Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns the morning, noon, and "twilight." I'm a night owl with an addiction to fan fiction. Very different.
So, folks... I sigh and cry and simultaneously feel huber proud of myself. So, this is the end. I know I had mentioned an epilogue, but it turned out it made the most sense to add it in here... So, here's your final chappie.
Chapter 37: A Marriage on Two Moons
The move to Stanford occurred in a rush. Once the family had accepted the change in circumstance, the changes had shot forward at vampiric speed.
Jasper "talked to a guy," and suddenly I had the appropriate paperwork.
Esme found a new abode for Leah, Jake, Seth, and me—four bedrooms—yes, dear ole dad insisted. Both Esme and Rosalie ordered furnishings and made appointments with contractors for the new "abode."
Rosalie kept muttering comments like "need to get that lint free kind—wouldn't want the dog hair to get on Renesmee."
Alice almost put Fashion Week on hold as she rushed both small and big label designers to make sure I was "properly dressed for California."
And then there was the tearful farewell. My dad made me promise to continue with the piano. My mother pressed a few personally selected books into my hand and kissed me earnestly. Estela gave me a goodbye kiss on the cheek that made Jake pull at his collar. An approving nod from Zafrina. A soft hug from Nahuel.
Tears. Sad smiles.
Jake and I walked hand in hand into the plane terminal. As I turned to give a final wave goodbye, I realized I was saying more than farewell to my family.
This was the last moment of my childhood—and it had vanished with a gesture.
The first few days were a mix of quick kisses and constant to-dos. I think I spent most of my waking hours signing for packages and pointing contractors upstairs or down. Then, I had to register for classes.
"You're taking Medieval Gender Studies, Organic Chemistry, Intensive Mandarin, Poetry and Poetics, and Congolese Dance?" Jake asked incredulously, staring down at my thin paper square.
I cracked my knuckles and smirked. "So?"
"Oh." I nodded. "They have live drumming."
Jake laughed. "Nice, Ness."
And finally, once all the paperwork was completed, our new housemates required our attention. Leah delighted in having a feminine ear to comment on her analysis of dumbass frat boys, and Seth wanted Jake to update him on the entire "adventure" with Olivier over drinks at the corner bar, and then my family kept calling…
"Do you like your classes?"
"Alice saw you wondering in the park. You weren't alone, were you?"
"How's the weather?"
"Are you eating? Drinking? 'Drinking?'"
"How is Seth? Can I talk to Seth?"
"I just want to ask Leah about Charlie and Sue, if that's okay…"
So, Jake and I found time together when we could—and where we could. You would think that having an apartment with rooms on the same hall would do make us jump each other in the first instant—but no… strangely enough, the fact that they we had all the time in the world meant that for the first time, we took our time.
We took our time in little ways. We curled up on the couch in a funny pretzel and read together, exchanging errant kisses as the hours progressed. We met for lunch between classes. We drove to the woods and then ran, fleeing through the tangle of pine and red cedar and bramble until we emerged carefree in secluded valleys. We danced out onto the stone balcony overlooking the Bay, stepping and spinning and twirling with perfect grace but with no set pattern beneath the full moon light. We surprised Seth and Leah by cooking four dozen eggs for the breakfast. We made oddly shaped pancakes, too, flipping them high into the air. Occasionally Jake would snatch one out midflight and try to eat it, and then I'd steal it back and then our mouths would end up interlocked, hips pressed against the countertop, as we let the hash browns burn.
So there was no rush forward.
The chorus was lost in a lingering, allegro refrain.
And at night, we would explore each other, searching out the steamiest corners and smoothest planes—finding every last bit: the silk and the coarse and the idiosyncratic.
Jake especially liked to let his fingers trickle down my back until I couldn't help but shiver and then giggle stupidly so that I had to shove him away because I couldn't hide my own weak ticklishness anymore. So, I would push him away, but he would pull back, and then the fakest of wrestling matches would ensue with me always emerging the victor. Jake would grin at me blissfully, his arms pinned above his head, my body pressing his down, and our frenzied breathing, loud and erratic.
We always forgot who had won what after that.
I guess we both did…
The words were spoken on a beach.
Jake and I had fled the city and driven out to a rural shore just before sunset. We walked hand in hand, not paying attention to much of anything. We merely kicked off our shoes and played tag with the rushing and retreating waves, dodging splashes. When we grew bored with the waves, we turned to the sand, shaping turrets, draw bridges, and moats—along with the occasional evil sea monster—guess what Jake named his?
