An: hello guys.
This is the last chapter for this story. I'll put a poll on my profile about the idea of a sequel. If you want it or no.
Thanks so much to all the reviewers and readers. Thanks to all who read, reviewed, added this story to list of favourite or alert.
Thanks so much to my wonderful Beta: Lizbre.
Thanks for all the weeks spent waiting for my updates.
I'm really proud of this story, my very first one, becuse, almost a year ago, started as a oneshot. i really had no intention of continue it. And now, here's chapter 24.
To you all.
Happy reading and thanks again.
Please review and vote.
Oh, one last thing. Benvenuta, means Welcome.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
That was the rhythm. The perpetual and constant beat of the life, of time.
That was the sound made by the ancient wall clock in the little room while Esme paced up and down the minuscule space.
Her feelings were very different and conflicted between each other: on one hand, she wanted the clock to speed up, on the other, she wanted it to stop completely.
But, as it was, and still is, commonly known, time is relative, a mere invention that serve to us, poor men, to sustain our illusion of control of everything, of an apparent order in our life. Silly dreamers.
The dress wasn't too pompous, but it still wasn't the most comfortable thing ever. She tried to choose it so as not to seem one of them… and she succeeded, up to a point. There was no way to bury evidence. It was impossible.
She closed her eyes and listened to the sounds around her. The birds, the rusting of the leaves, the laughs of children, the steps of the man. The only man beside them in the small, out of town building. The only man besides the three of them.
Who knows where Edward was at that very moment? Esme longed to know, to run out and search for him, because if she found Edward, she would find him too. But she couldn't. and she knew it. Those were the rules.
So she picked up her blue pin and put it on the jacket of her dress. It was really beautiful, something Carlisle gave her for Christmas as a present.
She then picked gently at the bracelet Edward gave to her. A simple and fine silver chord with attached a pendant, diamond heart. It was truly a masterpiece. And she put it on, gently hidden under the hem of the cuff of the jacket. She wanted the dress to fit her a little…not loosely, but softly.
Then proceeded in adjusting her hair with a comb she bought the previous day, it has a triangular shape, and decorated with wonderful pearls and crystals in various forms.
Now, she was ready. Something new, something blue, and something old.
And still, the wedding was two hours away. She sighed and sat up straight as ever, on the chair.
Pace. Pace. Step, step, step.
Up and down, up and down. Left, right, right, left.
"Please stop, you're giving me headache!" Edward hollered from his position on the chair, watching intently Carlisle's incessant pacing.
"I'm sorry Edward. I'm just so nervous. What if she has second thoughts? She wasn't so convinced with the marriage idea…what if she decide she isn't so sure anymore?" Carlisle asked himself and Edward. He was scared he would be left at the altar. And then he was nervous too.
Sure, during his centuries in this world he has seen many couple married, but he really didn't know the dynamics, the emotions. Married life was so foreign, so alien to him. He never experienced it so he really didn't know what to expect. And then, human marriages were so different. How many times a wife would reproach her husband for coming home late and drunk? How many times she would be angry because he didn't listen to her? How many times a husband would be unsatisfied because his wife wasn't beautiful or available enough for him?
The problem was that in their life, things like that will never occur.
Esme will never get old, or fat, or ugly, or despotic. Not that he would love her any less. And he won't be drunk, or irresponsible. It simply wasn't in their nature.
At the same time, though, he knew fairly well things wouldn't always go smoothly. Nobody has everything go smoothly. There's always some sort of obstacle, that stop the perfect path of life and relationships.
And then, if things go too smoothly, it always means a great pain is coming. Tragedy always strikes at the right moment.
"Please, don't be so melodramatic" Edward interjected in his internal monologue, exasperated, rolling his eyes at the ceiling, putting his head in his hands.
Carlisle stopped his pacing, his head whipping to face him "Stop?" he said, as if the word was an insult "Stop?" he repeated, looking vaguely into the emptiness.
Edward lifted his head and looked at him tentatively "Carlisle?" he asked, unsure.
"Stop" the vampire repeated, and started laughing hysterically. "Stop!" he said between intakes of air "He tells me to stop" he said. Then he stopped abruptly and turned to Edward, now serious and slightly angry "How can I stop Edward?!" he yelled.
Edward stood up from his chair, took Carlisle's arm and invited him to sit. "C'mon Carlisle. Relax. Don't worry, everything will be fine. You love Esme and she loves you. You don't have to worry about a thing." He said, trying to soothe him.
