Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or plot lines of the Twilight Saga and the following is a form of fiction based on the brilliance of Stephenie Meyer's work.
Beta: Beta: Splendorous Night Unfurled and Hannah Writes R
Title: A Forbidden Forever
Three days later
"But Edward!" Alice whined as she trailed after her brother through the thick line of trees deep within the Tillamook Forest. "If we don't start planning now we won't be ready in time. There's the reception hall, invitations, rehearsal dinners, not to mention the wedding dress…" Alice's voice trailed off in alarm, as she began to mentally list the multitude of decisions and planning that needed to be complete within the next few months.
Edward suppressed his grimace and wondered why he had agreed to accompany his family on this particular hunting trip, knowing all along that Alice had planned to ambush him with plans for his and Bella's wedding. Not that she had even agreed to marry him or not that he had even asked her yet he thought with a shiver of apprehension at the thought that Bella might refuse him.
"Have you heard anything I've said, Edward?!" Alice broke into his secret thoughts as she continued to hound his every step.
Glancing back to pin his bothersome sister with somewhat of a threatening glare Edward thought carefully before he addressed her. "Alice, while I appreciate your," he paused briefly as he sought the right word, "enthusiasm, I don't want you to bother Bella with any of your ideas. I haven't even decided when I'm going to ask her to marry me so…"
"February eighteenth," Alice interrupted with an amused, toothy grin spreading across her smug, all knowing features while she simultaneously brought up the vision she had already seen of Edward proposing on the previously mentioned date so he could read it for himself.
Repressing the desire to throttle his meddlesome sister, Edward drew on his extreme patience before he continued with his carefully measured response. "Be that as it may, it maybe that Bella doesn't want to tie herself to a vampire," he responded with heavy sigh.
"Oh she will, I've seen it," Alice replied in a matter of fact tone that caused a brilliant flash of relief to shoot through Edward as his greatest fear that Bella would refuse his proposal was pushed aside with his sister's knowing words. "So we'd better start thinking about where we want to have the reception if we're going to secure the date of August 1st."
"August 1st?" Edward said with a wiry grin spreading across his face as if the naming of the date had verified her words as an absolute truth.
"Yes, August 1st! Please try to keep up Edward!" Alice said as she stamped her foot as if she were a child having a temper tantrum.
Instead of battling the two intense emotions that were currently at odds within himself; the unparalleled joy at Alice's confirmation that Bella would be his wife as well as the unsettling feeling of apprehension washing over him in letting Alice have her way with the wedding plans, Edward simply gave up and turned with a pleading look towards Carlisle and Esme. "A little help here would be appreciated."
Carlisle bit his lip to hold in his laughter, while Esme shot her son a sympathetic look before turning her attention to her over eager daughter. "Alice, maybe you should let Edward and Bella handle their own plans. It could be that they prefer not to have a lavish wedding. Maybe they would prefer something simple, with just the family."
"…or a short trip to Vegas," Edward mumbled under his breath with a gleam of boyish mischief alighting within his eyes.
A look of what only could be described as utter horror flashed across Alice's beautiful face as she imagined Edward in a pseudo tuxedo t-shirt with Bella at his side in worn jeans, both exchanging their vows in front of an Elvis impersonator justice of the peace. "That's not going to happen!" she erupted shrilly before she stomped off in the direction of her husband and Emmett to join their hunt, for she knew she couldn't take another moment in Edward's annoying presence.
Edward laughed deeply at the picture that his sister had conjured up in her mind before she stalked off in a huff. "Well, I guess that will quiet her down for a while," he said as he turned his attention back to his parents.
Carlisle smiled at the undeniable happiness that was so clearly evident in his son's shining eyes. "It's good to see you so happy son," he said with a warm smile.
"I am happy," Edward answered truthfully with a wide smile gracing his perfect face that served to fill Esme's unbeating heart with a shared joy.
"I'm so please that Bella was able to accept us, not that I ever had any doubt that she would. She is a very special young woman," Esme commented as she watched her son with a serene happiness reflected within her own gentle features.
"That she is," Carlisle agreed as he clasped his arm around Edward's broad shoulder. "She must always be treasured for the gift she is Edward. I can't wait until she officially joins our family and becomes my daughter."
"Me too," Edward answered with a slight frown marring his smooth marbled brow as he thought of all that Bella would be giving up when she became a Cullen.
"Why do I get the feeling that there is something still bothering you?" Esme asked, as she shrewdly accessed her son's expression.
"How is it that I can't get anything past you?" Edward asked with a slightly bemused yet affectionate look towards his mother. "I just wish Bella didn't have to give up so much for choosing to share her life with me," he answered with a slight twinge of guilt mixed with sadness. "With us, it was a matter of life or death. But for Bella…she could have so much more."
Esme shared a concerned look with Carlisle before she turned her attention back to Edward. "You mean children don't you Edward?" she asked gently.
"Yes, children, family," Edward responded with a frustrated groan as he leapt over a huge boulder that blocked his path. "I don't want her to have to give everything up for me. And it's not just the family that I can't provide for her. It's the way we live. Having to move every six to eight years to begin again, I just wish that it didn't have to be this way."
