Chapter 29

Fortunatus Exitus

For several days, the Cullen home was a bustle of activity. The girls took several days to find bridesmaids dresses that were satisfactory, and Eleazar had to go out and get a tux. Alice helped decorate, and by the end of the week, the house wasn't recognizable.

It was covered in white orchids and flowing white tapestries. I expressed (many times) that they didn't have to go through all that trouble, but they wanted to. And then there was discussion of wedding gifts, which I wouldn't hear of. Their taking us into their home and family was gift enough. Of course, Esme wouldn't have it. She said they were going to have a "proper wedding" even if it killed me. Again, ironic statement.

When the day of the wedding finally rolled around, I couldn't wait. I just wanted to be able to call her mine. Not in a possessive way, but in a she'll-always-be-with-me kind of way. It seems rather selfish, my reasons for wanting her. She completed me in every way. And I couldn't… wouldn't live without her. I felt oddly guilty about wanting her so badly, but she kept informing me that that's what love is. Again, I had a lot to learn about that specific emotion. And I was looking forward to letting her teach me for the rest of eternity.

It turned out to be a sunny day, which most people would be ecstatic about. I, however, had never become completely comfortable with sunlight. After spending nearly a century in darkness, you would too. Either way, the sun poured through the window of Alice's and my bedroom while Edward pinned the cuffs of my tux and Emmett fastened the red cummerbund.

"Nervous?" Edward asked, centering his own tie as he straightened.

"Not really," I replied. "It's not like she's going to get cold feet."

"OH! Good one!" Emmett jeered, and I laughed at him. His booming voice always managed to cheer me up, even when I didn't need it.

"Have you and Alice talked about a honeymoon?" Edward asked, straightening my tie.

"We've skirted the topic. Both of us prefer not to go anywhere. Obviously I can't really go anywhere where there are humans, and she's spent almost all of her life dreaming of coming here. She doesn't really want to leave now."

"I see," Edward replied. "Well my friend, you look fit to be a king."

I turned to look into the mirror and was actually impressed. With most of my scars hidden, I did look rather good.

"Alright, let me see the lucky man," Esme's voice said from the door, and I turned to face her. She took a sharp inhale of breath.

"My, my. Don't you look handsome!" she said, walking forward. I smiled as she smoothed the sides of the tux. "Let's see what we can do with your hair, shall we? Edward, Emmett, Carlisle and Eleazar need you downstairs."

My two foster brothers nodded and clapped my shoulders as they left the room. Esme smiled warmly at me.

"You should see Alice," she said, turning me back around so I was facing the mirror. I had already finger combed my hair, but she began to style it better than I ever could. "She's as giddy a schoolgirl."

"Well, I'm glad. This is all for her. I'd be happy wearing a paper bag and living in a trash bin as long as she was there," I said, watching her part my blonde hair.

"Oh, you have to admit you're still excited, though. Just a little?" Esme said, looking at her work in the mirror.

I grinned. "Yeah, just a little."

Esme worked in silence for a little while, and I began to understand why Carlisle always looked so good. He had Esme.

Ten minutes later, I was in the foyer hearing a great deal of praise and excitement from everyone. Everyone except Alice, that is. Again, Esme was sticking to the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride in her dress. But I didn't care. Just the thought of "Alice" and "bride" made me grin.

Five minutes after that, we were all in place out in the back yard. Everyone's skin was glowing brilliantly, and I had to admit this had to be the most beautiful wedding in the history of all matrimony. Of course, I hadn't seen Alice yet, so I didn't know at the time just how beautiful this afternoon would turn out to be.

Carlisle, Edward and I were all standing inside the orchid-coated gazebo, while Esme, Tanya, Kate, Irina, Carmen, and Emmett stood on either side of the aisle where Alice would eventually walk. They had seen no use in chairs, for we could stand for years and not get tired.

All the bridesmaids (which was actually every female present) were in a very tasteful deep maroon dress that fell to the ground in beautiful cascading ripples. They were low cut in the front, and the thin straps that wound over their shoulders were topped with small elegant bows. Most of them wore their hair back in some kind of up do, but Esme and Carmen let their hair flow down their backs in tight ringlets. However, I didn't get to ogle over them for long. Alice caught my attention, as she always successfully did whenever she was in the same vicinity as me.

