|The Blessing Ring
Author: QuantumFizzx PM
After missing out on love, Bella goes thru the motions in life. Forces begin to compel her to go after the only thing she had ever truly wanted... even when that dream is farther out of reach than ever before. Featured on TWI-FIC PROMOTIONS AH B/ERated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Humor - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 18 - Words: 95,117 - Reviews: 573 - Favs: 480 - Follows: 199 - Updated: 12-11-10 - Published: 04-04-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5869206
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Bella will be reading a poem in this chapter. It's my understanding that people usually skim over lyrics and poems, and that's fine…the meaning will probably be clear from context. I did, however, write this poem to explain Edward's thoughts on how important he's come to believe that it is to take chances and not leave everything to fate – the lessons he's learned - so just know that's what it concerns if you don't want to read it.
Special thanks to Mel003 who has been pretty much pulling me along since the summer. She is my rock.
I own and lay claim to nothing. Not Twilight. Not a blessing ring. Not Mr. Pattinson. The latter being particularly distressing.
Chapter 18 – Ivy and Clover
"I'm going to tell you no Bella… I'm going to fight for us."
And he did.
Having someone fight for me, rather than with me, was a different kind of experience.
I have to admit that I made it a bit more difficult than was probably necessary.
"We can work this out." He wrung his hands. "It has to work out."
He sounded so confident. Contagiously confident. "I left things at my folks' in a mess just now."
The whole idea of his family still made my head hurt. Their fight, Tanya's barbs still echoed in my ears.
"I can only imagine how uncomfortable you felt."
"Unwelcome. Wholly unwelcome."
He sighed, not so much in exasperation, but resignation. "Can you please wait here while I deal with my family?"
"'Wait!' You didn't just ask me to wait, did you? I think the last thing you should ever even think about asking me to do is to wait more."
"Bella, please. I just…I don't think it will benefit anything for you to be there. I might-"
"Wait...waiting…waited…I have done it all Edward. If they gave out degrees on waiting I would have graduated top of the class. I waited in high school, every single shift at the diner I waited for something...anything...I waited for you.
I waited that night at the bonfire only to discover that you had chosen Tanya. You left with Tanya, never even uttered one word to me that night...it was as if I never existed."
"Are you seriously telling me that this is too little, too late?"
"What would you call it?"
"I'd call it time," he said, his face in his hands. "Time that we don't leave things to chance any more." He stayed in the same spot, not moving any closer, as if I were a deer he might spook.
"I am not accepted here. Esme loves Tanya; she wants you to be together."
"Well, then she can be with Tanya. All I want… all I've ever wanted is to be with you."
"Edward, just go talk to your family before you actually morph into a Hallmark card. I'll wait here."
Because, at the end of the day, all I ever seemed to do was wait...
I knew, if it could work somehow, he was… I was… we were actually worth it.
"I'm coming back for you, Bella," he said looking back at me from the door. "'Meant to be' doesn't mean inevitable. We have to make fate."
Though I would've bet it wasn't possible, I fell asleep at some point next to Seth on the bed. His little, rhythmic breaths were soothing, lulling me to sleep. It wasn't until I thought I saw headlights move across the ceiling and walls that I stirred.
Expecting Edward's voice, I bolted up in bed when it was someone else's.
"Bella? It's Carlisle." His voice came from the other side of the bedroom door.
"Um, hello," I said, trying to get my bearings. "Is everything alright? Is Edward okay?"
"Yes, yes. He's fine."
"Hang on," I said, climbing out of bed. I opened the door to a soft and concerned looking Carlisle. He looked beyond me for a moment to Seth's sleeping form.
"So," he began, "we've established that Edward is fine…how about you?"
I just shook my head slowly, not sure how to answer. Everything was a mess and while I wanted to be sure of Edward, of his feelings…but I wasn't.
"Carlisle, I think I'm confused. Why are you here?"
"Why am I here?" His smiled but it didn't quite reach his eyes. "Or, why am I not at my own house?"
"Well, yeah, that, too." I followed him out to the living room.
"Let's just say that I think things are much clearer to Esme now. I told her I won't be coming home until she's deposited Tanya back across the border."
He settled into the sofa and fluffed a pillow as though he was settling in for the night.
Because he was.
"Bella, I've known for a long time…longer than I care to admit…long enough to be ashamed when I think about it, that something wasn't quite right about Edward's choices." He clasped his hands together. "But, I tried to tell myself that people change. He'd always been so outgoing and affectionate and…alive when he was younger. He's that way when he's with you.
I'm here because I love my son. I've missed him."
Not knowing what to say, I made an excuse and went to the linen closet for a quilt.
"Thank you," he said, taking it from me.
"No, Carlisle. Thank you."
I'd been staring at the bedroom ceiling for several minutes when my phone lit up.
