Monday afternoon. I was dressed at three and on the way to my car. Rose and Keith had already left from school and were going to Rose's gym. Rose had vowed to teach him jujitsu. I had made a mental note to get ice packs ready for him when they came home. Thursday was their last day, they couldn't wait. Edward had went...I have no idea. But the fact that he didn't see me off to work made me pouty. Immature? I know. But hey, I'm still seventeen.
I swung into my usual parking space with ease, grabbed my purse, and locked the doors. "Hello Clair," I greeted, as I walked past our secretary. She was getting on in her years, almost fifty now. She gave me a nod and a pleasant smile.
Even though this job had me bored out of my mind, it was simple. I worked for the County Hospital typing in Insurance claims. On Tuesday's I apprenticed under our Medical Coder, Doris. It was simple minded work and I was in a cubicle, but it kept attention off of me. Though Edward protested and said that I didn't need to be so cautious, I didn't want to take the chance. I had to leave my last job because people were making comments about my age. It wasn't anything big as in they were suspicious, but more along the lines of jealousy among females. My ID said I was thirty-eight, and a bit of make-up helped with that image. Why did I try to hard to pass for such an old age? Because my daughter is seventeen. I couldn't go around saying I was twenty with a seventeen year old kid running around. Rose offered to say she was adopted, but I couldn't forget about Officer Greanah, who had seen me heavy and pregnant and given me my father's will.
"Bella!" Someone called. I turned. My boss, Tamera, a leggy blond with bags under eyes that were even bigger then mine, was trotting towards me as fast as her heels would allow her. "Bella, I tired to call your cell phone before you came in. I was going to tell you that you didn't need to come in today. The work load has been shifted." There was some resentment in her voice. The hospital had opened another insurance branch much like this one and was hiring college grads like crazy. A large bulk of our work load had been shifted over to them more then once. But yet when they make mistakes, we take the blows. "I've tried your cell phone but it kept going straight to voice mail. I'm sorry." I knew she was. The new jobs were forcing her to lay off people who had been working here thirty years and more. She has been under a lot of pressure lately.
"It's alright Tamera. I'll go home then."
"I'm really sorry Bella." She gave me a look that told me she really meant it. I nodded and smiled before exiting the office and heading home. Now what was I going to do?
Years ago, I wanted nothing more then to be a vampire as long as I was with Edward. I told myself it wouldn't be so bad, that I'd always be with Edward. But I had never thought about the time in between. I don't regret being a vampire, honestly. But sometimes it had me bored out of my skull. It was no wonder Edward spoke many languages and played piano. He had all the time in the world.
I had tried to pick up hobbies like sewing, cooking, and even drawing. But I simply didn't have eyes for detail, which ended my sewing and drawing careers. I was a decent cook, I had to be since my daughter ate almost constantly. But now that she didn't anymore there was no one to cook for. Maybe I should get a different job? One that has me doing something but typing different claims all day?
I pulled into the drive and walked the steps slowly. Maybe I could redecorate the house? I haven't done that since we moved back in. What if I-?
I stopped in mid-thought. There were rose petals on the floor. Who the hell put those there? I strained my ears to hear sound, and resisted the urge to call out for Edward. It was stuff like that that got girls in the movies killed. I slipped off my heels and crept along the path. It led up the stairs and into my room.
Before I opened my door, I got the picture of Edward laying naked on my bed with a rose in his mouth. I fought the giggles fiercely. Now was not the time to be thinking of such things. Another giggle attack.
When I had myself under control I pushed open my door. The petals led to my bed which held no naked Edward. Poo.
"Who...?" I asked no one. It was a silly question. I already knew who had done this, and the note on my pillow was even more proof. I recognized Edward's neat script anywhere.
We haven't been out in a while. How about we go out tonight?
Rose will pick you up at seven. The house has been cleaned, all chores taken care of accordingly.
Take the time to relax.
I love you.
