This is the end of the line, folks. After two years of writing this story, it is over. In that time, I've lost a co-author, gained a beta that became my very best friend, and found all of you wonderful readers! I love each and every one of you. Thank you for the reviews, the PMs, the tweets, the Skype dates...thank you all for your friendship. I love y'all so much.
This chapter is a little confusing at first. I mean for this to happen. Bear with me.
Four years later
I walked along the streets of Portland, enjoying the heat from the late afternoon sun against my shoulders. I found the building I'd set out for, jogged up the steps and continued inside.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Smith!" the secretary called as I walked up. "Mr. Santos is waiting for you. Do you want me to walk in with you?"
"No thank you, Maggy, I'll go by myself," I answered with a smile as I breezed into the office where my publisher was supposed to be waiting.
"Bianca," I heard from behind me. I turned to find Mike Santos walking up to where I was and handing me a latte before embracing me. "How have you been? Writing furiously, I hope."
"Definitely, Mike. I think I'm developing carpal tunnel," I laughed, wriggling my fingers at him as he let me inside his office.
"Don't hurt yourself," he replied with a grin. "I can't have my most prolific and talented writer out of commission."
"It could never happen," I promised. "The story is just coming out so well."
"People are definitely looking forward to the next installment of the Dusk series. They can't wait to find out if Becca chooses Arden or Jason. Any hints you are willing to divulge?"
"You know if I told you, I'd have to kill you. Besides, isn't the surprise the best part?"
"Of course it is," he agreed. "But when will I have it on my desk?"
"It would be a lot faster if you would stop calling me in here," I pointed out.
He grinned sheepishly. "I was just hoping we could set a tentative date for release."
"I should be done with it in the next couple of weeks. Once I'm done, it can go to Shelly for editing. Maybe it can be released in time for Christmas?"
"Fabulous idea," he said with a nod. "I think it can be done. And you'll be able to do a book tour?"
"Definitely not. You know my rules."
"Bianca," he started, but was interrupted by a knock at the door. He called for the disrupter to enter, and Mary Butters, the director for the film adaptation, stepped in. I rose and gave her a quick hug and sat down.
"I just wanted to let you know that we'll be having a couple of casting calls for the parts in the movie this week. Per your request, we'll be doing one here, one in Los Angeles, and one in New York. The one here is tomorrow. Would like to attend?"
"Of course. Can you email me the details? I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm pleased that you and the producers are humoring my request to be there. These are my characters, and I believe that I know them best. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a dinner date I have to make." With that, I stood, kissed Mike's cheek and let myself out of the office. I walked back to where my Mercedes was parked and took off toward the north, where my dinner date was waiting.
Pulling up to the sprawling home that backed up to the woods, I stepped out of the car and let myself in.
"Hello?" I called. Esme peeked out from the kitchen and came out to give me a hug and kiss my cheek.
"Bella, darling. How did your meeting go?" she asked, wrapping her arm around my waist and pulling me into the kitchen.
"It was fine," I answered. "Casting call here in Portland is tomorrow, and Mike was being a pain in the ass about the next book again, but I really don't want to rush it. This book is the most important of them all, you know?"
"I know. I can't imagine what it's like for Becca," she said with a grin.
"Did I hear my little sister's voice?" Emmett's voice boomed from somewhere upstairs.
"Bella's here?" Rosalie asked.
"Bella's here?" Jasper said from his and Alice's room.
"Bella's here!" Edward called as he stepped in the kitchen. I ran into his outstretched arms and he spun me around before setting me down gently on the bar stool. "How did your meeting go?"
"Mike's a tool, I'm not writing fast enough, and I need to avoid carpal tunnel at all costs."
"You won't get carpal tunnel, and this book is going to be so highly sold that you're going to take a bath in hundred dollar bills one night after drinking a bottle of champagne in celebration of the glowing reviews that you will receive," Alice stated as she breezed into the kitchen and kissed me on the cheek.
"Sweet," I said, taking an olive from the tray Esme sat in front of me and stuffing it in my mouth. "I've always wanted to bathe in money."
"Can I join?" Emmett asked as he strolled in with Rose by his side. She rolled her eyes and smacked his head. "Jesus, woman. I was just teasing. You know I only want to get drunk and bathe with you in thousands of dollars in cash."
"You can't get drunk," I pointed out helpfully.
