"For My Valentine"
A Twilight Love Story Contest

Title: All or Nothing
Rating:
T
Pairing:
EdwardxBella
Vampire or Human:
Human

For more information please see contest details on manyafandom or isabel0329's profiles.


Summary: Entry for the "For My Valentine" – A Twilight Love Story Contest. Friends for over a decade, Edward comes to Bella's aid when she needs him most in an attempt to be everything that she's ever needed.

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of its characters. However, I do own Erica's eyesight and study time, apparently. She still loves me though!

A/N: Anything italicized is a memory.


[EPOV]

Standing at the end of the aisle with both Emmett and Jasper by my side, I watched as my parents made their way to their seats. The tears lingering in the corners of Esme's eyes were only overshadowed by the brilliantly bright smile that had taken over her face. The knowledge that my family was as happy for me - and this union - as I was left me overjoyed. Their support, though not necessary, was very much beneficial. And now, here I stood, in Barcelona, standing in one of Spain's more famous Cathedrals, Templo Exiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, surrounded by our families and close friends and only moments away from binding my life to hers irrevocably.

As I stood there, awaiting my beautiful, blushing bride, I vaguely registered that I should probably be sweating nervously and wiping my clammy hands on my pant legs. A number of men in my situation would be doing just that, in fact. But, I had nothing to worry about. I'd been looking forward to this day for over a decade and nothing short of a full-scale natural disaster would stand in my way now. Though, if she asked, I'd still wait forever for her – she was worth it. While I waited for the ceremony to start, I allowed my mind to wander and memories flickered through my mind like film reel stuck on fast forward until it reached the day that was the catalyst for the immeasurable changes in my life.

xXxXxXx

The waves crashed around me as I paddled out for my last heat of the day. Being at the top of the scoreboard gave me some wiggle room to let my thoughts wander a little. My arms cut through the glassy water below me and I couldn't help but think about the reason I was here in the first place. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was running - running away from everything that reminded me of her, the woman that had unknowingly stolen my heart nearly twelve years ago. Any chance I had to stay away from "home," I took without hesitation because without her there, I could never consider it home. I traveled to get away from the memories for my own sanity. For all intents and purposes, she was still my best friend and the only person that I'd willingly drop everything for. And I'd done exactly that time and time again, waiting patiently for the day that she'd realize that everything she was looking for – the happily ever after, the fairytale ending and the pure and honest love – was within her grasp.

Reaching the boundary line, I quickly maneuvered my board around so that its nose was pointing towards the shore and lay in wait for the next wave. The soothing sounds of the water lapping at the edges of my board brought forth an onslaught of memories from the times that we'd spent together back when I could be around her without feeling the incessant pain gnawing on my heart. All the times that we'd spent at the beach, sometimes talking, sometimes surfing and sometimes just being there, together. Each passing day only brought her the same thing; more pain and heartache. I could see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice causing me to beg her time and time again to cut her losses and walk away while she still could. Yet every day, no amount of pleading could sway her decision. Inevitably, she'd leave me in some misguided attempt to convince me that she was happy, and go back to him, taking a piece of my heart with her.

Even though it tore me apart every time, knowing that I was the only person she let her guard down around triggered my masochistic tendencies. And still, after years of being physically away from each other, I knew her better than anyone else as I always would. I was still the one person she called when life knocked her down on her ass and just like those days over a decade ago, I stayed strong for her when she could barely hold herself up. Every tear she cried, I cried with her and all the pain she felt hurt me just as much. The reciprocation was there as well, she was the only person that I could honestly say never once let me down. Regardless of what I needed, she was there for me just as I was there for her. Even if it required her flying out in the middle of the night to comfort and console me, she was still there illustrating her unwavering devotion.

The blare of the horn brought me out of my memories and I hastily turned my focus back to the task at hand. The ocean was my escape from the pain that she had unintentionally caused and I spent years using that to my advantage. As the wave crested behind me, I got into position to ride it in and channeled all my energy on making this a ride that wouldn't soon be forgotten.

The tunnel vision cleared as I carried my board out of the water and the sounds of the waves were washed out by the cheering crowd. A quick look at the scoreboard wiped away any traces of my previous thoughts as a grin erupted on my face. That was the best I'd done all day and I was still hanging on tight to that top spot. This competition was big for me; it's what I'd spent my entire life training for. The sponsorships a win here would garner were incomparable.

