Hiya! So, I know it's my total bad for not writing in here for the best part of a year, but there have been so many bad things that have gone on since September – this was only supposed to be on a break since I came back from holiday! But whatever, that doesn't matter now, because I'm back baby, and I'm gonna finish this shit!
BTW, this ISNT THE LAST CHAPTER! Thought I'd put that in bold, because I know I'm going to get a question at the end about whether this is the end or not. Nope, our Bella still has one problem to sort before she hangs up the Glock and switchblades for good. Bet you already know what it is...;)
The soundtrack for this is Stay With Me: You Me At Six – enjoy, and drop me a line or two at the end (:
What's the appeal of makeup? It's bitty on the fingers, causes spots, and it's just plain unnecessary. Alice, the queen of cosmetics and my own personal (unwanted) stylist, had really gone to town on this month's chance to play with Bella Barbie. My tanned face was smooth with cream, my tired eyes were outlined with pale brown eye shadow, mascara and eyeliner, and my lips were slicked with bright red lipstick.
I turned to the side slightly to see my hair in the mirror.
It was the usual – long, dark and straight. There had been many arguments over it this morning: "But Bella, this is the most important day of your life! You can't go out there looking beautiful but with hair that looks like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards!"And that was just Rosalie: "I will lock you in here until I can do your hair if I have to!" Alice had just been plain psycho. But in the end I had gotten my way, and my hair, plain as it was, had stayed simple. No fancy updos for me – that just meant I was more likely to get attacked from the back, where I was more vulnerable-
I shook my head to dispel the thoughts.
It had been a month since the fight; a month since I had been on my last mission, and four months since I had run the street looking for dodgy characters. Yet here I was, still plagued with the same paranoia and fears that I was going to be attacked; still terrified by the thought that at any moment, this would all disappear.
Edward told me I was crazy often, and I had to believe him.
I turned away from the mirror slowly, smiling at the gentle swish that the fabric of my dress made on the floor. Made of pure silk and chiffon, my white dress had caught my eye the very moment we had walked into the shop:
"Hi!" Alice said perkily to the bored saleswoman behind the desk. "We're here to try on a few outfits under the name of Cullen."
The woman shifted through her papers, suddenly animated like a puppet on string. "Oh yes, here we are. Are you the bride, madam?" she smiled a little too sweetly.
I rolled my eyes at Naomi and Casey, who were laughing under their breath. This had happened at every single shop we went into; Alice took charge, and everyone assumed she was the bride. Reactions ranged from mild shock to total horror when they realized that I, the short brunette with the multiple scars, tattoos and biker boots, was the bride.
"Oh, my apologies! We have a few already set out in the style you chose..." she carried on speaking, but I didn't hear her at all.
Out of the corner of my eye I had spotted it, hanging at the very back of the long rack that must have held over 100 dresses. With a black and white bodice, the sleeveless dress trailed down A-line to a black and white hem that had black vines creeping up the side and a small train. It was beautiful.
It was me.
"This one." I said, interrupting the woman mid-flow.
I stepped over and touched the silky material. Out of the all the shops we'd been in, of all the chest-crushing bustiers, lace nightmares and pink meringue's I had been forced into, this was the only one I could picture myself walking up the aisle to meet Edward in.
I turned around to get the reactions of my sister-in-law, my soon to be sister-in-law, and my cousins. All of them nodded and smiled.
Tammy walked over and slung her arm across my shoulders. "Babe, this is the one for you!"
Even stood here now in front of the mirror waiting for Alice to get back, admiring the dress my from every angle, dressed like a princess...I didn't really feel like myself. I felt more like myself dressed in combats and leather pants than a dress, and my face is more likely to be covered in mud that makeup.
Edward knew this – he knew this wasn't me. But for him I had done this, because I knew marriage was the one thing he really wanted from me. He never asked for anything more, so this, I was very willing to give to him. But still, selfless Edward, my honey, had tried to make things even better for me:
"Bella," he'd whispered when the movie had finished. Savannah was in bed, my mom and dad were out, and we were snuggled up on the sofa. He'd taken my hand and turned the ring from side to side. "I know a big wedding really isn't your thing. My offer still stands you know; we could always ditch this and run away to get married – anywhere you want." He'd kissed my ear gently, his warm breath tickling the lobe.
I sighed and turned in his arms. "There you go with wanting to change the plans again – anyone would think you didn't want to get married," I teased and winked.
He grinned. "Believe me, marrying you is all I want. It's just this big wedding...if we skipped, it wouldn't matter; Jasper and Alice would just remarry, I know they've been thinking about it for a while. What do you say?"
