AN: Okay, first off I want to say how very sorry I am that in my haste and excitement to update the last chapter, I failed to let you all know that this was the last chapter. But, as an added bonus, this chapter is extremely long and the longest out of all of them!
And quite honestly, I even got really emotional while writing the wedding, I didn't know if I would actually be able to type it all up. I would highly suggest listening to Canon in D while reading the whole wedding, it makes it that much better. You can find the link on my profile.
The usual disclaimer applies: I do not own. All of these wonderful characters belong to the great Stephanie Meyer. And without her, this story would not be possible. Thanks Stephanie!
I really hope this chapter is to all of your liking, and that I've tied up all the loose ends. So without further ado, I will see you all at the bottom!
Chapter 18: 'Wedding'
After the bonfire, everything seemed to go back to normal; well, almost normal anyway. Alice became everyone's drill instructor with the wedding plans and getting everything ready. She has everything preordered; all we had to do was set it all up to make sure everything fit perfectly; which it all did of course. This was a whole lot more than I remember having to do for my own wedding, and I was happy I didn't have to do it all then.
Charlie surprised us all the most. He went back to work, acting as if nothing happened, no questions asked. I could tell Edward knew different, and what was really going on in Charlie's head – well sometimes anyway – but he didn't elaborate too much when I tried to ask, saying, "Charlie's happy to finally know, but he's trying to ignore it right now." When I asked why, he told me, "He just wants everything to go back to normal, with the exception that he now knows the truth. He accepted us for what, and who, we are, and he's happy with that."
I left it alone after that. Honestly, I was happy too. Charlie and I weren't necessarily close before, but now it was as if our relationship grew. He wasn't just my father anymore, we were closer than ever now, and I felt alive, like I truly belonged here, as if I could have it all, finally. I have a wonderful family, the best husband a girl could ever ask for, the perfect daughter, my best man, and now my father.
And if, and when, Charlie had questions, which I knew would come out eventually, or if he just wanted to talk about this, he knew he could come to any of us and ask. We would be here for him.
Renesmee couldn't be happier either now that her Papa knew. She didn't have to pretend anymore around him and they both thoroughly enjoyed that. Often times he would come to the house after work just to play with her, letting her show her memories through her gift. He'd want to know all about her day, saying that he never got to be there this much with me growing up, and since she was growing so fast he didn't want to miss anything. She would take him outside, when it wasn't raining, and show him things she could do. She would even get Emmett and Jasper to play with her, when they weren't out running errands for Alice and Sue, while Charlie watched. During the weekends Charlie would come with Billy and take her, Jake and Seth out fishing. She loved those trips, and would look forward to them all week.
Charlie was still apprehensive about Renesmee and Jake spending a lot of time together, but he would let it go when Renesmee would insist that Jake come with her everywhere. She had them all tied around her little finger, no one would ever dare to tell her "no", especially when she was stubborn and persistent, a trait she got from me.
On one of those weekends, amidst all the wedding planning – "crunch time" as Alice would refer to it as – Charlie decided he wanted to spend the day at the beach with Renesmee, Edward and I. Alice wasn't happy when he made the decision, but there was nothing she could do. She assured us that the day would be surprisingly pleasant, and she advised him where to take us for privacy, just in case the sun decided to show itself since other humans would be taking advantage of the nice day as well.
Jake wasn't allowed to come on this family outing, which he wasn't at all happy about since he would also be busy with whatever Alice and Sue wanted him to do all day, but he understood Charlie's decision because of the imprinting. Jake also let slip one day that Quil had also imprinted on a three year-old human child, which made Charlie hate the idea even more, no matter what anyone said about it. He would now be keeping a closer eye on Quil, and the rest of the Pack as well now.
When we got to the beach that morning, opting to ride comfortably in Edward's Volvo, it was relatively quiet with very few humans, and a light enough cloud cover still that Edward and I wouldn't have to worry about the sun until we got to the spot Alice told Charlie to take us. He still hadn't asked the basic mythology questions yet, and I had a feeling they were coming today because when Alice warned him that the sun might be coming out, his eyes shown with curiosity and interest, though he didn't say anything.
The walk from the car was peaceful. We took our time, enjoying the scene and each other's company as we walked. Renesmee walked hand-in-hand with her grandfather, something he was all too thrilled about, and occasionally he would pick her up and carry her even though she never tired or complained, but just because he wanted to. Edward and I walked together behind them, arms wrapped around each other. Watching them brought a huge smile to my face as I remembered that before I got pregnant, I had never even thought about, or wanted, children. But I'm extremely happy to have had Renesmee when I did. I'm proud to be her mother. I could tell the sight, and probably thoughts, brought a smile to Edward's face as well. He would occasionally chuckle lightly to himself and kiss my head as we walked.
When we got to the spot, I realized this was our spot; the same place Jake first took me and told me the secrets, the same place we came for Thanksgiving, making this place even more special. It was just private enough that we wouldn't have to worry about prying eyes from the humans, yet still apart of the main beach.
Renesmee eagerly grabbed Charlie's hand, dragging him toward the water to play with him, while Edward and I laid out the blankets and sat in the shade against the tree roots.
"What are you thinking, love?" Edward asked, giving my shoulders a loving squeeze.
"Just that I'm happy we have Renesmee," I said as I turned from watching my father and daughter to staring at my husband's loving eyes. "I was remembering before I got pregnant; how adamant I was that you change me no matter what, not even taking a second thought at having kids or a family of my own someday. I just wanted to be with you forever. But now I have you, and a daughter. She's also managed to bring Charlie and me closer, making our family complete even more," I chuckled as I turned back toward them playing ankle-deep in the cold water. "She's brought life and energy back into him that I've never seen before, and she's got him wrapped around her little fingers, as well as everyone else."
"You're right, love," Edward said, bringing my left hand up to his lips, giving my ring a light kiss. "She's a blessing to this family, and I'm very happy to be her father. For so long I've concluded that a family of my own would never be possible. But I'm happy to be proven wrong. And I think she takes after her mother when it comes to bringing people closer to her, wrapping them around her finger as you so eloquently put it. You had us all like that for the longest time as well, you still do actually."
I smiled and leaned in for a quick kiss when we were suddenly interrupted by little hands. "Daddy, come play with me. Please," our daughter pleaded, grabbing onto Edward's hands, pulling him away with her. "Papa's tired and wanted to rest and talk to Momma for a while. Come on, Daddy, hurry up!"
"Alright," Edward laughed, letting her drag him off towards the water, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
As Renesmee let her father toward the ocean, my father sat next to me on the blankets. "Beautiful day today." he stated, taking a deep breath of the cool ocean breeze. "It's a perfect day for a family beach trip."
"It sure is, Dad," I replied, closing my eyes and smiling into the wind. "Thanks for inviting us to come out. I think we all needed a break from Alice and Sue and all the wedding stuff." Sue wasn't exactly being a bridezilla, but she and Alice together were force to be reckoned with.
He laughed and nodded. "It's been ages since we've been here together. Do you remember the last time we came?" he asked with curiosity in his eyes. Then he remembered and corrected himself before I could answer, "I'm sorry, I forgot. How much can you remember?" It was as if he was still seeing me as his human daughter.
"It's okay, Dad," I reassured him with a smile. "I can still remember most of my human life, but it does get blurry the farther back I try to go. But if my memory serves, I think the last time was my last summer here before I stopped coming altogether. I am sorry about that, Dad. I should've spent more time with you than just those two weeks each summer. I shouldn't have stopped coming." That was the truth, I did wish I came more often now, but I can't change the past. And I didn't want to tell him either that even as a human, I could barely remember those summers, I didn't want to remember them then.
