A/N: Thank yous to Team Spiderward for all you do. xx
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The NHL owns anything that sounds familiar. I'm here having fun.
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Once the sun sets at the Red Rock Canyon overlook, Dianna scans through our wedding photos briefly and nods, indicating our wedding party can return to the Strip. After a final round of goodbye licks, Scout and Shadow depart with Sage. I have no idea where I'm going with my wife and Dianna, but I really don't care. Any time with my new wife is all-good at this point.
In the low light, Dianna takes candids of us during the ride back to the city, and Bella remains awake the entire time. With our fingers linked and resting on my thigh, we trade kisses frequently. It's challenging not to let it turn into a full-on make out session, but I manage to find some restraint.
Eventually, Bella rests her head against my shoulder while I mindlessly rub the back of her hand with my thumb. The darkness gives way to the flashy neon glow to tempt visitors. I smile when our vehicle slows, pulling into our next stop—the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. With plenty of people lingering around this location, I worry Bella won't want a photo here, but that isn't the case since she bubbles with excitement at the idea.
"Look! There it is." She grins. "It's bigger than I thought it would be."
"That's what she said."
"Sorry, I couldn't resist."
"Have you ever been to the sign?"
"Yeah. When I was younger—we played in hockey tournaments nearby, and I took photos with my teammates at the time, but I'm excited for one with my newest teammate." I wink.
Her eyes sparkle when they find mine. "This teammate has a long-term contract."
"You're damn right we do—best one I've ever signed." I give her another kiss.
Once we're parked, our driver exits the limousine and opens our door. With Bella's hand in mine, we wait until other visitors finish taking photos, then Dianna waves us into place, ready to capture the moment. I lift my wife into my arms, holding her as I steal kisses from her smiling lips and spin us around.
Setting Bella on the ground, Dianna takes over for Sage, fussing over Bella's dress and train. We pose for more traditional photos with Bella nestled against me before Dianna confirms with a nod that we're done.
After departing from the sign, I spend our short ride watching Bella marvel at the glitzy lights beyond the windows of our vehicle. Realizing our next stop is the Bellagio, I share the name with her. Through Bella's laughter, my wife insists it sounds like the place was built for her based on the name alone.
With a promise to stay here in the future, we spend our waiting time trading kisses while Dianna speaks with a hotel representative. When they're ready, the woman lets us know that a member of our party has arrived and escorts us to an area near the fountains.
"They're so beautiful!" Bella says about the illuminated dancing waters.
While I suspect we're meeting with Sage, we're both surprised to find an Elvis impersonator in a sparkly white jumpsuit, black wig, and sunglasses, waiting with a guitar.
At our arrival, "Elvis" pauses playing. "Congratulations, Bella and Edward!"
We shake his offered hand. "Thank you."
He strums the recognizable notes of "Love Me Tender," then says, "I believe it's time for your first dance as . . . husband and wife."
With her hand over her chest, Bella turns to me. "We're getting a first dance?"
This explains Sage's afternoon "request," which was for me to learn the words to this song. I had no idea it would be the song for our first dance. I guessed he was hoping I would serenade Bella, but I voiced my doubts since I'm not that great of a singer. It's reassuring to know I have backup in case I forget any of the words, especially when I was focused on getting my vows right.
With my nod, I hold out my upturned palm. "May I have this dance, Doc?"
"Yes," Bella whispers, sliding her hand into mine. "All my dances are yours."
Pulling her into my embrace, she wraps her other arm around my shoulders before I kiss her lips, then hum along when the impersonator begins to sing the unhurried song.
"Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go. You have made my life complete, and I love you so."
As we sway, I sing the chorus softly. "Love me tender . . ."
"Edward." Bella gasps, looking up at me.
"Love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin', I love you, and I always will."
With tears in her eyes, she returns my smile and whispers, "I love you."
Locked in her loving gaze, I sing the next verse. "Love me tender, love me long, take me to your heart. For it's there that I belong, and we'll never part."
"Never," she agrees.
With my bent finger under her chin, I linger on her mouth, kissing her repeatedly while "Elvis" sings.
"Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin', I love you, and I always will."
I join the final verse. "Love me tender, love me dear, tell me you are mine. I'll be yours through all the years, till the end of time."