She was standing on the back porch, just beyond the three stairs she would have to descend to reach the aisle. Of course, with the sun glancing off her skin as if through a prism, she would have been better suited standing on a cloud with wings protruding from her back. Her dress was strapless, and it hugged her upper body very gracefully. At the hip, the fabric was gathered to one side under a white satin bow, and allowed to flow down over the other side in eloquent bunches. Below that was some kind of mesh fabric, which cascaded over her feet like waves in the wind. There were elbow-length white satin gloves on her arms, and grasped tightly in them was a batch of white gardenias. She bore a veil on her head; the top was a gold ring, from which flowed the lace curtain that half shrouded her face. Attached to the ring were several bunches of glittering baby's breath, but of course they paled in comparison to her skin. Attaching the baby's breath were a few holly berries, which accented her pure white skin with stunning radiance.

I have never lost control of my ability. No one around me had ever felt any emotion that I didn't want them to feel. But at that moment, it happened. Most of the spectators seemed rather confused, but they soon understood the sheer joy and shock was all my own. Edward grinned at me from the corner of my field of vision, which stopped the loosing of emotions on my witnesses, but it didn't tear my eyes from Alice.

It seemed like time had slowed to a creep as I watched Alice descend the stairs flawlessly and begin her march down the aisle. Rosalie accompanied her from behind, smiling widely. For once, Alice's beauty outshined Rosalie's by far.

When she finally reached me, I was stunned into a lifeless state. She smiled at me, and I almost gasped. I hadn't thought she could get any more beautiful, but she had just managed. She took my hands and Carlisle began speaking. I, on the other hand, didn't hear any of his words. He could have been speaking Portuguese for all the good it did. All of my senses, including my sixth, were tuned on the incredible woman before me. And she seemed to do the same as she stared right into my eyes, as if into my (debatably existent) soul.

I finally tuned into Carlisle's words as he said, "Jasper, you may take your vows."

I would have thought my memory would fail me as I stared at her. On the contrary, it did quite the opposite. As I stared at her, my promises to her became clearer than spring water on a sunny day.

"Alice," I began, and my voice was unbreakable. "No harm will ever come to you. Not from me, not from anyone else. Not while I walk this earth. No word or action of mine will ever hurt you. Every day I live shall be spent trying to become the man you deserve. And you will never be lonely, for I will there, by your side, if ever you need me. I will give you anything you desire, all you need do is ask it of me. This I promise, until the sun swallows this great planet."

Alice's smile widened, and the warmth resonating from her seemed to be coming straight from the heart.

"Alice, you may take your vows," Carlisle said, the smile evident in his voice.

She didn't miss a beat. "For you, Jasper, I shall be as the North Star, Polaris. I will be ever strong, ever consistent, and I will always be in the same place if ever you need me; right by your side, guiding your way in darkness. If ever you feel lost or misguided, look to me and I will support you with every fiber of my being. You needn't ever look to any other, for I will never falter in my absolute and eternal devotion."

Carlisle began again, but again I had tuned him out. All I heard was Alice's sweet words reverberating around inside my skull. I just stared at her, like I had never seen the sky before. She was the most amazing woman in the world, and in a few moments she would be mine. It was confusing to me, in a way. All my existence, I had been valued for my skills in the military, or my fighting dexterity. But Alice… Alice valued me, and only me. I just couldn't believe I'd found something so true.

But Carlisle made me believe as he finally said the words I'd been waiting for almost a century to hear. "You may kiss your bride."

I was sure my hands would shake when I reached up to move her veil, but they were steady as a rock. She was bursting with happiness, almost bouncing on her feet as I leaned down to kiss her. Of course, trust Alice to spice things up a little.

She was too excited to just sit there and kiss me, so she threw her arms around my neck (the gardenias protesting with a few dropped pedals), pulling her whole body into the kiss. I could hear Emmett whistling and some clapping, but I tuned all of it out. I concentrated purely on putting my whole spirit into that kiss. And the emotions coming from her told me that I was doing a good job.

