"My Immortal Beloved"
AN: This story was written for the winner of the "Support Stacie" author auction, Icrodriguez, who graciously gave permission to share it publicly. Thank you again to everyone who bid!
Portions of dialogue from "Breaking Dawn" were used throughout this story. No copyright infringement was intended, and I am making no money off of this story. All characters and storylines belong to S. Meyer.
I, Edward Cullen, was getting married.
Today. In just a few hours.
To the most breathtaking woman I had ever met in the last century.
The realization nearly brought me to my knees. Even though we had pledged our undying love and devotion to each other, I still couldn't help but fret that something…or someone…might take her away from me. Though, by nightfall, Isabella Swan would be Mrs. Edward Cullen, and half of my ceaseless worries would disappear forever. My angel would legally be mine, and our eternal life as one would, at long last, commence.
Although I had dreamed about this day ever since that night Bella had said she loved me after I had first snuck into her bedroom, the realization that our wedding day had finally arrived was surprisingly difficult to comprehend. We had been through so much strife during our relatively short time together, that it simply didn't seem possible. Yet we had consistently found a way to make our relationship work despite the insurmountable odds stacked against us. It really did prove that true love could conquer anything – even an unconventional union like ours.
Though true love didn't even begin to accurately describe my feelings for Bella. She was the essence of my existence – since finding her, I knew my life had no other meaning than caring for and loving her with every fiber of my being. There was no point in living if I couldn't be with her for eternity, and I would happily forfeit my own life at any moment, under any circumstance, for her and her alone.
When thinking about the depth and perpetuity of my love, it was easy to get lost in my own musings. Visions of my angel permeated my every thought - memories of how beautiful she looked that day in the meadow when I slid the engagement ring on her finger, or how her eyes danced whenever I told her I loved her. The way she blushed at the most unusual things, or the sweet smell of her hair and skin and the even sweeter scent of her blood. Every detail was crystal clear in my mind's eye – from the delicate frailty of her body, to the captivating spirit of her enigmatic thoughts that I still could not read. All of it made Bella who she was – utterly perfect for me, and very soon, my wife.
I had just returned from my bachelor party with my brothers, though 'bachelor party' was used extremely loosely in describing our night together. There was no debauchery or farewell to the vices of bachelorhood. Instead, the three of us spent the night hunting up in Canada, each tracking our favorite prey and gorging ourselves with animal blood to preempt the inevitable day spent in close proximity to a plethora of humans, all of whom were family or close friends of the Swans. In the pre-dawn hours, we had paused near a secluded lake, watching the sun begin its slow ascent into the heavens and savoring the precious time without our mates, where we could focus on just being brothers. Carlisle made an appearance, joining our male bonding discussions that were inevitably filled with candid marital advice and the occasional crass joke from Emmett regarding the upcoming honeymoon. Normally, I'd be irritated by my big brother's propensity for tactlessness, but my jubilant mood was indestructible – no amount of teasing could hamper my wedding day.
It was early afternoon when I stepped foot into our home for the last time as an unmarried man. I half-expected those final hours before the ceremony to carry some sort of bittersweet affinity, but they held none of that. Never had anyone been so thoroughly ready to shed themselves of their current existence and singularity. The wedding simply couldn't come soon enough, yet those concluding hours of bachelorhood seemed to drag on endlessly, each second hanging mulishly in time; the hands of the clock stubbornly refusing to creep forward.
Upstairs, I could detect Bella's heart beating faster than normal as my sisters worked ceaselessly to prepare her for the big event. When I heard Rosalie tell my bride that I had returned, Bella's pulse began to slow. I couldn't help but smirk – she had obviously feared that I'd leave her at the altar. Silly Bella - how could she even consider such a thing? I turned on my heel in the entryway, preparing to rush up the stairs and reassure her that I would remain in the house until the ceremony, but Alice's voice stopped me dead in my tracks.
"Keep him out of here!" She hissed from above before sending me a more colorful threat telepathically.
If you even think about coming upstairs, I'll tell Bella where you're taking her on the honeymoon!
I doubted she really would, but it was still enough to keep me safely downstairs. I had waited nearly a century for Bella – I could stand to wait a little longer, especially knowing that the next time I laid eyes on her, she'd be donned in a wedding gown, and taking those last steps as a Swan before becoming a Cullen forever. My wife.
