Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns Twilight and all its characters.
"Happy Anniversary, My Love!" Edward's sweet voice suddenly woke me out of my daydream. He had silently appeared in the sunny back yard of our home where I was planting a flower garden. Of course, my brilliant, loving husband of 100 years would never forget our wedding anniversary, no matter how many came to pass.
He swept me into his arms, spinning me around. Then he cupped my chin in his hand and raised my eyes to his. I gazed into them, golden and warm, and he said in his velvety voice, "I guess I can't say you're as beautiful as ever, since, my immortal love, you are as beautiful as ever. So you'll have to settle for this…." Releasing me, he deftly pulled a plain white envelope from his jacket pocket and held it out to me. "A gift," he said.
I couldn't imagine what it was since we had every conceivable material thing a person, human or not, could want. But material things didn't mean much to me. A hundred years ago in a clearing, I learned my priorities -- the Volturi had seen to that. I had a beautiful family and forever to enjoy them, what more could I possible ask for? However, I eagerly opened the envelope knowing what joy it gave Edward to shower me with tokens of his love.
"Tickets to Rio?" Then it hit me, "Oh! The Amazon would be a great place for me to research my next book!" Edward look pleased with my appropriate reaction.
"Your love has given my existence meaning. You changed me. I am the man I had only hoped I could be. I love you." Although I had no beating heart to flutter in my chest, I still felt a rush whenever he dazzled me like that. After 100 plus years, the boy still had it!
I looked excitedly at the tickets already envisioning what I could accomplish in Brazil. I was an author for children's books. My favorite topic: legends and myths of ancient cultures. I had mentioned in passing that Brazil, particularly the indigenous people of the Amazon, probably had many legends yet undiscovered on which to base a book.
Book, however, was a somewhat archaic term now. Most homes were interfaced with every sort of media imaginable which could be accessed from an interactive screen located in just about every room. Parents frequently made use of this technology to lull their children asleep with a multimedia bedtime story.
The process was simple enough -- bring up a selection of age-appropriate bedtime stories on the screen and touch 'begin'. In addition, this technology gave me a unique advantage – use of my soothing, vampire voice. Children loved to listen to it! And parents loved my stories too since their children were quickly crooned to sleep. Ironic isn't it – the voice of a vampire bringing about peaceful sleep!
Edward and I enjoyed our jobs. This was essential when you have forever ahead of you! Once Renesmee had no more need for mothering, Edward and I made good on our intention to go to Dartmouth. I majored in Literature and after graduating with my Bachelor's degree, I continued on to get my graduate degree on-line.
Edward decided to try his hand in finance. He now worked as an investor managing the endowment funds of several large universities.
These jobs definitely had their advantages. First, they guaranteed little face-to-face with the public. Seriously, who would hire an investor who appeared to 17 years of age? Or sign a children's author with pale skin and yellow eyes? We could easily work from our sprawling home situated on 50 acres of wooded land outside of the small city of Claremont, New Hampshire. The best part for me: I could continue to write children's books forever – just change my penname every decade or so….
And when a face-to-face business was necessary, J. Jenks and Associates was always accommodating in producing an actor to fill the need (discretion still being their best service). Although the Mr. J. Jenks was no longer with us, eventually having that fatal heart attack I'd seen coming so long ago, I do believe I made his last decade of business with the Cullens a little less….intimidating.
"So when can we leave?" I asked, excited to start my research.
"As soon as you wish, my love, but there's more. I was planning on making a stop first at Isle Esme. I thought your human memories of our honeymoon might have faded, so I thought a return visit might be a good way to…recreate the moment." He winked and flashed me that crooked smile I loved so much. Dazzling.
I let the shield around my mind contract to give him a tantalizing view of my memories of our honeymoon. It was more than he could resist. In a blur he threw me over his shoulder and whisked me to our bedroom. I would never tire of our physical relationship—being eternally 17 and 18 years of age definitely had its advantages!
We remained in our bed until late in the afternoon. Our room was located on the west of the house which had become brightly lit with the setting sun. The rays filtered through the skylight above us and reflected off our bare skin. Hundreds of miniature rainbows danced all over the walls as we moved together.
We silently let our thoughts drift as we held each other close. Again, I contracted my shield to let Edward hear what I was thinking. He enjoyed the intimate glances into my mind. It was a special invitation for him alone, something only he could experience.
I let my mind roll through the highlights of the last century. I began with the memory of when I first laid eyes on him. My intrigue, my physical attraction, and the draw I felt to this mysterious, brooding being. Our relationship was like a force of nature -- like a super massive black hole – there was no resisting its pull. Edward had described our relationship as destiny, as if a foolish, reckless angel created me just for him.
To me he was a vampire guardian angel and I was his reward in a cursed life that he did not choose. Before we met, he was convinced he had to lead a life devoid of passion in order to maintain his control and his secret. My sudden appearance sure threw his life into chaos!
