A/N Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight.
I own Darcyward and Marvar owns me.
No copyright infringement is intended.
December 25th, 2009
I was vaguely aware of the subtle sunlight that was seeping into the room. My mind and body were devoted and consumed with the beautiful man that was wrapped around me.
We were naked, skin sliding against skin, lips pressing against lips…fingers twined and hungry, trembling hands clasped. I was breathing in his air and it felt like it was sustaining me. Like I could have spent the entire rest of eternity in this room…on this bed….with this man. Living on his kisses. Feasting on his body. Drinking in his scent. And I would have thrived.
There wasn't a part of me that hadn't been connected to him since the night before. We held on to each other on the floor by the piano…tears streaming down my face while Edward told me how much he loved me. He had taken my hand – my left hand – and placed the ring that he had chosen on my finger. It was simple. It was elegant. It was perfect…just like him. I couldn't stop crying, couldn't stop kissing, and couldn't stop clinging to him while we waited for the rest of our family that – in the end – never showed up.
Just us together.
Just the way he planned.
"I love you," he murmured against the skin of my chest that was damp from his kisses.
He was hovered over me, the entire length of his body ghosting across my own.
"I love you," I told him, bringing my leg up and wrapping it around his hip. I placed my arms around his neck, my fingers pressing into the toned and slick skin of his shoulders.
"Baby," he breathed.
"Please," I whispered.
"Anything," he vowed.
"On me," I said pulling him down to me. "I need to feel all of you on me. Your weight, your hands, your mouth…your sex."
The groan that escaped his lips as he collapsed on me was needy and possessive and I quickly covered his mouth with mine. Because he did possess me…all of me. There was nothing left of me that he didn't own and in that moment – that perfect and passionate moment – I wanted him to own me. I wanted him to claim me. I was his, would always be his…and had been his all along.
We stayed in bed as long as possible, not wanting to let go of each other for even a moment. We showered together, taking our time with soft touches, gentle kisses and whispered words of love and adulation. I was rendered to tears when Edward took my hand and kissed the ring that he had placed on my finger not even twelve hours before, so overcome with the thought that he was mine and I was his wholly and completely.
"You never wear jewelry," he said, twisting the platinum band.
"I don't," I agreed, looking down to his hand on mine. "I never have, but I love this ring and the fact that me wearing this ring means that I will get to be with you forever."
"You really love it?"
"I'm never taking it off, Edward," I told him, kissing his wet lips. "Not ever."
I slipped on my dress and looked back over my shoulder, only to find him there staring at me. His expression was soft but his eyes were still intense and I felt the heat rise to my face as I blushed.
"Do you mind helping me with this?" I asked, motioning to the zipper.
He walked over to me, sweeping my hair to the side and placing a kiss on my exposed shoulder before slowly pulling the zipper up. He pulled me flush against him, wrapping his arms around my waist and whispering in my ear.
"Are you ready?"
And I was. I was ready to go downstairs with him. I was ready to tell our friends and family about our news. I was ready to begin my life with him.
"I have a present for you," he said as he took my hand at the top of the stairs.
"You gave me everything I wanted already," I told him honestly. "There is nothing else that I could possibly want. Anything else would be too much, Edward."
"Trust me," he whispered.
We walked downstairs and I could hear the comforting sound of the laughter and easy conversation of our family as we approached the great room. Edward pulled me to his side before we walked in, kissing me once more.
"Merry Christmas, Bella," he said, smiling. "There is nothing I wouldn't give you."
When we walked in the room, everything was just as I expected it would be. We were there, surrounded by the people that we loved, but my eyes immediately went to the only thing…the only person that I loved more than anything except Edward.
It took me a moment to realize what was actually happening. Charlie was there and I was so overcome with emotion because I knew that only Edward could have given me what I didn't even know I could ask for. Five minutes before, I thought that I had everything. I thought that I was complete, but Edward knew that I wasn't. And I knew – in that now truly perfect moment – that when Edward said that he would give me anything, he meant it.
I ran to my father, embracing him despite his mild discomfort with this public show of affection. I couldn't care, though. I was literally surrounded by everything and everyone that I loved and held dear in the world.
"You're here," I cried as my father held me tightly.
"I thought it was important," he said, his familiar gruff voice in my ear.
"You knew?" I asked, pulling back to look at him.
"I can't believe you're here."
