A/N: Before anything else I need to tell everyone thank you so much for reading this story and sticking with it until the end. I know it wasn't an easy story to read with Edward being presumed dead through a good portion of it, but I love a happily ever after. I appreciate all the reviews and constant support all of you have given me to finish this story. Now that this story is finished I will be focusing on "Happenstance" and starting two new stories. One called "To Have and to Hold" (banner for this one is on my profile) and the other is yet to be titled but it's based in Hawaii and focuses around parasailing. I'm also working on a few oneshots for fandom causes and a couple contests, so I'll be busy. Thanks again for reading. :)
Venomousgal - thank you so much for getting this beta'd for me. I know it wasn't easy with everything you were going through but I appreciate it as do all my readers. You truly are a blessing to my writing.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or the characters involved.
This I Promise You: 'Nsync
Living with Edward was the most amazing thing. He did everything in his power to make me happy. It seemed strange, but it was like my happiness made him happy. I've never had someone care and love me the way he did. He was the most amazing man I'd ever met, and I couldn't imagine my life without him.
We didn't get a whole lot of time together because of our schedules, but when we were together we made up for lost time. Edward always wanted to take me on official dates. He said he didn't want us so comfortable with living together that we forget how to have fun and do something special. We went everywhere together. I loved him more and more every day. My life was complete with him in it.
It was Christmas and our first time visiting Edward's parents since we'd been together. Amazingly enough, Edward was able to get a few days off for the holidays and we headed to Washington. It meant he had to work all through Thanksgiving, and New Years, but it was nice to have a small break and be able to spend it with family.
Carlisle and Esme were both so welcoming of me in Edward's life. To be honest, I was a little worried about how they would accept me. Edward never did mention much about how his parents took the news of us being together. I knew what Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Rose thought, but I still hadn't heard much of what Esme and Carlisle thought.
At first, I think they were a little concerned about whether our relationship was real or just some strange connection we had because of what happened, but once they saw how different Edward was they warmed up to the idea and genuinely seemed happy for us. Esme even pulled me aside the first day we were there to give me a hug. She was crying when she whispered "Thank You" in my ear. I didn't quite understand why she was thanking me, but I accepted with a hug in return.
Later that first night I asked Edward what it was about, and he explained that his parents hadn't really seen him smile in years. When he was with me, all he did was smile. His mom was thankful for that.
On Christmas day, Esme invited my father to have Christmas dinner with us. He was a little shocked at first when they invited him, but of course he accepted. He was definitely the entertainment of the evening. Emmett and my dad were a riot together and kept us laughing all through dinner and well after.
I liked seeing Emmett and Rose again. I really liked Emmett and enjoyed spending time with him. He was always teasing Edward about anything and everything. It seemed like a natural thing between the two of them. Edward never seemed fazed by his jokes and took them in stride. I loved that quality about him.
On our last night in Forks, Edward and I went to my dad's house for dinner. Although my dad seemed comfortable with me and Edward together, I could tell he was still reserved and was waiting for Edward to prove himself worthy of his daughter. I thought it was kind of sweet. Here I was, nearly thirty years old and my dad still wanted to be the protective father figure. I guess he never really had that opportunity when I was a teenager so he was making up for it now.
While I did dishes in the kitchen, my dad and Edward sat in the living room having a heart to heart conversation. I decided to take my time with the dishes, giving them as much time to bond as possible. Edward was the first person I'd ever been this serious about so I was sure my dad had some questions and concerns. I knew Edward wouldn't have a problem winning my dad over, though.
Just as I was finishing up the last of the dishes, Edward came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. I leaned back against his chest and smiled.
"You've been in here for quite a while. Did you need any help?" he asked, his lips brushing seductively against my ear.
I sighed, trying to hold in my need for him. "I'm just about done," I answered. "I took my time in an attempt to give you a chance to talk to my Dad."
He turned me in his arms, looking down at me with a questioning look. "What exactly is it you think we were talking about?" he wondered.
I shrugged my shoulders, giving him a puzzled look in return. "I don't know. I just know my dad and he's trying to be all protective like I'm still a teenager. I didn't date in high school and he never met Riley or any other guy I have dated since so this is the first time he's had a chance to be the intimidating father figure." I giggled. "I can just imagine the things he must have said."
Edward laughed in return. "You have no idea," he teased.
"Then enlighten me," I ordered playfully while wrapping my arms around his neck. He leaned down, giving me a quick kiss.
"I would, but we need to get going," he looked away as he evaded the question. "We have to leave early in the morning for the airport and I still have some packing to do."
I reluctantly pulled my arms from around his neck and nodded my head, then quickly washed the countertops off before going in to the living room where my dad was. He hugged me tightly and wished me a Happy New Years. Unfortunately, my New Years was probably going to be spent alone, but I didn't mind.
Edward retrieved our coats from the hook by the door and helped me into mine, before opening the door for me.
"Have a good flight home," my dad called from the front step as we climbed into the car.
"We will, Dad. I'll see you soon. Maybe next time you should come visit us."
He laughed, ducking his head. "Maybe I will be soon."
We drove back to Edward's parent's house silently and I got the impression something was bothering him.
"Did my dad say something to upset you?" I asked.
"No, why?" he answered, glancing back and forth from me to the road.
"I don't know you've just been really quiet."
He smiled and reached over, taking my hand in his. "I'm not upset about anything. I'm just a little disappointed we have to go home already. I like being home with my family. I like you being a part of my family."
I smiled and rested my head against his shoulder as he drove. "I like being a part of your family too."
"Do you?" he wondered seriously.
"Yeah," I agreed. "I mean, Alice has always been like a sister to me and I really like Emmett. Jasper and Rose have really been very welcoming, which I was a little nervous about with Rose. And I love your parents. They seem so caring and supportive of all their children. I really admire that about them."
I heard him breathe a chuckle, before raising my hand to his lips, kissing it softly and then holding it close to his heart.
When we arrived back at his parent's home, everyone was in the living room trying to help Esme figure out the new laptop she just got for Christmas.
"Hey, you two," Carlisle called making everyone turn their heads towards us. "We were all thinking of playing Monopoly tonight. Do you want to play?"
The thought of being with this big happy family playing a board game sounded like fun. I smiled and was about to accept when Edward answered before I had a chance.
"I think we're going to head to bed. We have to leave pretty early in the morning and I know how competitive these Cullen game nights get."
Disappointment rushed through me, but more than anything, I knew there was something wrong. Edward was most definitely upset about something.
I glanced back at his family and could read the worry and concern written all over their faces. They were seeing the same thing in Edward that I was seeing.
I held on to Edward's hand tightly as he led me up the stairs to his old bedroom. We walked inside and he shut the door before he sat down at the edge of the bed to take his shoes off.
I stood there watching and studying him, trying to make sense of what was going on with his emotions.
After his shoes were off, he simply sat there and stared at the floor like he was about to cry. I rushed over and sat down next to him, wrapping my arm around his shoulders.
"What's wrong, Edward? I know there's something bothering you. I want to know what it is," I insisted.
He faked a chuckle and reached for my hand. "It's nothing, really. I'm just dealing with some insecurities and fears like I used to."
"Fears about what?" I pressed further.
He turned towards me with a smile on his face and kissed my forehead. "There's nothing to be concerned about, okay? I get like this sometimes. I start to question myself and wonder if I'm doing things right or if I'm going to make a fool of myself. I'll figure it out, eventually."
