Eternally grateful to ShearEnvy for daring me to write this. ILY.
"I figure life's a gift, and don't intend on wasting it. You never know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you, to make each day count." - Jack Dawson, Titanic
Three years later...
I paced the floor in my old bedroom in Forks, trying to calm down. Butterflies had invaded my system, fluttering inside of me so fiercely I could hardly breathe. Clutching my stomach, I suddenly felt like I was going to be sick.
I ran for the trash can, barely making it in time. Hunching over it, I lost what little I had eaten for breakfast.
"Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and Molly McGee, please tell me you're not knocked up."
Wiping my mouth with the back of my hand, I glanced across the room toward the source of the voice. Jake stood in the doorway, dressed meticulously in a plain black suit with his hair neatly combed back on his head. He was clutching a small bag in his hand.
"No, I'm not," I muttered, climbing to my feet. "It's just nerves."
"Thank God," he said, shaking his head. "I love you and all, but that's the last thing any of us need today. We had enough of that last time."
I shook my head at the memory. Damn if he wasn't right.
We stood silently for a moment until a smile tugged at the corner of Jake's lips. "You better hope it doesn't storm, girl."
I tensed. It was Forks, after all. What if it rained? Would it ruin everything? "Why?"
"Because lightning will strike your ass if it does," he said. "A white dress, Bella? Seriously? You're about as pure as a baggie of back alley two-dollar cocaine."
Rolling my eyes, I turned toward the full-length mirror hanging on the wall and took in my reflection. The dress clung to my curves, long and elegant, yet simple at the same time. It was exactly as I'd always envisioned, but my nerves were getting the best of me. "I don't look ridiculous, do I? Because I kind of feel like it."
"No, you look fantastic, Jezebella," he replied, strolling over toward me. He forced me away from the mirror and led me over to my desk. I took a seat in the chair as he set his bag down and opened it up, digging through it. He started pulling out makeup and applied some to my face.
I remained silent for a bit, listening to his commands and letting him do his thing, before the ridiculousness of the situation got to be too much. I started giggling, my anxiety dissipating at the rush of laughter.
"What the hell is so funny?" he asked, gripping my chin as he tried to still my movement. "Other than your idea of fashion, of course."
"You don't think this is at all weird?" I asked, ignoring his dig at my dressing skills. "I mean, I'm relying on a guy friend to do my make-up for me."
He smiled. "I'm not just any guy friend, Bella. I'm the best guy friend a girl could ever want. You're a lucky bitch."
"I am," I said. As cocky as the fucker was, he was telling the truth. While I loved Edward and in many ways considered him my best friend, there was a connection I had with Jake that could never be touched by another. He was the ying to my yang. He was bold and outspoken, while I was sometimes shy and still finding my way. He challenged me, pushed me out of my comfort zone. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that we both loved cock, I was pretty sure we'd have nothing in common. "I really hope you're not making me look like a clown."
"Of course not, Bozo," he said. "I know what I'm doing. I probably wear this shit more than you do."
I gaped at him. "Do you really?"
"Maybe," he replied. "Maybe not."
Jake in makeup? I needed to see that. "We should totally have a sleepover. It's been a long time. We can watch chick flicks and play dress up."
"Bella Swan, watch chick flicks? That's a new one."
"First time for everything."
"And a second time, and a third time, and a fourth time with you," he said. "Especially when it comes to wine. You drink like a fish, Flounder. You can't stop at one."
I rolled my eyes. "It's in my genes."
"Bullshit," he said. "If those things were genetic, I'd be a coke head."
"Hmmm, well, you do know an awful lot about two dollar back alley cocaine."
"Touché," he said, laughing. "And yes, we can have a sleepover, but only if you promise to paint my toenails while I braid your hair."
He chuckled and applied some gloss to my lips before taking a step back and surveying me. Satisfied, he put everything back in the bag and pushed it to the side.
"Here, this is for you to wear," he said reaching into his pocket. "You know how the tradition goes. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."
He pulled out a necklace and quickly put it on me. I gasped, grabbing ahold of it in surprise. It was loaded down with diamonds, a bright blue, heart-shaped jewel surrounded with them. As striking as it was, the familiarity was even more stunning. "Holy shit, Jake, it's the blue heart diamond!"
"I know," he said. "It's a family heirloom. I got it from my mom. She got it from grandma Edna Dawson, who got it from Great-grandma Rose."
I gaped at him. "No way!"
"Yes way. Came straight off the Titanic."