"Well, Bells," he said. "It looks like you made your choice and it looks like you're happy."
His voice was thick with emotion and it only made me hold him tighter.
"I am," I whispered.
"Not that you could tell with all those tears."
I laughed at his words through my tears when I felt Edward beside us. I looked up at him, still refusing to let go of my father and I mouthed the words, "I love you."
And I did…so much.
When I think about my decision to not go to work for Northman, I have no regrets at all. How could I? Edward and I spent many nights in the weeks after Christmas discussing what I thought I should do. He never once told me what he thought; instead, he only offered options and possibilities for me to maintain my independence because he knew that was so important to me.
"What do you want to do?" he asked, pulling me close to him in bed.
It didn't escape me that we were having this conversation in such an intimate setting. It was however, surprising that I didn't seem to mind. And I certainly didn't feel as if he was being manipulative in any way.
"I don't know," I told him truthfully. "I want to work, Edward. I don't want to be one of those women that doesn't work because she doesn't have to. Because the truth is…I have to. I need to work because I know that I have something to offer. I need to feel like I make a contribution to something that is bigger than myself."
He looked at me, smiling. I could see his love for me reflected in his eyes and it was blended with something else…something that looked a lot like pride.
That made me happy and I wanted that look. I wanted him to feel that – to be proud of me. I craved it almost as much as I craved his love. I wanted to be his equal…in every single way. I wanted to contribute to our life together. I wanted to be his partner just as much as I wanted to be his lover and his wife. And I knew that those roles weren't mutually exclusive.
"What do you want?" he asked, not leading me in any direction.
"I want to do everything," I whispered. "I want to be everything…because you…you're everything to me."
I was surprised to get a call from Carlisle requesting a meeting with me the next week. I would be lying if I said that I didn't have an idea of what he wanted to discuss with me, but I was more than willing to meet with him and listen to what he had to say.
"You want me to work for The Carlisle Foundation?" I asked skeptically.
He chuckled softly and smiled at me.
"No, I want you to work with The Carlisle Foundation, Bella."
"Explain the difference."
"I hope you don't mind, but Edward has spoken to me about the decision you're trying to make."
It didn't surprise me. I knew that Edward was extremely close to his father, but I was wondering exactly what Edward had said to him in private about me.
"I don't mind," I told him honestly. "What did Edward say?"
"He knows that your independence is important, Bella. And I want you to know that whatever is important to you is important to my son."
"I know that," I said and I couldn't help smiling at the thought of just how much Edward loved me.
"He told me that you wanted to contribute to something bigger than yourself. I have to say, Bella, I respect that a great deal. Esme's and my need to do exactly that is what led to the founding of this organization. We wanted to contribute. You can contribute here."
It was with that single conversation, that the loose ends of my life seemed tie up. Carlisle offered me a position at the foundation. Not just a position – but an opportunity to do something important with myself…my talents and abilities. I took on the responsibility of starting a new charity under the umbrella of The Carlisle Foundation that focused on helping to provide scholarship funds for underprivileged young women. This was a cause that was near to my heart, knowing what I had gone through as a child. I would never have been able to afford college on my own and honestly, I'd had help from Charlie.
The transition of working with the foundation had been easier than I anticipated. While I was excited and challenged by the new opportunity, I feared that working alongside Edward could potentially cause problems. I wasn't sure if we could work in such close proximity while living and building a life together. It was scary to me to be that involved in each other's lives professionally when all I wanted was to be consumed by him personally.
I found that I really had little interaction on a day to day basis with Edward where work was concerned. Even though he was a huge part of his family's organization, he really dealt with the fiscal side of things and I was involved with the philanthropic part. And I threw myself into work from the very beginning, wanting so much to be a success and even more than that…wanting to make a difference in someone's life. Work for me had never been so rewarding.
April 13th, 2010
It was almost time to leave and the office was quiet. Everyone had left for the day and I knew that Edward and I were the only ones left in the building.
I missed him.
I needed him.
I tapped lightly on the door to his office before opening it. The moment he saw me, he stood and smiled, walking over to me and pulling me into his arms.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I missed you."
He hugged me tightly against him, nuzzling in my hair and breathing in deeply. I shivered at the feeling of being so surrounded by his warmth.
"I always miss you," he whispered in my ear.
"You do?" I asked. "Even when I'm right down the hall?"
"Especially when you're right down the hall."