"What is it you're trying to figure out?" I asked trying to make him tell me more. He clenched his jaw and stared back at the floor. "I'm sorry if you think I'm pushing too much, I just want to help. I want you to be able to come to me and talk to me when you have a problem. Isn't that what this is all about; being here to support each other and take care of each other? I love you, Edward. Nothing you ever say or do will ever change that. I'll always be here for you."
He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me tightly against his side, before giving me a chaste kiss on the lips. "Sometimes hearing you say you love me is enough to make it all go away."
I knew he was probably lying, but I realized the more I pushed, the more he was going to pull away. I needed to wait for him to come around and want to talk to me about what was bothering him.
He went to take a shower while I changed into pajamas and crawled into bed. I really couldn't sleep since my mind was swirling with thoughts about what was going on with him. I really hated how he still shut me out of things. We promised each other we weren't going to keep secrets and we would be honest, but here he was keeping something from me; something which was causing him to fall back into a depression.
Twenty minutes later, I felt him crawl into bed next to me and wrap his arms around my stomach from behind. He kissed my shoulder a couple times as well as the spot right behind my ear, before laying his head next to me and falling asleep.
I had a hard time falling asleep, but eventually I did.
I was running through the trees searching for something, but I didn't know what. I could feel the panic and fear rushing through me as I searched. I felt the branches and leaves hitting me and scratching or cutting my face and arms. I could feel the tears running down my face.
I kept running and running and never felt like I was getting anywhere. I could hear people shouting in the distance but couldn't make out what they were saying. I didn't care. I just kept running and searching.
I didn't stop, until I saw a curled up figure lying on the ground. A sense of relief rushed through me like I found what I was looking for, even if I still didn't know what it was. I slowly walked over to the mound and knelt down next to it. My hand instinctively reached out and just as I did, the form moved and looked up at me with cold, dead eyes. I gasped and fell backwards when the once sweet and tender face of Marcial changed to something I didn't recognize anymore.
"You left me," he whispered, his eyes full of accusation.
I sat straight up in bed, choking and gasping for air. I jumped a foot when Edward sat up next to me and rubbed my back.
"Bella, are you okay?" he asked.
I fell into his arms, holding him tightly as hot tears streamed down my face.
His arms wrapped around me protectively. "Bella, what is it?" he questioned with genuine concern in his voice.
I pulled away, looking up at his face. "It's Marcial. Something's wrong. I don't know what it is but something's wrong."
"Okay," he assured nodding his head and wiping my tears.
"I saw him in my dreams. He was lost and I was searching for him. When I found him he looked angry. He wasn't the same kid I knew." I paused for a moment letting the dream come back to me. "Something's wrong with him, Edward. I think something terrible has happened to him. Please, we have to go back."
"It's okay, Bella. It's okay," he comforted soothing my hair and holding me close. "I know someone in the area who has a phone and would be willing to go check on him. I'll give him a call right now."
I nodded my head, feeling a sense of relief as Edward hopped off the bed and went to get his cell phone. I watched as he dialed a number and spoke quickly to whoever was on the other line in a hushed tone.
After a few minutes he came back over and sat down next to me. "He's going to drive over to the orphanage and check in on things. He'll call me back once he knows anything," Edward explained.
I took a deep breath and leaned into his chest. "I know something's wrong, Edward. It was just like the dreams I had with you. You do believe me, don't you?" I choked out through my sobs.
"Of course I believe you. If I didn't believe you I never would have made that call. We'll know something soon."
Edward encouraged me to go downstairs with him to get a drink of water and sit on the couch while we waited. He kept rubbing my shoulder and kissing the back of my hand in an attempt to comfort me, but nothing was going to calm me until I knew Marcial was okay.
"Is something wrong?" Esme asked from behind us.
Edward turned around to face his mom. "Sorry Mom, did we wake you up?"
"Oh no, not at all," she assured. "Are you two okay?"
"Um, yeah," Edward replied unconvincingly. He stood from the couch and walked his mom out of the room most likely to explain to her what happened.
Edward was only away for a moment when suddenly I heard his cell phone ringing. I jumped off the couch as fast as I could and ran to him, waiting and hoping for answers about Marcial.
He answered his phone but I begged him to put it on speaker so I could hear what was going on.
"Hi, Edward," Amber's sullen voice came through on the other end.
"Amber?" both Edward and I shrieked at the same time.
"What's going on? Where's Marcial?" I asked.
I heard her sigh into the phone before answering. "The last few weeks he's gone into a deep depression. He's barely eating, he doesn't play with the other kids at all, and he lies in his bed most of the day. I've been in and out of the hospital with him trying to figure out what's wrong with him but the doctors have no answers for why he's acting like this."
I watched as Edward's head dropped in regret and pain. I reached out and rubbed his back to comfort him. I knew this wasn't going to be good for him to hear right now.
"Earlier today," Amber continued. "He disappeared. We had a dozen people out looking for him. After being gone for nearly six hours we found him curled up in a ball lying next to a tree. He's dehydrated and exhausted, but the doctors say he'll be fine… physically anyway."
"Okay, we'll come down right away to see him," Edward announced. I nodded my head in agreement. I felt like I needed to physically see him with my own two eyes to know he was okay. "I'm sure I can get some more time off from work. If I can't right away, then Bella can go down now and I'll come later."
"I'd rather you didn't," Amber requested.
"What?" we both said in unison again, shock echoing in our voices.
"You both can't keep coming in and out of his life. Every time you do it, it messes him up. He needs to have time to adjust to not having either of you here. He's attached himself to both of you and sending him gifts and pictures of the two of you together is hurting him. He gets so excited at first but then a few days later he shuts down. I'm sorry, but I can't let either of you do this to him anymore. I know you both care about him, but if you truly do you'll let him go so he can learn to live again."
Her words stung both of us. Edward looked like he just had the wind knocked out of him. As much as I wanted to protest, I knew she was right.
"Can you please just call or send a letter occasionally to let us know if he's okay?" I requested, realizing Edward was not going to be able to respond. He was clearly shaken up by what she said. Whatever he was dealing with earlier was not going to get any better with this new development. I felt horrible for even saying anything about the dream. I should have kept it to myself. I should have known this would cause more problems for all of us.
"I'll send out a letter in a few days," she agreed, albeit reluctantly.
"Thanks, Amber," I said before hanging up the phone.
Edward and I stood there for a few minutes not speaking or moving. Esme stood next to her son in a protective stance and rubbed his shoulder.
Suddenly, Edward lifted his head and took a deep breath startling both me and Esme. "We need to pack. I have to be back to work tomorrow."
With that statement, he headed back upstairs leaving me standing with his mother, stunned and confused.
"Is he going to be okay?" I asked timidly not really expecting an answer.
Esme pulled me into a warm embrace, doing her best to comfort me as well. "He'll be just fine as long as he has you by his side. It'll be tough going for a while, but he'll get through it. You both will, and so will Marcial."
I nodded my head and smiled at her reassuringly, before slowly walking up the stairs to pack my stuff. Edward was quiet and barely acknowledged me in the room as I arranged my belongings.
By the time we were ready to leave the next morning everyone in the house was up. They all said their goodbyes and wished us well. Edward never spoke a word to anyone about what happened during the night, but I knew Jasper could tell something was wrong. He kept giving both of us strange looks like he was trying to read our thoughts.
While Edward was out loading our bags in the trunk of the car Jasper pulled me aside and insisted I tell him what was wrong with his brother. Hesitantly, I did tell him as much as I could in a matter of about thirty seconds.
"What should I do?" he asked sincerely.
I shrugged and shook my head. "I don't know. I don't even know what I can do. I'm hoping once we get home we can talk but I'm worried he blames me. If I hadn't said anything about the dream none of this would have happened."