I smiled. I wonder how much bribing he had to give Rose to do the house chores. Oh well, at least they were done. I had about three hours before Rose get here.
What was I going to wear tonight then? I started to go through my closet. He didn't say where we were going, which worried me the most. Edward and his surprises...
Wait, the note said Rose would pick me up at seven...I usually don't get home from work on Mondays until nine. That means Edward know I was going to be sent home, which means either he planned it or Alice told him. Sneaky vampire.
I ran an extra hot bath and soaked. Even though my muscles don't cramp and get sore, it still felt good to be warm. By the time I got out, my cheeks were flushed. That usually happened instead of me just getting pruney. Oh well, I prefer looking like a tomato to a raisin any day.
I picked through my closet again. In the end I came up with black slacks, a white blouse, and slip on heels. I gave my hair a good combing and was ready fifteen minutes early.
Rose came through the door at seven on the dot, all smiles. Her hair was out and tamed with the help of Rosalie's mousse. Even though the mousse does work for quite some time, Rose still only wore her hair out for special occasions only. She had on jeans and a button-up dress shirt with dressy low heels that I recognized as Alice's. I had worn them before.
"Rose, where are we-"
"Na-ah!" She said with a smile. "I'm not telling. Come on or we'll be late." I gave her a glare much like her own and followed her out anyway.
Now I remember why I always drove when going places with Rose. She drove like a maniac. We were coming close to 110 miles per hour on the 101. I knew I should have gotten her that Oldsmobile instead of a Mazda.
We ended up in Port Angeles in forty minutes instead of the usual hour. She parked on the street and got out, leaving me to follow suit.
"This way Ma'dam," she said with a fake French accent. I smiled. We linked arm and arm and walked down the boarded side-walk of Part Angles.
It had been a long time that I had came to this side of Port Angeles. This side was clear of shops that had clothes and food more appealing to the younger crowd. Even when I had come over here it had been by accident while looking for Alice.
Rose took me over to a building in which I'm sure the paint was supposed to look like it was chipping away. I didn't get to look at it for very long. I was too busy looking at the man standing in front of the theater. Edward smiled at me then looked at Rose. She blinked, and her facial expression changed just a bit. I'm sure they were talking mentally. It didn't bother me as much as I thought it would before.
"Bella." He said my name oh-so-softly, but it felt like he screamed it. I could hear his voice anywhere, through anything. I knew if all else failed, he wouldn't. I could always count on him to be there, by my side, forever. The thought made me smile brightly.
"Thank you, Rose," he said, looking at her. Something in his eyes made me think that that thank you was more then just a courtesy one. Rose gave him an off-handed shrug and a smile that told she was embarrassed by the attention. Edward pulled her into a one armed hug anyway, which had her looking very uncomfortable more from embarrassment then anything. She always had to play the tough girl.
"I'll see you at home," I smiled, and kissed her forehead. She nodded and left. I turned to Edward. "So, what's this all about? Hm?" He smiled and took my arm.
"You'll see." He led me into the theater and flashed tickets to the doorman. We went in through the entrance and further into the back rows. I could understand the need. The lights and sounds were rather harsh on us.
It wasn't long until the curtains were drawn. A man came out, dressed in a old English costume that twinkled with gold. The audience clapped. He silenced them by raising his hands and spoke in a clear voice.
"Two households, both alike in dignity; In fair Verona, where we lay our scene; From ancient grudge break new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean." I clutched Edward's arm to me. Did he really...was this...I felt like a school girl. "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes; A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misaventur'd piteous overthrows," I began to whisper the rest along with the an softly, unable to help myself.
"Do with their death bury their parents strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, and continuace of their parents' rage, which but their childrens' end, nought could remove, is now the two hours traffick of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, what here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend."
The curtain fell again and the audience clapped. I think I clapped the hardest of all. "I take it you like it?" Edward whispered. I didn't trust myself to say something without screaming. So I pulled him into a passionate kiss. It was cut short because the curtain went up again, but I think I got my point through.
