Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. They all belong to the amazingly talented Stephenie Meyer.
A/N: Hello all :-) As a heads up, this chapter skips ahead nine months to the following summer. Included in this final installment is something of everything: laughter, love, and of course, lemonade! I'll save the rest of my author's note for the end, but in the meantime, I give you…the epilogue.
Epilogue: What A Wonderful World
"Bella, stop squirming!"
"Well, you're pulling my hair."
Alice rolled her eyes. "Ugh, can you at least try to be a good sport?"
"No, not when there's pain involved."
"Always so stubborn," she muttered. "Well, I don't know. Just…try to think about something happy. Think about Edward."
Thinking about Edward always made me feel better when I was nervous or scared, or in this case, in pain from Alice working on my hair. But I trusted that all this discomfort was going to be worth it. It just had to be.
Today, I was getting married.
By this afternoon, I would be Bella Cullen.
Alice had woken me up early to start her work, my hair being the first item on her to-do list. From the looks of things, it was done up in some kind of complicated twist, with curly tendrils framing my face.
Thankfully, she seemed to be close to finishing, and after one last spritz of hairspray, she stepped back. "Aw, Bella, you look like a princess."
I chuckled. "Well, I had better after the torture you put me through."
"Oh, Bella," Alice said, starting to work on my makeup, "It wasn't torture and you know it."
Suddenly, the bathroom door opened, and Rosalie walked in wearing her aqua blue bridesmaid dress. "Hey, ladies! The backyard's all set for the reception, and everything's in order at the church. The boys just arrived there."
"Well, your hair did take a couple of hours to perfect," Alice explained.
"Two hours," I asked incredulously. "Are you kidding? We're never going to make it there in time!"
"Yes we will," Rosalie countered. "Your makeup will be done soon, and it'll take practically no time at all to get your dress on."
It was true. My dress wasn't very complicated. It was long and strapless, with some beading here and there—very pretty, and perfect for our wedding. We were getting married in the summer, after all.
Edward and I had decided to have the wedding on June 21st, the day after his birthday. Since his new birth certificate stated that he wasn't turning 18 until this year, legally, we had to wait. But we didn't really mind. Even if he did turn 18 earlier, it probably would have been more prudent to wait until school let out anyway. Being the only married seniors might have made us the focus of unwanted attention or criticism.
"So, Bella, are you ready to be Mrs. Edward Cullen," Rosalie asked.
I smiled. "Oh yeah. More than ready. My stomach, however, could use some convincing." At this point, the butterflies were getting out of control.
Playing along, Alice bent down so her face was level with my stomach. "Hey, Bella's belly," she shouted, giggling, "Don't be scared. Everything will be just fine."
"Shut up, creeper," I said, laughing along with her. "So Rosalie, you said that you saw Edward. How did he look?"
She reached over and squeezed my hand. "He looked so happy, Bella. And that tux…damn! If I wasn't taken..."
"Don't even think about it," I interrupted, playfully smacking her arm. But I knew Rosalie would never try anything, of course. She was marrying Emmett in just over two weeks—July 4th. Alice and I were going to be her bridesmaids, and we were so excited. There were going to be fireworks after the ceremony. And Emmett had insisted on the reception being barbecue style, very appropriate for an Independence Day wedding. Apparently, he was the king of steak and ribs as well as of all things dirty.
Before I knew it, my makeup was done and my friends were zipping me into my dress. "Guys, I can just do it myself," I stated. "Besides Alice, you've still got to put on your dress. I can't have my maid of honor running in late because she's not prepared."
She rolled her eyes. "Well, I can't have the bride getting her finger caught in the zipper. Don't you remember the last time you tried to zip up this dress?"
How could I forget? My index finger had hurt for a week afterwards.
My grimace made Alice chuckle. "That's what I thought. Now, turn around."
My dress was on in a flash, and as Rosalie helped me with my veil, Alice got changed, too.
Not five minutes later, she skipped back over to us, wearing both her dress and makeup. "Geez, how did you put all that on so fast," I asked.
"Just a special gift that I have, I guess," Alice teased. "But it's not about me. The day belongs to you, m'dear."