I fell silent. It was tempting, no doubt. An exotic beach, a simple dress, my own terms, just me and Edward...but I couldn't do that. I always got my way, he always did what I preferred. Some would say that he's whipped – we both say that he loves me, and if you dare insult one of us to the others face, prepare for a major butt kicking.
I smiled up at him. "Edward, baby, I know this is what you've always wanted – this is your big day as well as mine. I managed at Rosalie and Emmett's wedding, didn't I? I just want you to be as happy as I am!"
"Oh believe me," he smiled that perfect smile at me, making me melt a little. "I'm just as happy, if not more than happy,"
I smiled to myself. It had been a rush, planning this huge event in just a month, but we'd managed it. We were just having it here at the house like Rose and Em, and Alice had handled pretty much everything from the caterer to the dresses. My cousins had organized a lot as well, and my uncles had helped make sure that everything was secure.
Me? I had been running around like a headless chicken for the past month.
But in the end, it would be worth it. I was going to claim Edward as my own for eternity – the fact that 'shifters don't grow old being a bonus – and I'd be going on a much needed vacation in a few hours. What more could I ask for?
"Oh my!" I turned to the gasp at the door, only to laugh at three of my four bridesmaids looking gobsmacked at the door. Alice just looked smug as hell.
I had wanted all my girls to be there walking down the aisle with me, but I had to be practical – that just wasn't going to work. So after a few nights deliberating and several torn out hairs later, I had decided that Alice, Rosalie, Naomi and Savannah would be there with me. Of course there would be someone else there walking me down the aisle, but it was not someone everyone would be expecting...
"You look so beautiful!" Savannah whispered in awe.
"Of course she does!" Alice said proudly, walking forward to kiss my cheek. "Bella has always been beautiful – she just needed my help to prove to the world just how beautiful she is." She winked.
"I'm gonna take that as a compliment," I chuckled. "You all look amazing, seriously."
The girls were all dressed in black, with a white sash that tied around the waist and trailed down the back; all the girls except Savannah wore matching heels, whilst hers were just flats. Because of my reluctance to have my hair special, they all had theirs up.
"Oh believe me, no one will be looking at us," Rosalie smiled. And coming from Rosalie, the girl who could look pretty standing next to Aphrodite herself, that was a major compliment.
"You're going to have a great time – I can't believe this was all done in a month!" Naomi said.
There was another gasp at the doorway. "Oh, Bella," my mom said softly.
I looked up sharply. "Mom? I thought...I thought you weren't coming." I said quietly.
The last time we had spoken, she had flat out refused to have any part in my wedding, and I'll you, it hurt like hell. To have the one person who you have looked up to all your life deliver a blow like that to you...it really sucks.
"As if I could miss today," she said, blinking back tears. She walked across the room, the animal in her showing in her graceful walk, and enveloped me in a hug. "I'm so sorry for everything I've said...I don't expect you to forgive me, but know that I've got your back, kid."
I pulled back and nodded. That was all I could do.
"We love you, Bella," Charlie said gruffly. He was like me, no good at showing his emotions at all. But I knew how much he loved me – Edward had told me, and I could see it in his eyes. He really didn't want to say goodbye. "And I'm very proud of everything you've done – and that's just whilst you've been living here! Not even in my wildest dreams didn't I imagine that you would turn out as brilliant as you have. And I know you're getting married now, but you'll always be my little girl." He smiled awkwardly, kissing the top of my head and pulling away.
"I'll still be here, dad. I'm not dying or anything," I smiled. He nodded. Big father, daughter moment of the year. That was Charlie.
"We'll be downstairs, Bella," Renee smiled, the tears finally spilling over her cheeks. "I'm so sorry for everything I've done, but I will find some way to repay you, I promise." And then she turned to leave before I could say anything else.
Charlie's arm went around her shoulders as they left, his lips touching her head gently. He would never let her go again, I knew that for a fact. But they deserved each other – they were so different, but so compatible; it made my heart ache to see them, to see the love they so clearly had for each other. They'll be happy for the rest of their lives, especially since my mom gave up her immortality, so I know they'll be happy for a long time.
I'd have to watch them die...I didn't want to think about it. Today was supposed to be happy!
"Bella, you ready?" Rosalie smiled from the doorway. The sound of the piano drifted up the stairs, and I froze in place, my heart sinking to where my boots should be right now.
"Chill, Bell, it's Edward down there!" Naomi laughed, touching her forehead to mine for a second. "Sister, if anything, you should be sprinting up that aisle! I know I would, Edward is delicious," she winked.
