Disclaimer: as we all know, i don't own twilight or owt associated with it...i own yet more tickets to biffy clyro and a burning desire to move to london and work at emi or columbia or rca or syco or something. (sorry this took forever but i was on holiday)
Edward was waiting for me. I kept thinking about how simply amazing he was going to look in his tux. How his eyes were going to sparkle when we saw each other, how they would be a green reflection of the look in my own eyes. If I thought about the amount of people who would be looking at me I started to slowly unwind. My carefully practiced calm would dissolve and I could feel my knees wobble dangerously under me.
I smoothed out the thick fabric of my dress unnecessarily for about the millionth time since Alice had zipped me up. Lilies the exact shade of my dress lay in intricate garlands hanging beautifully from the walls and lay interspersed across flat surfaces. I resisted the urge to run my hands through my hair because I would undo the hard work of the hairdresser who had spent 2 hours coiffing, tonging, pinning and securing the lush green leaves the exact emerald shade of Edward's eyes into my hair.
"Bella are you ok?" Esme laced her fingers with mine and squeezed gently to reassure me that it was going to be fine.
"I'm a little nervous." I admitted. "I don't know how I let you and Alice talk me into this." A nervous laugh escaped my throat.
"Don't worry. Today is going to be perfect."
Perfect unless I managed to royally screw something up. Alice had drilled into me the routine, the steps and pauses, the music and the stance. She even had Jasper quiz me about it last night. I would be a little offended at how little faith she had in me if it weren't a completely valid fear. You would think that it was her getting married today.
Rosalie and Alice stood in front of me, ready to start the procession down the aisle, both poised and perfect in their dresses that matched in colour but not in style. Alice had opted for a more French bias style whilst Rosalie had gone for a classic Calvin Klein silhouette. I couldn't actually say what my dress was if my life depended on it, Alice chose it and she reassured me that the tone was perfect against my skin.
The music drifting through from the other room changed into the song we were to march down the aisle to and I was suddenly very excited. I hadn't seen Edward in what felt like days due to Carlisle, Emmett and Jasper kidnapping him for some sort of bachelor activities. It is the longest we have been apart since he left the hospital over three months ago. Even Charlie has grudgingly accepted that there is no way we can be parted now.
Alice grinned back at me before walking with poise and grace through the door and down the aisle. Rosalie paused for thirty seconds and walked out after her. I smoothed down my dress yet again in lieu of raking my fingers through my hair. I had picked up Edward's habit of hair play much to the irritation of Esme who thought he would never stop it now seeing as we were in a vicious circle of habit stealing.
I wobbled slightly in my heels but steadied myself against the door frame. I could see everyone sitting looking at the door expectantly. My heart started to hammer in my chest. I don't like audiences. Every single pair of eyes in that room were going to be on me in a second. I just knew that I was going to make some sort of stumble or spectacular idiot of myself.
Taking a large gulp of air I stepped from behind the door and into the magical wonderland that used to be the Cullen lounge but was now so transformed I wouldn't have recognised it if I hadn't known. The same garlands of lilies were placed on the floor, bordering the route down to the man that I adored. Taking another breath I corrected my posture, bringing my head up and shoulders back to find the eyes that I craved. Every step I took brought me closer to the smile that beckoned me forward. I couldn't stop the smile that was radiating from me; it felt like I could warm the entire room with it.
It felt like there was an invisible current running between us and he was reeling it in, bringing me ever closer. The flowers in my hands ceased shaking as his presence relaxed me. Emmett, Jasper and Carlisle stood with him, all looking mighty fine in their suits. Finally I reached the end of the route, taking my place beside Alice I tore my gaze away from Edward and turned to watch Esme glide serenely towards her husband, radiating the love she felt for him, for her boys, for us all.
I didn't listen to a damn word the minister said, or the renewed vows Carlisle and Esme just passionately said in front of a room full of their closest friends and colleagues. The only people I cared about in this room were standing beside and in front of me.