"Bella, you have to ruin everything," Jasper said, picking me up off the stool and giving me a hug. It was funny that in the past four years, he and I had grown the closest. I would never have expected Jasper to become my best friend, but the two of us had so much in common and we were very alike in mannerisms. We both majored in English at the University of Washington and he was the one who encouraged me to write my story as a fictional novel.
I never thought it would be anything special, but the Cullens never let me do anything halfway. Per chance, one of Carlisle's colleagues was married to a head honcho at a publishing company. Carlisle gave him a copy of my finished project, and it was a bona fide hit. Granted, my vampire didn't sparkle, my wolf was actually a werewolf instead of a shapeshifter, and it wasn't in Forks. It was funny how my non-fiction life that I had written in my sophomore year of college was being regarded as one of the best young adult fictions that the literary world had seen.
I left Forks at the end of July four years ago and moved to Washington into a home the Cullens bought near campus. There I began my college career, majoring in English Lit. I never heard from Jacob, and assumed he had made his choice and that it wasn't me. I didn't go back to Edward, though I'm sure most of the Cullens thought I would. As time progressed, I found that we were much happier as friends. He was no longer the "sullen Cullen," as Emmett and I had dubbed him. He was happy, even though he still hadn't found anyone to share his life with.
Alice foresaw my book being accepted by the publishing company which, she reminded me, could potentially put our lives in danger. So with the help of one J. Jenks, an associate of Jasper's, I changed my identity from Isabella Marie Swan to Bianca Danielle Smith. After the name change, I finally let Alice do that drastic makeover that she had been begging me to agree to for so many years. Gone was the brown-haired, brown-eyed Bella. In was Bianca Smith, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman who had been orphaned as a child and taken in by a doctor and his wife before writing her first story about a girl who was in love with a vampire and a werewolf while she was in college.
It was demanding being a first time author with a novel on the New York Times bestseller list. I started taking most of my classes online so I could do the things my agent Julie told me to. However, I made sure to specify that I was not available for TV interviews and did not attend events where my picture would be taken and spread around to various news outlets. It frustrated Julie to no end, but I knew the risk involved and was not willing to budge. So, she finally accepted my decision, and decided to use it to her advantage by keeping my identity somewhat of a mystery. I have to say it was a brilliant move, because the audience only seemed to be more intrigued when they had only a pen name to identify me by.
The Cullens were very pleased with my success as an author. For a while, I hadn't told Charlie and Renee of my identity change, for fear that somehow Aro would find them and read their thoughts. But after Alice convinced me that she was always checking in on both of my parents and that she would see any potential threat before it materialized, I went ahead and fessed up to both of them. Although they were understandably shocked to have a renowned author for a daughter, they were both very proud and happy for me. Of course, Renee being Renee, she bugged me to move to the East Coast at every chance she could. Charlie never pressured me to do the same, after I left; he was offered a job in Florida near Mom and Phil as a sheriff with a crazy lucrative salary. Needless to say, I spent as much time as I could spare tanning in Charlie's backyard.
Esme finished cooking my meal, and the family came to sit and talk with me while I ate. I had finally gotten comfortable with this after years of hating them watching me eat. Jasper liked to sit next to me and ask me what each thing tasted like, as it had been so long since he had eaten real food. Emmett had brought home venison for Esme to cook so we could eat the same things one night, and had brought in a cup of cooling deer blood while I ate.
I vomited in his lap, and that was the last time he did that.
After dessert, Jasper took the last couple of chapters I had written up to his study and gave me some constructive criticism. Once he had finished (damn his lightning fast vamp speed), I headed out to the car and drove to my condo in downtown Portland to write some more. Around three in the morning, I forced myself to go to bed as the casting call in less than six hours.
I strolled into the building where auditions were being held, my laptop case hanging from one shoulder and my other hand holding a grande mocha latte with extra sugar. My alarm had mysteriously shut off during the night and I woke up late, causing me simply to do the ponytail-jeans-tank top-contacts routine before running out the door. I did my makeup on the way to the studio, and stepped out of my car looking fifteen times better than I did getting in.
Mary and Piper, one of the producers, led me inside. Auditions were a long and tedious process, and I found myself extremely bored by the time lunch came. I still had six hours to go, and finally I started writing on my computer, waiting for the right person to come in.
At ten minutes after six, Piper called in the last person. I didn't even look up from my computer as they came in, too focused on the dialogue that "Jason" and "Becca" were having. I could hear Jacob's voice so vividly in my mind, it was almost as if he was there with me.
"Welcome," Piper said, unable to hide the bored tone in her voice. "State your name and which part you'd like to audition for please."
