Disclaimer: I do not own anything Twilight, nor do I own the quote at the beginning, nor do I own Montserrat.
"From this moment on all that I am and all that I am to become I give to you with a love that shall never die. I promise yours will be the only name I cry out in the night and yours will be the only eyes I look into at dawn. This and everything that is mine to give, I give to you freely for I have become yours forever."-stupid shiny volvo driver, fanfiction.net, "Becoming Whole."
I stood in Edward's bedroom with Alice. I had my eyes closed, because I did not want to see the dress any time before I absolutely had to. She was flitting around me like a butterfly, adjusting and readjusting until everything was perfect.
"Just a few more minutes, Bella," she insisted as I groaned. It seemed like she had been saying that all morning. For a psychic, she was certainly having problems determining when exactly this torture would be over.
"I thought you said that what's-his-face—"
"Perrine Bruyere," she interrupted.
"Perrine Bruyere," I corrected with a small note of disgust, "got this dress absolutely perfect, why do we need to do so much fixing now?" I finished. I didn't understand Alice's need for perfection; she said that this wedding was going to be small. I had seen the guest list; I knew it was going to be small. My dress was simple, too, there couldn't be many places where it could be moved.
"He did, Bella. But just because the dress is perfect, doesn't mean that we can't make you look perfect inside of it. Edward is going to love this," she added.
"I really don't think Edward will care what I look like. He said it himself; he doesn't care what I wear. He was ready to go off to Vegas in jeans if it meant that I would marry him." Even I was having trouble convincing myself of this; I knew that I wanted to look beautiful for him, to look like I belonged next to him. Only a few more weeks, I told myself. A few more weeks, and I could truly belong next to him. Not that anyone outside the Cullens would see me next to him for at least a year, it would be too dangerous, but I would feel better about belonging to him regardless.
Alice could detect the lack of conviction in my statement and she played off of it. "You know you don't really believe that. He loves you; you should want him to see you at your best. Especially on your…today." She knew I had trouble with the word 'wedding,' and she struggled to not use it around me.
"Okay, fine. I want to look nice for him. But it shouldn't take this long. You guys all say that I'm beautiful, and although I don't necessarily believe you, doesn't that mean that I don't need all of this?"
"I am enhancing your natural beauty," she stated. "All done! You can look now," she proclaimed.
I didn't move. I was afraid of what she could have done to me. But I knew Alice; she wouldn't try something I wouldn't like. If she had, she would've seen me throwing a fit at her to change it.
As I had my internal debate, I could feel Alice growing impatient next to me. How likely was she to force me toward the mirror when my mother or any one of my human friends could barge in here at any minute? I already knew the answer. If she needed to, she would. She would know if anyone would be coming in, and she would do it before they got here.
With a sigh, I slowly walked forward, trusting Alice to guide me around anything I could trip over, which just happened to be everything. After a very slow twenty second walk, Alice stopped me, and instructed me to open my eyes. Reluctantly, I obeyed.
I was speechless. Words could not describe what I looked like. Somehow, Alice had made me look amazing. My brilliant white dress was strapless, like my old prom dress, so I concluded that Alice must have a grudge against sleeves for some reason. Maybe she just liked my shoulders. Either was possible. At the neckline was a section of beautiful lace with deep blue beadwork. I knew that Alice had it put on special, knowing how much Edward loved that color on me, and I was very glad that she did. It was fitted along the torso with more blue beadwork on the left side. It flared out into an A-line at the hips, where it smoothly flowed down to just above the floor, with more of the beaded lace at the hem. This must be why Alice made me wear heels again; she wouldn't let me get the dress dirty on the floor. Or, knowing Alice, she had it made longer on purpose just to give me the excuse about keeping it off the floor to get me to wear the heels.
Actually, the heels weren't too bad. I wouldn't tell Alice this, in the hope that she would consider something other than heels for the next formal occasion. It was a futile attempt, but I had to try anyway.
The shoes had heels just thicker than the average stiletto, for which I was grateful. They had a thin strap around the ankle, so at least I knew the shoe wouldn't fall off. There was more fabric that went over the toes that appeared to twist, because it was thicker at the edges than when it met in the middle. There was a peep-toe, and they were a bright white to match my dress. I was surprisingly well-balanced in them, but that was most likely just the result of Alice making me where them everywhere I went for the past week.
My rose-colored nails stood out against the white satin, matching the lipstick she had caked on. My eyelashes were coated in black mascara, making them look fuller than they ever had been. The dark blue eyeliner made my brown eyes pop, just as she said it would when I had gaped at the bottle beforehand.
Rosalie had done my hair a while ago, and it was outstanding. It was pulled back loosely into a bun at the nape of my neck, curling around itself everywhere. My veil had been pinned right at the crown of my head, and it was long, reaching to my waist, with delicate embroidery around the edge. Rosalie had put a thin crystal headband just in front of the veil.
I wore dainty earrings with three crystals that hung in a line below my ear. They matched the necklace and headband as part of a set that Edward had picked out for me. The necklace was silver, and it had string of crystals in the center, with two solitary jewels on either side.
But none of these pieces of jewelry was what I liked most about my outfit.
The final touch was the necklace. My necklace. Alice had said that it wasn't appropriate to wear my charm bracelet today; that it was too casual. I had begged and pleaded with her, but she wouldn't let me wear it. But she did let me have a part of it. The charm that Edward had given me, the crystal heart, was now strung on a white-gold chain around my neck. It hung lower than the crystal necklace, which was nearly a choker. Length wasn't an issue though; my dress had a very low neckline. The heart charm was just as beautiful on the necklace as it was on my bracelet, and I knew Edward loved to see me wear it. I had gotten the charm the same night I had gotten the ring that now sat on the third finger of my left hand. Edward loved to see me wear that even more.
But there was one charm missing from my bracelet, but I didn't ask Alice for it. The small, russet-brown wolf. Jacob's charm. Edward knew how I worried about him. He didn't have to read my mind for that. It was clear on my face whenever I thought of him. He still hadn't come back, and I knew that it was entirely my fault. But there was no going back now. I couldn't change what—
"Bella," Alice began. She could see my thoughts plainly on my pained expression.
"I know, I know. No Jacob today. Just me and Edward. That is what he asked, and I am going to give it to him." And I was. Edward had asked me to keep today just about the two of us, and if he wanted me to forget Jacob today, I would find a way to do that. I would focus on tonight, when he would have to fulfill his side of our agreement. I knew he was worried, but I was excited. I loved him more than anything, and I wanted him, bad.
I looked over at Alice, who was wearing an annoyed expression, and I finally noticed her dress. I had picked out the bridesmaid dresses, but I hadn't seen Alice in hers yet.
"Holy crow! Alice, you look…wow." Her dress was deep blue, the same color of the details in my dress. The satin dress was tea-length, coming to just above her knees. It had a scoop halter neckline. It was complete with a light blue satin sash to show that she was my maid of honor.
Alice did a little twirl to show off the dress, which, unsurprisingly, looked magnificent on her petite figure.
"What do you think?" she asked.
"Its amazing, Alice."
"Thanks, Bella." She was beaming.
"It's almost time, Bella. You have ten minutes, Alice," Renée called through the barely-open door.
"You can come in, Renée, I'm just finished," Alice yelled back to her.
I could hear my mom's excited footsteps approaching me, and then her gasp. "Oh, Bella, you look beautiful! Alice, you are a genius!"
"Thanks, Mom." I could see her enthusiastic expression behind me in the mirror. I spun around to face her as the news suddenly hit me. "Ten minutes?" I asked, horrified.
"Yes, Bells. But it will be fine," she tried unsuccessfully to soothe me. I was worried. I was too young! Why was I doing this? I didn't really want to be married already! But I loved Edward. I had to marry him, to be with him forever.
This sudden wave of emotion was very overwhelming, and I began to cry. I had told myself that I didn't want to be one of those brides that cries on her wedding day, worrying her fiancé and the congregation. But I couldn't help myself, it was just too sudden. My mom and Alice rushed up to me, gently putting their arms around me and stroking my hair. I tried to calm down, but that just made me cry harder. My mother kept asking me over and over if I wanted her to send everyone home, but I insisted that I would be okay. Alice wanted to get Angela or Jessica, but I knew that they were not the people I needed.
I needed Jacob. I needed him to come home, so that I could see that he was okay. But I knew that seeing him would only make it worse, for both of us, and it would hurt Edward worse than anything I had done so far.
Renée wanted to get Edward for me, but I could see that Alice was battling herself with this decision. She thought that he should not see me in my dress until I was walking down the aisle. But she could also see that I needed someone, and that she and Renée were not the people to help.
Edward must have heard Alice and Renée's hectic thoughts, because he was suddenly outside his door.
"Bella, love, what's wrong?" I could hear the worry in his voice.
"Nothing," I mumbled. I knew he could hear me.
"Can I come in?"
"You can't see me in my dress!" Alice's personality must be rubbing off.
"Bella, if something is wrong, I want to help, and I don't care if you are in your dress. I know you are only saying that because of Alice, and I don't care what she says. May I please come in?" he asked again.
"Okay." I sniffled, trying to pull myself together for him.
The door opened a crack, and when Alice nodded towards him, he opened it all the way and rushed to my side, as fast as he could with Renée there.
"Alice, I think we should get out there," said Renée quietly. "Are you sure you are alright, honey?" she called back to me.