I burst out laughing, ushering Savannah to the door gently as I tried to control my giggles. Alice raised an eyebrow from where she was stood at the top of the stairs.
"Who gave her hysteria?"
I sobered, winking at my cousin as she headed down the stairs slowly, holding Savannahs hand.
Alice turned to me. "Remember, I'll go, then Rosalie, then you and...whoever's taking you down the aisle. Who is it, anyway?" she asked in confusion.
I smiled; it wasn't often Alice didn't know something. I had kept my thoughts in doubt about who would be walking me down the aisle so she couldn't try and talk me out of it. I tapped my nose at her just before she descended the stairs, sticking her tongue out at me as she did so.
"Good luck, not that you'll need it," Rosalie whispered, hugging me tightly before walking after Alice, her tempo slow.
I took a deep breath, feeling him walk out of the shadows before I heard him speak. "You look beautiful, babe," Caleb whispered, holding his arm out for me to take.
I looked over at him and smiled, looping my arm through his. Though Caleb and I would never be as close as we were, we would be close enough, close enough for him to walk me down the aisle, and I knew that should he get married, I would be there to stand by his side in any way possible.
"You ready?" he whispered as Rosalie stepped off the last step.
"Yeah," I whispered back, "Thanks for doing this, honey," I kissed him on the cheek gently, then we descended, going slow enough that I wouldn't trip on my dress and crash into the wedding.
Oh man, why did I agree to the dress?
But soon enough I stepped off the last stair, turning my dress slightly and gulped at the floor. I snuck a panicked look up at Caleb, who grinned assuringly and gestured for me to look up, so I did.
Just like at Rosalie's wedding, practically every eye was on me as I made my way down the aisle, only this time, they were nearly all on my face. I heard some comments about how unique and lovely my dress was, but not a single comment to my scars or my tattoos. It was simply...lovely. Not a single person had anything bad to say about me for those perfect moments, and it brought tears to my eyes. Here were my friends and family, all thinking good thought about me – me, the girl who 2 years didn't have anyone in the world, only a few dollars to her name, a stepfather who didn't want her, and a job that she didn't understand.
It's funny how a bleak and depressing situation can turn into such a wonderful one.
You might ask why the hell I would choose my ex-boyfriend to walk me down the aisle to meet the man I'm about to marry. Seems like a stupid idea, right? Not to me. Caleb needs closure, and in a way so do I – this is the best way to get it. But that's not the main reason. For every dark moment there's been in the last few years, Caleb has been there right by my side kicking ass and disregarding names with me. He pulled me out of grief and turned me into the success I am today – without him, who knows what I would be like now?
Certainly not walking down the aisle on my way to get married, that's for sure.
His grip on my arm loosened as we approached the front of the aisle and I touched Edwards arm for the first time in a week – the family had taken that particular tradition just a little too far. I mean, we didn't need any more bad luck!
"You look beautiful, babe. I know you'll ace this," he winked, kissing me on the cheek gently before he took my hand and placed it in Edwards. "And you," he said in a threatening voice, but with a grin on his face. "You take good care of my girl, you hear?"
Edward smiled and shook Caleb's hand firmly. "I wouldn't dream of doing anything else."
I climbed up onto the step without looking behind me, smiling at Edward, seeing that the usual gleam in his Amber eyes was even brighter today. I felt the grin that had become so familiar to me light up my own face before the priest started to talk and the ceremony began.
For the life of me, I couldn't have told you a word the priest said; nor any of the prayers; nor the short hymn that was sung. All I could do was try to keep myself thinking 'I really am getting married today'. It had never seemed possible to me, and yet, here I was. It was my wedding day, I was dressed like a character from a storybook, and I was...happy.
So incredibly happy.
"Repeat after me," the priest said quite loudly, breaking me out of my reverie. Maybe it hadn't been so unclear that I wasn't listening – oops! "I, Isabella Marie Swan, take you, Edward Anthony Cullen,"
I took Edwards hand in my own and looked up at him. His smile seemed permaglued onto his face; I had yet to see it fall. "I, Isabella Marie Swan, take you, Edward Anthony Cullen,"
"To be my lawfully wedded husband,"
"To be my lawfully wedded husband,"
"In sickness and in health,"
"In sickness and in health" not that it was likely either of were going to get sick, but you know. I said this with a smile on my face at the thought of Edward with a cold.
"For richer, for poorer,"
"For richer, for poorer,"
"To have and to hold, 'til death do us part,"
"To have and to hold, 'til death do us part," this I could say with a degree of security. I mean, what were the chances that Edward and I were going to die if we took care of ourselves? I wasn't getting any older, nor was he...