Carlisle sighed "Do you really think so Edward?" he asked, searching for comforting words.
The boy nodded firmly "Absolutely" he said. "And, since you won't stop worrying I'll leave you alone for some time, while I visit you're beautiful wife-to-be. Since, cursed traditions dictate, you can't" he said jokingly.
Carlisle smiled "Go, you that have that luck. I hate you at this moment Edward. Very much so".
Edward smiled crookedly and opened the door, never turning to face Carlisle while saying loudly "I know, my old one, I know" and with that he exited the room.
Well, the time left to wait wasn't so long.
Less than before.
Only one hour and fifty nine minutes.
There was a knock on the door that drew back Esme from her trance like state. It was getting bad.
Another knock and she realized she didn't opened the door.
She got up and started for the door while mentally asked herself "Who could possibly be?"
"Edward" the young boys voice came from the outside, bringing immediately a smile on her frowning face.
She opened the door, anxious to see a familiar and comforting face "Oh Edward !" she said and hugged him tightly.
He widened his eyes at this abrupt gesture "Oh God Esme, what's the matter?" he asked, while at the same time closing the door and rubbing her back, an attempt to calm her a little.
"I'm scared Edward" she said now sitting on his knees as if a small little child who had a nightmare "I'm so scared, and I feel so alone" she said in a small voice, that made his heart wrench. "What if this ends up exactly like my first marriage? What if we aren't meant for this? Do you know how many people lives for many years perfectly, and then they marry and Bam" she said loudly "everything falls to pieces. What if I don't love him anymore? I know it's impossible, but maybe…" she then took and sharp intake of breathe "What if he doesn't love me anymore! Oh God, Oh God!" she cried, burying her head in Edward's shoulder. Esme shouldn't feel this way, and, would it have been anyone else and another situation, he would have tried to encourage them to be strong. But he knew all she really needed was someone to reassure her of things she already knew, and simply exorcising some of her fears. And so he did so.
He tried to comfort her, even if he knew the only person she wanted, the only person capable of doing so, wasn't him, but another Cullen man. "Shh, there, there Esme. Don't worry. Everything will be alright. You two are made for each other. And if you aren't meant for marriage, then I really cannot fathom who is!" he said, his voice as velvet as possible. "Please, you have to set aside your fears and past. You were so calm yesterday, why did this suddenly change?" he asked and he immediately read the answer.
Yesterday there was Carlisle with her, his presence was enough to reassure her and calm her. He made her feel strong and capable to do anything. But now that she could not see him, or speak to him, the dark side, the bad side, the negative thoughts were taking control.
"I see" he said, and then smiled his special smile "Well, I wish he would, he could, come her to sooth you, but, unfortunately, he can't. That's tradition. And then, we wouldn't want to add to your stress and fears the one of bad luck, now, would we?" he asked laughing.
She laughed with him, leaning her forehead against his "Thanks Edward. I wouldn't know what I would do without you. Thank you. For everything." She said, sincerely.
He looked at her with his big ochre eyes, than, for once, seemed truly moved by something "It was my pleasure, Esme. You deserve this, and are both more than welcome" he said, getting up and now heading for the door.
"The babysitter is going to calm the other one now" he said jestingly to Esme, who laughed lightly.
"Go and kiss him for me" she said and added, seeing Edward's disgusted face "on the cheek" .
He nodded and, before going out of the small white room, reproached "I'll demand the same comprehension and wonderful treatment when I marry, or fall in love with someone" he said, on his face a perfect fake scold "You two, owe me huge" he said mischievously, before swiftly closing the door behind him.
She sighed, still amused at Edward.
Boys will be boys.
"Are you sure she's alright?" Carlisle asked anxiously Edward for the fifth time.
Edward slumped in his seat "Yes, Carlisle, yes!" he said exasperated by the man. He'll never marry, he promised himself, he'll never reduce himself like that. Somebody should have warned him that things change…
He rose his eyebrows "You're sure? One hundred percent sure?" he asked for the last time.
"Yes, Carlisle" Edward answered annoyed "Or I'm not a vampire anymore" he stated.