"My name is Jacob Black, and I'd like to audition for the part of Jason Pleck."
My eyes whipped up from the screen of my laptop to the man in front of me. There he was, standing tall and proud. His russet skin gleamed under his white tee shirt, and his dark blue jeans rode low on his hips, hugging the angles of his body that I used to know so well. I looked up to his face, and his dark eyes were focused on me, a small half-grin gracing his beautiful face.
"Mr. Black, do you have any acting experience?"
"I have some," he said. "My agent should have forwarded you my resume?" Mary looked through her papers, found it, read it over, nodded and handed it to me. My eyes greedily skimmed the chapter. He was living in Vancouver, and had been in several small-budget films, and had a supporting role in a blockbuster that I had heard of but never seen.
Hmm. So this is where he had disappeared to.
"Mr. Black, I'm Mary Butters, the director of the movie, this is Piper Perino, the producer. And this is Beverly, Ms. Smith's agent." This was the role I was playing, as I didn't want my true identity coming out to just anyone.
"I'm pleased to meet all of you," he said with a nod.
"If you could, please read the dialogue from page 178 of the script," Piper directed. "Mary will recite Becca's lines while you do Jason's." He readily agreed and started reciting. I sat there, transfixed over what I was seeing. Jacob. He was there. And he knew, knew it was me underneath the disguise of blond hair, tan skin and blue eyes.
"That was good, Mr. Black," Piper said, after he and Mary had finished. "We'll let you know as soon as-"
"He's perfect. He's Jason," I interjected. "I want him."
We sat in awkward silence for a moment before Piper gave me a look of death and pasted on a smile aimed toward Jacob.
"Mr. Black, we'll be getting in touch." Jacob nodded and grabbed his things before walking out the door. "Bianca, that was quite unprofessional, I'm not really sure if he's the best for…"
"I apologize. You're right—that was uncalled for. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to step outside for a minute." With that, I hurried out the same door Jake had used. As I burst out into the parking lot, I looked wildly around for a glimpse of him.
"Are you looking for someone specific, Ms. Smith?" I heard from behind me. Spinning around, I saw Jake leaning against the building.
"I was. I thought I saw someone I used to know."
"Well, isn't that something? I had the very same thing happen to me today as well. It's funny how the mind plays tricks on you when you're not expecting it. I know this one time when I was on break from filming, I was back in La Push at my friend Sam's house, helping him watch his twin boys, when I saw a book sitting on his end table. His wife, Emily, was reading it, and I read the back of the book, curious to see what it was, because Em isn't a really big reader, so when she finds books, they're generally pretty interesting. It was your book, Ms. Smith. Your 'fictional' novel."
"They say that some of the best fictions are based off of an author's real life experiences, Mr. Black," I said, staring him in the eye.
He pushed himself off the wall and stood in front of me, tucking a stray hair behind my ear. I couldn't help but shiver at his touch. "Well, Bianca … can I call you Bianca?" I nodded. "I would love to hear more about these experiences you had that spurred the writing of this series. Do you have plans for dinner tonight?"
"Nothing that I can't get out of," I returned. "Let's meet at Bluehour at eight-thirty."
He whistled. "Pretty fancy place for a small town girl."
"Small town girls can easily turn into big city women if they have a reason to," I retorted, stepping away from him and walking toward my car. I started it up and eased into reverse. As I put it into first gear, I looked over to where he had been standing, to where he was still standing with his trademark smirk plastered on his face.
At eight-forty, I was pulling my car up to the valet service and cursing Portland traffic. I walked as quickly as my four-inch heels would allow, and the hostess pointed me to the table where Jacob was seated. Adjusting my little black dress discreetly, I strode over to him. He rose as I approached the table, and waited for me to sit down.
"I apologize for being late," I started. "There was an accident about a half-mile down the road."
"'s fine," he said easily, handing me a menu. "I've learned that a smart man will wait as long as necessary for a beautiful woman."
I blushed, and the waiter saved me from having to say anything in response. Jacob and I agreed on a bottle of Shiraz and looked over our menus. When the waiter came back with the wine, we tasted it, approved, and gave our orders for our meals.
Once that was done, I looked over at my dinner companion as I took a sip of wine. "So, Mr. Black, how did you get into acting?"