I smiled softly when Jake randomly sat down into a wind-shaped dune, pulling on my hand so that I would curl into his lap. We sat there for several minutes, drinking in the briny, tangy-sweet air.
Jake broke the quiet.
"Perfect," he whispered.
"The sunset?" I asked, still staring dreamily out to sea.
"Eh, sun's alright, but I meant you."
I wrinkled my nose at him. "Cheesy. Cheesy—Jake. It's just because you love me."
"Just because?" Jake rolled his eyes. "That's a pretty big 'just because.'"
"Okay, fine, it's because I've a fetching ass."
He laughed. "Uh, yeah—that too, but that's still not good enough."
"Not good enough?" I mocked.
He shook his head at me.
"I meant what I said the first time…" He ran his thumb across my lips, pulling my bottom lip down slightly as his hand pulled away.
"Heh—and you're just trying to get in my pants, now," I teased.
But he gave me a funny look—a look funny enough to make my jaw drop loose.
"You changed your mind?" I eyed him in total surprise.
"I didn't change my mind…"
"So, you still want to get married—that's fine," I offered excitedly. "We can run to the courthouse—we'll probably have to pay some exorbitant fee, but no biggie, right? And we can put my parents on a webcam if we need to, because—"
"That wasn't what I meant."
I leaned back far as possible, unable to hide my disappointment. "I'm sorry—you're right. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions. I mean we have eternity so why…"
But then he yanked my chin, and his dark eyes stared at me.
"Hey, just listen to me, alright?"
"I meant everything I said before—but I do think..." Jake trailed off looking for the words.
I decided to fill them in for him.
"We're too horny to wait?" I teased playfully.
"I wanted to say that I'm—just—so completely, utterly, pathetically happy—and when I say that, I don't mean I'm happy like I got a microbrewery beer and a meat lover's extra large pizza for dinner-happy—but instead, I just... I don't know... I'm just glowing all the time, like a fucking idiot—but not in some dumb, love struck fool way—and it is contentment—yeah—but it's just..." he trailed off again and pursed his lips as he pushed a curl back behind my ear.
"Perfect." He shrugged even as he grinned like a goof.
His little speech had one singular effect on me.
I jumped him.
I jumped him by pushing him back into the sand, swinging a leg around and flattening my body against his so that I felt the heaving in and out of his chest against my breasts—so that I felt it when he instantly hardened even through the fabric between my legs—so that I could grab hair and yank his mouth to mine. And then I felt the stubble of his chin scratch gently as he caught my bottom lip, and my tongue searched the upper outline of his mouth, and his nails poked into the flesh of my ass, even as his hips shifted and pushed me harder against him.
And his hand slid lower and his thumb dragged between my legs, which caused my eyesight to blur out of focus and a soft, whimpering gasp to escape my already open mouth.
I grabbed his neck—But fuck Jake, I'm already wet...
So he moved his hand again, but instead of pulling at fabric or searching out another kiss, he leapt to stand, pulling me along with him—and I tried to protest, but instead, he threw me over his shoulder, running toward the car.
"What the fuck?" I demanded.
"We're on a public beach," Jake answered nonchalantly.
"An EMPTY public beach."
"You know, I'd bet five bucks you were conceived on a beach."
Mental EW—Jake, you would pull that shit.
"Only five bucks?" I said aloud.
Jake opened the car door and set me down.
"Fine, ten—and do you still want me to take you on a beach?"
"Take me?" I gave a snort.
Jake grinned, waved a hand dismissively, and slid into the driver's seat.
"It's a long drive back home—even with the way that you drive," I observed.
"I told you I'd make love to you in a bed."
"You're making love to me?"
"In a bed."
"Does a hotel count?"
Jake pursed his lips, smirking. "I suppose..."
I made him turn into the fancy named resort two miles up the road.
And for once, he didn't complain about being excessive with money.
Jake tried to insist on carrying me "over the threshold"—but instead I yanked him into the room.
And he tried to catch me.
So I pushed him.
And he pushed back—which slammed me into the wall.
There was a reverberating crackle.
We paused for a minute, hearing the impact settle through the building...
"Oops," we both said at the same time.
And then we laughed.
"Bed," Jake insisted.
I rolled my shoulders back as I let him pull me along. "I suppose the building would appreciate our concern..."
And then Jake threw me on the bed.
I hadn't been wearing much to begin with: bikini, capris, long button down...
But then they were off.
And I shredded Jake's clothes.
