I don't own Twilight or any of its characters, I just bend them to my will.
A/N: Confessions time: This is my first fan fic. When I started writing I didn't even know what fan fiction was. Now it's made my life a much happier place. Please be patient while I lay the groundwork for the story, and get a few SM necessities out of the way. And if you stick with it there is lots of action and lemony sweetness ahead. Really, I promise!
So thanks for clicking on my story. Give it a whirl and let me know if you like it. I've become a review-a-holic.
Much love, Marie
Consume this hesitation of not knowing.
Only walk forward.
For that is why you are here.
Fortunate birth is who you are-
Everything is perfect in your world.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
"These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels"
Things are settled. I'm getting married.
Everything had gone much better with Charlie and Renee than I expected. Of course, Charlie had been sulking ever since my phone call to Renee announcing my engagement. He had obviously been certain she would put an end to the wedding plans. But instead, Renee asked me to pass the phone to Charlie and I could hear her excited monologue as Charlie reluctantly held the phone to his ear. He was even more reluctant as he passed along the phone number to the Cullen residence. For two solid days now Charlie managed to find enough games on T.V. to keep him completely and utterly occupied well into the early morning hours.
The scene at the Cullens' residence yesterday when Edward and I announced our news was much different. Of course, it was no surprise to Alice, but I would bet that the rest of the family had more than an inkling that something of this nature was in the works.
I remember quite clearly the flutter of butterflies in my stomach and the tight smile on my face as I walked through the large front door of the Cullen mansion, Edward's hand firmly holding mine. Without raising his voice in the least, he said simply, "Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, Rose, Jasper, Alice; Bella and I have some news."
His family was there in an instant, each more glorious and beautiful than the next. They stopped before us on the landing, standing still as statues. They rarely bothered to play human in my presence anymore. Their inquisitive expressions seemed very carefully arranged on their faces, and I could swear I saw the quiver of a smile on Esme's lips.
"I wanted you all to know that Bella has done me the honor of agreeing to be my wife." I looked up at Edward and he was clearly euphoric; beams of light escaped from his golden eyes as he turned from his family to look down at me. His smile took my breath away, and he pulled me toward him and kissed me warmly on the lips.
Still holding me he turned back to his family and said, "The ceremony will be on August 13th, with all of your permission we would like it to be here." Again, Edward's smile was triumphant and proud. I finally remembered to breath again, and my first breath came as a sigh.
Esme was at my side instantly, hugging me as best she could, while Edward's arms were still around me. "I'd hoped for so long that Edward would find you. Thank you for accepting us as family, my daughter."
Carlisle, using a more human gate than Esme, was next to reach Edward and I. He stretched his hand out towards Edward's, smiling, and then bent to give me a cold kiss on the cheek. "Bella, please think of this as your home now too," Carlisle asserted.
My home indeed! I took a quick look at the sweeping cathedral ceilings, the twenty-foot glass walls looking out over the forest, the furniture unlike anything I had seen at such close range until now. But somehow, even though it was unlike any home I had ever been in before, and it's inhabitants were unlike any other family I had known before, this did feel unmistakably like mine.
Alice and Emmett were crowding around us too. Alice was pulling my left hand toward Emmett, showing off my new ring. "Alice, you didn't tell them already, did you?" I whispered. But then I realized everyone in the room could have easily heard me, whisper or not.
"Believe me, I didn't have to say a thing. You and Edward are like open books these days."
Before I could reach out to hug Alice, Emmett caught me up in a big bear hug, tousled my hair and called me little sister like he meant it. Then casting a glance toward Rosalie, he bounded back up onto the landing and took her hand, still smiling broadly in my direction.
Only Rosalie and Jasper kept their distance. Jasper was always careful to keep space between us, still not trusting his himself to adhere to his new vegetarian diet. His smile was genuine enough though, and I really appreciated his effort on my part. Rosalie's smile on the other hand seemed strained. I recalled that she had planned a lavish wedding when she was my age, one that had gone terribly wrong. While I never would have dreamed it possible, it certainly seemed that the most beautiful woman I had ever met was jealous of me. But even Rose couldn't dampen the feeling growing in the pit of my stomach. This was my family now, where I belonged, with Edward by my side.
But that was yesterday. Now it was one am and I was at home, waiting patiently for Charlie to retire for the night. I had just taken a quick trip across the hall to see if Charlie was finally asleep. Of course, Edward had already known, and he was in my room waiting to surprise me on my return.
Would I ever get used to seeing Edward Cullen splayed across my bed? I felt a warm shiver travel from my ears to my toes as I entered my bedroom and took in his sculptured body. His chiseled form was all too evident underneath his form-fitting dark gray T-shirt. I purposefully moved my gaze to meet his eyes, golden amber and full of love.
"Bella," he said and was suddenly by my side. With one swift move I was in his arms, my head cradled against his chest. Then, just as quickly, I was lying in my bed, Edward's head propped up in his hands, his face just inches from mine.
My breath grew haggard as it always did when Edward and I were this close. It was this unmistakable physiologic response to his mere presence, and the love I could now recognize in his eyes, that made me certain I had made the right choice. I would never love anyone else the way I loved the vampire Edward Cullen. And I knew he felt the same about me. So what if everyone I knew in Forks would suspect teen pregnancy? (If they only knew how very far they were from the chaste truth.) Edward and I were made for each other, and I was about to have him forever.