"I know why you did it, Bells. I understand," he nodded the studied his lap for a minute, thinking. "I wasn't blind, I knew you weren't having much fun, even when hanging out with Jacob and his sisters, But it was the only thing I knew to do to get out of the house, it's still the only thing I do when I get out aside from going to work; fishing with Billy," he laughed to himself.
Then he turned to me and continued as if he knew that I couldn't remember, "You were fourteen when you stopped coming up to visit. We went fishing like always, or at least I went with Billy. I left you to play with Jacob, Rachel and Rebecca. I tried taking you with me a few times, but you wouldn't have it," he chuckled to himself again. I studied his face as he spoke, trying to bring up those long-forgotten memories. I knew he just wanted to talk, so I listened patiently. "You were always so very independent, always wanted to do your own thing; I think you got that from Renee. You always kept to yourself, kept quiet, wouldn't talk to anyone you didn't know unless spoken to first, like me. Even with the Black kids, you were like that, especially with Rachel and Rebecca. But with Jake you opened up a little bit more to. I noticed that more your senior year also," he cringed as he remembered that dark time, so did I a little bit but shook it off. That time was over now. "Your friendship with him because stronger than it did when you were kids. I'm sure that's because of what he is now though?" He formed that last statement as a question, but he was right. At the time, Jake was the only one I could be completely honest with about what was really going on, the only one who knew everything.
"I remember that, Dad," I told him with a small smile and nod. He smiled sadly back. "But thanks for letting me know what you saw. And I'm glad we're still able to come here again. We have Jake to thank for that as well. These are good memories to keep, and I will remember them always now." His face lit up and he nodded in agreement, knowing what I meant.
"To be honest, coming here while growing up, I was always miserable," I told him. It was my turn to tell him, reassure him that it wasn't his fault I stopped coming. "I hated it because it was so wet and cold, mostly because it was wet though. That's what I hated the most. It was never because I was bored of hanging around you, please know that, Dad." I took his hand in mine as I spoke. He nodded. "I think growing up mostly with mom in Phoenix; I learned to love the sun and heat. That was the downside to coming back when I did, living with the rain with very little sun even during the summers. But it wasn't as if the sun was doing anything for me anyway though in Phoenix, I always considered myself part albino because I'd always stay white and never tan. Nothing's changed now, and I couldn't be happier," I chuckled. Charlie smiled, shaking his head at my words. I was trying to lighten the mood because I could tell he was a little tense about our conversation and this part of our past. "I'm actually learning to love to rain; really, I actually learned to love it the moment I met Edward, when I knew he was a vampire. I figured out it was the only time I could see him, when he was around at school. When the sun I used to love so much came out, he wasn't there and I was lonely and cold."
"Thanks, Bella," my father said, squeezing my hand in his. "This means so much for me to hear right now. I'm glad we could pass this on to Renesmee as well, too. It looks like she's having so much fun."
"Of course she is," I smiled as we watched Renesmee and Edward play. I knew he could hear us talking, and most likely Renesmee could too, but they were trying to give up as much privacy as possible. "Now that she can be herself around you without worrying about slipping up, it'll make everything a whole lot easier."
Charlie nodded and we sat watching Edward swing her around in the air and splash in the water, giggling and laughing. "I'm glad I know now, too. But I have another question." I nodded for him to continue, I had a feeling I knew what he was about to ask. "You mentioned the sun. That Edward wouldn't be there when the sun came out. What happens? Because Alice mentioned the sun could come out today, that's why we needed to come here for privacy, away from the other people." He looked to me with worry in his eyes. We haven't explained this part to him yet.
I chuckled as smiled at him to ease his worry; he was most likely thinking about Dracula and those vampire tales. "It's nothing to worry about, Dad. Nothing bad happens. We don't burn in the sunlight, holy water and rosaries have no effect on us either. You may remember seeing the huge wooden cross hanging on the hallway at the house; that would be Carlisle's father's hand-carved cross. Wooden stakes would only shatter if the make contact would our skin. About the only thing that is the same from those myths you know is that our skin is cold to the touch, and our speed. And we, of course, drink blood. When it comes to the sun though, you'll have to see it to believe it, like I did when Edward first showed me."
"Wow, I never would've thought all of that wasn't real. It all seems so believable," he replied, shaking his head. "But of course, most of that was Hollywood's version of it all too, right? Is that what you would call the 'human story'?"
"Yes it is, Dad," I nodded. "You're right, it's what the humans would easily believe to make them think they have the upper hand in trying to kill us; that we live in fear of them. When in reality, it's quite the opposite."
Just then Edward came back to us, carrying a soaking wet Renesmee. She had her head on his should as if she was tired, but I knew she was getting thirsty with all that running around.
"Sorry to interrupt, but she's getting thirsty and wanted her mother to take her hunting really quick," Edward said, handing her over to me with his crooked grin on his face.
"Please, Mommy," she pleaded. Her big brown eyes staring back at me. "Hunt with me?"
"Sure, baby girl," I said, kissing her forehead. "We'll be right back, let you two catch up as well." Edward gave me a quick kiss and took my seat next to Charlie.
The hunt was quick. We didn't go too far, and this time she didn't need to play her game like she normally did with Jake in order for her to drink the blood. We each had one deer before heading back. I could tell she was starting to miss Jake though, too. Normally right now she'd be begging to suck on his finger instead, saying it tasted better. That would be her normal mid-morning snack along with a little bit of human food.
As we got back to Charlie and Edward, I could only hear one side of the conversation, sounding as if Edward would be talking on the phone. I smiled to myself knowing that Charlie must be used to Edward being able to read his mind, even though it's not all the time.
Is this a private conversation? We could play some more and let you two finish, I thought to my husband when we were close enough to see them.
Edward froze for a second in surprise, and then shook his head, chuckling. "They're back," he said as Renesmee and I emerged from behind them. Renesmee ran up to her father and climbed onto his lap.
"Did Renesmee let you know that?" Charlie asked, smiling at her.
"Bella did actually," Edward responded as I sat on the other side of my father, catching Charlie off guard again. "She's able to pull her shield back and let me hear her thoughts when she wants to talk to me privately, which is really rare to get in our family."
"Well Emmett wasn't kidding then, was he?" Charlie asked, shocked. He only knew I was a shield, a very powerful shield, and saw a tiny bit of what I could do for himself, never knowing I could make that all go away as well. We all nodded as he shook his head, still shocked.
"Papa, come play with me some more," Renesmee bagged bringing him out of his thoughts. "Please?" She got off Edward's lap and took Charlie's hand.
He smiled at her and nodded. "Of course, sweet pea. Anything you want, you got it. That's why I'm your grandpa," he said as he picked her up, swinging her around in the air as she giggled, thoroughly enjoying the attention.
"She's incredibly happy now, not having to hide from him anymore," Edward told me, wrapping his arms around mw from behind as we watched them play. She was showing him different sea shells she could find, occasionally taking his hand to show him a memory. He stiffened a little bit when she did that, but soon relaxed when he realized what was happening.
"He is as well, knowing for sure why she's so different now," I said as we started walking down the beach together.