"Have you discussed this with Bella son?" Carlisle asked as he joined his son whose jump had distanced him over a hundred feet away.
"Yes, but she says that it just doesn't matter to her, that the only thing that she can't live without would be me," Edward answered with a confounded shake of his head as if he couldn't believe that Bella would love him enough to give up everything to be with him.
"Sounds like she must really love you," Carlisle observed with a thoughtful look on his smooth, chiseled face.
"And how could she not," Esme added with a slightly affronted tone and a sharp look of mock censure on her motherly face as she playfully aimed a swat of her hand at her husband's chest. "Is my Edward not the most handsome of men?"
"Yeah, he's a real looker," A loud obnoxious shout was called back to their direction, followed almost instantly by a burst of amused laughter from both Emmett and Jasper.
Edward rolled his eyes at his brother's comment and knew that he was in for a few hours of hell courtesy of Emmett. Maybe it was time for another wrestling match; he thought shrewdly to himself as he knew the only way to shut Emmett up was to beat him at something.
Esme reached out and put her arm around Edward, "Why don't you bring Bella by tonight," she suggested as she began to walk towards their home. "It's been almost a week since we last saw her."
"Sure, I think she'd like that," Edward smiled down at his mother. "I'll head home and get cleaned up and then pick Bella up. I was planning on taking her to a movie she's been wanting to see so we'll stop by around ten."
"Perfect, I'd like to talk with Bella about our history," Esme said as she watched her son closely. "I think it will help her with her transition. Have you discussed the possibility of her becoming one of us?"
Edward felt a wave of alarm race through him at the thought of Bella becoming a vampire. While they had not officially broached the subject he was not all that enthused with Bella becoming one of them in the literal sense. "It's not something that we have discussed yet. I'd like for her to know more about our way of life so she can make an informed decisions. While it would be an easier life if she were to decide to change, I don't want her to feel any pressure to do so. I will love her no matter what she decides."
"And if she decides to remain human, will you be able to accept the limits that will impose upon you?" Carlisle asked with a sincerely concern gracing his smooth features.
Knowing that his father was asking if he had considered Bella's aging leading to her eventual death, Edward repressed a shudder of fear that raced through him. "Yes, I have considered it," he responded gruffly, the intense emotion of his fears not lost on either of his parents.
"Can you live with that Edward?" Esme asked softly, a real fear for her son spreading throughout her heart.
"What choice do I have," Edward answered simply with a small sad smile gracing his perfect lips. "She is my life now, and without her there is nothing."
"Then I'm so very happy that you've found her," Esme said lightly as she brushed her lips to his smooth cheek. "You'd better go if you don't want to be late."
Smiling down at his mother Edward nodded and then turned to race off in the direction of his home. Esme watched until he had disappeared from her view with a loving smile gracing her gentle features. Turning back towards her husband she held out her hand. "I've never seen him so alive before."
"It's Bella's doing, I'm sure," Carlisle said as she took his wife's proffered hand and kissed it gallantly.
He still is concerned about what she's going to have to give up, though," Esme said with a frown beginning to crease her pale brow.
"It's not an easy life, but if Bella loves him half as much as he does her then I don't think that there will be any problems."
"Let's hope so," Esme said as she thought of not only Bella's sacrifices but of Rosalie's as well, for she knew that her daughter would have to put aside her feelings for Edward if they were ever going to exist in some semblance of a peaceful family.
"Well I guess that's it," Bella said as she closed her now empty locker and turned towards her friend of the last four years. "I'm going to miss seeing you every day," she said as she smiled sadly at the thought of leaving the bakery behind for the last time.
"Oh, honey," Meg began as she tried to fight off the sentimental tears that were so very foreign to her nature. "I'm going to miss you too. But hey, no one said that you can't come and visit me from time to time."
Smiling Bella pulled the older woman into her arms for a brief hug. "I will," she promised as she knew that Meg was one of those rare people who she knew she could always count on. "I guess I'd better get going," she said with a resigned sigh. "Edward is supposed to pick me up."
"Ah, what I wouldn't give to land myself a hottie like that," Meg said with an exaggerated leer that caused Bella to laugh. "Your Mr. Perfect doesn't have any friends my age does he?"
"I don't think so, but I'll keep an eye out for you," Bella promised as she bent to pick up the box that now held the contents of her former locker.
"You do that honey," Meg called out as she held the door wide for Bella. "Take care," she said in a more serious tone.
"I will, and Meg…" Bella's voice broke as she looked into the wise blue eyes of her friend. "Thanks for everything, I love you…" Bella added as she felt a genuine sadness begin to wash over her.
"I know," Meg choked out past the lump of emotion that had formed within her throat. "I love you too, honey." After a brief moment where Meg attempted to collect herself, she waved a dismissive hand to bank down the tears that were now threatening. "Ah, off you go," she said with a mock gruffness that served to lighten the mood. "And you give that boyfriend of yours a kiss for me," she called after Bella as she left the building.