"Let's see," he started, leaning back in his chair. "When I was seventeen, I left home for awhile, just to think about my life and how I wanted things to be. I went back, knowing what I wanted, but found out it wasn't there anymore. It was as if what I wanted had simply disappeared off the face of the earth. With my tail between my legs, both literally and figuratively, I left and went to Vancouver. I started working as a construction worker, but one day, I was given the card of a modeling agency, because I mean, really. Have you seen me?"
I rolled my eyes. "Yes, continue."
"I did some modeling work, and then the company that I worked for was approached about a movie. I auditioned and landed the role, and the rest is history. I've been in the film industry for about two years now. But enough about me. You're the famous author of the Dawn series. Tell me how you got here."
"When I was eighteen, I had my heart ripped out and stomped on by the man I loved, the man that I had called my best friend. We had gone back and forth, never seeming to get it just right. I left my home with a broken heart and started college at the University of Washington. I was supposed to go to the University of Alaska, but changed my mind at the last minute. I moved in with family, graduated a semester early, wrote a book, and luckily, it sold. My life seems boring in comparison to yours."
"What made you decide to change schools?"
"It was the man that broke my heart. He knew that I would be going to school there, and he had left me there, alone and hurt, even though he promised he'd never do that to me. After he left without a word, I realized that I needed to break the ties so I could move on. I've often wondered if he looked for me."
"He would have been stupid not to," he said, taking a long sip of his wine. "And your story?"
"I was once stuck between two men. Jason and Arden are based on those men, though the mythical creatures are just something I made up, because things like that don't exist."
"Right," he said. Our food arrived, and we ate in an uncomfortable silence. When the waiter came to take our dishes and asked if we wanted dessert, we just shook our heads and asked for the check. I tried to pay, but Jacob insisted that he would pay, as I had just gotten him a job. He walked me out to the valet and waited with me as they brought my car around. He awkwardly kissed my cheek and watched as I drove away from the restaurant.
I couldn't help the tears from falling as I drove back home. I let myself into the house and threw myself onto the couch, sobbing. It took awhile, but I finally got a hold of myself and decided that a nice, hot shower could make it all better. A hot shower and the promise of a half-gallon of ice cream sitting in my freezer.
I undressed as I walked, turning the knob of the shower and letting the bathroom steam from the heat. Standing under the flow of the water, I felt every worry slip away. Jacob was here, he was back in my life and he knew that he had made a mistake by running away. I knew I had made a mistake by changing my plans and never telling him.
But what could I do about it? Nothing.
I washed my hair and closed my eyes as I rinsed it. When I opened my eyes, Jacob was standing in front of my open shower door, his arms crossed over the tee shirt he had been wearing earlier. I started to cover myself up, realized that it was nothing he hadn't seen before and just put my hands on my hips.
"What…Why…How did you get in here?"
"Ms. Smith, it isn't wise to leave your door unlocked in such a large city. There are some big, bad wolves out there," he said, fire in his eyes.
"There are some big, bad wolves in here, too," I mumbled, picking up the bottle of conditioner and squeezing some in my hand. I tried not to let my hands shake as I ran it through my hair, pretending to ignore him. I rinsed my hair again and looked over at him.
"I'm sorry, was there something that you wanted, Mr. Black?"
"Fuck," he swore under his breath. "How long are we going to be playing this game, Bella? This is fucking killing me."
"I think you have me confused with someone else."
"No, I know I've got the right woman. Finally. Took me over four years to find you after you fucking left me, Bella!"
"You left me first!" I shouted.
"You told me that you'd be around!"
"I also told you I was leaving in a couple of weeks!"
"Yeah, to Alaska. Where I went in search of you, but you were gone. And funny enough, so was Charlie."
"He took a job in Florida," I said, crossing my arms. "There was nothing for him in Forks anymore."
"Yeah, especially when his only daughter decided to tell the world she was an orphan," he spat back.
"You don't get to judge me!" I screamed at him. "You broke my heart, I just wanted to love you, to be your other half, to spend my life with you, and you ran away without a second glance!"
"I had been telling you I loved you for over a year, Bella. You couldn't accept it, how do you figure you have the right to judge me for taking some time to realize I wanted to love you the same way?"
"Wanted to?" I shot back.
"Wanted to, want to, what's the fucking difference?" With that, he stepped into the shower, fully clothed, and brought his mouth to mine. His tongue ran over mine, our lips recalling the special dance they shared so long ago. I wound my hands in his hair, and closed my eyes under the spray of the water, just reveling in the feel of his mouth against mine for the first time in over four years.