"I'm yours," she whispers.
Bella melts into my embrace, and I leave a kiss on the top of her head while the impersonator sings.
"Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin', I love you, and I always will."
As the final notes fill the air, I spin Bella away from me carefully, then back. At our dip, she reaches up guiding my lips to hers for a kiss. Returning her upright, she grins.
"That was so good, but it went by too fast. Can we do it again?"
I look over at "Elvis." "Once more?"
"You got it."
"No offense, but only my husband this time?" Bella requests.
"None taken, little darlin'." He chuckles, windmills his arm around, and points at me. "You're on your own, man."
Despite the distracting way my new bride combs her fingers through the hair at the back of my neck, I sing to her without forgetting any words. After ending it with a sweet kiss, applause from behind us gets my attention.
We've attracted a few onlookers with their phone cameras pointed in our direction, but Bella doesn't seem to notice or care. Wrapping an arm around her, I tuck Bella against my chest and turn my back to them, hoping to block their view of her.
Dianna approaches us. "I have everything I was hoping to capture. I think we should move to our next location."
"Okay," we agree.
"The photos are incredible. You're going to love them," Dianna shares, which widens Bella's smile.
I keep my head down and Bella close as we return to our vehicle, then depart the Bellagio.
After merging into the flow of traffic, we make slow progress along the Strip, which does nothing to dampen Bella's excitement. Turning onto another side street, I smile when I realize where we're going.
Once Bella notices the neon pink glow, my wife reveals, "This one is me."
"What do you mean?"
"You'll see," she says with a coy lift of her eyebrows. "We're supposed to enter through VIP."
After exiting our vehicle, I rest my hand on the bare skin at the small of Bella's back, guiding her toward the VIP entry door for T-Mobile Arena where Vegas plays their hockey games. Once inside, we're greeted by a building attendant.
"Bella and Edward?"
"That's right," my bride confirms.
"This way please."
The attendant nods to a man sitting behind a security desk and he lifts a phone handset, making a call.
"Do we need skates?"
Bella shakes her head. "No, I don't believe so."
Noticing the temperature drop inside the arena, I wonder. "Are you cold?"
"Not a chance. I'm a furnace these days, creating the miracle of life." She chuckles, patting her abdomen lightly. "I think I could power a small city. Wait until you see my next dress. It's for only you . . . later."
As if this one hasn't already put me on my knees.
"You're dangerous. Wait until you see my next suit." I wink, then lower my voice, "It's my birthday suit."
Bella snorts. "My favorite."
Through our shared laughter and beaming smiles, we're escorted to ice level. We arrive at one of the rink corners and music begins to play. I recognize it immediately as the theme from Spider-Man by Aerosmith. Our building attendant steps aside and waves us toward the open board doors. The lights are low and a spotlight points toward the visiting team's goal.
As we step onto the waiting black carpet into the empty arena, I look up at the scoreboard where the word "Congratulations," flashes on repeat, followed by "Edward and Bella." The next time it flashes the congratulations are for "Spider and Doc."
"This is incredible." I chuckle. "How do I get them to play this at AAC when I start?"
"I'm sure you have connections." Bella grins. "I asked Sage if we could do something here—take pictures or something. He said he would make a few calls and there would be a surprise waiting that was even better."
"Even better? How is it possible for this day to get any better?" I tease.
Bella points toward the visiting team's net. "Let's find out. They seem to be leading us there."
We walk to the goal and I notice a squeeze bottle in the holder at the back of the net. Once I remove it, the outside has several pieces of hockey tape with a handwritten message and I read it out loud, "Congratulations! A toast for Spider and Doc."
"What's in there?" Bella asks curiously.
"Probably Gatorade?" I guess. "There's one way to find out. Ready for a toast?"
"Absolutely, I'll go first."
At my nod, Bella reaches for the squeeze bottle, holding it up.
"To my husband, my favorite Spider-Man and a world-class athlete, who has been training his whole life for our wedding night. Here's to your flexibility and strength, but most importantly, your stamina. I can't wait to be stuck in your bed—I mean web later."
I laugh. "Sounds as if I should be stretching?"
She tilts her head at the sound reasoning. "It's almost game time, Spider, and you're tonight's starter."