"I think that was the first time I ever watched Romeo and Juliet without crying," I admitted. Edward laughed.
"You would have if you could have." I nodded.
"Thank you," I smiled. I gave him a soft kiss on his cheek. He smiled.
"I don't think I'll ever get tired of your thank yous'." I let out a small laugh.
We walked together. I didn't know where we were going, I simply followed him. I didn't notice that we were going back into that restaurant...the one we had our first date in.
I think I imagined my heart skipping a beat, I'm not one hundred percent sure. He whispered something to the waiter, who nodded and smiled, and took us all the way to the back of the restaurant and into a privacy booth. Must be because we really don't plan on eating.
He sat across from me and smiled. And kept smiling...ok, this was getting weird.
"Edward what's going on?" There was laughter in my voice. He shook his head and gave me that crooked grin.
"Nothing. Bella, theres something I wanted to ask you." I nodded and gave him my full attention. But I couldn't shake the feeling that his mind was somewhere else. "Do you remember the conditions that I insisted on we keep before I changed you?"
"That we wait until after graduation," I said simply.
"And the other?" I racked my brain. I believe that had been the only condition.
Marry me first...
I almost gasped with the memory. He had said to marry him first. But when we planned the change without the wedding I figured he was kidding.
"Marry you first," I whispered. He nodded. My mouth opened just a bit, the corners tight. I wasn't sure to smile or say something witty. I didn't want to get my hopes up.
"Well, we didn't meet those conditions. And I want to make that right." He reached inside his leather jacket and pulled out a black velvet box.
"Edward I'm not dressed for this," I insisted. He simply laughed.
"It doesn't matter Bella. I knew you'd be jumpy so I didn't want to make it too formal." I bit my lip and looked at my hands in my lap. Was he really doing this? Was he going to propose to me? I felt jittery. "Bella," I looked up. "do you love me?"
"Yes," I whispered without hesitation. I started to bit my lip again. He reached forward and brushed my lip with the pad of his thumb, a smear of blood on his finger. I stopped biting my lip.
"Will you marry me?"
"Yes!" The word flew from my mouth. I knew I was grinning like an idiot, but I couldn't help it. I stood from the table, moved the his side of the booth, and kissed him fully. I knew my blood was still on my lips.
"Let's go home," he insisted after a moment. It was a good thing too. I would have jumped his bones right there if he hadn't said something. But I was sure he wouldn't have minded.
"No no, what are you doing? Those go on the front rows of the Bride's side not the table!" I laughed quietly. Rosalie had been snapping at Emmett all morning so far. Of course Emmett claims that he was only there to move boxes and do the heavy work, Rosalie put him to work anyway. I didn't mind. The two of them have had way more weddings then any of us could count. If anyone could organize a wedding, it was Rosalie. I just wasn't sure if she understood that I meant I wanted it a small wedding.
We had the chairs set up just for looks. The only people attending were all the Cullens, Jacob, and Keith. A fairly small list if you ask me, but I really didn't mind. I longed to invite my mother. I wanted to see her, to embrace her and tell her that I was okay. But once Charlie had died and no one could find me my mother took to traveling with Phillip. I did look in the sports section of the newspaper from time to time, trying to find his team name. Last summer I had caught a glimpse of her on the front page. She was definetly aging, the lines deep on her face. What would she do if I saw her and looked only half my age? Maybe it was just the wedding jitters or something, but I wanted my mother to be here, I really did.
Edward did the next best thing without me even asking. He went into my photo album and found a really nice picture of my mother. He copied it digitally and framed it. She now she was smiling in the front row of chairs outside, right next to my father's picture. I would have included Philip, but I didn't have a picture of him and a stick figure to the best of my drawing abilities. I told myself he was here in spirit instead.
