This is my version of Breaking Dawn as told from Edward's point of view. It is the sequel to Moonless Night and Eternal Equinox- if you haven't had a chance to read them, please check them out!
Disclaimer: I am NOT Stephenie Meyer and I don't own any of the Twilight series' characters or stories. I borrowed the dialogue and storyline from Breaking Dawn, but the rest is my own take on the story, as seen through Edward's eyes.
"Edward, please stop fidgeting and stand still," Alice scolded. She flitted around me, her lips pursed together with an assortment of pins held between them. Standing still should be a simple task for a vampire to accomplish, but one who was mere days away from walking down the aisle, well, that's a whole other ball game.
Whether it was nerves or anticipation, I couldn't be sure, but every cell in my body was on edge. The hours were ticking down until Bella and I would be wed and the thought both thrilled and terrified me. As much as I wanted to make Bella my wife, the promise I made to her, the condition she negotiated, was an ever present concern in my mind.
Shortly after our engagement was announced, I began to make preparations for our honeymoon. Most grooms would start by making hotel and flight reservations, but my first and most important task was the conversation I had with my father. The morning after our announcement, I found myself walking through the door of my father's office at Forks Community Hospital.
Carlisle looked up from his desk. Well, this is a surprise. "The nurse told me I had a consultation this morning, but this is unexpected. Is everything alright?"
"Yes," I nodded as I lowered myself into the leather chair opposite his desk. "I need to talk to you about something."
Carlisle furrowed his brow. "You know you can always talk to me, but why here?"
"I wanted to speak to you in a more private setting," I replied.
Private? He arched an eyebrow and leaned back in his chair.
I raked my palm across my brow, unsure of how to begin. I had berated myself endlessly for even considering Bella's condition and now that it was an inevitability, I was in desperate need of guidance. I blew out a puff of air and lowered my head into my hands.
"Edward? You can talk to me."
I lifted my eyes to see Carlisle leaning forward in his chair, concern etched in his features.
"I'm not sure where to begin," I admitted.
"How about from the beginning," he smiled.
I scoffed lightly and shook my head. The best place to begin would be the fateful night when the promise was made. "Do you remember the evening before the battle with the newborns? The night I proposed to Bella?"
He nodded, leaning forward and pressing his lips to steepled fingers.
I leaned my head back and closed my eyes, wishing to be anywhere but here. How could I have been so stupid to make a promise I couldn't keep?
Edward, you're worrying me.
I kept my eyes closed as I spoke. "That night, I promised Bella something that I probably shouldn't have and I need your advice."
Carlisle remained silent, but I could hear the list of questions building in his mind. If I were still human, I was certain my heart would be hammering in my chest. I lowered my head and slowly opened my eyes, preparing for the reaction my words would receive. "There are certain experiences Bella wants to have while she's still human," I began.
"That's perfectly understandable," Carlisle nodded. "Sacrifices will be made whenever she decides to become one of us. I would encourage her to take part in as many activities as she can before it's too late."
"It's not that," I shook my head. "I want her to have every human experience. I want her to stay human, but she's asked me for something that I'm not sure I can give."
"What makes you say that?" he asked, a perplexed look in his eyes.
My cheeks filled with air as I struggled to say the words. "Bella wants a honeymoon," I blurted out.
Carlisle leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms with a small smile on his face. "That's customary for newlyweds. Have you decided where you want to take her?" he asked.
"It's not that." I shook my head, frustrated with my inability to communicate effectively and Carlisle's clear misunderstanding of the subtle connotation. "Bella wants a real honeymoon."
His smile faltered as realization began to dawn on him. "You mean…?"
I winced and closed my eyes as I nodded in confirmation.
"Oh," he murmured, re-crossing his arms and sinking back into his chair. Is that possible?
"That's what I need to know."
"What's that?" he looked up. "Oh, right. Well…" He hesitated, rubbing his chin with his thumb. "Well, Son, when a man and a woman love each other…"
"I think we both know that I don't need you to explain that to me," I grumbled, tapping my temple with my index finger. "I've seen more than I ever cared to."
"Right," he nodded. "What exactly did you promise her?"
"Bella's worried about the change. She's concerned that she won't feel the same afterward - that the only thought on her mind will be of blood."
"She's not wrong, you know," he interjected.
"I know that, at first, she will be preoccupied with her thirst, but over time, she will learn to cope with that part of our nature. She wants to experience intimacy with me while she's still human, while the bloodlust isn't her primary desire. But I don't know...I should have never…"
"Edward, don't punish yourself for wanting to give Bella what she asked. I've seen the way you are with her and, honestly, I don't think that this is out of the realm of possibility."