I made my way over to my tent, accepting congratulatory handshakes from spectators and sponsors alike, and the sounds of "Three Days Grace" emanating from my cell phone broke through my blissful state. Hastily, I tossed my towel aside and dug through my bag in search of the annoying contraption. I found it quickly and answered without bothering to check the caller ID. Only a handful of people had this number and if they were calling right now, it was unavoidable and important. When no one responded to my greeting, I moved the phone away from my ear and glanced at the caller ID. The moment I saw the name of the caller, panic and fear gripped my heart painfully.

"Jazz, man, what happened? Is it – is she – is your sister okay?" I practically yelled into the phone, cursing myself as the crowds of onlookers turned my way.

"I'm sorry for – uh, dammit - I know you're busy right now and I wouldn't be asking you this if there were any other way, but I need you to go check on her. If I could do it, I would, but even if I put in a leave request now, I won't be able to fly out there until next week at the earliest. You're the only other person that she's ever opened up to, Edward, and right now, no one else is getting through to her."

I didn't bother waiting for any more of an explanation than that. He wouldn't have come to me if it could have been avoided and the tone of his voice left no room for questioning. He was furious. Though his voice was steady, his words were laced with pure venom. There was only one reason he'd sound like that when it came to her – his sister and my Bella – and when I found out who had hurt her this time, they'd live to regret it. The moment our call ended, I booked a flight to Phoenix while hastily packing up my belongings. I didn't even stop for a second to think about what I was doing, and by association, what I was know I'd be throwing away. She was, is, and would always be more important than any amount of money, fame or recognition. Without a second glance, I walked away from a future that I was slowly beginning to realize would mean absolutely nothing without her by my side.

I made it back to the hotel in record time and tore my room apart packing everything up. I knew that I should have at least taken a shower, but under the current time constraint, I really couldn't be bothered with something as mundane as making myself presentable. Within 30 minutes, I was packed and down in the lobby leaving a note for my manager and waiting for the airport shuttle.

xXxXxXx

Just over twelve hours later, I was landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and after numerous unanswered phone calls; I was finally able to get in touch with her dad. Charlie informed me that she had been admitted to Promise Hospital of Phoenix and would leave my information at the front desk so I shouldn't have any problems once there. Finally having a destination and an idea of what I was walking into, I rented a car and found a map to find the route from the airport to the hospital.

I reached the hospital quickly and made my way to the information desk to find out what room she was in. The receptionist had me sign in before handing me a special visitors' badge and pointing me in the right direction. Not wanting to prolong my time away from her by waiting for the elevator, I made my way to the stairs, sprinting up the three stories to her floor. However, nothing could've prepared me for the sight that greeted me when I set foot in her room. I took note of the security guard posted in a chair near the door long enough to flash him the visitors' badge and made my way over to her bed, tears threatening to spill over as I took in her appearance.

The girl lying in the regulation hospital bed in front of me couldn't have been the same girl I'd fallen in love with so many years ago. I never would have thought that anything or anyone could break her more than she'd already been broken, but I was forcefully proven wrong. Her lithe frame was covered in a pile of blankets and yet, I could still see the slight shivers wracking her damaged body. Her face was drawn, gaunt and paler than ever and her breathing was erratic and labored at best. I pulled up a chair beside her bed and laced my fingers through hers, all the while afraid that just the softest of touches could cause irreparable damage. The anger I felt towards the person responsible for her state was only overshadowed by the pain that was eating away at my heart. But, it was still there, lurking in the peripherals of my mind.

With her hand in mine, I could see the slowly healing vertical gashes that covered the inside of her forearm and in that moment, my heart broke. I couldn't quite grasp what had pushed her to this point, what would have affected her so strongly that she'd even consider this course of action. And yet, as I carefully studied the face that had been engraved in my memory, I couldn't deny that she was, without a doubt, still breathtakingly beautiful even in her broken state. The love I felt for her steadily grew as the hours passed and more visitors came and went. Even watching her like this, I couldn't deny that she was one of the strongest people I knew. A weaker person would have given up the fight to stay alive by this point. Everyone tried, repeatedly, to convince me to leave her side. They told me that I needed to eat and rest and that she wouldn't even notice I was gone because she was unaware that I was present in the first place, but I wasn't going anywhere. I let her go enough times in the past and I wasn't about to make the same mistake again, especially now that she needed me more than ever.