Smiling Bella nodded her head in response to Meg's off handed comment. As she heard the heavy door thud to a close she felt an intense wave of loss wrap around her. Edward had been so worried of all that she would have to leave behind in choosing to spend her life with him, to which she had responded with a casualness that now seemed so foolish, for she would miss her friend Meg, not to mention what she would be leaving behind when she had to say goodbye to Mike and Jacob.
Her heart gave a painful squeeze as she let the thought of never seeing Mike and Jacob again reside in her consciousness, for the first time since she had made the decision to share her life with Edward. The pain of the loss she would soon face seemed to permeate her entire being as if it were a thriving, living entity within her very soul. Yet the alternative to this pain would prove unbearable. For a life without Edward was even more unthinkable, for without him nothing in this life would seem to matter anymore. No, she knew that she had made the right decision, no matter what it would cost her, Edward was her future. With her resolve firmly settled around her she looked up and found the meaning to her life. Edward.
Bella felt a shiver of excitement race through her as her eyes alighted on Edward as he stood patiently waiting for her outside the bakery's back entrance. His tall frame leaning with such casual ingrained elegance that Bella knew that she had to be the luckiest woman in the world to be able to call him her very own.
"Here, let me take that," he said as he rushed to her side to take the heavy box from her. "What's all this?"
"Just some of my things I stored in my locker over the past four years," she answered as she let him take the box. "I'm going to miss seeing Meg every day."
Edward felt a small pang of guilt assault his conscious as he wondered if he had pushed her too hard in his preference that she give up her two part time jobs. Of course if she chose to live with him there would be other more painful sacrifices that she would have to make in the near future.
Bella watched the play of emotions on Edward's perfect face with a feeling of apprehension, for she had seen the same look in the days leading up to their argument three days earlier. "Edward?" she asked as she pinned him with her worried gaze across the top of his black Mercedes.
Seeing that he was upsetting Bella, he relaxed his features into a casual smile. "Sorry, I guess I'm just feeling a little guilty for making you give up your job," he responded truthfully.
"Is that it?" Bella asked with a slight wrinkling of her nose which instantly held Edward spellbound in fascination as he stared unblinkingly at her adorable face. "There's nothing to feel guilty about. I don't think I'm going to miss being here at four every morning," she added dismissively before she slid into the cool leather seat on the passenger's side. "Besides, I much rather devote my time to you."
After depositing Bella's box in the back seat, Edward slid in the driver's seat and leaned over to kiss Bella's soft lips in a long, slow kiss. "Have I told you how much I love you today?" he asked as he caressed her cheek with the back of his cool fingers.
Smiling at the look of total adornment that his golden eyes held for her Bella turned her head so that she could kiss his caressing fingers lightly before answering. "Yes, I do think I remember you saying that you loved me first thing this morning when you dropped me off some five hours ago."
"You mean it's been five whole hours?" Edward asked with a look of mocking horror crossing his gorgeous face. "How remiss of me!" he said as he pulled her into a passionate embrace and proceeded to kiss her breathless with a hungry growl.
Bella surrendered to the magic of his kiss and felt as if her heart had taken flight, for never would there be a more perfect moment than this moment in time with that man who had taken her heart and in return had given his. Tears began to fill her eyes as the intensity of her love for Edward poured over her in a storm of emotion.
Edward released her lips reluctantly as he wished he could spend all of his time holding her within his arms. Seeing the fresh tears alighting within her warm brown eyes, he started as he reached out to catch the trail of a single tear as it escaped down her smooth cheek. "Hey, what's this?" he asked her tenderly, as concern lit within his seeking gaze.
Smiling as a slight blush colored her cheeks Bella drew in a deep, calming breath. "I guess I'm just feeling a little emotional. I love you Edward," she declared with such a simple divine truth that Edward gasped as he felt his body soar with the joy her love had instilled within him.
"I don't deserve you," he said almost roughly as he leaned down to tenderly kiss her lips, with all of the immense love he felt for her apparent in his golden eyes.
Shaking her head in wonder, Bella traced the line of his cold hard cheek. "I'm the one who doesn't deserve you," she said as she closed her eyes to lean into his hard shoulder. "Sometimes it scares me. The thought that this might all just be a dream and that I'll soon wake up and you won't be there."
Edward saw the look of real fear in her eyes that he knew was reflected within his own, for he too had the same fear that this would all disappear one day. "I'm not going anywhere," he declared as he kissed the top of her head tenderly. "I will always be here by your side as long as you'll have me."
Bella smiled into his chest as she reached for his cold hand to pull it to her lips. "Promise?"
Pulling back so he could look into her eyes, Edward reached out to trace the soft curve of her bottom lip with a gentle sweep of his thumb. "Promise," he answered with a such a firm resolve reflected in his earnest golden gaze that for the first time, Bella felt some small measure of peace in the thought that they would find their happily ever after, that they would be together forever, where neither could survive without the other at their side
Okay…so where are the reviews??? There are over 270 story alerts but only 24 reviews? Where is everyone? Please review…please. Okay enough begging…next chapter Esme and Bella's conversation about her life with the Cullen's, and of course more of our lovable wedding planner Alice.