"Are you fucking with me?"
"Would I do that, Bella?"
He started laughing. "Yeah, you're right. You're so damn gullible. It was just a movie, dipshit. Jack and Rose aren't real."
"I know that," I grumbled, still fingering the diamonds. It was heavy and cold against my skin. "This isn't real, though, is it?"
"Of course it's real," he said. "Do you really think I'd let you wear clunky costume jewelry?"
"No, but it could be cubic zirconia."
"Yeah, well, it's not. It's a hundred percent real."
I was taken aback. "This had to have cost a fortune."
"It did... that's why you can't keep it. That shit has to be returned to the jeweler by tomorrow night. It's just borrowed, and I figured it can stand in as your something new and something blue, too."
"What about my something old?"
"That's you," he responded. "Old as dirt."
I scowled at him. "Screw you."
"If I was straight, honey, I would... I'd ravage you right here, right now," he said. "But being as I'm not, I'm gonna have to pass."
Before I could respond, a throat cleared from the doorway. I turned toward it and smiled when I saw Charlie standing there. He had on a tuxedo, something I'd never seen him wear before.
"Now him, on the other hand," Jake said, smirking deviously. "Him, I'd definitely ravage. What a DILF."
I grimaced. Disgusting. "That's so gross, Jake."
He laughed, heading for the door. "Looking good, Papa Swan," he said, pausing to slap my father on the back. "Looking mighty good."
Charlie's cheeks turned red as Jake practically skipped down the stairs. "I don't know about that boy, Bella."
"Jake's harmless," I said. "He flirts with everyone."
"So I see," he said, clearing his throat. "Anyway, you, uh... you look nice, Bells."
"Thanks," I said, glancing down at myself.
"You're welcome," he said, tugging at his collar anxiously. "I want you to know I'm happy for you. And I'm proud. Really proud."
"Are you?" I asked. "You're not going to tell me I'm making a mistake and throwing my life away like last time I told you I was getting married?"
He smiled. "No. You're not eighteen anymore, and you're not getting married because of a baby." His smile fell abruptly. "You're not, are?"
"No," I said, rolling my eyes. What was with them asking if I'm pregnant?
"Good," he said, smiling again as he held his arm out to me. "We should get going. We don't want want to keep them waiting. They might think you're getting cold feet."
Nodding, I took one last look in the mirror at myself before taking my father's arm. I watched my feet as we headed downstairs, praying I didn't trip and fall. My heart was thumping wildly, my palms sweaty and knees starting to shake. I'd never been so nervous in my life.
We paused when we hit the back door of the house, and I glanced outside, taking in the scene. The back yard was completely decorated, elegant but still simple, with a few dozen chairs lined up and filled with guests. A long white aisle ran down the center, leading straight to the big oak tree.
My oak tree, standing tall and proud, its branches full and trunk sturdy. It still survived, much like me.
My eyes were immediately drawn to the man standing underneath it. He was clearly nervous, fidgeting with his collar as he waited for me. He was uncomfortable in his suit, and I had to laugh. So familiar. So comforting.
Green eyes shone brightly as Charlie and I stepped outside, the music starting up as I made my way toward him. Everyone stood, beaming, and my cheeks flushed at the attention.
As soon as we reached the end of the aisle, Charlie nodded in greeting. "Edward."
Edward nodded back. "Charlie."
The priest smiled as the music stopped and everyone re-took their seats. "Who gives this woman to be wed?"
Charlie cleared his throat. "Her mother and I."
I glanced behind me at those words, seeing her sitting in the front row. She was four years clean now, and it hadn't been easy, but we'd managed to build a relationship over time. It wasn't the typical mother-daughter dynamic, because that ship had long since passed, but we'd gotten to the point where we could be friends. I was grateful for her presence in my life, something years ago I never thought I'd say.
I turned back around as Charlie let go of my arm and took his seat beside my mother. Smirking, Edward took my hand and squeezed gently as the priest continued the service.
"Friends and family, we're gathered here today to celebrate the union of Edward Anthony Cullen and Isabella Marie Swan in holy matrimony. As I'm sure everyone's well aware, this has been a long time coming."
I smiled. That it has been...
"Are you sure?" I asked hesitantly, trying to contain the hope threatening to consume me. He couldn't be sure, could he?
"Yeah, I am," he said. "There's nothing left for me back east. I don't have my internship at the hospital there anymore, they've already given my place to someone else. All my family and friends are here. It just... it feels right."