While Esme directed Jasper and Emmett to help with last minute decorating behind the house, I paced the main floor, urging the grandfather clock in the corner to tick faster. The large living room was covered in flowers – lilac, orange blossoms, roses, and freesia, my personal favorite. The scent reminded me of Bella's delectable skin, and I inhaled deep gulps of the fragrant air greedily. Interspersed amongst the flowers were long lines of white, gossamer ribbons and tiny bead lights, casting the room in a soft, understated glow. Alice had outdone herself – I had never seen such a beautiful setting, and so perfectly ideal for the exchanging of our eternal wedding vows. A shiver of excitement raced through me as the realization that she would be soon be mine hit me again.
"Son, you should get dressed." Carlisle approached from the kitchen, smiling warmly as he extended one hand and placed it affectionately on my shoulder.
I nodded, swallowing back a bout of exhilaration as we moved towards the back stairs. Alice had claimed the second floor for Bella, but I was allowed to quickly pass to my bedroom above, provided I didn't linger anywhere near Alice's room.
Since it only took me a few moments to dress, I spent the next couple of hours wandering the backyard, watching my family finish the final preparations to the tent over the dance floor and the guest tables that dotted the landscape. Just before Mr. Weber arrived, Carlisle motioned for me to follow him back around the side of the house to the garage, where we could speak in private. I had caught a glimpse of this speech in his mind the day before, yet I still found myself tensing up as he turned to face me.
"You've waited a long time for this day," he began.
Carlisle chuckled at my simple answer. "It's perfectly normal to be nervous, Edward. We were all feeling exactly like you on our wedding day."
Slowly, I shook my head, casting my eyes down to the ground. "Not exactly. You weren't marrying a human."
I heard him sigh softly. "Your love for one another transcends your basic differences. She has awoken the human that once resided in you, Edward, and she has shown you that you are more than capable of displaying the emotions you had thought died with your humanity."
"I know." I continued to study the thick grass. "But that's not what I'm worried about."
"Edward, look at me."
I gradually raised my head and was met with Carlisle's piercing stare. It was filled with pride and determination. "You have the will, son. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Anything."
Emphasizing his words, Carlisle opened his mind to show me his perspective of the day I nearly lost Bella to James' bite; from his viewpoint, I saw myself sucking the venom from Bella's wrist, before finding the strength to stop before I killed her. I had been so terrified that I would lose her, but somehow she had survived the attack and still wanted me. Me.
My face must have given my thoughts away; Carlisle rested both of his hands on my shoulders, squeezing them affectionately.
"If there was ever a creature capable of such a thing, it's you, Edward. I believe in you. Your family believes in you. But most importantly, Bella believes in you. Please don't discount that."
For once, I was grateful for my inability to cry. Carlisle – my maker, my confident, my father…who I loved nearly as much as Bella…always knew how to alleviate my fears when I needed it the most. Stepping forward, I embraced him in a strong hug, thanking him quietly.
"It's time now. The guests are starting to arrive."
We released one another and made our way back around the house. As the sun continued its slow crawl through the cloud bank and down to the horizon, casting long shadows across the yard, I felt a miniscule tremor pass through me. This was it – I was getting married, at long last.
I stood at the front of the room – Carlisle to my left, Mr. Weber behind me. Seated directly in front of us were Jasper, Emmett and Esme, all of them beaming brightly. Jasper had offered to send me waves of calm, but I refused. I wanted to feel all of my emotions acutely, and savor even the sensation of anxiousness as I waited for Bella to descend the grand staircase.
Surveying the crowd of guests, I took inventory of our family and mutual friends. On the groom's side of the aisle sat our surrogate, extended family from Alaska. Kate, Carmen, Eleazar, and Tanya, who unabashedly raked her curious stare over my form repeatedly. Though one could easily misinterpret her apparent gawking as rude, her thoughts were thankfully void of any flirtatious undertones. Rather, she was chastely admiring my vintage tuxedo, and earnestly looking forward to seeing Bella for the first time. I gave her a courteous smile before letting my gaze move to the bride's side of the room.