"Bella, don't blame yourself. Obviously it was something building up and probably only a matter of time before it happened. I'm sure he doesn't blame you either. Knowing him, he's probably blaming himself."
"Yeah," I agreed, regrettably. I didn't want him blaming himself either. That would be worse. "Do you have any advice? You've known him your whole life. I still feel like I don't know how to help him or make him feel better. He was already upset about something last night on the drive back from my dad's and he won't tell me what that was. Now this happened and it made things ten times worse. I don't know what to do."
He chuckled. "Bella, I have been trying to get through to him for over ten years. It took you a matter of a day to make him smile again. If anyone can help him get through this it's you."
I smiled bashfully at his statement. "Thanks, Jasper." I gave him a quick hug before going outside and telling everyone else goodbye. Edward barely said goodbye to anyone before getting in the car and starting it up.
The trip to Sea-Tac was fairly quiet. Both of us were lost in our own thoughts and fears. I honestly didn't know what to do or say so I decided that silence was best.
Once we were on the plane, to avoid any further uncomfortable silence, I rested my head back against the seat and fell asleep. I was actually hoping I might have another dream like I had with Edward. Maybe if I had another dream about Marcial I'd have something to tell Edward to make him feel better about the situation.
Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to dream. The flight was so short I barely fell asleep before we were landing. We picked up our luggage and caught a cab home and Edward still hadn't uttered a word.
When we walked into our apartment I couldn't take it anymore. I dropped my bags on the floor and turned around to face him. He simply stood by the door with his head down looking like a wounded animal. He wasn't even fazed by the sound of the suitcase hitting the floor.
"Edward, please tell me what I can do," I begged. "I can't handle the silent treatment you're giving me. I know you're probably angry at me right now, but there's got to be something I can do to make this better. Just tell me what to do."
His eyes rose to mine and the look of intense longing on his face nearly undid me. "Marry me."
Chills ran up and down my body and I felt light-headed. Had I heard him correctly?
"What?" was the only word I could manage.
"Marry me, Bella," he repeated, his expression serious. He closed the distance between us and took my face in his hands. I stared up at him with wide, frightened eyes. "You wanted to know what was bothering me. I had planned to ask you to marry me on Christmas, but I chickened out. I doubted myself and I doubted your love for me. Last night with your dad I asked him his permission, thinking maybe if I had his blessing I would have a little more confidence. I told him I planned to ask you on New Year's." He shook his head and chuckled lightly. "I probably would have chickened out again if it wasn't for Marcial."
I gave him a questioning look. I didn't know how Marcial gave him the confidence to ask me to marry him, but somehow he did.
"I thought about this all the way home and it makes perfect sense," he continued. "I want to bring Marcial home with us. I want to give him the life he deserves. I want to adopt him and I'm asking you to do this with me. I'm asking you to marry me and make us a family."
I stared up at him unable to answer while I thought about what he was suggesting. He wanted to adopt Marcial. He wanted us to be a family. He wanted me to be a mom. Could I really do this? Could I really marry him and be a mom?
The more I thought about it, the more the obvious answer screamed at me.
I stood motionless as he lowered himself to one knee, taking my hand in his. "Marry me."
"Yes," I gasped, beginning to cry. "Yes, Edward."
He breathed a sigh of relief and reached into his pocket, pulling out a little black box which opened up to reveal a simple diamond solitaire in a white gold setting.
"I know it's not much, but I'll get you something better when I'm actually making good money," he promised.
"I don't want anything bigger. This is just perfect," I assured. He smiled and slipped the ring on my finger.
I fell to the floor and hugged him tightly, squealing with excitement. I was actually going to marry the man I'd always wanted.
The rest of the night, we spent discussing adopting Marcial. I was hesitant at first, considering we were both barely financially surviving as it was. I wasn't even done with school and he had just started his residency. An international adoption wasn't cheap. I don't think we ever discussed the wedding. Our main focus was figuring out how we could adopt Marcial and bring him home. The more we discussed it and thought it though, the more I realized just how right this was. It wasn't about guilt or fear of what we'd done to him. It was about him belonging with us, to us. He'd always been a part of us. He'd been the one to bring us together somehow. With his physical handicap it would be better for him to live with us because we could get him the treatment and special help he needed to live a fulfilling life. This was right.
My mom was probably the most shocked by the news that we were getting married, but she was even more shocked when I told her we were planning to adopt a little boy from the Dominican Republic. She thought we had both gone absolutely crazy and tried to talk me out of it, but once I explained the situation, she came around a little.
My dad was surprisingly overjoyed to see us getting married and adopting a child. He told me it was something he always thought I would do. He also told me that after spending time with both Edward and I, he realized how close of a connection we had and knew this was right. My dad always managed to put a smile on my face.
Edward's parents were also supportive of any decision Edward made and had complete faith in his choices. They offered to pay for the entire wedding and all the international adoption fees, which were much higher than we expected them to be.
Edward wanted to move into a house, so we started searching for one close to where Alice and Jasper lived. We were lucky enough to find one only two blocks away from them, which was perfect. It was only a three bedroom house with a small backyard but it was fine for right now. Someday, we'd buy something bigger and better.
Jasper and Alice were more excited about us living so close to them than us adopting a child, although they both promised to help us out with Marcial as much as they could. With Edward working erratic hours at the hospital and me still in school it was going to be tough to care for him. He would be in school part of the time but we'd have to work out a schedule for all of us.
Alice, being the event planner, was put in charge of planning our wedding. I wanted it to be simple and small, nothing over the top. There were only a handful of people I wanted to invite so we didn't need it to be too extravagant.
Rose was…Rose. She didn't think it was a good idea to adopt a child when we were only going to be married for a few short weeks before we brought him home, but after her initial protests, and us telling her nothing she said was going to change our minds, she kept her mouth shut. Emmett, on the other hand was probably the most excited out of anyone. He couldn't wait to have a nephew and he went around telling everyone that he was going to be an uncle in just few short months.
It took forever for us to finalize the adoption process. There were stacks and stacks of paperwork to fill out. We had to take parenting classes and meet with numerous case workers, adoption workers, counselors, and attorneys. It was exhausting to be honest. Then there was the issue with our not being married yet, but once we explained our plans to get married shortly to the officials everyone we talked to seemed to accept our choice.
Alice, Angela and Rose took me dress shopping about two months before the wedding. Alice said it was cutting it close but with school, my internship, moving, and the adoption process, I didn't have time. Finally, she put her foot down and insisted I take a day off, leaving Jasper and Edward to deal with fixing up the house we just moved in to. Alice was sure it was going to take all day for us to find the perfect dress and wasn't even sure if we'd find the right dress, but was determined to give it her best shot.
We walked into the first shop and were greeted by a very pretty woman named Mary who showed us to the back of the store and asked us to take a seat. She questioned me about what it was I was looking for in a wedding dress and in typical Alice fashion she answered for me.
"I'm the wedding planner and even though the wedding is going to be small she needs to wow the crowd. I want her to be in a full ball gown, lots of beading, lots of lace, and I think a strapless look would work best," Alice surmised.
I stared over at her with a gaping mouth. Angela and Rose both giggled next to me.
"Thanks Alice," I said sarcastically.
"Bella, you know I would never make you wear anything you didn't want to, but I am the one planning this wedding, and I know what would look the best," she explained, brushing off her high handedness.
"Don't worry about it, Bella. She did the same thing to me when we planned my wedding," Rose informed me. "She actually knows what she's doing too. Even though we both had different ideas of what I should wear, we compromised in the end and she was right about how perfect the dress she thought I should wear actually fit the wedding theme."