"You don't know how many times I've wanted to come to your office and lock the door and take you across your desk. It kills me sometimes…to have you so close."
I drug my hands down his back and over his ass, cupping him firmly and loving the groan that that came from his mouth. I could feel him already hard as his erection pressed against me.
"What about now, Mr. Cullen?" I asked in a breathy voice. "I'm pretty close now."
"Fuck," he rasped so softly that it was no more than a breath.
He crushed his lips to mine, his eager tongue opening my mouth and pushing inside. I kissed him back as passionately as he kissed me, pressing myself even closer to him. Suddenly, his hands were on my hips, grabbing and lifting me up. I wrapped my legs around his waist, feeling his hard sex pressing against mine. Instinctively, I squeezed my legs around him and rubbed myself against him exactly where I needed to feel him most.
"I love you, Bella."
"Me too, Edward," I told him. "I love you, too."
He carried me over to his desk and placed me on the edge, pulling back to look at me. His lips were red and swollen as he licked them and the only sound that I could hear was our panting. He reached one hand around my neck and grabbed my hair while the other hand trailed up my leg and under my skirt.
"Are you wet for me, baby?" he murmured and if I hadn't been so aroused, I would have laughed.
"I was wet the moment that I saw you," I told him softly.
When his fingers reached the apex of my thighs, he dipped them underneath the lace that he found there.
"Bella, you're dripping," he said as two fingers slipped just inside me…stroking me, teasing me.
His eyes connected with mine at my words and he told me that he loved me and he pushed his fingers inside me. I cried out at the feeling of his touch…his long fingers…his hot hand.
"Please," I whimpered.
"What, baby?" he asked as he held his hand still. "Tell me. What do you want?"
"You, Edward," I breathed. "I always want you."
"You need to be more specific, baby," he teased before kissing me.
"Please," I asked again.
"Do you want me to make you come with my fingers?" he asked before curling them inside me and causing me to moan. His face was so close to mine. He was teasing me…and I loved it. "Or do you want me to take you on my desk?"
I felt a wave of arousal at his words and I know he felt it too. I clenched my sex around his hand. I brought my hands up, cupping his face and kissing him deeply, wetly.
"Oh, Edward," I whimpered. "I thought you said you wanted to take me on mine."
May 8th, 2010
I sipped the glass of champagne while we waited for the next round of dresses to be presented at a bridal shop downtown. I was surrounded by Alice, Rose and Esme. We had been there for over two hours and I had looked at countless dresses. I still hadn't found the right one.
The dress that I wanted to marry Edward in.
I was beginning to get frustrated. Everything seemed either cliché or just wrong. I took another drink and I looked at Alice.
"Couldn't you have just designed me one?" I asked her, taking another drink.
"Easy there, Bella," she laughed. "And no. I used to design sportswear. So, unless you want to get married in a pantsuit, I suggest you be patient."
"You're right," I agreed. "I just want it to be perfect."
"And it will," Esme said.
Alice came over and sat down beside me. She took my hand in her, squeezing gently before taking the flute from my hand and placing it on the table.
"What's really going on with you?" she asked quietly. "I know this isn't just about the dress."
I looked at her and I could feel the stinging of tears behind my eyes. Esme and Rose must have noticed that I was upset, so they quietly excused themselves and left the room, telling us that they would be right back.
"I've been thinking a lot about my mom lately," I confessed to her.
"Oh," she said softly.
"I even sent her an invitation to the wedding."
"You did?" she asked, surprised.
"Yeah. How stupid am I?"
She pulled me into a hug and before I knew what was happening, I was crying into her shoulder.
"I haven't heard anything from her…not one word."
"Oh, sweetie. I'm so sorry."
"I don't even know if I have the right address. I'm sure I probably don't. Am I wrong for wanting her to be a part of this day? For thinking that maybe she would even want to be there?"
"That's not wrong, Bella," she said. "And you're not stupid. Does Edward know that you invited her?"
"No," I told her, sniffling. "I didn't want to tell him in case something exactly like this happened. I should have known it would turn out this way."
"What do you mean?"
"I should have known that she wouldn't want anything to do with me now. She never wanted anything to do with me before. I just…well…I just hoped. You know?"
"I completely understand that, Bella. But really…I want you to think about everything that's important in your life. I've known you for a long time and not once in all those years has she been someone that seemed important to you."