There had to be a small part of me that believed I could grant Bella her wish, otherwise I never would have agreed to the notion in the first place, but the thought still petrified me. "Are you sure?"
"I'm not saying that it will be easy, but I believe it is most certainly feasible."
"But how can I? I've seen what it does to people – they lose themselves in the act. I can't risk losing control and hurting her. I would never forgive myself."
"I'm not going to lie to you, Edward. What you're proposing is very dangerous for Bella. But, to be completely honest, I don't believe you have the capacity within you to harm her. You need to be cautious, of course, but I have faith that you and Bella are perfectly capable of consummating your marriage while she is still human."
Could Carlisle be right? Was it possible for me to love Bella in that way and not harm her? My natural instinct was to shy away from such danger, to keep a tight rein on my control. For so long I had believed that I was incapable of giving her that type of relationship while she was still human. Could I have been wrong all this time? Had I not given myself enough credit?
"Can you tell me what to expect?" I asked.
Carlisle arched an eyebrow. I thought you said you understood the mechanics.
"You don't need to explain the act to me, Carlisle. I'm well aware of how that works, but what I've witnessed in the minds of others has been between two humans or two vampires, not a merging of the two."
He pursed his lips and nodded. "I can only speak from personal experience and observation. The sex act is powerful and not to be taken lightly. It's like nothing else and, because of its power, it should be respected and kept within the confines of a loving relationship.
"We are essentially frozen in whatever state we were at the time of our death. It is very rare for any type of change to occur, but when it does, it is profound and permanent. You already know this firsthand – you fell in love. You have made a strong emotional connection with Bella that will never be broken and it is that connection that will help you to maintain control."
"Do you really believe it's possible?" I asked.
"Absolutely," he smiled. "You and Bella are already close. You can hold her and kiss her without harming her, so you have a good understanding of how fragile she is and how careful you need to be. With the emotional intensity that comes with the act of physical love, you only need to be careful to focus and not lose yourself in the moment. I have no reason to believe that you can't fulfill her wish safely."
I leaned back in the chair, my eyes absently scanning the ceiling above. A mixture of relief and foreboding came over me as I mulled over Carlisle's words. Bella believed it was possible and it seemed that Carlisle felt the same.
"I would make a few suggestions," he interrupted my reverie. "First, and foremost, you may find it necessary to hold your breath. With the potency of the emotions, compounded by your heightened senses, it would be best to remove at least that factor of the temptation. I would also recommend feeding prior."
I nodded. "I want to take every possible precaution."
"Then I will also warn you that if Bella is chaste, she will likely experience some discomfort and there is the potential for a small amount of blood."
Blood? I raked my fingers through my hair. The scent of Bella's blood has long since lost its draw on me, but I was unsure how the intensity of the moment would affect my senses. Would the scent of freshly spilled blood send me over the edge? Would I be able to maintain control?
Carlisle stood and walked around his desk, taking a seat in the chair next to mine. He placed a calming hand on my knee and waited until my eyes met his. "What else should I be concerned about?" I stammered.
"All I can recommend is preparation," he said. "You want to do everything possible to ensure that both you and Bella are comfortable. It is a delicate situation, but also remember that the first time you come together as man and wife is memory that will be etched in your collective consciousness for eternity. Preparation is important, but don't let that overshadow the blessing that such an experience can be for you both."
"Well, what do you think?" Alice asked as she stepped back to admire her work.
I gazed at my reflection, at the clean lines and classic romance that only a tuxedo could exemplify. The image of the man staring back at me embodied the confidence of the perfect groom, but it was a misleading façade that masked the disquiet I felt within my heart. I had reflected upon my conversation with Carlisle many times over the past weeks and it still did little to dispel my fears – fears of a deadline that was fast approaching.
Thankfully, my only worry regarding the honeymoon was the anticipation of the act itself. Everything else had already been arranged, courtesy of Esme. Carlisle had confided in her my fears and she generously offered the use of her island as a wedding present. The unusual nature of our relationship required the utmost discretion and Isle Esme would be the perfect setting where we could be together and be ourselves without concern for interference from the outside world.
"Edward?" Alice pressed, once again wrenching me from my thoughts.
"It's perfect," I smiled.
"Of course it is," she beamed as she brushed away a wayward piece of string from the cuff of my sleeve. "After all, it's one of a kind."