"Oh, we've already started." I grin, then peck her lips for a quick kiss. "But I'll drink to that."
Bella squirts the liquid into my mouth with some of it leaking past my lips. She giggles. "Whoops."
Recognizing the contents immediately, I smile.
She looks at my face expectantly. "It's . . .?"
"Coconut water." I chuckle, reaching for the bottle. "Don't worry, you'll like it. My turn."
"Don't get it all over my face," Bella warns.
"I won't," I promise. "I am a professional."
"That's what worries me. You practically shower with yours while you're playing," she teases. "I've seen you."
As the siren fades, the song changes and "Hero" plays. I'm sensing what could be a Spider-Man movie soundtrack theme from the building crew.
Bella sways back and forth with the music. "I like this song."
"Me too." I hold up the bottle for my toast, thinking back to when we first met. "To my beautiful wife, you not only repaired my smile at a time of crisis, but also breathed new life into my heart while giving me a chance to be worthy of your love. I will never forget there isn't a luckier man than me—tonight, tomorrow, and every day we're together."
"Awww, your toast is all sweet and mine was . . ."
"Spicy. Exactly the way I love you." I kiss her lips. "Now, open."
Bella grins. "So, demanding."
"You haven't seen anything yet. Wait until I get you back to the suite. We'll be lucky to make it to the next dress."
"Now, that's what I'm talking about. Oh—"
With a squeeze from the bottle, she jumps slightly when the coconut water stream lands in her mouth.
"Mmmm." Bella swallows the mouthful, then smiles. "You're right. That's good. I think I need another. I'm thirsty, and I'll need a bathroom break soon."
"We'll find one without any line here." I guarantee, squirting more water into her mouth.
"Hopefully, food is in Sage's plans."
"Yes. My queasiness is long gone."
At Dianna's prompting, she snaps photos of us around the goal and a few through the netting, while the Spider-Man music continues. We move into a variety of positions, and I kiss my wife as often as possible. Dianna focuses on capturing us with the different messages on the scoreboard. When the music fades, the overhead message switches to a video and I recognize the familiar voices of play-by-play announcers calling hockey games.
"Tonight, in goal, Edward Cullen. The young goaltender drafted by the Wild two years ago and ready to put an end to the Oilers winning streak. If anyone can shut down this offense, it's him."
The clip switches to in-game play.
"A one-on-one . . . denied by Cullen! Robbed him! Another spectacular snag!"
I smile when the next game appears on the screen.
"They'll face their former teammate, Edward Cullen. His numbers as of late could pose a problem for the Ducks."
"Off the post! And he has it. Staggeringly sensational! You have got to be kidding me. How did he get that one?"
Next, I'm warming up in Madison Square Garden as the announcers speak.
"Edward Cullen gets the start tonight, and he's the biggest obstacle the Rangers will face."
"The rebound is loose—Cullen dives for it! He's got it. Another miraculous stop by Cullen!"
From Minnesota to Dallas, the video appears to be a compilation of remarkable stops and saves I've made throughout my career against a variety of teams.
"This is incredible," Bella whispers, watching from beside me.
As the video continues, we listen, and the excitement builds with each game.
"Off his skate, then his stick. Oh my goodness. How does that puck stay out? This crowd is on their feet for their goaltender tonight. They love him here, and Cullen is giving them everything in the tank."
"He has it! He has it! Lost his stick, but still stopped the puck. Oh, what a stop! Cullen makes the save. You are never going to see anything better than that. Maybe the best save all year and we're just getting started."
"It's two-on-one and Cullen snatches it out of thin air! Start the bus and turn out the lights. This one is over! A dominating performance tonight by Edward Cullen with another shutout."
When the video fades to black, my eyes search the dark screen while my throat tightens, making it challenging to speak. A short compilation of my life's work reduced to a few minutes with one moment in particular missing—winning the Stanley Cup.
"I'll give you two a minute and find out if we can get a copy of that video," Dianna suggests, then follows the narrow black carpet to where our building attendant waits.
Bella reaches out, slips her hand in mine, and gives it a supportive squeeze. "You've had an incredible career, driven by your passion and love for this sport. I believe the best chapters of your life still await, and I'm excited to know that we will experience those together."