"With this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed." I slipped the band of silver onto the fourth finger of his left hand, watching it glisten in its place, ever showing to the rest of the world the commitment we have for each other.
Edward repeated the vows to me, never breaking eye contact between us until he placed the matching band of silver on my own finger. I thought at that moment I might have felt panic, like I was being branded, or even trapped into something there was no easy way out of. But surprisingly...I felt nothing but happiness as we finalized the wedding ceremony and Edward's face leant towards mine...
The second our lips met there was thunderous applause, echoing around the large living space of the Cullen family home, it surrounded us and made me feel, not for the first time, that I was surrounded by people that loved me and cared about me for me as a person instead of my title and power.
"Congratulations Mr and Mrs Cullen!" Ash called from the second row on the left as we turned to face our family and friends for the first time as a married couple.
I just laughed...I laughed, I smiled, and I think I even cried a little bit as everyone got out of their seats to give their congratulations. Edward's hand was surprisingly warm around my own, his thumb rubbing circles across the top as we greeted individual people.
Emmett came loping up, Rosalie leading the way. "Congratulations!" she said perkily, "Edward..." she said, distracting him. I knew why she did it, and I was very grateful.
I smiled gently at my brother. "You're never going to be happy with this, are you?"
To my surprise, he smiled. Guess it was just a day for surprises and smiles. "Actually, I'm cool with it – not that it matters. I think you guys complete each other; especially Edward with you. I can barely picture the way you were when you first came to town! You bunked off school and were a pain in my ass because you wouldn't tell me what you were hiding – but looking at you now...sis, I can hardly believe you're the same person you were." To finish off, he swept me up into one of his bone-crushing bear hugs, kissing the top of my head and winking as Rosalie hugged and kissed me.
When the guests drifted into the back garden with the ushering's of Alice and the promise of alcohol, I sighed and wrapped my arms around Edward's waist. "I've had enough of weddings – ravage me?" I asked angelically, leaning my head back to look at my husband. Okay, that sounded weird even in my head!
"Later – I can promise you that," he winked. "Right now we have to stay at this party. After all it is for us, and it would be rude to walk out on everyone. Plus the fact that Alice will literally murder me if we don't stay," he shuddered.
"Imagine what would have happened if we eloped?" I laughed.
"I don't think I want to," he cringed as we made our way to the French doors that were wide open.
I stepped out onto the patio to see the party my new sister-in-law had created for me. In front of the large window looking into the where the wedding ceremony had taken place was a table laden with food; it was no surprise to see Ash stood there. To the left of that was a bar area set up, with Ty, Jon and Charlie all with a beer in hand. In front of this were lots of tables covered in bright white and black cloths. Furthest away from the house, on top of the grass, was a dancing area and a DJ, playing a playlist I had had no say in. I wasn't going to complain though – I wasn't much of a dancer.
"What do you think?" Edward asked close to my ear. "Alice may have gone a little overboard." He rolled his eyes. "You know what she's like."
"It's perfect," I smiled. "Come on, let's just have a fucking good time and get wasted – deal?"
"I'll have fun watching that, trust me," he chuckled as I saw something very unusual.
"Look at that!" I gestured over to where Ash was stood. Carmen was stood by him, giggling like a schoolgirl at something he had said. And Ash...Ash actually looked bashful for once, like was nervous being around her! "Am I actually seeing that?"
"He thinks she's the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, but he doesn't want to make a move because of her loss," he said quietly. "And she's thinking that he has a kind of magnetic pull that she doesn't know how to resist," he sounded surprised. "Maybe we aren't the only ones to benefit from today," he grinned, twirling me round in a circle as a particularly upbeat song came on.
We walked around the garden, saying hello to everyone we came across. I received not a negative word, and Edward told me that not a single person had a bad thought about me – though I think that was just a lie to keep the peace. Whatever, I didn't care; I hadn't cared what people thought for a long time, and I was better at self-control now.
Well, not really, but I wouldn't kill anyone.
"Whoa," Edward said under his breath, laughing slightly.
"What?" I turned to see what he was laughing at. "Oh man you have got to be kidding me! Is Eros a secret guest at our wedding or something? He has to be!" I laughed.
Sat on the table was Tammy...engaged in some serious tonsil-tennis with Jared. And on a table nearby were Naomi and Quil having their own game...what the actual fuck?
"I think your cousins are destined to be as happy as we are," Edward grinned. "Though I doubt any of those guys will be as lucky as I am, Mrs Cullen," he winked. He looked at something over my shoulder and shook his head. "Add Joshua and Kate to the list – they just ran inside holding hands," he shook his head a little more, chuckling to himself. "Maybe there's something in the wine?"