I gave her a grateful smile before glancing back at Mary. "I guess I better listen to what Alice suggested."
Alice squealed and clapped her hands excitedly. Mary walked away to retrieve some dresses from the back room, leaving us to chat for a few minutes. I hadn't really thought about the dress much. I didn't know the first thing about wedding dresses. Even though I was a little perturbed with Alice taking control, I was thankful she was here to help me out too.
"So," Alice began nervously. "Have you decided who will be in your wedding party?"
Oh right." I hadn't told them yet, which was part of why I'd asked them all to be here today. "Actually, I want the three of you to be in the wedding party. Of course I'll want Alice to be my matron of honor but Angela and Rose, I want you both to be my bridesmaids."
I looked up at their faces nervously. The three of them slammed into me with hugs squealing with excitement. I laughed at their exuberance at being a part of my wedding.
"Alright, we're all ready for you, Bella," Mary informed walking back over to us.
"While I'm changing into dresses, the three of you should pick out some bridesmaid dresses. I don't care what you wear, so choose whatever you want," I instructed.
"Uh, no," Alice interjected. "I will be picking out what everyone wears. There's no way I'm letting us wear bridesmaid dresses that are not matching or in opposing colors. I've got this, Bella. You just work on finding a wedding gown."
I laughed at her just as she got up and started searching the racks of bridesmaid dresses. Angela and Rose shot me a glance and rolled their eyes.
There was a knot in my stomach as I followed Mary back to the dressing room. I was still having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact I was marrying Edward Cullen.
I changed out of my clothing and into the bra and slip I was given before the consultant walked in to help me into the first dress.
"This first one is absolutely beautiful," Mary described. "After hearing what your wedding planner described, I knew I had to get this dress for you."
"She's not only my wedding planner. She's also my best friend and very soon will be my sister-in-law. Her husband is my fiancé's twin brother."
"Oh, that's why she's so overbearing then," she laughed.
I laughed and nodded my head in agreement.
Once the dress was zipped up all the way in the back, Mary had me turn around and look in the mirror. I gasped at what I saw and tears instantly sprung to my eyes. It was exactly what Alice described. It was strapless, with a full ball gown and had pearl beading all along the bodice. It flowed out in layers and layers of silk and organza. The dress was perfect and it fit me like a glove. It was like the dress was literally made for me. This was the same dress I remembered from my dream. This was it.
"Do you like it?" Mary asked quietly.
I nodded my head unable to speak I was so overcome with emotion.
"Should we show the warden?" she joked casually.
"Yeah, just give me a minute." I wiped the tears away from my eyes and took a few cleansing breaths.
Mary gathered up the train and helped me walk out towards my friends. As I walked out, I searched each of their faces for a reaction but all they could do was stare in amazement. I expected Alice to instantly start her commentary but she didn't utter a word.
I stood in front of the mirror, looking back at the three of them, waiting for anything.
"What do you think?" I asked nervously.
Alice's eyes finally rose to meet mine and with an awed voice she answered. "You look absolutely amazing. This is it, Bella. There's no reason to try on any other dresses."
"I agree," Rose said. "This is perfect."
Angela, unable to talk from the tears falling down her cheeks, nodded her head in agreement.
"Are you all sure," I asked doubting myself. "Is this really the dress? I mean, I've only tried on one dress. Maybe I should try on a couple more just to be sure."
"If you want to you can," Alice said. "But honestly, Bella this is the dress. I can't imagine anything else looking better than this one."
"Okay," I accepted. "Then I guess this is my dress and now it's time for the three of you to try on bridesmaid dresses."
Alice hopped up giddily and held up some dresses she'd placed in the chair next to her. "Which one do you like best?" she asked.
I looked back and forth between the three dresses and settled on the cream colored, spaghetti strap, tea length dress. I was sure if my choice wasn't correct I'd be vetoed by Alice but when her smile grew into a huge grin, I knew I'd chosen correctly.
Just a few short weeks later my mom flew in to help me with last minute preparations for the wedding and to actually spend some time with Edward to get to know him. Within a couple hours my mom was already in love with him. He was exactly what she always pictured for me and she couldn't be happier for both of us. She kept reminding him of how much of a catch I was, making me blush and leave the room a lot. Edward was a doll and would just smile and agree with her wholeheartedly.
Edward was able to obtain four weeks off for our wedding and to travel to Punta Cana to get Marcial. A week before the wedding we all headed up to Forks. The wedding was going to be held in the backyard of the Cullen home, which is exactly what I remembered from the dream.
That last week was a blur. I remember setting up and preparing things but I don't remember much more than that. Alice insisted I wasn't allowed to see the final setup until I walked down the aisle.
Two days before the wedding, we finally received the official documentation from the Dominican Republic stating our petition to adopt Marcial had been approved and that we needed to set up a time to travel there and pick him up to complete the adoption process.
We hadn't told him or even Amber about our plans in fear they would fall through, but having that official documentation in our hands was exactly what we needed to make it real. We rushed around the house telling everyone who was around. Even vendors who were just dropping stuff off for the wedding were told our wonderful news.
We decided not to call Punta Cana. We figured Amber probably already knew about the adoption by now and we really wanted it to be a surprise for Marcial. We hadn't had any contact with him for months and we couldn't wait to see him again to tell him the good news.
The night before the wedding, Edward and I were lying on his childhood bed, kissing and holding each other for one last time before we were separated by Alice for the night.
"Where do you want to go for a honeymoon?" he asked playfully.
I smiled. "You know exactly where I want to go."
"Just making sure you haven't changed your mind. This is a huge step. It hasn't even been a year since we've been together," he pointed out, hovering over me and brushing a strand of hair off my forehead.
"I don't believe that. I think in my heart I have always been with you. From the very moment we met I've been yours."
He smiled proudly. "I'd have to agree with you Mrs. Cullen."
"I'm not Mrs. Cullen yet, you know?" I teased. "I'm still Miss Swan, and I'm actually considering hyphenating my name."
"Then where does that leave Marcial?" he asked playing along. "Should his new name be Marcial Swan-Cullen?"
I laughed pulling him down closer to me and kissing him passionately.
"I actually really like the sound of Bella Cullen. I'm sure you'd laugh at me if I told you I used to write Isabella Cullen all over my notebook."
"Did you really?" he questioned with a raised eyebrow.
"No," I laughed. "No, I wasn't that type of girl."
"I didn't think you would be. You've always been different. I think that's one of your most attractive qualities," he said seductively, leaning in to kiss my neck.
"You know Alice is going to kill you if she catches you right?" I reminded.
"Who's going to tell? I won't take long." His hand trailed up my side, lifting my shirt and grazing his fingers across my nipple.
I giggled at the sensation and leaned my head even further to the side to grant his lips access. I moaned and had just begun to lose myself in his touches when there was suddenly a knock on the door.
"Edward you are not supposed to be with your bride-to-be the night before your wedding," Alice's sharp voice warned.
"Come on, Alice. Can't you just make an exception for an hour, tops?" Edward begged. I giggled and brushed my fingers across his cheeks before lightly kissing him on the lips.
"Absolutely not, now get out. Bella needs her beauty sleep," Alice ordered.
"No she doesn't," Edward argued. "She's always beautiful, Alice."
"Yeah, yeah, you're a real Prince Charming. Now, I'm not going to warn you again before I come charging through this door."
He sighed in frustration and rolled off of me. I sat up next to him and rubbed his shoulder. "I'll be out in five minutes," he promised.
"I'm setting the timer now," Alice warned.
"God, she's so bossy," Edward complained.
