|Love Me or Leave Me (Redux)
Author: tiffanyanne3 PM
Bella Swan changed her ideals for a guy...who then dumped her in the middle of a mall. Enter Edward Cullen, who tries to convince her that she's not the type who should be loved and left. **THIS IS A REWRITE of my original Love Me or Leave Me. I'll be posting the new chapters here as well as editing them into the original story. Chapters are titled after my favorite classic movies.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 25 - Words: 96,241 - Reviews: 48 - Favs: 78 - Follows: 65 - Updated: 02-03-13 - Published: 01-16-13 - Status: Complete - id: 8916117
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Married, huh?" My dad's voice sounded tinny and far away. "Not pregnant, are you?"
My face grew hot as a chill simultaneously passed through me. "Dad—"
"Just kidding, Bells," he said with a deep laugh. "Edward told me he was going to ask you. I've been wondering what was taking so long."
"That's not nice, Dad. I thought you were serious..." I trailed off, not willing to rehash the past and admit exactly what I'd been thinking: that he had no right to assume or judge.
"When did you talk to him, anyway?" I asked, glancing over at Edward, who was on the phone with his own parents.
"About three months ago."
"Oh, really?" I said with a smirk. "That's interesting."
"Took him long enough to muster up the nerve to pop the question. I'm real happy for you, Bells. He's a good man."
"Thanks, Dad. Listen, I need to get going. We've got plans to meet Alice for dinner."
As soon as we said our goodbyes, Edward thrust his cell phone at me. I could hear Esme's squeals without even putting it to my ear. She began chattering as soon as I said hello, and I couldn't get a word in edgewise.
"Bella! Darling, congratulations! The two of you have to make another trip up here soon so we can shop for wedding gowns together. Oh, and we'll throw an engagement party, too. There's so much to do, and I'm so excited to get started! Maybe Betty and I can make a trip down to see you instead. Are you thinking of a church wedding or an outdoor event? Oh, how lovely would a beach wedding be? Of course, I'm a traditional girl myself..."
My eyes grew exponentially wider as she went on and on. When it became clear that I wasn't going to be an active participant in the conversation, Edward took the phone from me. "Mom... Mom... Esme!" he said with a laugh. "Bella's thrilled, but I think you might have just overwhelmed her. No, she's okay. She says thank you for the congratulations, and she can't wait to see you either."
I shook my head as I watched Edward expertly manage his mother's excitement. My own mother had been almost as manic as Esme when we'd had dinner with her the day after Edward proposed. She, too, had gone on and on about dresses and colors and parties and locations. All the talk was making me anxious. I knew a lot went into planning a wedding, but the more people went on about it, the more I thought Emmett and Rose had gotten it right by hightailing it to Vegas. Edward wasn't excited by that idea when I brought it up in bed later that night.
"As much as I want to be married to you as soon as possible," he said, "I think it would break some hearts if we eloped. Your parents, Alice, even Jake. Lord knows we'd never hear the end of it from my mom."
"I know," I said with a sigh as I snuggled into his side. "I'm just kind of freaked out by all the little details."
"So let someone else handle them."
"Look, we don't even have to think about it for a while, right? We haven't set a date, and it doesn't have to be soon. We've got time. As much as you want." He kissed the top of my head, and for the millionth time, I felt like the luckiest girl alive to have a guy like Edward Cullen.
August. We were getting married in August. The months passed by much faster than I imagined they would. Esme and Betty were lifesavers, making trips to visit us twice a month to help with the planning. They even gave Alice and Jasper some pointers for their wedding, which was slotted for the fourteenth of June, a mere two months before Edward's and mine. My mom did what she could from across the country, helping out with phone calls and address gathering.
May came, bringing the birth of Angela and Ben's beautiful little baby girl, Rachel. We visited them in the hospital, and watching Edward cuddle the tiny pink newborn brought a certain warm, tender feeling that I immediately pushed aside for a later date. Much later.
Edward and I stood next to Jasper and Alice as they exchanged vows in June. We made goo-goo eyes at one another as they recited the vows they'd written themselves. The smirk Edward wore told me he was thinking about the same thing I was: our own wedding two months later. Now that most of the plans were finalized, I was able to actually look forward to it and enjoy the last of the summer.
