AN: This story came to be because of SnarkyDee over on Twitter. I was watching the movie Knocked Up, and I tweeted, "I could so write a FF about this." She kept pushing me until I did so. If you liked this story, please thank her for the encouragement. :) I have loved every moment.
Disclaimers: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The chapter song is by Dave Matthews Band. The Songbird playlist is pretty kickass. Please check it out on my profile.
You and Me
The sun is brilliant in the sky as billowy white tents cascade across the back lawn. The unused tennis court was uprooted long ago, and in its place, a field of lush grass full of wildflowers grows. The lilac flowers are a perfect complement to this special day. Quite possibly, they were inspiration for everything from the cocktail napkins to the bridesmaids' dresses. Since she was a little girl, purple has always been Maddie's favorite color. Any shade of purple is acceptable. Plum. Lavender. Mauve.
For her wedding day, Maddie chose lilac.
Maddie is now twenty-four years old and has just graduated from Washington State with a degree in music education. She began playing piano when she was six years old. While I was the better piano player of her parents, it was Edward's lap on which she sat as he taught her "Twinkle Twinkle" for the first time. I couldn't be envious. Watching my husband and our daughter play piano is a memory I will always hold dear. Paul – the man whole stole her heart – is a pediatrician, and while he couldn't possibly live up to Edward's impossible standards, both of us can admit that he is perfect for her.
As I look out her bedroom window at the buzz of activity in the back yard, I'm filled with love as I see the faces of our family. From this vantage point, I can see Maddie's brother as he struggles with his bowtie. Masen is three years younger than this sister, but he is most definitely her big brother. I blame his Uncle Emmett for those particular genes. Mase is a linebacker, and it is a true testament to my love for my child that I allowed him to put on his first football helmet. It wasn't without coaxing, and there was plenty of it from both sides of the family. After many amazing offers, Masen accepted a full scholarship to Boise State, and our family congregates around the television each Saturday to watch our son play for the Broncos. I still cringe each time he falls to the ground, but he promises me that it always looks much worse than it feels. I believe him, if for no other reason than that it helps me sleep at night. Masen likes to play the electric guitar and is most definitely a mama's boy.
I scan the audience and see Charlie and Carlisle sitting together, their heads close as they watch Paul speak with the minister. I'm sure they are plotting the boy's demise, if he should hurt a hair on their granddaughter's hair. Next to Charlie is my stepmother. Sue and I had a very unconventional first meeting, but she and my father have been deliriously in love ever since, and they married when Maddie was just over a year old.
Violins play, and I watch as the ushers seat the grandmothers. Esme wipes her eyes as she takes her seat next to Carlisle, and my mother takes a seat next to Charlie. Thankfully, their relationship has remained civil through the years. She and Phil divorced long ago, and she moved back to Seattle after the birth of our son. Our relationship has gone through many phases over the years, but despite her shortcomings as a mother, she has been a doting grandmother to both of our children.
I see Emmett and Rosalie and Jasper and Alice sitting directly behind the grandparents. They have remained our very best friends throughout the years. Emmett finally got his boy when Henry Carlisle Cullen was born just before Maddie's first birthday. He is an only child, but he and Maddie grew up together and are the very best of friends. To illustrate that fact, he is her "best man" today. Jasper and Alice were unable to have children of their own, but live vicariously through all of us. Our kids are so lucky to have them as their aunt and uncle.
I can't help but smile when I see Jake and Seth in the crowd. Seth is still a photographer but has long since moved on from the world of news and now works exclusively as a wedding photographer with Jake as his happy assistant. They were joined in a civil union one week after the policy was put into place in the state of Washington, and they have truly lived happily ever after.
Edward now owns his own law firm in Seattle and still loves his job. As for me, I am the Editor-in-Chief at the Seattle Times. We speak of early retirement from time to time, but both of us still love what we do. Our professional lives are busy, but we make time to travel and to spend as much time with our families as possible. We are still deliriously in love and unable to keep our hands off each other.
"Mom?" Maddie's voice whispers from behind me. I turn and lose my ability to breathe when I see my baby girl standing before me in her gown and veil. It isn't the first time I've seen her, but it still makes me emotional. "Will you help me with Aunt Jane's necklace?"
I blink back the tears as she hands me the same necklace I wore on my wedding day. With fumbling fingers I fasten the clasp. She turns to me then, and I gaze at her long mahogany hair and her piercing green eyes. Her heart-shaped face is so serene and happy, and her joy grounds me.
"I want a marriage just like yours," Maddie whispers softly. "Tell me I will."
I smile softly. She's said this since she was a little girl.
"You will," I whisper, and I pray it's true.
"I feel like I should be saying something profound," I whisper softly as I lead Maddie toward the aisle. Her arm is in mine, and I feel compelled to grab her by the hand and whisk her far, far away from the man who wants to take her away from me. I suspect that Charlie Swan probably felt the same way all those years ago.
