A.N. Alas, here it is. I AM SORRY IT'S BEEN nearly three months... Is it bad that I'm actually crying? Here is the last, that's right, the Final chapter of Servant Boy. Do most people get this sad when they finish their first story? Maybe I'm too attached. Well for the sake of it being the last time I will be able to say it for this story...
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN TWILIGHT NOR WILL I EVER. Although I've always wanted an Edward of my own...
So now, please enjoy Chapter 22 of Servant Boy. Please do not forget to REVIEW! It makes me know I'm not a total failure as an author. )
Alice tried to distract me by helping slip on my gown, but it became a reminder of what I was doing. It sickened me knowing that I had betrayed Jacob once again. If only I could just love him the way he wanted me to. I had tried my hardest to forget my feelings from before, to force myself to love him, but to no avail. Whenever I was with him, all I could think about was comparing how different he was from Edward. His height, his voice, his laugh, and each time I saw Jacob, I would see how he lacked the green eyes I so desperately missed. All along, I was not giving him a chance. He was not Edward.
"Princess, I'm almost…finished," Alice murmured while fixing the veil on my head. She gave me an encouraging smile and dismissed herself to get the bouquet. Once she left, I decided to take a quick peek at myself in the mirror.
My wedding dress was a simple a-line dress that gathered around the waist. With a shallow v-neckline, a bodice made of crepe satin and French Chantilly lace, the hem of the gown was long enough that it would drag across the ground. The three quarter length sleeves had an intricate flower design woven on it, with twenty or so buttons on each sleeve fit the shape of my arms exactly. While the front of the dress looked rather plain and reserved, the back was extraordinary. The rear had intricate lace flowers delicately embroidered at the sides. The middle was a sheer panel made of translucent voile exposing my back, which ended above my waist. What seemed to be holding the dress together was a line of small, uniform buttons in the center. The chiffon veil was crowned with my tiara, and the light material fluttered behind me like butterfly's wings.
There was a rap on my door and Alice poked her head in. Her face was flushed and panicked. Hurriedly entering the room without my permission, she thrust the simple, hand-tied bouquet at me. I glanced down at the soft wave of scent that hit my lap. Packed with beautiful ivory flowers, it contained hyacinths, freesia, stocks and ranunculus. Slightly out of breath she announced,
"I have just received notice that the wedding will start earlier than planned. Something urgent has come up, and King Billy has to leave immediately after the ceremony. I'm sorry Princess, but it's time for you to go." I winced at her words. The wedding was starting too soon. I wasn't ready to do this. My mind was already racing, hands shaking crazily, and my breathing uneven. Alice gently placed her tiny hand on mine.
"Don't fret, Princess. Everything will turn out alright no matter what you decide."
Her words served to placate me slightly, and I steeled my nerves. She was right. I had already decided that I would marry Jacob. Jacob who has never hurt me, Jacob who has always watched over me, has asked me for one thing in return. I took a deep breath and walked out of my room without looking back.
Lady Jane was waiting for me at the front door, bowing reluctantly when she saw me. She signaled the guards to open the double doors and followed after me. Outside was a fairly large carriage, one that Father normally used to go to far away places. The outside had the grand Empire style body. Small pillars with engraved laurel leaves were then topped by golden eagles, the royal emblem. A crown was placed on the roof, showing the world of its standing. The coachman's seat was raised to the level of the roof, with two dangling lanterns on either side. Although the door was open, I could distinctly remember the coat of arms in black and gold with winged dragons protecting it. There was a folding step on the ground, and a servant was kneeling down, waiting for me to enter.
I timidly got up on the stool and entered the carriage. The interior was lined with white silk upholstered in capitonné. The scent of the inside made my head spin. I sat back in the delicate seat, prompting the footman to leave.
The carriage rolled across the bridge passing through the gateway to the palace-like church. Made of white bricks and supporting a large tower, the old cathedral was a sight to see with the decorations for the wedding.
After a long stretch of grass where the reception was to be, the carriage stopped. The faintness I felt before entering the carriage was making me dizzy, and my greatest fear was missing a step and ruining my dress. I clung to the seat as the footman lent me a hand getting off. Before I knew it, Father was at my side, and he shakily took my arm and wrapped it around his. He looked just as nervous as I felt. The blaring tune of Pachelbel's canon started to play and I could feel the lower beats make my heart pound faster. The sweet melody from the violins played slowly, beckoning me forward.
"I assume that's our queue, Bella," King Charlie said, and started walking into the church.