The anniversary of our first date came two weeks later. Edward planned the most romantic evening. He took me to a five-star restaurant and then to a posh hotel. He'd apparently made arrangements with the concierge, because there were rose petals scattered around the room and flickering candles on every flat surface. That night would be the last time we would have sex before our wedding night. It certainly hadn't been my idea. Edward decided that he wanted our first night as a married couple to be special, and since we were far from virgins, he thought it would be a good idea to abstain. "A slow burn," he called it. So I made the most I could of our first and last anniversary before we were married. Four times.
In July, Emmett and Rosalie announced they were going to have a baby. Apparently, Rachel's birth had started a baby bug. The month passed quickly, and August was finally upon us.
I was sexually frustrated. More than a month of sleeping next to Edward and not being able to touch him was too much for me. We actually had an argument about it one night. He was not budging on the issue; I thought it was stupid and ended up sleeping on the couch. He came into the living room at around two in the morning, curling up behind me and wrapped his arms around me.
"I love you," he whispered into my ear, knowing I was awake. "I understand that you don't feel the way I do about waiting. But I just want this one thing."
I sighed and relaxed a little. "I don't get it, Edward, but if it's what you want, then I'll go with it."
"Thank you," he said, kissing me on the cheek, and then down my neck. I twisted slightly so that he could reach my lips. "You know, though..." His hand slid down my waist to the top of my pajama pants. "It doesn't necessarily mean I can't give you some form of...relief." He slipped his fingers into my underwear and then deep inside me.
Well then. If I'd known that was on the menu, I wouldn't have complained. I was much more relaxed after that night. There were less than two weeks left until our wedding day, anyway. A thrill shot through me.
"Rise and shine!" said a trilling voice. Sunlight streamed through my bedroom windows, and I squinted into it as I stretched.
Esme entered the room, carrying a tray laden with breakfast foods, orange juice, and coffee. She and Betty had come in earlier in the week and had taken over our apartment, shooing Edward off to sleep at Jasper's while Alice stayed with me.
And now it was Saturday. My wedding day. Butterflies began to flit through my stomach, and I blinked down at the breakfast tray Esme had placed next to me. "I don't know if I can eat all this," I told her. "I'm too nervous."
"You've got to eat something, darling," she insisted. "We can't have the bride fainting at the altar."
Bride. I liked that word.
I sipped coffee and picked apart a piece of toast as we went through the day's list. Hair appointments at one o'clock, makeup at three. We had to be at the church by four to get dressed, and the ceremony would start at five.
In seven hours, I would be Mrs. Edward Cullen.
The first few of those hours crawled by. We stopped by the church and reception venue to make sure everything was perfect. It was gorgeous. White and lavender hydrangeas were draped over everything that would stand still. I stood at the back of the church and smiled as I imagined myself there in my veil and dress, my arm hooked through Charlie's, bouquet in hand as I walked up the aisle toward my fiancé.
Before I knew it, a whirlwind of activity had come and gone and deposited me right back at that spot, just behind the closed doors that led into the church. Betty, Esme, and my mom fussed over me, adjusting my veil and fluffing the train of my gown. It was a white ball gown, simple as far as embellishment. The bodice was strapless and smooth; a silver brooch with rhinestones was pinned at the waistline right above the full skirt. I loved it. I felt more beautiful than I ever had.
Esme placed a hand on my cheek. "You look lovely. Edward is a very lucky boy. And Carlisle and I are so eager to call you our daughter-in-law."
"Thank you, Esme. For everything."
She stepped aside to allow my mother to have a moment with me.
"Bella..." Her bottom lip began to tremble, and I pulled her into a hug.
"Mom, it's okay," I said with a small laugh.
"I know. You just look so beautiful. Radiant." She sniffed and pulled away. "And so grown up. I can't believe I'm old enough to have a married daughter!"
"You can say that again," Charlie said as he approached us. He cleared his throat. "Renee, you look nice."
