A/N: Thank you for reading Black Horizon!
This story begins toward the beginning of Breaking Dawn, just after Edward and Bella arrive on Isle Esme. After the Preface there is an italicized quote, which is the last line of Breaking Dawn before my story begins.
Edward froze a few feet from the trees, holding his arm out to stop me as well. Directly in front of us were six wolves and Sam, all standing in a circle staring toward the ground. They seemed to be focused on some invisible power, each of them howling at random intervals. I looked to my left to see Emmett and Jasper involved in some sort of playful banter, wrestling harmlessly on the ground. Esme was no longer screaming, but was sitting on the ground a few yards from Emmett and Jasper, giggling as she watched their fight. Alice had bolted to a fallen tree about twenty feet in front of us and was standing just in front of the stump, calmly watching the wolves' strange behavior.
Edward and I both stood in horror as we watched those around us – literally – lose their minds. I gripped his arm and looked up at his face, his eyes not leaving the trees just beyond Alice. "What is happening?"
"Gripping the handles of both huge steamer trunks in one hand and cradling me in the other arm, he carried me up the dock and onto a pale sand pathway through the dark vegetation."
I watched the calm, easy swaying of the undergrowth as we headed down the seemingly endless trail. I could barely feel Edward's arm as he carried me effortlessly, but could somehow still feel the tense excitement in his hold. I didn't know what to expect in the coming minutes, but I knew he had something in mind, and I trusted that it would be as amazing as everything else about my life with him has been.
When Edward tightened his hold on me slightly, leaning in to kiss me on the forehead, I began to focus again on the path we were on and its destination. As I looked up I immediately saw flickering lights illuminating - with the help of the moon - a square structure surrounded by large beams. As we came closer, I saw that the beams held up an awning over a massive porch, stretching around both sides of the house as far as I could see. As the form and details became clearer, my eyes widened and my breath hitched as I gazed at this building's perfection.
Each of the beams was covered in an ivy, which also served as the ground cover all around the cream-colored house. The entire front wall, excluding the door, was filled with windows. To the right of the door, what I assumed to be the living area had one large widow that protruded from the house, with two smaller windows on either side. The other side of the front door had a single, square window which looked like it probably belonged to a bedroom or office.
Candles of all sizes lined the outer edge of the porch, as well as the last few feet of the walkway up to the house. As we approached I could also see candles flickering in the front windows, and continuing throughout the front room.
Before I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of this structure - surely designed by Esme - and its surroundings, we were at the front door. Edward set me gently on my feet, holding his arm around me for longer than necessary to make sure I was steady before opening the door, allowing me to see all that had been done to prepare for this moment.
I peered inside the door and saw white candles dispersed all throughout the house, covering every elevated surface I could make out, as well as lining a walkway directly left of the entry to a set of stairs. Surrounding the candles and scattered randomly over the floor were white, pink and red rose petals. The kitchen, dining room and living area was one enormous room. I took a few moments to catch my breath while admiring the simple beauty of the open space. It was only then that I noticed Edward, staring directly at me and not seeming to notice anything about what had been done to the house. He had set the bags down just inside the door, and was facing me with his arms outstretched slightly as if preparing to catch me.
"Edward, I'm not going to fall over. I don't think, anyway. Have you looked around? This place looks so beautiful!"
He smirked slightly as he relaxed his stance. "Yes, I've seen it. Not directly, but Alice has trouble keeping things to herself when she gets excited about something. If it's always on her mind, I'm bound to see it at some point." He looked down at his feet for just a moment, and then back up at my face.
"She wanted to make everything perfect for - um - tonight." I knew if he had the ability to blush at this moment he probably would, but when realization hit I blushed enough for the both of us. As if the blush weren't enough of an indication, my heart hammered in my chest as though it wanted to jump out and run away from the embarrassment that Alice knew exactly what was going to happen. I also found hope in this, though, because if Alice had seen things happening, that meant we would be able to, despite Edward's concerns. At this notion, the heat in my cheeks turned into a quick-burning fire down my neck and onto my chest, queuing the butterflies in my stomach.
Edward took note of my nerves and pulled me into a soft hug, leaning in and grazing my ear lightly with his lips. "Don't worry, baby, Alice is blocking us out now. It's just me and you." He backed up slightly, releasing me, and held out his arms as if he were carrying me in them. I stepped toward him and he swiftly picked me up and carried me across the threshold and into the entry of the house.
As I looked toward the stairs the path of candles led to, I could see that they were covered in rose petals as well. The staircase went up a few steps then turned right and continued up a few more steps before opening to a loft, with a balcony which was - of course - lined with more candles, overlooking the main room. As we began up the stairs, I noticed the sweet scent of strawberries coming from where we were headed.
When we finally reached the top I was able to see the full room. There was a door just inside and to our left, which I presumed led to the bathroom. Just beyond the door was a king-sized bed, covered in more rose petals. In the middle of the bed sat a cherry wood tray with chocolate-dipped strawberries and two glasses of champagne. There was a large wooden dresser directly across from the bed, and a matching desk to the right of the dresser.
I could feel my heart begin to pound in my chest again, even faster than before. This seemed like a cycle that had been forming over the last few minutes as my dreams were turning into reality. Reality was I was married to Edward. Reality was we were alone on an island - named Isle Esme for his mother - in this fantastic house, which was decorated for a characteristic honeymoon. Reality was my perfect honeymoon was about to begin, and I had no idea what to say, where to start, or even if I was ready for tonight. I was ready - I had to be.
"Champagne, love?" Edward looked down at me with his dazzling smile painted across his face as he waited for me to speak, surely recognizing my sudden rush of anxiety.