"You are still the most dangerous creature I have ever met," Edward growled in my ear.
Smiling, I continued to let my mind flow to our wedding, our honeymoon and the birth of our beautiful daughter. Renesmee was such a gift that I would suffer the trauma of her growth and delivery a million times over if I had to. To be able to give Edward a daughter to love brought me deep satisfaction. How could he ever doubt he had a soul when he is so capable of unconditional, endless love?
As this thought passed through my mind, Edward held me tighter and whispered, "I could never thank you enough for your strength and bravery during that time. If it weren't for your conviction and faith…"
I could tell he was trying not to face a terrifying truth of what had almost happened to my pregnancy. It was a memory that would be forever in the back of his mind. I understood how difficult it was for him to think back to how he had pushed to terminate my pregnancy. I knew it was his fear for my well-being. I held no grudge or blame towards him – what would I have done if I were in his place? To have to chose between my child and my spouse! At the time, I was too focused on protecting my unborn child to understand his dilemma.
"Thank you for your forgiveness, my love" he whispered.
My mind continued on, picturing our happiest times together….watching Renesmee grow, enjoying moments with Edward's family, and finding our own path together when Renesmee joined her life officially to Jacob's.
I missed their presence in our daily lives.
Triggered by this thought, my memories went off on a different path. They stumbled across some of my most severe losses.
I had wanted another baby with Edward. A child seemed like the embodiment -- the tangible essence -- of love between a man and a woman. But that could never be now.
My pain seemed to gather steam…I recalled the loss of my father in a boating accident only 5 years and 211 days after the Renesmee's birth. A vivid memory of Renesmee and Charlie flashed in my mind and I struggled to push it away. It was just too painful – still.
Renesmee had brought Charlie such joy. I believe my father came to know that Renesmee was truly his granddaughter even though he had no plausible explanation of how it came to be. He spent as much time with her as he could and barely showed his dismay at her growth and abilities. "Need to know…need to know basis," he would mutter when Renesmee would shock him with something too out of the ordinary for her age.
Then, in a blink of an eye, he was gone.
I couldn't cry, couldn't grieve in a human way for Charlie, and had that repulsed me. He deserved at least that much.
As my thoughts turned dark, I instinctively snapped my shield back into place in an attempt to protect Edward.
"Don't shut me out of your pain, Bella. I will always want to share your life—the happy times and the difficult times," he whispered.
I grimaced. How was it that he always said the right thing at the right time?
Fortunately, my relationship with my mother was much simpler as it remained a long distant relationship. She and Phil eventually moved from Florida to Ireland. Phil had received an offer to play on the Irish National Baseball Team. My mother had always fanaticized about moving to some foreign land, so they jumped at the offer. They enjoyed it so much; they made Ireland their permanent home and retired there. Not surprisingly, my mother passed away shortly after Phil died. Edward and I flew to Ireland to secure their remains. I had them buried near my father at Forks Cemetery.
Trying to recover more positive memories, I tried to focus on my immortal family.
Although Carlisle, Esme, Alice and Jasper shared this house with us, they had been away for quite some time perusing their own interests.
Carlisle and Esme were in Germany touring historic castles. Whenever sunny days prohibited them from joining the typical tourist crowd, they resorted to scaling the castle's defenses at night to take their own private tour.
As for my sisters, Alice had finally gotten her big break in fashion. She was invited to work with Perrine Bruyere after she slipped in some of her own custom designs along with the suggested alterations for my wedding dress. I was thankful I no longer needed to be her life-sized Barbie doll. Alice now dressed uber beauties in her own creations and watched them parade down the runway. Jasper was always there at her side…quietly exciting the crowds. Not that Jasper would ever admit this to Alice…Edward had picked it out of his thoughts. Our little secret from the psychic.
Rosalie's experience protecting my pregnancy and helping raise Renesmee was a 'life' changing event for her. She decided that being a mother was not out of the realm of possibility for her; she would just have to be creative. She convinced Emmett they should look for opportunities to seek out other immortal children or children like Renesmee and Nahuel. Emmett saw this as one big adventure and enjoyed the more maternal, nurturing side of Rosalie. They had not had much success, though, and I worried about the effect this would have on their relationship.
Edward shifted next to me bringing me back to the present. The on-going silence of my mind made him uncomfortable. By the way I had effectively ejected him from my mind; he knew my thoughts had continued on their somber journey. He searched for a way to rescue me….
"So, when do you want to jet off to our second honeymoon? I was thinking we could maybe renew our vows on the beach on Isle Esme…." He let the words hang in the air, hoping to pull me out of my depths.
"Let's leave as soon as we are packed," I said determined to turn my sullen mood around.
"Excellent," he said approvingly.
I could hear Edward's exasperated voice as I finished some last minute downloading in our room. He was already at the front door, waiting.