"I heard that," Alice called through the door sending both of us into fits of laughter.
"I probably should leave before she follows through with her threats," Edward suggested. "I wouldn't put it past her."
I whined, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. "I don't want you to leave. I don't believe in bad luck. I believe all bad luck turns to good luck."
"Me too, but my sister-in-law will disagree with both of us and veto all of our votes. You know she will."
"I know," I complained pulling my arms away from him.
He turned slightly on the bed, twisting his hands in my hair and pulled my lips to his. His kiss was all consuming like he feared this might be the last time we might see each other. Or maybe it's just because he didn't want it to end. I know I didn't want it to. If I had my way we would have just gotten married at the court house and went straight to the honeymoon.
When there was another sharp knock on the door, Edward grumbled and pulled away from the kiss.
"I love you," I whispered.
"I love you, too," he said with a smile and gleam in his eyes. "I'll see you tomorrow morning."
"I'll be the one in a white dress," I reminded playfully.
"I'll be the one in a white tux," he said in return.
"You're wearing a white tux?" I asked.
"Yeah, Alice said you chose a cream color for the bridesmaid dresses so she thought the whole theme of the wedding should be light colors. Everyone is in white or cream and everything else is too."
"Oh," I said.
"Are you okay with everything being light colors?" he asked nervously.
"Yeah, it's fine. I just keep thinking back to that dream I had with you at your wedding...our wedding. Everything Alice keeps doing is exactly what I remember."
He smiled, leaning down one last time to kiss me. "The only thing I remember was how beautiful you were walking down the aisle. I didn't notice anything else and I'm sure tomorrow it will be exactly the same."
I rolled my eyes and laughed lightly. "You really are a Prince Charming."
"Your Prince Charming," he cooed with a crooked smile on his face.
"You're really cheesy, you know?"
He laughed. "I know. But I also know regardless of how cheesy or ridiculous I am you'll always love me."
"Yes I will. And you'll always love me."
"For the rest of my life," he promised. "Probably even after death."
I laughed and rolled my eyes again. "Get out and go have fun with Jasper and Emmett tonight. I'll see you tomorrow."
He leaned down, giving me one last kiss before walking towards the door. I started pulling down the sheets and crawling into them.
"Bella," he called, stopping at the door. I paused and looked over at him. "Thank you."
I gave him a puzzled look and asked him, "for what."
"For making every dream I've ever had come true. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. You truly did save my life even if you try to convince everyone you didn't. You did in more ways than one."
I blushed at his words, before jumping off the bed and running across the floor and embracing him in a tight hug. His arms encircled me and I heard him sigh softly into my hair.
"I love you, Edward."
"I love you, too."
Once again, Alice started pounding on the door and was joined by Jasper and Emmett this time.
"Come on, Man. We have some bachelor rituals to get to," Emmett called.
"You are planning to spend the rest of your life with her. Can't you leave Bella for one night to come hang out with us before you're tied down?" Jasper asked jokingly.
We heard Alice smack him and Jasper screech in pain before she started giving him a lecture. We ignored them and held on to each other a little longer before they started pounding on the door again.
Reluctantly, we released each other and Edward left the room with Jasper and Emmett. Alice came bounding through the door and hopped on my bed.
"What were you and Edward doing?" she asked accusingly.
"Nothing," I relied. "We were just talking."
"Well, as your matron of honor I am here to do anything you need before you go to sleep. Do you need a massage or a facial? Maybe you'd like to sit up and chat for a while to try and calm your nerves," she suggested.
"Why don't you just let me sleep?"
"Seriously?" she whined. "No girl talk or anything?"
"No, I'm actually kind of tired. I don't want to be tired tomorrow. It would probably be really bad if I was yawning during the ceremony or if I had bags under my eyes from lack of sleep."
"Alright," she accepted readily. "But if you need anything I'll be right down the hall."
"Thanks, Alice. I'll see you in the morning."
I crawled under the covers and turned off the light next to the bed before falling asleep.
In the morning, I was woken bright and early to prepare for the day. Alice started in on fixing my hair and make-up right away. I didn't even have a chance to eat something first. She called Rose in to go make me a bagel and bring me up some coffee. She said there was no time to rest so I had to eat while she worked.
We were having a noon wedding since we had to be on a plane to the Dominican Republic at six later that night. Our bags were already packed and all documentation we needed for the adoption was carefully placed in our carry-on. We had a bag packed with clothes, toys, and other necessities for the kids at the orphanage and of course things for Marcial. As crazy as it might sound to have a child on our honeymoon, it's exactly what we both wanted. We just wanted him to know we hadn't forgotten him and we were going to make him a part of our life forever.
With only five minutes to spare, Alice zipped me up in my dress and told me I was ready. I took a cleansing breath trying to get the nerve to walk down that aisle in front of everyone. I just needed to focus on Edward and I'd be okay.
Right before we went downstairs, Alice held out a small box towards me. "What's this?" I asked taking the box from her hands with a curious look on my face.
"It's from Edward. He told me to give it to you right before you walked down the aisle," she explained. "And it better not make you cry otherwise he's in big trouble."
I opened up the box to reveal a charm of two wedding rings. One was engraved with our wedding date and the other was engraved with 'Bella Amore'. I smiled and instantly felt the tears begin to form in my eyes.
"Oh, no you don't," Alice warned, beginning to fan my face with a magazine. "I told you no crying."
"I'm sorry. I just can't believe this is really happening."
"It is happening, Bella, and I'm so happy for both of you," she expressed taking the charm from my hands and fastening it to the bracelet I still wore on my wrist.
"You're welcome." She gave me one last hug before helping me pick up the bottom of the dress to make my way downstairs.
My mom came up just as I was beginning to go down.
"I wanted to talk to you really quick before you walk down the aisle," she begged.
I nodded my head and went back into the room with my mom following behind. Alice huffed and pointed to her watch.
"It'll only be a minute, Alice. It's not like they can start without me, anyway," I pointed out.
"Make it quick," she ordered.
I shut the door and turned towards my mom.
"I just wanted to tell you how proud of you I am. I don't think I've said that enough through the years. I know you're a grown woman now and don't need a mom anymore but I still see you as my little girl I carried around on my hip," she cried.
"Mom, don't cry," I pleaded. "If you cry, I'll start to cry and Alice will be furious with me."
"I'm sorry," she apologized, wiping her eyes and pulling me into her arms. "I'm just so happy for you. I can't believe my little girl is getting married."
"I am, Mom and in just a few short days I'm going to be a mother too. How crazy is that?" I joked.
"Are you sure, Isabella?" she asked. "I know you and Edward have thought this through and worked really hard the last few months to make this adoption possible, but are you really sure? He's not a baby you can raise. He's going to have a completely different culture and way of life already instilled in him. Are you ready to take this on?"
"I'm sure, Mom. I've never been surer about anything in my life. Not even becoming a psychologist is as important as he is to me. I'm Marcial's mother and I'm going to bring him home," I insisted.
She nodded her head and smiled in acceptance. I could still see the concern in her face, but I didn't care. She didn't get it and she probably wouldn't until she got a chance to know him.
She gave me one last hug before rushing downstairs to find her seat.
Angela, Rose, and Alice all walked out in front of me followed by Brady who Alice dressed up as the ring bearer. Personally, I thought it was a little tacky to have a dog as the ring bearer, but she insisted because he was family. Edward didn't seem to have a problem with it so we told her it was fine.
"You look beautiful, Isabella," my dad said from behind me. I turned around to face him and smiled proudly. "I've never seen a more beautiful bride. Edward is going to be blown away by your beauty."