Edward brought my left hand to his face, pressing my palm against his icy cheek, and then brushed my fingertips one by one against his hard lips. Finally he kissed my engagement ring and let his gaze linger there before lifting his eyes to mine. Edward would never cease to dazzle me, now more than ever. Ever since I agreed to be his wife there was a new joy added to the smoldering of his eyes. It took my breath away.
"What have I done to deserve you?" Edward whispered. "In just four short weeks I can call you Mrs. Cullen. Mrs. Bella Cullen." And he pressed his lips lightly to mine.
"Maybe I won't change my name," I offered with a gleam in my eye. "Or maybe you should change yours, Edward Swan," I joked. "We could always hyphenate, Edward and Bella Swan-Cullen." I managed to laugh a little. But one look at Edward and I could see him struggle to mask disappointment in his eyes. You could take the vampire out of 1918, but you couldn't take the 1918 out of the vampire. "I'm teasing," I reassured him. "Of course I will be honored to be a part of your family, and to call myself Bella Cullen."
That was all it took to bring his cold lips hard against mine, his hands twisting themselves behind my head, through my hair, and his body pressing against me carefully. If I had known marriage was all it would take, maybe I would have said yes sooner. His kisses were long and hard, and my heart raced as if it would break free from my chest.
My hands instinctively searched out the bottom edge of his T-shirt just above the waistband of his khakis. Lifting it ever so slightly, I ran my hands along the smooth contours of his abdomen, and then along his icy back, pulling him closer.
But just as quickly as it started, Edward pulled away. An instant was all it took for him to compose himself. "Bella, our agreement stands. Not until you are my wife. And even then, I can only promise that we will try. I could never live with myself if, if –"
I quickly put my fingers to his lips. "Shh, Edward. I trust you with my life and with my eventual immortality. Think of everything we've been through. We can defy the odds with our physical love as well. It will work. I know we can do this too." It was true. I felt this deeply.
"Ah Bella, I wish I had the same confidence in my restraint as you do."
"Are you kidding? If it weren't for your restraint I would have at least had you out of your shirt by now. You must be the most restrained seventeen-year-old on the planet." Of course Edward had been seventeen for the past eighty-eight years or so, but that just made his abstinence all the more remarkable.
"My dear, if I could have restrained myself at all, I would have left the day I saw you and never turned back. Are you sure Bella? Are you sure about all that you are giving up to be with me?"
"You know the only thing I want is to be with you forever," I assured him. "Well, maybe one more thing. But I'll wait until we are married." I paused. "But I was thinking . . ."
His eyebrows arched as he asked, "Yes Bella?" I could sense some hesitation in his voice.
"Well, Renee, Alice and Esme are already making plans for the big day. They have to do this to make sure the wedding goes without a hitch, to make it perfect. If they just blindly waited for the day of the wedding without doing any of the work, it wouldn't happen at all. And I wouldn't keep my end of the bargain."
"Um," I continued, "so I think there is work we need to do to make sure you keep up your side of the agreement."
"Bella, what are you asking?"
Edward's eyes were probing. He always seemed a bit slow when it came to sex. Was it years spent without this desire that did this? Or maybe his thirst was the most important thing to him; sex was just second on the list. He certainly didn't have hormones coursing through his veins like I did. Maybe he didn't want me like I wanted him. It was hard not to feel this, even as I was certain of his love for me.
"We've never more than kissed, Edward. Of course it's the most amazing thing I've ever felt, but won't it be more overwhelming for you if we face everything in just one night?"
"But that's what makes it special. That's the way I was raised. That's -"
"But you weren't raised to be a vampire who was marrying a human girl. It changes some things, as you know," I interrupted.
Edward didn't like this. Disapproval was evident in the lines of his face. He was determined to preserve my virtue, and his too.
I quickly continued before he could collect all of his arguments against my line of thinking. "I'm just saying that maybe we should talk this out. Make lines that we won't cross until the wedding night. I don't want either of us to do anything we would regret. But I think it's important that we work on your restraint just like we work on the wedding. It's the best way I know of ensuring that your side of the bargain will be kept."
"If you only knew what your words were doing to me," Edward pleaded.
"That's the problem, I don't exactly. I want you to be able to show me." I purposefully put my lips to his ear. "Badly," I murmured. And I began lightly sweeping my tongue along the edge of his ear lobe. He stayed still like only a vampire could as my lips made their way along his jaw line, slowly down his neck, to the impenetrable neckline of his cotton T.
He lightly cupped his hands around my face and brought it up to meet his eyes. He kissed me once and pulled away. "I want you to know Bella that I've listened to everything, and I understand what you're saying. I need time to consider your proposal. What if just tomorrow we find out that this won't work at all?"
"For one, I don't believe that. And secondly, I would marry you anyway," I assured.
"There would be limits."
"Ah Bella, if I could die, you would be the death of me."
I'd heard that one before. "All the better that you're immortal then," I giggled lightly.
"You've given me a lot to consider as usual, my dear. But now it's almost dawn. You should sleep. We can continue this conversation later."
Only then did I realize that the hours had quickly passed, and I was actually very tired. I was surprised that I had gotten this far with Edward, without even planning to in advance. There might actually be something to look forward to over these next four weeks besides fittings, flower arrangements and seating plans. I was more pleased than ever as I closed my eyes and rested my head against Edward's chest. I think I heard him sigh as I drifted off to sleep.