Goooooooodddd afternoon or morning, everybody! Whenever you're reading this...hey! I hope you have all had an amazing summer – I know I have :D I went to Cornwall and had an amazing time, which involved losing one of my Wellington boots to a raging wave, climbing across many rocks and ripping my feet apart, swimming, ice-cream, a lot of walking, a giant dog, extremely bad weather, horse riding, obsessive Sims playing, no internet, and falling into the sea with all my clothes on. That's right, I fell. And I got very wet whilst my whole family killed themselves laughing.
Like I said – it was awesome.
This is my first posting of my new school year; I am officially, as of 9.00 am today, back at school. I figured, for anyone who is like me and has already lost that back-to-school feeling and is completely dreading the year ahead, this may be a little bit of a pick-me-up. And for all of you who still get to enjoy your last days of summer – we all wish we were you. Yup.
School sucks. As does art. Sigh.
Something that got me this week...NEW MOON MOVIE NEW MOON MOVIE NEW MOON MOVIE OH MY GOD IT LOOKS SO AMAZING! Watched the trailer and I was much more inspired than the one for twilight...I was like W.O.W. O_O I am officially taking back my criticisms of Taylor Lautner – that guy cleans up good. I still hate Jacob, but Taylor...I actually might like him. Edward's hair has suddenly grown in awesomeness: it's like they understood that they should change his hair and they did! It looks sooooo much better now, I think. Has anyone else also found that Robert Pattinson seems to have gotten more and more Edward-like? For some reason in my head he looks just like him now...anyway. I AM SO EXCITED I CANNOT WAIT I MAY ACTUALLY START A CALENDER AND GET A CARDBOARD CUTOUT! Something else to say in a review – tell me what you thought of the second trailer. If you haven't seen it, go! I only just found it and MAN I am so happy I did!
Ok...moving on. NEW MOOOON!
Anyway, here we go with the amazing 3 chapter in not-so-one-anymore bonanza! I'm sorry this took practically all summer, but I really wanted to include everything...that's why it's about 32 pages long. I didn't mean it to be...the next two are shorter, I promise :D They'll be up by the weekend..this just took me sooo long and it IS so long that I hope it will be worth the wait for the next two :D
Authors note at the very very end.
Read on, my brave warriors!
My thoughts go out to you, my immortal beloved.
I can live only wholly with you or not at all.
Be calm my life, my all.
Only by calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together.
Oh, continue to love me.
Never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
Love Letters of Great Men, Volume I. Beethoven.
Three months later
"Shh, Nessa," I gently bounced her up and down as she wailed – it seemed, at the moment, that she didn't do much else – "Shush, come on." Nessa continued to cry and I growled in exasperation as I found I couldn't calm her, "Edward, where are you?!" I poked my head out the front door, still carrying a sobbing baby, checked down the hall for him and sighed in relief as I spied his mop of bronze hair on the stairwell. "Edward!"
He started, then turned, smiling, "Hey, love."
"Could you give me a hand, please?" I was near tears myself as Nessa screamed in my ear, "I don't know how to stop her crying! What are you doing out there?"
"Nothing...did you try changing her?"
He seemed reluctant to move from his position; I puffed a strand of hair out of my eye and groaned, "Of course I tried that!"
It hit me like a sack of potatoes. "Oh."
He chuckled, "There you go...I'll see you inside, love."
"Alright," I said, dubiously wondering what he was up to as I turned back, shutting the door behind me; Nessa, at last, stopped crying as soon as I began feeding her. "You would've thought I'd know that," I sighed, resting my head on the back of the sofa and closing my eyes, feeling completely useless. Edward had always been the better parent.
A few minutes later, Edward slipped in, "Evening," he said, kissing the top of my head without stopping as he moved across the apartment.
"Where are you going?" I asked, immobile due to Nessa but suspicious all the same.
"Work," he replied without looking at me, "Don't disturb me for a half hour unless you really need to, ok?"
"Alright," I said again, frowning. "Are you ok, Edward? You seem kind of...jittery."
He'd gone inside already, but he came out again in a second – bagless, I realised then – his gaze completely centred on me now, "I'm fine." He smiled warmly, "Absolutely fine."
"Alright..." I sat Nessa up on my lap, then held her out to him, "You want to say hello?"
"Always," he grinned, taking Nessa from me and kissing her forehead, "Hey, Nessa." She giggled as he threw her up in the air, "How was your day? Were you a good girl for Mummy?" He hitched her onto his hip, "And speaking of Mummy..." He put out a hand and grasped my wrist, pulling me onto my feet then wrapping that arm around my waist, kissing me gently, "Hello."
I smiled, "Hey. How was your day?"
"The usual. Someone else got shouted at instead of me."
"And that's always good," I nodded encouragingly, and Edward chuckled, kissing me again.
"I missed you."
For a minute we all stood there together, my head on Edward's chest, one arm around me and the other holding Nessa, then Edward sighed.
"I really do have to get some work done, love."
"I'll put Nessa to sleep," I said, and Edward smiled.
"I'll see you in there," he kissed Nessa's forehead, "Goodnight, Ness."
She gurgled happily as he transferred her to my arms, and then he slipped back into our room whilst I took Nessa into hers.
"Alright, she's down," I sighed half an hour later, walking into our bedroom and closing the door, "Final-"
My words dwindled to a halt and my mouth dropped open in surprise as I turned back around; my room had been transformed.
It was filled with rose petals – strewn everywhere. Over the bedclothes, which had been switched to a deep red, edged with cream silk, over our little sofa, my desk, the shelf, the cupboard...everything was spotlessly tidy, with candles, big and small, scattered where there was room. All were lit, and the lights were off, so the room was only made of flickering candlelight, casting everything in fantastic shadows, so it didn't look like my bedroom anymore.
I felt as if I had entered another word as I gazed around the room, lost for words. I had no idea what was going on. Was there some anniversary I had forgotten? It was like being in one of those romantic movies...except the gorgeous man in this story was mine.
Edward appeared out of the darkness, suddenly changed, dressed in his jeans, a white shirt and a black suit jacket, looking devastatingly handsome in the candlelight. It emphasised the decisive slope of his jaw, and brought out the green of his eyes, which shone, even in the darkness. His hair seemed reddish, and I could tell he had attempted to comb it down, even as it stuck up, wilder than ever.
He grinned, and I nearly melted, "Hey, love."
I gulped, "What's all this?" And I had thought he was working...
His smile grew a little wicked, "I love you."
"I love you," he repeated, moving forward to take my hands; I was locked in his eyes, my heart racing, overwhelmed by it all.
I nodded, confused "I love you too," I whispered, thinking it seemed like the right thing to say.
His eyes were burning into mine with a fiery intensity; I couldnt've moved even if I wanted to.
"I love you," he stated again. I just stared at him in wonder. I didn't know what he was doing, or why he was talking to me this way, but he was making my whole body burn, heat travelling all the way to my fingertips. I hadn't known he could do this to me. I hadn't ever seen that look in his eyes before...it was unadulterated passion.
"Ever since I first saw you," he carried on, "Ever since you first fell in that doorway, I loved you. All those days when we were locked in closets together, I loved you. Even before we began, I loved you. I loved you even more afterwards...even when we fought, I loved you then too. I know I could ever stop loving you." He smiled down at me as I stared up at him, my eyes wide, hypnotised. My skin tingled as he brought one hand up and stroked my cheek gently. This was far too much.
"No...I won't ever stop loving you. And that's why, Bella," he held my hands tighter, his fingers stroking the skin of my palms, "I want you with me. Forever. I want forever...with you. You are the single best thing that has ever happened to me; you and Nessa both. I love you more than anything in the whole world. You are the best thing...the very best thing; you are my entire world." I trembled under his touch as he leaned closer, "If I ever lost you, I don't know what I would do." His voice was rough with emotion, and I felt like my chest was being compressed, a lump in my throat making it hard to breathe. My stomach was fluttering as if there were a million butterflies trapped inside.
"I want you. Forever. Forever and always, and everything in between. You are my everything, Bella. You're my forever." He smiled gently at me, and slowly released my hands, his eyes holding so many emotions that I couldn't understand what was going on. What he was trying to tell me.
He took one step away, "So, that's what I'm asking for now. I'm asking for forever."
Suddenly, it clicked. I began to understand what he was saying, and my heart pounded, my hands flying to my mouth. He couldn't be.
I wasn't ready...my breathing quickened, my lips forming a wide o under my hands as he knelt, his expression determined. My mind whirled as he took a deep breath, wondering wildly what I was going to say, and my heart beat ever faster, driving my blood through my veins until I tingled and trembled all over. My eyes were wide as he drew out a little satin box, his eyes never leaving mine, holding me completely still. The atmosphere around us intensified, until it was only me and him, in a world of roses and candles.
Then he spoke.
"Bella." His voice was trembling, but his hands were steady, his eyes holding mine firmly. He squared his shoulders, opening the black satin case smoothly – my vision was blurring, and I couldn't see what it looked like; the only thing I could see was him.
"Will you marry me?"
The fated words were spoken, and, as my hands slowly drifted away from my face, my fingers gripping each other tightly, I took a breath.