She began walking in a circle around me, appraising what she saw. "Alright, your dress is new, so that's all set. Your lingerie is both old and blue…"
Yup, that's right. I was wearing my trusty lingerie from Edward's and my first date. Alice had insisted that I buy something else for the occasion, but I felt more comfortable in this. Plus, it fit the blue category. Of course, I had been a little worried that it would show through my dress, but it didn't, thank god.
"So now, the only thing missing is…something borrowed!" Alice skipped over to her dresser drawer and rifled around for a moment before tossing something to me.
A garter. Super.
"That's mine, so don't lose it, ok?"
I blushed and slid it into place. "Sure, Alice. Thanks."
After that final touch, the three of us looked at my reflection in the mirror. "Bella, I don't even know what to say," Rosalie whispered. "You look…"
I turned to the side to find the source of the comment, and smiled widely at the sight of Edward's mom standing next to us. Over the last nine months, she'd become a constant presence in our lives, always there when we wanted to talk to her. And I was so glad that she decided to stop by today.
"Elizabeth," I cried, "It's great to see you!"
She leaned down and gave me a kiss on my forehead. "It's wonderful to see you, too, sweetheart. And Alice and Rosalie, how are you?"
"Oh, we're good," Alice replied excitedly. She and our other friends had gotten just as close to Elizabeth as I had, and that made me happy. "So, big day, huh?"
"I'll say." She paused briefly, then spoke again. "Hey listen, do you mind if I talk with Bella alone for a few moments?"
Rosalie shook her head. "No, not at all." She took Alice's arm and they walked towards the door. "We'll be downstairs, Bella. It was great to see you, Elizabeth."
"You, too, girls," she said, waving at them. As soon as they were out of the room, Elizabeth turned back to me. "Such sweethearts."
"I know. They're pretty cool." I let out a long breath, suddenly nervous. "So, what'd you want to talk about?"
She chuckled. "Don't worry, Bella. It's nothing bad."
"Oh, I'm not worried about what you have to say. The butterflies in my stomach are working overtime."
"Aw, honey." She put an arm around my shoulders, trying to comfort me. "It's perfectly natural to be nervous on your wedding day. I know I was."
"Yeah, I guess so."
Elizabeth took my hand and we sat on the bed. "Well, I didn't come to chat about butterflies," she said with a laugh. "I just realized that I never really thanked you."
"For bringing my son to life. Never before have I seen him so happy, so full of energy. You've just…brought out the best in him, and I'll be forever grateful for that." Her voice had begun to crack, so she took a minute to compose herself. "I'm just so happy for the two of you."
I had been trying not to cry—for fear of streaking my mascara—but I couldn't help a tear from escaping the corner of my eye. I wiped it away quickly and was pleased to see that there weren't any black smudges on my finger.
Looks like Alice had thought of everything. Thank god for waterproof mascara!
"Thank you," I whispered. "But you know, Edward brought me to life, too. Never have I met anyone so loving and decent and brilliant. I can't believe how fortunate I am to have found him." This time, it was my turn to pause and compose myself. When I looked back up at Elizabeth, she was fixing me with that same intense gaze that Edward used so frequently. "He's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me."
She nodded, and we sat in silence for a few minutes before Alice called upstairs. "Bella, Charlie's here with the limo. We've got to get a move on!"
Elizabeth chuckled and we stood up. "Well, I guess that's my cue to go. You and Edward be good to each other," she whispered, kissing the top of my head.
"We will." I stepped back and waved, smiling at her. She returned the smile, and not a moment later, she disappeared.
With one last deep breath, I exited my room and walked downstairs.
It was time for my new life to begin.
"You ready, Bells?"
I nodded hurriedly, trying to push all nervousness out of my head. Charlie and I were standing just outside the main doors of the church. And Alice and Rosalie had already completed their trips down the aisle to join the guys up at the front. Now, the only thing missing from the mix was me.
"Just don't let go of me," I said. I could not afford to be clumsy today.
He chuckled and tightened his grip on my arm. But right then, the music transitioned and the doors opened.
I surveyed the scene in front of me as we walked, blushing when I noticed everyone standing and smiling at us. However, after I scanned the crowd, I turned my attention to the front.