Not half bad. I glanced across the room at Rosalie who stood in the doorway admiring my attire, a silvery garment draped gracefully across her folded arm. I raised an eyebrow, only to receive a smirk in reply. Enough time had passed that the animosity between my sister and myself had begun to lessen and we were back to our comfortably antagonistic relationship with one another.
It was Rosalie who helped me to secure a new vehicle for Bella. One condition Bella had agreed to was that I could replace her truck upon its demise. Anxious to see her in a safer, more reliable means of transportation, I began my search shortly after the agreement had been made.
As with anything else, Rosalie offered her opinion, solicited or not, when I began researching the perfect car for Bella. I explained to her that I wanted something that would keep her safe. Granted, anything would have been an improvement over her ancient truck.
"I want something safe," I explained, "something reliable, something that will hold up well if Bella, heaven forbid, happens to be in an accident."
"With that girl's track record, you might as well get a tank," Rosalie snickered.
It was true; Bella seemed to be a bona fide danger magnet. I scanned through the images on the computer screen, unimpressed with the selection I had found.
"What would you suggest?" I asked, genuinely curious as to which vehicle Rosalie thought would be suitable for Bella's needs…and mine.
Rosalie smirked and leaned over me as she began typing on the keyboard. "Appropriate, don't you think?" she asked as she leaned back, gesturing to the screen with a satisfied smile.
The computer glowed with the image of a sleek black automobile. I read through the specifications of the car displayed on the screen - four-thousand pounds of body armor, missile-proof glass, fire-extinguishing system. I began to chuckle at the absurdity of it, but couldn't argue that if I were to obtain the safest vehicle possible, this would certainly fulfill that need. If I couldn't be there to protect her at all times, what better than a Guardian to keep her safe?
But such a car would be difficult to obtain – it was certainly reserved for foreign dignitaries and the like. I cast a skeptical glance over my shoulder.
"Do you honestly think I would propose a car that was unobtainable?" she scoffed, rolling her eyes. "I can call in a few favors. It shouldn't be a problem." She raised a hand, casually tossing her hair over her shoulder as she walked from the room.
True to her word, Rosalie made a few quick phone calls and, in a week's time, I was the proud owner of a new Mercedes Guardian. Surprisingly, the car didn't sit in our garage for long. Bella's truck groaned to a halt only a few short weeks later. I had done nothing more than wish that her truck would meet its long-overdue demise, but I could not be certain that the cause was entirely natural. I had a sinking suspicion that Rosalie may have had a hand in ending the life of Bella's truck after repeatedly complaining of my pout that the shiny new car sat idle.
Bella was heartbroken the day her truck expired. Alice had alerted me to the fact that her car was stopped midway between our houses and I met her there before she even had the chance to call for a tow. I remembered so clearly the expression on her face, the frown and the way her brows knit together as she tried to determine the source of her truck's sudden collapse. She heaved a heavy sigh as she leaned her head forward on the steering wheel, still unaware of my presence. I walked to her side and reached in through the open window, gently brushing back the hair from her face.
"Oh!" she jumped, turning abruptly to face me with her hand clapped over her heart. "You scared me."
"Sorry," I grinned sheepishly. "What seems to be the trouble?"
"It just…stopped," she spoke in an uncertain tone, shrugging her shoulders slightly.
"Would you like me to…" I paused, gesturing to the car's hood.
She shook her head, a frown pulling down the corners of her mouth. We had barely spoken of Jacob Black since he left. Bella felt immeasurably guilty for the part she played in his broken heart and I made no mention of my own attempt to reach out to him prior to his exodus. This truck was one of the few items that remained that tied her to him. I could still smell his lingering odor clinging to the ancient threads of the seat. For anyone but Jacob to attempt to repair this heap of sentimental scrap metal would be an affront to his memory. And to Bella, it would be an admission that he wasn't coming back.
I reached over, shifting the car into neutral, and placed Bella's hands on the steering wheel, giving her a knowing look. With little effort, I began to push, guiding the truck toward its final destination. When we came to a halt in front of her home, I reached in, lifting Bella from the truck, and wrapped her in my arms when her feet hit the ground. She buried her face in my chest and I half-expected her to begin to cry. I was surprised, instead, by what she said next.
"I guess this means I'm getting a new car," she groaned.
"A promise is a promise," I smiled, tilting up her chin with my index finger. "Would you like to see it?"
I could feel her small hands pushing gently on my chest and released her as she began to back away. Her cheeks flushed crimson and her eyes narrowed. "You did this," she whispered, accusation dripping from her words.
"I had nothing to do with this, I swear," I held up my hands in defense.