Through the details that I was told by her dad, I was able to piece together what had caused my girl to shatter. It took everything in me not to get on the phone and book another flight to Philadelphia, PA. in order to confront the man that had caused her this pain. How anyone could willingly hurt this beautifully broken angel was beyond me. She was one of the most pure and loving souls that I'd ever had the privilege of getting to know and I promised myself then and there that I would do everything in my power to make up for all the times I hadn't been there to physically protect her. All the hours I'd spent on the phone with her, listening to her cry over whatever asinine thing he'd done and pleading with her to see reason had been fruitless. For years, she had been my best friend and undoubtedly, one of the most important people in my life, but sitting beside her hospital bed watching her frail and lifeless body wither away, the guilt I felt was all consuming. Illogical as it was, I couldn't help feeling like had I told her of the extent of my feelings for her years ago; she wouldn't be in this position right now.

By the third day, I was deliriously tired and still adamantly refusing to leave her side. Anxiety had set in and I was on pins and needles waiting for the sedatives to wear off. The need to look into her eyes and hear her musical voice had become palpable. If nothing else came of this trip, I wanted to be the first person she saw when she finally graced the world with her conscious presence. It was the early evening when she finally began stirring and I sat there, mesmerized by her fluttering eyelashes and the feeble twitches of her tiny hand that was still firmly encased in my own. When her eyes opened, a handful of stray tears cascaded down her smooth, alabaster cheeks as she took in her surroundings, pain and confusion written clearly on her face.

I patiently waited for her alluring and depthless brown eyes to meet my own and when they did, I couldn't stop the gasp that escaped by the sight that I was met with. The overwhelming curiosity for life that was once present in them had drastically diminished. The eyes that I'd spent innumerable hours longing to gaze into were now flat, empty and hard. The only discernible emotion in her cold, lifeless eyes was pain – pure and violent pain. The seconds passed painstakingly slow as I waited, with bated breath, for her to register and react to my presence.

xXxXxXx

The beginning strains of Erik Saties' Gymnopedie No. 1 brought me back to the present and I noticed that Rose and Alice were already standing in their positions across from me. Without hesitation, I turned to face the aisle as the guests rose to their feet to watch the bride-to-be step into the room. I was met with a sight so magnificent that it literally felt as if my heart stopped for a moment. My eyes appraisingly traveled down her body, taking in the exquisite woman in front of me. The midnight blue satin wrap layered over her gown contrasted beautifully against the ivory of the dress and alabaster skin tone setting off her dark features. It was as if she'd stepped straight out of my dreams and into my world for me and me alone. When my gaze met hers, the love I saw shining in those endless pools of umber caused the tears I'd been successfully holding back all day to spill forth. This was it, the moment I'd been dreaming about from the day that I met her and I couldn't control the smile that took over my face from the pure elation I felt even if I'd wanted to.

[BPOV]

I tightened my grip on my fathers' arm as the soothing piano melodies signaling the beginning of my walk down the aisle met my ears. The butterflies that had taken up residence in my stomach fluttered out of control and I could feel my heart erratically pounding in my chest. I was more than ready to take this next step in my life that would tie me to him forever, but the nerves were still there. Mundane worries assaulted my mind as I took the first steps towards my Edward and our happily ever after.

When the doors before us finally opened wide, I let out the breath that I hadn't realized I'd been holding. I had never once thought, not even in my wildest dreams that the wedding I'd envisioned – right down to the last infinitesimal detail – would ever come to be. I took a moment to take in the scene laid out before me; everything from the satin, midnight blue runner lining the aisle to the bouquets of white calla lilies and blue delphiniums at the ends of every row were pure perfection. At last, my eyes, with a will of their own, sought out his emerald orbs as he stood at the altar, looking devilishly handsome in his classic white tuxedo as he waited patiently for me like he'd been doing for years. As soon as my gaze met his and took in the love and acceptance that was so clear in his eyes, I was taken back to the day that our lives together were set into motion.

xXxXxXx

I fought for consciousness as the details of the atrocious act I'd committed assaulted my overloaded brain. The distant sounds of a constant and annoying beeping permeated the thick haze that had been surrounding me and I could feel the aches of discomfort from lack of motion throughout my body; I couldn't understand why I felt as if I'd been stuck in the same position for far longer than was normal. Of their own accord, my eyes opened and the tears that had been endlessly flowing from the moment my entire world was torn apart resumed its descent. The room I was in was familiar, but only vaguely. By the dull colors, bare walls and distinct antiseptic smells that invaded my senses, I was able to discern that I was in the hospital.