"It's fine, Mom. I'll be out in a minute, okay?" I said, trying to sound more enthusiastic.
As soon as I heard the door shut, I leaned into Edward and buried my face in his chest. Belatedly, I remembered that he was wearing his best tux, and I was wearing tons of makeup. Rubbing my hand under my eyes, I thankfully saw that Alice had thought to use waterproof. I pulled back a little, just to have him wrap his stone arms tighter around me and pull me over to sit on the black leather couch.
"Bella, honey, what's wrong? Do you not want to do this?" I could hear the pain in his voice as he contemplated this possibility.
"No!" I shouted, a little too loudly. I looked up to meet his anxious eyes. "I love you. I want to be with you forever. I can do this, for you."
"Bella, you don't have to do this for me. I can send everyone home if you aren't ready. I won't make you do anything that you don't want to." He looked around for a tissue.
"I know. That's why I have to do this. I know that you would never force me to, but you want this more than anything. You deserve that much. You deserve so much more. I want to give you everything I can." I took the tissue he handed me and began dabbing under my eyes.
"Are you sure? I'm really not worth it. If you don't want to be married, then that's okay. I only want you to be happy."
I waited for a minute so that I could be sure that my answer was true. "Yes, I'm sure."
He reached under my chin and gently pulled my head up to face him. He leaned down and kissed me until I was dizzy. He pulled back, always too soon, and whispered into my ear, "Then let's go to a wedding."
I laughed at the way he phrased it, only to pout when he let go of me. "I should go, Carlisle will be worried." He was at the door when he added, "And by the way, you do look lovely." He swiftly closed the door behind him, quietly chuckling at my immediate blush.
The door reopened a second later to reveal Renée, looking relieved at Edward's reassurance. She glanced at me before she hurried over to the makeshift vanity that Alice had put in the night before and grabbed a jar of gooey ivory-colored stuff. She came over to me, ready with the gooey stuff to dab it all over my cheeks. I stood up and after a minute she had coated my cheeks and was pulling me towards the door.
Just before we stepped outside the room, Renée picked up my bouquet from the desk and handed it to me. It had blue and white roses to match my dress, with shiny silver beads and springy glittering strips placed in between and on top.
As soon as I got a glimpse out of the back window-wall, I saw just how many people were here for this. The list looked a lot smaller on paper than in person.
My mother, sensing my despair, whispered soothingly, "You look beautiful, Bella, this will be wonderful." She was silent the rest of the way downstairs and to the backyard. Once we got to our destination she kissed me on the cheek and swiftly walked out to sit in the front row next to Phil and wait for the service to begin.
Charlie, who had been waiting at the edge of our loose formation, came to stand beside me.
"I know that I haven't always been there for you, Bells, but I love you, and I just want what's best for you. And if you believe that's Edward, then I wont contest you," he said slowly, looking at the grass. I knew that emotions weren't really Charlie's thing, but I appreciated the effort.
I took a deep breath, trying to steady myself. I looked out towards the flowered arch where Edward, Emmett-the best man, Jasper-the ring bearer, and Carlisle were standing, trying to identify specific places where I was most likely to trip and had to be extra careful. I looked up and caught Alice's eye and saw her silently shake with laughter. This meant that something bad was going to happen.
I looked back up to see the men standing in the front. They all looked stunning in their black tuxes, the dark contrasting well with the white of their stone skin. Edward looked the best, though, in my opinion. But I was probably biased.
The jacket of Edward's tux was longer than normal, reaching down to mid-thigh. He wore a bright white shirt under a satin black vest, with shining black shoes.
The music began. It was Edward on the piano; he had learned the songs for the wedding and had recorded them on the CD which played now.
First Angela stepped out into the aisle, followed by Rosalie and then Alice. All three of them looked stunning in their dresses. The CD switched songs, and began to play my cue. I watched as the flower girl, my cousin, walked out in her satin and chiffon embroidered dress, throwing dark blue flower petals on the light blue and white monogram aisle runner. When she was about a third of the way to the front, Charlie and I walked out together, everyone standing and facing us. More like facing me. I swallowed loudly, and tried to keep my balance without being too obvious about staring at the floor.
Charlie had managed to keep me upright until the last few feet. I suppose I got excited about standing next to Edward, when I forgot to watch my feet and began to walk faster. The rug that was placed as a pathway somehow folded beneath my feet and I fell forward. Edward was faster than the gravity, and with Charlie's unnecessary help, he managed to straighten me, somehow keeping the human charade intact. I suppose he had a lot of practice at that, a hundred years gives one a lot of time to perfect these things. Edward escorted me the rest of the way to the arch, something I did not regret Charlie allowing him to do.
We stood together in front of Carlisle, with his newly obtained clerical license, and waited for him to begin. I had to avoid Edward's gaze and keep my focus so that I could be sure to respond at all the right times.
Carlisle began after everyone was done discussing my fall and the CD had been turned off. "Dearly beloved, we gather here today to celebrate the love that Edward and Isabella have for one other."
In my attempt at avoiding looking at Edward I thought about all the people that had come. I had known that Renée and Phil would be here, that much was inevitable. As was Charlie and the rest of Forks' tiny police force, who was replaced for the day by part of a neighboring town's department. I had known that Seth and Mrs. Clearwater would be here, Seth and Edward had become quite good friends recently. Many of my friends from Forks High also came, including Jess and Mike, Angela and Ben, Eric, and even Tyler, who dragged Lauren along.
My Aunt Karen and Uncle Jerry had come from Raleigh, along with my grandpa from Boston. Aunt Janet and Uncle Dave had come too, with their sons Billy and Aaron, and their daughter Melissa, from Minneapolis. There were also several cousins and aunts and uncles that I vaguely remembered from old family get-togethers whose names I forgot. All-in-all, it was a relatively small group, according to Alice at least; I thought that fifty people had been a little much.
I came out of my reverie just in time to hear Carlisle say, "If anyone has any objections, speak now or forever hold your peace." I held my breath, half expecting Charlie or Renée to protest, or even Jake to burst in around the side of the house. Edward must have seen my worried expression, because his thumb began rubbing soothing circles on the back of my hand. I looked down at our hands and was hit by the realization of how right our togetherness felt.
"Isabella," I turned at the sound of my name, "do you take Edward as your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, until death do you part?" Carlisle asked me.
I allowed myself a brief glance at Edward, who was beaming spectacularly at my response, as if he hadn't been sure of it until now.
"Edward," he looked away from me for the first time, "do you take Isabella as your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, until death do you part?" Carlisle repeated.
He looked back at me, waiting for a moment until he caught my eye. "I do," he murmured.
Despite the fact that I was thoroughly dazzled by his point, I was myself enough to mouth the words 'I love you.' He gave my hands a gentle squeeze before he broke away from our stare and faced Carlisle again.
"Jasper," Carlisle called, "May I have the rings?" Jasper stepped forward and handed him a small black velvet box. Carlisle opened it and handed my ring to Edward and gave Edward's to me.
"Edward, place this ring on Isabella's finger and say, 'With this ring, I thee wed.'"
Edward carefully picked up my ring as I took off the engagement ring he had given me two months ago. I held my ring in my right hand as he gently slid the dainty diamond ring onto my third finger and said, "With this ring, I thee wed," just as instructed. I was about to put my other ring back on when his long, quick fingers beat me to it and he put it on in front of the new ring for me. He gently stroked my left hand twice before he turned back to Carlisle.
"Isabella, take Edward's ring and place it on his finger and say, 'With this ring, I thee wed.'"
I did exactly as he said, placing Edward's matching ring on his finger, and I looked up to Edward to see him smiling his heart-stopping smile.
Edward intertwined his fingers with mine as we both faced Carlisle.
"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
And with that, Edward reached around my waist with one arm and lifted my chin with the other. He bent down to press his hard lips against mine.
This was no ordinary kiss. There was a new wave of passion and exuberance that had never been there before. A sense of rightfulness washed over me as he pulled me closer to him with every passing second. He pulled away to whisper in my ear, "I love you."
As his hand moved away from my cheek, I saw his gorgeous smile, and I answered with one of my own.
We turned to face the small crowd as they applauded. Edward's strong arm on my back guided me around towards the side of the big white house. As soon as we were out of view, he swept me into his arms and carried me all the way to our meadow.
He slowed to a walk as we were approaching. When we emerged from the trees, I saw that there was a blanket lying on the ground in the center. There were candles at each corner and rose petals thrown on top of it and all around. Edward must have slipped out and set it up this morning while Alice was dressing me.
Edward gently set me down in the center and lied down next to me. He pulled me tightly against his chest and I rested my head on the blanket next to his. He kissed me until I was dizzy, at which point he rolled over so that he lay on his back and I was on top of him.
"Marrying me wasn't so bad, was it?" he asked sarcastically.
"Best day so far," I replied.
Edward kissed me again, rolling back over so that he hovered over me. He broke off and we were both breathing raggedly.
"I love you," he whispered breathlessly into my ear.
"I know," I replied.
He chuckled softly and rolled over so that we were lying next to each other on our backs.
"We should probably go back; they will miss us for the reception."
"Ugh. Reception," I groaned as I sat up.
"Best day, remember?" he said mockingly, also sitting up.
"Yeah. But a reception? Why did Alice have to do this to me?"
"She did it for you. For us. Now we have to get back or Charlie will call the new Forks police crew." Edward stood up.