"Yes," I whispered, the words seeming to come from nowhere – I was sure I hadn't decided to say them, but something else inside me had spoken. It was as if the word had come straight from my heart; I hadn't had to think about it. If this meant being with him, forever, I wanted it. Marrying him would be the most wonderful thing in the world, I realised. He would officially be mine, and I would be his...and that was all I wanted.
"Yes?" his voice was disbelieving; as if he had expected me to say no.
I nodded, my voice breaking, tears suddenly forming in my eyes as I spoke again, "Yes. Yes, I will." Everything shattered then, and I laughed, my heart singing, "Yes!" I cried, half laughing, half crying, then I dropped to the floor, flinging my arms around him with such force that it knocked him backwards, both of us falling together.
"You'll marry me?" he said again, his hands coming up to frame my face, the ring box lying next to his head, and I nodded, smiling.
"Of course I will, you fool, didn't I already say I would?"
He kissed me then, gripping me tightly, his kiss urgent and jubilant, "I love you," he whispered, "I love you, I love you, I love you."
"I love you too, Edward," I murmured back, unable to think of anything else but him; he filled my head, shoving away anything else.
He pulled me up into a sitting position, then stood fluidly, his arms tightening around my waist, taking me with him. His kiss was still deep and intense, his lips pressing hard on mine, wanting and giving and asking and answering.
I love him, I love him, I love him.
I raked my hands through his hair, and he kept repeating the words, kissing me in between each one, his voice whispery and ragged, "I love you...I love you...I love you..."
"I know," I replied against his lips, hardly able to keep myself upright.
"I love you so much, Isabella Swan." As if as a second thought, he bent down and picked up the ring box, opening it but keeping one arm around my waist, holding me so there was no space between us.
The ring was a beautiful white-gold; a bright green emerald set in the middle between two clear diamonds – I wasn't one for wearing rings, but this one was...perfection. It only took me a few seconds to realise that the emerald was precisely the shade of green that matched Edward's eyes. He could not have chosen a better ring.
"Wow," I breathed, "It's beautiful."
He chuckled, "I'm glad you like it."
I let him slide it onto my finger – it was a strange delight, feeling the band sitting on my fourth finger of my left hand. I held my hand out, amazed by how well it fit; there was something about it. I knew I would never want to take this off.
"You chose well," I murmured, as he bent down and began to kiss my jaw, sliding down to my collar bone, then to the hollow at the base of my neck.
"Mmhmm," he whispered against my skin, lifting his head a little to look at my hand, "I love it."
He began his exploration of my neckline again, my skin burning where his lips touched it, the tingling increasing until I could do nothing but bend my head back and close my eyes, giving in to the way only Edward could make me feel.
"Why don't we," he murmured, gently sliding down one shoulder of my shirt, raising his head a little, "Make use of that bed which I so thoughtfully covered in those new sheets?"
"Wonderful idea," I breathed, "How thoughtful of you."
He chuckled and suddenly swung me up into his arms, "You know, I was actually planning to take you to Europe," he said conversationally as we crossed the room, "Romantic boat ride, sunset...it was going to be perfect. And then Jasper had to sleep with my little sister."
I laughed, "This is perfect too, you know - nice as Europe sounded."
Edward smiled, bringing our foreheads close together, "You know what?" he said, "As soon as I have you..." he threw me onto the bed, backing me up against the wall, "Here. Yes, now this is perfect."
"Perfect," I agreed, his deep green eyes holding me still until he pressed his lips to mine again.
A Year Later
"Open Mike!" Alice cried, pointing her pen at me across the table, "For the wedding party!"
"Good, good!" Emmett agreed in a voice just as loud, pointing at Alice in turn, "I like that!"
"I know, right?" she yelled, turning to point her pen at Emmett, "I should write it down!"
"Could you stop with the shouting, please?" I asked, pointing toward my bedroom, "Edward and Nessie are asleep – Edward had a long day and he only just got Nessie down."
"Sorry," Jasper apologised for her, Jamie fiddling with a spatula on his lap, "The day-care centre's been shut for the holidays, so Alice is a little stir-crazy looking after this little man who just won't take a nap."
I sighed, rubbing a hand over my eyes, "Tell me about it. I can hardly get any work done, what with Nessie running about all the time – I'm lucky they let me work from home."
"Wish I could do that," Jasper sighed, "He won't sleep without a pacifier, yet he insists on biting through all of them! He's a naughty boy, aren't you, champ?"
Jamie grinned, "Pudding!" That was the only word he knew – Alice had been incredibly proud and a little screamy when he first ventured saying it in front of her. Edward and I hadn't wanted to mention that he'd been yelling pudding ever since Edward had taught him the word whilst we were babysitting him and he was trying to bribe him and Nessa to eat broccoli the day before.
Needless to say, they weren't fooled by the aeroplane. Kids these days.
"Hey, Jazz, I have a question," Emmett and Alice were still screaming out ideas across the table, "I was reading 'What to Expect in the First Year', and..."
Edward came storming out of our bedroom, daughter in hand, "Emmett!" He bent down to kiss me as he passed, "Evening, sweetheart."
He handed Nessa to me, who intuitively grinned at me, showing her growing set of pearly white teeth, as Edward stormed at Alice and Emmett, "Can't you keep it down? Nessa and I were trying to sleep!"
"Awh, chick," I cooed to Nessa whilst Edward ranted at Alice and Emmett, "Did Aunt Alice and Uncle Emmett wake you up?" I jiggled her on my knee a little so she giggled, then kissed the top of her head, "Tell you what: why don't you go play with cousin Jamie until us adults are done, huh?"
"Great idea," Jasper sighed, rubbing his eyes, "Come on, champ." He swung Jamie up onto his shoulders – he laughed delightedly – whilst I stood, shifting Nessa onto my hip, walking her over to the playpen we had set up in the middle of the living room, gently sitting her in it next to Jamie. They both immediately busied themselves with the Play-doh, so Jasper and I returned to the table, Edward, Alice and Emmett still arguing.
"I am so tired," I sighed, dropping my head onto Jasper's shoulder, "I think I've been tired for the past year..."
"Tell me about it," Jasper said, his arms going around my shoulders – over the past year, Jasper had gone from good friend to best friend, whereas I considered Alice my sister and Emmett my brother. We had bonded over both our children – Alice and Edward were both, of course, perfect parents, doing everything with the slightest of ease, whilst Jasper and I felt we had to try a little harder to get our children to eat and sleep. He was, for all intensive purposes, my baby buddy. "Why don't you send Nessa to day-care, like we do with Jamie?"
I sighed, "Because I hated day-care when I was a kid and I couldn't stand being away from her." I smiled, sheepish, "Tiring as she is, I can't make myself be away from her for more than an hour."
"I would consider it, Bells," Jasper said, wisely, "What with the wedding preparations, and you and Edward both working – she would benefit from it. She could make new friends, and she's old enough now. Give you a little time to yourself."
"I'll think about it," I conceded, then I closed my eyes, tired enough to fall asleep right there on Jasper's shoulder...then there was a shriek from down the table.
"Bella! Stop sleeping!" Alice cried – Edward and Emmett were still arguing.
"What?" I jerked my head up, whilst Jasper slumped down on the table, lying his head on his arms, "He gets to sleep!"
"He isn't getting married in two weeks! This is the fine detail, Bella – we need to work out what we're going to do and when we're going to do it...we've got everything else done; now we just need the activities!" she cried, her eyes wild – she looked a little manic, "It all has to be perfect! Edward, Emmett!" She shrieked, "Would you both shut up?! I have a wedding to finish planning!"
"It's my wedding!" Edward yelled back, "And I should be allowed to sleep so I can actually be there!"
"I want karaoke!" Emmett shouted, and then all three of them resumed screaming at each other. I sighed, standing.
"Night, Jazz; I've had enough. Of all of them." I went to the playpen and picked up Nessa, "I'll see you tomorrow?"
He yawned, nodding, "I'll take Jamie home – it's past his bedtime. I'll see you tomorrow. Is Edward working?"
"Thank god for Saturdays," Jasper said, hitching Jamie onto his hip, "I'm so glad I can stay home."
"Don't I know it." I hugged him, then turned, "See you, Jasper!"
"You too." Jasper grabbed Alice's hand on the way out, tugging her away from the table, "Come on, Al."
"Jamie needs his rest. We'll pick this up tomorrow," he called to me, "I'll bring her over in the morning!"
Rosalie appeared in the doorway just as Jasper and Alice left, "Emmett! Dinner!"
Immediately he was gone, out the door in a flash – the sudden silence was unnerving.
I, completely sick of the shouting, continued into Nessa's room. "Stupid friends," I muttered, as Nessa giggled, "Stupid fiancée. Making lots of noise for no reason at all. Your Daddy is completely ridiculous," I said to Nessa, tapping her on the nose so she laughed again, her tufty bronze curls bouncing, "You know that? Mummy could just replace him, Ness – what do you think of that? Replace him with a Daddy who is quiet." Nessa just grinned.