The security guard sitting in the corner of the room was proof enough that my misguided attempts at taking my own life were in vain and I didn't know whether I should be grateful or angry about that. In hindsight, I knew it wasn't the smartest of decisions to make, but the constant and never-ending onslaught of pain had overwhelmed me and dragged me under. In a single moment of clarity, before the ever-present darkness consumed me, I realized that I wasn't searching for an irreversible end to the pain; I just wanted – no, needed – a momentary reprieve.

As my brain began to catch up with my actions, I was shocked at the feel of a warm hand tightening its' grip on my own. The confusion that resonated through my body when my gaze fell upon the man that was sitting beside my bed was tangible. Instantly, I jerked my hand from his and scrambled to the far side of the bed, ignoring the pain that shot through my body at the suddenness of my actions. As his features morphed into one of pain and sadness, regret tore through me with an unmitigated vengeance as unrelenting sobs wracked my body.

He was my best friend and the only man I'd ever trusted enough to see past the walls I'd spent years building up. He knew me inside and out and willingly loved me in every way regardless of how hurtful I could be. He showed me the extent of his immeasurable devotion to me in ways that one could only imagine and even though I knew that I didn't deserve having a man like him in my life, I was selfish enough to want him there anyway. In all the time that we'd known each other, I'd never once pulled away from him in either the literal or figurative sense; I'd never had a reason to. And now, as I lay on the opposite side of the bed, in my semi-catatonic state, that singular action ripped at my already battered heart. The last thing I ever wanted to do was purposely hurt him, but I could see that the pain in his eyes wasn't just a result of my present actions. I wanted nothing more than to take his pain away, to see his eyes light up with mirth over the most irrelevant and mundane of occurrences. Like the time I convinced him to race the security personnel riding around the parking lot in his golf cart with me in the shopping cart. Or even the time that, after much begging and bribing, he let me dress him up as a girl for Halloween. But, I couldn't. My own mental anguish was demanding my undivided attention and instead of consoling him like any worthy friend would do, I turned away like the coward I was. The wall of emotions that I'd been successfully keeping at bay finally came crashing down around me, surrounding and permeating my very being.

Hours passed like this, my own pain winning out over anything else. Unrelenting and painful. But even through my own frivolous cries, I could hear the whispered declarations of love and sincere promises. My heart wanted desperately to believe every word that passed through his perfect and pure lips, but my head and my pride fought it every step of the way in an effort to retain what tiny shreds of dignity remained.

As my tears subsided, my brain began to register and analyze the ardent pleas for nothing more than a chance. I broke down every single word and searched for any hidden meanings or ulterior motives behind them. The guilt for my lack of trust was put aside in an innate drive for self preservation. I lay there, unmoving, considering everything he'd said and every promise he'd made and before I could come to any kind of decision, the soft sounds of his beautiful voice broke through my ruminations and the lyrics to the song he'd chosen to sing caused a fresh wave of tears to spill over. Even though every word of the song was full of an underlying love and unending devotion, one line stuck out above the rest and penetrated my soul.

"You know I'd fight for you
But how can I fight someone who isn't even there
I've had the rest of you
Now I want the best of you
I don't care if that's not fair."

He sang the rest of the song at the same volume and with the same tone before resting his head on the edge of the bed. I hated that I was responsible for whatever it was he was feeling right now, especially now that I knew what would take that pain away. Me. Despite the fact that angels should never consort with demons, he wanted me. For whatever reason, none of which I could even begin to comprehend, he loved me. Or at least he thought he did. I knew I was broken, possibly beyond repair. My heart had been shattered one too many times and, in reality, there was nothing left for me to give. I'd give it though – whatever could be salvaged – because I'd give him whatever I could and because I was selfish enough to want everything he was promising, regardless of how undeserving I may have been.

"Tell me again," I whispered, staring intently at the top of his head.

Tentatively, he raised his eyes to meet mine and the tinges of red that surrounded his pupils unnerved me. We'd been friends for over a decade, and in all that time, I'd never once seen him cry or looking so lost. The ache in my chest grew beyond what one person should ever be made to bear but I somehow managed to choke back the tears that were threatening to spill, and restated my request.

"Tell me again, what you said before when I was crying."

I cursed the shakiness of my own voice as I practically pleaded with him to say that he loved me one more time – needing to know that it wasn't just wishful thinking on my part.

He sighed, running his hands through his unruly mop of hair while searching my eyes for something that he must've found there.

"Bella, I've loved you since the day I met you and I've waited patiently for you to stop giving your heart to men who do nothing but hurt you," he took a deep, shaky breath before continuing.