"Because she wasn't," I said. "But that doesn't mean that I didn't want her to be."
"Bella, I love you so much and I wish that I had the right words for you…but I'm afraid that I don't. Yes, it sucks, but there is so much love around you right now. There is an entire family that loves you like you belong to them. It's astounding, really. And you have Charlie. You guys are closer now than you ever have been."
"You're right…I know you're right."
"Yeah…your mom sucks, Bella. I hate to say it that way, but she does. I just don't want you to get lost in that and lose focus on what's important. You are here to pick out a dress to marry the man of your dreams in. He is what's important. You are what's important."
She hugged me tightly and I knew that she was telling the truth.
"Hush now. Dry your tears," she said, reaching me a Kleenex from the table. Apparently, crying was normal in bridal shops. "I think you should talk to Edward about this. I think that's important. And I also think it will help you."
"Thank you, Alice."
"You're welcome," she said, smiling at me. "Besides, I can do everything that a mother of the bride would do. Just please…don't make me wear an ugly mother of the bride dress."
And with her perfect words, I was feeling much better.
The sales associate came back in with another rack, followed closely by Rose and Esme. Esme gave me a soft and knowing look and I smiled at her and motioned for her to come and sit beside me.
"There are only three more viable choices," the sales associate said. "But I really think that this one is perfect."
She pulled the dress from the garment bag and the moment I saw it, I gasped.
It was the dress.
It was a Vera Wang strapless gown in ivory silk. The bodice was tight and the silk was gathered and draped in the full skirt.
It was beautiful.
It was perfect.
It was my dress.
"You have to try it on," Esme whispered in my ear.
And there in a room surrounded by the three wonderful women, I slipped on the dress that I would wear when I became Edward's wife. And in that moment, even though I had just been crying, I couldn't have been happier.
Later that night, I was lying in bed with Edward. He was holding me close, his hand stroking my shoulder while he softly kissed my neck.
"I love you," I whispered.
"I love you, too."
I pressed myself closer against him, burying my face into his neck. He smelled wonderful. Musky and soft and fresh…and something that was uniquely him.
"Are you alright, love?" he asked.
I knew I needed to tell him about what I had done and how I was feeling. But even though everything felt so perfect and wonderful with him there in our bed and even though I felt so safe and so cherished there in his arms…I still felt nervous. It wasn't that I didn't feel like I could share this with him. I knew I could tell him anything. I was just disappointed and angry that I felt upset about this to begin with.
"I need to tell you something," I said quietly.
I felt him stiffen underneath me momentarily before he relaxed again.
"Bella?" he asked. "What is it? Is something wrong?"
"Yes…no…I don't know."
"Baby, what's going on?"
I pulled back my head so that I could look at him and the moment that my eyes connected with him, I knew that I'd never had a reason to be nervous. His eyes were filled with concern and the absolute love that I knew he felt for me.
"About a month ago," I started. "Well…about a month ago, I sent my mother an invitation to our wedding."
Edward searched my eyes as if he were trying to discern what I was feeling…what I was about to tell him. His hold on me tightened. It was only slightly, but I could feel it.
"Bella," he whispered my name and there was so much care and devotion in his voice, it made my eyes water. He stroked my cheek with his thumb as a tear slipped down. "What happened?"
"Nothing," I cried softly. "Not a goddamn thing."
He pulled me to his chest, sitting us up in the bed. I was sitting in his lap facing him and I dropped my head and cried into his shoulder. He held me for the longest time. Moments turned to minutes and he simply held onto me, rubbing soft, small circles on my back while I cried.
"What do you mean when you say nothing?" he asked eventually, pushing my hair away from my neck so that he could place a kiss there.
"Just that…nothing," I told him. "Not a word…no response…nothing."
"I'm so, so sorry, baby," he told me, his voice soft and his breath warm in my ear.
I don't know what happened then, but in that moment, I let everything go.
"I mean…I should have known, but Edward, I just don't understand!" I cried. "Why doesn't she love me? Why didn't she ever love me or take care of me or want me? I – I loved her, Edward. Even though she was a terrible mother. I still loved her. Why didn't she love me?"
"I don't know," he whispered. His voice was so soft that I almost didn't her him through my crying.
I hated that I was crying over her. And the fact that I hated it only made me cry harder.
