CREDITS: Stephenie Meyer owns the characters. I just play. song is from 98 degrees... I get more and more lame here, apparently...
Will I promise to be your best friend
And am I here until the end
Can I be sure I have been waiting for you
And did I say my love is true
Baby I will, I am, I can, I have, I do
I know the time will disappear
But this love we're building on will always be here
No way that this is sinking sand
On this solid rock we'll stand forever
The day of the wedding dawned full of soft clouds, but dry and warm. It was perfect for the outdoor ceremony Alice, Esme, and Rosalie had so carefully planned for. By the time I had managed to swallow my morning crackers and tea and make my way into our living room, I could see chairs being assembled along a pristine white runway in the backyard of the Cullen home. Each white wooden chair was adorned with a huge white satin bow, trimmed in blue piping. Already the yard looked like a wonderland.
I wondered around the apartment aimlessly, amazed that with the flurry of activity going on below I couldn't think of a thing to do. Alice had insisted that Edward stay in his old room downstairs the night before, keeping with the tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony on the wedding day. I had protested, insisting that such a rule surely did not apply when the bride in question was already carrying the groom's child, but she had stood firm and Edward had neglected to protest along with me, saying that he could use the time to finish ironing out the details for our honeymoon, all of which were still a mystery to me.
I had just finished a piece of toast and a glass of Orange juice and was contemplating my next move when Alice bounded into the apartment,
"You're getting married today!!!" she screeched, pulling me up from the table and dancing me around the living room towards the windows. "Do you like it so far?"
I laughed as I disentangled myself from her enthusiastic embrace.
"I love it. Thank you so much, Alice. It's going to be beautiful."
My almost-sister squealed in delight before running to the doorway and calling downstairs,
"Rose! She's awake! Operation BBB is underway!!!"
My eyes widened as Rosalie entered the apartment. At least, I assumed it was Rosalie behind the massive cart of cosmetics, styling tools, and accessories.
"Umm, Alice? What exactly is 'operation BBB?'"
Rosalie's smirk emerged from behind the pile of beauty products,
"Beautiful Bella Bride. She's on a roll – watch out."
Alice pouted in my general direction, "I've never done a human wedding before… I'm just excited!"
I took a deep breath. As much as I knew that Alice's "Operation Beautiful Bella Bride" was going to feel like "Operation Bella Barbie Bride" to me, I couldn't argue with what I knew would be stunning results.
"Okay," I shrugged, "I'm all yours. Just nothing with toxic fumes, alright?" I joked, motioning to my stomach.
This time both of my future sisters squealed with excitement and Alice actually jumped up and down.
Before I knew it, I was perched on a stool in my cavernous bathroom as Rosalie curled strand after strand of my mahogany hair and Alice painted my face with a barrage of pastes, powders, and glosses. An hour later, I really did look like a Barbie doll… at least from the neck up. I haven't seen many Barbies in fluffly white bathrobes. That was exactly how I was clad, allowing Rosalie and Alice some time to admire their handiwork, when Esme's lyrical voice drifted upwards into the apartment,
"Bella? Honey, you have a visitor."
Figuring that Charlie had stopped by to wish me luck on my big day, I quickly excused myself from the makeover twins and bounded happily down the first flight of stairs. The view of the foyer from the second floor balcony stopped me in my tracks.
"Jake?" my voice was hesitant as I started slowly down the main staircase, "What are you doing here?"
An easy smile crossed his face as he took in my appearance, "Nice to see you again, too, Bells."
That was all it took. I raced down the remaining stairs two at a time, stumbling into his waiting arms.
"Careful, Bells," he chuckled, "From what I hear, you've got more than just you to keep safe, now."
I felt my face grow crimson. I should have known my father would have shared the news with Billy and Jacob, but somehow I was surprised.
"Jake… I'm sorry. I should have told you myself. I just… Well, things have been so weird between us…"
Jacob shook his head, "Don't worry about it, Bells. I've been an ass. Really. I just didn't understand before…"
With that he hung his head, blushing as deeply as I had a moment ago. I frowned for a minute, confused, before the realization hit me,
"You imprinted! Who?!?"