I'll be home soon. – E
Then, almost immediately:
Please read my journal - E
His journal had caught my eye a few times before. I'd been curious. It practically called to me from the nightstand.
Edward's journal was not what I expected. It certainly wasn't a diary. Most entries were short thoughts. Broken and scratched out then rewritten in almost poetic form. A few were more than almost. One longer piece started from around when I'd first gone to his parents' house for dinner and we'd walked in the garden. As I read it, it became clear to me what he had meant when he left.
A subtle summons comes
as fireflies light atop the grass.
They hold a kind of phosphorescent
court, and behind them beckon
pulsed beacons. Come.
Come to bathe in an unknown
chartreuse and melon glow.
Through benevolent indifference
they bid their watchers
each become a Venus
in independent orbit about the lawn.
Enter day through our night –
drape yourself in a crepuscular existence.
Find this relit path.
These flies, they glow from birth
in luciferase laced magic.
Not so their watchers,
who must choose to move,
to seek out the first phases
of a waxing moon
among the sanctuary gloam
those airborne pharos can bestow.
Edward wasn't taking chances with chance anymore.
When I went out to get a thirsty Seth something to drink from the kitchen, Carlisle was asleep on the couch as I passed him. While I tried to be quiet, I heard him stir when the front door opened.
"Bella," Edward called out softly. His voice quickly escalated to alarm when, trying to keep the house somewhat quite, I didn't answer immediately. "Bella?"
"I'm here," I said stepping from the kitchen. Practically running to me, he gathered me close. "I'm not going anywhere."
I couldn't tell you what love is for everyone, only what it is for me. It's knowing all about someone and still wanting to be with them. Love is just a word until there is someone to attach it to.
Perhaps I was thinking that, after all the time it took for us to be together, the earth would move, the stars would align, the lion would lie down with the lamb. But, those are musings of romance and passion. Those are temporary and sweet. All good, but all fleeting.
We were peace.
Peace really is underrated.
Edward told me that Carlisle had come to his house not simply to check on Seth and I, but in a show of commitment; he had agreed to rent it himself from Edward if Edward chose to move and be near Seth. It was an uncharacteristic show force from her husband for which Esme had been unprepared. She'd left at dawn to drive the newly unwelcome Tanya home with Carlisle still on the sofa, ignoring her calls.
Ultimately, it was unnecessary.
Jasper, of all people, showed up in the morning practically begging to rent the house from Edward while I made omelets and teddy bear pancakes.
"I thought I was doing right by my best friend," he said. "Please, let me do this for you. Even if I don't live here, I still want to do this."
"Heck, I might be your roomie," Carlisle joked, bouncing Seth on his knee.
Edward scooped his boy up and got what was probably a very mapley kiss for his efforts.
If I hadn't been so surprised by Jasper's recent about-face, I might have thought longer about why he wouldn't want to live with Alice anymore.
Edward told Jasper he'd think about the offer and we watched his truck tool down the lane. The sun had come up through the trees and I stepped out into the clean morning air, watching the spreading rays begin to warm everything around us.
"Bella, we can go anywhere or stay," Edward spoke against my ear as he wrapped his arms around me from behind.
All the rest is just details. We were together. Finally. "Anywhere is home now."
"Bella!" Rose is hopping around on one foot, trying to fasten the strap of her heel. "Get a move on. There's a hundred people out there that aren't prepared to see you march your half-naked ass around."
"Threaten all you want, but I'm pretty sure they won't start without us."
"I'm not waiting on you."
"Suit yourself," I say, but stand up anyway and gesture for her to come help me zip.
We check ourselves over once more in the mirror. Hair in smooth waves. Ivory and sterling rose bouquets. "You look deep in thought," she says. "But, I suppose that's natural at a wedding."
"I kept thinking of that scene from 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin.'"
"The 'Love is" thing? Yeah, that's nice." She sniffs her bouquet. Her eye shadow compliments the flowers. So beautiful, it's sickening.
I nod, but the words run in my head.
Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
An art. A fortunate accident. Both.
The strains of prelude music fill the air. "Aren't you forgetting something?" Rose fidgets with where her dress hits her shoulders.
I thread the stems of my flowers through the center of the Blessing Ring. The blooms fan out in a circle with the ring as their anchor. It's like a metal ribbon holding them together.
"You're really going to do it? Let your bouquet wear the ring?"
"Better than me."
She rolls her eyes but knows by now it's no use. This is the ring's last hoorah.
"Never been readier." I joke and smile up at her.
"I'd kiss you if it wouldn't mess up my lipstick."
"I'd kiss her, too, if she'd let her old man." The sudden sound of Dad's baritone seems so foreign, but smooth, reassuring. It's like punctuation at the end of our hours of girl-time. "You look beautiful."
Rose whines that I better look good – we've preened all day. Holding her bouquet up against her very round tummy, she voice softens, "You wanna smell mommy's flowers?"