"Yes, he is. And knowing why we are so different, too, particularly you," Edward agreed, squeezing my hand for emphasis. From the beginning, she's always wondered why and how I changed, even with understanding the need to know basis, always guessing. Edward must've read the look in my eyes, he quickly answered my thoughts, "He came close a few times, when he really thought about what we could be, but he never would've guessed vampire, leaving that as the very last option."
As we continued walking, we heard a soft "wow" from behind us. Turning around, we saw Charlie's jaw dropped open, his body frozen as he held a giggling Renesmee in his arms. He was staring at us. Edward started laughing as I quickly looked at the two of us, and what could possibly bring that reaction form my father. Our hands and Edward's face was glittering like diamonds, the sun had finally come out. I smiled and started laughing as well.
"This is what happens in the sun, Charlie," Edward explained, catching his breath before I could. "This is why we can't show ourselves in the sunlight. Our skin reflects the sun's rays as if we sparkle or glitter. This is also why it's easier to see it to believe it instead of just hearing about it."
My father nodded at Edward's words while staring at me. "Bells, you're beautiful," he breathed. Then he turned to Renesmee in his arms, as if expecting her to be the same. "But…" he started. He could only see a slight glow to her skin.
"Renesmee's skin is strong like a vampire, but looks and feels more like a human." Charlie nodded that he understood.
"Still just as beautiful," he said to her, kissing her forehead. I could see moisture forming in his eyes, threatening to break though.
She gave him a big smile, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Thanks, Papa!"
"Are you sure you're alright, Dad?" I asked as one tear leaked out.
"Sure, sure, honey, I'm fine," he replied shaking his head. "I just didn't expect this. It just makes it that much more real. Even now that I know, I still see you as my human daughter. But, you know, as a parent, our greatest fear is the possibility of outliving our children. I guess it just hit me that I don't have to worry about that anymore, because that will never happen."
"I know what you mean, Dad," I said, coming up to wrap my arms around him and my daughter. "We had that same fear when Renesmee was born, not knowing what would happen to her, scared because she was growing so fast and not knowing if she would ever stop. I didn't want to lose my baby, and I'm relieved that I won't have to. You won't lose me either, I will always be here for you, even when we have to eventually move. I love you, Dad. And I'm really happy you have found someone you can spend the rest of your life with, to watch your granddaughter grow up with."
"I love you, too, Bells. Thank you," Charlie breathed, kissing both Renesmee's cheek and mine.
We spent the rest of the day playing together along to beach, taking breaks for lunch and dinner for Charlie and Renesmee with food both Sue and Esme packed for them. Renesmee ended up soaked from head to toe in the water, with Edward close behind her as he chased her in the cold ocean, Charlie and I both rolling up our pants to our knees, chasing the small waves hitting the rocky sand. Even though I knew the water was freezing cold, Charlie didn't seem to care as much, though he only went in to his ankles then jumping back out. I could hear his heart pounding with excitement as we laughed and played.
We stayed to watch the sunset, which was beautiful with little puffy clouds on the horizon forming rays of sun to shine through. Renesmee fell asleep on Charlie's shoulder as we walked back to the car to head home. She loved her Papa. I quietly took one of her hands and placed in on his cheek. I would do this as I watched her sleep at home, curious to see what she was dreaming. Charlie smiled as he watched her dream, kissing her forehead again. I took her other hand, and could see she was dreaming about the beach and playing with her Papa, and seeing us all in the sunlight. This day had turned out to be one of her favorites, and mine too.
When we returned home, Alice had taken over again and the wedding plans were back in full swing as everything was winding down for the big day.
The morning that day finally arrived, we girls were all getting ready at the main house, while the boys were at Charlie's house. They would be arriving at the church before us, Charlie waiting at the altar while the guest came in and sat down. Alice had made sure that each of us Cullens, the boys too, would be wearing just enough makeup to make us look at least a year older since we haven't changed since most of the guest had seen us last.
As Leah and I changed in Edward's old room, Leah decided to confront me. "Bella," she began, "you know how I feel about vampires and you and your family. To be quite honest, I never really liked you when we were both human. I'm only here to watch over my brother, who has taken a liking to your family, particularly with Edward. And also to get away from Sam, so being a part of Jacob's Pack is my only option until I stop phasing."
I stood there and just listened, watching her as she spoke. She didn't look threatening as she normally did when around us, though I did know her strong hatred for me and my family because of what she became. Her eyes were downcast as she finished.
"I understand, Leah," I replied, attempting to calm her.
"Now that my mother is marrying Charlie, they are expecting us to be sisters." I nodded. "Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. I don't like it, for sure, but there's nothing I can do about it because it seems I'm the only one who feels that way."
"Leah, I know how you feel, how you've felt about me even as a human," I told her. I knew her temper could flare at any moment as I tried consoling her. "We don't have to be sisters, or even friends, right away. I know that will take time, a lot of time, which we have. And I'm okay with that. But besides that, please know that I'm grateful for everything you have done and sacrificed for my family, my daughter, and me. You didn't have to – no matter what Jake, or Sam, says."
She nodded with a smirk. "Well, it doesn't seem like we don't have a choice in the sister-department, but I think just keeping it like we've always been, whatever that was, works for me."
"Girls, are you done in there yet?" Alice interrupted through the door. I knew she could hear us talking, but we did have a time limit.
"Coming, Alice," I called as we both chuckled at her persistence. Slipping the dresses on, we headed to Alice's bedroom where Alice and Rose were waiting to do our hair and makeup. Sue was already there getting her hair done by Esme before putting her dress on, who both smiled at us as we walked in. Renesmee was twirling around in her princess dress, her beautiful curls flying around her head.
"Alice, you amaze me," Sue whispered, smiling at Alice as she pulled a curling iron through my hair. "You girls look beautiful."
We both had a floor-length taffeta dress with an A-line style, and a scoop neck-line. Since the wedding colors were gold and royal blue, Leah's dress was gold, and mine was the royal blue. Renesmee's dress was a white princess, tea-length, satin tulle dress with a royal blue flower at the waist and gold flower petals floating along the bottom. All of our shoes were the same: pointed toes with straps around the ankles and small 2-inch heels, they were died to match Leah and my dress colors. Renesmee had on white shoes that looked almost the same to ours but with a smaller heel.
"Thanks, Mom," Leah blushed.
"Momma, Auntie Leah, you're so pretty," Renesmee called out, coming up in front of us, grinning.
Leah growled under her breath so Sue couldn't hear her, muttering, "That'll be hard to get used to." While she put on a smile for the compliment.
"Thanks, baby girl," I said while giving Leah a look that said I'd talk to her about the title. She nodded slightly to me while Rose worked on her hair.
When Sue's hair and makeup was done, Esme took her to help her in the dress. When she came back, tears were forming in her eyes; her heart was pounding slightly with joy. It's a good thing Alice always insisted in using waterproof makeup, even though we didn't need the extra protection as vampires. She hadn't seen the dress before now, only in a picture before Alice ordered it, but not even knowing exactly which one Alice had ordered.
Her dress was a white chiffon dress that had a sheath/empire waist look, scoop neck-line and short sleeves. It gently brushed the floor with a small train in the back. It looked gorgeous on her.
"This dress is simply amazing, Alice," Sue cried. "Thank you so much. I could never have done all of this without you."
"It was no problem, Sue, I promise you," Alice told her, smiling as Sue surveyed herself in the huge mirror. Everything was just perfect, just as she knew it would be.
When Esme put the tiara on, it made everything that much better and a new wave of tears overtook Sue. Leah was speechless with tears welling up in her eyes as well, though she tried her best to hide it. The tiara was a small diamond studded piece that made it look like tiny flowers.