Renee and Phil sat in the first row. Renee was fidgeting nervously, picking at her dress and leaning into Phil every time he squeezed her shoulder. As someone who married young as well, I had nothing but empathy for Bella's mother, and when she glanced up at me, I gave her my most reassuring smile. Although her mind clearly showed that she had no substantial reservations against me or my family, she couldn't help but feel a bit apprehensive about the speediness in which we were taking our vows. Bella had remained stoically resolved with her decision to give up a relationship with her parents once she was turned, and I hoped that this day would give Renee some peace of mind before we were forced to say goodbye to her forever.
Behind Bella's mother and step-father, the chairs were filled with classmates, Charlie's coworkers, neighbors, and three of the Quileutes – Seth and Sue Clearwater, and Billy Black. Seth was grinning at me when I met his gaze, and I nodded demurely in acknowledgement. Sue sat rigidly at his side, with Billy flanking her, his thoughts strangely composed and devoid of emotion. I glimpsed Mike Newton, Jessica Stanley, Angela, and a handful of other friends throughout the audience, but my attention was diverted at once when I saw Rosalie move to sit at my baby grand piano in the back of the room. Up above, I heard Bella's heart rate increase dramatically as her footsteps, along with Charlie's and Alice's, crossed the hallway leading to the stairs.
Rosalie softly began to play Pachelbel's Canon, and over the righteous notes of the piece, I could detect Bella's breathing becoming labored. I fought back every instinct that commanded me to rush upstairs and comfort her; Carlisle, sensing my turmoil, gently cupped my elbow, encouraging me as well to stay put.
"She'll be fine, and standing here next to you before you know it, son," he whispered so quietly that only myself and my family could hear.
Charlie's voice drifted down from above as he consoled his nervous daughter, but it was Alice's words that struck me the hardest.
"Focus, Bella. Edward is waiting for you down there."
I felt a flash of searing heat rush through my veins. Edward is waiting for you. Suddenly, my impatience became nearly unbearable – I needed to see her, touch her, hold her that very second. I couldn't wait anymore.
Patience, son. She's on her way now.
The music seamlessly morphed into Wagner's traditional wedding march, and I could hear Alice's feather-light footsteps as she treaded down the length of the stairs in time to the music.
My eyes were glued to the bottom of the staircase, and everything else in my field of vision became blurred and distant. I didn't even notice the guests starting to rise to their feet as Alice glided effortlessly down the aisle, smiling gaily before taking her spot across the altar from me, turning to await Bella's entrance with the rest of us.
"Don't let me fall, Dad," Bella whispered to Charlie. My eyes grew wide in anticipation as I heard the two of them take their first step down the stairs. Silently, I counted each step, knowing exactly when they'd round the corner and I'd see my future wife for the first time.
Just as I caught a glimpse of white, I noticed the crowd start to murmur softly. My head was being pummeled with a hundred different thoughts as each person laid eyes on my blushing bride, but they all disappeared the second I saw her face.
There were no words to describe my Bella as she turned the corner to face the room. Breathtaking, exquisite, stunning – none of them did her justice. She was adorned in an intricate white gown that made my breath hitch in my throat. It was as if we had traveled back a hundred years in time - the bodice was covered in delicate lace, the train artfully designed to compliment the unique nature of the dress. Bella's hair was elaborately braided around the base of the veil, and her skin was vibrantly flushed, her lips an enticing shade of dusty rose. She focused keenly on each step, grasping Charlie's arm tightly in fear of stumbling, and I couldn't help but silently chuckle at her endearing clumsiness.
I watched her face intently, waiting for her to look up and meet my heated stare. As soon as she cleared the stairs, she lifted her chin, her eyes scanning the room quickly until they finally found mine.
My frozen heart soared to life as I watched her face light up with a broad smile, the slight creases of worry in her forehead instantly gone when she saw me. All at once, I wanted to sprint across the room and lift her into my arms, holding her for the rest of eternity. Rivulets of venom coursed down the back of my throat when I saw fathomless love in her deep, brown eyes - love for me. All of her reluctance and anxiousness suddenly melted away as we continued to stare shamelessly at one another, impervious to everyone else in the room. Although I had been more than ready to take the plunge into martial bliss, seeing Bella's newfound eagerness to exchange our vows nearly pushed me over the edge. My angel's pace perceivably quickened as she crossed the room on the arm of her father, her eyes growing brighter with every step that closed the distance between us.