"I knew you would agree," I said, "You're a clever little girl, aren't you, Nessa? You know that Mummy is right." I drew the curtains – she was already in her pyjamas – and lay her in her crib, kissing her on the forehead, "Goodnight, Nessa." She immediately jumped up again, bouncing on her little feet, hands clutching at the bars, "No, Ness," I shook my head, "You have to sleep now. Shh, come on." She shook her head, holding out her arms, and I sighed, plucking her out again, "You really are demanding, you know that?"
"Alright then," I said, sitting on the beanbag in the corner, picking up a book which sat on the little table beside it, Nessa wriggling on my lap, "You want I should read to you?" She had no answer for me, and I sighed, "No? Well," I bounced her a little, "What would you like me to do to get you to sleep, huh, you little monster?"
"Calling her a monster isn't going to get her to go to sleep, you know," Edward was in the doorway, smiling – I spared him a glance, rolling my eyes.
"Go away, would you? You've tired me out enough today."
He ignored me, coming in and plucking Nessa off my lap, swinging her round so she laughed, "Nessa doesn't like to go to sleep unless she's been rocked a little first," he said knowingly - he nearly always put her to bed.
I stood, crossing my arms, huffing, "Well, I'm sorry, but that's not how I do it." I took her back off him, "Nessa and I were doing our own thing, weren't we, Nessa?"
"You know she can't answer you, right?" Edward smirked – if I hadn't been holding Nessa, I would have kicked him. Stupid know-it-all Dad.
"I am putting Nessa to bed tonight, so go away, ok? Go and argue with Emmett some more or whatever it is that you want to do."
He held up his hands, seeming more aggravatingly amused than annoyed, "Alright, alright." He leaned in and kissed the top of my head, knowing that I wouldn't shy away, no matter how pissed off I was, "I'll see you in bed."
"You'll be lucky," I snapped, turning away as he chuckled his way back out again. "Stupid Daddy," I grumbled, "Trying to give me baby advice...you understand, right, Nessa?" She stared back at me, her emerald eyes wide, then she yawned, bringing up one little fist to rub her eye, then fixing her gaze on me again. I sighed, "Come on, Ness – I know what I'll do." I sat her in the crib, then pulled up a chair, so I was on eye-level with her. "You want me to sing?" She simply stared at me, cocking her head a little, and I smiled, "I'll take that as a yes."
I only knew one lullaby – the one my mother had sung to me. It had never failed, so I didn't see the point in learning any others. Besides, lullabies hardly existed anymore these days.
I got up, quickly closing the door – Nessie began to fidget in my absence, and I softly shushed her until she sat again, hands in between her legs, staring at me, completely silent; I knew she understood, no matter how she couldn't talk. I knew my little daughter was very smart. Something that sometimes annoyed me was that she was definitely Edward's daughter – she had his hair and eyes, his deft, sloping jaw, his natural grace, even as she tottered around still unsteady on her feet...and she had his intuitive gaze; that sparkle in her eyes that let me know she knew exactly what was going on around her. I had a hard time finding anything of myself in her, but Edward always chuckled that she had my habit of biting my lip whenever I was nervous, but I didn't see it. He also said she had my eyes and nose – I always said that wasn't much.
Slowly, I began to sing to her softly, and, very slowly, Nessa drooped...by the time I had finished, she was fast asleep, her little head on top of her hands, curled in a ball, breathing gently. I smiled, pleased with myself, and leaned in to kiss her, "Goodnight, Nessie." I stayed still for a second, watching – I was still finding it hard to believe that this beautiful little girl was actually mine and Edward's daughter. After a year, it still hadn't sunk in, just as the stretch marks had not disappeared completely just yet, no matter how many times a week Alice dragged me to the gym, which also involved dragging me out of bed at six in the morning, something which I definitely did not appreciate. Nessa tended to want to eat at seven thirty, and even though she was on bottles now, six months ago Edward definitely wasn't qualified to feed her.
But, I was happy, because a month ago Alice had deemed me a wedding-dress worthy size, so I was left to enjoy my time in bed with my fiancée in the morning...at least until Nessa woke up, that was.
I went into my bedroom, after switching off Nessa's light, to find Edward lying in just his pyjama pants, spread out over the bed. "Well hello," he grinned crookedly, and I felt my heart stutter for a second – he definitely knew what he did to me with that voice, that chest and that hair.
I pretended he had no effect on me and went to the cupboard to pull out my pyjamas, "Hey."
I felt him come up behind me, his warm arms coming around me, pulling me against him, "Are you angry with me – you seem cold this evening." He bent down to kiss my shoulder, lightly working his way up my neck to the spot under my ear, "Did I do something wrong?"
I shivered, "Stop it, Edward." I didn't and couldn't and wouldn't move, nor could I put any backing behind my statement, as my hands already twisted themselves into knots and I began to heat up, my skin tingling.
"Stop what?" he murmured, reaching out to turn down the lights to a heady glow – the switch was, conveniently for him, placed on the wall next to the wardrobe – "I am only," he kissed my neck again, softly and slowly, "Playing."
"I'm angry with you," I whispered, clenching my hands into fists, trying to focus on that anger – but I found it wasn't there...it had dissipated as soon as Edward had got his arms around me, and he knew it.
"I'm sorry," he sighed into my ear, "I didn't mean to upset you, my love, whatever it is that I did. Say you'll forgive me?"
He knew exactly what he was doing, and that I couldn't refuse...darn him.
I'd already forgotten what it was I was angry about in the first place. His scent was invading my mind, clouding it, until the only thing I could think about was to turn around and for there to be no more talking.
I sighed, "Forgiven."
"Good," he breathed, then he resumed slowly kissing the bare skin of my shoulders and neck, whilst I trembled as his arms tightened, dropping my head onto his shoulder.
"Didn't we say," I choked out, "That we wouldn't...do this until...after the wedding?"
"This doesn't count," he replied, "Nor does us going into that bed and doing most of what we usually do."
I still sort of remembered why we had said we wouldn't sleep together, so I said, "No, Edward...it does count. Come on...we had a good reason."
He sighed, "Fine."
Abruptly he was gone, and I turned round after a second for calming myself to find him lying face down on the bed.
"I hate it when you do this to me," he muttered, "Now I have to think of baseball and a naked Emmett just to calm down – and trust me, naked Emmett is not a nice thing to think of."
"You know what naked Emmett looks like?"
"I wish I didn't. A product of him never locking the bathroom door."
I shivered, "Ew."
"You said it." He sighed, turning over, "Ok, I'm good. Just...don't come over here for a while, love."
"I'll go get changed."
"No," he stood, "I'll go stand under the shower for a while. You can change here."
I nodded as he left, picking my pyjamas quickly off the floor – I was in bed, fully changed, warm and cosy, by the time he came back in; I smiled at him from my place buried under the thick duvet, "Better?"
"I was," he grumbled, flicking off the light – he was in beside me by the time my eyes adjusted, his warm body already pressed close to mine against the cold November air, "But," he sighed, wrapping his arms around me, twisting his legs with mine, obviously intending for us to be as close together as possible, "I'll be ok."
"Good," I replied, settling down and closing my eyes, "I don't want you to ever leave."
"Where would I go?" he whispered in my ear, "There's nowhere else I would rather be."
"Ok, ok – we have five hours, people!" Alice burst into my hotel room, carrying several bottles of champagne, "Five hours until it's walking-down-aisle time!" I sat up; rubbing my eyes and yawning, I leant over the side of the bed to make sure Nessa was still asleep in her cot before looking back at Alice.
"No mornings," she insisted, "Get up. Now."
"I'm up, I'm up," I mumbled as I swung myself out of the comfortable hotel bed – to make it easier, Edward and me and the rest of the wedding party had stayed here overnight, whilst everyone else was going to arrive when the wedding started.
"You seem weirdly calm," Alice observed as I shuffled my way towards a shower, "Why aren't you screaming or nervously twittering like Rosalie was?"
I shrugged as I entered the bathroom, leaning against the door, "Dunno," I yawned, stretching, "Maybe after I have a shower..."
I came out ten minutes later, my body warm, wearing a soft robe with my hair wrapped up in a white fluffy towel, and shook my head.
"Nope, I still feel calm."
"Weird child," Alice said from her perch on the bed, then she clapped her hands, "Right. We're going to do champagne and girl-chat first, then hair and makeup, then dress, then vows, then wedding. Kapish?"
I yawned, "Kapish."
She sighed, rolling her eyes, "Wait here whilst I get Rosalie."
"Alrighty," I replied noncommittally, then as soon as she was gone, I curled up under the covers and sighed – it was warm, but still I missed Edward's familiar presence beside me, his warmth just tipping the comfort scales over towards bliss. No bed was the same without him in it.
I heard a slight rattling, and opened my eyes again to see Nessa grinning at me, standing shakily in her cot, tiny hands clutching onto the bars – she jumped up and down a little as I sat up again, "Good morning, sweetie." She held out her arms and I leaned over to gently pick her up, sitting her in my lap and kissing her on the forehead, "How did you sleep, baby? Good?"
She gurgled in response and I laughed, "That's the only word you know, isn't it?"