"Even with my polished driving skills and need for speed, we are going to be dangerously close to missing our flight." He barely had to raise his voice; he knew my vampire ears could hear him.
"Coming, coming," I said, "I had to bring some pictures of the wedding." I ran downstairs and slipped the computer into Edward's back pocket. We dashed out the front door and loaded the Mercedes for the hasty drive to the Lebanon Municipal airport.
I knew we were planning on visiting Zafrina and she would very much want to see the pictures from Jacob and Renesmee's wedding.
To entertain myself on the car ride to the airport, I let me thoughts continue to sift through the last century…
What a beautiful day it was on First Beach for the Renesmee and Jacob's wedding ceremony. Sunny and warm in La Push – it was like approval from nature! And what a guest list: vampires, werewolves, and a few humans in the know.
Jacob and Renesmee had settled into the Cullen home outside of Forks. This enabled Jacob to stay close to the reservation where he serves as chief. But not so close that Renesmee's vampire influence would be the catalyst for young people in La Push to burst into wolves. The council had decided to not add any new-comers to the pack. It would be easier on the next generation to live normal lives, unburdened with shape-shifting. Leah, Seth, Collin and Brady remained the protectors, with Jacob as the alpha and Leah his faithful second-in-command. The other members of the pack had chosen to live mortal lives after imprinting on mortals. The thought of remaining ageless after losing their mates was not something they had wanted to endure.
Thankfully, each year the whole Cullen/Quileute family would convene on the large white house outside of Forks around the winter holidays. We would stay together a month or two. Since Jake dissolved the treaty when he became acting chief, there was never any trouble bringing everyone together to celebrate.
Suddenly I ached to see Renesmee and Jacob again. Maybe Edward wouldn't mind extending our journey through Forks…
We arrived in plenty of time for our flight. Unfortunately, even with all the changes in technology, air travel pretty much had stayed the same – bustling and crowded. From our small airport we would have to catch a connecting flight at JFK Airport in New York.
Edward and I held hands as we glided through the throngs of travelers. So many humans in one area…their scents clashing and overwhelming my senses. We attracted interested, wary gazes. I still didn't welcome attention from others. I closed my eyes and tried to calm my anxiety….only a few hours until we arrived on the Island…
* * * *
Seeing the timeless beauty of the island and the Cullen home put me instantly more at ease.
"Which room?" Edward smiled knowingly at me.
"The blue room," I responded without hesitation. This room held the most intense memories for me. It was almost a shame to see that the mutilated headboard from our first honeymoon had been replaced with a new, sleek piece that appeared to be marble or granite.
As if reading my thoughts, Edward smirked and said, "Esme thought this might be more….durable."
"Should we test that?" I teased as I sat on the bed and patted the space next to me.
"You, Mrs. Cullen, are going to ease some of your travel-related stress in the hot tub. Meet me on the beach at sunset. I have one more surprise for you." He guided me into the garden room and started the flow of water into the tub.
"Sounds great," I said without resistance to his idea.
The sun was on its final descent as I dressed in a white cotton sun dress and headed out the back of the house to the beach. The sand was so warm on my stone feet it made me sigh. Why had we waited so long to return to Isle Esme? I guess even when you are immortal, time passes too quickly.
Then I drew in a breath. Edward had placed brilliantly lit touches around the area leading to the beach. The flickering flames made the sand sparkle and dance. I followed the path made by the torches. At the end, he stood waiting, dressed in khaki pants and an unbuttoned white cotton shirt that flowed around him in the warm breeze. I stilled marveled at the beauty of his smooth, sculpted chest.
A smile burst onto my face and I struggled to approach him at human speed. Not that I needed to, but I wanted to savor the absolute utter exquisiteness of the moment.
Our eyes locked into a gaze that communicated meaning without the need for words. Edward walked forward to meet me. Then he knelt on one knee and took my right hand.
"Bella, you made me the happiest man in the world when you married me. I know exactly what you had to sacrifice to join me in this immortal existence. I want to reaffirm my vows to love, cherish and honor you all the days of my life." He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a dazzling ring. He slid on my third finger.
"Oh, Edward, it's beautiful!" I cried. It had a large pearl that was mounted in the center, which was raised up higher than the surrounding circle of brilliant sapphires. It positively sparkled in the firelight.
He smiled, "Your wedding ring is made of diamonds, representing my endless, enduring love. This ring represents our family. The pearl in the middle is my human birthstone. The sapphires are your and Renesmee's birthstones. The two of you surround me with love, just like the sapphires surround the pearl."
He rose and kissed me softly.
Yes, this was my life…a love story that I believed would endure for many more centuries to come…
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, please check out my other stories: Honeymoon Sweet (a look into B&E's time and struggle on Isle Esme) and Carlisle and Esme: How the Love Story Began (Its got love, tragedy, romance, suspense, humor and Edward!)