I pulled him to me, and then we were flesh against flesh—hot and heat—and eagerness with adventure and to hell with all innocence—and then, just because, Jake stopped me. He pulled my hand up—the hand with the ring—and he kissed the leather threads—he kissed them and then he kissed each of my finger tips, long and slowly and staring at me from beneath coal-black eyelashes.
"I meant what I said before," he whispered.
Meant what of what you said before?
He looked at me intensely. "Me making love to you is me marrying you—this is it. I'll never be with anyone else. Just you."
And in response, I just breathed—and my peripheral vision died away—I only saw him. Jacob. And there was some part of me that wanted to diffuse this tension—this wild sense of discomfort—of the unordinary—to make a dismissive joke—some part that feared I wasn't ready—but then there was another part—a deeper part that seemed to have clicked open. Unlocked by the long lost key—and that was the part that trailed her fingers down Jake's jaw—that responded with "I'll never be with anyone else. Just you." The part that kissed each of Jake's fingers—and slid fingers along hip bone and down thigh. The part that whispered I love you and received it in turn and soared away with the moment that he grinned in blissful relief—as if he'd somehow feared I could even possibly consider otherwise—that this could be "just sex" or "simple fucking" or a game.
And then I pulled him toward me—pulled him by cock—aiming in a way—but then he pulled back.
"We just can't..." he trailed off in disbelief.
"But I need you."
Like nothing ever before.
And Jake nodded, but he pulled my hand away.
And kissed me with teeth scraping and tongue slick and wet and silky, and then down below, his finger slipped between and in—and I moaned and pulled him tighter, and we kissed like we wrestled with tug and pull and jab and bite—and when his finger left me and his mouth left me, and I only held his eyes...
A condom. Unwrapped. He entered me from above.
And we both gasped.
From shock. From connection. From need.
And I bit into his shoulder.
Not having meant to.
And then we were bleeding together—and I moaned and swore and whispered nonsensical poetry with fuck fuck fuck thrown in as the chorus after each stanza... and Jake's eyes remained tight and focused and yet his movements seemed loose and wild like some stampeding herd or like children lost to hysterical revelry—and together we snapped back and forth but with perfect limber and arc like a pendulum or rubber band...
And then I pushed—rolled him over because I wanted to see him—I wanted to look at him in the approaching moment...
We just looked.
Me moving up and down, rolling my hips.
Him pinching a pink tip and finger nails clipping my ass.
And I didn't just look.
But I also shared: every ounce of pleasure he gave me—the way he felt unabbreviated and complete inside of me.
And then he lifted his back as he pulled me down to him, and his lips caught mine as our eyes stayed lock, and he gave a final quake.
A long breath of release.
A soft kiss.
I was bound in marriage.
My second marriage was quite different.
There was all of the hoopla for starters. I didn't pay any attention to it. Neither did Jake. We had given Alice and Esme and Estela a few simple requests: beach, good weather, intimate family and friends only, and no fucking orchids.
And there were none.
Instead the thick, floral perfume that swallowed up the room consisted of a seamless blend of roses, hyacinth, lilac and a tinge of magnolia—that final scent made me smile even as my eyes watered.
But it made sense.
My father's cool arm clasped my thin linen white sleeve, and we were lightly, elegantly marching down the aisle. His amber eyes were both wistful and slightly annoyed. I kept detecting an eye roll as he kept in sync with my thoughts. My thoughts were focused on Jake, and if I could have yelled, I would have told Jake that he looked hot as hell—because he did, and specifically I wanted to yell out that I was really glad that my teeth weren't venomous and that he healed quickly, because he looked good enough to eat, and some serious nibbling and biting was in order.
My father gripped my arm unnecessarily tightly.
I smiled up at him.
He gave me a warning look.
And then I couldn't help it: I wasn't a blushing bride, I was a laughing one.
So I had to restrain myself to sneaking peaks at Jake, acting the demure young maid as we made our final march, so as to placate my father for another seventy-five seconds…
Dad growled under his breath again.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Already waiting at the end of the aisle where Estella, Leah, Embry, and Quil—Jake's niece was the flower girl, along with Sam and Emily's little boy as the ring bearer. They were pretty darn cute.
But then the march was over.
And Jake was holding out his arm, a smirk evident on his face, while my father glowered at him.
Dad, mom said that if you don't put my hand in his, she's not going to talk to you for a century.
And then I saw my father flick a glance at my mother, who wore a rather stern look, and he sighed for only a second before hesitantly dropping my hand into Jacob's.