But I just couldn't stop staring at Bella.
She looked truly breathtaking, her hair all curled and pinned up with what looked like leaves in it. Her shoulders bare thanks to the strapless dress Alice and Esme had conspired to slip her into. I was going to have to buy them gifts to show how truly grateful I was at the sight before me. Every step she took down the aisle towards me without breaking my gaze made me wish with all of my being that she was walking towards me to say her own vows.
In time that would happen, but she was right, we were both too young right now. That didn't stop me resizing my mother's engagement ring and putting it in my pocket this morning. She hadn't said no that day at the hospital, just not right now. I would be happy with a long engagement, I'd wait for her forever, but I wanted her to know how serious I had been when I asked her through my haze of drugs and trauma.
If there is one thing a coma will do for you it is to make it pretty clear what you love and who you want in your life forever.
Applause broke through my reverie, my hands automatically joined in, I smiled, I patted Carlisle on the back, I kissed Esme on the cheek. My eyes never left Bella. I moved towards her, to feel her soft hand in mine and get a taste of that beautiful mouth in as chaste a kiss I could manage. Before I had the chance she was bundled down the aisle by Alice and Rosalie, leaving me gaping in their wake beyond annoyed at being yet again denied the company of the woman I love.
In the months since the accident I could barely tolerate being separated from her. Charlie was slowly coming around to the notion of us being together, which was going to help me when it came down to the conversation I was going to have with him at some point today.
I was going to check he wasn't toting a gun first.
"Are you going to be all romantic and shit?"
"No, I'm going to say 'I love you and shit, marry me bitch'."
"That almost rhymes."
"Rosalie is one lucky, lucky lady Emmett, sincerely." I managed to dodge away from Emmett's fist before it connected with my still messed up shoulder. He sometimes forgot that I had recently been shot. Any more 'gentle' punches to the shoulder were going to mean yet another operation.
I spotted Charlie across the room, talking to a distant relation of Carlisle's from Alaska. She was flicking her mantrap blonde hair with enthusiasm and I was glad Bella wasn't around to witness Charlie's slightly dazed suggestive grin. Part of me was loathe to interrupt but I knew that if I didn't Bella would be the sudden step-sister to several pain in the ass kids.
"Chief, could I have a word?" He tore his gaze away from $4,000 worth of silicon to give me the same look of conflicting thoughts he always lavished upon me. There was the underlying hatred of me stemming from the suspicion that I was having regular sex with his daughter, slightly quelled by the knowledge that I had saved her life the day of the careening van, which was topped with his certainty that I loved her. Only to be further layered with a desire to shoot me again.
I walked a fine line between being good enough for his daughter and being the punk who was shagging her.
"I'll be right back." He directed at Tanya, her disappointment shown with a sigh that made her fake chest rise and fall again in a disgustingly obvious manner. "Make this quick Edward."
"I want to ask Bella to marry me." I cut straight to the crux of the conversation and watched as Charlie's brown eyes widened, his head shook instinctively and his face turned a few interesting colours. "Before you automatically say no please think about it."
"Why are you even asking me if you already know my answer?"
"I had hoped that your opinion of me would have changed in the past few months, that you would have seen just how deeply I love your daughter, how I would never intentionally hurt her."
"I know you would never intentionally hurt her Edward. I've seen you put your life at risk to save her, seen how injured you were when it was over. But neither of you are eighteen yet. You are both too young."
"I realise that, and that's why we wouldn't be getting married until after college, that is if she says yes. I just want to give her the ring." I pulled it out of my pocket, glancing around to make sure no one was in sight I popped open the box and showed Charlie the glinting ring.
"How could you afford a ring like that?"
"It was my mothers. Besides, I have...money. Separate from Carlisle's. Bella isn't going to have to worry about money her entire life if she marries me."
"Money doesn't motivate Bella."
