulders of the man in front of her, stalking the unsuspecting group of miniature secret keepers. Stifling a squeal of glee, she pumped her fists in victory. Wait until I tell Alice that it was her genetically blessed progeny that proposed to me before Edward had the chance to do it himself.
Perfect, Edward thought, those kids are going to spoil my surprise if I don’t shut them up, and quick. He crept a little bit faster towards the chattering children, envisioning Bella’s face smiling as he dropped to one knee. His hands holding the toboggan loaded with snow twitched ever so slightly, as he imagined placing his hands on her face, drawing it close to his…but first things first. Payback.
The Sesame Street Posse huddled together, calling out his name, glancing nervously around.
“Uncle Edward, Come on, dude, really, our mom won’t be happy if you leave us here, or if Baby Izzy gets frostbite or something.” JJ appealed to his uncle’s fierce loyalty to his sister Alice, their mother, and to his uncle’s favorite little imp.
Pausing slightly, Edward almost rethought his attack. Still hidden from the tot’s view, his velvety voice danced through the trees. “No way, Junior, you had your chance, your Whitlock luck is up.”
Frozen in their spots, the children’s eyes widened and their little mouths formed huge O’s as their uncle barreled out of the trees, howling and carrying the shiny red toboggan over his head. He skidded to a stop in the snow in front of the group of pseudo deviants, glared menacingly and dumped. A cascade of white poured onto the children, now screaming and laughing at their uncle, as he laughed deep from his belly, a faux sinister laugh. He grabbed JJ and tumbled with the boy to the snow covered ground, mashing frosty flakes into his nephew’s startled face.
Bella slowly emerged from the line of Douglas fir trees, smiling widely, then chuckling at the sight before her. Four bundled bodies wriggled on the ground, covered in white, screaming and laughing as her beloved Edward tried to tickle them through their snowsuits and smash cold snow into their open mouths. She held her middle as she guffawed along with them, her stomach muscles aching from the exertion of the seemingly endless merriment.
“Hold on, hold on!” Edward admonished, attempting to regain his balance. Lifting himself onto his knees, he reached out for assistance from his sweetheart. Taking her hand in his, his free hand swiftly reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black velvet box. Deftly flipping it open, he raised it toward her.
“Alright you little miscreants, help me out here.” Twisting around to gaze lovingly at his nephew and nieces, “Go ahead, you ask her” he prodded. Covered with white, powdery snow from the top of his messy mop of bronze hair to the tips of his battered black Doc Martins he panted, trying to catch his breath. He turned around to look up at the owner of the delicate gloved hand he clutched. His breath caught in his chest as his eyes met hers.
Love and admiration shone in the depths of her warm brown eyes. Time stood still as he gazed into the future, his future with this wonderful, amazing woman. His heart skipped a beat as her flawless smile lit up her face, cheeks flushed with the warmth of the joviality shared by them all.
“Ask me what, Edward?” Focusing her gaze on the glittering ring in the velvet box held in his outstretched hand, Bella’s ruby red lips parted, as a gasp escaped.
“Will you marry our Uncle Edward?” sang the children, now crowding around their favorite uncle.
“Please!” Baby Izzy, the blue eyed sprite pleaded, “we’ll let you kiss him whenever you want!”
Bella’s loving gaze moved from sweet face to sweet face, finally settling on the face she beheld each night in her dreams, as the flesh and blood incarnation of such dreams held her firmly in his arms.
“Really, Izzy? Anytime I want?” Her namesake nodded enthusiastically as Bella dropped to her knees in front of the love of her life.
“Well, in that case…yes!” she whispered while leaning toward Edward, gently touching her lips to his. Her free arm encircled his neck, pulling him closer to her, deepening their kiss.
“YIPPEE!” Leaping to their feet, the children whooped and hollered, jumping around the oblivious couple.
Edward’s heart swelled, he staggered to his feet, pulling her up with him. Joyfully, he pulled the ring out of its velvety nest. Bella was already freeing her left hand from its glove. He gently took hold of her hand, and slid the sparkling gem onto her ring finger.
“I love you, Bella, with all my heart and soul.” Caressing her hand, Edward lifted it to his lips gently placing a kiss on her palm.
She placed her palm on his cheek tenderly. “And I you, Edward, my love.”
Their eyes locked, arms circled each other, and their lips met, promising each other the world, and avowing their dedication to each other.
This time, the little group of snow covered children didn’t toss any snow at the lovebirds; they just looked at each other knowingly. They were proud of their parts in Uncle Edward’s plan to propose. Placing their toboggans down on the snowy ground, they plopped down upon them.
“Get comfortable.” Rolling his eyes perceptively toward his favorite uncle and godmother, JJ advised his younger sisters. “We could be here a while.”