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Friends with Benefits

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Things I own: my sanity (though, that’s debatable at times), not enough time to write and incredible friends and family!!

Things I don’t: Twilight, Edward and Bella (Damn. It.)

Chapter Ninety-Eight

EPOV

An hour later, Bella and I were in the car, driving to Navy Pier. I had given her the flowers, which caused her tear up and cry. She had apparently never received flowers from a guy other than her father on her birthday. Even her prom date didn’t give her a corsage, having ulterior motives from the get-go of just having sex with her in the back of his hoopty van. Hearing that, I made another vow to myself. I would give my Bella flowers. She was a rare and radiant bloom, deserving of such beauty.

Cheesy, Cullen. Seriously, cheesy.

Parking the car, we wandered around the outside of the pier. The day had warmed up and it had brought everyone out with it. Bella and I were walking along the pier, holding hands and just enjoying the sunlight. We rode the Ferris wheel, snapping photos and acting like silly tourists as opposed to the true Chicagoans we both were. After the Ferris wheel, Bella and I walked to the restaurant. We were seated almost immediately and we gorged ourselves on the numerous varieties of shrimp on the menu.

After lunch, Bella wanted to explore the Crystal Garden. Paying our admission, we wandered the indoor greenhouse. Bella was smiling happily. “This is so pretty, Edward. Thank you for arranging all of this,” she said, threading her fingers with mine.

“Anything to this smile, pretty girl,” I replied, caressing her cheek. She blushed. “Come on, let’s get some pictures before we have to get to the dock.”

“The dock?” Bella asked, arching a brow.

“Yep. We’re going on an architectural tour of the city via the Chicago River using one of the speedboats,” I explained, taking out my camera from my pocket.

“I’ve always wanted to do that. I love this city and hearing about its history is so cool,” she squealed, wrapping her arms around my neck. I held her to my body, kissing her lips as I took a photo. She smirked when she heard the shutter click and smacked my arm. “All of our photos are going to be of us making out, Cullen. I want to see your handsome face.”

“I can’t help it. I love kissing your lips,” I said, cupping her chin and brushing my mouth against hers. She melted against me before dancing out of my arms. Dragging me through the gardens, we acted like goofballs. Bella danced around the trees while I snapped photos. At one point, Bella asked a family to take our photo and they did, seemingly under my beautiful girlfriend’s giddy spell.

We went outside and boarded the boat after our adventures in the Crystal Gardens. Being on the lake, it was a bit chilly in the shade. I held Bella close in my arms as we waited to board the boat. Settling in our seats, Bella was smiling happily. Seeing her this relaxed and having this much fun, it shed a new light to her. Bella had always been very studious with a snarky attitude. She had a good time, but never truly let loose. I was the same way, minus the snarky attitude. I kept my nose buried in a book. I brushed her hair away from her neck and kissed the sensitive spot behind her ear. Mentally, I chanted my love for her. I knew she wasn’t ready to hear it, but I had to say, at least to myself. I love you, Bella.

She turned to me and gently kissed my mouth. Her eyes were sparkling and I could see the emotions inside of them. I couldn’t pinpoint what they were, but she was happy. That was all that mattered to me right now. She snuggled in my arms. I hummed contentedly, leaning my cheek against her hair while the boat pulled away from the dock. We watched the city float by as the tour guide gave us the history of the buildings along the Chicago River. Bella’s fingers were tangled with mine, resting atop her stomach.

Nearly two hours later, we were back at Navy Pier. I was checking out the photos that the crew had taken of us as we boarded the boat, seeing if it was worth it to purchase it. “Ugh, I look so fat,” Bella grumbled.

“What are you talking about?” I snorted, looking at her perfect photo. “You look beautiful and that smile is radiant, Bells.”

“I’ve got a double chin,” she grumped, pointing to some non-existent flab. “My hair also looks like a freaking crow’s nest.”

I paid for the photo, dragging her away from the crowd. “Sit on my lap, pretty girl,” I ordered. She scowled at me as I held up the picture. “What you see as flaws, I see as beauty.”

“Whatever, Edward. I’m no beauty queen,” she scoffed.

“Look at this photo, Bella. Tell me one positive thing about the girl standing in it,” I said firmly.

“Awfully slick there, counselor,” she snorted. “I was going to say you.

“Yeah, well, you are quite aware that I’m not a girl. If I am, I’m a freak of nature with a penis,” I deadpanned, raising my voice to sound more feminine. Clearing my throat and dropping my voice to its usual range, I pointed to the picture. “Tell me, Bella. There has got to be at least one redeeming quality in this photo that you find attractive about yourself.”

She took the photo from my hand, staring at it for a long time. She shook her head, handing it back to me. “I have nice eyes,” she shrugged.

“That’s all?” I pressed.

“You did ask for just one,” she said, looking at me dubiously.

“This is true,” I said. “Bells, why do you put yourself down? Do you not see that you’re gorgeous?” She blushed, biting her lip. “In this photo, I see a million things that are beautiful about you. Your smile, your blush, your pink lips, your eyes…I could go on for hours describing your beauty. It just shocks me that you don’t see it yourself.”

“I feel pretty when I’m around you,” she admitted, looking up at me. “The way you look at me, it makes me feel special.”

“That’s because you are, pretty girl,” I murmured, cupping her cheek. “I just wish you saw it in yourself, without me having to tell you. However, it will be my honor to constantly remind you that you are, indeed, gorgeous and special for as long as we’re together. Now, we’ve got another stop today, baby. Shall we go?”

“What’s the other stop?” she asked.

“You’ll see,” I smirked.

A/N: Pictures of Navy Pier, the restaurant, Ferris Wheel and boat tour are on my blog, tumblr and my Facebook page: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Up next will be the second half of the date along with a blast from the past. Leave me some!