"Shhh…baby, please calm down," he said soothingly. He was stroking my hair as he continued holding me close. "Please, don't cry, Bella…please. It hurts me to see you like this. It fucking breaks me."
I felt myself sink into him as I cried. Not wanting to hurt him, but entirely incapable of stopping. My emotions had been so carefully and relentlessly guarded where my mother was concerned.
I spent the majority of my life either not thinking about her or pretending that she didn't matter. I was skilled at compartmentalizing that part of my life, those emotions that were too painful to really deal with. It was easier to just lock them away in my heart and simply not think…not feel. Everything was different now with him. He owned my heart. All of it. And there in his arms, I knew he loved all of all of it. Even the part that was still broken and hurting.
I pulled back, looking at him and feeling his hands on my face, his thumbs brushing the tears that fell from the pools of my eyes.
"I'm so sorry, Bella," he whispered. "I-I wish that there was something I could say to make this better."
"I know, Edward. And that only makes this worse," I told him. "Do you know that this is the happiest I have ever been in my life? And I hate…hate that I'm feeling this way too. I don't want to feel this way. I wish that I didn't."
He pressed forward and kissed me softly on my lips.
"I don't know why," he started. "Bella, I don't know why your mother did the things she did. How she could possibly not love you the way that you should be loved…you deserve to be loved." He pulled me close to him again, our faces together, foreheads touching. I could feel his breath against my lips as he spoke. "I don't understand it, but I can promise you, Bella – I can promise you that I will always love you more than anything in the world. And I will try to love you enough…I will try to love you so much that you will never feel like this again."
"Oh, Edward," I sobbed softly, his words seeping into my mind and filling my heart. "I love you."
"You are so wonderful and so – so fucking special. And in a month you are going to become my wife. Do you know what that means to me?"
I could only nod my head against his because even though my mouth couldn't form words, I did know. I knew because of what it meant to me. What it meant to me that he was going to be my husband. That we were going to build and have a life together.
"You are the most amazing person that I have ever known. Your thoughts, your mind…your beautiful heart. You are everything, Bella," he rasped, his voice lower and more insistent than before. "You are everything that is graceful and lovely in the world. In my world. And I love you…I promise that I will always love you like this and I will make sure that the rest of your life is filled with so much happiness that it will be all you're able to focus on."
His words were just like him – too perfect and beautiful to be real. Except that they were real. And he was real.
Real and perfect…and entirely mine.
I looked at him for the longest time and after a while my tears dried and I was left with nothing but the feel of his breath and the sound of his heart…and wrapped in his arms – the only arms – that had ever been strong enough to hold me.
"I don't know what I ever did to deserve you," I finally whispered.
"You chose me," he said. His words were simple, but entirely true. "And, Bella…I chose you."
June 18th, 2010
I stood in front of the mirror in my bedroom looking at my body that was barely covered in my black lace bra and panties and the silk of my stockings. My skin shimmered from the lotion that I had just applied. My hair was a perfectly tousled mess of thick curls and heavy waves. My eye-makeup was smoky and dark and my lips were simple and glossed.
I saw his refection in the mirror when he walked in. I could see his body tense and as he approached, I looked into his dilated and shadowy eyes. I felt a rush knowing that Edward had always looked at me like that. And I had no doubt that he would always look at me like that. There would always be this intensity, this hunger, this need, this want.
Never taking his eyes from mine, he stood behind me, one hand slipping around my waist and pressing me against his chest…his body.
"You don't look like my blushing bride," he whispered huskily in my ear. "No, I take that back. You're definitely blushing…and you're definitely mine."
I swallowed thickly as I felt his hand stroke the skin of my stomach.
"I'm not supposed to look like a bride," I murmured. "I'm supposed to look like a bachelorette."
"You look breathtaking," he breathed into my ear.
My entire body warmed and flushed from his words, his touch.
"So do you."
He moved the tresses of my hair to the side and nuzzled before kissing my neck. I whimpered from the feeling of his breath and lips and tongue against me.
"Why are we doing this tonight?" he asked.
"Because our friends and family told us that it was what we were supposed to do," I giggled.
"I don't want to spend the night away from you."
There was such raw emotion and vulnerability in his voice and I knew how he felt because I felt exactly the same way. I didn't want to be away from him. Not ever. I turned around to face him and he enveloped me in his arms…tenderly, sensually. His skin was soft and warm, his fragrance fresh and masculine.