It was suddenly very hard to keep from running down the aisle and into Edward's arms. Rosalie was right. He looked so amazingly handsome in his tux. I just couldn't take my eyes off of him.
After what seemed like forever, we reached the altar. Charlie gave me a quick kiss on my cheek before placing my hand in Edward's. My heart immediately sped up at his touch.
"You look incredible," Edward whispered, lightly kissing my hand.
I sighed happily. "You do, too."
His mouth pulled up into that trademark crooked smile. "Thank you, love."
"Are we ready to begin?"
We both turned and looked up at the priest. "Yes, sorry," I muttered, blushing. Edward, however, looked like he was holding back a laugh. Stupid him and his distracting ways! But hey, I couldn't help it. Getting wrapped up in our own little bubble took no effort at all.
Edward and I had just decided to stick to the traditional vows. Well actually, he kind of just left that decision up to me. And I figured that we had enough to think about anyway, so why add to that list by having to write our own vows? Plus, Edward was so eloquent. He'd probably make my vows look like a joke.
"Do you, Isabella Swan, take Edward Cullen to be your husband…"
While the vows were being read, I gazed at Edward the whole time, my throat tightening as I tried to stay in control of my emotions. But I was failing miserably; I could feel my eyes welling up with tears.
Before I knew it, it was time to speak those two very important words. I drew in a shaky breath and squeezed Edward's hand. "I do."
He grinned widely at me and brought his other hand up to softly brush away the tears that had begun to run down my cheeks. I leaned into his touch, kissing the palm of his hand quickly so as not to attract too much attention.
But now, it was Edward's turn to take the vows. Just as I had done, he kept eye contact with me the whole time that they were recited, and the emotion on his face was plain to see.
This was the moment he'd been waiting 90 years for.
His eyes were sparkling with tears, but nonetheless, his voice never wavered when he spoke. "I do."
The love and devotion in his tone made me cry even more. I felt a little ridiculous, but c'mon. It was almost like a rule that you had to cry at weddings.
Thankfully, our ring exchange went very smoothly. No one dropped them or heaven forbid, forgot them. Though if anything did happen, considering my klutzy ways, it would definitely have been my fault. All I could figure was that luck was on my side today.
But before we knew it, we had reached the end of the ceremony, and the priest was going through the traditional closing remarks. "By the power vested in me by the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you husband and wife," he said, smiling. "You may kiss the bride."
Edward didn't have to be told twice.
Immediately, he wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me soundly, joy radiating from every inch of him. At the same time, everyone began cheering and clapping.
"Mrs. Cullen," Edward mused, his lips now at my ear, "I like the sound of that."
I chuckled. "Me, too. But the name's going to take some getting used to."
"Well, we have all the time in the world for that," he said, pulling me into a tight embrace.
All the time in the world.
And I couldn't be happier about it.
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen!"
Our guests cheered loudly as Edward and I walked into my backyard, and we stood there for a few moments, smiling and waving at everyone.
I had to say, Alice, Rosalie, and the others really did an amazing job decorating the backyard. All of the tables were set up with a beautiful floral arrangement of white roses in the center. The general color scheme of the reception was blue, with each of the tablecloths being a different shade of it—aqua, turquoise, sky blue, and midnight blue. The scene was complete with twinkle lights adorning the surrounding trees.
Suddenly, a persistent clinking noise began to echo around the yard. I noticed that everyone was looking at us expectantly.
I glanced, embarrassed, up at Edward, who appeared very amused by it all. "So, love, what do you say," he asked, a huge grin lighting up his face.
I rolled my eyes and chuckled. "Sure, why not?"
Before I could even register what had happened, Edward had swooped me into a dip, and his mouth was moving feverishly with mine. I could barely hear the applause from the crowd over the buzzing in my ears.
The things this guy could do…
Just as I was starting to really reciprocate, however, he had pulled me vertical again, and I groaned. "Edward, you can't just kiss me like that and then stop. Allow me to return the favor," I suggested, running my hand up and down his arm.
He laughed loudly. "Patience, Bella. You'll get your chance later on. For now, let's just enjoy the party."
Ugh, such a tease. Though admittedly, having my way with him in front of everyone probably wasn't the best idea. "Fine," I conceded. "But just you wait 'till the honeymoon, mister!"