Rosalie told me the reason why things didn't work between any of the other men that I had tried to date was because no one could compare to Jacob in my mind. I had been complaining to Rose about my inability to get into a real relationship, and I was blaming Edward. Normally I could count on Rose to help with Edward bashing, but this time she stopped me.
"Bella, your issue isn't with the perpetual virgin this time," she had said, not unkind. "You're still hung up on the one that got away. Edward would get back with you in a heartbeat if you ever showed the slightest interest. But he isn't the right one for you and when the right one ran, you ran in the other direction. You need to get over him, B. He's gone, and he's not coming back."
I kind of wanted to say "in your face" and do the "I told you so" dance to Rose at that moment.
Briefly wondering why I was thinking of Rosalie while Jacob's hands were on my bare ass, pulling me to him, I ran my hands over his now soaked tee shirt and pulled the hem over his head before tracing my fingers over the hard muscles in his chest. I moaned, my head falling back as his hands cupped my bare breasts, pinching the nipples and rolling them around with his fingertips.
He brought his mouth to the sensitive part of my neck, and my back arched against him. My hands furiously worked at the button of his pants. I was half-crazed with need. I had to feel him inside me again. He helped me to push them down, and pushed me against the tiled wall of the shower.
"Jacob, Jacob wait. Is this … I mean, we haven't been together in four years. Is this … safe? You're clean?"
He grinned down at me as he situated himself at my entrance. "It's good, Bells. We're good to go. You too?"
I nodded, unable to form a coherent train of thought thanks to the feeling of the tip of his cock against my entrance. He grabbed a handful of my wet hair and slid into me. I gasped at the sensation of him filling me so completely. It was as if we had never been apart. Our bodies knew the dance, completing the steps before we even knew we wanted to make them. My hands ran over his back, making their way down his spine. His left hand stayed tangled in my hair while his right hand held up my right thigh so he could thrust deeper inside me. My back arched so I could press closer to him and my right leg wound around his waist. The sounds that came from the back of my throat were almost inhuman, but he knew somehow that the whimpers coming out of my mouth meant I wanted it harder, faster. I felt my inevitable orgasm approaching quickly.
His left hand dropped from my hair to where our bodies met, and as he pinched my clit, I felt the familiar feeling of jumping off a cliff. My body clenched and shivered around him as he thrust into me three more times before calling out my name and collapsing against me, pinning me against the wall as we both struggled to catch our breath.
I felt his lips moving against my collarbone, but couldn't comprehend anything he could have been saying due to the rush of adrenaline still roaring in my ears. I shivered as I realized the water was turning cold, and without a word, Jacob turned off the water, wrapped the two of us in an oversized towel and carried me into the bedroom.
He laid me down in the bed, and grabbed the duvet to pull it over us as he joined me. His arms wrapped around my body, and I suddenly realized something.
"Jacob, your body…it isn't hot anymore."
"Bite your tongue, woman! My body is still as smoking hot as ever," he argued, a smile crossing his features before he shrugged and looked away. "I stopped phasing after you left. The Cullens were gone, so the immediate threat was gone. Some of them still phase, just in case, but I didn't want it in the first place, so I got out at the first opportunity. I love my family, I love my community, but I love you more. I wanted to make something of myself, to show you that you weren't making a bad choice being with me. I know the Cullens have more money than God…"
"You know I don't care about that," I began to argue.
"And I don't have that much money, but I've saved hard and worked tons of jobs so I could provide for you. Imagine my surprise though when I realized you don't need me to provide for you because you just happen to be this world famous author who is part Cullen. But what I don't understand is why you were never turned."
"Well, first of all, the Cullens aren't the Cullens anymore. They've taken a new name, something they had to do when they disobeyed the Volturi and let me stay human. I couldn't do it Jake … I still always held out a chance for us, no matter how small that chance was. I've been lying to myself for a long time, saying that it wasn't you, that it was just me. But it was you this whole time. Fuck. I hate it when Rosalie is right."
"Hot blond vamp?"
"Yes, hot blond vamp. She told me that I couldn't have relationships with anyone because you had gone running, and I was afraid to get over you on the off chance you would come back. However, she was wrong when she said that you wouldn't come back."
He settled his hand on my cheek. "Even hot vamps don't understand pack loyalty, wolf girl." He leaned down to kiss me, slowly and sweetly. "I'm sorry, Bells. I fucked up. I was scared and ran from the one thing I wanted most in this world because I was afraid that as soon as I had you, I would lose you for good once you saw the huge differences between Edward and me.