"In here Rose!" Rose came storming into the room. Her silken dress a deep gold that matched her heels. A diamond necklace sat between her breasts and a bracelet on her wrist. Her hair had been straightened and put up into a messy bun so she wasn't sitting on it half the night. Her face, which had been so grumpy a moment ago, softened just a bit.
"What are you doing?" She asked. Her balance didn't falter on Edward's fluffy carpet with her heels. She joined me at the window that made up the back of Edward's room and overlooked the processions with me.
"Just thinking," I said. She gave me a sideways glance.
"I know you wanted Sarah, Fernando, and Alan to be here Mom, but you know they can't. Not unless we tell them." I nodded. It was a conversation we had last night. "Come on, you need to get ready." She took me down the stairs and through Rosalie's room into the one place I always feared to go. "Come on Mom," Rose grunted, tugging on my arm. "If I had to get trapped in here for prom then so do you for your own wedding! Besides, Alice promised to go light on you!"
"That doesn't make me feel better," I muttered. I allowed myself to get dragged into the bathroom anyways where Alice sat with palettes of neutral tones.
My hair was done first, half up and half down. Pieces had been curled and a bit of silver glitter added. A light pink blush was applied to my cheeks over a golden foundation. A golden powder brush that doubled as a glitter applicator was brushed over my shoulders and chest. Like I needed glitter added when they sun was out today.
Alice and Rose helped me into my dress. Not that I needed two people, but I let the two of them fuss anyway. My mind had been blank today...at least until Rosalie knocked on the door and said that we needed to get into our places. Then the nerves that I had been avoiding all day finally kicked in full gear.
"Alice," I whispered as we stepped to the back door of the kitchen.
"Yea?" She was my flower girl and bride's maid, dressed in the same dress Rose had on.
"I'm nervous." She turned to me, a big smile on her face.
"Good, that means it's going to be a good wedding then." When I gave her a puzzled look, she added, "I've been married God knows how many times and I still get nervous every time. It's apart of getting married."
I could hear the piano starting and almost wanted to hum along the tune. The doors opened and Alice walked through, all smiles, while dropping white, red, and champagne colored flower petals. How they got tan petals, I'd like to know. Jasper had met her as soon as she exited the kitchen, walking her down the isle like I'm sure they had done so many times before.
A white cloth isle had been laid down, and red, tan, and white flowers sat on either side of the isle. There were about fifteen chairs on either side of the isle, completely for show. Jacob and Keith sat on the left side of the isle, while Carlisle, Emmett, Esme, and Rosalie sat on the right. Edward was standing on the altar next to the minister, his face as nervous as I felt.
Alice had completed her walk; it had seemed so short. She gave Edward a reassuring smile looked my way, beaming. I resisted the urge to giggle. Boy did that isle look long.
I caught a glimpse of Edward looking my way. I could see the muscle in his jaw twitching and wanted to smile. Then he looked up, making eye contact with me, and I found myself walking the isle with ease. I knew I was grinning like an idiot, I honestly didn't care. He was all that mattered at the moment, he was my world.
Before I knew it I was standing not two feet away from him in front of the Minister. I glanced behind him and Jasper at Rose, who was sitting at Edward's grand piano which they somehow managed to move outside. She was biting her lip, smiling. She then gave me a big thumbs up with both hands, making me giggle. My daughter was such a dork sometimes.
The Charge was a blur. I wasn't sure if Edward was paying attention either. The Minister talked and talked. Thank goodness what ever he asked us was answered by Edward first, or I wouldn't have known to speak at all.
"You may now exchange your vows." My heart was in my throat at that point. I wasn't sure I could speak.
"Bella. From when I met you I knew you were...special. I tried to run from you, thinking someone was playing a dirty trick on me. But they haven't. Your here, you have been here, and hopefully will always be here. Sometimes I don't think I deserve you, sometimes I think I've damned you. But everyday you give me the love that lights up my skies on the darkest of nights. I love you, Bella, and I thank you for being here, with me, supporting me and encouraging me to live. Thank you, so much."