I also stood. "But you know, we really don't have to leave just yet. Alice will have things to keep them occupied for a little while."
"Hmm, I suppose not," he said with a smile as he bent down to press his lips under my ear. "So what shall we do until then?" he asked.
"Well, I see that you have provided this very nice, soft blanket here. Perhaps we could have a little preview of tonight," I suggested.
"Bella," he cautioned as he pulled away to look at me. "Not now. Later. I promise."
He saw the pout on my face and gently kissed it away.
"You know how I hate to see you unhappy. Please? I promise you, tonight."
I grabbed his hand and pulled him over to the blanket. We sat down together and he wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me close. I rested my cheek against his shoulder and he buried his face in my hair, breathing in my scent.
I don't know how long we sat there, but I was thinking about later. Belatedly, it occurred to me that we were leaving for our honeymoon soon after the reception was over, and I still didn't know where we were going. Edward had planned it, and he had refused to tell me. I hadn't been too curious in the beginning, but recently the anxiousness had been so overwhelming that I even found myself searching his room for plane tickets. I hadn't found any; he was fabulous at hiding things that he didn't want me to see.
I turned my head to ask for what seemed like the millionth time where we were going, but he intercepted my question with a quick kiss.
But that quick kiss suddenly turned into a much longer one, and I lost all interest in the answer to my question, mostly because I couldn't remember what it was about.
When he pulled back to let me breathe, I whispered, "I love you."
"I know," he quoted with a grin. "We should go now. I can hear Alice. She is ordering us to come back.
"Okay," I replied, still out of breath.
He lifted me into his arms, holding me tightly as he ran through the forest at dangerous speeds. As he ran, I remembered the first time Edward ran with me like this. I had been on his back, but I had not been wearing a poofy white dress. I had been so terrified that I would hit a tree that I was sick when we stopped. These reactions seemed silly to me now; traveling like this with him now seemed almost second-nature.
By the time we got back to the beautiful white mansion the whole group had gone into the house and was all seated at a few round tables in the living and dining rooms, near a kitchen full of food. This was all Alice's idea; I had voted to just send everyone home immediately afterward.
I heard the slightest rustling in the leaves behind me, and when I turned I saw Jasper. He grinned at us, giving us hearty congratulations and smacking Edward on the back, saying, "Nice job, bro."
"But, man," he continued, "there are some strong emotions in there; I had to take a break. Those humans really can't control themselves, can they? I counted at least fourteen people crying when you left. And then there were all the happy people, the people who were sad Bella would be leaving, and then you two," he finished mockingly.
"At least you didn't have to listen to yours and Alice's thoughts last night, ugh," Edward teased.
"I'm just glad you guys are leaving tonight, if you weren't, I would have to leave!" I flushed a deep red. I did not want Jasper talking about that. At least Emmett wasn't here to laugh at me. Yet.
"Hey, bro!" I heard Emmett call from behind.
"Hey, Emmett. How's it going in there?" Edward asked. Emmett had been put in charge of food distribution.
"Pretty good." He turned to me. "I don't understand how you humans can eat that stuff; it all looks disgusting to me," he told me with a hilarious look on his face; his nose scrunched up and an exaggerated frown. He looked at Edward again. "You two should get in there; they're starting to wonder what happened. Speaking of what happened…" he trailed off suggestively. I flushed an even deeper red.
"That's tonight. Right, Edward?" teased Jasper. I didn't think it was possible, but I managed to get even redder.
Edward sensed my despair. "Let's go, Bella." With that he glared at Emmett and Jasper and led me into the house as I heard their rolling laughter behind us.
As soon as we walked into the white mansion Alice pushed us back outside. Emmett and Jasper must have gone around to the side of the house, because I couldn't see them anymore.
"Where were you? We were going to do a toast, and I was going to introduce all the bridesmaids, and you guys just disappeared!" Alice was exasperated.
"Relax, Alice. Bella and I just went to the meadow for a few minutes," Edward tried to calm her down.
"It's not too late for a toast, and all the bridesmaids are still here, so what's the big deal?" I asked.
"Fine. Just go around the side of the house with Emmett and Jasper. I'll go get everyone else." She walked away angrily.
"What's wrong with her? We weren't gone that long, were we?" I asked. Her response to our short absence startled me.
"Alice is very particular. When something doesn't go her way, she gets angry," Edward explained.
Edward led me around to where Emmett and Jasper were standing. I could see that they were still having trouble holding back laughter. One glare from Edward made them stop immediately.
A minute later, we saw Rosalie and Angela walking around the side of the house, flanked by Carlisle and Alice.
"Okay, guys. I'm going to go in, and get everyone's attention, then when I call your name, just come around and walk in the back doors, then go off to the side and stand against the wall. Then when everyone's in there, Emmett, you should give a speech," Alice instructed.
"What? Why me?" Emmett asked in disbelief.
"You're the best man, that's why."
"But I don't have a speech! I don't know what to say! You never told me I'd have to give a speech," Emmett complained.
"The best man always gives a speech. Just say something about how you are so happy that Edward has found Bella and that she makes him happy and you know that they will have a great life together," Alice suggested.
"Ugh. I'll come up with something."
"Okay, everyone understand the plan?" Alice asked. We all nodded with varying levels of enthusiasm.
Alice danced towards the back door. I could soon hear the microphone go on. "You have a microphone in your house?" I asked Edward.
"Not usually. It was Alice's idea, like most of this. She wanted to make sure that everyone could hear everything she had to say." Of course. Alice wouldn't want anyone to miss anything.
"Excuse me. Can I have everyone's attention?" I heard Alice ask inside. The room fell silent.
"Thank you. I would like to now introduce to you, today's wedding party!" she began. "First we'll start with the bridesmaids. We have Angela Weber, Rosalie Hale, and myself, the maid of honor," Alice said, with a tinge of smugness. Everyone applauded as Angela and Rosalie walked into the house.
"For the groom's side, we have Jasper Hale, the ring bearer, Carlisle Cullen, performing the ceremony, and Emmett Cullen, the best man," she continued after the room had gotten quiet again, simply for the applause to start once more.
"And now, we have the happy couple themselves, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen!" she exclaimed.
Edward half-dragged me to the back door, and when we entered, the crowd started clapping again, at least twice as loud as before. Some people were even standing up. Edward snaked his arm around my waist and pulled me closer, positively beaming.
After everyone sat down and got quiet, Alice thanked everyone and handed the microphone to Emmett.
He nervously cleared his throat. "I know that being the best man and all, I am supposed to give a speech, but to be honest, I had nothing prepared. All I know, is that my brother loves Bella, and I know that she loves him just as much. If they love each other half as much as I love my Rosalie, then I know that they will last for eternity. So lets all raise our glasses in a toast to Edward and Bella. May you two have lots of laughs and lots of good memories in the many good years to come! To Bella and Edward!"
The crowd echoed his last sentiment, and we heard the sound of fifty glasses hitting wood tables simultaneously.
Everyone sat down, except for Edward and I and the huge group of people suddenly surrounding us.
"Congratulations, sweetie!" Renée cried as she gave me a hug. Phil gave Edward a pat on the shoulder, an awkward gesture, since Edward was at least eight inches taller than Phil.
It was at that point that I first noticed Renée's new dress. She had told me that she bought something new for today, but until now I had been too preoccupied to think about it. She was wearing a beautiful deep red cap-sleeve dress. It had ruching in the waist and it flowed in an A-line to her knees.
My mother was also known for her shoes. She was the only kindergarten teacher brave enough to wear anything more than a one inch heel to work. Today she wore red stilettos that matched her dress with only a thin strap behind her heel and ruched fabric with a crystal ring in the middle over her toes. It was a wonder she could walk in them at all. But I hadn't been fortunate enough to inherit my mother's gracefulness; I had too much Charlie in me.
Carlisle came to stand by us just as Charlie walked up. As soon as she saw him, Renée found an excuse for her and Phil to leave us for the moment. It had been awkward for Charlie and Renée, especially after my mother's second marriage; it was clear that Charlie had never fully gotten over her.
I had to thank Alice for getting Charlie fitted for a suit. I knew he hated to dress up, so he had no formal wear that fit him anymore. As much as he had complained about Alice's fitting sessions, it was worth it to see him in the right size tux.
"Congratulations, Bells!" he said happily. "You too, Edward." I could see the extra effort he used to be upbeat when speaking to Edward. "And you treat her right," he added. "Don't do anything stupid, or you'll have to answer to me." He tried to look severe. I knew he was remembering last September when Edward left me. But I knew that he would never leave me again.
"Yes, sir. I meant everything I said out there." Edward said, radiating sincerity.
Charlie nodded and turned to speak with Carlisle. "That was a very nice service. Where did you get that license again?" he asked.
"One of my friends from the hospital knows someone who works at the state's licensing department, and she as able to get me all the right forms and information," Carlisle explained.
"Oh," was all Charlie could say. I knew he had been hedging for information he could use to say that the marriage had been done illegally or something like that. I also knew that he would never find anything.
Charlie, looking slightly defeated, walked away to go stand with his friends from work who were complaining that there was no alcohol. Esme and Carlisle had specifically said that there would be no alcohol at the reception because both Edward and I were technically still underage.
"Bella!" I heard Angela call. "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!" I saw her running up to me, with Ben following at a slightly more reasonable pace.
Once she got to me she gave me a big hug and then put her arm around me and thrusted a camera at Ben.
"Can you take our picture?" she asked.