"Last chance, Bella," Dad says, and pulls me into a hug. I can sense Rose cringing; she's worried about wrinkles in my dress.
"Thanks, Dad. But, I'm walking myself down the aisle this time."
The Cullens' garden is filled with people and heels and tent spikes. When everything is cleared and the ground is, no doubt, torn up with clumps and divots, I'll go back to referring to it as Esme's garden. It's just a tiny grudge; I won't hold it forever. Probably. I'm not sure what Carlisle said to convince Esme to let us have the wedding here. Maybe nothing; she's been reaching out to me. I think, in spite of herself, she actually likes me.
Edward has joked more than once that we could save all the clean up by just throwing everything in that giant firepit he seems a tad too proud about having dug himself.
I really don't care. I'm just glad that in the past few weeks Esme has finally stopped looking at me like she'd like to toss me into the pit. I don't really care what she thinks, but it would make life easier if we could be amicable.
"It's almost time to cut the cake," I hear a familiar voice behind me.
"Thank you James. Everything was amazing." It really was. I'd pushed to have him cater when Alice told me that they'd formed a partnership of sorts. Well, after I recovered from my initial shock. At first, I wasn't sure how serious they were about it, but their joint venture was thriving. They were like a one-stop shop for weddings and had even booked a few in Seattle. He also cleaned-up nicely. Alice had definitely been working her magic on him. James definitely wasn't opposed.
Alice wove through the crowd, socializing, but also checking on everything. James looked out and, like magnets, her eyes met his. Maybe they were pretty serious about each other, too.
Seeing them, seeing Jasper across the room with his date, I knew that Edward and I were the exception. There was a reason why we never could move on. Who we were and who we became, we're still right for each other.
Edward had surprised me earlier with a brief addition to his vows. "I know you. I know you in my soul. I love you with everything I am and everything I ever want to be."
If I didn't love him so much, I might be pissed at him for showing me up. Or not. Mostly, I just want to get out of this tent and get him alone.
"Yes, James," Edward says, offering his hand and almost masking the reservation in his voice. "I hate to admit it, but you've done well."
"I could same the same to you," James counters, then fades into the crowd.
Our honeymoon is actually going to be apartment hunting. I'm taking classes toward my doctorate at a university near the one Tanya is attending. I'm sure this thrills her.
After the cake and first dance and parent dances and the garter and - heaven help, me I'm going to hurt someone – a line dance, it is time to throw the bouquet. This is a part of tradition I've never understood the excitement over. If any bouquet-catcher was ever actually the next one married, I've never seen it happen.
"You're sure about this Bella?" Edward asks over the screeching throng of single women.
"Not you, too."
He takes the bouquet from me and the crowd yelps in anticipation. The ring catches a bit of the light. "It's not that bad…and it seemed to work…"
"Yes, I guess it did work." I haven't really thought about it before. I kiss him quickly and snag the bouquet back. The crowd grows impatient. Calm down ladies. It's just dead flowers and a giant ring. "Worked. Past tense. I don't have a need for it anymore." I wiggle my wedding ring playfully in front of his face.
"It's funny," he says, and traces the green shamrock stones. "All one circle. We had three chances. High school. Two years ago. Now."
The bouquet sails over to into the far left of the crowd and smacks an unsuspecting Angela in face. Through the cheers, a doting Jasper seems to be telling her she looks fine as he tucks some hair behind her ear.
"Well, good thing it's shamrocks not four-leaf clovers."
I'd like thank everyone for reading. It's been a great experience to share this with you.
There were many wonderful (and creative!) suggestions on how to wrap this up…especially regarding the handling of Esme and Tanya. Maybe I should have had alternate endings. One of my favorite suggestions was that Esme should end up living in a trailer down by the river with Aro. Tanya didn't fare much better.
I hope that no one is bothered that there are non-canon pairings with Alice/James as well as Jasper/Angela. I think these versions of those characters make sense with one another. For example, James would not have been good for Alice in high school, but he's a pretty stand-up guy now. Plus, the guy never has a HEA.
If anyone is curious, most of the chapter names were based upon the plant meanings. http:/www (dot) hmk (dot) on (dot) ca/plantmeanings (dot) html
Finally, I want to thank everyone for their patience with my delayed updates in the finals stages here. All the messages, people checking on me, mean a great deal to me.
I plan to write more. When I post the next story, it will be complete (except for the tinkering that I can't seem to help doing.) I'm going to write it all before I start posting, so that I can post on a regular basis. Please put me on alert. The next thing I'm posting will be less angst. Way, way, way less angst. ;)
There is an amazing group of folks on Facebook at FanficAholics Anonymous. I encourage anyone to check out that community. My special thanks for FFA members General/FerlaV, celesticbliss, Heather Bella, and Udo for supporting me through the ups and downs.