It did feel right, that much I couldn't deny. "So you're moving here?" I asked, needing to confirm it. I needed to hear him say it again.
"Yes, I'm moving Washington."
I couldn't stop the smile that spread over my face. I tried to tell myself it didn't mean anything, not really. Washington was a big place. Just because he was moving there didn't mean anything. But despite my mind protesting, my heart truly believed... it was for me. He was coming to be with me.
"So, I mean, what are you going to do?"
"Uh, I don't know."
"Where are you going to live?"
"Well, I don't really know that either. Maybe I'll get a house in Forks. Might just stay with my parents until I can get everything sorted out." He ran his hand through his hair nervously. "I know, I'm pathetic, but I'm starting over again and I can't really afford to move to Seattle right away, but I want to try to... I want to see where this goes with you."
I stared at him for a moment before smiling. Wow, how the tables had turned. I remembered what it was like to start over, to not know where you were going or what you were doing. I built my life, followed my dream, and I wanted to help him do the same. I wanted him to be happy. It was all I ever wanted.
"Stay with me," I blurted out, the words lingering in the air between us before I registered what I was even saying. I meant them, of course, but holy shit...
Did I just ask him to move in with me?
His eyes widened with surprise. "Isn't that moving kind of fast?"
"Edward, we've known each other our whole lives," I said. "You took my virginity a decade ago. We almost had a family for crying out loud. We're not moving too fast... frankly, I think we're the slowest people on the face of the earth. If we slow down any more, I'll be dead before you even make another move."
Edward chuckled quietly, clearly remembering that day as I was. As soon as those words had hit him, he'd been on me, smashing his lips to mine furiously. He kissed me deeply, passionately, yearn and pure need seeping from him. It was a kiss that told me the answer was "yes" without a word being spoken.
A week later he arrived at my apartment with his belongings, and we never looked back.
The priest continued, addressing Edward directly. We'd requested a simple ceremony, nothing fancy. Just us, surrounded by the people we loved, in the place where it all started. I couldn't think of anything more fitting.
"Do you, Edward Cullen, take Isabella Swan to be your lawfully wedded wife?" he asked. "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do you part?"
Edward nodded, still gazing at me. "I do."
The priest turned to me, asking the same question. I didn't hesitate. I didn't even have to think about it. I'd loved Edward my whole life and would continue to love him until I died, no matter what.
"I do," I whispered.
"With the power vested in me by the state of Washington, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride."
Our friends cheered, Jake's whistles sounding out above everyone else's, as Edward pulled me into his arms and pressed his lips to mine. It was sweet and had a lifetime of kisses ahead of us, and nothing would ever get in our way again.
Five seconds… ten seconds… twenty. After thirty seconds, people started growing impatient. Jake groaned loudly, shouting for us to hurry up, and Edward chuckled into my mouth but didn't break the kiss. After a minute, Jake snatched an acorn from the ground and threw it at us, smacking me in the cheek. I pulled away, shocked when I realized what he'd done. Edward rolled his eyes, shielding his hand from the priest as he stuck his middle finger up at Jake.
Jake raised his eyebrows, smirking suggestively, and I burst into laughter. It wasn't the first time Jake had interrupted one of our moments like this, and I knew it certainly wouldn't be the last.
Edward's hands on my skin were electric, frantic and full of fire as he stripped me out of my clothes, unceremoniously flinging them every which way as soon as we got into our apartment. We were both tipsy, me likely more than him. I was dizzy, so dizzy I could hardly think straight, and the feel of his lips on my skin weren't helping me concentrate. Edward had just played at a club in Seattle, his first public performance since we were young. It hadn't been perfect, and it had only been two songs on amateur night, but we were both buzzing like he'd tackled Madison Square Garden. I was proud—so goddamn proud—and I couldn't take another moment of being without him.
We didn't make it past the living room. We were both naked and on the couch within a matter of moments, and he was inside of me before I could even catch my breath.
His thrusts were hard and furious. He pounded into me, reaching depths no man has ever reached before. My legs rested on his shoulders, my knees slamming into me as my body twisted in angles and positions I never knew I was flexible enough to achieve. It was pleasure. It was pain. It was the best goddamn moment of my nearly thirty years of life.
Grunts and moans filled the room, cries of ecstasy vibrating my chest as he drove me further and further to the brink of insanity, nearly pushing me off the edge with nothing but the feel of his cock inside of me. I clawed his back, desperate for more, and my body seized up as orgasm rocked me. He whispered in my ear, nipping at my skin with his teeth, and I could feel him tensing as he grew close to his own release.