"Sure," Ben said hesitantly. "Um, Ang, how do you work this thing?"
"Press this," she said, leaning forward and pointing.
"Oh, okay," he said. He moved back a few feet and added, "Smile!"
I remembered that this might be the last time I saw Angela, and the thought made tears come to my eyes. I tried to hold them back until Ben snapped the picture and Angela moved away.
"Thanks, Bella! Oh, I guess I should go." She turned to see the group of people behind her, waiting for a chance to talk to me.
"Okay, Angela. But stick around. You're one of my bridesmaids, you can't leave too soon!" I tried to sound enthusiastic.
As soon as she left, the whole line moved up what seemed simultaneously. I sighed, and Edward wrapped his arm around my waist.
"Bella!" shrieked Jessica. She had been next in line to see me. She gave me a huge hug. I wondered if all of this friendliness was because of the fancy food we were offering. It was incredibly expensive, but somehow Edward had talked me into it. More like, he stared at me until my mind was completely blank, and then he asked me, and I couldn't say no. Edward had some pretty good persuasion techniques.
When Jessica pulled back, I saw a sulky Mike standing behind her. He moved around her to shake hands with Edward.
"Congratulations, man. You're lucky, she's a great girl."
"Thanks," Edward replied as Mike pulled away.
"Your hand's kind of cold, there. Are you sick or something?" Mike was clearly startled by the temperature of Edward's hand.
"Yeah, I'm coming back from a cold. I'm just glad that I got better for today." Edward was very good at coming up with excuses when he needed one.
"That would've been really bad; sick on your wedding day." Mike sounded like he in no way agreed with that, at least in Edward's case.
"So, Bella, where are you going for your honeymoon?" Jessica asked excitedly.
I sensed an opportunity. "You know, I'm not sure, Jess. Where are we going, Edward?" I wanted to see what he came up with.
"You know I can't tell you, love. Not yet." Darn those mind-reading powers. He had seen this question coming.
"Sorry, Jess. He wants it to be a surprise."
"Well, then you'll just have to call me with all of the…shareable details when you get back." She looked disappointed at not knowing. Well, too bad; it was worse for me.
"Of course, Jess." She turned and left. I saw Mike put his hand on her back to guide her, and I was glad. I knew that she had always had a thing for Mike; everyone but Mike seemed to know that. They had been on-again off-again for the past few months, and I was pleased that they were back together.
After that, I spoke briefly to the rest of my friends and various family members that I couldn't remember. Maybe Edward's abilities weren't that bad; he helped remind me who everyone was.
Once the group around us cleared, Alice announced that it was time for pictures. I had refused to let her hire a photographer, so she volunteered Jasper. Jasper stood in front of us, calling for different groups of people, parents, all the family, friends, bride's family, groom's family, all the usual pictures. When Alice had finally decided that we had enough photographs, she allowed us to sit down for the fist time that day.
Alice allowed us some time to sit and relax before she got back on the microphone and announced that it was time for the newlywed couple's first dance as husband and wife.
I had been absolutely dreading this.
Edward and I had spent some time practicing in his room during the past week, and we had just decided that I would stand on his feet as I did the time he dragged me to Junior prom.
So we walked to the center where an area had been cleared of tables and saw the lights dim. I wrapped my arms around Edwards's neck and he placed his around my waist. I tried to step onto his toes inconspicuously and then the music began playing. I hadn't known what song was going to be played; it had been Edwards's job to pick out the song, and like the honeymoon, he hadn't told me about it.
The song that played was about two lovers who were only at peace when they were together, and whose lives became unbearable when they were apart. I thought of myself as I listened to the unfamiliar lyrics, remembering how my life became desolate when Edward was gone, and how his was the same way.
When the song ended, I looked up at Edward and a single tear ran down my cheek. He brushed it away gently with his thumb and his eyes captured mine, scorching, liquid topaz. I was vaguely aware of the applause from the small crowd behind us, but I was too lost in Edward's gaze to think properly.
When he finally let go of our stare, he led me back to our table. I sat down breathlessly, preparing myself to endure the rest of the reception.
Eventually all the food was gone, and most of the people were too. All that was left was Renée and Phil, Charlie, Angela and Ben, Jessica and a sulky Mike, Seth and his mom, and of course all of the Cullens.
Charlie was the first of the remaining group to leave; being so close to Renée made him uncomfortable.
"Okay, Bells. I'm going to head out, alright? You enjoy your trip and call me when you get there, wherever that may be, just so that I know the plane landed, okay?"
"Yeah, Dad, that's fine. I'll see you in…" I trailed off, waiting for Edward to finish. I didn't even know how long we would be gone. I hadn't packed yet; Edward hadn't told me what kind of clothes to bring.
"Soon," Edward said. He still refused to give anything away.
Charlie gave me an awkward hug and shook Edward's hand. I was proud of him for the effort. I heard the sound of the cruiser's engine, not as loud as my truck had been, but not the quiet purr of the luxury cars I was now growing accustomed to.
I also thought about my new Mercedes sitting in the garage. When I brought it this morning, I was able to pull into the newly cleared parking space in the Cullens' huge garage. It would never be returning to Chief Swan's driveway. After our honeymoon, Edward and I would return here, where we would live together as a couple. I was excited about that, but I would miss Charlie. After about a week, Edward and I would go up to New Hampshire to attend Dartmouth. Or, he would attend Dartmouth, and I would sit at home--chained to something if necessary--avoiding people and waiting for my red irises to dull and the thirst to become controlled.
A few minutes later, Renée and Phil left too.
"Alright, honey. We should really get going; I want to get to out of here before it gets too much darker. This driveway is so difficult to see with all of the turns and the trees, it would be even harder at night." I knew that they should leave soon; I still had a little trouble with the winding pathway after dark, I could only imagine what it would be like for people that don't come here every day.
"Of course, mom. Thank you so much for coming. And make sure you catch your flight tomorrow morning. What time is it again?"
"It's at ten thirty-five."
"Alright." I knew I had to remind my mom what time her flight was at. She was always so scatterbrained that it was difficult for her to remember things like that, and Phil wasn't as big a help as I had hoped he would be when they first got married.
"Enjoy yourself, Bella. Your only a young newlywed once. At least, I hope you will be." A slightly unpleasant look came over her face, and I knew she was remembering her first time as a newlywed, and how that turned out.
I knew that she was not right in her statement. I would have the chance to be a young newlywed many times. Staying eighteen forever had its advantages. Like Rosalie and Emmett or Alice and Jasper, every time Edward and I were believed to have come to the proper age, we would marry again. But I knew that none of these later weddings would have so many people; by that point, none of my relatives could be invited. It would likely just be us and the Cullens. Small and simple, yet very romantic.
I pulled out of my train of thought just in time to answer her, but a beat too late.
"I will, Mom. Don't worry." And worry was exactly what she was going to do. I knew that she thought I was too young, and was afraid that history would repeat itself. But I knew that she trusted me to make the right decision for myself, and that this was it. However, she couldn't help but worry.
"Okay, Bella. And congratulations again. " She gave me one last hug. Phil also gave me a hug, but it was an awkward Charlie-like hugs. They both turned and left for the rental car that would take them back to their hotel in Port Angeles.
For the next fifteen minutes the remaining group sat on the Cullens' sofas and exchanged small-talk.
I could easily tell that Angela, Ben, Jessica and Mike were getting uncomfortable with all of the Cullens and the Clearwaters, so as soon as they found an opening they all left for Mike's Suburban, but not without hugging me and congratulating us both once again.
I could tell that Mrs. Clearwater was getting anxious. She knew all about the mythical creatures that were present, and she was not as trusting of the Cullens as her son. Seth was leaning back into the couch, perfectly at ease despite his upturned nose. He was the only werewolf that trusted the Cullens. Perhaps it had to do with the battle that Seth and Edward fought together in June.
"Seth, are you ready to go?" Mrs. Clearwater asked nervously.
"Aww, Mom, come on! I like it here, and we aren't going to be seeing Bella again for a long time. Cant we stay for just a little bit longer?" Seth pleaded.
"Well, I suppose you can, but Bella's mother makes a good point. I want to get out of here before it gets any darker; it's nearly too dark already. You can get home all right, Seth?" she verified.
Seth gave her a look like she had just asked him what two plus two equals. "Of course, Mom. I'll probably beat you home anyway," he teased.
Mrs. Clearwater wasn't in any mood for teasing. "Okay, then. I'll se you at home. Not too late though."
After that it was just Seth and the Cullens. Or, now it was Seth and us.
"So, where are you going to go on your honeymoon?" Seth asked. I really was getting tired of this unanswerable question. But we never got a chance to say anything, because just after he asked it, Edward's expression shifted from happiness to fury in less than a second.
"Damn," he muttered. As quiet as he said it, it seemed to echo throughout the room. The air seemed to get thick with unpleasant anticipation, and even though we were expecting something, the loud bang outside made us all jump a little.
Immediately, Emmett and Jasper jumped up and went outside, followed closely by Carlisle. Rosalie and Alice ran out just behind them, and Esme, Seth, Edward and I got outside last.
As soon as we got outside I could see all of the Cullens in defensive positions, and Edward moving to shield me from some threat. Once my weaker eyes adjusted, and I saw just what that threat was, I heard my sharp intake of breath, and relief flooded my system.
It was a huge, russet-brown, shaggy-furred wolf. Jacob.