Her clenched fist quivered at her side as she ran her other hand lovingly along the truck's fender. Her nostrils flared as she worked to reign in her temper. Her eyes glistened with suppressed tears as she turned to face me. "You swear?"
I reached across the space, taking her hand in mine and bringing it to my lips, gently placing a kiss her ring finger. "I swear."
She blinked back her tears and her expression softened as she allowed me to once again pull her into my arms. "I'm sorry," I whispered. "Truly, I am. I know how much you loved this truck and it lived a long, full life – longer than most would have expected. I'm sure that it was just its time to go."
"But you already bought a replacement?" she asked.
"Only in preparation. Anyone could see that your truck wouldn't last forever."
After a brief two-day period of mourning, Bella finally agreed to accept the car I had purchased. She wrung her hands nervously as she sat in the passenger seat of my Volvo on her way to meet her new vehicle. I reached over, stilling her movement and smiling reassuringly.
Alice had assured me that Bella would accept the car with grace and gratitude, but could not promise that she would be pleased with it. It wasn't the car that concerned me the most, but the black credit card emblazoned with Bella's name that was sure to set her over the edge.
For Bella's sake, I kept the fanfare to a minimum as I led her to the garage where her new Mercedes waited. She squeezed her eyes shut for the briefest moment as the door began to open and that's when I became acutely aware of the thoughts within. I cringed as the opening widened and the thoughts became reality. My entire family was all smiles, gathered around the car, and a giant red bow had been carefully placed on the roof.
"Surprise!" Emmett shouted, throwing his arms up in the air only to be met with an irritated smack in the chest from Rosalie.
"Oh," Bella gasped as her cheeks flushed. I knew very well how difficult it was for Bella to accept my gift and of her distaste when others made a fuss over her. I should have known that Alice would do something like this.
Seriously, Edward. Give the girl a little credit, Alice thought. Besides, it's good practice for the wedding. She does know she'll be the center of attention on that day, right?
I shook my head at Alice and gave Bella's hand a reassuring squeeze. "This," I said, nodding to the shiny vehicle, "is a Mercedes Guardian and it's for you."
"A Mercedes Guardian," Bella repeated, drawing out the words. She seemed to mull the idea over for a moment before she burst into a fit of laughter. The others wore matched expressions of confusion as they watched Bella double over.
She straightened up and playfully poked me in the chest. "Only you would pick a car with such a ridiculous name," she snickered. "Let me guess, it has a video camera installed so you can keep an eye on me?"
"Not a bad idea," Emmett chuckled.
"Emmett," Esme hissed.
"No," I laughed, "no surveillance equipment. But it was the safest vehicle I could find." I took both of her hands in mine and turned her to face me. "You are the most important thing to me and I want to keep you safe, when I'm with you and when I'm not."
She smiled as I pressed my lips to her forehead and led her to the driver's side door. I opened it for her and she hesitated before climbing into the plush leather interior. As Alice had predicted, she was gracious in her acceptance of the car and listened as I explained the various features. Perhaps I droned on a little too long about the finer details of the automobile's capabilities because, one by one, my family members filtered back into the house until we were left completely alone.
"It's beautiful. Thank you," she whispered as she ran her hand absently over the steering wheel.
"You like it?" I asked, wishing for the millionth time that I could read her thoughts and know exactly how she was feeling without the nuisance of having to ask.
"I do," she nodded. "It's very nice."
"I have something else for you," I said, reaching into my back pocket.
I placed the shiny, black card in the palm of her hand and her eyes went wide as she read her name.
"Edward, no," she said, trying to hand the card back to me.
"Bella, please," I pleaded. "All that I have and all that I am already belongs to you. All that's left is for us to make it official. Please take it."
She hesitated, the blood rushing to the spot where her teeth clenched her bottom lip. "But…"
I reached for her hand, closing her fingers around the card in her palm. "You don't have to use it now if you want to wait until after the wedding. But I'll feel better if you keep it with you…just in case."
She blew out a puff of air. "Fine," she mumbled. "But I really wish you would have asked me first."
"Would you have said yes?" I asked, arching an eyebrow.
"No," she shot back, "but still…"
I chuckled as I placed my hands on either side of her face and brought her lips to mine. "In just a few short weeks, I will vow to love, honor, and cherish you for eternity. We will be bound in matrimony and you will gain a legal stake in all that I have. Just think of this as my offer to share a little in advance."