I nod, and my eyes find hers. "I love you."
"I love you too."
"It's difficult to accept, but I may never win—" I can't finish the thought.
"And that doesn't take a single thing away from the successful career you've had. Whether you're on the ice or off, you will always be so much more than simply a hockey player. Now, you're a husband and you will be a father too." Bella's stomach growls loudly. "Oh, dear goodness. Did you hear that?"
"Yes. If we don't think about food soon, I'm going to start nibbling on you," she warns with a lick of her lips.
I grin at the thought. "I like your nibbling, but Sage probably has a special dinner planned."
Bella sighs. "What if we go off his plans and have a burger with fries somewhere? That sounds so good. Something fast, not frou-frou."
"You know, a meal with a bunch of courses and so meticulously prepared that it looks too pretty to eat while taking forever to serve. I would love a big greasy mess of something."
With a nod, I wonder what could be close by. "I think we passed a Shake Shack on our way here. It's probably close enough that we could walk or I could carry you."
"As if that won't attract attention." Bella laughs. "Will you eat a burger with me? You don't have to, but—"
"Absolutely, I will. And you need to save room for something special I have planned for you."
"So. no shake?"
"I'm not saying no shake, but . . ."
"It's chocolate isn't it? You know, I always have room for chocolate. Maybe we should do that first. Sage knows?"
"Sage knows," I confirm.
Dianna returns. "I gave them my card with my email address. They're going to send me a link to download the video. I'll forward it to you once I get it."
"Are we ready to go?" She looks between us.
"I think we want to change whatever plans Sage has for dinner. Doc's hungry now, and we're thinking of grabbing a burger nearby. Something fast."
"It's your day, we can do whatever you want, but I could eat a burger too, if you don't mind my tagging along. I'll let Sage know where to meet us. The hotel isn't far from here."
After Bella's restroom stop, our building attendant guarantees we will find Shake Shack at the corner of the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, a short walk away. Once we leave T-Mobile Arena, no one seems to pay much attention to our arrival until I hear Sage squeal.
"There you are! I was waiting—well, I can't tell you where I was waiting, but the party is here now." He glances at the sign, then teases, "What are we doing at a burger place without a hangover?"
"I'm sorry for the change, but this sounds so good, my mouth is watering," Bella explains.
"No worries, my darling. Maybe we should grab seats away from everyone. Let me order for you. I think I can do it on my phone. Anything you're wanting in particular?"
"A burger with fries—nothing fancy—and a chocolate shake," Bella replies.
"Got it." Sage scrolls through the menu. "Edward, they have a veggie burger and a non-dairy shake, if those would be better choices for you?"
I'm a little relieved at the options since fast or fried food isn't normal for me. "Thanks. Those sound great."
"Okay, I'll complete our order, then be back with your food. I can't wait to hear how your T-Mobile visit went. Did they play the Spider-Man music?"
I nod. "Yes."
"Fantastic. And don't worry about Scout and Shadow," he reassures. "The pet handler stopped by for an update on their status and took over their care. They were fed, content, and snuggled together on the couch before I left."
"Great. Thank you." I smile.
Over juicy burgers and a mountain of fries, we down chocolatey shakes while recounting our experiences at the sign, with "Elvis," and at T-Mobile. Sage listens with fascination, tearing up every now and then when Dianna shows him a glimpse of the photos she's captured along the way.
With Bella's satisfied moan and a pat to her tummy, we leave Shake Shack, rejoin our driver, and ride together to our next stop at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino.
"What are we doing here?" Bella asks, as we step into an elevator.
"My surprise for you," I reveal.
Once we arrive on the mezzanine level, Sage leads us to a restaurant called Strip House, where he speaks with the hostess, who glances at us briefly.
"Yes. I believe we're ready for your party, Mr. Turner. I just need to notify the chef of your arrival." She taps on her illuminated screen and waits for a response. "Okay, he will meet you at the table. Let me show you the way. Follow me please."
As we weave through the dark dining room with maroon accents, we approach a private dining area.
"This is so romantic," Bella whispers, then squeezes my hand, noticing the centerpiece on the table. "Look—there's a cake."
"I know." I grin, wrap my arm around her, then press a kiss against her temple.