Rosalie and Alice came in to find me half-asleep again, Nessa lying on my chest, her thumb in her mouth – she had fallen asleep again too, both of us wrapped up in the soft white duvet. I heard Alice sigh, but then Rosalie said, "Leave her be, Alice – just for a little while. Look at them."
Alice sounded reluctant, "Alright...I suppose I had better go check Edward's still here anyway."
Rosalie laughed, "Seriously, I would be more worried about him trying to break his way in here."
I heard a door close, then I opened one eye to find only Rosalie. "Thanks," I said.
"You are welcome," she smiled, then she sat down on the bed beside me, crossing her legs and closing her eyes, "You wouldn't believe how tired I am – she came in like, five minutes after Emmett came back. I hadn't seen him all night," she said reproachfully, "He'd been at Edward's stag party."
"I forgot about that," I mumbled, eyes closed again, "Do you know what they did?"
"They tried to take him to a strip club," Rosalie replied, "Apparently he wouldn't get out the car. He said it was inappropriate for a man with a child to go to strip clubs." She laughed, "So Edward."
Secretly, I was pleased – I had never liked the image of Edward at a strip club, "So what did they do?"
"The usual – they drunk with a few of their 'mates'...played Trivial Pursuit...I think Emmett and Jasper managed to weasel a few embarrassing secrets out of Edward whilst they hung most of his piano music out of the window, but, other than that..." I winced as Rosalie shrugged, "It sounded pretty lame to me."
"I bet Emmett and Jasper managed to think of something," I yawned, Nessa shifting on my stomach, "They always do."
"Mmm," Rosalie sounded near-sleep too, and I gave up after that, letting myself doze again whilst wondering idly and sleepily what Edward was doing now.
I heard Alice's exasperated sigh a few minutes later, "Dear god – you would think you guys weren't used to getting up at seven in the morning."
"We're not," Rosalie moaned, whilst I groaned my agreement – Alice had no sympathy.
"Bella, if you want to get married today, then you have to get ready, which implies that you must get up! Edward's awake, so I don't see why you shouldn't be."
"Unlikely," I disagreed, not fazed, "Edward never gets up at seven – not even when he goes to work. Seven-thirty I would believe, but..."
"Oh, shut up," Alice sounded disgruntled, but then the mattress dipped again and I opened my eyes to find her lying on my other side; she bugged her eyes at me, "Well, since you guys are all doing it...besides," she yawned, "Jamie kept me up all last night. Jasper was the one crying, incidentally."
"Nessa's never made Edward cry."
"That's because Edward has no soul."
"Now that's just not nice," Rosalie muttered.
Our conversation quickly descended into nothing, and pretty soon we were all asleep – at nine o'clock, we were all awoken by a pounding on the door. I simply turned over and hugged Nessa tighter, whilst Rosalie groaned, "Go away..."
"What time is it?" Alice said – there was a creak then a shriek.
"Holy shit! It's nine thirty! The wedding's in two and a half hours!"
Even I was jolted awake by that – two hours did not seem like enough time to get anything done at all. "Really?" I sat up, Nessa rubbing her eyes on my lap, "Nine thirty?!"
"It'll be ok, Alice," Rosalie was already on her feet, heading towards the cupboard, "Bella, put Nessa back in her crib, I'll get the dress, Alice – you do whatever it is that you were planning to do."
"Ok, ok," Alice pushed me towards the dressing table as soon as I had put Nessa down, "It's all going to be ok...would someone please tell whoever it is outside to shut up?!"
"Do you think we'll have enough time?" I said to Alice as she began to brush my hair quickly and firmly – I didn't think it would be wise to tell her that it felt like she was pulling half my hair out; she nodded.
"We'll be fine, we'll be fine...it doesn't matter if we're late, because we're not supposed to be the first down there anyway..."
"It's Jasper!" Rosalie called, hurrying back into the room and lying my dress out across the bed – Alice didn't stop her hair brushing as she threw at him:
"What is it?"
"Did you guys just get up?"
"Doesn't matter," she interrupted, "We're all awake now."
"How's Edward?" I cut in, now desperate for news of him – for some reason, I was suddenly unthinkingly jittery and on edge; perhaps it was the tense, harried atmosphere as my two best friends rushed around, Rosalie halfway into her dress and Alice, finished brushing through my hair, tipping out all her makeup and hair styling products onto the floor, "Is he awake?"
Jasper chuckled, the sound chafing against my nerves, annoyingly calm, "He hardly slept – he forced us back here at eleven, we drank and played some games, did some prank calls, ordered pizza...then, being the total pansy that he is, couldn't sleep a wink because you weren't there." He yawned widely, "But now he's good...he just asked if I could come and get Nessa so he could say hello to her."
I sighed, "He's ok?"
"He's fine, Bells."
"Ok." I took a deep breath then smiled, "Take Nessa – I'm sure she'll be much happier there than in 'Nazi bridesmaid suite' anyway."
He laughed, then nodded, "Thanks, Bella – oh, and Edward told me to tell you good morning, and that he hoped you slept as badly as him."
I laughed in return, "I was ok, actually...you can tell him I'm freaking a little now, though."
"You sure I should?" he asked, Nessa now balanced on his hip, asleep on his shoulder – my daughter spent most of her time sleeping; I found it hard to believe she could always be that tired, "Might freak him out."
"Don't, then," I sighed, leaning back in my chair, "I wouldn't want to do that...just tell him I said good morning too."
Five minutes later, phone in hand, I found myself sneaking out of the hotel room, under the pretence of 'getting some air', down the corridor and into a nearby closet, lightly backing into it and closing the door before turning and walking into something decidedly solid.
"Hey," I whispered, stretching up to kiss him – Edward chuckled, arms winding round my waist.
"Is there any particular reason you texted for me to meet you in the cleaner's closet, or was it just to say hello?"
"No," I replied, resting my head against his chest, my jittery nerves calming a little at his presence, "Just...taking some time away from it all."
"Are you freaking?" he asked gently, ever intuitive.
"Yes," I sighed, pressing closer to him, "Not because I'm afraid...just because...it's all too much, you know? The dress and the makeup and the fact I have to walk up in front of hundreds of people...I don't think I can handle it. It's too huge."
"I know," he said, "I know. But you'll be fine, love. You always are."
"But what if I fall? What if I forget the words?"
"I'll catch you, and I'll say them for you." He smiled, "Don't worry, Bella. I love you, and that's all that matters. What happens today doesn't matter either – getting married is just one day, but this is one day before the rest of our lives. We could get married in Las Vegas for all I care – all I want is to be married to you. Don't worry about what happens before that; I promise it'll all be fine."
"You think so?"
"I know so," he grinned, "And now I think you need a little distracting."
His smile told me all I needed to know. "Yes – distraction, please." I laughed, "I could use one."
"As you wish."
I'd always loved his distractions.
However long it took for Edward and I to both be on the floor and leaning up against the door later, I was pretty sure Alice would be looking for us. But, then again, I was pretty sure she would be close to killing me if I hadn't come here and I was still a jittering ball of nerves – this was my form of stress release.
Combined with the fact that Edward and I hadn't slept together in two weeks, it made one incredible release.
I was gasping for breath by the time he let me go – so was he, and we both leant against the door for support, breathing heavily in the darkness. Neither of us spoke; I was too dizzy. I couldn't even remember exactly how I had ended up in here in the first place.
"Ok," I breathed, "I really have to go – they'll probably be looking for me."
"I disagree," Edward replied, only holding me tighter, refusing to let me go, "I don't think they'll notice we're gone for a really long time..."
As if on cue, there was a shriek, "Bella!"
"Alice!" Edward said her name like a curse, then promptly dropped his head and kissed me full on the mouth, deepening it within seconds, urgently drawing his hands up my back and twisting them in my hair, holding me firmly to him, "Damn her," he muttered, "I need longer..."
"Bella? Where are you? I know you're here somewhere! Get out here right now!"
"Edward," I gasped, "Enough, please – I really have to go." Edward sighed but complied, standing, pulling me to my feet – I kissed him quickly, "I'll see you in a few hours, ok?"
"Are you ok now?"
"Yeah," I nodded, smiling, even though I knew he couldn't see, "I'm fine."
"I love you."
"You know I love you too," I replied, kissing him once more before slipping out, shutting the door behind me just as Alice rounded the corner, her expression fearsome.
"Where have you been?!"
I shrugged, trying to look innocent, "Air?"
It was now fifteen minutes to wedding, and I was standing in front of the mirror, hardly seeing my reflection as I struggled to breathe, trembling as I took in the girl in the white dress. "Bella!" Alice was shaking my arm, "Bella, snap out of it!"
"Should we slap her?" Rosalie suggested – Esme tutted whilst Alice gasped in shock.
"No, we couldn't do that! She looks perfect...and what would Edward say if we did?"
"He would kill us," Rosalie agreed; Alice shook me again.
"I can't..." I whispered, almost to myself than anyone else – I was too nervous...everyone would be looking at me...I needed Edward, I knew, and he wasn't here. "I can't do this..."
"No, Bella, no!" Alice hissed, her grip on my arm tightening, "You are not running out on my brother! Not now, not ever! I won't let you!"