I almost forgot my vows at that point. He gave me an encouraging smile, silently reminding me that I was supposed to talk now. I swallowed and looked into his eyes.
"Edward, from the first moment I saw you the first thing I thought of was how beautiful you are. And as I got to know you I realized that you were beautiful on the inside as well. In my eyes, you are perfect, no matter what you think of yourself. We were parted for a while, but that didn't waiver anything I felt about you. You've been an excellent father to our beautiful daughter, and have had nothing but patience even in our toughest times. I look forward to spending my life with you, all of my life, because you gave it to me. It's not a curse, but a gift that will allow me to stay with you for all eternity. So, you'll just have to put up with me." I added with a giggle. He chuckled as well, his eyes shining with love. He lifted my left hand, smiling at me.
"Bella, with this ring I take thee, to have and to hold till death do us part." He slipped a ring on my finger. He hadn't let me see it no matter how much I asked him over the past six months. Now I see why, he knew I would complain.
The band was platinum with three diamonds set into it, the middle one was the biggest. It must have cost thousands!
"Edward, with this ring I take thee, to have and to hold till death do us part." I slipped his ring on. Alice had helped me to pick it out. It was simple. The band was silver with the diamonds embedded into the band.
"I now give you Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen. You may now kiss the bride." We locked lips. I think it was supposed to be slow and sweet, and chaste. But ours turned fiery and passionate very quickly.
Everyone stood and applauded, making us break our kiss. We smiled as Esme started to take pictures. I glanced at the two seats closest to the isle, next to the ones Jacob and Keith had. In one was a picture of Charlie, he face smiling and bright. Next to him was my mother, sitting down and posing for the camera in a dark blue dress.
I love you both, I said to myself. If only they could be here.
The only food we had bothered to get was a cake. It wasn't a very big one. Baked goods such as a cake didn't bother our stomachs much as a plate of pasta would. With an exception of Keith and Jacob, everyone picked the frosting off their pieces.
As we sat at the round table next to the alter, Minister long gone, Rose stood and cleared her throat. She smiled at me and Edward before looking around the rest of the table.
"First off, I want to say congratulations Mom and Dad, and it's about time." There were some giggles. "No, seriously. We all know that you guys deserve each other, I'm proof of that." She smiled proudly. "Anyway, I have a gift for the both of you." She walked over to the piano and lifted the bench seat. I glanced at Keith, but he was looking just as intently at Rose as the rest of us. Oh boy Rose, what have you come up with this time?
She came back over to the table with her hands behind her back. She paused for a dramatic moment and then pulled out two halves of a stone, a large one. It glittered a beautiful lavender color.
"After our little...escapade in Italy, Keith had found this and brought it to me even though we were on not-so-good terms with each other. And even though he was gone, I kept it with me no matter where I went. The night I had gotten ambushed outside my gym, it saved my life. When I was ambushed, a blow was struck to my heart with enough force that it could have killed me. If this stone hadn't been there, I would have died that day, long before I was ready to, and I would not have returned as a vampire." My gut twisted at the thought.
"This stone...it is a blessing to me. It's simple, but it's a blessing. It reminds me of who I once was. I was a mere human, born in February, in a field of wild flowers not to far from here. And now I'm a vampire with a loving family, a loving boyfriend, and a loving father. And I just want to say thank you. You've made Mom so happy in the times I couldn't, and I know I can depend on you when I'm not there to help her out." She gave me a smile. She took one half of the stone in both hands and closed her eyes. Waves of heat could be seen only for a moment before flames burst from her hands.
All was quiet except for the dull roar of the flames in Rose's hands. It stayed that way for almost five minutes before the flames died out and we could see the stone. It was now a striking molten gold. There were gasps among the table as Rose put it down on an unused plate to cool.