Jacob shrugged helplessly, "Her name is Sarah. We've gone to school with each other forever, but I never really noticed… I don't understand now how I could have missed her for so long… It seems like such a waste."
I nodded, smiling knowingly, "I'm so glad, Jake. Congratulations. I can't wait to meet her. Will you bring her to the ceremony later?"
At that, Jacob's expression grew darker, "Well, that's kind of why I'm here, Bella… I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make it today."
I was crushed. For a brief moment, things had finally seemed right again between Jake and me. He noticed my hurt expression and quickly hurried to explain,
"It's not because I don't want to be, Bells. If you're happy, then I am too – honest. But there's something else… There's been some… activity… recently."
"Activity? What do you mean?..." Then I gasped, "Other vampires? In Forks?"
Jacob nodded gravely, "So I was right – no one has told you."
"You think the Cullens know, too?"
Well… that explained a lot of the covert glances and conversations of the past week… And to think, I'd thought they were plotting about the wedding and honeymoon… When would I learn?
Jacob shrugged, embarrassed to have to be the one revealing this sort of information to me.
"I would assume so, but who knows… Maybe they're… distracted."
Great. So either my soon to be husband and family were keeping things from me or they were suddenly inept at security.
"Do you know anything more… Have you seen…"
Jacob was shaking his head, "Whoever it is knows what they're doing. They're staying just out of range… We know there's something, but… I was actually hoping that some of the leech- I mean, the Cullens, might know more."
I nodded. "I'll get Alice," I said glumly. When I turned around, she was already at the top of the stairs, her eyes begging forgiveness,
"I'm so sorry, Bella. Really. We weren't trying to keep things from you." At this she turned to glare at Jacob, "WE just wanted you to enjoy your day. We were going to tell you."
I just shook my head, "Forget it, Alice. Who is it?"
Her voice was almost impossible to hear, "Victoria."
I felt twin daggers of fear a fury strike at my heart. Before I could say a word, though, Alice continued, her tone defensive.
"She hasn't even considered coming any closer, though. And every time we've considered going after her, I've seen us losing her a day or two out. There was nothing to do but watch."
Jacob sounded as furious as I felt, "So you just did nothing? Said nothing? To us or to Bella? What were you thinking?"
Alice's voice and demeanor did a 180 from defense to offense in nothing, flat. "What do you know, dog? She needed to be calm right now – she's pregnant. And – beyond that – she deserves to enjoy it."
My vision started to cloud as Jacob fired right back, "What she deserves is to not be kept in the dark."
I know that Alice must have replied, but I heard nothing more as my ears began ringing and I gave in to the dizzy pull towards the ground.
I regained consciousness in my own bed in Edward's strong, cold embrace.
"You're not supposed to see me," I murmured, then instantly scolded myself for having my first thoughts be something so trivial – especially when technically, I should be furious at him for keeping me "in the dark" as Jake had said.
Edward chuckled, "I thought you didn't believe in all that. Besides, I think I'm entitled to be there when the mother of my child starts collapsing, regardless of the day."
I gasped and fought to sit up, his comment bringing me hurtling back down to reality,
"The baby! Is everything alright? Oh no – is something wrong?"
Edward cut me off, soothing me as he pulled me back down into his arms,
"Shhh, love. Everything's fine. Carlisle is on his way now to double check, but I think you just got a bit overwhelmed. You have to admit, it wouldn't be the first time…"
I scowled at him, "You really should have told me, you know."
His eyes grew darker as he nodded.
"I'm sorry, Bella. I was honestly trying to protect you, but obviously, that did not turn out as I hoped. I apologize. Truly."
I pulled his marble face down to mine and kissed him lightly,
"You're forgiven. This time."
I looked around, "Did Jake leave? Or did he and Alice kill each other?"
Edward laughed again, musical notes toppling through the air, "No – both are unharmed, though suitably ashamed at their behavior. Jacob asked me to tell you he would be at the ceremony later – even if you didn't see him – and Alice is downstairs worrying that you've ruined your hair and makeup."
"And did I?"
"No. You look stunning. In fact…"
Edward's voice trailed off as he leaned over me to kiss my face and neck. We might have easily fast-forwarded straight to the wedding night had Carlisle not shown up at the door, clearing his throat in embarrassment.