"Please don't let me fall, Papa," I whispered shyly. Gripping his arm tightly, I began to follow the slow march of the song.
The inside the gothic styled cathedral was much more splendid than the outside. From the black and white marble that created a jagged pattern across the floor, to the magnificent tall ceiling sculpted to create floral patterns. The head of the church was unfolding before me, the rows and rows of oak benches at the sides filled with all sorts of nobility I had never met prior to this ceremony. This time though, I recognized more faces. All around the front of the cathedral were stained glass windows, each window telling a story in pictures. In the center of the church was the greatest window that brought in the most light, the colours emitting from it dancing in the candle scented air.
"You know, Bella, it's not too late," Father whispered to me. The organ seemed to drone out the sound of everything else but his voice. I clung on to him, afraid that I would fall if I didn't. I feared that prying my eyes away from the ground would only result in embarrassment, but I jerked my head back to face him. Demanding to know what he was saying; if he knew that I didn't love Jacob as much as I should.
"We can say you're not up to this and cancel this whole wedding idea for another day… cancel the engagement for a couple years, at least until you're ready to marry," he muttered. So this sudden plan to stop the wedding was because he didn't want me to go. I breathed a sigh of relief and resorted to watching the floor move under my feet. My secret was still safe.
"I don't want you to worry about me anymore, Father. I will be fine. This is what I want," I squeezed his hand reassuringly.
My heart thumped. That's right. I chose to be here. This is for Jacob. I am here for Jacob. I could not let my anxiousness get the better of me. Jacob is good for me. I will grow to love him, and everything will work out the way it's meant to be.
For some reason that thought gave me strength. I can do this. Jacob will be my chance at happiness, and I can give him his. The aisle was menacingly long, the march growing slower, and when I felt like we were close enough to the head of the church, I looked up.
There he was, standing at the front of the church, arms extended. I gazed at his reddish-bronze hair, his warm, green eyes and over at his triumphant, crooked smile…No, this isn't right! I shook my head anguish. Why was I seeing Edward when I was marrying Jacob? I cursed my eyes for deceiving me, for showing me that I could never be with the person I really loved. I choked back my angry tears. Fearing the only thing I could do was to dwell on my misery, the ache of wishing he was here, I closed my eyes and focused on breathing.
Jasper and I were going as fast as we could back to the Castle. I could feel the pulse of my heart beating according to the trot of Jeluby's hooves. Sadly, Jeluby was not meant for racing, and so by the time we reached the castle, there was almost no one there. One of the milk maids left behind had told us that we had just missed Bella by a few minutes. She explained how the wedding was moved up by an hour in order to work with King Billy's schedule.
I hopped back on Jeluby, as I waited for Jasper to find another horse to ride, and we raced the clock to get to the wedding before the vows. Worried that we wouldn't make it in time, I began to shake uncontrollably. The wind whipped past me, not helping the fear that was slowly burning inside. The adrenaline was pumped through me, the uncertainty of what will happen next putting me edge.
Although I knew what I was set out to do was considered treason, a crime that could put me to death, it would be worth doing if I could finally tell her. I could finally hear how she feels about me. Then there was the question of how I felt about her. Although I wasn't one to talk about my feelings, I knew this was the time to. I loved her, of course. She was the first person since mother that showed me any kindness and opened up my heart to care about somebody other than myself. Bella showed me acceptance and that not everyone is as selfish as the man my mother married. In my eyes there were two worlds, me and the rest of the world, but then Bella walked into my life and became the bridge that connected both.
I would have to declare my feelings, to a larger crowd than I intended to. I quickly felt the embarrassment stir at the thought of having all those eyes staring at me while I confessed my undying love to her. Then it dawned on me that I hadn't a clue what to tell her to change her mind. What was so good about me that would allow her to run off with me instead of Jacob? No matter how hard I thought about it, there is no reason for her to choose me over the Prince. There was no proof that I was a man of any better standing than he. In fact, he may have the upper hand considering he is a young and handsome prince. He is better for her than I would ever be, and took care of her when I couldn't. All in all, the Prince was not a bad person, and I was sure that he deeply cared for her as well. Maybe in another life we could have been friends; had he not been trying to steal the only reason for my existence.
The self hate that developed in the past few minutes devoured me. There was nothing that could set me apart from Jacob. I had been a servant boy to her since we were children, nothing more than that. She has never tried to see me as a man, and could never love someone like me; someone so worthless. How could I ever compare to a Prince? How could I even begin to put us on the same battlefield?