"Nana, you're so pretty, too," Renesmee said, wide-eyed as she looked at her grandmother. "Papa Charlie will love it, too."
We all smiled at her words, she was absolutely right and I couldn't help but thinking that my father was the luckiest man in the world to be marrying Sue; as well as Harry, her first husband.
"Thanks, sweat pea," she replied with a sweet smile, bending down to give Renesmee a hug. "I know he will."
Before we left the house for the church, Alice pulled me aside, the light in her eyes slightly darkened. "Bella, something's wrong," she whispered low enough for only me to hear as she pulled me to the kitchen. Her expression and actions told me she'd had a vision.
"What? What is it? The wedding?" I asked, my mind frantically running through all the possibilities that could happen, coming up short.
"No, the wedding's fine. But we're going to have a problem later," she said, shaking her head. "We're going to have some unwanted visitors. The problem is, I can't see exactly when, they haven't decided yet. I just know they're coming."
I knew instantly who she was talking about. The Volturi were coming back. "How many, Alice? Can you see that?" Aro was smart; he knew how Alice's visions worked now, and how to get around them if he really wanted to.
She closed her eyes again, concentrating on the vision. "Aro's curious again," she whispered, her eyes still closed. "He's traveling with his normal hunting party, the same ones that came for Victoria's newborns; Jane, Alec, Demitri and Felix. But he's also brought Renata, his normal body guard."
"Where are they now," I asked. I knew I could easily deal with the guard members using my shield, but I didn't know yet if I could do anything against Renata. We also needed to keep everyone safe, and if they showed up today, that would be a problem.
"They're traveling through Oregon right now, headed this direction," she answered, her voice low still not wanting to alert the others. "Aro never made a decision to come here until now, that's why I haven't seen anything. They're so close, he was hoping for a surprise visit, catching us off guard. I think they might be expecting that still, but with the Pack here, I can't tell for sure what he's wanting with us this time."
"Do you know when they might be arriving; where we'll be?" I asked.
She shook her head, closing her eyes tightly in the process to clear her thoughts, "They'll come here first, I'm positive of that; they would expect us to be home, or at least close by. They'll check if we're here, and if we're not then Demitri will track us. I can't tell when." I nodded. If we were still in La Push, that would be a huge problem, not necessarily for us, but for them because of the Pack. No vampires, aside from my family, are allowed on the Rez, no exceptions. I don't know how I felt about that, part of me hoped they would come then, but then again, not today of all days, my father's wedding with most of Forks attending.
"Thanks, Alice," I replied, wrapping my arms around her to comfort her. In all honesty, I was frightened. Coming today, even if they come here during our own celebrations, they're going to know that some humans do know about us. It wouldn't matter if they're Quileute and have their own secrets to keep. And I don't know what Aro would do about that, especially with Charlie knowing now, too.
That's when I made a decision of my own; one I was already forming as soon as Alice told me they were coming. "I have a plan," I whispered to her.
"I think it'll work, either way," she nodded as she saw it in her head.
"We just have to make sure everyone is safe for when they do come," I said, thinking out loud. "We need to tell Edward and Carlisle at least, they need to be under my shield with me to talk to Aro, see what he wants. I'm almost positive this isn't a social call given there's no notice and his choice in protection."
"You're right," she agreed. "You're the only one who could hold them back. Have I ever told you I'm so glad you're here, that you're a shield, and that you're the best sister ever?" she laughed. I shook my head and laughed with her as we headed for the door.
Sue, Leah and Renesmee were waiting for me at the Volvo, while Esme and Rose were waiting at Rose's BMW, looks of confusion evident on their faces. They were going ahead of us to get everyone set up to go for when we got to the church.
When we got to the church twenty minutes later – per Alice's request – Alice met us outside with Jake, Edward and Seth to escort us down the aisle. Esme had already been seated and Rose was ready and waiting at the piano. Charlie waited with the pastor already at the altar, anxious to see a glimpse of his soon-to-be bride. I could hear his heartbeat pick up with anticipation over everyone else's in the church.
Our boys all had big grins on their faces as we stepped out of the car, each opening the door for us. As Edward helped me out, he gave me a sweet kiss before leading us all up to the door of the church. They each had on black tuxedos, but with gold and blue vests and ties corresponding with their partner. Edward wore the royal blue vest and tie to match me, while Seth wore the gold to match Leah's dress, and Jake had on a royal blue vest and gold tie to go with Renesmee's blue flower and gold petals.
"You look stunning, love," Edward whispered in my ear when we reached the door. I smiled back at him, unable to form words. I knew that if I could blush, I would have at his words. "Alice told me what she saw. But know that nothing can ruin this day for any of us."
I knew he was right, and I knew there was nothing to worry about, but I quickly threw out my flexible shield just in case.
As Rose started playing Pachelbel's Canon in D, Alice handed Renesmee her basket of flower petals and directed Jake to escort her slowly down the aisle as she gently sprinkled the blue and gold colored petals along their way, the rings safely inside Jake's pocket.
I could see my father at the altar, wearing a while tuxedo, his 'monkey-suit' as he would call it, with a gold vest and royal blue tie. He looked very handsome and happy, though his face couldn't give away his nerves. He sighed with relief and smiled as he watched his granddaughter walking towards him, and it grew bigger when he saw me behind her. Edward took my arm, when directed by Alice as she handed me my golden-rose bouquet, walking slowly up the aisle behind our daughter and best friend.
When we reached the altar, Edward kissed my cheek before going to stand next to Jake, and I gave my father a warm hug, telling him how much I loved him and how happy I was this day finally came. Renesmee took my hand when I reached her, smiling up at me as she replayed us walking up.
As I looked back over the audience, I could see most of the Pack as well as their imprints, as well as the guys Charlie works with at the station and their families, and some other people I could barely remember from Forks that knew my father. The church was small, so there wasn't a lot of room for guests to watch the ceremony, which was totally fine with Sue and Charlie. The rest of the guests who wanted to congratulate the couple would meet us all at the Community Center for the reception afterwards.
When Leah got up to the alter by herself, carrying a royal blue bouquet, she also gave Charlie a quick hug, then stood beside me, moisture forming in her eyes already that she was trying hard to push back.
Rose gracefully transitioned into playing Wagner's Bridal Chorus as the pastor motioned for everyone to stand. The doors had been closed behind Leah so that Sue could prepare to walk up the aisle, escorted by Seth. When everyone was standing, the doors opened to reveal Sue and Seth on the other side, both grinning happily as they started their walk.
I watched my father. His face shown with love when he finally saw her, his jaw dropped, heart raced. He was anxious for her to be by his side, subtly leaning on one foot, then the other in an effort to stay put and wait for her to come to him.
When they finally reach the altar, Rose faded the song to a close and Charlie stepped forward to meet them as the pastor asked, "Who gives this woman to this man?"
"We do," both Leah and Seth answered proudly together. Then Seth placed Sues hand in Charlie's, kissing her on the cheek, and then took his place as the best man.
When Charlie and Sue turned toward each other after quickly handing her own bouquet off to Leah, the pastor began, addressing everyone, "Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today in the sight of God, family and friends to witness and celebrate the union of this woman, Sue Clearwater, and this man, Charlie Swan in holy matrimony." Then he focused on the couple before him as he continued, "Today you entered here as individuals, but you will leave here as husband and wife, blending your lives, expanding your family ties, and embarking upon the greatest adventure of human interaction. The union of two people makes us aware of the changes wrought by time. But this new relationship will continue to draw much of its beauty and meaning from the intimate associations of your pasts. Because of that, the story of your life together in still yours to write. All those present have come to witness and celebrate your love and commitment this day – eager to be a part of the story not yet told.