"I know that. I only mention it to perhaps put your mind at ease about our future."
"Even if I say no you are both going to go against me at some point in the future." I nodded at the truth of the statement. "I don't dislike you Edward, you are becoming a man to be proud to know. I realise that I am overly protective of Bella, but after what she has been through and her being my only child...one day you'll understand and I won't even tell you I told you so."
It took a moment for his words to sink in, his inference that he would be in my life when I had children could surely mean only one thing. That he would be their grandpa. He smiled under his moustache at the dawning realisation on my face and with a nod he clapped me on my good shoulder and walked back to Tanya.
All day long I had been catching glimpses of my bronze haired boyfriend from across the room but every time I tried to get near him Alice or Jasper or Esme or Carlisle or Rosalie or Emmett would swing me in the other direction. The six of them descended when I saw Charlie and Edward talking with serious looks on their faces and was about to walk over to diffuse the situation but was pulled away by six sets of hands to pose for yet more photographs.
I detest having my photo taken, which was one of my main arguments against being in the wedding party. I didn't want to ruin the photographs with my incessant blinking at the wrong moment. It wasn't hard to genuinely smile but it was hard to find that fine line between subtle and gormless. It was getting exhausting and I was about to throw in the towel when strong familiar hands slid smoothly around my waist to pull me back into the contours of his body.
My loud sigh of contentment was echoed by his own, my hand snaked up to run along his jaw and up into his hair. Eyes shut I stood and revelled in the closeness of his body. His lips grazed my temple before he spun me to face him in a liquid movement that would have sent me flying to the floor if it had been anyone else, but he caught me with lithe grace and my arms locked at the back of his neck as I gazed up at his face.
"I've missed you, it feels like an age since I held you in my arms. Since I kissed your lips." He dropped a light kiss onto my mouth before continuing. "Since I smelled your hair." His nose dove into my pinned hair. "Since I tasted your skin." His mouth sank against my neck to give me the lightest of kisses and slightest flick of his tongue.
"If that's the kind of greeting I get then I'm going to make you miss me more often." I smiled into his shoulder.
"Every second you aren't in my arms I miss you more than you know." My knees started to feel a little weak. "Time to dance."
"Trust me." He caught my chin between his thumb and forefinger to tip my face up to his. Our eyes locked and yet again I found myself absolutely at the mercy of the man holding me tightly against him.
Dancing with Edward was as easy as standing upright. He moved me like I was made of air across the wooden dance floor specially brought in for the wedding. I've never been co-ordinated to dance without looking like I was suffering from some sort of seizure but Edward made me feel like I was the most elegant dancer in the world. I was so lost in the feeling of freedom and exhilaration that I was experiencing that I didn't notice when he led me away from the dance floor and we ended up on the deserted deck out back.
"That wasn't so bad now was it?" I shook my head without lifting it from his undamaged shoulder.
"No." I mumbled against the crisp white cotton of his shirt, his jacket long discarded. "I don't want to go home, I want to stay with you tonight." He pulled me away from the light spilling through the glass doors into a darkened corner. Not a millimetre remained between us as I crushed my body up against his. What I wanted was for him to push me up against the wall and do unspeakably sexy things to me. Instead he held me tight and leaned his own torso up against the wall.
"I asked you something important recently." He started after clearing his throat anxiously.
"Asking me if I preferred Ladyhawke or Paloma Faith doesn't really constitute important Edward." I was being deliberately obtuse and from the little creases appearing on his forehead he knew it.
"You know I wasn't talking about that, and you still haven't answered me about that by the way."
"That's because I prefer Pixie Lott."
"You infuriate me sometimes." His lips made contact with my forehead. "But I really do love you."
"I love you too." I knew what was coming, I could feel the bulge in his pocket and it wasn't the one I had been hoping to feel.