Carlisle, even if it wasn't yet convinced, decided to allow him some rest, while he started dreaming about his and Esme's new life. He couldn't wait for the celebration, and then they'll have a very special "reception" and then they'll go for their wonderful honeym--
Carlisle gasped. Honeymoon? He hadn't thought of it! Oh, God. He can't go on a honeymoon. He isn't….well…let's say…prepared,yes, prepared for an honeymoon. While Esme knows what to expect, because she's more…experienced than him. The situation was slightly embarrassing. The blushing bride is more experienced than the groom. The blushing groom. What a blow to Carlisle's ego. It was humiliating.
He didn't know what to do. And then, he couldn't ask for help, because Edward doesn't know anything about this, because he never did it either. And then he wondered, what if for vampires it was different?
"I, but that's only my humble and mere opinion, think I know more than you about this subject" Edward interceded, looking at the ceiling, relaxed on the chair, his long legs stretched before him.
Carlisle arched and eyebrow "Well, I too know the dynamics of it Edward. I'm a doctor, in case you forgot. But this is different, I-"
"But, in case you forgot" Edward interrupted sarcastically, mocking him "I can read minds Carlisle, and, believe me, women and men thinks about it very often, more often than you could imagine" he said smirking, finally looking at him "So?" he asked "Want a piece of advice?".
He was devil. Absolutely, Carlisle thought, before answering his propose.
The organ started to play the march.
She could have sworn her legs were trembling, while she walked, trying her best not to run to him, to the altar. It was pretty ironic, if you thought about it. Two vampires, with another one as best man of the groom, were getting married in a church sacred to God. The irony. Luckily, there was Edwards's arm to hold to. She didn't have a father anymore, and Edward was more than she could have asked for.
Finally, she reached Carlisle, who smiled reassuringly at her and took her hand. Edward said he was scared too, could it be so? Now he seemed perfectly at ease. But then, she reminded herself, Carlisle was one of the calmest people she ever met, he was mature, a real adult while, in comparison, she was a helpless child. And he choose her. He could have had anyone, but he waited over two hundred years, just for her.
That thought only made her surer of her decision. He won't be like Charles. Her life will be different, full of love and understanding. Sure, happiness hasn't come instantly, she had to walk and hard path, but in the end she reached it. It was all worth it.
The minister started talking and she concentrated on what he was saying, she didn't want to miss a word, she wanted to savor the moment, impress it in her mind so she would remember it forever.
The rite was sweet and beautiful, the most delicate thing she had ever witnessed, his peak the moment when she and Carlisle exchanged the fine, gold wedding bands, the most exciting, nervous, petrifying, wondrous and glorious moment in her life.
"And I pronounce you husband and wife" the grey and skinny priest said, smiling at them warmly "You may kiss the bride" he motioned to Carlisle, who proceeded to kiss Esme straight away.
They then slowly came out of the little church, where a smiling Edward started to throw rice at them "Viva gli sposi!" he shouted happily and silly.
Esme was cleaning herself from the rice and asked Carlisle, confused "What does that mean? What is he saying ?" she said, laughing, for Carlisle had given up searching the grains of rice dispersed all over his body.
"He's saying, my dear, that he's very happy for us" he laughed "Well, more or less" he continued.
"Oh" she nodded, awed, "And what language is this?" she asked.
"Italian" he answered, while sliding an arm around her waist, guiding her toward the Rolls Royce, where the driver, Edward, was waiting for them, the backseat doors open "But don't worry, wife" he grinned at the word, kissing her fully but quickly "You'll learn it without problems" he stated.
Esme giggled, excited for her new status of wife, and surprised to feel that even if this wasn't her first time as married woman, it seemed so. And that pleased her immensely, giving her the security that Carlisle was the right man for her. And then it dawned on her "Wait? Why should I learn it? And what do you mean soon?" she asked while he helped her entering the car, after hushing Edward away.
"Well, how can you go around in Italy without knowing properly the language?" he asked, a glint in his eyes.
She raised her eyebrows "Well, I don't know, but I don't plan to go in Italy soon, so why should it bother me?" she asked.
"Because" he started, taking her hand and caressing her with his lips, not closing the door of the car "We're going there now" and he kissed her palm, while Esme was awestruck. She hadn't packed anything!!
"Already done" said Edward from the front.
"I love you Carlisle" she said, looking sweetly at him, while he closed the door.
"Me too Esme. I really hope you'll enjoy our new life together." he said and Edward started the car.
"Welcome to our new life Mrs. Cullen" Carlisle announced while hugging her "Benvenuta" he translated.
And so they speed to the airport.