I took a step forward and reached out toward him, but Edward's arm flashed out like lightning, blocking me from going any further.
Until now, I had not seen Jacob's expression. I saw now that he was angry. Ever in wolf form, I could tell that he was furious. I knew him too well.
Suddenly, I knew what was happening. It was just a guess, but all the evidence supported it.
And just as quickly as the relief came, it was pushed aside to make room for adrenaline and anger.
Jacob was here; he had crashed my wedding. How did he know when it was? I never told him, and I asked Alice not to send him an invitation. That meant either Edward or Seth.
Seth's hands were shaking, but he was able to keep himself from phasing. For a young werewolf, he was surprisingly well-controlled.
As soon as Jacob saw all of us standing there, he growled deep in his chest. He ran back into the forest, just to return in his human form.
"Damn, I'm too late." So he did know. It wasn't just a coincidence. He turned to me now. "So you really married him. I was too late," he began in a much softer tone.
My guess had been right, and I was not going to be so delicate. "What the hell are you doing here, Jacob? You're too late, for what? You wanted to stop our wedding?!" I spat these questions at him in rapid-fire succession, not giving him the chance to answer them in–between.
He seemed startled by my reaction.
"What, Jacob? You didn't think I would be mad? Did you just expect me to jump into your arms so we could run away together? Well, here's a news flash for you, I'm married now! And there's nothing you can do about it! I love Edward." My tone was becoming more sarcastic as I went on. His eyes slowly went from confused, to hurt, and back to fury.
"Well, I was hoping that maybe you would have come to your senses by now, but obviously not. Because I see that you've gone and married that thing now!" he spat angrily.
"What the hell happened to 'I'm not going to cut you in half anymore?'" I quoted bitterly. I saw him wince as memories of that last day were surely flooding back into his mind. "You don't think this is cutting me in half?" I asked, yelling now. I paused to deliberate for a second. "Maybe you are right; this isn't cutting me in half. Because there is no way in hell that I would ever choose you, Jacob, especially now. Not after this sudden reappearance. I've made my decision, and I'm not backing out on it. I don't regret it either. Not one, single, bit." I saw my words cut through him like a knife, but I was too angry now to care.
By this point, I half expected Edward or one of the other Cullens to get me away form Jacob, but they were all too stunned at my lashing-out to think that far ahead.
Jacob's anger was starting to get to him too; I could see his hands start to shake. Seth carefully took a step forward and put his hand on Jacob's forearm.
"Jacob, don't do this," he warned. Jake seemed to take no notice of him, but he managed to control the shaking.
In his eyes, I could see a snap decision being made. He took three long, deliberate strides toward where I stood next to Edward, who had put his arm down some time ago. He managed to grab my face roughly in his hands and smashed his hot, soft lips into mine before I heard Edward's deep growl and the sound of wood cracking. My eyes readjusted in time to see Jacob fly against the trees he had walked out from, the trunks bowing under his great weight, not to mention the enormous force that he had been thrown with.
With this, Edward was fully recovered from his original shock, and he was standing in front of me, fully defensive position intact.
"I tried to avoid this earlier, knowing how it would have hurt Bella for me to do this. But I can tell now that she wants this just as much as I do. And now it has just become that much more personal. You just kissed my wife. And you know what? Husbands, do not like it, when dogs," he spat the word at Jacob, "kiss their wives." His voice was low and menacing. He spoke slowly, as to make sure that Jacob fully understood every word, and the threat that rang from it.
"I had said a while ago that if you ever kissed her again without her permission that I would break your jaw for her. I don't know about you, but what she just said sounded nothing like permission to me. I don't forget promises. And that promise had neither a time limit, nor any exceptions. Well, there is this one. Perhaps I forgot to mention it at the time of original statement. Would you like to know what that exception was, Jacob?" he asked, as if he wasn't going to tell him if Jacob said no.
Jake simply growled, but it was not as threatening a sound as Edward's.
"I had decided that if you kissed my girlfriend, I would break your jaw. However, now Bella is my wife. Jaws, don't settle it, anymore." We all knew what he meant.
Jacob had gotten up by this point and was leaning against the tree looking like it hurt to stand. His whole body began to quiver in anticipation. It sickened me.
Almost immediately after Edward finished his last words, Jacob exploded in the heavy silence. I had seen him phase before, but it wasn't something that you could easily get used to. As he changed, I saw shreds of gray fabric fluttering to the ground, and I knew that it had been the pair of sweatpants that Jake had been wearing; like usual he wore no shirt or shoes.
I guttural snarl erupted from the mouth of the russet wolf, and it was soon overpowered with the sound of Edward's growl.
They began circling each other, much like what had happened with Victoria during the battle a few months ago. The only difference was that Edward circled completely around; with Victoria, he always made sure that he was closer to me than she was. However, this time, I was not the golden prize. The prize was each other.
Alice and Esme each grabbed one of my arms and pulled me back toward the white mansion.
As I turned, I saw Emmett and Jasper looking like they were ready to join in the fight. Rosalie, however, managed to pull them both back with us--although with much more difficulty than Alice and Esme were having with me--and Carlisle followed behind.
I wanted someone to help Edward. I knew that he was strong, but so was Jacob. I looked around frantically, panicking when I saw that Seth was the only one back there, and still in his human form.
I had no idea what Seth would do. Jacob was his brother, but Edward was one of his best friends. He had told me one time that he thought that what Jacob had done before the fight was wrong, and that he was sorry that it had come to that for him.
Alice saw my panicky expression as I turned toward her, and she tried to comfort me. "Bella, it will be okay. Let them fight this out. I know that Edward was furious when he heard of some of the things that Jacob did; I saw hundreds, if not thousands, of the ways he considered dealing with the situation. Few were not violent. Edward loves you, Bella, and he hates it when anyone tries to hurt you. You can imagine what he feels like when someone tries to take you."
Her words had done little to soothe me. "But you can't see them, can you. Since Jacob is a wolf, you can't know what the outcome is going to be. How can I not worry?" I asked frantically.
"Bella, look at me," she ordered, for my head had been darting around again. I slowly turned to watch her. "Edward is probably the best fighter in our group. He has stealth, speed, and strength, plus he is able to know what the other person is going to do next as soon as they know themselves."
I still wasn't any calmer. "But Jacob is so big, and he might have Seth to help him, I don't know what Seth will do." I could see that she was not going to give in and help Edward. "Can we at least go and watch to make sure that he comes out okay?" Alice studied me for a few seconds, deliberating. She must have seen the raw panic in my eyes, because she started walking towards the fight, obviously meaning for me to follow her.
I ran as quickly as I could back to where Edward and Jacob were, the rest of the Cullens easily matching my pace.
As soon as we got there, I saw Seth standing, still in human form, next to where Edward and Jacob were still circling, quicker now than before.
At the sound of our approach, Seth immediately turned and walked up to me. He tried to reach out to me, but Alice stepped in front of me, clearly not wanting him to get too close if the anger became too overwhelming and he phased near me. Seth took the hint and dropped his arm in understanding.
"Bella, I'm so sorry. I can't believe this happened! I tried to get them to stop, but it didn't appear that either of them heard me." This made sense; Edward would have been listening to Jacob's every thought, and Jacob would've been concentrating on Edward's movements, without thinking too much about his own strategy so that Edward could not hear.
"I understand, Seth. I didn't want this to happen either." I worked to keep my voice under control. "If I had known that something like this was going to happen, I would've gotten Edward to leave much sooner. But there's nothing I can do. I know how Edward has held in his fury towards Jacob…he needs this release. And right now, I really don't mind if Jacob gets a few bruises or broken bones. He has crossed the wrong line too many times." My voice got harsher as I remembered what ultimately sparked this fight.
"I feel like this is partly my fault, Bella," Seth began again, lowering his head to stare at his feet.
"What do you mean, Seth?" I asked, thoroughly confused. I had been there when it had started, and we hadn't been gone too long before now, what could have happened that Seth would blame himself for this?
"I knew this might happen," he confessed, barely above a whisper. "The last time I…phased…I heard some of Jacob's thoughts. Even though he had been…hiding his…emotions…and plans from us…he couldn't hold back everything. He had been…contemplating this…visit…and he had been expecting it to be violent, and he was looking forward to…the chance to…"end things," as I heard him think. I never thought that he would…that he could…he should have known not to…and then he kissed you like that….I'm so sorry Bella." By this time, Seth must have had the image of his black shoes embedded into his memory.
"Seth, you can't be blaming yourself for this. There was nothing we could have done differently." He looked up in surprise at my calm tone.
A thought occurred to him belatedly. "But if I hadn't been here, then Alice would have seen her vision go blank when Jacob showed up. But she couldn't see anything at all with me around," he said. He was blazingly determined to wallow in self-pity. And I was determined not to let him.
"Edward wanted you here. We wanted you here. Seth, you are Edward's only true friend outside of this family, and you mean a lot to him. And you saved my life. I will never forget that Seth, and I owe you many times over for what you did for me in the fight." At the mention of his victory in the fight last June, I saw a hint of the smug smile he wore whenever someone spoke of it.
Suddenly, I heard the growling behind Seth grow much louder and deeper, from both sides. In my forgiveness speech for Seth, I had nearly forgotten what was talking place between my husband and old best friend right in front of my eyes.