One frantic thrust, then another. One desperate grunt, followed by a whimper. It was only a matter of seconds before he spilled when the front door to the apartment flung open and crashed into the wall.
"Bella, honey, I need to ask— whoa, fuck me! Look at that fine, white ass!"
The sound of Jake's voice made the world stop for a split second, everything in slow motion. Edward pulled back from me with a look of hunger in his eyes, desperation for his release. He was considering not stopping, I could tell from looking at him, but he wasn't drunk enough to disregard Jake's presence.
Edward pulled out of me and leapt over the back of the couch like a track star, his agility that of a graceful gazelle, as I grabbed a throw that was hanging on the furniture and covered myself up with it. I glanced over at the door, panicked. Jake just stood there, still as a mannequin, and stared at me like he was shell-shocked.
"Don't you know how to knock?" Edward spat. I could hear the frustration in his words as he tried to shield himself from Jake behind the couch.
"No, he doesn't," I mumbled. I'd never seen him knock before, but Edward didn't know that. He and Jake were still getting to know each other.
"Don't you know how to lock your door?" Jake retorted, blinking a few times as he came out of his stupor. "Hang a sign or put a sock on the door or something next time you're balls deep in my Bella-boo in public view. Have some dignity, man."
Edward grumbled under his breath, annoyed. This wasn't good.
"What do you need to ask, Jake?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Hell, I don't even remember now."
Sighing, I shook my head. "Well, call me if you remember, but we're a little busy right now, so…"
"Uh, yeah, right." Jake turned and started to leave, but didn't even make it to the hallway before he turned back around. He eyed Edward, raising his eyebrows as he smirked. "I wasn't kidding. Finest ass I ever did see."
The backyard was quickly transformed from makeshift wedding chapel to reception hall, the furniture rearranged and tables brought out, all of them loaded with food and drinks. I'd lost my heels as soon as the reception was over and gained a glass of wine as I sat at a small table, our family and friends dancing to the music the DJ was playing. It had turned into a block party, all of the neighbors coming over to celebrate with us.
Edward sat beside me, his jacket gone and shirt unbuttoned halfway. He seemed happy and relaxed. I couldn't seem to tear my eyes from him. He glanced at me and smiled before standing up. "Dance with me," he said, holding his hand out to me. I eyed him skeptically and he laughed, grabbing my hand and pulling me to my feet. "I get at least one dance."
"Fine," I said. He dragged me a few feet away, underneath the big oak tree, and wrapped his arms around me as the music cut off.
"Ladies and gentlemen, let me take a moment to officially introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen," the DJ said over his microphone. "And by special request of the groom, this song is dedicated to his bride."
I smiled, tears in my eyes the moment I heard the Nsync song come on. Edward chuckled, pulling me closer to him as I sang along to the lyrics.
Just close your eyes
Each loving day (each loving day)
I know this feeling won't go away (no..)
Every word I say is true
This I promise you
I reached up on my tiptoes and kissed Edward once the song ended, but I didn't have a chance to deepen the kiss. I was swept away immediately as another song came on, Jake butting between us with a grin on his face. "Sorry, Eduardo, but I need to cut in."
Edward sighed exasperatedly but said nothing. He turned, coming face-to-face with Mike Newton, and nodded in greeting. "How about a beer?" Edward said.
"Hell yeah," Mike said as the two of them strolled away. Mike had become a permanent fixture in our lives the past few years, and Edward had finally warmed up to him. In fact, it seemed Edward was more comfortable with Mike than he was with Jake. Odd, given the history between the two, but I ventured to guess it might've been jealously. Like I said before, Jake and I had a bond that nothing would ever touch. And while Edward had accepted it—had accepted Jake—it didn't necessarily mean he liked it.
"You get a kick out of aggravating him, don't you?" I asked, awkwardly trying to keep up with Jake dancing. He was a natural. It annoyed me to no end… I wanted to trip him.
"You know it," he said. "He'd never admit it, but he secretly enjoys it."
"I don't know about that," I muttered.
"I do," he said. "I'm Truth be Told. You don't question me."
I rolled my eyes, but didn't argue with him. It was senseless. Jake would always be Jake, and that was precisely why I loved him so much.
"I can't believe my Jezebella is a married woman now," he continued. "I just want you to know I'm happy for you, boo. Very happy."