They had seen each other at the rehearsal dinner the night before, and it wasn't as awkward as it could've been. It was the first time they'd seen each other since Mom had left for California.
"Thank you, Charlie," she said. "And look at you. All dapper and distinguished in your tuxedo."
He cleared his throat again and turned to me. "You ready to do this, Bells?"
"More than ready."
Another flurry of activity. Betty and our mothers were seated, and the bridesmaids walked down the aisle one by one: Jessica, Angela, Rosalie, and Alice, who squeezed my hand and blew me a kiss before she stepped onto the aisle.
The double doors closed again, and I shivered with anticipation.
Charlie offered his arm. I looped mine through his, and he patted my hand. "Looks like it's our turn. Nervous?"
I wasn't. The nerves from earlier in the day had turned into eager excitement. I couldn't wait to see my groom waiting for me at the end of the aisle. "Not even a little bit," I said, beaming up at my father.
The ushers opened the doors again, and we stepped forward. The church was even more beautiful in the evening light, accented by candles and ribbons and flowers. So many flowers. It took about two-point-five seconds for my eyes to flick past the staring and smiling faces to find Edward.
Oh, God. I might faint, I thought when our eyes locked. His smile was beatific, and I was sure mine made them a matched set. If I'd thought he was handsome in the suit he wore at Alice and Jasper's wedding, he was absolutely breathtaking now. I couldn't look away. It was all I could do to keep myself from grabbing him when we reached the altar and pulling him back down the aisle so I could have him all to myself.
Looking back later, I wouldn't remember much of the ceremony. Everything blurred by, like much of the day already had. It was as though time sped up, intermittently slowing down for the important parts. Like when the preacher asked who was giving me away.
"Her family and I do," my dad said quietly, his voice cracking the tiniest bit. I would always remember that little bit of emotion that broke through his normally staid demeanor. He lifted the veil, kissed my cheek, and joined my hand with Edward's before sitting in the front pew with the rest of my family.
Edward took my hand, giving me a devastating smile, and whispered, "Beautiful."
We recited traditional vows. I stared into Edward's eyes, which were misty with unshed tears as I spoke words of undying love and promise. Every word he said, every smile and look he gave me were ingrained into my memory. Everything else fell away. Before I could even catch my breath, the preacher said, "You may kiss the bride."
Edward pulled me closer by the hand and tilted my chin up gently, whispering his love quietly before touching my lips with his. It was the sweetest kiss we'd ever shared. The sweetest kiss I'd ever known. I smiled against his lips as the kiss waned. His eyes met mine, shining with the same adoration and happiness that I hoped was plain on my face.
We were pulled out of our momentary bubble by clapping and music. We walked back down the aisle arm in arm and stood outside on the expansive front stoop of the church, enjoying our short moment alone. Edward pulled me into a tight hug. He sniffed, and when we drew apart, I saw that the tears in his eyes had finally managed escape. I reached up and wiped them away with my thumbs.
"I love you so much," I told him as bridesmaids and groomsmen began pouring out of the church doors.
"And I love you, Mrs. Cullen," he said, wearing his signature crooked smile.
Time sped up again, and everything blurred as we were greeted and hugged and fawned over by our friends and family. We signed the marriage license and posed for pictures and were whisked away to the reception in a horse-drawn carriage. It was Esme's idea, but I fell in love with it as soon as she suggested it. Cars honked and people shouted congratulations as we rode to the reception. We waved and laughed.
"I feel like I'm in my own personal parade," I said. "Like a royal wedding or something."
Edward laughed and squeezed my hand. "You're my princess, so it stands to reason."
"There's my cheesy boyfriend," I said with a laugh before correcting myself. "Husband." That would take some getting used to. In a good way.
It was probably the most common thing thought by every groom everywhere, but I swear I was the luckiest man in the world.
I held my wife close as we danced at our reception. I was certain she was the most beautiful bride anyone had seen. When those doors opened in the church and I saw my bride for the first time, my heart sped up to the point that I almost lost my breath. She was...stunning...ethereal as she walked toward me in her white dress, her smile widening as our eyes met, a slight, natural blush on her cheeks. At that moment, I knew I'd never be happier, never more satisfied or sure about anything than I was about making Bella my wife.