I had lost much of the rage I held now toward Jacob while I was trying to soothe Seth, and I forced myself to conjure up the memories of what happened just minutes ago, with Jacob's third forced kiss upon me in much too short a period of time. That memory, combined with flickering images from the other two assaults brought back most of my fury.
This fight reminded me much of the fight between Edward and Victoria in June. At the times that I could see Edward--he was moving much too fast for my eyes most of the time--he appeared to be using the same general techniques that I remembered he had used against Victoria.
The biggest difference was that Jacob's wolf form made it much easier to tell which spinning creature was Edward and which was Jake.
As I tried to make my eyes focus enough to make sense of some of what was happening, I saw them spinning at the most rapid pace yet, as one changed his position, the other compensated immediately, if not before, as in Edward's case.
Suddenly it seemed like a haze had been lifted, one that I didn't realize was there until it was taken away. My sight became clearer as did my hearing. I could make out individual movements and words.
"No, Jacob. I don't think that you would want to try that," Edward suggested, replying to a stray thought in Jacob's mind. Jacob responded with a stronger growl resonating deep within his throat.
"I don't think so, Jacob. He's not joining in the fight, so I wouldn't expect any assistance." Jacob had obviously been contemplating the possibility that Seth would come to help him.
I saw Edward move only an inch to the right, and he was immediately followed by Jacob, who shifted to his left. It was impossible to know whose idea it had been; Edward would have seen the thought in Jake's head and would have compensated before Jacob put his short-term plan into action.
"I'm not forfeiting, Jacob, "Edward began again. "You kissed my wife; I'm not leaving until this is over." Threat was once again implicit in his tone.
Suddenly, the Jacob-wolf lunged at Edward with speed contradictory to his massive size. However Edward knew that this leap would be coming, and he was ready. He ducked out of the way and Jacob soared over his head. Edward spun on his heels and was facing Jacob from behind. This gave him the advantage.
Edward seemingly flew toward Jacob and knocked him into the line of trees edging the forest once again, vicious growling erupting from his throat the whole time. Somehow Jacob managed to take a hit on Edward, and I saw Edward propel himself backward, but from Jacob's angle it would look like it had been the force of the blow that knocked him backward.
I knew Edward's technique well and I knew where he picked it up from. I remembered the day on the mountain when Edward and Seth were fighting Victoria and Riley. Seth had faked a shoulder injury to make Riley think he had the upper hand, and then surprising him when he was able to use his shoulder normally.
Edward was doing the same thing. He was feinting injury so that in his smugness Jacob would let down his guard just enough for Edward to come back with a supreme advantage.
He stood up slowly and crookedly, while Jacob just watched. As it appeared to him that Edward was hurt, the wolf seemed to have an air of smugness about him. It was easy to tell why. Edward was such a good actor; if I hadn't known his strategy I might have believed his actions myself.
Once Edward stood all the way up, he waited for a few seconds watching Jacob with an expression that looked pained. It seemed like hours that they were standing there, neither daring to move a muscle at they stared at each other.
As soon as Edward detected Jacob's rigid muscles becoming lax he took his advantage.
He pounced at Jacob, like a lion, like I heard he hunted. This was all this was, a hunt. Two predators, each others' prey.
Edward threw Jacob against the trees for the third time today. The huge cedar quivered with Jacob's weight and the force of impact. This time, Jacob did not get up. He just laid there, a heap of tangled fur crumpled on the ground. Edward stood a few yards away, never moving, still vigilant. I took a step forward, and when I was not pulled back by Alice or Emmett I took another.
After a few moments, Edward's rigid stance loosened and he turned to me, a gentle expression on his face. He wasn't sure about my reaction to the outcome of the fight, and neither was I.
I knew he had been expecting me to come to him, but I surprised both of us and I walked past him to Jacob.
When I was a foot from Jacob I could see that his chest was still rising and falling shallowly. He was alive.
"Jacob?" I whispered.
His eyes opened very slowly and he scanned my dress as he looked up to my face with a pained expression.
"I only kiss Edward now." I left it at that. I knew that I would miss him, but I also knew that as long as he was alive, he would never stop finding me, fighting for me. Each time I was about to make a decision he would turn up and do something that would only make everyone angry. He needed to learn when it was time to stop, to admit to his losses and move on.
Edward had come up behind me. "Yes, Jacob?" he answered a call in Jacob's mind.
"He says 'thank you,'" Edward whispered in my ear. His arms snaked around my waist as the tears began to roll down my cheeks.
"Goodbye, Jacob," I mumbled. I hoped he understood.
As if Edward could tell what I was wondering, he nodded his head and whispered, "he heard you."
I looked over at Jacob for the last time. I saw that his chest had stopped moving.
Edward guided me back toward the small crowd, never getting impatient at my snail's pace. When we reached them, I saw Alice reach out a hand to me, but she dropped it when Edward shook his head infinitesimally. Seth had tears streaking down his face.
With his arm still securely wrapped around my waist, Edward placed his other hand on Seth's shoulder. Despite the fact that I had tears running all down my face, I was surprised that Seth didn't flinch at Edward's cold touch. Their friendship really was genuine.
"Seth, I'm so sorry," Edward began. Seth didn't seem to even be mad at Edward, simply sad for his brother.
"I-I'll g-go t-t-tell Sam," Seth managed to choke out between sobs. He ran into the confinement of the trees. In a few seconds we heard a wolf howling in unmistakable pain.
I managed to keep the sobs under control until we had all gotten back into the house. Everyone stayed in the living room except Edward and I. We went upstairs to Edward's bedroom.
Once we were in his room, I went over to the black leather sofa and sat down, pulled my knees up to my chest and cried.
Edward sat on the other end of the couch, as far from me as possible. I looked up at him, wondering why he hadn't sat next to me. I could see in his eyes that he was worried that I wouldn't want him anymore after what happened with Jacob.
I scooted over to him and snuggled up next to him, crying into his shoulder. He picked me up and carried me over to the big gold bed that was still in his room for when I had sleepovers with 'Alice.'
"Bella, love," he said, his voice no more than a soft murmur, "I'm so sorry, I'm so very sorry." He kept repeating it. Eventually my sobbing quieted and my eyes dried.
I turned in his arms and looked up into his soft gold eyes. "I love you," I whispered.
"Bella, I just…Jacob, he's…." I knew that he didn't want to frame the word so soon after I had stopped crying.
I put my fingers over his mouth. "I know. And it's okay. Jacob wasn't going to give up; he wasn't going to give himself a chance at happiness. He's better off this way. And as much as I will miss him, I made my choice to marry you, and he made his choice to come here today. He knew full well what to expect, and I can't expect you to apologize or me to suffer because of his poor decisions."
Edward moved my hand from his lips and placed it gently on his cheek. "Bella, you are incredible."
I wrapped my arms around his neck and his contracted around my waist, pulling me closer to him.
"You know, it's still our wedding night…" I trailed off suggestively.
"Hmm, I suppose it is, isn't it. So smart you are, my love." His fingers ran along the ribbon that was holding my dress together in the back. Edward began to kiss me too persuasively, but this once, I was not hesitant to oblige.
We whispered each others' names when he broke the kiss, only to move his mouth down my jaw, to my neck and eventually to my shoulder. His lips moved across my chest, tracing the neckline of my dress, which suddenly seemed much too high. He smiled when he reached the middle, the lowest point on the sweetheart neckline and my heartbeat became even more erratic.
"Bella, are you sure?" he whispered raggedly into the hollow at the base of my throat.
"Yes," I managed to get out through my fast, shallow breaths. His fingers toyed with the end of the ribbon in the back. "Just do it," I added, wishing the dress was already gone.
Edward gave the first ribbon the slightest tug when I heard Alice's annoyed voice coming from downstairs; even angry, it sounded like ringing bells.
"Don't even think about it, Edward Cullen. You two have a plane to catch and if you don't leave soon you will never make it."
His mouth was suddenly still, and he lifted his face to yell back. I could see the sudden flash of frustration glinting in his eyes. "Alice…" he warned.
"You know I'm right, Edward. Those tickets cost a lot of money. Do you remember how many loop holes you had to find to get such short-notice plane tickets to-"
"Alice!" he interrupted. I wished he hadn't; I still had no idea where we were going, and I could tell both by what she had said leading up to it and the sudden way he cut her off that she was about to give away the secret.
"Fine, fine, secret, okay." She dismissed his interruption well, considering that she was Alice. "But you still need to go."
"Okay, Alice, fine." He was still angry, but when he turned his head back to look at me his eyes became liquid gold again. He sighed, his scent dazzling me momentarily. "Bella, I'm sorry, I–"
"It's okay, Edward. I understand." I tried to smile, but apparently it didn't come out right.
"At the hotel. I promise." He gave me his favorite crooked grin and I couldn't refuse, mostly because I couldn't remember what I was refusing.
Edward sat us up on the bed just as Alice walked in.
"Bella, I have something for you to wear sitting out in my room; you can go in and change. Edward, no peeking. Your suitcases are downstairs."
"I have my suitcase packed already?" I asked, not remembering packing.
"Edward had me go and pack for you last night while you two went out for dinner. He didn't want you to get any ideas about the trip by what kind of clothing you would need to bring," she explained. I scowled at Edward.
"You really didn't over-look anything did you?" I asked in blatant disbelief.
"I wanted it to be a surprise," he answered.
"But you know I don't like surprises," I countered.
"But I know that you will love this one," he stated, unrepentant. I gave up and stalked off to Alice's room, hearing low chuckles behind me at my reaction.