I'm sure I turned bright red again under all the make-up, but Edward simply sat up and greeted Carlisle as if our being caught nearly in the act was an everyday occurrence. I was definitely going to have to speak to him about our differing views on public displays of affection.
Within minutes, Carlisle had located our baby's perfect little heartbeat with the Doppler machine he had brought home. Edward and I beamed at each other and I consciously drove all thoughts of Victoria and evil in general from my mind, focusing instead on having the perfect day the family was trying so hard to provide us.
After Carlisle discreetly left us, Edward and I stole a few minutes of kissing and snuggling in bed. All too soon, however, he pulled back with a smirk and chuckle,
"We're out of time, love. Alice's patience has come to an end. She's dragging Rosalie up with her to help pry us apart so she can reinstate… Operation BBB?"
I laughed. "Beautiful Bella Bride," I informed him. "She's gone a bit overboard."
Sure enough, a moment later a timid knock sounded from the doorway. Alice stood with Rosalie behind her, a sheepish look filling her tiny face.
"I'm so sorry, Bella. We should have told you. Jacob was right this time."
I nodded briefly. Alice apparently took this as a sign of her forgiveness and catapulted herself across the room, landing on the bed next to me and wrapping me into her tiny arms for a hug.
"Thank you. Thank you!" she squealed, then pulled me up and into the bathroom. "Rosalie! Get in here. Operation BBB is back in session."
I heard Rosalie and Edward laughing from the bedroom as they passed one another and then submitted to another hour of poking, prodding, and painting from the BBB operatives.
By one thirty, I had been made-over once more and eaten a light lunch downstairs while Alice, Rosalie, and Esme all fretted over me smearing my makeup. Outside, the guests were beginning to arrive and I was being helped into the various undergarments, petticoats, and stockings that were apparently necessary under my beautiful dress. I turned to Rosalie and Esme with new appreciation,
"I don't know how you did this everyday," I marveled. "I was definitely born in the right generation."
Esme laughed, "While most of the time, I agree with you, there were certain advantages… You have to admit, you feel decidedly…feminine in all this."
Rosalie scoffed, "I can feel feminine in a micro-mini, thanks."
I laughed right alongside them. For the first time since moving out of Renee's home, I felt ensconced in completely girlish fun and acceptance. It made me ache for my mother, but at the same time, cherish the membership to this family I'd been offered.
Alice grinned as she placed a lacy blue and white garter on my thigh,
"Alright, time for the big finish!"
Rosalie whipped a gigantic garment bag out of the closet and unzipped it to reveal my gorgeous dress. Alice and Rosalie held the sides of the skirt as Esme grabbed my hands through the layers of tulle and lace and guided my arms and torso into position. Once again, a look of bafflement crossed me face. Rosalie smirked,
"Now you understand the need for personal maids, huh?"
We laughed again as Alice zipped and fastened the bag of the dress and guided me over to a full length mirror.
I had been transformed. The gown hugged my chest and still-tiny waist (I no longer took that for granted, knowing it would be disappearing soon!) before billowing out into a huge cloud of tulle and lace and satin. Soft curls piled atop my head and then trailed down along my shoulders and back. My pale skin glowed with perfectly distributed color and gleam. A small smile played on my lips, imagining Edward's reaction when he saw me.
Esme would have had eyes full of tears if she'd been able.
"You look, beautiful, Bella. Welcome to the family."
This time, it was my turn to squeal as I hugged my new mother and sisters. I still felt the gap in my heart, where my own mother should have been, but the other areas were so overflowing with love, it was far more than bearable.
"Hmmm… Still one thing missing…" Esme hummed as she pulled back.
I was confused. Everything seemed so perfect already. Rosalie and Alice had serious expressions on their face however and were nodding along with Esme, who had now disappeared from the room.
"What?" I cried, "Fix me!"
Alice giggled then, "I thought you didn't like playing Barbie."
I blushed, "Sorry. I just want everything to be perfect. Your wedding-fever is infecting me."
Esme re-appeared, a black velvet pouch in her hand. Rosalie and Alice beamed as she withdrew a thin strand of tiny pearls.