"I present this to the two of you for three different reasons. The first, is because of Edward. We've come a long way, a really long way as far as our relationship goes. And despite what we went through, you never lost your patience, or given up on me. Your my father, my dad, my close friend. You mean a lot to me, and I'm glad you do. I love you Dad." I glanced at Edward. He was staring at her, his crooked grin in place. She gave him one of her own and the resemblance was uncanny between the two.
"Mom?" I turned to her. She swallowed, looked down at her entwined hands, and then looked back up at me with a nervous smile. "Where do I start? For a long time all we had was each other, and we were content. We knew we were missing someone, but we were still content. I can't ever think of a time you weren't there. From my first day of school, to my first jujitsu lesson, to my competitions, to my death. You were there, unwavering. And even though I hate to admit it, I know that at times I wasn't there for you. To busy wallowing in my own guilt to pay attention to you. I want to say I'm sorry for that. But I thank you for always being there for me without questions, and for always supporting me. For always treating me like I was...well, a person. Not a halfling or a ill-tempered teen. I want to give this to you to represent your my happiness for you. I know topaz is your favorite color, and I'm glad that you found that out or else I wouldn't be here. I love you Mom."
Oh my baby...
"And I present this to both of you to represent your love. This color is what brought the two of you together. I love you guys, and I could never be happier for the two of you. Thank you." She moved around her chair and gave us hugs individually.
"My baby, I love you too," I whispered to her.
"I know Mom," she whispered back.
"Dad, come on, give them back!"
I looked up from the TV screen to see my husband shoot past the living room and out the front door, our daughter close on his heels. I sighed and shook my head. It wasn't until I heard the thump of feet on the roof that I decided to break up the fight before they killed each other. A year of living together and they were already trying to kill each other.
"Edward, what did you do?" I asked in a calm tone, knowing they would hear me even outside.
"He took my car keys, again." I chuckled.
"Edward!" I called. He came into the room with an innocent look on his face. "Give them back."
He presented them and dropped them into her open hand. She stuck her tongue out at him and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
"I'm going to Keith's, I should be back by dinner time." I nodded and waved her off. With one last raspberry to her father she left out the door.
"How many times are you going to do that? She's going whether you like it or not." We plopped down into the love seat together, snuggling close.
"I know, but that doesn't mean I have to like it."
"You don't trust her to stay out of trouble?" I teased.
"No, I just don't trust trouble not to find her." I chuckled. The topaz on the mantle piece glittered from where we sat. Behind it was a picture we had taken of all of us. On one side or the topaz was a picture of Edward and I, and the other a picture of Keith and Rose.
"It's college Edward, you've been there plenty of times."
"But when I went I knew how to stay clear of trouble."
"Keith is going with her. You think he'll let anything happen to her?" He fidgeted. "The answer is, 'No Bella, I trust Keith to make sure Rose doesn't do anything rash'." He chuckled and pulled me closer, looking at the mantle. "You never know. Soon, it could be Rose's wedding we are in next. Think your ready to give her away yet?" He smiled.
"Never." I smiled and kissed him slowly. And here was my happy ending.
Yup guys, that's it. I'm so sorry it's so late, and it's not even my best chapter either. I've had a fever of about 105 for the last three days and I've been feeling like crap. I could swear forces are against me with this story.
Most people chose option 4. I respect that, I don't have a choice but to. I want to say thank you though, to all of those who have been here since Chapter 1. You guys are awesome and I probably couldn't have kept writing if it wasn't for your reviews.
I'm not sure exactly how a Christan wedding goes, but I hope that was right. I haven't been to many Christan weddings myself.
As far as the stone scene, that actually does happen. Topaz (or Citrine) is a rare stone. So most golden Topaz you see now is simply Amethyst that has been "Heat Treated" (aka burned at a temperature between 870 and 1,040 degrees). I'm not sure how long it needs to be burned for, I couldn't find that out. But I hope everyone understood what Rose was trying to say to both her parents.
Thank you guys so much!