Finally, she stood before me, her enthralling scent overpowering the pleasantry of the floral arrangements and canceling out nearly every other one of my senses and making my head swim in a delicious state of inebriation. I stretched out my hand, and very deliberately, Charlie guided his daughter's into mine. The electricity that passed between us when our fingers finally touched visibly jolted me, and I realized that this was the first, real step of our union. From now until the end of time, I would never have to let her go again.
As Mr. Weber began the ceremony, I scarcely heard any of it. I was focused on only one thing – Bella. Every twitch of her facial muscles as she gazed lovingly at me. The flicker of emotion in her eyes as she recited her vows. The way her hand grew warmer when I placed the ring on her finger. And the tears forming at the corners of her eyes as she repeated those fateful two words that would forever bind us together in this world.
"I do," she whispered exaltedly, blinking furiously as she held my gaze.
"I do," I repeated, my voice resonating throughout the room in triumph.
Somewhere in the murky distance, I heard Mr. Weber's declaration to the crowd, announcing us as husband and wife. It was finished – we were officially married. I repeated the word over and over in my head, trying to grasp the formidable power and meaning behind it, but my mind refused to function. All I could suddenly think about was kissing my wife. My Bella.
Slowly, I reached over to cup her face in my palms. She continued to cry as she stared up at me through a myriad of salty tears, and once again, I felt my brow pucker as if I too, could shed tears of happiness. The euphoria between us was utterly palatable, and as I bent down to capture her sumptuous lips with mine, Bella pushed up onto the balls of her feet, meeting my eager mouth and throwing her full weight into my body as we embraced, sealing our union with the most reverent of kisses. I found myself lightheaded from her intoxicating taste on my tongue, and were it not for the distracting noises of the witnesses around us, I would have refused to let her go. But after what seemed like eons, I reluctantly pulled back, leaving her slightly breathless in the process. When she slowly opened her eyes, I saw nothing but desire and love within them, causing me to grin widely as I realized that my ecstatic joy was fully reciprocated.
As I turned us towards the crowd, applause erupted throughout the room, and although we were forced to look away from one another, I slipped my arm firmly around her delicate waist, proudly showing off my ethereal bride in a display of unadulterated bliss.
Bella was now my wife.
The reception was a bit of a blur; I was incapable of focusing on anything other than the bewitching creature that I led through the throngs of guests. It caused me physical pain to release her from my hold for even a second, as she was lovingly embraced again and again by our family and friends. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I was faintly aware of the thoughts of those around us, perpetual white noise attempting to distract my attention away from Bella. But I ignored it all.
I watched Bella's body language closely, rubbing her back soothingly whenever I sensed her muscles tense, or gently steering her to another group if I saw any indication that she was ready to move on. Although I repeatedly thanked our guests for their warm wishes and attendance, my full attention was only on her, and now that the ceremony was through, I could think of nothing more than scurrying us away to a more private setting, where I could truly show her the depth of my love. However, certain traditions had to be maintained, and though Bella was now legally mine, her time and attention needed to be shared with our family and friends.
Still, there was one event that I was especially looking forward to before we jettisoned off on the honeymoon - the dance. Esme and Alice had found a small band of jazz musicians that were extremely talented and well-versed on a variety of my favorite music. As the guests finished their meal, I glanced over to Bella and planted a virtuous kiss on her flushed cheek.
"Have I told you yet how much I love you?" I murmured against her supple skin.
A radiant smile traced across her delicate features, and she turned to bury her face into the crook of my neck. "You don't have to. I can see it in your eyes."
"Will you dance with me, love?"
A few seconds later, the music started. I stood and helped Bella to her feet, leading her over to the dance floor. The sun had completely set behind the trees, casting the evening sky in a warm hue of magenta, and the summer air was still balmy and rich with the sound of crickets singing down by the river. As the soft notes of the clarinet drifted across the yard, I pulled Bella into my arms to the sweet notes of Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade."
"Enjoying the party, Mrs. Cullen?" I whispered in her ear.
She chuckled, pressing herself tightly against my chest. "That will take a while to get used to."
"We have a while."
I felt her breath hitch as I turned my head and brushed my lips against hers. She eagerly kissed me back, oblivious to the watchful eyes and camera flashes surrounding us as we glided effortlessly across the floor.