"I'm not that scared little boy anymore, Bella. I got over those insecurities, and I have started to make something of myself. I'm through with running away. I promise I'll be here for you in whatever way you need me. We were best friends before we were anything else, and if that's all we were meant to be, I'll be the sexiest man-of-honor when you finally marry someone else.
"I'm kind of hoping it doesn't come to that though. I'm hoping you and I will finally be able to make this thing between us work and that I'll be standing there waiting for you at the altar. Please, Bells. Please, just give me this one last chance to make you happy. To be the man you deserve."
"Jacob, I …" I stopped midsentence, wondering if I had just heard the door open. Jacob sat up. Apparently, he heard it as well. The door to my bedroom slammed open, and Edward stood there, his normally perfectly coiffed hair in disarray, his eyes wide and his chest heaving.
"Oh," he said, taking in the sight of Jacob and me naked in my bed.
"Well, this brings back memories that I didn't particularly want to relive," he said drily. I chucked a pillow at him.
"Jacob and I were, um, reunited today," I tried to explain.
"You have got to be fucking shitting me," Jacob started. "He's still around?"
"Yes. Wait. No. I mean, yes, he's here, but no, it's not like you think. We're not together. We haven't been since I saw you last. He and his family live here. They've supported me throughout everything. Edward is one of my very best friends."
"It's good to see you again, Jacob," Edward said politely. I suddenly realized that I was naked, and wrapped the sheet around my chest.
"Edward, what are you doing here?" I asked, ready to be done with this whole embarrassing situation.
"Alice said she saw you at home in the shower, and then you just disappeared. I wasn't sure if the bathtub had finally done you in," he joked.
I crossed my arms over my chest and leveled him with a look of hate. "That was one time, Edward. One time."
"How long were you out? Three days?"
"Okay, so you see that I'm fine…"
"I think you're more than fine, Bells," Jake interjected with a leer in my direction.
"I'm fine," I glared at Jacob pointedly. "So, yeah. You can go."
"How long are you in town, Jacob? I'm sure my family would enjoy seeing a familiar face. We don't see our friends now that we've changed our identities."
"I don't know how long I'll be here. I was, you know, kind of in the middle of convincing her to let me stay as long as possible."
"Oh. Oh! Well, I'm sorry that I, erm, rudely interrupted. I hope to see you soon, Jacob. Bella, dinner at our house tomorrow?"
"Sounds good, Edward. Goodbye," I stated, raising an eyebrow when he didn't move. He finally took the hint and left, shutting the door downstairs as he did.
"Really? He's still cockblocking me after all this time?"
"Shut up, Jacob. He didn't know you were back."
"So, before Eddie came in here, you were going to give me an answer. What do you think, Bells? Can I get a do-over?" Jacob asked, hope and anticipation shining in his eyes.
One year later
I walked slowly out of the room and into another. Music playing softly from somewhere above me helped to time my strides, to give me something to concentrate on other than my nerves, or the amount of people who were watching me. Vaguely I wondered if I would trip, but I knew that the man beside me could catch me if I did so.
I finally looked up from the aisle and into the eyes of the man waiting for me at the end of my march. As his trademark smile lit up his face, it was everything I could do not to go racing up to him, my father in tow.
"Easy, Bells," Charlie whispered, his hand on my arm. "You've waited this long. You can wait just a few minutes." Who knew that time could go so slowly?
Finally, the music swelled and my father was placing my hand in the hand of the man I was going to pledge my life to.
"Who gives this woman to this man?" I looked up with a glare to where my brother was officiating over the service. How could he have such a dirty tone during my freaking wedding? I was going to throw him in a pyre the next chance I got.
"Her mother and I do," Charlie replied, and I looked back to see my mother nodding her head, tears streaming down her face. I looked back at the man holding my hand, and returned his smile, happy to finally be at that point, after everything that had happened.
Tearing my eyes from those of my soon-to-be husband, I met the eyes of the best man. He had been there for me through thick and thin, let me break his heart over and over, and still agreed to stand up as I stood at the altar, getting ready to marry the man who wasn't him.
He winked at me, and my brother started speaking. Finally, he shut up, and it was time for the vows that the two of us had picked, after weeks of searching.
He put the ring on my finger, and Emmett smiled down at both of us before announcing us as man and wife and telling Jacob to kiss his bride. As Jake brought his lips to mine to the sounds of our friends and family cheering and clapping, I thought to myself, this right here, is my happily ever after.