And then I heard my mother again. "You have to tell someone how you feel. Please, let someone inside of you."
"Mother, I have done just that," I thought. "I have let her in and she has changed me. You don't have to worry about me anymore. I love Bella with everything, and I don't plan to let her go. This will be my first step to that happily ever after. I might die, but I will die knowing if we ever shared the same thought."
The suddenness of my revelation left me disorientated. My reason; I love her more than anyone else on this planet, including him. We were almost to the church, crossing over a stone bridge before getting to the gates, when I dug my heels into Jeluby which caused him sprint faster than I knew he could.
'Inhale' I sucked in a deep breath. 'now, exhale…' I found myself having to chant instructions to keep calm. Father and I were walking at a slow pace but before I knew it, we were already at the front of the church. A second later Father took my hand that was intertwined with his, and in the age-old rite shakily put it over top Jacob's. He took my head in his large hands and kissed me on the forehead. He murmured "Good luck, Bella," and left.
My mind was screaming at him to stay, not to leave me alone or make me go through with it. Instead I closed my eyes to force the tears back and empty my mind. I felt Jacob squeeze my shaky hand to make sure I was okay. This is for the best, I thought, and gathered up the courage to finish what I started.
"Dearly beloved," The priest said in a dull, monotone voice, "we are gathered here in the presence of nature, and before these friends and family, to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony, which is an honorable and beautiful estate, and therefore is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but instead with love, respect, friendship, and honor. Into this
estate these two persons present come now to be joined."
"Jacob Black and Isabella Marie Swan have come to witness before us, telling of their love for each other. We remind them that they are performing an act of complete faith each in the other; that the heart of their marriage will be the relationship they create. In a world where faith often falls short of expectation, it is a tribute to these two who now join hands and hearts in perfect faith."
"Jacob," he continued, "will you give yourself to Isabella to be her husband: to love her, comfort her, honor and protect her; and forsaking all others, be faithful to her so long as you both shall live?"
Jacob looked at me with piercing eyes and without hesitation said, "I will."
"Isabella, will you give yourself to Jacob, to be his wife: to love him, comfort him, honor and protect him; and forsaking all others, to be faithful to him so long as you both shall live?"
"I-I will," I whispered.
I heard shifting feet and I turned to see my parents alongside Jacob's, looking proudly at us.
"Do you, parents of Isabella and Jacob, give your blessing to this marriage?"
A little boy the age of seven suddenly appeared beside Jacob, holding a rather extravagant red pillow. He lifted the pillow so that it was high enough for Jacob to just reach for the ring.
"Isabella, I give you this ring as…" This is it. There is absolutely no turning back now. This ring, oh this small little token of marriage, has now tied the string of fate between Jacob and me. It is a string that cannot be severed, and can never be replaced. This is meant to happen.
"… and the Holy Spirit." Jacob finished. I realized it was my turn to speak, and I blushed because I did not realize it sooner. Jacob nodded at me to say my lines, but I could not find my voice. 'I can do this,' I thought, and took another deep breath before picking up Jacob's ring and saying,
"Jacob…I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit" I put the ring on his finger, and looked at the Priest to continue.
"Do you, Jacob Black, take Isabella Marie Swan to be your wife? To promise before God and these friends to be her loving and faithful husband, to share with her in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, and to join with her so that together you may serve God and others, as long as you both shall live?"
"Of course I do."
The Priest nodded before saying, "And, Isabella Marie Swan, do you take Jacob Black to be your husband? Do you promise before God and these friends to be his loving and faithful wife, to share with him in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, and to join with him so that together we may serve God and others, as long as you both shall live?"
"I…" My eyes fell straight down to the floor and would not look up. Memories of Jacob and Edward mixed together and created a mess of me. Jacob was not Edward, but he was such a great person despite that. He loved me when no one else would. Without even knowing it, he was able to open me up again and let me be happy. He was kind and exceptionally caring. He washed away some parts of me that longed for and missed Edward. He was the only person who knew what I wanted without me having to say. I was certain that in another life I would have loved him with all I had. If I had never met Edward, the person I would be yearning to marry would be Jacob. But because ifs do not mean reality, I was standing in front of the altar, finding reasons not to marry Jacob.