And then Jacob's hand held mine, and our eyes were locked in a seditious, mutually profane gaze, even as we gracefully ascended the stairs to stand in front of the assemblage. The minister-man (or maybe he was a shaman? I didn't actually know what a multi-faith minister entailed…) started the ceremony, droning on about love conquering all, whether it be class or beauty or religion or heritage.
The man was actually pretty close to the truth.
Which was probably why the entire congregation kept having to suppress smirks, especially when he decided to illustrate his points using examples, and discussed how his wife was a vegetarian but he loved steak…
But then the droning ended.
And Jake and I stared into each other's eyes, ready to speak the words aloud.
We'd already agreed on our vows and had them memorized.
We would say them together.
But of course I intended on adding some side commentary for Jake and I alone…
Well, except for my nosing father, but that couldn't be helped.
Jake spoke first, but my voice joined his.
"I vow to be yours."
But I am you, and you are I—a phrase that English grammar even fails to accept properly. Whatever, right? We are tying the knot. Tto add anyone else… any subtraction from the whole renders the circle a broken line.
Oh, yeah, and if you ever think about cheating on me, I'll cut you'll balls off with teeth.
Jake had to avoid an eye roll, but he was smiling at me, too.
"I vow to trust you with my mind and my heart."
Completely, because you're my best friend.
"I vow to spend the rest of my life with you."
A life that has no end. A life that may exceed the lives of our children. A life that will exceed your father and your brothers. This means you'll have to put up with dad 'til the Great Watch makes its final tick. And don't forget about Rose, too. Maybe you'll compose a lexicon of dumb blond jokes in all that time you'll have…
"When tragedy or danger strikes, I am always at your side."
And don't forget the copious amount of cheese, because love conquers all, right?
"I vow to love you completely and perfectly."
HA, right? As if there could be any other way to exist.
"I love you," he whispered, and even though he said it so very softly, I'm sure that most of the room could hear.
And then it was ring time.
And Jake slid the leather band off of my finger and easily unwound the threads, and then Jake handed me a string, so that I could tie it around his finger, and then he tied the new string around mine. We were both bound—in the public way. Eventually the leather would deteriorate and fade—but then we would have to add new cord to strengthen it the band, and when that cord weakened, we would have to find another—always repairing and replacing and remembering.
Some more words…
And then there was the kiss—simple and sweet and natural.
And we were walking down the aisle, hand in hand.
No strange vampires interfering. No other possible love interests. No freaky parentalness.
(Although dad looked slightly put out over the affair.)
Married—body and soul and paperwork.
The reception was... interesting.
Like as in Estela tried to make a game out of how many werewolves she could kiss.
When she approached Sam, I thought Emily might leap at her.
But then Estela smacked one on Leah instead—which was pretty funny.
Because Leah didn't notice what was coming until it was too late.
Because she had been focused on Nahuel.
I think the words "I teach Native Mezo-American History" were those that did the trick—also the fact that he was neither a vampire nor a "dumb ass frat boy."
Nahuel also seemed pleased by Leah's company...
This was obvious to all, so Jake felt the need to be "brotherly."
"Just watch the venom, Leah," he yelled through a mouth of wedding cake.
Leah growled back at him.
And then Jake turned to me.
"I'm really glad you don't have venom," he informed me earnestly. Jake had drunk at least four bottles of wine on his own. I was beginning to realize that the alcohol was actually starting to have the rare effect.
"Yeah... me too, Jake." I patted my husband on the cheek.
"Ness, do you think the baby will—?"
But I cut him off with a slap over the mouth.
And because every non-human at the party was staring at us with a mixture of surprise, happiness, shock, and... discontent.
My dad looked like he wanted to rip Jake's drunken balls off.
If it wasn't my wedding day, I might have considered it.
But as it was...
Oh, come on, dad. I thought aloud. You're going to be a grandpa!
Across the room, my father pressed his face into the crook of my mom's neck.
My mother patted him affectionately.
And then I turned to Jake.
"I shouldn't have said that, should I?" he asked.
Yeah, you fucked that up.
"Oh, bite me."
Okay, m'dears. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to those of you who've stuck with me since October/November - you know who you are, and you rock m'sox off.
So next project... I'm working on an Edward AU - and I'm going to try and write the whole thing before I post. I've already written 20k... so we'll see. I keep having to go back and edit and delete, etc. - because the plot keeps thickening, so I'm having loads of fun, but anyway. Muchos amores! I love you all. Thank you for your lovely reviews!
* * *