I burst out laughing, wrapping my arms around his waist again and grinning up at him. "Or maybe our wedding is spreading love? It sounds corny as hell, but you know. Something tells me that the pack is going to be together for much longer; maybe that's a good thing."
"Well, they've been together for so long, and all they've really known for a long time is each other. Plus the fact that they've been travelling all across the country for years; I think it's time they at least had a chance to settle down and be with other people. I know Tammy loves the beach, but she never gets to go; Casey never gets to shop, and Joshua never gets to see anywhere like he wants to. They tell me a lot," I said at his expression. "They trusted me,"
"Well why wouldn't they? You've been a good cousin and pack mate to them,"
"Yeah, I guess..." I trailed off, watching the stars twinkle and the planets flash in the deep purple of the sky. My eyesight was so much better now, and I was certainly making the most of it.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a statuesque woman walk into the garden, her long auburn hair tied up at the back of her head, wearing a short purple dress and small heels on her feet. She was perfectly lovely, but I didn't know who the hell she was.
Before I could ask, Alice skipped past with Jasper in tow.
"Hey you two, congratulations again!" she squealed, hugging us both. "And Bella," she said close to my ear. "That's Jonathon's ex-wife and Tammy and Joshua's mother – I invited her as a final thank you to the 'shifters for everything they've done for us. Trust me, he won't be able to let her go once he sees her for the first time." She said at my puzzled expression.
As Alice had said, Uncle Jon turned towards the woman, seeming to know she was there before she was even close to him. His jaw dropped, his eyes glazed, and their gazes met. I noticed Uncle Ty drifting tacitly away, so I did the same.
"What about Ty?"
"Tomorrow morning he'll go for a drive to get away from the happy couples – he'll see a familiar face along the way," she winked, drifting off to speak to the DJ.
I turned to Edward in bemusement. "This day just gets stranger and stranger!"
"Well, as long as people are happy," he grinned, kissing my forehead. "Mrs Cullen, would you like to dance with me?" he asked as Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls came on. I grinned. How the hell had he known?
As we made our way to the dance floor for our first dance, I couldn't help but think that my life, for once, for a little while, was absolutely perfect.
I pushed aside the trees and ferns that had grown in masses since the last time I had come out here. To a human, this would be stupid, dangerous and risky, but because of my now-enhanced eyesight it was no longer a problem for me to be out anywhere dangerous in the dark. Well, in terms of what I could see, that is.
I was stood on the ledge over-looking the cavernous valley where I had stood after Emmett and Rosalie's wedding to think. I had enjoyed the party that was still in full swing, but I really did need to be by myself for a little while.
After my first dance with Edward I had danced with my dad, and even climbed on a table to dance to All Time Low with Naomi and Tammy. I had just enjoyed a party with my family and friends, just letting my hair down, being silly and having fun for the first time in a while. The last thing I had seen before I came here was everyone crowding round the dance floor watching Emmett and Ash break out some hilarious though seriously fucked up dance moves.
I sighed with a smile on my face as I folded my arms and looked out over the horizon. It was truly beautiful out here – like my very own safe haven. I could be at peace...though was peace really what I wanted? Whilst I craved it, I also craved action and adventure. No doubt marriage would be a huge test.
I think I can pass.
For Edward, I can pass.
I realized then that to truly have a happy future, I had to let go of the past. I had to forget everything my mom had done; I had to forget mine and Caleb's relationship; I had to forget Catherine and her death.
"Goodbye, Cathy," I whispered into the wind. "I love you, sister, but it's time for me to move on. I promise you that I will protect and care for your daughter until my last breath like you asked me to, but I have to let you go. I'll always love you like a sister, but I need to stop mourning you and get on with my life," I said softly.
Deep inside me, something broke loose, flying into the wind and making me feel pounds lighter. Wherever Cathy was now, I knew she would be at peace.
I'll see her one day – but not anytime soon. Right now I have a perfect life to live.
Not to mention a delectable new husband that just looked at me with eyes that could make even the toughest woman melt (oh wait...that would be me) not to mention a secret honeymoon tomorrow.
Oh honey, don't mind if I do!
It either rocks, or it sucks, either way, that's the big day they deserved. Like I said at the start, this isn't the last chapter, there's still...4 more, I think. But that's when it ends for good! *sob* and before anyone asks, no there won't be a sequel. I mean, all I could do would be to kill everyone off and/or make Bella and Caleb get together. And...something tells me I'd be even more in the doghouse if I did that!
**IN** I'm still going to do that out-takes story is people give me suggestions! Oh, and the next chapter won't take nearly a year to be posted, promise!