Despite the fancy gold script of congratulations on top, a simple unassuming chocolate cake waits on a gold cake stand with white plates and forks nearby. According to Sage, this is the best chocolate cake in Las Vegas, and even though I'm not a sweets fan like my bride, I'm a little excited to try it.
The chef smiles as he joins us, offering his hand. "Congratulations, Bella and Edward."
After shaking our hands, he waves toward the cake. "Bella, at the request of your husband and on behalf of our staff, it's our honor to prepare and present you with your wedding cake during your progressive reception."
"So, that's what this is," she teases Sage.
"Shush you, and listen."
The chef continues. "This is our signature twenty-four layer decadent chocolate cake with alternating layers of chocolate cake and chocolate filling, then topped with a layer of semisweet chocolate ganache. Perfect for any chocolate lover, which I understand you are. I hope it meets your approval."
"That's definitely me. Thank you. It looks incredible." Her eyes light up. "I bet it tastes even better."
"We have a cake knife and server, if you would like to do the honors or I can prepare the slices, whichever you prefer. Then I'll box the remainder for you to take with you," he offers.
"Hallelujah!" Bella happy dances. "I'm eating chocolate cake for breakfast. I love Las Vegas."
My wife looks up at me. "How about we cut at least one slice for ourselves and take a few photos?"
"You know, I'm game for anything you want to do," I agree.
At her nod, we carefully cut a slice from the cake together, then Bella and I share forkfuls.
Her eyes close, as she savors her bite. "Mmmm. That is pure bliss."
With a nod, I finish mine. "It's good."
"Edward, it's not simply good—it's heavenly," my wife corrects with a dreamy sigh.
A server arrives at our table with a cocktail menu. "Can I get drinks for anyone?"
"Could I get a water, please?" Bella requests.
"Make it two," I agree, pulling out the chair for my wife to sit, then settle next to her.
Sage joins us, then reaches for the menu. "I'll try the Blowin' Smoke. Di, do you want anything?"
Dianna looks up from her camera, then sets it aside. "I'll have a glass of Cabernet."
Once the server walks away, the chef takes over, cutting slices of cake for Dianna and Sage while I continue feeding Bella small bites from our shared plate.
With our slice almost gone, Bella leans back in her seat, shifting from side to side, trying to get comfortable. "Maybe I need to get up and move around. My back is feeling it."
"We could walk around the hotel a little. Check out the casino and other areas," I suggest, as our server returns with everyone's drinks.
"That's a good idea." Bella agrees, taking a long drink of water from her glass.
After a sip of his drink, Sage nods. "Don't worry about us. Go roam and enjoy yourselves. We have additional plans, but there is plenty of time to spend some of it here. We'll bring your cake and meet you in the lobby in an hour?"
I finish a quick sip of my water. "Okay."
We thank everyone as we exit the restaurant, then move toward the elevator. Another man dressed all in black and wearing a black fedora joins us, waiting for its arrival.
He glances our way, then smirks. "First time in Vegas?"
Bella grins. "Yes for me, but not for my husband."
"I see. Elope?"
She nods. "What gave us away?"
"Your clothing. You're a beautiful bride—radiant. My congratulations to you both."
I smile. "Thanks."
The elevator doors open and Bella enters first. I reach down to adjust her train, moving it out of the way before we step inside.
"Have you had a chance to do any gambling yet?" he asks.
As the doors close, she shakes her head. "No. We probably won't."
"That's a shame, especially when you have a few chips tucked behind your ear."
Reaching out to Bella's ear, he turns his hand to reveal two green chips, prompting a stunned Bella to giggle.
"Edward." She looks up at me. "Are those real?"
The man nods, handing her the chips. "You can play them at any table. Should I check your other ear?"
Bella snorts. "Okay."
He produces two more chips, adding them to the ones in her hand.
"You can't leave without placing at least one bet. Your first one is on me—consider it a wedding present. Good luck."
"Thank you." My wife grins.
Once the doors open, the man exits the elevator, disappearing into the crowd near the slot machines.
Bella turns to me. "Holy shit. Did you see that? Drive-by magic. How much is it?"
I chuckle. "Green chips are usually twenty-five dollars each."