The thought of that brought me out of my self-induced, nervous stupor – running away, leaving Edward here...no, I could never do that. "W-what?" I stuttered, trembling but half conscious now, "Why would you say that?"
She looked surprised, "Aren't you thinking about it?"
My voice sounded outraged, even though I wasn't – I was too panicky, "No! I would never do that! No! I love Edward!" That struck a chord in me, and I suddenly stopped shaking as a realisation swept through me, my nerves all at once evaporating. I loved Edward. He loved me. That was all that mattered. Everything would be ok, because, in the end, that was all it came down to.
"I love him," I repeated again, steadying myself in my shoes as Alice and Rosalie shared a worried glance; Esme moved forward and touched my arm gently.
"Bella, dear – are you alright?"
"Yes," I shook my head, clearing my head, then nodded quickly, "I'm fine. Absolutely and completely." I smiled at all three of them, "I'm fine...absolutely fine..."
Rosalie pushed forward, putting her hands on my shoulders, "Focus on Edward, Bella – he'll be standing there, at the end of that aisle, waiting for you. You're doing this together. Edward's going to be there, Bells – focus on him, and I promise you'll be ok. Alright?"
I could picture Edward's face in my mind: his emerald eyes sparkling, his smile teasing, daring me to run, even though I knew he knew I wouldn't. I could do this...for him. I nodded to Rosalie, keeping Edward's face in my head, the thought of him calming me, so my world stopped spinning, "Alright."
"Alright," she smiled, then she pulled me into her arms, hugging me tightly, "I love you, Bells."
Alice joined the hug then, her small arms winding around my waist, fitting in between Rosalie and me, "I love you too, Bells."
"Love you guys," I closed my eyes and felt a rush of affection for my best friends – I loved them both, just as much as I loved Edward, but in a different way; my love for my fiancée may have been a much stronger emotion, but deep down, Alice and Rosalie meant just as much to me, even if I didn't always know it.
More than one of us was tearing up as we all pulled away; Alice grinned at me, wiping her eyes gently, "Well, Bella – are you ready?"
"As I'll ever be."
I took a deep breath, and Esme moved forward, taking my hand and smiling at me, "My son loves you, Bella – I always knew that he did. You make him happier than he's ever been, so don't be nervous." Her smile was tender and gentle – it reminded me of how my own mother would look at me, "Everything will be ok."
"Thank you, Esme," I smiled back at her, and she hugged me.
"That's Mom, now."
I laughed, knowing it would take me a while to get used to that; Rosalie took my hand as Esme hugged Alice, who was close to tears, "Shall we go?"
I nodded, "Lets."
Together we all left the room, making our way carefully down the stairs, Rosalie and Alice holding both my hands, Esme behind us – the double doors that marked the hall where our wedding was taking place loomed, huge and dark, and I stopped, staring up at them, unable to speak as a thousand thoughts and feelings ran through me. Suddenly Charlie was there, stepping up beside me, his hand replacing Alice's, "Bella?"
I bit my lip, then turned to him – I couldn't help but throw my arms around him, pressing my face into his shoulder. "I love you, Daddy," I whispered, and I felt him breathe out in what seemed like relief.
"I love you too, kid."
I stayed that way for a minute, then I took his arm and straightened up, taking another deep breath before nodding, "Let's go."
"Are you sure you're alright?"
I nodded firmly, "Edward's in there – I need to be in there too."
Alice picked up her phone – giving the signal to Emmett and Jasper, I supposed – then, after one more pat on the back and a deep, shuddering breath (think of Edward...Edward...) the doors swung open to a chorus of scraping back chairs, the rustling of clothes and the gentle music of a piano in the corner – I heard absolutely none of it, because, right in front of me, wearing a wide, brilliant smile I knew was only for me: there he was. Dressed in a black tuxedo with a white flower matching my bouquet in the breast pocket, his handsome features shining, his hair – I almost laughed at how non-neat it looked...no one would ever be able to tame it. I felt a rush of love for him, and had to stop myself taking a step forward too early: all I wanted right then was to be next to him.
That only strengthened my belief that I could do this – he was there, waiting for me. That was all I would ever really need.
Slowly my father led me down the aisle, after Alice and Rosalie; I hardly saw the smiling faces around me, the only ones that were standing out were that of Edward's family, Jasper and Emmett, Nessa who was in Esme's arms, smiling for all the world and Edward. When we reached him, my father gently kissed my cheek, smiling at me, then Edward stepped down and took my hand, his smile the brightest of all. "You look beautiful," he whispered to me, something reverent in his voice, "Absolutely beautiful."
We recited the vows, Edward's hand tight in mine all the time – I could barely keep my eyes off him. It was all easy, painless...a joy, to promise everything to Edward and he to me, to smile at him as he slipped his cool, white-gold band onto my fourth finger, and mine onto his.
The world around me began to blur as all the love I felt for him swept through me; the feelings, the atmosphere...all of it suddenly became too much for me.
Just as our minister shouted at the top of his voice, "You may kiss the bride," and just as Edward turned to me, his bright smile shining, his hands reaching out to encircle my waist; I slumped.
My legs finally gave way and the skirt of my dress got under my feet, so I swayed to the side as I turned, almost toppling down the three small steps that led up to the altar – our watching guests, as one body, gasped in what I thought should be horror; I noted how comically rehearsed they sounded. There was a shocked and sudden silence as Edward cried, quite out of character for him, "Woah!" He stepped sideways and caught me – I suddenly found myself leaning backwards over his arm which was tight around me, as if we were dancing and he had just dipped me.
We stayed there, completely still – you could have cut the tension in that ballroom with a knife – and I pressed my lips together, eyes wide as I stared back up at Edward, just as he was staring at me.
Then, suddenly, I began to feel an odd giggling rising in me – I had just tripped...on the penultimate moment of my whole marriage ceremony.
Everyone had been watching...and I had just tripped. Edward had had to catch me, and now, here we were, frozen in a rather unusual position.
Somehow, the thought seemed oddly hilarious.
I pressed my lips together tighter, trying to hold my laughter back, but the look on Edward's face was too much. I let my head drop backwards, knowing my hair was hanging down as I looked at the people all lined up in the pews, wearing a general expression of sheer astonishment – then I spotted Alice, standing to the side of the little steps, next to Rosalie, Jessica and Marie. She had a pink handkerchief stuffed in her mouth, whereas the other three had their hands, and she had her eyes tightly closed – I knew that look.
She was laughing. Hard.
I knew I must have looked like a total idiot, with my hair hanging down, glancing around the church whilst my second-away husband held me up, and this thought only made me want to laugh more.
It was Edward who finally pushed me over the edge.
I glanced back at him, and his expression was so full of mirth, one eyebrow cocked and his smile crooked, that I finally cracked.
My efforts blew, and I began to giggle, quickly turning to a full laugh as Edward grinned – he began to chuckle too, both of us caught each other's eye...and then it was completely over. I simply looked at him as I laughed so hard that my sides hurt, letting him take all my weight; he shook his head, laughing too, then he swept me up, twirled me around, and kissed me, lifting me off the ground - immediately the church rang with applause as I locked my arms around Edward's neck and kissed him for all I was worth, my bouquet hanging from my hand, knocking against his back. In my opinion, that was one of the best kisses I had ever had from Edward – it was raw, filled with all the emotions that we both shared and felt – but, as I found when opened my eyes for a second, meeting his: I couldn't keep my humour back.
And, as Edward's little cousin put it when Edward and I broke away from each other, both laughing as I clutched onto his neck, pressing my face into his chest, – I turned it to the side so I could see everyone, grinning and pressing a little closer as I caught sight of my father, holding a giggling Nessa in his arms, smiling to kingdom come; Esme and Carlisle, she was crying into his shoulder and he into her hair; and all the rest of my friends – turning to her mother and shouting loudly, "If they're laughing now, they'll be laughing forever, right?"
I couldn't imagine a better way to put it.
Edward led me down the aisle – I was every bit not the blushing bride on the way back down, grinning and waving at everyone I knew, whilst Edward held my arm in the crook of his elbow. I was almost bursting with happiness, and as soon as we were out of those double doors and my bridesmaids and his best men were blocking the view of us, I turned to him and pounced, jumping up and almost hanging off his neck as I kissed him again in pure, unadulterated joy.
He swung me round and round, turning in circles in the large, carpeted entrance hall, so many times that when he let me down I could barely see him as the world spun around me – when I regained my balance I grinned up at him, "We're married!"
"We're married!" he agreed, gripping my waist and throwing me up in the air again – I shrieked and laughed, clutching onto his shoulders, watching the world fly by, his smiling face the only thing that remained constant. As soon as I touched the floor I kissed him, exulting in him, amazed that he was finally mine, completely and unalterably.
"I love you."
He pressed his forehead to mine, grinning, lightly brushing his nose against mine, "I love you too, Mrs Cullen."
"Bella!" I turned at the call of my name, and saw Rosalie and Alice, both pounding towards me; I let go of Edward as they threw their arms around me, nearly knocking me to the floor.
"You tripped!" was the first thing Alice cried, laughing into my shoulder, "I can't believe you tripped!"