I giggled and pulled him in for a hug. "Thanks, Dad." He held onto me so tightly and I'm sure I heard him stifle a sob.
He took a deep breath, holding me out at arm's length looking at me one last time. "I need to get you down that aisle. Edward's waiting."
I slipped my hand into the crook of his elbow and steadied myself for the walk down the aisle.
The doors opened and all I could see was the bright image of Edward's face shining back at me. I ducked my head bashfully at his exuberance. My dad led me down the aisle and passed me off to the man I'd loved most of my life. It still felt like a dream, but if it was I didn't ever want to wake up. This is where I belonged.
"Is it how you remember?" I asked after taking Edward's hand.
"No," he answered with a smile and tears in his eyes. "It's even better."
I smiled proudly and turned towards the officiate to say the sacred vows I'd only dreamed about.
Edward wanted to add our own vows in to the traditional ones so when the officiate told him he could begin, he took a deep breath and smiled down at me with pure joy and happiness in his face.
"My Bella Amore," he began. "I've loved you forever, maybe even longer. You have been my strength, my happiness, my hope, and my dream from the day I met you. I gave you my heart on that first day and you have carried it all this time waiting for me to find it again and realize how much I needed you. I fall in love with you more and more each day we're together. Today I promise to love you for the rest of my life and never ever let you doubt my love. Today my life has finally begun and I thank you for that."
We both had tears running down our cheeks as he recited his heartfelt vows. I was so choked up I didn't think I could get my own out. His hands rose to my face and he swiped his thumbs across my cheeks.
I took a deep breath and sniffled to find the courage.
"Edward," I began. "All I have ever wanted was for this day to happen. I never imagined what I saw all those months ago would actually come true. You say I held your heart all these years but you have held mine in return. You have always had my heart. You gave me courage, strength, hope, and faith in myself. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for you. You have shown me what true love is these last few months and I can't wait to be your wife and make our family complete. There is no one else in this world I would want to spend the rest of my life with than you. I promise to love you for the rest of my life and always show you just how much I mean that."
There wasn't a dry eye in the audience after we said our vows. Even the officiate was a little choked up and had to clear his throat a couple times to continue. He made a joke to lighten the mood which made everyone laugh and stop crying. With only a few more words and the rings being exchanged, the officiate announced us husband and wife. The rush that went through my body at hearing those words was exhilarating. Edward and I were married and everything finally felt right.
The wedding was short and simple, which is exactly what we both wanted. It didn't matter what we said or how we said it. In the end whatever we said still meant the same thing. We were married and could make our family complete… for now.
Directly after the ceremony, I was pulled aside by Edward's family. Carlisle handed me a small box and I opened it up to reveal a small charm.
"Edward told us about the charm bracelet and we all agreed this would be an excellent addition to the bracelet," Carlisle explained. "This is a very old crest of the Cullen family dating back hundreds of years. Every member of the Cullen family has been given some sort of token with the crest throughout the years. We also have something special for Marcial when he comes home."
I reached out and hugged him, trying to hold in the tears. "Thank you," I whispered.
"You're welcome. We're all overjoyed to have you be a part of this family, Bella. There isn't anyone else better for my son," Carlisle said.
"Welcome to the family, Bella," Esme said pulling me into a hug.
I was passed around between all of them to receive a hug and congratulations, before I was passed back to Edward. For the rest of the night, Edward didn't let go of my hand. The only time he did was when I danced with my dad where my dad cried openly for all to see. I've never seen him get emotional. He tried to joke about it by saying he'd saved up all his tears through the years for this very moment, and as much as I tried not to cry during the reception, I think that's about all I did. But they were tears of happiness.
At Alice's insistence, we did all the traditional wedding rituals while being watched by our family and friends. We cut the cake and fed it to each other. We drank champagne and listened to toasts from Jasper and Alice as well as Emmett and Rose. We had our first dance. And lastly, Edward pulled off the garter and tossed it into a group of single men while I tossed the bouquet into a crowd of single women.
After all the customary things were taken care of and Edward and I were sure we walked around to thank everyone for coming we were ushered upstairs to change out of our wedding attire.
It was a whirlwind of events, but once we were safely in the car on our way to the airport we both relaxed and finally felt like we could breathe again.
While on the plane, I got to thinking about Edward's journal and some of the things he said in it.
"Edward," I began. He hummed in response next to me. "The first day we met you said you had a vision of us on our wedding day and you saw flashes of our family and our kids. How many kids did we have?"
He smirked deviously. "I'm not telling."
"Why? What happened to never keeping secrets from each other?" I whined.
"This secret is for your own good. You shouldn't know the answer to that question right now."
I crossed my arms and gave him a pouty look. He rolled his eyes and shook his head.
"Isn't one enough for right now?" he asked.
I loosened my stance and nodded my head in agreement. "You're probably right," I answered disappointedly.
He pulled me into his side and chuckled under his breath. "I think Marcial will be enough for us to handle for a while. You still need to finish getting your psychology degree before we talk about having any more kids.
"I know, I was just curious," I replied.
"Don't worry, Bella. From here on out we're taking one day at a time and letting things come naturally."
I rested my head against his chest and closed my eyes to get a little rest during the flight. I wondered how Marcial would react to seeing us again and how he'd feel about us adopting him. Most orphans dream of the day they will be adopted and have a real family but we were essentially taking him from everything he'd ever known. Would he be able to adjust? Would he be able to catch up in school? Would he someday resent us for taking him away from his homeland? These were all questions I had running through my mind and none of them would get answered right now. My only option was to follow my heart and hope for the best. I was going to be the best mom possible for Marcial.
We landed in Santo Domingo later in the evening. Edward had rented a villa for us to stay in during the time we would be here. The house was absolutely gorgeous. It was right on the beach and had a huge deck with lots of space. It was the perfect place for us to stay and have some private time before we went to get Marcial.
Edward carried all the bags in and placed them by the door while I wandered around and stepped out on the deck to look at the sky and breathe in the cool air.
Edward walked up behind me and snaked his arms around me from behind. "It's beautiful here isn't it?" he whispered.
I hummed in response and rested back against his shoulder.
"It's been a very long day. Would you like to get some sleep?" he asked.
I turned around in his arms and smirked at him. "Edward Cullen, this is our only night to have a traditional honeymoon. There is absolutely no way I'm sleeping through it. I'm planning to consummate this marriage in every way possible before I become a mom."
He chuckled and pulled me back through the doors towards the bedroom down the hall. "I was hoping you might say that."
I wrapped my arms around his neck as we kissed and moaned into each other's mouths. We rocked back and forth, almost dancing as our hands and fingers explored the other's body and removed clothing.
We'd made love numerous times before but each time felt like the first. He always sent my body into a frenzy of fire and pleasure.
My head fell back as his lips trailed down my neck and across my chest.
"Have I ever told you how good you taste?" he asked in between kisses and sucks against my skin. "You're skin is always so soft and sweet. I love touching you. Your touch always sends shockwaves through me. I love the sensation it gives me. It's like a natural high I'm addicted to."
His words and soft touches sent me even closer to my release. "Edward," I cried hoarsely, pulling him closer to me, my hands clutching him tightly. He could read my body like an open book. He quickly lifted me into his arms and laid me across the bed. He hummed as he rubbed two fingers across my slit and felt the wetness pooling between my legs, then smiled crookedly like he was proud of what he'd done. I smiled up at him seductively and rocked against his hand to build the friction of his fingers rubbing me.
He groaned as his two fingers slipped into me. I gasped and tightened around him as he pumped them in and out of me while rubbing my clit with his thumb.