"I don't want to spend the night away from you either, Edward," I told him.
"What do you want?"
"I want to be your wife," I told him, looking up into his eyes. "I'm ready."
"I know," he murmured softly before leaning down to kiss me. "Tomorrow."
We stayed there like that for a moment, holding onto each other before we had to say goodbye. I wouldn't see him again until the wedding and I didn't want to let go.
"They're not taking you to a strip club, are they?" I asked, half-joking.
"Uh…no," he said decidedly with a smile. "It's not that kind of bachelor party. What about you?"
"We're not going to a strip club either," I said, smiling against his chest before kissing it. "None of us are into breasts."
He chuckled and pulled back to look at me.
"What are you doing tonight?"
"Nothing much…just cocktails and conversation."
"What are you going to talk about, Ms. Swan?"
I reached my hands up, wrapping them around his neck. He lowered his head to mine and he kissed me, deeply, passionately. When he pulled back, I touched his lips softly with the tips of my fingers.
"Well," I whispered. "I think we'll be discussing how tomorrow night at this time, I'll be Mrs. Cullen."
It was just after eleven when I slipped into bed. The night had been lovely, but I was ready to just go to sleep. I wouldn't see Edward until I walked down the aisle the next day. I didn't have too much to drink. Just a couple of martinis, but I think the one glass of champagne was enough to relax me so that I would actually be able to rest.
I closed my eyes, allowing the softened edges of my mind to relax even further. I tried to focus on the fact that tomorrow, I would be Edward's wife and he would be my husband. I also tried to ignore the fact that his side of the bed was cold and empty…overlooked the fact that his strong and warm arms were not wrapped around me. Taking his pillow and holding it against me, I breathed in his scent that still remained.
Sleep took me quickly.
I awoke to the feeling of warmth surrounding me…to the smell of his fragrance filling my senses. It felt wonderful and right. Until I realized that it wasn't. I shot up in the bed, disoriented and confused.
"Shh…Bella," he whispered, pulling me back into his arms. "It's just me."
"Wha-what are you doing here?" I asked. "You…you're not supposed to be here."
He laid us back down pulling me on top of him. He stroked my hair and gently kissed my face. My pounding heart began to quiet as I focused on the steady thrum of his.
"I couldn't stay away," he told me. "I couldn't…and I didn't want to."
"You're not supposed to see me," I argued quietly. My voice held no persuasion. Even I didn't believe what I was saying. "This is bad luck."
"No, Bella," he whispered. "There is no bad luck, baby. There's just us. You and me. And tomorrow you're going to marry me, but my life…my life with you has already started. Nothing…nothing will separate us ever again. No bad luck. No one. Nothing."
"Just us?" I whispered.
He punctuated his words with a tender but searing kiss on my lips. I opened my mouth to him, tasting and drinking him in. My entire being was calm and in that perfect and quiet moment, I knew that nothing else mattered. Nothing else, but this…but him.
"I love you," I told him as I settled on top of him, feeling the line of his body perfect against my own.
"Bella," my name breathed from his lips reverently. "I will always love you."
June 19th 2010
I stood at the top of the stairs at the Cullen home just after six in the evening. I was grasping my father's hand and praying silently that I wouldn't fall as we walked down. I took a deep breath and looked at Charlie.
"You look so beautiful, Bells," he said, shifting on his feet and looking completely uncomfortable in his tuxedo.
"Thank you," I whispered, willing the tears behind my eyes not to fall.
I looked down at the sapphire pendant on the chain around my neck.
My something blue.
"It's so beautiful," I breathed, looking at the simple, elegant pendant. It was an oval cut sapphire, surrounded by diamonds and hanging on a white gold chain.
"Technically," Esme said as she slipped the necklace around my neck, "this will be your something old, something new and something blue."
She hugged me softly and pressed a kiss to my cheek.
"The 'something old' is obviously the pendant. This was a gift from Carlisle after we started the foundation. The something new is the chain. I hope you don't mind, but I selected it myself. The something blue…well, I don't think I need to explain that."
She winked at me before hugging me one more time.
"Couldn't it also be my something borrowed?" I asked.
Esme took my hand and sat next to me on the bench.
"No, dear, it can't," she said, smiling sweetly. "This is my gift to you. Your borrowed will be a handkerchief. Though, you don't really have to give that back."