"You're too beautiful to cry and you're too pure to be hurting like this. I'd do anything to make you happy and see you smile and I'm still willing to wait until you're ready. But please understand this, I know you better than anyone else, yourself included. I can tell you, without even having to stop to think about it, exactly what is going through your mind right now, but I won't. I love you, Isabella Marie Swan, and I have loved you every single day of the past twelve years. I've watched from the sidelines as you constantly let the wrong people in more times than I'd ever imagined possible. You've got to know that I would never, and could never, do anything to hurt you in any way, shape or form. Above anything else, you are my best friend and that will never change. I'm not asking for forever, though I won't deny that it's what I want, I'm just asking for a chance to let me show you what love – true love – really is."

I cried, of course, purging all the emotions that were coursing through my body. Every doubt I had, for the moment, was repressed. I wanted this and I wanted him. I couldn't let myself think of the distant maybe's or what if's. In this moment, encased in the little bubble that we'd created, nothing else mattered. Not the pain that I was still carrying with me or the pain that I knew would come if his promises and declarations ever proved to be false. And for the first time in a long time, I let myself hope again. I allowed myself to believe that, if there ever were a "Mr. Right" for me, it would be him for he already had a place in my heart that would remain there forever.

xXxXxXx

By the end of the month, he'd convinced me to move back to my hometown of Forks, WA and without any prior discussion about the matter, moved in with me. Having him around all the time opened my eyes to the true depth of my love for him. He never ceased to amaze me in the little ways that he'd show me how much he loved me everyday – the dinners he'd try to cook and the photo albums that he put together that spanned our entire friendship to the full body massages and relaxing bubble baths. All of it made me question why I'd never realized his love for me years ago. The old insecurities were always there though, on the peripheries of my mind just laying in wait for any occasion to point out the similarities between the men of my past and the man that I hoped would be my future – and my forever. With time, I realized that the only parallels that existed between my past and my present were the result of my own masochistic tendencies. Every day that passed was a test of strength and a battle of wills for the both of us. I didn't know how to give him what he wanted, and although he accepted what I could give, his eyes did nothing to hide the fact that he wanted more. But he never pushed me further than what I was comfortable with, and for that I was grateful.

Being home, around his family and my childhood friends, the girl that I used to be – and the girl that I wanted to be again – began to rise to the surface. It was in the little mannerisms and quirks that I first noticed it. When things like being able to leave the house didn't cause a full blown panic attack or talking about our long-term future together didn't elicit conversations about my fears of commitment. Faster that I was entirely comfortable with, we were talking about marriage and planning our hypothetical – at least in my mind – wedding. I'd promised myself, at the culmination of my epic mental breakdown and the commencement of my current relationship – a mere three and a half months ago – that I'd take things slow. However, with every day that passed and every seemingly insignificant action he took to prove to me that he wasn't going anywhere; 'slow' went right out the window. I wanted that forever with him, to acknowledge both the good and bad. I wanted it to be him soothing my fears, wiping away my tears and calming my anxieties.

xXxXxXx

The ministers' voice interrupted my walk down memory lane as we reached the altar. "Who gives this woman to this man here today?" He asked, his eyes going from Edward to me and finally resting on my dad.

"I do," Charlie replied before turning to face me and lifting the veil over my head. As he grasped my hand in his to pass me along to Edward, my eyes were drawn to the delicate sapphire and diamond platinum engagement ring that rested there. Unbidden, a light smile played on my lips as the thoughts of his impromptu marriage proposal came back to me.

xXxXxXx

"Baby, what are you doing?" he asked as he walked down the hall towards our bedroom.

"Trying to find something to wear," I responded curtly while continuing to fling outfit after outfit onto the bed. "Nothing seems to fit anymore now that I'm gaining weight!" I whined, tossing yet another outfit to the side.

His strong arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me back against his body as he kissed up my jaw line, stopping at my ear. "I rather like what you're currently wearing," he murmured softly before turning my head towards his and kissing me lightly on the lips. "Didn't you know that towels are all the rage now?" He asked softly, his hands slid down my arms, grasping my own lightly and turning me around. Raising my hand up to eye level, he kissed the back of it gently and raised his eyes to meet mine. Belatedly, I noticed the ring that had been slipped on my ring finger and audibly gasped.

"I – you – huh?" Apparently, my intelligence and coherency had flown out the window already and I stood there, frozen, gaping at the piece of jewelry that now adorned my hand.

He chuckled lightly and pressed an innocent kiss to my lips again, "this is not what I'd had in mind for proposing, but the meaning behind the action is still there; Isabella Swan, I promise to you love you forever – every single day of forever. Will you marry me?"