"Some magician-stranger just gave me a hundred bucks? Holy smokes. I need to play these. I'm feeling lucky."
"What do you want to play?" Looking around, I suggest, "Poker?"
"No, how about something easy. Roulette?"
"Let's go." I spot a table nearby. "Do you know how to play?"
"I played with Deedee at casino night."
Once we arrive at the table, the dealer nods. "Place your bets."
Bella contemplates the possibilities: even or odd, black or red, and the two ranges of numbers before placing two chips on black.
Watching others place their beats, she blows out a steady breath, then rubs her hands together. "Come on, black."
While we're waiting, I get an odd feeling. Maybe I'm being paranoid for Bella's sake, but it's a feeling as if we're being watched. I look up from the roulette table and scan the area, but I don't recognize anyone.
"No more bets." The dealer spins the white ball, then it falls off the wheel gradually coming to a stop in a slot. "Winner, red, fourteen."
"Shit. Can you believe that?" Bella watches the dealer remove her two chips, then she places a single chip on red. "I swear, I did much better at your casino night."
"Place your bets," he tells the others.
I smile, kissing her lips, but I can't shake that feeling when it returns. After shifting my position slightly, I do another scan of the area, and my eyes narrow on a dark-haired man seated at one of the poker tables. A blonde woman is glued to his lips, but I wait, noticing when they part he turns his head toward the roulette table. Blinking my eyes repeatedly, I wonder if I'm seeing things. Or maybe it's someone who looks like him.
Either way, I don't want to stick around and find out.
"No more bets." The dealer spins the ball, waiting patiently until it stops once again. "Winner, black, eleven."
"Can I get you a drink?" A server asks from beside me.
"I suck at this," Bella frowns, as her chip is removed.
I wave off the server. "No, we're good."
"Let me know if you need anything," the woman smiles, moving onto the others around the table.
"Ready to go?" I ask my wife.
"Place your bets."
"Let me place my last bet, then I'll be ready." With one chip remaining, Bella holds it between her fingers, contemplating the betting area. "What am I doing wrong?"
I chuckle because there really isn't any strategy to roulette. It's luck.
Pulling her bottom lip into her mouth with her teeth, she looks up at me, kisses her last chip, then boldly places it on the number thirty-five.
Fuck, I love her.
"Going all in?"
Bella grins. "You know it. How can I lose?"
With those types of comments, there's no keeping my lips from hers. I wrap an arm around her, holding her against me tightly and our mouths reunite.
"No more bets." The dealer spins the ball, while everyone at the table watches it drop into the slot and the wheel slows. "Winner, black . . ."
At the mix of groans and elated excitement echoing around the table, we break apart and Bella's brow furrows with confusion. "Um, what did he say?"
We both look at the wheel and the little white ball is resting in the winning slot of number thirty-five.
"Edward—I did it! I did it! Oh my goodness!" She watches as the dealer stacks her winning chips in front of her.
"Thank you." She turns to me. "How much is that?"
I count the chips quickly, lean close to her ear, and lower my voice, "Almost nine hundred dollars."
"Holy shit." Bella mouths before grabbing her winnings. "Let's cash out. I'm done, except for my lucky chip. I want to keep that as a souvenir. I would stick it in my bra, but I'm not wearing one."
"Doc," I plead helplessly, knowing my dick heard her reveal.
"I mean there's one sort of built into the dress, but if I tucked my lucky chip in there, it would fall right through," she explains.
"On that note, I believe it's time to call it a night." I conclude, steering her toward the cashier.
"What about Sage's other plans?"
"While I appreciate everything he's done for us today, you have a limited amount of energy, and I don't want you to overdo it by walking all over the Strip tonight."
Especially, since she's planning to return to work tomorrow after our flight home.
Bella grins. "You want me to overdo it with you."
Leaning close, I place a kiss on her neck, prompting her giggles.
"It's getting late, and I want to spend the remaining time we have left with my wife. Alone." I lift my eyebrows up and down suggestively.
"And naked," Bella adds.
With a smirk, I confirm, "The magician's tricks are nothing compared to how I will be making your dress disappear. This one or the next."
"You have a few tricks up your sleeve?"
I nod, then wink. "And tattoos."
Her sexy grin widens. "Those will do it."