"Feel good?" he asked breathlessly.
"Mmm, yes… So good," I whispered softly.
He adjusted himself on the bed and pushed my knees apart before resting his body between my legs.
"I love you, Bella."
"I… love… you… too," I stuttered through the sensations he was giving me. He pulled back his fingers and slowly pushed his dick into me.
"Your body always responds to my touch so perfectly," he cooed raising goose-bumps on my skin. "I love feeling how warm you are and how your walls wrap around my dick like you never want me to stop. It's such an erotic experience watching you enjoy every ounce of pleasure I give you."
I moaned loudly at his words and trembled below him as his lips whispered across my skin. With one little swirl of his tongue around my nipple along with him pumping in and out of me in a concentrated pace, I lost myself in an intense orgasm. I couldn't hold in my cries and let it all out with the loud scream. He chuckled at the look on my face as he continued pumping in and out of me.
"Oh, God, Edward," I cried clenching around him again. I was already building up to another orgasm.
"That's right, Bella. I'm going to make you come again," he promised speeding up his pace and moaning loudly into my mouth as he kissed me.
My fingers raked through his hair and my legs wrapped around him as tightly as they could.
"Do you like the way I squeeze around your dick?" I whispered against his ear, eliciting a tremble from him. "Do you like how my fingers rake through your hair and down your back?" He grunted breathlessly and closed his eyes tightly as he thrust a couple more times, pushing me over the edge once again before coming inside of me himself.
With one last shudder, he rolled over to lay beside me, panting and sweating. I hummed and pulled myself up to rest my chin on his chest. He smirked wickedly, while rubbing my back.
"That was good," he breathed, a satisfactory smile on his face.
I giggled. "That was amazing," I corrected. "Let's do it again."
He laughed like I was crazy. "You don't have to ask twice." He rolled me over and pinned me to the bed while we kissed and wrapped our bodies around each other again.
Very early in the morning hours, exhaustion finally overtook us. We slept until nine in the morning, and then got ready for our drive out to Punta Cana. The butterflies in my stomach were building and I hoped we were doing the right thing for not only us, but mostly for Marcial.
"Are you ready?" Edward asked.
I took one last look in the mirror and turned towards him. "I think so," I answered nervously.
He walked over to me and rubbed my shoulders reassuringly. "Everything will be fine. It'll all work out, I promise."
I gave him a confident smile and nodded, before taking his hand and following him out the door to the car.
We drove nervously towards Punta Cana. I looked through our paperwork at least a dozen times to be sure we had everything we needed. I sighed or hummed in anticipation and nervousness.
Edward reached out for my hand just as we started to drive into the city. "This is it?"
I squeezed his hand and took a deep breath. "What do you think he'll say?" I wondered.
"I don't know," he answered honestly.
We pulled up in front of the orphanage, which looked so different now with everything from the storm the previous year cleaned up and fixed. There was a fence around the orphanage and new equipment for the children to play with. The building was definitely safer now.
After getting out of the car and walking through the gate hand in hand, we spotted Marcial sitting on a bench all by himself. He was skinnier than he was last summer but when he stood up to walk back into the building, he looked as if he had grown at least a foot.
"Marcial," Edward called out to him.
He stopped and turned towards us. We both smiled and took a step closer to him. His little chin quivered and tears sprung to his eyes, before he came running across the yard. We both knelt down and held out our arms towards him and he jumped into our arms sobbing uncontrollably making both Edward and I cry too.
"You came back," he cried.
"We told you we would," I answered.
He pulled back to look at me with his little serious face. "I didn't give up. I knew you would come back. You promised me." His English was much better than it was last summer but he still held on to the accent.
"I did promise," I agreed. "And I'm glad you didn't give up on us."
"I thought I might see you two here soon," Amber quipped from behind us.
Edward picked Marcial up in his arms and we both stood up to face Amber.
"I know we should have called but we wanted it to be a surprise," I explained.
"I'm sure you were given the paperwork. If not we have copies in the car," Edward supplied.
She smiled widely. "I was given the paperwork and I have to say I was pretty excited to see your names and what your plans were. I haven't told Marcial yet just in case it didn't go through, so I'll leave that up to you."
"We brought some things for the children. Would it be alright to bring it all in?" I asked.
"Sure, I'll help you," Amber offered gratefully.
Edward put Marcial down and led him over to the bench he had previously been sitting on. Amber and I walked over to the car to unload the bags of stuff we brought, giving them some privacy.
"Are you planning to stay the night in the city or are you driving back to Santo Domingo?" Amber wondered.
"We actually have to meet with the case worker in the morning. We'll be staying in Santo Domingo for a couple weeks before we can meet with the judge and have the adoption finalized. Until then Marcial will stay with us. This is supposed to be our bonding time to make sure all three of us want the adoption to go through before the judge will sign off on it. In most cases they make the families stay a lot longer, but since we already know Marcial and were able to bond with him before we wanted to adopt him we don't have to stay as long."
Where are you staying?" she asked.
"Edward rented a lovely villa right on the beach. It's beautiful and there's a pool right out back as well as the ocean. Marcial will love it."
"I'm sure he will. When are you planning to tell him?" she questioned, curiosity overcoming her.
"We thought we'd spend a little time here just to get reacquainted with him before we tell him of our plans. There is still that chance he might not want to go," I worried.
"There's no possible way he's going to say no. He loves both of you like a mother and father already. When he finds out you're going to take him home with you he's going to be thrilled."
"I hope so."
"I'm a little sad to see him go. He's been here for so long and many of the kids who were here last year have moved to different orphanages or been reacquainted with family members, but Marcial refused to be moved. He's been waiting all this time because he knew you would come back. He never gave up hope," she reminisced. "I think what you and Edward are doing is a really good thing. As much as I'll miss him, I know this is right for him."
"Thanks, Amber." I gave her a big hug thanking her again for all she's done before we picked up the bags and walked back towards the orphanage.
Our families had bought tons of new clothes and shoes of all sizes, as well as brand new toys and new bedding for the children. The kids came running over to us and started digging through the pile of toys when they saw what we had, excited squeals permeating the air.
Edward and I watched on as the kid's faces lit up with joy to have something new and exciting to play with. We even got down on the floor with them to play and spend some time with them.
After an hour of playing and talking with all of the kids we decided it was time. Edward picked Marcial up and told him we needed to talk him. We walked outside and sat down on the porch.
He stared at us with a scared and worried face.
I glanced at Edward giving him a little nod of encouragement.
"Bella and I can't stay here forever," he began. I could see the fear begin to show in Marcial's face.
"Edward," I warned.
"What I mean is, we have to go back to our home eventually and we want you to come with us," Edward clarified.
His eyes bulged and there was a small gasp from his lips.
"We want to know how you would feel about us being your mom and dad," I added.
"We want to adopt you and bring you home to live with us," Edward finished.
A huge grin spread across Marcial's face and he jumped into our arms.
Edward and I laughed.
"I guess that's a yes?" Edward snorted.
"Yes, yes, yes," Marcial shouted, jumping up and down.
"Good," Edward smiled. "Let's go get your stuff and tell everyone goodbye. It's time for us to go."
Marcial ran across the porch and through the doors squealing with excitement. We followed close behind and helped him gather up the few things he had.
After we told everyone goodbye we got in the car and drove away with Marcial sitting comfortably in the back seat. He did get a little teary eyed when we pulled away but Edward and I quickly distracted him with talk of what his room looked like and who his new grandparents and aunts and uncles were. We told him about all the new toys and clothes we bought him. We discussed how in the fall he would start going to a public school with other kids his age. We even talked about getting a dog like Alice and Jasper had.