When she pulled away, she left her arms around me, and all we did was stare for what seemed like hours. I couldn't believe she was my wife, and I could tell she didn't believe I was her husband. But we were both euphoric, that's for sure.

"Party!" Emmett yelled, and we both laughed as we looked at him and the rest of the guests.

"We've got all we need for a reception party inside," Esme said, and I rolled my shoulders in defeat. I had told them I don't know how many times that they didn't need to go to all the trouble. "But," Esme began again. "I have something planned, so Carlisle, could you step out of the gazebo for a moment?"

Carlisle did as she asked, and I threw a questioning glance at her. My question was immediately answered when Tanya set up a camera ten feet from the gazebo.

"Wedding pictures!" Alice said, clapping her hands together again, the gardenias making a swish noise as she did.

Keep in mind, cameras were huge in the 30s, and they also took a while to set up and take. But when Tanya got everything set, Alice held her gardenias at waist height and wrapped her free arm around my back. I held her close, and Tanya took several pictures that I was sure would turn out wonderfully.

"A few humorous ones?" Esme asked, but Alice didn't wait for me to say yes. She just flung herself into the air, wrapping her legs around my waist and holding me around the neck. I was caught off guard a little, and that's when Tanya took it.

I laughed, and Alice kissed me again, and it was the first time she was taller than me, considering she was clinging to me like a monkey.

"Party?" Emmett echoed, and everyone laughed at him as we all slowly headed inside.

Alice took my hand and leaned up to whisper, "Jasper… we're married!"

I smiled again. I couldn't hear that statement enough. I. Was. Married. To. Alice. It still didn't sink in completely.

Everyone walked back inside, Alice and I in the rear. When we got into the dining room, however, I realized it wasn't a dining room any more. All the furniture had been moved to reveal a spot obviously made for dancing. The only piece of furniture was the baby grand piano that had been moved into the corner.

"Bride's first dance," Alice said, staring at me in wonderment.

"Just one more second," Esme said, and she smiled, pointing to an area where Tanya, Kate, and Irina were standing. "None of them have mates," she added, pointing to Alice's bouquet.

Alice smiled wide and turned away from the other girls. She giggled just before she tossed them into the air behind her.

As I watched, I noticed that Emmett had shoved Edward forward. And even more ironically, the flowers landed smack into his crossed arms. Emmett practically howled with laughter.

"Very funny, Emmett," Edward said, and tossed the flowers to the girls. Irina caught them, and bashfully smiled at her two sisters.

Edward nodded to me as he sat at the piano and laid his fingers delicately on the keys. I stared back at Alice as we intertwined fingers and began dancing. Edward's song filled the entire house as Alice and I lost ourselves in our own world.

"How did I manage to get you?" I asked, the truth in my words evident.

"I was about to ask you the same thing," she whispered, and she squeezed my hand affectionately.

I leaned in right next to her ear as I said, "I don't deserve you."

She merely smiled and kissed my neck.

We only danced for a few minutes before Carlisle appeared next to us. "I know the bride's father is supposed to dance with her, but I think this is as close as we'll get," he said, holding out a hand.

Alice smiled as she let me go and took Carlisle's hand.

I watched as Alice waltzed with Carlisle, who was absolutely flawless in his movements. Alice, on the other hand, made a few tiny errors. Of course, I had to remind myself that she spent most of her vampire life in a diner waiting for me, so she wouldn't have had much time to learn how. If she'd known in her human life, that information was gone.

"She's been working on that since the day we decided to have a wedding," Esme said from beside me.

"Really!" I exclaimed. "She learned that quickly?"

"Oh yes," Esme said, watching Carlisle with a sparkle in her eye. "But it helps that she can see his next move ahead of time."

"Oh, I hadn't thought of that," I said. Now that I thought about it that way, my military prowess kicked in and I wondered how any enemy would even be able to lay a finger on her. That fact comforted me.

"She even waltzed with the clerk in the bridal store," Esme said, and I busted out a hearty laugh. I could see it now; the clerk completely confused by her cold skin and golden eyes, waltzing around the store with little enthusiastic Alice.