Edward and I had mutually decided to visit London for our honeymoon. We'd both had an interest in going for quite a while, so we figured that now was as good a time as any.
"Mmm, I don't know if I can," he said huskily, nuzzling my neck.
"But you're going to have to," I replied. He frowned, and I smirked at his disappointed expression. "My, it seems as though the tables have turned."
Edward took a deep breath and wrapped an arm around me, leading me through the crowd. "C'mon, let's get seated before my self-control completely disappears," he whispered.
I've gotta say, I wouldn't have minded if he had lost all self-control. But there was a time and place for everything. And right now, we had us a wedding to celebrate.
For our first dance as husband and wife, the song choice had been easy—'Someone Like You,' of course. There was no personal serenade by Van Morrison this time, but it was still wonderful. The bouquet toss, however, was a different story. It took me four tries before I successfully threw it into the crowd. And Alice, despite being the shortest woman there, knocked several people out of the way to catch the flowers.
Edward, on the other hand, had much better luck with the garter. After he slid it off me, he shot it straight into the crowd and into Jasper's hands. Gee, what a surprise. But we all became a bit uncomfortable when Jasper slinked it onto Alice's leg. The two of them were getting into it a little too much, and Charlie actually ended up having to step in and shut down the grope fest.
Well, at least Alice didn't have to worry about not getting her garter back.
But soon enough, things mellowed out and our party began drawing to a close. Charlie stood up and cleared his throat loudly, presumably to make one last announcement.
"Can I have everyone's attention?" Immediately, everyone quieted down and turned to face him. "Thanks. So, before we wrap this up, I'd first like to thank you all for coming out and celebrating this very special occasion with us. We appreciate all your love and support." The crowd clapped in response, but fell silent again soon after. "Second of all, Bella and Edward, I'd like to present the two of you with a little something." He reached down to pick up a large manila envelope from the table, then handed it to me wordlessly.
I look up at him, puzzled, but proceeded to open the envelope anyway. Slowly, I pulled out the contents…an assortment of papers.
What kind of a wedding present is that?
I rifled through the small stack, trying to make sense of the wording. Suddenly, however, it all clicked into place, and I shook my head in disbelief. "Dad, you didn't."
Edward peered over my shoulder to get a better look, and the audible gasp he let out told me that he understood, too. "An apartment? You bought us an apartment?"
We had just planned on looking for something when we got back from the honeymoon. And since we were attending Northwestern together in the fall, we wanted to snag something close to campus. But judging from the location listed on the papers, Charlie had beaten us to it.
My dad shrugged his shoulders, probably trying to look nonchalant. "Well, yeah. It's only five minutes away from the school, so that's good. Um, it's in a safe part of town, it's got a fair amount of room…"
"Dad," I interrupted, "It sounds perfect."
He nodded briefly, his face blank. But I could tell that this was just a cover-up. His chin quivered as the emotion began breaking through his façade, and I stepped forward to give him a hug. "Thank you so much, dad," I whispered. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Bells. You're welcome." After a moment, Charlie pulled away and shook Edward's hand. "And Edward, welcome to the family."
"Thank you, sir," Edward replied, smiling triumphantly.
"Please, call me Charlie."
I couldn't stop my mouth from popping open in shock. Up until this point, my dad had been a little tough on Edward, and hadn't really encouraged Edward's use of his first name. But from what it sounded like, he had gotten past that.
To my amusement, Edward's eyes bugged in surprise at my dad's request, but he quickly recovered. "Thank you…Charlie."
"No problem," he said, giving Edward a small smile. "So, you two should probably start getting ready. You don't want to miss your flight."
Edward and I smiled at each other, and I squeezed his hand. "No, we definitely don't want that."
After all, we had a lot of sightseeing that we wanted to get started on.
And, well, let's just say that the kind of sightseeing we were interested in had nothing to do with historical landmarks.
"Mr. and Mrs. Cullen, welcome to the Chamberlain."
I had to stifle a laugh at the expression on the concierge's face. He looked to be in his 20's, and though he was smiling, he also looked like he was constipated.