In the weeks following, Bella rarely ventured out in her new Guardian – often asking if I would like to drive when we travelled together – and her sleek credit card was used even less. Each time we pulled into her drive, she would cast a forlorn glance at her dearly departed truck that sat like a faded monument in front of her father's home. It sat as a constant reminder of the one missing thread in her life's tapestry.
Not surprisingly, those glances were often followed by phone calls to Seth Clearwater. He was the one member of the wolf pack who seemed to understand the odd position Bella had been placed in and offered her more compassion than she felt she deserved. He was the only Quileute willing to offer her any information on Jacob's whereabouts or wellbeing.
I, myself, felt an unusual camaraderie with Seth. We worked well together during the battle with Victoria and I developed a deep level of respect for the young man who could see past what we are and accept who we are without question. I was proud to call him my friend and it only seemed fitting that he come as a guest to our wedding – as a friend, and perhaps more meaningful to Bella, as a representative of the lost friend she hoped would be in attendance.
My head shook. I have once again been ripped from my thoughts, finding myself focused on the tiny fingers snapping in front of my eyes.
Finally! "Where are you today?" Alice asked.
"Sorry," I shrugged, running my fingers through my hair. "I have a lot on my mind."
"Well, now that you've decided to come back to reality from wherever it was you were, I told you that I was finished and you could take off your tux."
"Thank you, Alice."
She huffed, mumbling to herself about gratitude as I began carefully removing the tie and unbuttoning the coat. Esme held a hanger in one hand and took my jacket with the other.
"You look very handsome," she smiled. "I can't believe you're getting married." Finally.
"Sometimes I can't believe it myself," I admitted.
"It's time," she declared. "You've been on your own for far too long and it's been quite some time since we added a new member to our family. It should make for an interesting dynamic, don't you think?"
"Quite," I agreed as I stepped behind Alice's folding curtain to change out of my tux. Esme carefully gathered the garments as I draped them over the wooden frame and placed them lovingly on their respective hangers. Her mind drifted – imagining the wedding day, picturing Bella and myself laying on the beach at Isle Esme, making mental preparations for her latest renovation project. She smiled as I walked around the curtain, smoothing out the wrinkles in my pants.
No peeking! Alice thought as she dashed out the door. I caught a glimpse of two garment bags tucked neatly under each of her arms as she ran past. How could I possibly peek when what I assumed was Bella's wedding dress was completely obscured from view? Alice had been very careful not to think of Bella's dress in my presence and she had been surprisingly successful at keeping it a secret. It helped that the only person who had seen the dress besides Alice was Bella and I certainly couldn't pick the design out of her mind.
I walked from the room and strode to the piano. A neat stack of sheet music lay on the piano's closed top – evidence of the preparations Rosalie had been making for the wedding. I had asked that Alice allow me to play for Bella, but she scoffed at the idea and insisted that the groom didn't need to be doing anything of the sort on his wedding day. My fingers glided over the keys effortlessly as I bided my time until I could see Bella again. Alice would have my head if I took one step toward Bella's house while she was having her final fitting.
The wooden bench creaked quietly as Esme took a seat beside me, leaning her head on my shoulder. The cadence of the melody shifted until I was playing her favorite composition. She closed her eyes and began humming in tune with the piano as the music filled the room. It didn't matter what worries were weighing on my mind or what fears I had in the coming days, the music always seemed to break through those barriers and display my true feelings.
Happiness, Esme decided, as though she could read my thoughts. She was always the most skilled in the family at determining my mood based on the notes emanating from this room. No matter the melody, whether it be joyous or melancholy, she had an uncanny ability to evaluate the way in which I played and thus determine my state of mind. And she was right. It didn't matter that I was nervous about the approaching day or fearful of the ability to maintain control on the honeymoon, no, the overall feeling that overwhelmed my entire being was happiness.
The movement of my fingers quickened as I again changed the melody to a light concerto, closing my eyes and reveling in the sound that reverberated through the space. Carlisle appeared beside the piano, offering his hand to Esme, and they began twirling around the room in time with the music. The image conjured up long forgotten memories of the way they would dance together when they were first wed. I smiled at the recollection, imagining that in just a matter of days, Bella and I would be taking our first dance as a wedded couple – hopefully the first of many for years to come.
A/N: Well, here we go again. I apologize for the long absence; life has thrown me a few curve balls as of late. I am excited to begin this new journey with you and eager to delve back into the complexities of Edward's mind. As always, I appreciate your readership and feedback – they are invaluable to me.
Special thanks to my beta, NellyBear85, for her unending support and assistance. And thanks to misticbutterfly for giving me that kick in the butt I need every once in a while.