"It's too much, Esme…I-I can't accept this," I said, touching the necklace that seemed so special and important.
"You can and you will," she told me, her voice soft, but resolved. "You will accept this because Rose accepted something very similar when she married Emmett. Also, you will accept it because I love you and because, Bella…you're like a daughter to me now."
I hugged her tightly, overcome with emotion and a kind of acceptance and love that I had never known.
I was so caught up in my memory that I didn't even notice when Jasper and Alice walked into the room, effectively beginning my wedding ceremony. It wasn't until I heard the tender notes of Claire de Lune drift up that I knew it was time to go. I looked back up at my father and I saw that tears were welling in his deep brown eyes.
"I love you, Bella," he said thickly.
"I love you, too," I said, my voice cracking. "Don't let me fall."
We walked down the stairs without incident and though I tried to focus on my feet, all I could really focus on was the fact that I was getting ready to marry Edward in the same room where I had asked him to be my husband. Suddenly, I couldn't get there fast enough.
I wanted to see him.
I was beyond ready.
The moment we walked in, my eyes immediately went to his. They were vivid and green and wet like my own. I possessed no nervousness or apprehension. There was just realization that the anticipation was finally over. And a perfect love for the man standing before me, waiting to make me his wife.
It was Edward.
My eyes never left his as I walked down the aisle. Everything else fell away. I was barely aware when Charlie gave Edward my hand, except that my body responded to his touch before my mind had a chance to. I wanted him to take me in his arms…wanted his lips to claim mine. But Edward calmed and centered me. Taking both of my hands, he told me that he loved me and he told me I was beautiful.
We both recited traditional vows and though I heard the words…though I knew the words, my mind was only focused on the man that stood before me. I knew in that moment as I looked at him and he looked at me, that even though this ceremony was important…it was just symbolic. I already belonged to him. In every sense of the word. And as much as I belonged to him, he belonged to me the same way. It had always been that way.
Long before I even knew.
And when I said I do, nothing had ever been truer.
Because I did.
And I always would.
I was in his arms before the words were spoken that he could kiss me. And when his lips touched mine, the entire world disappeared and it was just him…just me…just us and the life we were continuing together. It wasn't the beginning, for we had begun so long before this moment. This moment was just solidifying what we already understood. This moment was just the culmination of everything our hearts had told us all along.
We would be passionate.
We would be loved.
We may even be hurt and broken.
But in the circle of our relationship where there was no beginning or end, we would be entirely and wholly committed.
And we would be together.
Please leave me some love and review.
This is the last one. Please indulge me.
There will be important information that you might not want to miss.
I'm not even gonna lie. I am more than a little emo to hit the complete button on this story. I have loved writing it. Even when it was difficult to write. Thank you to each and every person that took the time to read my words. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning and have left me reviews for each and every chapter. You will never know what it meant to me.
I am working on a new story. It will begin posting after I take a little break. I do not know the exact date it will be posted, but if you put me on author alert, you will know the moment that it does. I will also be posting a honeymoon outtake for Retail Therapy.
Most importantly, I need to thank my beta, fellow author, soulmate and friend, Marvar. Sometimes it feels like I met you yesterday and sometimes I feel like I've known you for years. You are, by far, the best and most important thing that has come out of this whole Twilight addiction. You have held my hand when I cried, laughed at my stupid jokes and talked to me almost every single day since the first day that I messaged you. You also became my co-author and have created one of the most wonderful characters in FanFiction. I love you, fic-wife. I adore and appreciate you so, so much. There really are no adequate words.
There are certain people that I need to thank for helping out my little fic when only ten people were reading.
Rose Arcadia – you were the first person other than Marvar to support Retail Therapy. I will never forget it and I will appreciate you forever. And I still think that the blinkie you did for this story is the hottest one ever!
Kstew411 – I know you're not around anymore, but thank you for recc'ing this story.
Squalloogal – Thank you, beautiful girl, for being a great reader and supporter and for telling people about Darcyward when not many knew who he was.
GreenEyedGirl17 – Thank you for reading and loving Darcyward…and for sending your readers to love him too.
The Slores – Brooke, AnaisMark, JustDuckie, GothicTemptress, AquariumJenn and RainaMD You guys were my first friends in FanFiction and I met you at The University. I will always love you for drunk posts, slore-stools, naked hugs and countless other things that I don't have time to mention. Thank you for everything. I simply love you all.