"Thanks. We're excited to be here," I replied.
The concierge proceeded to chuckle nervously and fumble around with the papers on the desk, never taking his eyes off of me. "So, um, your room is on the third floor. Feel free to call down if you need anything."
"And I hope you enjoy your stay here in London."
"We will," an icy voice broke in. I turned to see Edward staring the concierge down, his eyes narrowed. At the same time, his grip on my waist tightened. "Now, if you'll excuse us, Daniel," he said, glancing at the man's nametag, "My wife and I would like to go upstairs and get settled." Then, without waiting to hear Daniel's response, Edward quickly ushered me out of the lobby and into the elevator, muttering under his breath.
"Love, what was that about," I asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
He let out a long sigh and faced me. "Did you see the way that lowlife was looking at you?"
"Um, no. He actually looked kind of jittery."
"Exactly, because he was attracted to you. The jerk had absolutely no respect for the fact that you're taken, Bella," Edward explained. "Staring at a married woman like that should be a crime."
I chuckled and wrapped my arms around his neck. "What, like how you stare at me," I teased.
He rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean."
"Yes, I know. But this isn't about 'Dan the Concierge.' I could care less about him. You, on the other hand…" I trailed off, kissing his neck again and again. "You're everything that I could ever want."
I felt a shudder ripple through Edward's body, and his hands began to wander. They traveled lower and lower until they reached my ass. Taking the next step, I jumped up into his arms and started to trail my kisses along his jaw, inching closer and closer to his mouth.
Of course, the stupid ding of the elevator interrupted our fun. Edward put me down so he could sling both of our bags over his shoulders, then took my hand and led me to our room. Thankfully, it was fairly close to the elevator, so we didn't have to walk far.
After unlocking the door and practically throwing our bags inside, Edward—in keeping with the tradition—scooped me up bridal style and carried me across the threshold.
"Why thank you, kind sir," I joked as he set me down gently.
He chuckled. "You're welcome, m'lady. So, what do you think of our room?"
It was very nice, indeed, complete with wood furnishings and red accents. "I love it. But you know what I love most about it," I asked slyly.
"This," I said, walking over and plopping down on the large bed. "So Mr. Cullen, would you be interested in trying it out?"
Edward laughed loudly and pulled me to a standing position. "Definitely, Mrs. Cullen, but perhaps later. I was actually wondering if right now, you'd like to take a bath with me. The tub is quite large, and I know I'd get very lonely if I was in there all by myself."
Like I'd say no to wet, naked Edward.
I nodded and stretched up to kiss him softly. "Yeah, I'd like that."
"Then it's a plan," he said excitedly. "So, why don't you wait out here for a few minutes? I want to get some things set up first."
"Oh, Bella, that's for me to know and you to find out." He shot me a coy smile, then traipsed into the bathroom.
What the hell? First, Edward tells me "later," then he wants to surprise me with something? Whatever, but this had better be good.
I undressed, put on one of the hotel's robes, and sat on the bed to wait. Thankfully, not a minute later, Edward emerged. He was wearing a robe, too…and that same coy smile from before.
"Come on in, love."
I walked over to take his outstretched hand, and my jaw dropped at the sight in front of me. Lining the shelves in the bathroom were eucalyptus-spearmint aromatherapy candles. And sitting on the edge of the jacuzzi tub was a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries, raspberries, and cherries.
"Edward, what's all this for?"
"For us, of course. I asked for the hotel to put together a little something to commemorate the occasion." He chuckled at my still-stunned expression. "So, are we going to get in or what?"
I looked up to meet his amused gaze and nodded. "Yeah, definitely."
After we slipped off our robes, I noticed him staring unashamed at my body. "Bella, I simply cannot get over how beautiful you are."
I blushed. "Well, I could say the same about you."
Edward grinned widely and wrapped his arm around me as we stepped into the tub. After we sat down, he pulled me to him so my back was against his chest and I was resting between his legs.
Slowly, he began to soap up my body with a washcloth. "So, love, how are you feeling?"
I moaned softly, my eyes closed. "Amazing. This is amazing."
A few minutes later, I leaned forward so he could reach my back, leaving a trail of heated, open-mouthed kisses along the area as he finished. "My god, Bella," he whispered between kisses, "You taste so good."