It was as if nothing existed in that moment except the understated notes of the band, the twinkling white lights hanging above us, and the exquisite feel of Bella's warmth in my arms. I shivered in delight when I felt her trace a finger along the back of my neck and softly stroke the fine hairs. Her touch set off a more covetous flash of heat in my bones, and just as my right hand drifted down along the gentle curve of her back, I sensed someone approaching us. Charlie.
Reluctantly, I pulled away, reminding myself that after tonight, I'd never have to relinquish her again. Very gently, I spun her around to face her father, placing her hand in his.
After watching the two of them begin to dance to a new song, I quickly scanned the crowd for my mother. Esme enthusiastically wove her way through the guests and rushed into my arms. Together, we twirled across the dance floor, letting ourselves thoroughly enjoy the timeless music.
"Oh Edward, I've missed dancing with you," Esme crooned as I lifted our arms so she could spin underneath them. Back when it was just the two of us and Carlisle, Esme and I had often danced together, enjoying the music of the day and spending countless evenings learning the latest dances. I had almost forgotten how enjoyable it was to dance with the women in my family, and I couldn't wait to teach Bella.
After my mother-son dance with Esme, I found myself with a line of partners; first Alice, then Tanya, Kate, and Carmen, all of whom performed meticulously as the band played a series of up-tempo jazz numbers. Despite their jovial company, I couldn't help but keep one vigilant eye on my bride at all times. Her happiness was all that mattered anymore. As I watched her get passed from Charlie to Phil, and then to Carlisle, I felt a peaceful warmth spread through my chest as our families came together to embrace our matrimonial union. This must be why humans are so fond of weddings, I thought as I noticed that each pair of eyes that met mine were filled with nothing but sincere kindness and acceptance. For a second, I could almost believe I was human again.
After the obligatory dances with my immortal family, I found myself next to Renee, who unabashedly grabbed my arm and steered me to the center of the dance floor. While we danced, I found myself studying her features and movements, comparing them to Bella and marveling at how similar, yet entirely different the two women really were. I could clearly distinguish the physical traits she had inherited from her mother, and those that came from Charlie. However, Bella's personality was clearly unique to that of her parents, though she obviously mimicked a few of the more endearing traits, such as Renee's gentle-heartedness, and Charlie's quiet nature.
Renee chatted away as we danced, and I almost didn't notice Bella's next partner until I heard a penetratingly lewd thought come from her direction.
If only I had staked my claim sooner – I'd be the one whisking her off on the honeymoon tonight…
Mike Newton was holding Bella nauseously close, his hands possessively clenching her back as he openly gawked at her alluring form.
"Excuse me Renee, but I think it's time I return to my wife," I said graciously, giving her a wide smile to hide the acid lurking in my tone.
She blinked twice, temporarily mesmerized by my stare. "Of course, Edward. Hopefully we can dance again!"
I walked her over to Carlisle who took my place as her partner, then I crossed the floor and cut in on Mike's fantasy-laden dance.
"There you are." Without waiting for a response, I grasped Bella's hand and steered her away, pulling her tightly against me before bending down to plant a very avaricious kiss on her plump lips, in clear sight of my supposititious competition.
"Still not that fond of Mike, eh?"
"Not when I have to listen to his thoughts. He's lucky I didn't kick him out. Or worse."
"Yeah, right." Bella's expression contradicted her jesting tone. She was gazing up at me, her face aglow with adulation and rapture. With such apparent emotion in her eyes, she was completely breathtaking.
"Have you had a chance to look at yourself?"
"Um. No, I guess not. Why?"
"Then I suppose you don't realize how utterly, heart-breakingly beautiful you are tonight. I'm not surprised Mike's having difficulty with improper thoughts about a married woman. I am disappointed that Alice didn't make sure you were forced to look in a mirror."
Bella rolled her eyes. "You are very biased, you know."
Silly girl. I'd simply have to show her.
Spinning us around to face the back of the house, I pointed to the wall of windows. Bella gasped when she saw our reflection, the overwhelming radiance of our love for one another visible in both our eyes and in the way we held one another. Finally, she was seeing herself as I saw her – absolutely stunning. And she was all mine.
Just as I was bending over to kiss my lovely bride once more, I heard him approach.