"Congratulations, Bella!" Rosalie was laughing too, "That was definitely the most memorable wedding I've ever been to – you're lucky Edward caught you."
"That's what I'm here for."
Rosalie let go of me and hugged Edward, "Well done, you." She ruffled his hair, "What a great save."
He chuckled, "Whoever said weddings couldn't be action-packed?"
"Well, I think you just proved to everyone that you guys are a perfect match – it looked just as if you knew it would happen before it did."
"I might have pre-empted it," Edward grinned cheekily.
"Well," Alice said over my shoulder, "All I know is that you guys are going to be happy forever." She hugged me tighter, "I know it." She sniffed, then let me go, "Now, Rose, get off my brother so I can hug him too."
Edward laughed as Alice leapt on him, wrapping her tiny arms around his waist, "I love you too, little sis."
"Congrats, Eddie," she grinned, "I'm so proud of you."
Emmett came at me full force, pulling me into a giant bear hug, "Congratulations – you're chained to Edward forever."
"You make that sound like a bad thing," I laughed, "Is that why you're trying to suffocate me to death?"
"Just so," he grinned.
"Can I have my wife now?"
Edward took me back, wrapping an arm around my waist – Jasper appeared from behind Emmett, clapping Edward on the shoulder, "Congrats, guys. You did it."
"Thanks, Jasper," I smiled, then he went to Alice, who was crying, and Edward kissed the top of my head.
"Ready to get to that wedding reception, Mrs Cullen?"
"Only if you stop calling me that – it's only been five minutes."
He leaned down to kiss me properly, smiling, "I'm never going to stop calling you that – it sounds too wonderful."
"Alright, alright!" That was the sound of Alice taking control, "Enough smoochy-smooch, you two; the limo is here and you two need to be getting in it. We'll see you both at the reception, now go!" Alice had decided that, instead of using this hotel for our reception, that we simply had to go to one just out of town – there was no particular reason that anyone knew apart from Alice, and we had declined to ask, happy to go along with it. I had always wanted to ride in a limo.
We were all but shoved out the door, and I laughed as random people congratulated us on our way to our car. "Just because I'm wearing a wedding dress," I laughed to Edward as I slid in, careful not to crease my dress – Alice would know about it in a second – "Everyone feels the need to talk to us."
"You would think we just got married," Edward quipped in answer – I caught the sarcasm.
"We just got married," Edward said again as we set off, his arms winding around me, "Ah, I've been waiting too long to say that."
As he smiled at me I raised a brow.
He laughed, "You sure know how to kill a moment, love."
"No, no; I'm sorry." I pulled his head down and kissed him, "I'm happy too."
"Happy?" he murmured, smiling crookedly, "That word is redundant compared to how I feel."
I would have answered, but I was far too busy kissing him
As the lead singer of our wedding band announced our imminent arrival, Edward took my arm, smiling at me, "Ready?"
"As I'll ever be," I replied, smoothing down my dress one last time.
"I love you," he said, and I smiled.
"May I present, for the first time ever, Mr and Mrs Edward Cullen!"
I grinned and blushed as Edward led me through the double doors, clutching onto his arm and giggling in a mixture of embarrassment and happiness as everyone applauded, smiles on all of their faces. People came forward to hug and congratulate us – Edward's colleagues, my friends, both our families – and I found myself surrounded.
Esme and Carlisle appeared, and Esme hugged me whilst Carlisle clapped Edward on the shoulder. "We're so happy for you both," Esme smiled.
"Welcome to the family," Carlisle said to me, and I blushed.
"Thank you to you both as well, for accepting me," I tilted my head towards Edward, "And for letting me have him – I know he must have been hard to give up."
They both laughed. "Well, a Mother has to let her son go sometime, doesn't she?" Esme reached forward to muss his hair, "And we could not have let him go for anyone less than you."
"We have to thank you for making Edward so happy," Carlisle nodded, "It warms both our hearts to see him so."
I flushed even more at their compliments, and Edward chuckled, squeezing my hand which was intertwined with his, "Ok, Mom, Dad: you're embarrassing her."
"We're leaving, we're leaving," Esme smiled, taking Carlisle's arm, "Come on, honey – let's go find our table."
Charlie was quick to take their place, and quick to pull me away from Edward, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. "Congratulations, kid," he said gruffly, "I'm...proud of you. And I just wanted to say-"
"I know, Dad," I said gently – I knew it was hard for him to handle emotional moments. He was just like me. "I love you too."
His eyes softened, and he nodded, "Love you, Bells." He turned to Edward, "You look after her, Edward."
"You know I will, sir," Edward smiled, taking my hand as my Dad let me go.
"Yeah." Charlie nodded, "I do know."
"So," Edward said, as the line of congratulators dwindled and died, everyone around the room clumped up in groups, the chatter loud enough to nearly conceal our conversation as we managed to steal a minute alone in a corner, "Who invited Mike and Jacob?"
I rolled my eyes, glancing over at the two boys who were sitting across from each other at a table, alternating from glaring at Edward to glaring at each other, "Alice – she thought it would be funny and ironic. Plus it got the guest list up to a nice, round one hundred and fifty."
"I really should have been more involved in the planning," Edward said, glancing around the room, "I don't even know what half these people are doing here, or what we're eating, or what we're doing."
"One," I answered, "Neither do I, two, I think it's chicken-"
"And three," I said, cutting him off since I hadn't finished speaking, "I believe it's called dancing, what we have arranged."
"Dancing, eh?" He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me closer to him, lightly pressing a kiss to my lips, "I think I guessed that one already."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please put your hands together as the Bride and Groom take the stage for their first dance of their wedded life."
Edward grinned as everyone turned to us again – a path between the crowds of guests slid into view – and turned to me, kissing my hand, "My lady?"
I laughed and took his arm, letting him lead me to the dance floor, my heels tapping as we stepped onto the raised platform in the middle of the room, in between the circle of tables, the band up on another, fixed stage at the front – Edward spun me before drawing me into his arms, taking my hand and putting one of his at my waist, holding both our hands between us, in what resembled a formal waltz position but was more intimate due to our proximity, and everyone clapped as the band started up: a male singer, a guitar, and a gentle beat in the background.
"One, two, three," Edward prompted, and I smiled as we began to step forward, then back, three steps at a time, simple and easy, turning in lazy circles. I was captivated in Edward's eyes, gazing at him just as he gazed at me – the whole world seemed to disappear, leaving only him. Edward leaned down and rested his forehead against mine, smiling gently at me, and I closed my eyes, breathing him in and sighing. His voice softly coasted into my mind, "What're you thinking?"
"That...I want to stay like this. Forever."
"I can arrange that." His gaze was warm, the emerald in his eyes like melting gold as I opened mine again, smiling again.
"I love you, Edward."
He whispered back, "I love you too," then swept us in a large circle, guiding me in bigger and twirling steps, our dance speeding up as we moved around each other. He let me go and spun me again, holding my hand tight before bringing me in, pulling me close to him – the music crescendoed, and he lightly sang along, "I'll be your crying shoulder, I'll be love's suicide. I'll be better when I'm older...I'll be the greatest fan of your life."
It was almost inconceivable, how much I loved him.
Another spin, another grin – and then he threw me up in the air, and I couldn't help but laugh, throwing my head back in thrilled delight, my arms around his neck; I glanced down to find him smiling up at me, then he put me down, wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me. We swayed that way, his lips moving with mine, my arms about his neck, him bending me slightly backwards – I exulted in him, returning his elated kiss as he was, whilst the music wound down and there was more clapping, and a saxophone lightly trilled along to the fading band. Edward pulled away as the music died, and the applause grew louder, smiling at me – I simply pressed my head against his chest and hugged him, closing my eyes. He bent down and whispered, "I'll love you forever, Bella Cullen."
I was in a loved-up daze, content for him to just hold me, even as everyone else converged on the dance floor, a new song emanating around us. We didn't leave until dinner was served, swaying together, my head on his chest – there was no one and nothing that would or could tear us apart. Charlie had taken Nessa home...this was our wedding. Right now, I could stay with him for as long as I wanted, and no one could stop me.
Eventually Alice, Rosalie, Jasper and Emmett got us sitting down, but his hand was still in mine, squeezing my fingers tightly – I was constantly aware that he was there, and I shifted my chair closer to him so I could rest my head on his shoulder. Every five minutes I would feel a slight pressure on my hair: Edward's kiss.
As soon as everyone was settled, chattering away, Emmett and Jasper both stood, tapping on their glasses – Emmett managed to smash his into little pieces accompanied with some loud cursing – and everyone quietened down as they both grinned round at us all. "Good evening, everyone," Jasper began, "Before we start, Emmett and I would just like to thank you all for coming and celebrating Edward and Bella's marriage with us – I'm sure you would all agree that it has been a fairly adequate night so far."
Alice looked fearsome as everyone cried, "Hear hear!"
"So we also have to thank Emmett's very wonderful wife," Jasper gestured to Rosalie, then Alice, "And my beautiful fiancée," Alice smiled, "For working so hard to organise, plan, buy dresses and shout at useless best men in order to make this wedding as lovely as it was." There was a general murmur of laughter, and Jasper grinned, "So, thank you, Rosalie and Alice, for continuing to kick mine and Emmett's butt when we forgot to do anything we were told."