"Charlie and Sue, the time has come to forget all the stress of planning this day, and simply enjoy your friends and family who have gathered to spend this day with you. This group of loved ones with, likely, never be together in the same place again. Through quiet reflection and nostalgia, think about how each person has touched your life and why they are here with you today.
"Now, Charlie's son-in-law, Edward, has prepared a special song just for you on the piano," the pastor said as Edward took Rose's place at the piano and began to play. He had been working on composing something special for them, like he did with Esme, Renesmee, and me, as a surprise. Sue teared up even more as Edward played the beautiful melody, and my father put his arms around her shoulders, fighting off the tears himself. I lifted Renesmee up onto my hip so she could watch, resting her head on my shoulder, tears of her own wetting her cheeks. The whole audience grew silent in awe as they watch him play, the humans never hearing him perform before.
They were still silent as he finished, retaking his place between Seth and Jake after he received hugs of thanks from both Charlie and Sue with a warm smile.
"Thank you, Edward," the pastor said. Edward nodded as Sue quickly dried her eyes with Charlie's hanker-chief Alice specifically place in his pocket, seeing this reaction.
"Now, it's time for the vows," the pastor started again. Turning toward my father, he asked, "Do you, Charlie, take Sue, to be your lawfully wedded wife, promising to love and cherish, to support and honor her in successes as well as failures, and through joy and sorrow, to care for her through sickness and health, to nurture her, and to grow with her throughout the seasons of your life together?"
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, and clearing his throat quickly, my father proclaimed in a rough choke, "I do." He smiled sheepishly realizing that even clearing his throat didn't help, as Sue giggled.
Then the pastor turned to Sue. He asked again, "Do you, Sue, take Charlie, to be your lawfully wedded husband, promising to love and cherish, to support and honor him in successes as well as failures, and through joy and sorrow, to care for him through sickness and health, to nurture him, and to grow with him throughout the seasons of your life together?"
"I do," she happily replied through a proud smile.
"Can I have the rings, please?" the pastor then asked, turning toward Jake as he stepped around Edward and Seth, fishing the rings out of his pocket and handed them to the pastor. I could see the curiosity and surprise in his eyes at the unusual warmth of the tiny gold bands, but he quickly brushed it off and turned back to Charlie and Sue.
"Wedding rings are made precious by our wearing them. Your rings say that even in you uniqueness you have chosen to be bound together. Let these rings also be a sign that love has substance as well as soul, a present as well as a past, and that, despite its occasional sorrows, love is a circle of happiness, wonder and delight. May these rings remind you of the vows you have taken here today."
Handing Charlie Sue's ring, he instructed, "Please, place this ring on her finger."
My father took Sue's left hand, and while sliding the ring smoothly on her finger, he said, "Through this ring, I accept you as my wife, now and for all time."
Sue teared up again, sniffling as the pastor hands her Charlie's ring, instructing again, "Please, place this ring on his finger."
She nodded, taking my father's left hand and sliding the ring easily in place, saying, "Through this ring, I accept you as my husband, now and for all time."
"And now, by the power vested in me by the State of Washington, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Charlie, you may now kiss your bride," the pastor proclaimed with a smile.
Eruptions of applause come from the audience when my father gently and happily placed his hands over Sue's cheeks, wiping his thumbs under her eyes to wipe the tears away, and whispering "I love you" before kissing her. A few cat-calls come from Emmett, Jasper and the Pack before they broke apart from the simple kiss, smiling brightly in each other's eyes. Carlisle, Rose and Esme glare at Emmett and Jasper, but they simply shrugged in return.
Taking Sue's hand, ignoring my brothers, Charlie turned them toward the guests as the pastor called out, "Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, may I be the first to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Swan."
Rose started playing Mendelssohn's Wedding March as everyone called out and cheered as Charlie and Sue made their way back down the aisle toward a smiling Alice who had the doors open for them.
Seth and Leah linked arms and walked down the aisle together, following their mother and new step-father over to the Community Center for the reception.
As I set Renesmee down again so she could walk with Jake, kissing the top of her head, Edward wrapped his arms around my waist and guided me down the aisle as well. I was dry-sobbing with happiness at the beautiful ceremony, wishing I could cry real tears of joy, and remembering my own wedding not too long ago and everything that followed because of that day; the creation and birth of our daughter, and the closer relationship I now have with my father, too.
When we reached the doors, Edward stopped and pulled me aside to wait for Jake and Renesmee.
"Are you okay, love?" Edward asked, breaking me from my thoughts.
I nodded, "I'm fine. More than fine, actually. I was just wishing I could actually cry; I'm so happy for Charlie and Sue right now. I just hope the rest of the day goes just as perfectly."
"It was a very beautiful ceremony," he said, kissing my forehead. "Alice hasn't seen anything new yet besides that they are in Washington now. Where, she doesn't know for sure."
I nodded when Jake and Renesmee emerged; he was carrying her in his arms, her arms wrapped around his neck as tears of joy I wish I could cry flowed down her cheeks, the flower basket flopping against his back as he walked.
As soon as we entered the building, I threw my protective shield out again just in case, covering everyone and keeping all of them safe inside. The reception was absolutely beautiful; Alice had left nothing out. The tables placed around a center dance floor were clothed in white with a lit long white candle surrounded by various gold and blue flowers, each unique in their own way. The chairs were decorated with blue or gold ribbons, each strategically placed around the tables. The cake was a three-tiered chocolate cake with white frosting, also decorated with blue and gold flowers; a beautiful bride and groom figurine danced on top, looking just like Charlie and Sue. From the ceiling, gold and blue streamers were hung intertwined with white lights, giving off a beautiful evening glow in the middle of the day.
Small trays of food were placed on the tables for the humans to snack on and those tears of joy were quickly turned to happy laughter that filled the room.
Everyone from Forks was there, including the major town gossipers and their families. And thanks to Alice's planning with the make-up, making us all look a little older, there wasn't much to talk about concerning our family.
I could see Jessica and Mike huddled around one of the tables with Lauren, Tyler and Erik. They were keeping to themselves mostly while their mothers went about their business of getting gossip information, all of them having known my father all their lives. Neither of them dared to approach us, Jessica and Lauren shot glares to Edward and I while the boys were a little more talkative but still kept their distance, Mike and Tyler especially. I couldn't help but chuckle at them when Edward would growl softly at their thoughts with his possessive nature, and having Renesmee around now made it worse to a degree, although Jake had her covered in the jealousy department as well. I shook my head at both my guys.
Time flew by in an instant, even for vampire standards. It wasn't long before the cake was cut and the first dance had begun. Watching my father and new step-mother sway to the music was beautiful, neither of them really knowing how to dance. Edward had his arms wrapped around me as we watched them, swaying in our spot as well, caught up in the moment when the song ended.
Charlie walked up to us, tapping Edward on the shoulder, asking if he could interrupt. I could tell he was nervous and slightly embarrassed to bother us, but Edward quickly let go of me with a smile and nodded as he kissed my temple, watching me follow my father to the dance floor while Seth and Sue danced together.
