Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot and any original characters therein. No copyright infringement intended.
*Credit for the basic structure of the ceremony vows goes to vows of the heart . com
A/N: Don't shoot me. I know this chapter is somewhat short of what I usually put out, but it just felt right to end it where I did. Thanks and love to all who support this story. I hope you find this chapter enjoyable. Happy reading. ~Spudz
Bella pulled herself from Jasper's arms and squared her shoulders as she faced him, her eyes clear and determined as he eyed her warily. "You once said that you could have me wedded, bedded and changing within a day."
He nodded. "I did."
"And you said that you meant it."
Again, he agreed without faltering. "I do."
She reached up and cupped his cheek, her fathomless brown eyes staring into his. "Good," she said before turning to the two angels.
"Bind me to my vampire, boys. I'm ready."
Haiel and Mizrael smiled brightly at each other before reaching out to grasp Bella and Jasper's hands. Jasper arched a brow and eyed Haiel's hand and the ancient, heavenly being rolled his eyes before waving Peter and Charlotte over. "Come, come, join hands with us."
Peter looked just as skeptical as Jasper but did as the angel asked and as soon as a circle was formed, they all vanished only to reappear in a beautiful tree-lined clearing.
Dotted with wildflowers, it had a backdrop of a breathtaking waterfall and snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Bella gazed around in awe. "I've never been here," she muttered and Mizrael smiled indulgently.
"I am not surprised. It's quite remote and virtually inaccessible to most humans. It is quite lovely though, isn't it?"
She nodded as Jasper pulled her into his side. "It is." She looked at the angels. "Why did you bring us here?" She asked while watching Haiel. He was walking to the very heart of the clearing where he stood and extended his arms while muttering in a language none of the vampires knew.
"For your ceremony, of course," Mizrael answered. "I just couldn't see such a momentous occasion taking place in a cave," he finished with a moue of distaste and a haughty wave of his hand.
Bella shrugged a shoulder. "It's where our claiming took place."
Mizrael arched a brow and eyed Jasper who stared back smugly. "Yes, I'm aware, which reminds me… We really should have a chat about your, shall we say, courting methods, Major. A cave? Really? A little behind the times, aren't you?"
Jasper's eyes narrowed. "It was a defensible space," he said indignantly, defending his choice.
Peter snickered and Jasper shot him the finger as Bella smirked, hugging herself closer to Jasper as she whispered, "I'd do you anywhere, baby, that's a promise."
Jasper shot a smug look at Mizrael who tsk'ed at Bella. She shrugged. "What? It's true."
Haiel approached, taking in his brother's sour expression with a sigh. "What's done is done, brother. The circle is ready. Shall we?" He motioned toward the center of the clearing and they all made their way toward it.
"Wow," Bella breathed when she noticed the perfect circle Haiel had made from various shades of crystal. It was roughly fifteen feet in circumference and seemed to glow with a light all its own.
"Isabella, Jasper, stand with Haiel in the center, please," Mizrael asked while ushering Peter and Charlotte to either side of the circle, at east and west, respectively. Once he'd taken his own place at the southern point, he nodded to his brother who produced several strands of silken, white cords.
With a wide smile, he gazed around at all present, cleared his throat, and began in a high, authoritative voice that seemed to resonate throughout the clearing.
"Isabella Swan and Jasper Whitlock, know now before you go further,
that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal and sacred bonds.
"As you seek to enter this state of binding you should strive
to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning to this ceremony
and to the institution of forever binding your souls.
"With full awareness, know that within this circle
you are not only declaring your intent to be hand fasted before us today, but you speak that intent also to your Creative Higher Powers.
"The promises made today and the ties that are bound here
greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.
Knowing all this, do you still seek to enter this ceremony?"
They searched each others eyes for a beat before answering in perfect sync, "We do."
Haiel smiled brightly and continued. "We will now invoke the four points of the earth and her elements.
"Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East and the element of Air, for openness and breath, communication of the heart, and purity of the mind and body.
"From the East you receive the gift of a new beginning with the rising of each Sun, and the understanding that each day is a new opportunity for growth.
"Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South and the element of fire, for energy, passion, creativity and the warmth of a loving home. From the fire within you generate light, which you will share with one another in even the darkest of times.
"Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West, the element of water, for your capacity to feel emotion. In binding, you offer absolute trust to one another, and vow to keep your hearts open in sorrow as well as joy.
"Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North, the element of earth, which provides sustenance, fertility and security. The earth will feed and enrich you, and help you to build a stable home to which you may always return."
Haiel took one step towards them, the silken cords draped over his left arm. "And now for the hand-fasting.
"Jasper and Isabella, I bid you clasp hands and look into each others eyes."
They faced each other and clasped hands as their gazes locked, his eyes full of fierce love and determination, hers misty with tears.
"Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?" Haiel questioned.
"We will," they intoned together.
Haiel wound the first cord around their hands.
"And so the first binding is made.
"Will you share each others pain and seek to ease it?"
Jasper's hands gently squeezed Bella's as they answered, "We will."
Haiel wound the second cord and intoned,
"And so the binding is made.
"Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?"
Bella smiled brightly, her eyes locked with Jasper's as a tear rolled down her cheek. "We will."
Haiel wrapped the third cord over the other two.
"And so the binding is made.
"Will you share each others laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?"
This time, Jasper smiled, his joy at this union leaking out to wrap his mate while also shining clearly in his eyes as they answered, "We will."
Haiel wrapped their hands with the fourth cord.
"And so the binding is made."
He then moved closer and tied the cords into an intricate knot while continuing on, "Isabella and Jasper, as your hands are bound together now, so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust.
"Above you are the stars, and below you is the earth. Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.
"May the Powers of both Heaven and Earth bestow their blessings upon this union," Hiael concluded with a gentle smile, his hands extended as he touched their heads.
Without prompting, Jasper and Bella closed the ceremony, their words filled with otherworldly power as they rang through the clearing, "As it is spoken, so may it be."
Haiel dropped his hands and the couple shared a kiss. As their lips touched, the cords seemed to glow and disappear leaving behind a shining, platinum band glowing brightly on their left ring fingers.
Jasper reached up and brushed a tear from Bella's cheek. "I love you, darlin', and I will until the stars fall and time ceases to be."
She smiled and her lip trembled as he returned it. Reaching up, she cupped the back of his head and guided him to her neck where he placed a reverent kiss as she whispered, "Forever Jay."
"Forever, darlin'," he echoed.
Then he bit, and her forever truly began.
'Till next time, ~Spudz