She looked even prettier now as we danced. Her veil had been cast off, and a few softly curls had escaped her done-up hair. Her lipstick had faded, mostly kissed off by me, no matter how many times she reapplied it throughout the evening. She seemed to glow. I leaned down and kissed her again. We'd done the toasts, cut the cake, posed with people for pictures...there was something missing.
"How much longer till I can whisk you away?"
Someone tugged at my sleeve, and I turned to see Alice grinning at us. "Time to toss the bouquet," she said. "Then you guys can get out of here."
"You're a mind reader," Bella said and walked off with Alice to find her flowers.
There was a commotion of gathering ladies and flashing cameras. Bella stood on a chair and threw the flowers over her shoulder. Jessica was the only girl who actually lunged for the bouquet. I laughed and clapped Jake on the back as he covered his face with his hands.
The photographer ran over and asked whether I was going to throw the garter. I had no clue. I looked over to where Bella stood with my mom and Alice. They pushed Bella down into a chair and waved me over.
I grinned. "I guess so." He gave me some directions that made me both laugh and groan.
I smiled lasciviously at Bella as I knelt down in front of her to search for her garter. "Jesus, babe, how many skirts do you have on under here?" I shouted over the music from beneath the layers of fabric and crinoline.
There was cheering and laughing and clapping. I was tempted to do lewd things while I was under her dress. Instead, I followed the directions the photographer had slyly given me. I located the blue frilly band just above Bella's knee. At the cue from the photographer, I bent down and grabbed the garter with my teeth, pulling it down Bella's leg as she squealed and tried to jerk her leg away. She laughed, throwing her head back as I kissed her shin, then unhooked the garter from around her shoe with my hands and patted her skirts back into place.
I intentionally threw the garter at Bella's stepbrother. He blushed and tried to protest, but Phil and Renée forced him into dancing and posing for pictures with Jessica. I danced to another song with my bride, and finally...finally...it was time to leave.
We gathered our things and prepared to run out into a rush of people and birdseed and flower petals.
"You're not changing?" I asked Bella as I shrugged back into my tuxedo jacket.
"Are you kidding?" she asked. "We paid a lot for this dress. I'm wearing it as long as I can. Besides, it makes me feel pretty."
I leaned down, unable to resist kissing her yet again. "You are very pretty, but I don't think it has much to do with the dress. And I hope you're not planning on wearing it too long." I raised an eyebrow at her as she giggled and pinched my arm. "Ready, Mrs. Cullen?"
Every time I called her that, her cheeks flushed. I loved it.
"Ready," she said.
We raced out the door amid more cheering and clapping. I watched my wife as she squealed and ducked from the birdseed that pelted us from all sides. We laughed harder as we collapsed into the backseat of the limo and began to brush seeds and petals from each other's hair and clothing.
When the limo lurched forward, I knew we wouldn't have much time before we would arrive at the hotel. I reached for Bella, framing her soft face with my hands. "Thank you," I said.
"For what?" she asked, placing her hands on top of mine.
"For marrying me. For being you. For making me laugh. Everything, Bella."
I'd barely gotten the words out before her lips were on mine. Her hands grasped the lapels of my jacket. "I love you so much, Edward Cullen," she said between kisses. "And the same goes for me. I can't even tell you how happy I am." She back away slightly and looked me in the eyes. "How in love I am."
I smiled the lopsided smile she'd proclaimed her favorite all those months ago and, pulling her into my arms, kissed her temple and hummed a verse of her song. Even as it was happening, I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life loving her, starting with tonight...and then our tropical honeymoon...and then...
A/N: Thank you so, so, so much for reading this story and for being patient with the rewrite. Originally, this was my first attempt at writing again after ten years of not doing so (long story). Four years later, I've learned a lot about writing thanks to this fandom. I decided this story needed a spitshine. Thanks again for your patience, and thanks for loving my story. I hope you'll try out some of my other stories. I'll be working on Seven Year Hitch from time to time (it's not a straight timeline story, but more of a collection of funny/fun times), and I have something new in the works, so put me on alert! :)