"You look beautiful today, Bells," he spoke as we swayed together, not bothering to move much besides in a slow circle, staying in one spot, though I knew if I wanted to really dance with him, I could. "Thank you for today. I couldn't ask for a more perfect wedding."
I chuckled. It was perfect. "No problem, Dad."
"Are you sure that pastor doesn't know he wasn't surrounded by humans?" he whispered in my ear so no one could overhear us as more people joined us on the floor. "He sure seemed to know who he was talking to," he mused.
I couldn't help the laugh that escaped. I could see Edward smirk out of the corner of my eye as well as he danced with our daughter. "He did, didn't he?" I replied, chuckling. "No, he doesn't know. But everything he said was perfect and right. I think it may have added to the enormity of what this means for us all. I also think Alice had it all planned that way, too."
He nodded; smiling, knowing Alice had planned this whole day with help from Sue.
Before long, Renesmee had taken my place with Charlie and I was dancing with Edward again, this time Edward leading me around the floor, circling the humans.
As the dancing continued, I had danced with Emmett, Jasper, Seth, Carlisle and Jake. Even Quil and Embry had joined in, dancing with us all too.
"Now this is more like it," Jake stated when we danced together.
"What are you talking about, Jake?" I asked as we twirled around the floor.
"This is the way we should've danced at your wedding," he explained in a low voice. "As friends instead of hiding in the forest, like a coward." The memory flooded back in my head as he spoke; a surprise visit from my best friend, whom I was missing and never thought I would see again, that ended in a disaster because of his temper over our choice of topic. "I'm sorry I ruined it for you," he whispered, watching my face as the memory flashed over my eyes.
"That wasn't your fault, you know," I said, looking in his eyes, willing him to understand. "You just wanted to surprise me, and protect me. And it doesn't matter what happened, I am glad you came for those two dances. It made everything better knowing that you came back."
"Thanks, Bells," he smiled, dipping me as the song ended, giving a kiss to my cheek before pulling me back up. The song changed to an upbeat song, and Embry and Quil quickly joined us.
When I left the boys to their dancing, I joined Edward at our table with our siblings, watching Renesmee dance with Carlisle and Esme on the dance floor, giggling and laughing with them as they swung her around.
It was a surprise to see Angela and Ben with their new baby. They gave hugs to Charlie and Sue as they made their way to our table, carrying their little daughter. She was beautiful, as all babies are; a perfect blend of her parents.
"Hey guys," Angela said, bouncing her baby in her arms, Ben behind her with the diaper bag and his own proud smile. "I want you to meet our daughter, Isabella Ann." I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face at the name. They had asked us on Thanksgiving if they could name their baby after either Edward or I, not knowing at the time what they were having.
"She's so beautiful, Ang," I exclaimed. "Congrats, guys. You'll both be wonderful parents."
"Thanks, Bella," Ben answered as the baby cooed and reached out for the crowd still on the dance floor. We all laughed as she giggled when Ben reached up and tickled her, taking her from her mother.
"The name fits," Edward said as she played with his finger in her father's arms, not bothered by his cold touch. "Thank you, guys."
"No problem, and thanks again for everything," Angela said as Ben started heading toward the dance floor with his daughter. "We'd better be going soon anyway. It was good to see you again, all of you."
"Bye, Angela," I said giving her one last hug, knowing this would be the last time we all saw them.
Soon it was time for Sue to throw her bouquet before everyone left. We all gathered around and watched as she turned her back to the crowd of single girls gathered on the dance floor, Renesmee eagerly bouncing in the front, and she gently tossed the bouquet over her shoulder. Turning quickly to watch as it landed right in the arms of my daughter, some of the other girls helping her catch it. Everyone cheered for her as she ran up and gave Sue a hug and kiss then came running over to Edward and I with a huge smile on her face, all but Charlie who groaned knowing what this little act symbolized, and knowing one day very soon, that she will be the next one in our family to marry.
After Sue tossed her bouquet, a chair was placed in the center of the floor for Charlie to take Sue's garter off. Blushing, he made quick work of it, and motioned for all the single boys to gather around. The Pack took up most of the room, Jake included, while the human boys hung back, seemingly intimidated by the group.
Turning his back to them so he couldn't see where it went, I watched as my father positioned it over his shoulder and slung it out to the waiting boys, all of them making it look as though they wanted it. But as soon as it was in the air, all of the boys ducked as Jake quickly caught it; Charlie turned just in time to see what had happened. Shaking his head, he turned to a chuckling Sue as Renesmee ran up to Jake and danced one more song with him.
As most of the humans said their good byes and congratulations to the newlyweds, Rose and Alice took off for the house to finish setting up for our own celebration. After watching Charlie and Sue being escorted away in Carlisle's Mercedes, we quickly followed – being shooed out by the remaining humans so they could clean up.
When everyone arrived at the house, I quickly threw out my shield again, expanding it out into the first several layers of trees all the way around the house, hardening it knowing that this would be when the Volturi finally came.
The Elders, the entire Pack, and their imprints were here with us again to celebrate our own reception and the first union of our two families. Emily had a camera out, ready to take the pictures of the wedding party and families gathered around. It was a blast, taking both serious and goofy pictures with the Pack in our dresses and tuxedoes; no one bothering to change out of them until the happy couple was off on their honeymoon.
When the pictures were done, we all gathered, as much as we could, in the living room. The couches were all moved against the wall, leaving more room for everyone to sit on the floor, which the boys had done, or to stand, which we were more than comfortable doing. Billy's chair was placed beside one of the couches, while Old Quil, Charlie and Sue sat beside him, Carlisle and Esme taking the other one as the leaders from both sides.
When Rose and Alice finished passing around the glasses of sparkling cider, giving one to each of us as well though we wouldn't be drinking it, Carlisle stood, held out his glass and turned toward Charlie and Sue as he began, "I'd like to start out this evening with a toast.
"Charlie, you have been a wonderful friend to us since we've moved here, without knowing our secret or pre-judging us. And I thank you for that. As the Chief of Police, you have been a wonderful host to this beautiful community; that's one of the many reasons this is our favorite home, and not just because of what we are, but also because of who we choose to be as people in the community.
"With the joining of your daughter and our son, you have been accepted into this family, and even more so now with our granddaughter. But now we say welcome again to both you and now your wife.
"Sue, we have known you for only a short time, and even though in the beginning we were considered enemies, I am happy that we have been able to move past that and get to know you and your family better. We are all a family, never a coven, and we are proud to welcome you and your family in as well. So welcome."
Then he turned toward my new step-brother and sister, "Seth and Leah, I have to include you both in this as well. You both have given up so much to help us when we needed it, and we can't thank you enough for that. You are now a part of Bella's family, and therefore a part of ours as well."
"Here, here," everyone said as they all took a sip from their glasses and Carlisle sat back down.
"I can hear them," Edward whispered low in my ear as Billy was about to start speaking. "They're not happy they can't come any closer. Well done, love."
Just as he said that, I could feel six different forms run into my shield. They were at the back of the house, just after crossing the river through the first several lines of trees. Everyone turned to look at us, wondering what Edward was talking about; only Alice, Jake and Carlisle had known, not wanting to cause an alarm.
I caught Carlisle's eye and nodded, letting him know that our visitors were hear. He shot a look at Edward, which Edward nodded back, then motioned for Billy to continue. We would be letting them stay out there and wait for us to come to them; after all they were coming unannounced and therefore trespassing, and they needed to learn patience.