Of course, there were none of that, because I knew that if I let him, he would let me sob quietly on his chest, or talk to me and make me forget. And although his words won't quite reach me, I know he would be trying his best to be the one for me. This is the part of him that I have grown to love, but I could not let him do that for me anymore. I could at least give him this. I did not want him to suffer on my behalf. I knew it was wrong for me to think like this, selfish to use him the way I wanted to, but those thoughts were canceled out when I thought of saying no and wind up being alone again. I did not want the pain of being by myself, or the agony I would have to undergo if he decided to leave me. It was a thought I could not stand. So I re-summoned the courage that I felt earlier, and with the biggest smile I could muster, I opened my mouth slowly and said, "I d-"
"I must speak to the Princess. Please just let me talk to her," a voice cried. A sweet, velvety voice that sounded all too familiar. The voice that I had been dying to hear for so long was here. Edward was here.
Without a second thought I instantly looked back at the entrance doors, where his voice came from, and panicked.
"You are not permitted to enter you foolish boy," one of the guards I recognized as Jared Cameron said quietly. "The wedding ceremony is in process."
"You do not understand, I need to see her," I said, trying to pushing past him. The other guard standing on the other side of the door stepped in and created a barricade.
"Please, gentlemen, let us through," Jasper reasoned, and he backed away to show that we meant no harm.
"Let me go in! Please, I must speak to the Princess. Please allow me to talk to her," I begged.
"Hush, Peasant," the other guard said, "you may not pass." Defeated and angry, my rage was starting to consume me. But Jasper held down my shoulder to calm me. He then gave me a nod and without notice, he punched the other guard in the eye. The guard let out an ugly scream before collapsing to the ground. I ran to the door and looked back to give thanks to Jasper for holding back Jared. Then I pushed through the door and without daring to look back.
The people gasped in unison as I entered the cathedral. I suppose I wasn't quite dressed for the occasion. There were horrified looks from everyone, but I could only see Bella's face as I walked toward her.
"Stop the wedding, I must speak with the Princess," I said. The people began whispering, but a female's voice yelled over top theirs.
"Who do you think you are, boy? Guards, capture him." Some men scrambled to their feet, but another person, Carlisle, stopped them.
"Please, hear him out," he said. "He must have something important to say." A hush fell over the room, and the guards stopped, none of them making their way to me. Looking around to confirm that no one else would harm me, I began to speak.
"Bella, I love you. I have loved you from the moment you saved me from dying so many years ago, and I always will. Being apart from you hasn't changed that. Every day I wasn't by your side was spent thinking of you, of your adorable smile, and your sweet laugh that still sparks life into me. Days passed, overlapping each other, but I kept working hard for the sole reason that to meet with you again was keeping me alive. I even learned to play the piano in if ever that day came and I could play for you."
"Memories of you haunted me daily. During the short time I had with you, you never ceased to amaze. When everyone else was so easy to understand, you had no ulterior motives. You were pure. I couldn't help but give in to your kindness. The thing is, Bella, although I have many faults and in no way am I as rich as Prince Jacob, I will love you more than he ever will."
There was total silence in the grand cathedral. The stares coming from nobility were nerve wracking.
"I realize that there is a chance you might not feel the same way about me, but being able to express how I feel is important because I need you to know that I would do anything to be with you. That if you should choose a life with me, I will never forsake you. This is why I am prepared for the consequences of the crime I am committing, because living this life without you, Bella, is not a life at all. I'd invite death to take me if it means I can no longer be by your side. With that said, if you still choose to be with Prince Jacob, I understand. If you love him, I promise you I will not get in the way any longer. If anything, I just want you to live a happy life; even if it does not include me. But I will always love you, and I will go on for the rest of my life, no matter how short it is, loving you. So please, Bella, if you ever felt even a morsel of love that I feel for you, please tell me now. I would be happy just to know that at one point, you thought of me."
My knees gave in and I fell, feeling the concrete floor underneath me. Not wanting to show her my face, I bowed, unable to look at her expression. The fear of rejection was creeping over me, and I wasn't sure if I was prepared to hear her answer anymore. But she stood there, without a reply, and I could only hear silence. I knew it. I was a fool to think that she felt anything for me. Shame coursed through my body. The difference between us was too big to overcome. But that didn't matter. I didn't really think that she would ever love me as much as I loved her, but I prepared myself to tell her today because it would be too late otherwise. Who knows, maybe I was already too late?
"Thank you for taking the time to listen to what I had to say your Majesties. Whatever fate you have for me, I am willing to accept," I said before standing up. The guards simultaneously rushed to me, roughly grabbing my wrists and above my elbows, but I did not resist. They turned me around and started to walk out of the church.
