Isabella and I dated for six years before I proposed marriage.
Our engagement lasted six months before we set a date.
From the time we set the date we were to be married two short weeks later.
Two thousand, six hundred and fifty-four days later (yes, I had been counting) I was finally going to marrying the only woman I had ever loved, and would ever love for all of eternity.
Isabella's time as a newborn went better than any of us had ever expected. It was a shock to the guests Alice had been on the phone with the night of her accident. One moment she was calling to give them the news of my impending wedding, the next she was calling to let them know that date was to be determined at a later day.
I spent the first few weeks of her new life teaching her all I knew. Alice and Jasper were also a huge help with their efforts. She spoke to Charlie every day telling him that until she could get her newly acquired speed and strength under control that she was a danger to be around. Hearing his voice and the hopefulness in it pushed her that much further to garner her new abilities so that she could see him again.
Jacob proved to be a more difficult person to keep at bay. He insisted and eventually did show up, unannounced, while all of us where in the back yard practicing with Isabella on her movements. Not that she really needed any help. Her control, so early on in her state, was unnatural.
He watched from the woods for a moment before he walked through the clearing toward the four of us. Of course Isabella instantly smelled him. Who wouldn't? He was a warm body with blood pumping freely through his veins. It was her first test against a human.
Her posture went into its defensive stance as he drew nearer. But the closer he came, the stronger his "natural" scent began to overpower her senses. She relaxed her stance and sniffed the air, turning her nose up.
"Do you smell that?" she asked me. "It smells like wet dog," she said.
Alice, Jasper, and I all laughed loudly at her assessment of Jacob. He, however, found nothing funny about his stench. The positive light in that visit was that she didn't kill him. We felt that maybe her interactions with humans would be sooner than we anticipated. That made her even more so hopeful that she would see her father.
I called our friends from Denali and asked them to spend a few days with us. Never having met Isabella, I felt that introducing her in her new form would be the perfect opportunity. That and I wanted to explain her heightened condition to Eleazar. He, like Alice and Jasper, held a special talent. He could detect whether or not another vampire possessed one and what their gift to the vampire world might be.
The whole clan showed up one Thursday afternoon, Eleazar, his mate Carmen, and their three "daughters", Kate, Irina, and Tanya. Alice and Jasper, over the years, had visited Alaska and our distant friends several times. Naturally, they all took right to Isabella. Even Tanya, whom I was afraid, would harbor animosity against her because she and I occasionally spent time together, didn't. The girls acted as if they had all been family and friends for years, rather than just a few days.
Eleazar took Isabella's hands in his as part of his initial introduction. His eyes widened and his smile broadened.
"She's a shield," he said, a sparkle in his eye as he spoke to Isabella and myself.
"A shield?" Isabella asked confused.
"Yes, my dear. Carlisle says you have exceptional control over your strength and the smell of human blood?"
"Yes," she said, hesitantly.
"Carlisle, do you still speak with Zafrina?" Eleazer asked me.
Zafrina was another vampire friend from the Amazon. "I do, on occasion. Why do you ask?"
"I believe she might be able to help your young bride to project her shield. Maybe a trip could be in order."
"I'll think about that," I said.
After they left, we thought it would be a good idea to bring Charlie to the house. We were all nervous about the impending visit, all of us except for Alice. As always, Alice had seen that the reunion would be perfectly. And it was.
Charlie was in awe at the sight of his daughter. Her skin was flawless and creamy. Her eyes had finally gone from the red of a newborn and began to take the glow of butterscotch like the rest of us. Of course, with his visits, Isabella always hunted just to be on the safe side. With those hunts came smoldering moments of lovemaking. I never missed an opportunity to hunt with my beloved.
After nine months of bringing her back into the living world, we revisited the topic of marriage. We set a date that would be one year from the day she was changed, our anniversary of sorts.
The day had finally come. I never thought of her anything other than my mate but it would be official now. After today, Isabella Swan would now, after years of wanting this day to come, finally be Isabella Cullen, for the rest of our days.
The ceremony was what we both wanted, much to Alice's dismay. It was a quiet ceremony in our backyard in Forks. Charlie walked his daughter down the aisle in a stunning dress she and Alice had chosen. Jasper stood next to me, while the only other vampires in attendance were those from Denali.
Jacob came, the air between us no longer thick. It seemed that once he and Leah were able to put their issues aside, they actually realized that they were a perfect match. We later learned that he imprinted on her the day he came to visit Isabella after her change. Maybe it was the closing of one door that opened up the other for him. Regardless of the fact, everyone was well and happy. Our life was perfect and from here on out, it would forever remain that way.
Barriers had been pushed aside. Mortal enemies now had a reason to see eye to eye all because one girl cut her finger opening gifts on her eighteenth birthday. And because of that beautiful girl, who was now a stunning grown woman, fates were tested, lives were pushed beyond their boundaries, and beings that should not have existed were given a chance to love and be loved.
All because an ancient vampire fell in love with a young human girl and she returned his love with everything she possessed.
A/N- Thank you all so very much for joining me on this amazing adventure. I had so much fun writing this story and making so many new friends. I'm not sure what the next year will hold as for my writing but it will no doubt be something. I know in this story I've skipped around a lot, leaving things or certain moments unseen, but that's what outtakes are for, right? LOL I'm sure I'll be visiting certain areas just so that I can relive these two again.
There were so many people involved that made this story happen. First off, my twin- Hibbleton78 who gave me the idea. Littlemissb who won me during the FGB auction. Lizf22 for being such a wonderful friend. Katydid2363 my beta who jumped pairings just for me. And last but not least, every single one of you. Again, every single one of you that has read, reviewed, sent PM's, rec'd this story and tweeted with me has made this honestly, the greatest writing experience for me.
I hope you all have a happy and safe new year. I'll see you all again, in 2011.
*Big hugs and kisses*