"We still have one wedding to go, Jazz," Emmett cut in, nudging him with his new champagne glass, "And yes, everyone, it is just a happy coincidence that everyone at our table seems to be married to each other – we didn't plan it that way."
"Actually, Emmett," Jasper interrupted him, both of them starting to sound incredibly rehearsed and cheesy now – more laughs, "That isn't completely true."
Emmett stage-gasped, "Really? That isn't true?"
"No," Jasper shook his head, very seriously; Edward was laughing into his napkin already.
"Well," Emmett said, "I think we'd better hear this story then, shouldn't we, Jasper?"
"It started off just Emmett, Edward and Alice, everyone," Jasper began, "Edward – the lonely, depressed country boy from a little town named Forks, unlucky in love with incredibly bad hair," to be honest, that wasn't too far off – Edward had already rolled his eyes; he knew his hair was nothing less than awesome, "Alice – the crazed little pixie sister who really packs a punch; believe me guys, I know, and-"
"Me," Emmett carried on, "Super-Emmett: the amazingly awesome best friend – often the reason Edward never had any underwear."
"But, little ones," Jasper said, "It is Alice that is vital to our story – you see, Alice had a best friend called Isabella Swan," Emmett pointed at me as if to say: What a coincidence!, "And Alice had plans for little Bella Swan."
"That's right – in between worshipping the awesomeness that is Super-Emmett and annoying dear Eddie to death, she was planning and scheming in her little pixie mind for Bella to fall in love."
"I bet you all can guess." Emmett looked round at everyone and nodded, "That's right – bad-hair Edward. After Bella literally fell in the door and there was so much sexual tension between them you could cut it with a sock, we decided to play cupid. Many of our match-making schemes included locking them in closets, biased games of truth or dare..."
"But then, one day, bad-hair Edward comes home – no, not with a haircut," Jasper chuckled and Edward rolled his eyes, "but with a charm bracelet."
"I ask – Hey, Edward, what are you doing with jewellery?"
"Actually, Emmett, it was more like: Oooo, Edward! It's so shiny!"
I was listening interestedly, never having heard this side of the story before, "And Edward replies, "It's not for me."
"And we both go: who's it for?"
"Little did we know, small ones: Edward had finally stepped up. There was an engraving on the bracelet: Bella."
"Sneakier than a sneaky rabbit, he plants the bracelet outside Alice and Bella's apartment – caught by Alice, of course; and the next thing we know, they're making out in a corner."
"The rest's history, folks," Emmett grinned as the whole party laughed – Edward and I were both smiling; I didn't know about him, but I was reliving my old memories of those few days. Four years always seemed like such a long time – I was so much younger then.
"There's a little more to it than that, Em," Edward said, and Emmett chuckled.
"Right – you made everyone watch."
There was another round of laughter, and Edward nudged me, "You remember that day?"
I smiled at him, "Best day ever."
"But, in all sincerity," Emmett and Jasper turned to us, both smiling, "Congratulations, guys. We're both so happy for you, and we know that we speak for everyone when we wish you every happiness, and when we say that we know you'll be very very happy." Edward raised his glass to both of them in return, then kissed the top of my head, his hand grasping mine under the table, squeezing my fingers gently.
"Now, before we leave, we know it is our duty as best men to reveal some embarrassing secrets about the Bride and Groom – and so, Emmett and I decided to share with you some bedroom secrets that only they are supposed to know."
"Did you know," Emmett said, "That Bella and Edward both have a fetish for walls?"
"Or that Edward's favourite fantasy involves a lot of rope, a ballpoint pen, and classical music?"
"Bella spends a lot of time in the bath after that one, let me tell you," I was blushing beetroot red, whilst Edward looked worse – I'd thought only Rosalie and Alice knew about that. They were both in hysterics.
"Bella likes chocolate and bananas, by the way," Jasper added, and I gasped.
"Goodnight, all!" Emmett and Jasper sat to monumental applause and cheering; Edward and I both turned to each other.
"You told!" we both yelled – I had to resist punching Edward in the arm: it would not be bride-like.
"How could you have told Emmett and Jasper about that?"
"Me?" he cried back, "How could you have told Alice and Rosalie? That was private!"
"So was mine!"
Rosalie clapped Emmett and Jasper, "Well done, guys!"
Alice was crying with mirth, "I couldn't have done better myself! Now I know why you made me tell you about Edward's weird habits."
"You told?" I turned on Alice and Rosalie, "How could you?! I said that was secret!"
"Rope and ballpoint pens?" Emmett countered, "Seriously, Bella – how could you?"
As I blushed, momentarily speechless, Edward grumbled, "You forgot classical music." I made a noise akin to a chirp as I turned on him – he was only making it worse.
"Awh, c'mon, Edders," Jasper said, "That was just a joke."
Edward rolled his eyes, "Well, just for the record, guys – ballpoint pens and rope is what got me and Bella kicked out of Disneyland."
All four of their mouths dropped open, and I couldn't help but giggle delightedly at the memory, "Oh yeah, I remember that!"
"That's also what kept you guys up on our six month anniversary."
"And when we all went to the beach..."
"And on graduation..."
They looked plain shocked now. Those had been a series of long nights for them – and ones that Edward and I always wanted to remember.
"Dude," Emmett murmured.
"Could you give me that fantasy, please?" Rosalie asked; Alice was just staring, wide eyed, at the both of us. Edward smirked at me and I giggled again – jealousy was always intensely flattering, especially when it came to bedroom matters.
Edward shook his head, then pushed his chair back, stretching, "Well, I suppose it's my turn now."
"Can it, Al," he waved her off, standing before picking up his glass again – Alice frowned.
She grumbled, sitting back in her chair, "Fine. Bells, you'll have to do yours after him – I wanted you to go first but, you know: whatever."
"Firstly," Edward began, dead silence settling over the party again as everyone turned to listen, "I would like to thank you all so much for coming – it means to much to Bella and I that you share this day with us, and I hope you have all enjoyed yourselves as much as I have." He winked at me and everyone laughed, "And I would also like to thank my wonderful sister and her husband, and my best friend and his wife – Alice, Jasper, Emmett Rosalie: thank you all, so much for working so hard and being such good friends to me throughout the years; I really don't know where I would be without you all. Alice," he raised his glass to her, "You are truly the best sister in the world, and I know I'm not the perfect brother, but thank you for putting up with me for twenty six years. My parents, Carlisle and Esme, for guiding me when I went wrong and for providing me with endless tomes of relationship advice which have always proved useful and who are both, usually, completely right about everything."
More laughs, and Edward smiled, "I love you guys. But, Ladies and Gents, one of the two biggest thank you's I must give is to my beautiful new wife, Bella." I smiled up at him as he turned to me, taking my hand and kissing it gently – my heart could not help but skip a beat. "Bella," he smiled, twisting his fingers so they interlocked with mine, "I never would have ever believed I would ever find a woman like you – you're funny, smart, caring, you're completely adorable and breathtakingly beautiful," awh's from the audience, "And you know I do and always will love you, with everything I have, and I have to thank you for giving me everything I could ever want or need, and for making me so wonderfully happy. Thank you for agreeing to marry me, and making me the luckiest man in the world, and thank you for making me the proudest father to the most beautiful daughter in the world – thank you for everything, Bella. I don't know where I would be or what I would do without you, but all I can give and say to you in return for all you have given me is: I love you. I know that we're going to be happy forever, and I swear I will spend the rest of my life making sure that we are. No matter what happens, Bells – no matter what the future kicks our way: I'll love you, and I'll be there, no matter what. And, lastly," to my surprise, he raised his glass to Charlie, "To Bella's father: Charlie Swan. Thank you, sir, for giving away your daughter to me - I can imagine how hard it must be, and I am truly grateful that you did. Know that I can't live without her, and I will do everything in my power to keep her safe and happy." Charlie nodded to Edward, wearing a slight smile, but I hardly saw him - I was locked in Edward's eyes.
The way Edward was looking at me, his bright eyes shining, the love in his smile solely my own, should have reduced me to tears, but instead I stood up and threw my arms around him, knocking his champagne everywhere but not caring. "I love you, Edward," I whispered in his ear as everyone laughed and clapped, "I always will."
He grinned at me and lightly pressed his lips to mine for a sweet second before turning and calling, "To us!"
"To you!" everyone agreed, before there was the resolute sound of clinking glasses and increasing chatter as Edward and I sat down again, his arm firmly around my waist and my hands clasping his tightly.
"Great toast, Edward," Jasper smiled, and there was a sob from my right; I turned.
He was crying into a handkerchief whilst Rosalie patted his back, a wide smile on her face which I knew meant she was trying to not laugh. "He was touched," she commented as Emmett let out another loud sob; I pressed my lips together and turned my face into Edward's chest, not wanting to offend him.
"Let's dance," I whispered to Edward, squeezing his hand and smiling up at him – he smiled back and kissed me again; there had been a million tonight.
"Anything for you."
The night seemed to go on forever – I had completely lost track of time. Karaoke had started up as the drinking went on, and our reception descended into something that resembled more of a well-dressed party than a formal dinner...but I didn't care. I was having fun.