We rocked gently to the sounds of Rachael Yamagata filtering through the slightly open doors, neither of us willing to let the other go and both trying to find the words that would convey exactly what needed to be said.
I wanted to marry him. I really truly did. It wasn't a question of it being purely an intense first love. When I saw my future I saw him by my side, cheering me on, comforting me when I stumbled through life and loving me so completely that I would never need anything else. It was an all consuming love and I was confident that seventy years from now when our hands lay entwined I would still see his as it is today. In my eyes he will always be as he is now, absolutely the love of my life.
But we are seventeen. Much too young to be married now, I wasn't prepared to be rushed into a legal commitment so young. My confusion lay within my conflicting and hypocritical thoughts about it. Knowing I would spend the rest of my life with Edward made part of me want to rush to say yes, to force him on a plane to Vegas and get it done. Yet another part of me, the cautious dominant part, refused to back down to the steadily growing voice of yes.
"I've been thinking."
"That's always a bit dangerous." I giggled up at him before he silenced me with a kiss.
"Stay with me Bella, I'm going to get serious here and it would be ever so helpful if you could refrain from making jokes."
"Spoil sport." I pouted but managed to keep my mouth in check.
"We love each other." I nodded. "I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy." I smiled. "I know you are reluctant to jump right into marriage, but that is where I want us to end up."
"I do too." I cupped his face in my hands. "Truly I do."
"I'm going to give you something tonight that is precious to me, that I would only give to you." He dropped his embrace and sank to his knees before me. My heart was hammering in my chest. I knew this was going to happen ever since I had felt that small box in his pocket but nothing had prepared me for the feelings that began to swim through me.
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you." His hand proffered the closed box to me. "Your smile, your hair, your eyes, your skin, your hands, your spirit, your taste in music, the way you love that dumb old truck, your strength. Everything about you, Bella, calls to me in a way I can't describe. My life is nothing without you in it."
His fingers popped open the box and the light seeping out from the house caught on the side of the diamond. I gasped at the most beautiful ring I'd ever seen. A thin band of platinum was topped by a diamond practically the size of my fist. It could have been gaudy but it was understated and absolutely something not out of place in the window of Tiffany's. I was suddenly desperate to have that on my finger.
"It was my mothers. Their belongings were put into storage by the executors of their will. I gained access to it when I was 16. She would want me to give it to you. She would love you like I do, like Esme does, like everyone does when you let them into your world." As he spoke his long musician's fingers slipped the ring down my finger.
"Your mother would be proud of the man you have become Edward." I managed to whisper, my voice choosing to all but completely abandon me.
"She would be proud of the man you are making me. Will you marry me?"
There was no hesitation in my voice when I answered, it travelled loudly and clearly across into the silent surrounding trees, across the softly tumbling water and echoed on through the night. The dominant part of my brain was silent, finally submitting to the happy inevitability. His lips brushed across my healed knuckles before turning my hand around and kissing my palm. He looked up at me and once again I was struck by the certainty that I was staring directly at my future.
A/N: So....I hope to god I haven't disappointed anybody with this, the final chapter.
That's it, we are done with this version of Edward and Bella and the others. Hope you enjoyed the ride, leave me some love in the form of a review, the longer the better... :D
Ok, move along now, nothing to see here, you've all got homes to go to. I'm a little sad because I've totally enjoyed writing this.
For those of you a little disappointed that there was no lemony goodness in this chapter I couldn't do it because it didn't flow into it and i wasn't about to shoehorn in some sexy times just for the sake of it, it's all about the story for me.
And if I've left any unanswered questions let me know and I'll answer them for you, it was my first time and there is always something you forget when it's your first time.
I got nominated for best plot line at the new but awesome looking immortalcookieawards[dot]moonfruit[dot]com which i was hugely chuffed about :D
I just wanted to say thanks you to every single one of you that read it and reviewed and loved and championed it. I appreciate it greatly :D
Remember to Author Alert me if you want to read anything else I write.