Chapter Seventeen: Some Enchanted Evening

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I just wanted to greet our new fans and friends who have started reading Evening Star after the kind and generous comments from Bella Cullen's Diary on her Facebook page.

Please do vote, comment, and share Evening Star with others! I would love to have more reads and more votes.  

Thank you for everything, all of you, especially my new fans! You're the very best!

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--Cassandra

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Chapter Seventeen: Some Enchanted Evening

Arm in arm, Bella and I followed the maitre d' as he escorted us across the beautiful formal dining area of The Georgian restaurant within the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Although I had visited the hotel a few times since its inception in 1924, The Georgian, which specializes in French-inspired Northwest cuisine, was only twenty years old, and I, of course, had no cause to enter it in the past. Crisp white linen tablecloths covered the intimate round tables scattered among stately green palm trees in bronzed urns, all underneath brilliant crystal chandeliers. I felt rather than saw Bella's awe at the lovely yet formal surroundings. The maitre d' paused at two double French doors, waiting for us to reach him before he opened the doors with a subdued flourish. Standing in the doorway, he indicated that we were to enter the private dining room.

"Enjoy your meal in The Petite," he murmured, closing the doors behind him.

Bella looked at me, surprise coloring her cheeks. "We're eating here, Edward?" she squeaked.

I smiled down at her indulgently. "No, love. You are eating here. I would rather avoid the stares of the other diners for not eating because if I did eat for appearance's sake, then I would not enjoy the evening ahead of us nearly as much. So it made sense to eat here, out of the sight of prying eyes."

Bella nodded, appeased. Alice had informed me that if Bella thought that utilizing this lovely private room was for my comfort, she would not object. And, as usual, Alice was completely correct.

"And," I pulled Bella nearer to me, "we'll have more privacy so that I can do this...." I bent down to capture her lips against mine. She twisted in my arms so that our chests touched, and I groaned quietly as her warm skin, bared by her low-cut decolletage, crushed against the thin cloth of my dress shirt. Her arms reached up, behind my neck, brushing lightly through the hair at the nape of my neck. Her breath came quickly, as did mine, even though I didn't need the air.

Reluctantly, I pulled away, smiling slightly at Bella's adorable pout, and continued my sentence, "...without calling undue attention to ourselves."

I escorted her to the head of the large table which comfortably seated twelve, and pulled out her chair for her. After seating Bella, I moved to the French door and opened it slightly, a subtle signal to our waiter. I seated myself at Bella's left, reaching out my right hand to take hers. We smiled warmly into each others' eyes, lost for another indefinable moment in the love we shared, the bond that would last for eternity...somehow.

The thought of eternity washed a wave of sadness through me, and Bella gently squeezed my hand in sympathy as the expression crossed my face. Would I have an eternity with my Bella? Or would we only have the extent of her human life for, what-fifty or sixty years? Her human life would pass in a blink of an eye, from my immortal point-of-view. But I would not, could not, condemn Bella to my soulless existence. But what if Bella did not have those fifty or sixty years? She was a magnet for danger; in fact, her "number was up" from the first day we had met. I felt as though I had been fighting Fate since that day to keep Bella alive, to protect her. Was immortality the only way?

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