Billy looked at us warily then started speaking in a sure voice as if nothing had happened, raising his glass for another toast, "Today is a special day, the first of what's to come. Today we celebrate the union of not only our best friends and family members, but also the union of two groups that were once enemies but are now family. To Sue, who is not only an Elder and friend to our tribe, but also a mother of two wolves in our Pack. And to Charlie, who is not only the Chief of Police of Forks and a best friend to the Quileute people of La Push, but also a father and grandfather to vampires.
"I have known both of you for a long time now. We have all been through the good times, and the bad, together. And I couldn't be happier for the two of you. You have both been blessed with the love of family and friends forever."
As Billy finished, everyone called out, "Cheers" before finishing off their glasses. When the drinks were put away in the kitchen, everyone sprang quietly into action. Jake quickly let the Pack in on who was waiting outside. He told Seth, Quil, Embry and Sam to wait for his signal before going out the front door to phase and check the perimeter just in case they were needed, making sure that they had enough cover under my shield to do so. Then he told the other Pack members to wait inside and watch over the imprints, keeping them away from the windows. The scent of the humans would be drowned out by the scent of the wolves, so if Aro heard Billy's speech, he would only know about Charlie, Sue and Billy being there. Esme, Rose and Alice quickly led all of them upstairs to the bedrooms before coming down to stay in the dining room with Billy, Old Quil, Charlie, Sue and Renesmee, while Emmett, Jasper, Jake and I waited in the living room to find out what was going on outside. I didn't want to be seen yet, if at all, figuring the only reason Aro has to come back here now would be to see Renesmee and I.
When everyone was in place, Carlisle and Edward went out to meet Aro, Jake following behind to stand at the door. Staying out of sight, I could feel as two of the guard moved around my shield, trying to get a feel for how big the boundary is; I could only guess that it was Felix and Demitri. But once they saw the three emerge from the house, they retreated to where Aro stood again, waiting.
Seeing all of our connections, I could tell where everyone was. Carlisle and Edward had stopped in the middle of the yard, not making a move to welcome our guests.
"Aro, this is a surprise," Carlisle began, speaking as though he was truly shocked to see his old friend, and just loud enough for everyone to hear, even the humans.
"Greetings, my friend," Aro stated as politely as he could. I could hear the frustration in his voice that he wasn't being properly welcomed to our home, that he was being blocked from going any further. "Yes, well, we were in the neighborhood and thought we would stop by and see how you and your family are doing." He emphasized the word family, implying that he heard the speech that was given. "May we come inside and have a nice little chat, or have we come at a bad time?" I could tell he was feigning being polite; he had heard what Billy said, and he didn't like it at all.
"No, you may not," Edward answered, anger seeping through his words. I knew I was right. "And yes, actually, you have. Is there something we can help you with?"
I could feel Jane try to attack my husband through my shield at Edward's words. I chuckled under my breath, smirking darkly at no one in particular at her failed attempt.
"Well, I'm sorry then to have bothered you, but where is that beautiful wife of yours?" Aro asked Edward. "I was beginning to think she never left your side anymore after your last trip to see us in Volterra, young Edward. And how is that charming daughter of yours, growing up just as beautiful as ever, I imagine," he said in a thoughtful tone I didn't like, and by the growl I heard from the rest of my family, Jake and Edward especially, they didn't like it either. "But I am most curious as to why we were stopped here, and why you made us wait so long before coming out to greet us? Is this really how you treat old friends, Carlisle?"
Edward growled again as Carlisle answered for Edward, "They are both inside the house, Aro. There's no reason by granddaughter, or daughter for that matter, needs to be out here."
"Oh. Isn't that a pity; I was really hoping to see my little god-daughter again, after all our last meeting didn't go so well." Aro said in a menacing tone. "And you didn't answer my questions, Carlisle."
That was all it took for me, I couldn't stay hidden in the house anymore. In less than a second, I was through the door and crouched next to my husband, both of us holding the other back. "She is not, and never will be, your god-daughter, Aro." I seethed. "And be assured that I am doing everything I can to stay in this spot and not kill you myself and mail your body back to your brothers in pieces just for saying that; because I will." I watched as they all took a small step back in surprise to see me, and Aro quickly glanced at Jane and Alec with a look that said not to attack without permission, knowing that their powers were useless already, and now even more so because I was right in front of them. It was then that I instantly switched my shield to form around our group, trapping them inside. I was willing to take that chance, knowing that if they tried anything, I could stop it immediately.
"My apologies, I meant no disrespect," Aro said, turning his attention to my sudden appearance in the yard. "Bella, my dear, it's good to see you again. You both look breathtaking, and Bella I must say, you look stunning in that dress," he said, taking in my appearance and motioning toward Edward as well. We were both still wearing our wedding clothes. Edward growled at the title and Aro's compliments. I ignored them as Aro laughed to himself.
"I see your guard dogs are still around," Aro continued, motioning toward where Jake stood by the back door.
"They are our friends and family, here under their own will, Aro, or have you forgotten?" Carlisle spoke before Edward or Jake could answer.
"No, I haven't forgotten," Aro stated, clearly irritated again by our non-answers. "But it also seems you have humans here as well?" he stated, making it sound like a question, taking a sniff of the air and wrinkling his nose at the smell of the Pack.
"Of course we do," I answered, stating the obvious, purely to irritate him more; I wanted to have fun with them a little bit, now that I had the chance, seeing how fragile their bonds really were to each other. "What do you think we are, vampires who hide themselves in a creepy castle all the time like cowards, only coming out under the safety of night? Please. We don't invite and kill our friends and families like you do, Aro."
I could hear everyone chuckling in the house at my words; Edward and Carlisle both smirked at me, letting me know they approved my answer. Aro's eyes widened at my statement, but he quickly shook it off. "Clearly not…" he whispered almost to himself before I interrupted.
"This is my father's wedding, Aro," I told him, not wanting to waist any more time than necessary. "Now, if you don't mind hurrying this up so you can go back to that creepy castle you hide yourselves in and we can get back to the party, that would be great. Thanks." I was being sassy, and everyone knew it, but I didn't care, I was having fun.
"Well, my congratulations to you and your family," Aro said, taken aback by my words again. Then his face lit up in an evil grin as he continued, "But from what we heard before you came out to meet us, it seems as though you have some humans in there who know our secret. And you know the punishment for that, dearest Bella," he added sweetly just for me.
So, this was the game he was going to play, huh? I thought to myself. Edward heard it in his thoughts, and crouched low again, ready to attack. But I heard it in his voice as well as saw it in his face: he was here to bring us back with him, to add us to his collection, and this was how he wanted to do it, by threatening my family. I could see a small string try to force its way from Aro to Edward and I in a desperate attempt to link us to him, failing miserably. But what he didn't know was that I now had the power to destroy them.
I smiled the sweetest smile I could, throwing them off again in my response, choosing to ignore his statement completely and make an observation of my own to prove my point. Putting my arm on my husband's shoulder, Edward and Carlisle both relaxed at my side as I addressed Aro again, "Well, Aro, it also seems that you've learned that you can't control us as you would so obviously like to, or you would've brought Chelsea here with you." I motioned around the small group he brought with him. Jane, Alec, Felix and Demitri, his normal guard, as well as another female I recognized as Renata who stood just behind him, her hand placed strategically on his shoulder. I could barely see a faint shield, giving a few feet of space in diameter, surrounding the two as she made an effort to protect him from whoever dared to come close, even from the rest of the guard.