"This is right out of a fairytale. It's amazing," I said breathlessly, immediately embarrassed at my lack of an appropriate description for how perfect everything was, and hoping some small talk would help settle the tension of the moment. "Who did all of this? I mean, nobody could have flown here, set this up and left again before we got here. Could they?" I remembered that these were vampires I was talking about - they probably had this entire place setup within a matter of seconds.
Edward let out a small giggle. "We have someone who comes to clean. She did all of this not long before we arrived." He kissed me sweetly on the lips and walked over to the bed, setting me down next to the tray of tantalizing treats. "You never answered my question."
"What question?" I remembered him asking a question, but was too preoccupied in my own thoughts to determine what he had asked - much less give an answer.
"I asked if you would like some champagne." He angled his head towards the tray to my left, not breaking away from my gaze.
After a few seconds of registering and considering his question, I realized I still hadn't cleaned up from the journey here, and felt a bit grungy. "Actually, it's been a long trip. Would you mind if I - um - took a human moment?"
"Please. Take your time." His mouth turned up on one side, forming a crooked smile as he backed up a step and gestured toward the door to his left. "Everything you will need is there. I will be downstairs."
He started to walk away and I reached out and caught his arm. "This is perfect. You are perfect." I reached up and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before disappearing into the bathroom.
The bathroom, much like the rest of the house, was incredible. There were two sinks to my left with two copper-bordered oval mirrors above them. In front of me and to the right was the toilet, and farther to the right was a massive Jacuzzi tub, which could probably fit at least eight people.
As Edward had said, the bathroom was completely stocked with everything a human could want or need. Placed neatly on the counter was a basket filled with shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lavender scented bubble bath. In another basket was lotion, body spray and perfume, and a few hair products I had seen in stores but had never actually used. I opened the cabinet underneath the sink to find even more of these products, along with a mass of additional items - surely provided by Alice and Rosalie - that I would probably never touch. I felt like I had been placed in my own personal salon, and I was just waiting for my beautician to arrive.
Although a long, hot, lavender-filled bubble bath would have been exquisite at that moment, I was far too anxious to see Edward again and continue our evening to take the time out for a bath. Thankfully there was a shower head on the wall above the bathtub, so I turned the water on to hot and grabbed the shampoo, conditioner and body wash from the basket on the counter.
When I finished with the shower, I wrapped myself in a towel from a rack next to the tub. I approached the counter, considering using some of the make-up provided underneath, but realized I had no idea how to apply most of what was there and quickly changed my mind. I toweled my hair until it was just damp, re-wrapped myself and emerged from the bathroom. My suitcase had been placed next to the dresser, so I walked over and opened it slowly, nervous about what I would find. As predicted, it had a few of my clothes, but was mostly filled with new outfits and a large variety of negligee items provided no-doubt by Alice - who was becoming more and more involved with my honeymoon every second.
I fished through the garments until I found a somewhat comfortable looking red silk nightgown and matching bikini-cut panties. I tossed the towel to the side, and quickly put them on. They fit perfectly, of course, except that the nightgown only reached just above my mid-thigh - which I was extremely aware of as I slowly descended the stairs.
Edward was already on his way to me by the time I reached the bottom, and stopped in his tracks when I came into view. "Wow", he gasped. "You look - incredible." He quickly closed the space between us and drew me into a long, lusty kiss, his lips passionately crushing against mine. After a few seconds our hands began to roam, mine immediately moving to his hair while his moved without purpose around my midsection and up my back. Without breaking our kiss, he reached down with one arm to the back of my knees, leaving the other behind my back as he scooped me up as he carried me back up the stairs. Before I realized we had moved he was laying me down on the bed with one arm, and had moved the tray to the floor with the other.
He was the one to finally break our kiss, giving me a moment to catch my breath. "Bella, you are," he was quiet for a moment while his eyes searched my body for the word he was looking for. "There are not enough words to describe you. Beautiful. Perfect. My wife." With that, I moved in again, kissing him as passionately as I could, trying to convey that I felt the same about him. No words could have described what I felt for him in that moment. He returned my passion, and as he moved onto the bed with me I felt my body begin to move into his, disobeying every order I had given myself to take this slow and let him lead the way. After a few seconds of my complete lack of self-control, I could feel his body responding to me, his hips rolling in tempo with mine. He kissed me harder and moved our bodies closer, his hand supporting my back as he pulled me to him. This lasted only seconds before he pulled back and put his hand between us, allowing just enough distance for me to refocus on his face and relax my movements.
"Bella, I -I don't think - " he looked away and took two long, unnecessary breaths before starting to pull further away from me.
I grabbed him by the waist, pulling myself closer to him as I sat up and met his gaze. "Please, Edward. We can do this." I was saying the words for him, as well as for myself.
"I don't know if I can. I can't hurt you, Bella. I won't allow myself to hurt you again. I don't think I can do this," he moved his hand, gesturing to the space between our bodies, " without causing you any harm. I just can't . . ." he let his sentence trail off and his gaze fell to his hands in my lap, a look of defeat forming on his face.
I reached up and cupped my hand under his chin, willing him to look at me. After a moment he complied and met my eyes with his own, his beauty -even in this tense moment - causing my heart to shudder. We sat in silence, staring into each other's eyes as I recovered. I felt as if our roles had been reversed as I tried to think of something I could say to reassure him of what we were doing.
"Don't be afraid," I murmured. "We belong together."
I was abruptly overwhelmed by the truth of my own words. This moment was so perfect, so right, there was no way to doubt it.
His arms wrapped around me, holding me against him... It felt like every nerve ending in my body was a live wire.
"Forever," he agreed.
He slowly laid me back onto the bed, supporting his weight with one arm as his other hand reached up and smoothed the still damp hair around my face. His tense eyes softened for an instant, quickly filling with desire. "My wife." His words were whispers, barely audible. The most perfect words I had ever heard, and the last words I heard that night.