We were all cheering as Emmett finished his – shirtless – rendition of 'Too sexy for my shirt'. It was lost somewhere at the single girls' table, and Alice and I had nearly died laughing...Rosalie, however, simply looked a little turned on, though neither of us could understand why. Suddenly Edward was at the microphone, and everyone – most of them more than a little tipsy, shouted, "Wa-hey!", as had become the habit if someone came up to take the floor for a song or a speech.
"Wa-hey back to you all!" Edward winked, "I figured, as the husband of the bride, I should take a turn at the singing, no?"
"Hear hear!" Emmett shouted, pumping his glass of champagne in the air, throwing it everywhere, "Let's hear it, Eddie!"
I leant back in my chair, laughing, "Did you plan this, Alice?"
She shook her head, grinning too, "This is the first I've heard of it...I'm going to have to kill him for this! This wasn't in the plan!"
I grew serious, "Then who?"
"Wooo!" That was Jasper.
I turned back to the stage, finding Edward sitting at the grand, black piano, microphone angled down across it, with the band all setting up – this had definitely been planned, but not, it seemed, by Alice or Rosalie. My eyes widened, and I turned to Emmett.
"Go on Eddie, wooo!"
Emmett shrugged, grinning jauntily, "Who said we men aren't good at planning things?"
The trumpet let out a long, high, blasting note, and everyone shut up – Edward smiled, his gaze pointed directly at me, "The pleasure of singing to you tonight is, of course, dedicated to my lovely, beautiful, marvellously wonderful new wife, Isabella Cullen." He winked at me, amongst the delicate applause, "Bells, love, I know Emmett, Jasper and I have rocked the boat a little, but, I promise – it won't hurt a bit."
With that, he nodded at the band, who all shouldered their instruments and started up a loud, brass band-like tune, Edward accompanying on the piano – I had no idea what the song was as he played, a fast, complicated introduction; I was sure he was improvising. There was a loud whoop as the band blasted out a note again, and Alice clapped delightedly.
"L is for the way you look at me," Edward began, and I suddenly recognised what he was singing; I gasped, "O is for the only one I see." I blushed a deep red as everyone looked at me as Edward was, "V is very very extraordinary, E is even more that anyone that you adore can – love is all that I can give to you..."
His voice was rich and sultry – of course he could sing, and Jasper and Emmett whooped again; I leant back in my chair, completely silent whereas everyone else was clapping and laughing, staring at him in wonder.
"Two in love can make it, take my heart and please don't break it," he winked at me and I shook my head in absolute shock. When he added in a swipe of all the notes on the piano, I couldn't help but laugh along with everyone else, "Love was made for me and you..."
When he stood, abandoning the piano for the standing mike in the middle of the stage, there was a definite squeal of appreciation from many of the girls around me – I myself was just completely and utterly in awe of my husband's sexiness. I had never seen this side of him before: he was a mean singer. He threw the microphone to one side as he sang, and I swore my heart sang out an extra beat in that second – there was a tingling in the pit of my stomach.
"Two in love can make it, take my heart and please," he paused, "Woah, don't break it," yep, I had definitely melted onto the table..."Love was made for me and you..." His gaze fixed on me again, and his eyes were burning, his hair seeming flame-red in the light, "Oh, love was made for me and you..."
Screaming applause drowned out the band's finish, and Edward grinned, taking a deep bow – all of the woman, again including myself, were on their feet – Edward was now, officially and forever, the hottest man alive. And I was his wife...for once, I knew of the jealous looks people threw at me, and I didn't care. They were all totally, and completely: deserved.
Edward landed next to me in his chair, and grinned languorously, "Was I good?"
"Emmett, I'm leaving you for Edward."
"So am I..."
I moved forward and kissed him, my lips burning, wishing I could do more, "Good? You were bloody amazing..."
"Mmm," he whispered, kissing me again, "I seem to have made an impression..."
"That microphone is coming to bed tonight with us."
"That good, huh?"
They had me and Edward up on the stage half-way through – more like forced by my new and traitorous husband plus his evil little sister – singing a rendition of 'Don't go breakin my heart'. My wedding dress, beautiful as it was, impeded my movement a little, and I couldn't run away fast enough before Edward caught my waist, holding me still, chuckling in my ear, "You aren't escaping me, Mrs Cullen."
I knew I could just about sing, and I stumbled my way through the beginning of the song, laughing as Edward basically acted it out around me, twirling me around at every opportunity – by the end I was enjoying myself, and when we received a generous round of applause, I laughed and commented to Edward, "Maybe we should teach our children singing and become like the Von Trapp Family."
"Yeah...and Emmett's family could be the evil-doers who wish to steal our voices for themselves..."
I grinned, "I can feel a soap opera coming on already..."
Nearly everyone sang, even Mike, who sang a rather unsteady version of 'You're beautiful'. I could feel it was directed at me, as could Edward from his white knuckles, but I just laughed it off. Hey, I was going home with the sexy flame-haired green eyed singer...I was perfectly content.
I spent the rest of the night firmly attached to Edward, except for when Alice and Rosalie dragged me up to sing again, and when there was a limbo – I literally climbed under the table to stop them from taking me up there, but I had a laugh watching Emmett smash the stick to bits.
When it was all over, and everyone had gone home, Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett bidding us all goodnight before retiring home – Edward and I were staying in the honeymoon suite here for a night, then we were heading off for a week long honeymoon, which was the most both of our jobs and our daughter would allow. Her grandparents were perfectly happy to have her, and we were going to say goodbye tomorrow.
Edward and me, our hands entangled and our clothes dishevelled, my hair long since released from its bun, curling loose down my back, made our way upstairs in the lift, swinging our hands together, my head on his shoulder as the floors quickly flashed by – before I knew it the doors had pinged open: straight into the living room.
"Wow," I breathed, stepping out, pulling Edward after me, to admire it, "This is amazing..."
"You're monosyllabic today," I turned and smiled, intending to be teasing – but the look in his eyes was anything but teasing.
"Come on," he said, tugging on my hand, heading towards the bedroom. I suddenly didn't want to admire the decor.
The bedroom was wonderful: the biggest bed I had ever seen, strewn with rose petals and a deep red bedspread, fresh strawberries, chocolate and champagne already set out across the desk for us – I would have moved to search the room for other surprises, but Edward had already pulled me to him.
"At last," Edward cradled my face in his hands, lightly and slowly pressing his lips against mine – once, twice, three times, each a little longer and sweeter than the last. "Alone."
That one word spoke more than a thousand could have – finally, after so long: we were completely alone – Nessa was at home, there was no Alice or Rosalie whispering instructions in my ear; Edward and I could do anything we wanted, whenever we wanted to. But, really, there was only one thing I wanted to do. I was distracted.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him, deep – as I hadn't been able to do in weeks; it felt like a lifetime. Edward already had his hands at my back, pulling at the buttons that laced my dress together, and I already had my shoes off as well as his jacket, drawing my fingers up his shoulders and into his hair, holding onto him even as he ducked down, kissing the bare skin of my chest – it was fast and furious, but I didn't care. Even as we tumbled onto the bed, Edward's shirt thrown to the floor and my dress slowly receding up my knees, I didn't hold back, kissing him for all I was worth; we had the whole night to ourselves...as well as a lifetime.
"I love you," Edward whispered raggedly, pressing his lips to my neck, continuing across to my shoulder, pulling the sleeve of my dress down, "Oh god, how I love you..."
And oh, how I loved him too.
I couldn't tell anyone what happened that night – it was all too private and intimate, and it was only Edward's and mine to share. We hardly slept until the sun was rising behind the drawn curtains, highlighting our sleepy selves, wrapped around each other, my arms tangled about his shoulders and our legs twisted together, the sheets somewhat over us; he was stroking my face gently when the sun caught my skin; I turned my head away from it, and Edward chuckled, leaning down to kiss from my forehead to my chin, touching my eyelids to my jaw.
Edward kissed me, his smile bright in the warm, sultry sunshine.
"Good morning, wife."
So, I can now officially reveal, after far too long, that the winning songs were: I'll Be, by Edwin McCain, and L.O.V.E, by Nat King Cole. Congrats, TINKYBELL6, who gave me L.O.V.E, and HEATHERCULLEN and TIF1 for giving me I'll Be. Seriously guys, I heard those songs and immediately thought THAT'S IT! Anyway, you lucky people (sure lol) win a personally written one shot...you three! Give me your ideas or wishes and I shall grant them...I shall give only three because I am a GENIE! So, well done :D I'll be waiting to hear from you, just PM me anytime and I'll get it done, then either send it to you for yourself or publish it, whatever you like.
Look forward to hearing from you three :D If not, I'll PM you sometime in the next week.
A note – imagine Edward's microphone to be one of those old ones with the square top, that are silver...they are just TOO cool. Oh, and for his singing, imagine Zac Efron in Hairspray when he sings ladies' choice. *Melts*
I know this was MASSIVELY long...was it worth the wait?
More chapters coming soon. I know I said they would be together, but this thing is just SO long...can you all forgive me?
All my love :D