I nodded my head in affirmation, tears steadily streaming down my face as he lifted me in his arms and carried me over to our bed.

xXxXxXx

He clasped my diminutive hands in his as we stood face to face in front of the minister, staring intently into each others' eyes, bursting with joyful smiles. I could see nothing but love and adoration in his gaze and I was sure that they were an exact reflection of what he was seeing in mine. As we stood here, in front of everyone present, nothing and no one else mattered. It was just him and I. Us. Together. The way it should have always been. I could hear the minister speaking, asking if there was anyone in attendance that didn't approve of us getting married and waiting for a response that never came. I breathed a sigh of relief that earned a light chuckle from Edward and I could practically hear what he was thinking in my head, 'silly Bella, of course they approve, they've been waiting for this as long as I have.'

"We are here in support today of Edward Anthony Cullen and Isabella Marie Swan as they promise to face the future together, accepting whatever may lie ahead. They have searched their hearts, and their pasts, and they have resolved to be willing and devoted lifelong partners." The minister spoke to the crowd, before turning his attention back to Edward and I. "No other human ties more tender, no other vows more sacred than those you are about to assume. In the face of the chaos of everyday life, every wedding is a celebration of the human potential for goodness. It is a celebration of our ability to live in both love and peace."

By this point, tears were running down my face and I was extraordinarily glad that I'd remembered to use waterproof mascara and exceedingly surprised that I wasn't bursting at the seams with the elation I felt.

"Our bride and groom," the minister continued, glancing at each of us in turn, "have chosen to write their own vows for this momentous occasion." With a slight nod to Edward, he took a step back, symbolically giving him the floor.

I felt, rather than heard, his sharp exhale of breath as he began reciting his vows, "Because of you, Isabella Marie Swan, I laugh, I smile and I dare to dream again now that I have the love of my life back. For that reason, I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion and my tender care. Through all the pressures of the present and all the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you, to love you, to commit to you and to support you. You are now, and will forever be, my heart, my soul and my life. From this day forward, you shall not walk alone. My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home. As I have given you my hand to hold, I give you my life to keep."

I couldn't stop the free fall of tears even if I'd wanted to at this point. The words he'd spoken and his reaffirmed declarations of love healed that last little piece of my heart that had stubbornly refused to reconcile with the rest of it. With a strength I didn't know I'd possessed until this very moment, I focused my glassy and more than likely, red and puffy, eyes on him before reciting my own vows.

"Edward Anthony Cullen, you are my best friend and today, I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to love you, now and forever, with an unselfish devotion. When life becomes too much of a burden for you to bear alone, I will be there to care for you, to strengthen you and to comfort you. Today, with our friends and families as my witness, I pledge to you my undying love, my eternal faithfulness and my life and I promise to be everything that you deserve."

His eyes, once again, betrayed every emotion he was feeling as they shone with fresh tears. The remainder of the ceremony went by in a blur as I only had eyes and ears for one man. As we slid our wedding bands on each others' fingers, proudly pledging our "I Do's" that rang out strongly and without a hint of hesitance, my heart filled up with love and joy once again.

The parting words from the minister elicited a blinding smile from the both of us. "By the authority vested in me by the city of Barcelona, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride."

This was what I'd been searching for all those years. The pure, unhindered love that he had shown me time and time again, even before I'd recognized it for what it was. I felt his hands sliding up my arms before resting on either side of my neck as he leaned his forehead against mine and kissed away the tears that lingered at the corner of my eyes before moving down to my mouth. Every ounce of passion we both felt was shared with this, our first kiss as husband and wife. I could feel the surge of energy bouncing back and forth between us in that moment as his hands moved to the sides of my face, holding me in place. Far too soon, the need for oxygen became too strong to ignore and he pulled away slightly, once again resting his forehead on mine.

In that moment, I knew that I was home. My heart, my life and my very soul belonged to him and him alone. This was the forever I had searched for so desperately and he was my life. Forever.


A/N: Erica, bbs, you rock like no other! I wouldn't have finished this on time without you. The title of "beta extraordinaire" has never been more fitting than it is now. RAEcouter and nothingtolose15, thank you for the help you gave as well. I really do appreciate it.

Important places/things mentioned in the story will be linked on my profile sometime tonight, so be sure to check that out when you get a chance.

As a final note, I am aware that actually being wed inside La Sagrada Familia is an impossibility (which makes me exceedingly sad) but as this is just a fanfic, I took a few creative liberties here and there.

Surf "Heat" – Round of competition.