"Ah, but you like to hide behind your own shield; never leaving without her are you?" I continued, not letting anyone speak, as I made my way up to them. From what I've heard of her shield, once anyone meets it, he or she immediately turns around and forgets why they were approaching them in the first place; it's clearly a mind illusion, telling that person's mind it didn't want to go that way, which I knew wouldn't work on me. And I highly doubted it would work against an attack of the mind like what Jane, Alec and I can do, given that Edward could still read her thoughts.
Walking straight past the shield, I stood in front of a shocked Renata and even more confused Aro, holding out my hand in greeting to her. "Hello, you must be Renata," I stated. She didn't shake my hand, but instead looked at it as if it was going to bite. I could tell the rest of the guard was watching me as well, not at all paying attention to the fact they could move in now, or that Edward and Carlisle's minds were exposed.
I took that distraction to my advantage as I lowered my hand back in a pout, addressing Aro again as I turned to walk back to my smirking husband and proud father-in-law. Glancing up to the house, I could faintly see my own father watching curiously out of the dining room window as he sat at the table, hoping that he wouldn't be too scared of me after witnessing this, since I told him before that this was something I never wanted him to see. "Well, it seems you don't teach your pets manners, Aro. That was rude. I was only trying to be nice." As I spoke, I connected very fine strings from myself to Renata, Jane, Alec, Felix and Demitri so that I could play with them a little bit. And shooting a look back over my shoulder to give Aro a playful smirk, I sent Renata to the ground, yelling in imaginary pain while Jane watched, confused. As soon as Aro figured out what was happening to her, knowing that her shield was now completely gone, he shot an accusatory look at Jane who quickly went blind. Knowing that she needs her sight in order for her power to work, his confusion grew to disbelief, wondering who could've done that knowing that Zafrina was the only one he knew of and Renata was still writhing on the ground as well, as he turned to his last remaining guard members. I quickly took away Alec and Felix's strings at the same time as Jane and they immediately started fighting against each other while Demitri froze as he lost all of his senses.
Aro started backing away in panic from the sudden mayhem I was causing beside him, but stopped when he came up against my shield again. Wheeling around confused to see what he hit, he turned back to us and watched me with wild eyes as I took my place between Carlisle and Edward, as my husband lovingly wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed the top of my head in approval, and Carlisle wrapped his arm protectively around my shoulders, smiling. We could hear Emmett, Jasper and the whole Pack cheering from the house as they watched, and Jake laughing from the back door as he watched in amusement, happy that it wasn't him on the ground.
"It won't work, Aro," I stated, knowing that he figured out that this was all me. "We will never join you and I will not tolerate you threatening me or any of my family again."
"It can't be…" he whispered to himself as he quickly got control of himself. "Enough," he commanded at his guard. I quickly released them all, breaking the strings I had briefly created with each one of them and switching the shield back to cover the house, keeping them out again, not wanting to take any chances with a backlash from either Jane or Alec, which I expected Aro to give the order for now.
"What was that?" Felix spoke up once they all regained focus again. And immediately I felt Jane try to attack, angry she missed her chance due to her lapse in blindness, her read eyes gleaming in the light coming from the house. I could also see Alec's fog start to slowly spread in his own anger, hitting my shield and rebounding back to them before he realized what was happening and stopped it completely. That was not something I expected to see happen since it didn't do that with just my protective shield last year, but I liked it knowing that he couldn't even try anything now without putting them all in danger instead, leaving the false attempts up to his twin sister, who was quickly getting more and more irritated.
Aro watched in stunned silence at Alec's attempt, and seeing my shield blocking them again. "I don't know what you're talking about, Felix," I responded sweetly back to him, chuckling, before turning back to Aro, feigning innocence again and placing the blame on his guard. "But it seems as though you need to learn how to control your own pets before you come looking for more where you're not welcome, Aro. They are wildly out of control."
Aro opened his mouth to speak, but was quickly interrupted my Carlisle's request, "I think it's time for you to leave here now, Aro. And as my daughter has so eloquently pointed out, I would highly suggest you never threaten to break up or hurt anyone in our family. I would hate to see this happen again."
With that, Aro turned toward his frustrated guard members and ordered them back to Volterra. But as they disappeared through the trees, Aro turned around to address me one last time, "It seems as though you're powers have grown, dearest Bella. I'm very impressed with what you have become, and I'm glad Edward didn't kill you. Edward, you have done well in choosing her as your mate."
He was clearly determined to have the last word, but my husband quickly set him straight before he got too much further in the forest, not letting me speak this time, "Aro, just so you know, she chose me, I had nothing to do with it. And keep dreaming, this is one wish that will never come true." With that, they were gone. Seth, Embry, Quil and Sam come out of the trees in human form on either side from where the guard was standing just moments before while everyone else came out of the house. I pulled my shield back in, no longer needing it anymore.
"They're gone, and no one else came with them," Sam reported, as Renesmee ran up to me, beaming, still in her princess dress.
"Thanks, Sam," Jake said with a nod to his Pack brothers. "Bells, that was amazing. I mean I knew you could do all of that, but that was just sweet to see them cower in fear like that, especially Aro." They all joined him in laughter as Renesmee showed me a recap of what she saw. I have to admit, I would never get tired of reliving that moment through my daughter like that, even though I never wanted her to witness all that I could do until she was much older, it was still amazing to see it through a child's eyes. She was proud of me for standing up for her, for our family, and I couldn't be happier.
"Bella," I heard my father say as he came up to me, a strange look on his face; mixtures of pride, joy, utter confusion and nerves. But before I could say how sorry I was that he saw all of that, he continued, "Now, I know before, you told me you didn't want me to see all you could do now, and quite frankly I can't even wrap my brain around what all just happened out here. But I did hear what was said, and I'm not sure I want to know what that man meant by 'punishment' for us knowing what you are – even though I think I have a fairly good idea. I just wanted you to know that I'm proud of you for standing up to them for us, and protecting your family."
"Thanks Dad," I replied amidst all of the 'here, here's' from everyone around us. At this moment I truly felt happy and free. And as we finally sent Charlie and Sue away on their honeymoon, I couldn't help but think how right this saying really is: 'The truth will set you free". Because it honestly has set me free, and because of that, I get to keep my father close and my daughter gets to grow up knowing her Papa Charlie and Nana Sue truly love her for who she really is.
AN: So how was that for an ending to this chapter and the story? Charlie knows the truth about Bella, Renesmee and the Cullens, he and Sue are now husband and wife, and Aro has been put in his place by Bella (just so you all know, Bella took over and wrote all of that with Aro, wanting one last chance to use all of her powers at the same time, that was not me) and her awesome powers.
Special thanks go to: My first beta Somah, I couldn't have started uploading this story without you; my current beta and friend babakisses who has been a tremendous help while I was having trouble getting words to form on the pages of my notebook; and last but not least, to my amazing reviewers, you all have given me so much support and made me want to write more, and get the story out that much faster.
So, after almost two years of writing a story that I honestly did not expect to get this big, nor this long, it's finally time to hit the 'complete' button and let everyone enjoy this entire story.
It has been an incredibly fun ride, and I really hope you all will stick around as I continue to write a few other stories that have been forming in my head as well! I will be posting them when they are ready, so please add me to alerts. Thanks!
Now, scroll down a few more inches... see that big white box? Click in it and just start typing. Let me know what you thought of this chapter, and of the whole story. I greatly appreciate hearing what you all think, and I will respond to every single review I get!