A/N: And do we come to the end... Thanks for being with me on this journey... See you at the bottom!
One Year Later- EPOV
"Are you sure this is what you want, Bella?" I watched her as she walked toward me a soft smile on her lips. I thanked my lucky stars that she wanted to be with me.
She straightened my tie and then wound her arms around my neck. "It is, Edward. Unless you no longer want to marry me." She winked and I growled.
"Never!" I swooped down and captured her lips in a soft kiss. "I can't wait to be married to you. I just don't want you to regret not having an actual wedding."
Her warm hand cupped my cheek. "This is what I want. This time I want it to be about us. Me, you and Zoe. This is the start of our family and so, I want it just for us. We have the party tomorrow to celebrate with family and friends."
"You're perfect, Bella!" I went back to kissing her, this time, deeper and harder.
"Momma!" Zoe's bellow interrupted us before I could take things too far. Which was a good thing as Zoe came barreling into the room.
"Momma need flowers!" She was pointing at her head and giving Bella the most adorable pout.
"I'll put them in your hair when we get there."
"No, momma, now. I be pwetty!" Zoe pouted and I stifled a laugh.
Throwing me a glare she regarded her demanding child. "Can you be careful? We don't want to ruin them."
Zoe nodded solemnly. Her deep brown eyes gazed beseechingly at Bella and I knew she would cave. It was hard to resist such adorableness.
"Fine, we can put them in now." Zoe screamed and ran back to her room and returned just as fast with the headband covered in flowers. I watched as Bella slipped it on. The colorfulness of the flowers worked well with Zoe's dark hair. It was a mixture of her parents. She had Seth's dark hair color with Bella's waves. It was the only thing the hinted at her father. Otherwise, Zoe was a mini Bella, right down to the shape of her lips.
"You look beautiful, Zoe. Are we ready to go? Our appointment is in an hour." I grabbed the diaper bag siting by the door while Bella helped Zoe into a pale pink cardigan sweater to go over her cream-colored dress.
Forty-five minutes later, we were waiting in the antechamber of the judge's office. Zoe was happily playing on her iPad while Bella talked to Carmen and her husband Garrett. We needed witnesses and we'd both agreed that Carmen would be the perfect person. It was her group that brought us together, even if the circumstances were less than happy.
The door opened, and a tall man with pale blonde hair walked in. From the black robes he was wearing, I assumed he was the judge.
"Bella Clearwater and Edward Masen I presume?" He stuck out his hand and we both shook it. I placed my arm around Bella. "I'm Judge Carlisle Cullen. Are we ready to begin?'
"Yes, your honor," I replied. He gestured for us to gather around.
"It's one of the greatest privileges for a judge to help two people or in your case, three, become a family. Do you both come here of your own free will and wish to declare yourself?"
"We do," we both replied.
"I will ask you to face each other and please say your vows. Edward, you will go first."
Turning to face Bella, I let the words come from my heart.
"When I first saw you, Bella, you were like a shining beacon of hope in some of my darkest days. Your goodness, sweetness and kindness reminded me that there was still hope, light and love in this world. Our journey to this day is not one of convention, but it allowed us to appreciate every single moment of it. We both understand the frailty and beauty that exists in life. Today, I want to pledge my love to you and Zoe. I promise to care for you, support you, honor and cherish you. I can't promise you forever, but I can promise you to love you for all of my life. You make me want to be a better man. I love you, Bella.'
Bella's warm eyes were shining with tears, but her smile was so wide, it took my breath away.
"Bella, now your vows."
She squeezed my hand.
"Edward, I was lost when I met you. A lonely soul living in darkness, consumed by sadness. But then you came into my life. Like a meteor you streaked across my world and banished the darkness. You became my friend, confidant, my lover and I can't wait for you to be my husband. I promise to love you, to live my life with you. I never knew love like this and I couldn't imagine my life without it, without you. I love you, Edward."
"Are there rings?" asked Judge Cullen.
"Yes," replied Carmen as she placed them into the judge's outstretched hand.
"Rings are a symbol of the commitment you pledged before your witnesses and each other. Please take them and place them on each other's fingers."
Taking the rings from his hand, we slid them on. I couldn't help myself, I kissed her finger as I slid her bands on.
"By the laws of the state of Minnesota, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride."
Carmen and Garrett cheered and Zoe clapped as I kissed Bella. It was just a chaste kiss, but it conveyed how happy I was and how much I loved her.
When we pulled away, we were congratulated in a flurry of hugs and pats on the back.
"I don't want to stop the celebration, but I think there is one more thing we have to do," stated Judge Cullen. He bent down by Zoe. "I have a question for you. Do you think you can answer?"
Zoe, never one to be afraid of anyone, nodded her head.
"Edward has asked me to make him your daddy. Would you like that?"
Zoe's eyes went wide. "You can do dat?"
The Judge nodded his head. "I can, but only if you want. You'll have a new last name as well."
"What name be?" asked Zoe
Bella crouched down next to Zoe and I joined her. "Now that mommy is married to Edward, mommy will have a new last name and you can have the same name as well. It will be Masen.
Zoe tilted her head. "Daddy in heaven?"
I grabbed Zoe's hand. "Yes, you will still have a daddy in heaven. I want to be your daddy here. One that you get to see every day. Would you like that?"
Her face scrunched up as she processed my question. She knew about Seth and that he was in heaven, well, as much as a three year old could comprehend heaven. For a fraction of a second I worried she would say no. I shouldn't have. Just then her face broke out in a huge smile and she threw her arms around me. "Daddy!"
Everyone chuckled while Bella joined the hug.
"I'll take that as a yes," remarked the judge as he clapped me on my shoulder. "Let's make you a dad!"
We all gathered around his desk, Zoe in my arms as the Judge went through the adoption paperwork. Both Bella and I signed our names several times. With the last stroke of my signature, the judge flipped it around so he could add his.
"Daddy, me write name?"
"You want to write your new name, Zoe?" She nodded and pointed to the adoption decree. I looked over at the judge who nodded. He slid the papers closer to me and pointed toward the bottom.
"You can write it here." He handed her a pen and she gripped it tight.
"Daddy help?" She looked up at me and my heart skipped a beat. I don't think I'd ever tire of her calling me daddy.
"Sure, pumpkin. Here we go." Slowly, we wrote Zoe Masen in all capital letters. "There you go, it says Zoe Masen."
"That me!" She clapped and we all cheered with her.
"Congratulations, you are now Edward, Bella and Zoe Masen," declared Judge Cullen.
"I love the sound of that," replied Bella with a smile.
"Me too, baby." We sealed the judge's proclamation with a kiss and a family hug. The first of many yet to come.
A/N: I want to say thank you for Elizabeth for arranging for this Last Ride of FAGE. Its been an honor to be a part of it.
To Pixie who makes my words sparkle.. even when I give her days... I don't deserve you. Don't leave me!
To Eternally Cullen- I hope I did your prompt justice and that you love this story as much as I did writing it for you. It was a privilege!
As always... much love to you, my wonderful readers... I'll be back! Leave me some love!