The dancing continued for a few hours, until everyone had danced with everyone else. Edward even danced with Emmett. Yes, I know; that would have been a great time for Tanya to have her camera handy. But alas, she had already taken it down.

Just a side note, cameras in the 30s were those mailbox-sized monsters that had a separate trigger. So when I say she took it down, that means she had already completely dismantled it.

It was dusk when Esme approached Alice and me where we were the only ones still dancing. We both looked at Esme, but we kept moving along with the record that was playing.

"We all have some things to give you," Esme said, smiling wide.

"Oh Esme, I told you, you didn't have to do that," I said, halting my dancing.

"I know, but I did anyway. So just come on," Esme said, holding out a hand for us to follow.

She led us upstairs, Alice twittering like a child on Christmas morning. We followed Esme down the catwalk hallway and I was thoroughly confused when she turned into our room. She flipped on the light, and both Alice and I gasped.

It was fit for a royal family; a four-poster bed, complete with iron masts. There were deep maroon drapes hanging from an intricate cornice board above the huge windows. The bookcase had been completely organized and all the records were alphabetized (a task I had failed to complete). And last but not least, the closet stood ajar, filled to the brim with clothes.

"Oh, Esme!" Alice cried, flinging her arms around her foster mother. "It's absolutely perfect!"

"I'm glad you like it," Carlisle said as Alice flung herself at him too.

"How did you…" I began as I stared around at the room. "I mean, we were just in here before the wedding!"

"We all took turns disappearing from the reception to do all this," Emmett replied. "Of course, you two were staring at each other so much that it wasn't too hard."

I was speechless. This much decorating should have taken days. Especially setting up the bed.

"Well, I'm speechless," I said, turning to Esme and Carlisle. "You shouldn't have. But thank you."

Esme stepped forward and hugged me, and there was so much emotion in it that I almost recoiled. Now I knew what Alice had meant when she said Esme treated her family like true kin.

"That's just from the Cullens," Tanya interjected from the hall. "We have something for you too."

"Oh for pitty's sake, you really shouldn't have!" I said. I hardly knew the Denalis, and here they were giving Alice and I a gift.

Tanya led us back downstairs, Alice making sure not to step on her dress as she descended the stairs. But instead of heading farther into the house, Tanya led us out the front door.

Sitting on the carport pad was a pitch black 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II. Alice actually screamed in delight. She ran right up to it, touching it everywhere to make sure it was real.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she said, hugging each one of the Denalis in turn. I was still motionless. I didn't even know how to drive yet.

"I'll teach you," Edward said, patting me on the back. "It's really quite simple."

"I…" I stammered, not even trusting my vocabulary to express my gratitude. "I don't even know how to thank you."

"Just enjoy it," Carmen said, smiling at me.

I shook Eleazar's hand in gratitude, and got a hug from all the women. They all congratulated us as we all walked back inside.

"Well, this is where we part," Eleazar said, and everyone groaned in disappointment.

"Do you really have to go now?" Esme asked, pouting out her lip at Tanya.

"We only planned to be gone this long, so we'll need to get back. But it was so good to see you," Tanya replied, and embraced Esme deeply. "And it was wonderful to meet you both," she said to Alice and me, and more hugs were shared.

"Thank you so much for coming," Alice replied. "I only expected to have the Cullens when we arrived, but now we have an even bigger family."

"Happy to even share the same air as you, sweetheart," Eleazar said, and Alice hugged him one last time.

The Denalis waved earnestly as Alice and I walked up the stairs to our new room. Our new family bade us good night and went into their respective rooms. Alice and I stood in our room, staring out the huge window, holding each other tightly.

"Look," Alice said pointing up at the cloudless sky. "It's the north star."

I stared at it as I reveled in the fact that this perfect woman was here, and in love with me, of all people.

"No," I said, looking back to her. "It's right here. Always has been. All I had to do was look. I hold it all when I hold you."

She smiled as she leaned onto her toes to kiss me.

Years later I would end up watching a movie and something the narrator said made me think of this moment, this kiss. In the end, he says that their kiss blew the five most passionate kisses into the dust.

He lied.