By the time we got back to the villa and Marcial saw the pool in the back and the bedroom he would be sleeping in, all thoughts of sadness left his mind.
He begged to play in the pool so we all changed into bathing suits and went out in the back to swim. He seemed so happy and jubilant, which was something no one had seen in him for a very long time. The more time we spent with him, the more we realized how right our decision was.
Later that night after I got Marcial tucked into bed, I went searching for Edward. I walked out on the back deck and spotted him sitting in a hammock watching the waves of the ocean coming in. I walked over to him and he put his arm out to welcome me into the hammock with him. I crawled into the hammock and lay in his arms while we gently swung back and forth.
"Is he asleep?" he asked.
"Yeah," I answered giggling lightly. "He fell asleep with a huge grin on his face. I think he's really happy."
"I'm positive he is. I've never seen him this happy in all the time I've known him. This is right, Bella," Edward stated like he was trying to convince me.
I smiled leaning further into his side and rubbing his chest with my hand. "Yes it is."
"How do you like being a mom?" he asked, chuckling lightly.
"I've only been a mom for a day, but I think I like it," I answered honestly. "What about you? How do you like being a dad?"
"It suits me. I'm a great dad," he bragged.
I shoved him playfully and clicked my tongue, making him laugh even more.
"I have something for you," he interrupted, reaching into his pocket.
I sat up slightly to look at his face. "What do you mean you have something for me?" I wondered, smirking at the enthusiastic look on his face.
He held out a small silver charm out in front of me, of a mother, father and child holding hands to form a circle. "You didn't honestly think I wasn't going to commemorate this momentous time in our lives did you?"
I laughed as he reached for my wrist and fastened the small charm to the bracelet.
"There," he said. "It's official. You're a mom and I'm a dad."
"Putting a charm on my wrist makes it official?" I asked sarcastically.
"In my eyes it does."
I smiled and snuggled further into his side while we swayed in the hammock, silently enjoying being together and finally being whole.
For the two weeks we spent in Santo Domingo we took Marcial everywhere we could. We wanted him to know his homeland as much as possible before we headed back home to the States. It was important to both of us that he knew where he came from and what his culture was. He, of course, loved every minute of it. Marcial had lived in the orphanage most of his life and he had very rarely ever left the walls of the orphanage, so he was in awe of everything we saw.
On our last day, we got up early and dressed in our nicest clothes. We brought a very nice blue suit for Marcial to wear which matched Edward's, and I wore a simple blue dress.
"Why are we getting dressed up?" Marcial asked.
I leaned down to him and took his hands in mine. "We have to go talk to the judge today so he can give us permission to take you home."
"What happens if he says no?" he wondered nervously.
"He won't. All we have to do is tell the judge how much we want to be a family and everything will be fine."
"I do want us to be a family. I want you and Edward to be my mom and dad. I want to stay with you forever," he stated seriously.
"I know you do and we want the same. We just have to tell the judge," I explained.
"Should we get going?" Edward asked picking up Marcial and swinging him over his shoulder playfully.
We drove the short distance to the courthouse and walked in for our appointed visit. We were led into the office of the judge instead the courtroom. The judge greeted us all politely and asked us to have a seat. He looked over our paperwork and asked us a few questions about how we knew Marcial and what made us come to the conclusion of adopting him. He wanted to know what we did for a living and where we lived. He was a little concerned about Marcial's handicap but once he learned Edward was working towards being a pediatrician and we would be able to afford the proper care for him he was pleased with our decision. There was just one more question he needed to ask.
"Marcial," he began looking directly at his eager little face. "How do you feel about Edward and Bella being your mom and dad?"
Marcial glanced back and forth between the two of us for reassurance. We smiled and nodded our heads so he knew it was okay to answer.
"Quiero que sea mi mama y mi papa por, siempre," he answered. Edward smiled proudly at his words and the judge gave Marcial a little nod and smile. I was still a little rusty on my Spanish but I got the gist of what he was saying. He wanted us to be his mom and dad forever.
"I think we can make that happen," the judge answered. He scribbled his name across a few documents in front of him and handed them over to Edward. "Congratulations Marcial, Edward and Isabella Cullen are now your new parents and you are officially Marcial Cullen."
Marcial smiled triumphantly as did Edward and I. "If you see the clerk on your way out, she'll give you the proper documentation to be able to take him home," the judge directed.
We stood and shook his hand, thanking him profusely for allowing us to adopt Marcial.
After getting the correct documentation from the clerk we went back to the villa and packed our stuff so we could head home.
The airport was scary to Marcial, making him squeeze my hand extra tight while we walked towards our gate.
"Everything will be fine, Marcial," Edward comforted. "In just a few short hours we'll be home and you'll be able to see where you're going to live from now on."
We waited by our gate for a little over an hour before we heard the announcement that they were boarding the plane.
"Are you ready to go home?" Edward asked Marcial.
He stood to his feet and smiled up at Edward. "Yes I am, Dad."
The joy on Edward's face when Marcial called him dad was indescribable. I knew that Edward hearing him say those words was probably the happiest moment of his life.
Edward took his hand and wrapped his arm around my waist to guide us to the plane. We were going home as one family.
Having Marcial home was interesting. It took him a while to adjust to his new surroundings and new family. School was a challenge for him. We had to hire special tutors to help him catch up with his class, but he was determined to be good at school. He worked very hard and started to catch up fairly quickly.
Marcial bonded quite nicely with his new family. Grandpa Charlie was his favorite, which made my dad want to visit a lot more than he ever did before. My dad spoiled him rotten, which of course was perfectly fine with Marcial.
He started playing soccer with other kids his age and despite his disability he was probably the best player on the team. Edward spent hours and hours with him practicing and kicking the ball back and forth in our little yard. The best thing about Marcial playing soccer is that he made some really good friends.
He was thriving and happy. Everything we always wanted for him was actually happening.
Edward was still working at the hospital and loving every minute of it. He worked long hours but when he was home he made a point to spend all his time with us.
In June of the next year, I graduated from college with a psychology degree. I already had several job offers lined up. On the day of my graduation, Edward, Marcial, my parents, and the entire Cullen family were there to watch and cheer me on.
Afterwards, we all went out to dinner to celebrate.
Edward draped his arm around my shoulders as we all talked and ate our food. I kept waiting for him to give me something important but he still hadn't.
"So," I began, turning my attention on Edward. He smirked, clearly knowing what I was waiting for. "Do you have a little something for me?"
"No, why? Were you expecting something?" he asked. I gave him a pointed look and shook my hand in front of him to give him a little hint.
"This is kind of a big event, you know?" I reminded. "Where's my charm?"
He laughed and shook his head. "Ask your son. He wanted to be the one to give it to you."
I turned to Marcial who had an excited look on his face. He could barely hold still in his seat he was so excited.
"Here, Mommy," he said handing me a familiar little box.
I took the box from his hand and gave him a hug to thank him. Everyone at the table was watching me open up the box to reveal a silver charm displaying the psychologist symbol. I smiled when I saw it. I knew this would probably be what he gave me. It was what I'd been working towards for so long and now, finally, everything I'd ever wanted was coming true.
I had Edward, I had the most amazing son ever, and I had my psychology degree.
Life was complete, yet still just beginning.
Thanks again for reading. If you have a moment I'd appreciate if everyone would go to my profile and vote on my poll to help me decide what to write for "Fandom Fights the Tsunami". There are 7 choices to choose from and I'm having a hard time deciding which one to write, so I would like to know what everyone would like to read.