Not half as good as you do.
Suddenly, I got an idea. I reached over to the tray of fruit and grabbed a chocolate-covered strawberry. "I do, huh? What about now," I asked, biting into it and leaving it partially hanging out of my mouth.
Edward let out a low growl, taking the invitation and biting into the other end. As he chewed the fruit, he drew it in farther and farther until finally, his lips lightly touched mine. "Mmm, even better," he murmured briefly before recapturing my lips again. But after about a minute of kissing languidly, I needed more. This slow pace simply wasn't enough.
I turned around so I was facing him, straddled his lap, and immediately went to work on his neck. "Edward," I began as I sucked on the sensitive skin, "I want you. Right here, right now."
He halted the massage he'd been giving my breasts, and pulled away slightly to look at me. "Now? You don't want to finish our bath?"
I chuckled. "Do you?"
"No, not really," he admitted with a smile.
Before I could make any sort of move, however, Edward beat me to it, leaning back in to kiss me deeply. I threaded my fingers through his hair, pulling him as close as possible. Any closer and he would have been on top of me, or vice versa…not that I would have minded.
Seconds later, I felt Edward lift up my hips and then carefully lower me down onto his swollen length. "All I can say…thank goodness for birth control," he whispered huskily.
A little while back, we had chosen to switch from condoms to the pill. And it really came in handy for spontaneous moments like this.
I hissed in pleasure as he entered me, and gripped the edge of the tub behind him to give myself some leverage. "Ungh, Edward…now…move," I ordered.
At once, he began thrusting upward, his eyes boring into mine. "Bella, my Bella," he panted, "How the hell did I get so lucky?"
I began rocking my hips in time with his thrusts, panting just as loudly. "I often ask myself the same question. You're just…so fucking amazing."
He bit his lip and touched his forehead to mine. "Oh, love…you're the amazing one."
I laughed, though it sounded more like a wheeze. "So…it's settled, then. We're both amazing."
Edward laughed breathlessly along with me, then decided to give my breasts some much needed attention. He massaged them like before, but this time, he leaned forward and swirled his tongue around each of my nipples, too.
I inhaled sharply and closed my eyes, throwing my head back. "Edward, damn it, you're good…way too good."
He groaned in response and moved one of his hands up to cup my face. "Bella, sweetheart, please look at me." I did as he asked and opened my eyes. "Now, I want you to cum with me. Can you do that?"
I nodded hurriedly and in four more hard thrusts, we reached our climaxes together, never breaking eye contact as my cries and his moans filled the room.
When we both came back down from our highs soon after, I rested my head on his shoulder and smiled lazily. "Edward, there are no words…seriously. I just love you so much." I waited for him to reply, but oddly, he did not. Upon lifting my head back up and looking at him, I noticed that his eyes were filled with tears. "Edward, what's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong. It's the opposite, really. Sometimes, it all just hits me." Edward put a finger under my chin and drew me in for a sweet kiss. "I get to spend forever with the woman I love," he whispered against my lips.
I began tearing up as well, kissing him again. "Forever," I agreed. "Forever and always."
Alright, first off, I want to thank each and every one of you for being so awesome and choosing to read my story. Honestly, if I didn't have all your support, I wouldn't have been able to continue on with this little tale about a ghost-turned-human :-) So, thanks! Secondly, if you haven't already, please put me on author alert. Unfortunately, I won't be able to start writing again until early May because of my horrifically busy winter semester. The demand of my classes pretty much will make it impossible for me to start up anything new. So yes, please do keep me on alert so you can be notified when I start writing again.
So…what did you think of the epilogue? LOL I know it was hideously long, but I wanted to cover everything! As an FYI…the Chamberlain is a real hotel in London. It's right by the Tower of London, apparently. I haven't visited England, but I did do my homework about hotels for this chapter, though :-)
Also, don't forget that I'm on Twilighted. I'm still updating on there (I'm at Ch. 17), so you can visit there if you want to read it all again…or feel free to just read it on here again, too!
Well, I'm going wrap it up now. It's been a fun 6 months! Once again, thank you all for reading. And for the last time…please review :-)