I just want to say goodbye to my friend. I mean no ill-will, Edward.
For a split-second I started to growl at his intrusion, but then I felt the full-brunt of the emotions behind his thoughts. He had meant every word – he only wanted one last chance to say farewell to Bella before she journeyed forth into eternity with me. How could I deny him such a request, especially when I knew how important it was to her?
Smiling at the thought of providing my wife with an unexpected gift, I led her away from the dance floor, and out towards the edge of the huge cedars where Jacob patiently waited.
Graciously, I passed her off to him, muttering an excuse of needing to dance with Rosalie, and left them alone in the shadows to say their goodbyes in private. Although it pained me to walk away, even for a few moments, I knew it was the right thing to do. I had until the end of time with her by my side – our wedding, though the beginning of our life together as one, was also the last chance she'd have to see all of the mortals – even werewolves – that she treasured and loved.
Hearing the entire exchange, Rosalie met me on the edge of the dance floor and captured my hand in hers. Without missing a beat, the two of us started moving together in time to the music.
"I understand your hesitation in letting her see him," she said quietly. "But it was the right thing to do."
"Despite our difference of opinions and mutual…tenacity, I'm very happy for both of you, Edward."
"Thank you, Rose. That means a lot to me."
She smiled, her flawless features more pronounced in the unearthly glow of the white lights above us. "You're welcome, brother."
I focused on Rosalie's thoughts to give Bella and Jacob the privacy they deserved. Knowing the best way to distract me, Rosalie filled her head with pleasant memories of our family over the years; visions of us spending hours in the garage, rebuilding car engines in quiet serenity; us five siblings pulling elaborate pranks on one another and suffering the wrath of Esme whenever we accidentally destroyed one of her precious pieces of furniture in the process; our entire family, including Bella, gathered together at the dining room table, discussing wedding plans. I chuckled as she replayed some of the more memorable fights between us, all of them ending in sincere apologies, yet laced with promises of inevitable retribution. Our family knew only how to live life vibrantly, which included times of strife. But along with that, we also loved one another passionately, and the deep-seeded ties between all of us transcended any squabbles or disagreements. Although Rose and I, more often than we cared to admit, did not see eye to eye, she knew the true me better than virtually any other family member, and that knowledge made me truly appreciate her tough-love attitude, because with it came unconditional loyalty, and deep found respect.
The music had shifted to a slower, more somber melody from the 1930's, one that Rosalie and I had danced to quite often when she had first joined the family. As she began to replay those memories in her mind, I suddenly heard Bella's distressed voice in the distance.
"Ow, Jake! Let go!"
Rosalie released me at once and hissed under her breath. I moved as quickly as I dared through the dancing couples, trying not to draw unnecessary attention to myself as I raced into the darkness.
"Jake – stop!"
"Take your hands off her!" My voice seethed with anger as I rushed up behind Bella.
As Seth, Quil and Sam moved to restrain Jacob once he finally released his grip on my wife, I lifted her safely back and away from his twitching form. Heated words and threats were exchanged between us, and the monster that lurked deep within me was nearly unleashed as I stepped forward, planning to mortally injure my nemesis once and for all. But the voices of my family rang loudly through my head, distracting me from my murderous path.
Let it go, Edward. Don't taint the memory of your wedding day with violence.
Think of Bella – she's all that matters now.
She chose you, son…not him. She's your wife.
Carlisle's last three words startled me out of my fury, and I watched the other wolves start to steer Jacob back into the darkness. The altercation was over, and it was imperative that we returned to the party lest our guests noticed our absence. I swallowed back my hatred, reigned in my heady emotions as I struggled to regain my self-control, and gazed over to the most precious being on the planet. My angel.
"Let's go back."
Bella started to argue, but I quickly interjected, stroking her face and staring intently into her eyes, hoping to ease her anxiousness. She begged me to give her a few seconds to calm herself, and after reassurances that her appearance had not faltered, I put my arms around her and led us back to the dance floor. Only the handful of vampires had witnessed the disruption – none of the humans had noticed our absence, or sensed anything was amiss.
I stoically put the entire scenario behind me and returned my focus onto only her as I rocked us back and forth to Sinatra's "As Time Goes by". I could still sense the tension in Bella's posture, despite her warm lips pressed against my cool neck. Once again I wished I could catch just a glimpse into her elusive mind to see what she was really thinking.