I gasped, "Esme! They're beautiful!"
She smiled back at me, "We've all worn them on our wedding day. Now it's your turn. A Cullen tradition."
Tears welled in my eyes as Esme fastened the pearls around my neck.
"Thank you all," I choked out.
My family beamed back for a moment, lost in the emotion until Rosalie shook her head violently, a smile playing on her beautiful features,
"Stop. We've already had to fix your make-up once today."
Alice laughed. "Okay, then. Your dress is something new. The necklace is borrowed, and your garter is something blue. As for something old…" She grinned mischievously, "Well, I think 106 is old enough. Edward will suffice."
I laughed along with her and then did my best to help as she, Rosalie, and Esme quickly put on their own dresses. Soon, there was a light knock at the door. Opening it revealed Charlie, looking awkward but stunning in his designer tux, ready to escort me down the aisle. I took a deep breath. It was time for my wedding.
I peered out of the kitchen window, camouflaged by Esme's white fluffy curtains, taking in the scene in the back yard.
The beautiful chairs were now filled with a small cluster of our friends and family. White roses and freesias were everywhere, emitting a sweet scent that reminded me of the night of Edward's wonderful proposal. A string quartet played Edward's song for Esme as Carlisle led her lovingly down the white runner to her seat before taking his place near the flowered archway the boys had constructed in the yard. Thank goodness for internet ordinations – I'm not sure how any of us would have felt right with any other minister. The quartet transitioned into Clair de Lune as Rosalie and Emmett made their way down the aisle, followed by Jasper and a giddy Alice. The girls looked gorgeous in Alice's creations and the boys were clearly drinking in all their charms and beauty. It was like looking out a window into a fairytale.
All too soon however, the music changed again and I heard Vagner's Bridal Chorus fill the air. It was my turn. I froze. I was petrified to step through the doorway, scared I would somehow mar the beautiful scene before me. Charlie studied my face carefully,
"Bella? Are you ready?"
I shook my head violently. Charlie looked scared,
"Bells? If you don't want to go through with this, it's okay. It will be alright. You can come down to La Push and raise the baby there. I'll help."
It was that heartfelt offer of love and support that jerked me out of my reverie.
I smiled at Charlie, "No, Dad. Of course I want to do this. I'm just afraid I'm going to fall on my face."
Charlie exhaled visibly, relieved, "Well alright then, I guess I'm going to have to hold on tight."
As I stepped out onto the bright white of the runner, I felt the eyes of everyone in the yard pivot back to focus on me. Somehow, though, my own eyes found their way to meet the only other ones that mattered.
Edward stood with Carlisle under the archway of roses and freesia. His topaz eyes met mine and smoldered with an intensity and passion unlike anything I had ever witnessed. He looked absolutely in awe.
As Charlie guided me down the aisle, I watched my favorite crooked smile light up Edward's face and felt my own cheeks turning upward in a smile to match. As we reached the front of the arranged chapel, Charlie patted Edward firmly on the back and placed my hand in his,
"Take care of them both. And appreciate it." he said gruffly.
Edward beamed back, "With all my heart."
Then our focus was on Carlisle. He led us through the traditional vows with one small but very important change. My eyes filled with tears as Edward promised to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and in health, through richer and poorer, in life and death. I choked out a similar reply as Edward gently wiped tears of joy from my face.
After slipping simple platinum bands onto one another's hands, Carlisle grinned at Edward.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Edward smiled into my eyes and cupped his cool hand across my cheek, pulling me to him. His kiss promised everything he had just said in words: love, honor, and a life as full as any could possibly be.
I was happier than I'd ever been in my life as Carlisle smiled out at the audience and announced,
"It is my great pleasure to present to you for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Isabella Cullen."
AN: Okay, before you ask - no, they did not just all forget about Jacob, Victoria, etc. But it was important to me (and the Cullens) that the wedding be "perfect." - the next chapter is going to be pretty dark and will set up the rest of the story, so stay tuned!!! REViEW PLEASE!!! I have a lot of people adding this to their alerts but not reviewing... a couple of words even, people! PLEASE?!?! PRETty please?