"Edward," Bella cried, fear and sadness evident in her voice. The guards stopped and turned around again. A spark of hope was lit in my heart. Hope that the reason she was crying was because she loved me, but it was merely crushed by the logic. I saw the look of terror in her eyes and noticed the tears that were flowing endlessly down her face. I cursed myself for making her cry again. I could never do anything right. The reason for her tears was because she did not want to see a servant of hers die. In the end, that's all I ever was to her; the lowly servant boy who did as she pleased. My feelings for her probably took her off guard.
Bella looked at me intently, capturing my gaze and forcing me not to look away.
"I-" she began to say, and then looked at Prince Jacob pleadingly. A new set of tears began to form in her eyes. A look of terror flitted on Jacob's face when he understood that he was the reason for these tears. Too paralyzed to move, Jacob looked at her with a mix of emotions. Then, without warning, he pulled her in to a forceful hug, wrapping his huge arms around her and holding her tightly. He focused his attention to me, and gave me a piercing look. He glared at me for a moment, and, as if sharing his thoughts, gave me a look that said, 'If you hurt her in any way, I will kill you.'
I stared back at him in disbelief. But before I could even ask what he was trying to say, he slowly started to speak.
"If Bella ever feels like you are not treating her right, I will hear about it, and I will not think twice to destroy you. If you so much as lay a finger on her without her permission, I will be there to kill you. And if she one day decides that she would be better off with me, which she is, I will gladly take her back. I won't hesitate to take her away from you." He threw me dirty look before turning back to Bella.
In a gentler voice whispered, "Please be happy." He moved Bella so she was facing me, and then mustering all the courage and self control he had, he pushed her. She turned her head back to see what he was thinking.
"It was very kind of you to spare my feelings, Princess, but go," was all he said.
"But Prince Jacob!" a man yelled. Jacob raised a hand to silence him.
"Bella has already made her choice. Anyone who touches her or harms her in any way will have to answer to me. Father, I have made my decision. This is what I want," he ordered, and without another word, he walked away. It took a minute to watch him leave, walking away into another corridor of the church and disappearing in the shadows.
"Edward." The most dulcet sound slipped from Bella's lips. She looked at me as if trying to process what had happened; and then without giving it much thought, ran to me, smiling happily, and I caught her in my arms. I hugged her tightly, not sure whether I would ever be able to let go. She nuzzled her face into my chest, her tears damping my dirty servants clothing. She looked up at me, her face filled with emotion.
"I love you too," she said, her words warming up every part of my body. "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you… I never thought I would be able to say that," she half giggled half cried. I laughed along with her, seeing the excitement and relief in her eyes. My gaze wondered down more and I noticed the redness in her cheeks, the fullness of her mouth. I lowered my head, shifting closer to her, watching her reaction carefully. She grinned.
"I believe I've been waiting for this since I first laid eyes on you…"
She pressed her lips softly on mine. At first I kissed her cautiously, lovingly, letting my mind give in to the pleasurable feeling of her touch. I was intoxicated with her sweet fragrance, a mix of freesia and wildflowers. Her skin was burning underneath mine, making my mind go blank. I felt her fingertips in my hair, entangling her with me, not daring to let go.
Bella was finally mine.
Life goes on whether we want to or not. It wasn't easy convincing Father to let Edward and I marry, but somehow we did, and somehow we are happy. What has happened to me in the past has changed me. It is a part of me and I cannot forget it. I do not want to forget it. No one is making me forget it. It made me the stronger person I am today. But I am not yet strong enough. The tests and trials of these years will stand by me, and make me someone capable of protecting the people she loves. And although there is no guarantee that the years to come will come easy, I am proud to say that I am certain about two things. I love Edward unconditionally, and he loves me.
So, on that dreadful day when we are both old and will be forced to part, and one of us will have to live while the other stays and waits their turn; we will be okay. I will live my life with the happy memories that Edward left with me. I would have lived knowing that, even for once in my life I was wanted, and that I was never, and never will be, alone.
A.N. Thank you guys for everything! Thank you for reading this story, for reviewing, and allowing me to grow as a writer. You are amazing! I dedicate this story to several people. First, to the boy who made me feel these emotions, to the friends I made over the years, and to the people who walked right in and straight out of my life. Also to my wonderful Beta Reader who I am very grateful to have, Purehearts, thanks for sticking around! Thanks to those who supported posting my first story on fanfiction, and of course to YOU! Finally, thank you for staying with me even though I was not the best at updating and took a whole two years to complete this story! I hope you don't mind me saying, but I LOVE YOU ALL. And I will finish this by saying THANK YOU!