"Are you –"
"I'm fine. It's over. Let's not think of it again tonight."
Despite her request, I couldn't help but replay Jacob's harsh words. He was absolutely right in his accusations – the one thing Bella asked me to give her on the honeymoon could very well kill her.
I closed my eyes and touched my forehead to hers. "Jacob is right. What am I thinking?"
"He is not. Jacob is way too prejudiced to see anything clearly."
More to myself, I mumbled incoherently, letting my self-doubt fester deep within.
"Stop it!" Bella reached up to cradle my face in her hot hands, imploring me to open my eyes. "You and me. That's the only thing that matters. The only thing you're allowed to think about now. Do you hear me?"
She was right – this was our wedding day, the event I had coveted since the day I first laid eyes on her. Swallowing back my fears, I regarded her somberly.
"Forget Jacob came. For me. Promise you'll let this go."
"I promise." I leaned in and gently pressed my lips to hers, savoring the sweet taste of her breath.
"Thank you. Edward, I'm not afraid."
A fresh rush of fear ripped through me despite her words. "I am."
"Don't be." She smiled and weaved her fingers through my hair. "By the way, I love you."
My frozen heart cried out in elation, reminding me again that she was all that mattered. We had overcome every obstacle thrown at us – could we not overcome this one as well? But my ever-cautious mind refused to believe what my heart declared to be true. No matter how hard I tried to reconcile the two, they repudiated the other, rendering me temporarily speechless.
Finally, I found the strength to speak, despite the maelstrom of emotions that flooded my entire body. It was our wedding night – she was my bride, and we were utterly besotted with one another. My voice dripped with conviction and ardor, yet the slightest hint of doom still lingered. "That's why we're here."
She sighed softly as she leaned into my embrace, burying herself in my arms. Emmett appeared, sensing the remaining distress between us, and whisked Bella away for a dance before I could protest. Alice quickly grabbed me, steering me to the far end of the dance floor before opening her mind to me.
"You worry too much, dear brother." She flashed a solid image of our honeymoon through her mind, showing the two of us swimming in the tepid waters off of Isle Esme. Her eyes twinkled under the lights of the canopy. "It'll all work out. Trust me." The air of finality in her tone begged me to drop the subject, and grudgingly, I finally complied.
"Never bet against the precog," I joked, spinning her diminutive form around in a circle until Jasper stepped forward and took her hand from me.
"You have your own wife to dance with now, Edward. I want Alice back." Jasper's tone was light as he sent me a wave of understated prurience before motioning with his eyes in Bella's direction. I nodded, my mood affected immediately. Leave it to Jasper to reinforce his wife's visions with the most appropriate of emotions on such an occasion.
Cutting in on Bella's dance with Tyler, I wrapped my arms firmly around her waist as she nestled her head against my chest. The warmth of her body seeped forth from the flimsy satin of her dress, enveloping my torso and setting my own body ablaze with desire.
"I could get used to this," she purred.
"Don't tell me you've gotten over your dancing issues?" I glanced down at her incredulously.
She smirked deviously. "Dancing isn't so bad – with you. But I was thinking more of this." She pressed herself more firmly against me. "Of never having to let you go."
My body reacted instantly to her touch. "Never," I promised before capturing her lips with mine.
I no longer needed Jasper's help – I had waited all day to really kiss my bride, and I instinctively knew she felt the same way. We easily melded into one another, our mouths working slowly at first, but growing more urgent with every passing second. The people around us seemed to disappear as the notes of "Moon River" permeated the night air, and at long last, the reality that this incredible woman pressed against me was mine finally sunk in.
Mrs. Bella Cullen. Mrs. Edward Cullen.
Mine. For eternity.
And I was forever hers.
As I felt her tongue trace my lips, I groaned and tightened my grip around her waist, vowing to spend every second from that moment forward doing everything for her. She was my life, and I had never felt such a tide of immaculate passion and love in all of my years of existence. I held Bella, my wife, in my arms as we slowly turned on the dance floor under a canopy of shimmering lights, our bodies intertwined as thoroughly as our hearts.
AN: So…anyone want to see the honeymoon from Edward's POV? If so, let me know…