Maddie's tear-filled gaze turns my way. "I love him, Daddy."
"I know you do, sweetheart."
Paul is a good man and he loves my daughter unconditionally. While I'm comforted by that knowledge, neither of those facts make this day any easier.
We make our way down the aisle and I placed her hand into the palm of his. My beautiful little girl leans up on her tiptoes and softly kisses my cheek.
"I'll always be your girl," she promises me with a whisper, and I choke back a sob.
"I love you, baby girl."
"I love you, Daddy."
I find Bella and take my place next to her. She takes my hand and I smile gently at her. My fingers trail along her wedding ring. I notice a tear trailing down her cheek, and I softly wipe it away with the back of my hand. She is still the love of my life, and the most beautiful girl in my world.
We watch with pride as our son plays his role as the groom's best man. I admit that I was a bit puzzled with Maddie's choice of Henry as her "best man," but this was what she wanted, and Maddie's gotten everything she has ever wanted since the day she was born. Despite my indulgences, she has grown into a beautiful and loving young woman. We spoiled Masen just as much, but thankfully, our children are intelligent and compassionate adults, who learned from an early age that love is the most important thing you can have in your life.
"Maddie and Paul will now light the unity candle," the minister announces, and Bella squeezes my hand.
"That's our cue," she whispers. We walk hand-in-hand over to the piano where I take my seat. Maddie has requested that her mother sing in the wedding, and Bella insists that I play. The choice of song was left up to us, and the decision was ridiculously easy. I begin to play the opening bars, and Bella's eyes find mine as she begins to sing.
For you, there'll be no more crying, To you, I'll give the world And the songbirds are singing,
For you, the sun will be shining,
And I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right
To you, I'll never be cold
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right.
Like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you,
Like never before.
To you, I'll give the world
And the songbirds are singing,
"She looks so much like you on our wedding day," I whisper against Bella's ear as I hold her to my chest. We are watching our daughter and her new husband as they are showered with bird seed before making their getaway.
"She's so happy," Bella sighs, and I tighten my hold around her waist.
"Now we just have to find Mase a girlfriend," I grin against her skin.
"I'm not sure that's necessary," Bella grins back at me, and we turn back toward the dancers at the reception. Masen is now slow dancing with one of the bridesmaids. Her head is cradled against his chest, and his eyes are closed.
"Is that Paul's sister?"
"Yeah," Bella giggles. "Her name is Bree. I think she's a cheerleader at Washington State."
We try to ignore the looks they keep giving each other as they continue dancing, and we really try to ignore it when we watch our son take her by the hand and lead her toward the house.
"Our son is hooking up with the bridesmaid," Bella grumbles.
"I seem to recall hooking up with a bridesmaid," I remind her softly, but I can't disguise the humor in my voice.
"I was the maid of honor," Bella mutters.
Memories flood me as I recall Jasper and Alice's wedding reception all those years ago. That weekend led to this life…to this moment…to this all-encompassing love that we share and see reflected in our children's eyes.
"I think that turned out okay, don't you?"
Bella turns in my arms and smiles lovingly at me. "It turned out perfectly."
I lean down and kiss her softly.
"Mrs. Cullen, will you dance with me?"
I don't wait for an answer. I just pull her close to me and wrap my arms around her. Our bodies move with the music as we gaze into each other's eyes, and just like always, the rest of the world melts away as we exist in our own little bubble. I am overcome with emotion as I stare into the eyes I love so much.
Almost twenty-five years of marriage have passed and she remains the center of my world. She is the mother of my children and the love of my life, and we have never spent a night apart since the day we were pronounced husband and wife. We are now closing one chapter of our lives, but there are more memories to make and more love to be shared. Tomorrow, we will fly to England to celebrate our anniversary. Bella will be so surprised when she finds her bags are packed and ready to go. We've devoted our lives to our family, and now, it's time to devote our lives to each other once again.
"I love you," Bella murmurs as the song comes to an end.
"I love you, Songbird," I whisper.
Thanks to Shaina for being my wonderful beta. She listens to my crazy ideas and fixes my mistakes and does it all lightning quick. You have become such a good friend, and I love you.
Thanks to KatMom for being my pre-reader. Lots of love to my readers on Twitter and to the Songbird thread followers over at Twilighted. Thanks to Wayward Girl for making my blog! Thanks to ms_ambrosia for making the beautiful banner for this story.
Thanks to those of you who have nominated/voted for this story for so many different awards. It is so humbling to know that you love my stories enough to consider them worthy.
To my readers – words cannot express how much you mean to me. I used to be thrilled to get twenty-five reviews per chapter. Now, I get so many that I find it impossible to reply to them all. I promise that I read every single review, and I cherish them. Thanks for reading, reviewing, and recommending.
Solace is my new story, and I hope you check it out. I also have a one-shot in the works, so if you're interested, make sure you have me on author alert.
One last time, let me know what you think. Love you all!