As soon as I got to her door, I opened it and flipped on the light. Lying across a chair in the corner was what looked to be just a pair of sweatpants and a tank-top. Well, that certainly wasn't giving anything away, except that we wouldn't be going to the arctic.
It wasn't until after I had taken off the dress and picked up the outfit that I saw what was sitting underneath it.
"Alice!" I called to her, much louder than necessary with her keen hearing.
"Is something wrong, Bella?" she asked lightly as she danced into the room.
"You tell me," I said, holding up the dark blue bra and panty set. It was lacy and very skimpy; no doubt her intentions for the hotel later.
"Don't you like them? I know Edward will," she stated, not realizing why I was upset.
"When did you get these?"
"Oh, I got these a while ago. I knew you would eventually need something like them, I had just assumed that it would be after you were changed. I never thought that Edward would agree-"
"What? You know what he said about our honeymoon?" I couldn't believe that he would tell her that.
"Of course. I saw your little discussion that night before the fight in June, remember? I can't always control what I see, Bella," she said in a tone much like one used when scolding a child.
"That makes sense, I guess. But does that mean that you've seen…later?" I asked her tentatively, not sure how to phrase the question and afraid of the answer.
"No, and I'm glad. That's much too personal, and I wouldn't want to intrude. I've usually been pretty good at blocking visions of others…in very private situations." I was relieved to hear that. I did not want anyone seeing anything about later except me and Edward.
"But why did you buy these?"
"You have to have something special for your wedding night. And Edward will love them," she said again. I knew there was no use fighting with her.
"Okay, fine Alice. I'll wear them, this once." Actually, they would be nice, for later, I just didn't usually pick anything too bright or elaborate. I preferred pastel cotton.
"I'll be outside if you need anything. Here, I'll take this," she added, reaching down to pick up my dress. "I got you a dress preservation kit. You will want to keep this, especially being the first dress."
"Thanks, Alice." She did have good ideas sometimes; I never would have thought to get a preservation kit.
She danced outside and I was left alone in the cavernous room once again. I slipped out of the lingerie she had bought to go with the dress--surprising myself by not tripping while trying to do so--and I put on the blue set. Somehow she managed to get a perfect fit. Only Alice.
I finished dressing and walked outside to find Alice standing guard in front of my door. When the door opened she spun around to look at me.
"Am I really that much of a danger magnet that I need a guard to stand by the door?" I asked sarcastically, despite the fact that what I said was probably true.
"No, I just didn't want Edward to think that he could just come in here. You two have a plane to catch, and you're running out of time to get there."
She picked me up effortlessly and ran down the stairs. We were at the bottom of both flights in less than two seconds.
At the sound of our sudden approach Edward spun around to look at us. As soon as Alice set me down I hurried over to Edward, who wrapped his arms around my waist and pressed his lips below my ear.
"I missed you," he said. "You take too long to get ready." He laughed quietly.
"Well I don't have vampire speed like some people I know…." I knew that if I added the word 'yet' it would upset his buoyant humorous mood.
I heard an exasperated sigh from Alice. "Come on you guys! Get to the airport!" Alice said. I had to admit, I was anxious to get on the plane. He would have to tell me where we were going then. The location of our honeymoon could not be kept a secret much longer. Then, there was the hotel room later….
"'Bye, Alice," Edward said. He lifted me into his arms gently and grabbed both of our large suitcases with one hand.
"Have a nice trip!" she called back.
I giggled at Edward's sudden excitement, only to be cut short when his lips wrapped themselves around mine. He walked us to car without breaking the kiss and set me down gently in the passenger side of the Volvo. The door clicked shut just as he was climbing in next to me. Before my eyes had time to readjust to the road, we were flying down the dirt pathway from the Cullens' home at speeds even more dangerous than usual.
"Did you get our suitcases in the trunk?" I asked, not knowing when he would have put them in.
He looked at me in disbelief. "Of course I got them in. You didn't think I would forget them, did you?"
"No, its just that I didn't think even you could go that fast."
"Excitement builds speed," he answered matter-of-factly, turning back to look at the road.
I felt a huge grin spread across my face. "You're really excited for this?"
He looked at me again, his eyes smoldering with sincerity. Not the forced kind he used when he wanted to have something his way, but the real kind.
"Of course, Bella. I didn't think you would even need to ask that. I get to spend uninterrupted time with the most beautiful person, inside and out, that I have ever known and ever expect to know, the most caring and trusting, warm and forgiving person, the woman I married this morning. Bella, I love you, how could I not be excited for this?"
I could feel tears filling my eyes. "I love you, Edward," I managed to whisper. I struggled to blink away the moisture.
He grabbed my hand and held it tightly on the seat between us. I looked out the window for the first time since we left the house and was startled to find that we were already half-way to Port Angeles, where we would be flying out of.
"Are you ever going to tell me where we are going?" I asked impatiently.
He flashed my favorite crooked smile as me, melting my heart once again. "Not if I can help it," he teased.
"You know, I am going to find out eventually. You can't just take me someplace and not even tell me where we are."
"Don't you trust me?" he asked jokingly.
"Of course I trust you, I'm just morbidly curious. I want to be excited too."
"You'll find out soon enough. We are nearly there anyway," he added.
"Does this car start to fly while I'm not looking out the window?" I asked, only half-kidding. "There is absolutely no way that we can really be going this fast." I looked at the speedometer and instantly regretted it, like I always do. I knew that by now I should be used to his maniacal driving, but it still came as a shock whenever I got hard-core evidence to prove that he was driving that fast. And this was even faster than his usual fast. He was well over a hundred and fifteen miles an hour.
Edward noticed my preoccupation. "You aren't honestly worried about the speed, are you?"
I swallowed loudly. "Um, no," I managed to squeak out nervously. Edward didn't believe me.
He leaned down and softly touched his lips to mine. When he pulled away, my heart crashing in my chest, I saw that the car had not moved even a centimeter from the middle of the lane.
"You're incredible," I muttered.
His arm reached around and held me by the waist and I laid my head on his shoulder and closer my eyes so that I couldn't see the trees flying by. The Volvo's ride was so smooth it barely felt like we were moving.
We stayed like that for another 20 minutes before Edward whispered "We're here, love." I hadn't realized that I'd fallen asleep.
Slightly dazed and groggy I sat up and looked around. Sure enough, the Volvo was parked in a generic underground parking complex.
By the time my eyes had refocused Edward was at my side of the car opening the door for me. I fumbled with the seatbelt and stumbled out, still slightly disoriented. Edward grabbed onto my waist keeping me securely upright, grabbing our luggage with his other hand.
We walked briskly--as briskly as I could ever walk within my safety limits--into the airport. Edward stepped up to the reception desk and showed the lady our tickets.
"Which terminal shall we go to?" Edward asked, turning on the charm.
"Um, t-terminal, three," she stammered.
"You really shouldn't do that to people. You should know better by now," I scolded Edward quietly once we were out of the woman's earshot.
"You sound like Esme." He chuckled.
"Well, maybe Esme's right," I retaliated.
"Let's not fight, love. We will have plenty of time for that after we get back."
As we neared the entrance to terminal three, I saw the immense number of security guards and policemen that were standing there.
We walked through security and our bags were searched. Edward managed to keep me away from my bag so that I still couldn't see what was in it. We passed each inspection, and to my great relief they did not ask to do any more thorough searches.
Edward and I had gotten through security just in time to hear the woman on the loudspeaker announce that the flight in terminal three was boarding. She didn't even say where the flight was going! Damn, he was good.
Edward put our suitcases onto the checked baggage conveyor belt and we walked out to the bridge between the airport and the plane. Just before we got onto the plane we handed our tickets to the man standing at the entrance. Edward handed them over quickly enough that my eyes didn't have time to find the destination. I scowled at the air.
We stepped into the plane. I had been on planes many times before, going on trips to see Charlie, and most recently my trip to Jacksonville with Edward. However, the size of this plane startled me. I hadn't expected it to be this big. The Port Angeles airport wasn't particularly large, so for it to have a jet this size was surprising.
I had been prepared to walk through the curtains into business class and continue into coach, but as I walked past what must have been our seats Edward stopped me from going to the back of the plane. First-Class. Naturally.
I chose the window seat in a feeble attempt to determine where we were going by the surroundings. But until we got past Washington it would be nothing but clouds. Although by now I half expected Edward to blindfold me.
After waiting for about fifteen minutes I heard the seal of the closing door. The intercom came on, and we were given the usual directions.
Once we had been thoroughly instructed on the mechanics of our floating seats and hanging oxygen masks, I felt the plane moving on the runway, picking up speed, and then the sudden rush as it lifted off the ground.
After about 10 minutes we were flying straight in the air and the loudspeaker came on again with the voice of an attendant telling us that it is now safe to remove our seatbelts.
I looked over at Edward. He was staring blankly at the seat of the person in front of him.
"Is something wrong?" I asked gently. He turned to face me and smiled crookedly, causing my heart to speed up.
"Nothing at all."
I waited for another minute or so while he watched my face. I turned back to look at him again.
"So are you planning on waiting to tell me where we are going until we leave there?" I inquired, only half-joking.
"Be patient, love. You'll find out in time," he said simply.
"But how much time?" I asked, getting frustrated.
"Sleep, Bella. The plane ride is going to be long, and it's late. You should get your rest." I could tell that I wasn't getting an answer now. I looked at my watch and saw that it was ten o'clock. Usually I wasn't tired by this time, but it had been a long day.
I leaned over the armrest and laid my head on Edward's stone shoulder. He moved over to make it more comfortable for me and he wrapped his arms around me. He started humming my lullaby, and I quickly drifted off to sleep.
"Passengers, please prepare for landing. Put on your seatbelts and secure any loose belongings." Click.
I sat up groggily and turned to Edward. "Are we there?"
"Nearly." He flashed his beautiful smile. "You slept through the entire flight. But you didn't miss anything exciting."
"What time is it?" I mumbled, still dazed.
"Almost six o'clock, but you've been sleeping for about four hours with the time difference," he answered gently. "We'll get off here and transfer to another flight in about fifteen minutes."
"Where are we?" I was hoping that this would give me a clue to our final destination.
He took in a deep breath, seeming to decide whether or not to tell me. "I suppose you will find out as soon as we get off, so I might as well tell you now." He paused. "We're in Atlanta."
"Are we going to get some peaches while we're here?" I asked jokingly. His quiet laughter shook the seat.
"I suppose we could probably find some, if you wanted one."
"So if we left from Port Angeles, and now we're in Atlanta, where would the logical ending destination be?" I asked myself. Edward stayed silent, probably enjoying my attempt at reasoning. "If we were going to Mexico, we would've passed through Arizona or New Mexico," I mused. "If we were headed to Europe, we would've gone through New York.
"The only other honeymoon destination I can think of would be the Caribbean." I looked up at him expectantly.
"Think what you will," was all he would say.
We got off of the plane in silence. We walked through the terminal and got our luggage. We went to sit down for the few minutes before our next flight. I grabbed my suitcase and opened it before Edward saw and stopped me. I threw the top open and pulled out a bikini top and a pair of shorts. I looked at him with my eyebrows raised.
"This certainly looks like the Caribbean," I began, hoping for him to confirm my intense suspicions.
"But, if we were going to the Caribbean, then how would you come outside? It's rarely cloudy there, and there are tons of people," I asked him. He was making this very confusing.
"Yes, Bella, we are going to the Caribbean. But don't worry, love, I have a plan for the people and the sun," he answered me. His intense eyes scrutinized my face, watching for my reaction.
"Oh, Edward!" I exclaimed, wrapping my arms around him. "I've always wanted to go to the Caribbean!" his face brightened considerably.
"I'm so glad that I picked a good spot. I was worried that you wouldn't like it," he confided.
"How could I not like it? No matter where we were going, I would still love it, because you picked it and I would be there with you." I pulled back a little. "Which island?" I asked excitedly.
He seemed to do more debating on whether or not he should tell me yet.
"Just tell me. You can't think that you're going to keep it a surprise much longer," I encouraged.
"We are going to the island of Montserrat. But only for a few minutes," he said.
"Why only for a few minutes?" I asked, thoroughly confused.
"Because as soon as we get there, we will be taking a boat. This boat will go to a small, unnamed island about thirteen miles northwest of Montserrat. Our family has had a vacation house there for many years, and I wanted to be able to share it with you. I thought that this would be the perfect time. There are no people living on this island, only undisturbed wildlife. No one knows that we have a house there. It was a difficult project, but Emmett, Jasper, Carlisle and I were able to build a small log cabin. We haven't gone there in a while; portraying students hasn't allowed us to take extended vacations," he explained.
"You helped build a house?" I asked, surprised.
"What, don't you think I could do it?" he teased.
"I just never thought of you building a house. It seems strange," I quickly explained.
"Bella, you have to remember, when the four of us were younger, that was the only way to get a house. We have all had some experience with it in the past."
"That makes sense. And it should be easy for you; you four would have experience and strength. It probably only took you two days."
"One and a half, to be exact." I rolled my eyes at him.
"Show-off." He flashed a crooked smile, momentarily stopping my heart.
"But how will I get food? If there are no other people, there can be a grocery store."
"You don't need to worry about any of that, love. I had Esme go shopping for us earlier. That house is now stocked full of everything you could possibly need."
"How long are we staying?" I asked him, hopeful that he would continue to answer my questions.
"As long as you want, love."
"But I'll want to stay forever with you. Then we would never leave," I countered.
"Then we will never leave. We will stay exactly as long as you want to," he answered, his hand stroking my hair.
I sighed and nestled my head into his shoulder. This honeymoon would be better than I thought it would. No people, simply beaches, sun, and just me and Edward, for as long as I wanted it that way.
After a few minutes Edward gently sat me upright and stood. I followed his lead. "It's time to get on the other plane, love."
"And how long will this flight be?" I asked, hoping it would be short.
"No more than an hour," he responded. I was relieved. I wasn't sure how far Montserrat was from Atlanta.
We walked through security with the same good fortune we had in Port Angeles. Getting onto the plane we sat in First-Class again, and were given the standard instructions. Right after takeoff, I pulled my ancient copy of Wuthering Heights out of my carry-on bag and started to read. The flight was not long, as Edward had predicted.
Once the plane landed, we got our luggage and left the airport. We stepped out into one of the most beautiful places I had ever imagined. It was rocky, with steep cliffs that led down to some of the prettiest beaches I had seen. The water was a pure blue, sparkling in the morning sunlight. I realized that I had unconsciously stepped forward toward the gorgeous scenery. I walked back to stand with Edward in the shade of the small building's overhang.
I looked up at him with a thousand questions in my eyes. He chose to answer the most pressing, How are you going to get to the island in al this sun?
"Do you see that cloud up there?" he asked, gesturing toward the open sky. I looked up. Sure enough, there was a lone cloud hanging faithfully in the sky.
"Yes," I answered slowly, not seeing where this was going. The cloud was much too far for it to block the sun anytime soon, if at all.
"I had Alice watching the weather before we left. She told me that there would be a strong wind coming in a few minutes, which will be just enough to blow that cloud over, blocking the sun. That will give us enough time to get to the boat. After that, we will be alone," he explained quickly, so that no one could overhear.
Sure enough, just after he finished, the cloud started moving toward the sun. After just three minutes of watching it blow across the sky it was in front of the sun, directly blocking it and throwing the island into shadow.
Edward walked quickly--for a human--so as to not waste time. He called over a taxi and we put our luggage in the trunk. Edward told the driver the address of where we needed to go, and soon we were speeding down the road.
It was a short ride, over in about five minutes. Edward handed the man a bill I didn't recognize and we stepped out into the still shaded area.
As soon as the cab pulled away I turned and saw the small boathouse and dock. Edward was already walking toward it. He moved quickly to one of the boats and began untying it.
"You own a boat, too?" I asked. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, you seem to own one of everything else." His boat was white on the top and black on the bottom with red streaks going through the middle and some kind of logo that I didn't recognize. It had bars that went overhead, presumably for water skiing.
"We actually own three boats. The other two are over there." He pointed to the western side of the docking area, but I couldn't distinguish which were the Cullens' and which were not. "When we first built the house, Emmett and Jasper decided that we could race one another in the boats. Each of us bought one, and since then it has become a tradition; every time we come down together we have boat races. Occasionally we will do water sports, like water skiing and such," he explained as he worked quickly and assuredly.
"Who usually wins?" I inquired, the initial surprise at the boat itself wearing off.
"It depends. My boat is the fastest on gentle waters. Jasper's is easiest to handle, so it wins in rough waters. Emmett's is the most aerodynamic, so it runs well in strong winds," he explained. By this time he had gotten the boat untied and pulled it over close to the shore to make it easier for me to climb in.
First he loaded out suitcases in the back of the boat. "Go ahead, Bella," he encouraged me.
I stared at the boat, deciding that I would at least attempt to get in myself. I took the necessary steps forward until I was standing next to the boat. I gently put my left foot on the bottom of the boat. I waited until it was steady before balancing my weight on the left foot and lifting my right foot to put it in.
The boat rocked severely under my weight and threatened to tip me. I fell backwards. Before I hit the water, Edward had dashed toward me and caught me. He was laughing as he carried me onto the boat with him. He set me down on one of the seats, and sat down next to me near all of the controls.
After a few seconds we were already speeding along in the water. I learned quickly that Edward drives as fast in a boat as he does in a car--maybe faster. We stayed silent for another five minutes. I was watching the sky, waiting for the cloud to move as Edward said it would, while I felt the cool mist covering my arms and face.
"Can you see that little spot on the water straight ahead?" Edward asked me. I could barely see it. I nodded my head in assent.
"That's where we are going. Turn around, and you'll see Montserrat." I looked behind us and I saw that the dock and the island had become so small that I could barely see it anymore.
Just as I was turning to face the destination island I saw the ocean brighten up and the boat reflecting the sparkle from Edward's skin.
I looked up at Edward, who was grinning at me.
"Alice was right…again," I proclaimed, smiling back at Edward. His gaze never left my face as I turned back to look out over the open waters. I saw how beautiful it had become as the sun returned. The ocean had lost all of its gray color to be replaced with a brilliant blue. The sky became a clear baby-blue and I saw a small group of seagulls flying overhead.
"It's so pretty," I murmured.
"Is it?" he asked.
"Of course it is, don't you think so?" I asked, confused, turning back to see him still staring at me.
"I'm not sure. I was looking at something, much, much more beautiful."
RR please!! What did you think?? I want your opinions. I know I've probably upset some people with what happened to Jacob, so tell me what you think!! Picture links in profile.