"Thank you," I said. "I'm happy for you, too. You and Mike are still going strong. It's practically a miracle."
"It is," he said. "And who knows, maybe my wedding will be next."
My eyes widened with surprise. "No shit? You're thinking about proposing?"
He shrugged. "Maybe. It's legal now, so what the hell?"
I smiled. Jake? Married? Never thought I'd see the day. "I think you should," I said, glancing over at where Edward and Mike stood across the yard, drinking Heinekens and chatting. Mike's face was covered in a scruffy beard. "I totally think you'd have to wear the dress, though. It would clash with his facial hair."
"You might be right," he mused. "Can I borrow yours?"
"Absolutely, if you think it'll fit"
"Oh, it will," he said, winking. "I tried it on yesterday."
I gaped at Jake as he let go of me and strutted away, still laughing as he went.
The apartment was dark, but soft classical music filtered out from the bedroom as I made my way inside. I was exhausted, my feet hurting from a long day at work. I kicked off my heels right inside the door and dropped my pocketbook, sighing. "Edward?" I called out, knowing he had to be home. He was working at a hospital in Seattle now, as his father had gotten him in with a former colleague of his, and I'd expected him to be at work all night.
There was no answer, but as I approached the bedroom I could hear the sound of water running in the bathroom. Thick steam filtered out from under the door and I smiled, making my way toward it. I opened the bathroom door, hesitating when I realized the light was off, but the room was covered in lit candles. Rose petals coated the floor in a trail and I followed them, my heart pounding rapidly with excitement and anxiety.
They led me to the sink and I glanced up in the foggy mirror, freezing as the breath left me. My chest burned, a sweat breaking out on my forehead that wasn't entirely caused by the hot air in the room.
Through the steam, I could make out the distinct words written on the glass in Edward's handwriting. It was two simple words, but they were powerful enough to leave me speechless. I could do nothing but stare at them in a trance.
Marry me, it said.
"Will you?" Edward asked behind me, so close that goose bumps immediately coated every inch of my skin, the hair on the back of my neck standing on end. I swung around, blinking rapidly as he stood a few feet from me, stark naked and holding a familiar ring. It was the one he'd told me to hold onto, one that had been sitting on top of my dresser since the day I returned to Seattle. "Marry me?"
I couldn't find words. All I could do was nod frantically.
I was pouting as I sat in Edward's old Camaro, slouching down in the passenger seat. The engine rumbled loudly, drowning out all of my exaggerated huffs, but that didn't stop me from doing it anyway. I was frustrated, feeling dizzy as Edward sped and weaved through the streets.
"Is this really necessary?" I asked, reaching up and touching the thick blindfold covering my eyes. I felt absolutely ridiculous. I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing, or what the point in any of it was.
Edward batted my hands away. "Yes, it is. Leave it alone."
I sighed, crossing my arms. "Are we almost there?"
It felt like we'd been driving for hours, my sense of direction and time all thrown off since I could see nothing but blackness. We could damn near be to Seattle now for all I knew, but definitely as far away as Port Angeles.
"Almost," he replied. "Just another minute."
Just another minute turned out to feel like thirty, but the car eventually came to a stop. He cut the engine and I reached up to remove my blindfold, but he swatted my hands away again. Sighing, I conceded and kept it on, instead letting him help me out of the car. He took my arm and led me a few feet, and I could hear the distinct opening of a door. Cold air hit me instantly as we stepped inside of a building, but my ears were met with nothing but strained silence.
There was another jingle as the door closed, and Edward positioned himself behind me. I could feel his breath against my skin, a shiver ripping down my spine as he moved my hair out of the way to place a soft kiss on the back of my neck.
"Can I see now?" I asked. "Please?"
"I suppose," he replied quietly, kissing my neck once again. He reached up and untied the blindfold, letting it drop to the floor. I blinked rapidly, letting my eyes adjust, and my brow furrowed when I saw the tall stacks of books surrounding us. Recognition hit me after a moment and I gasped, swinging around to look at him with disbelief. "Forks Library?"
He smirked. "That would be the one."
"But we drove forever," I said, shaking my head. It didn't make any sense. "This place is walking distance."
"Yeah, I just drove around Forks a few times," he replied. "Did a few circles. I couldn't just drive straight here or it wouldn't have been a surprise."
Shaking my head, I turned back around and glanced around the library. The place was vacant, thick dust lining the shelves. It had been abandoned a year ago because of a lack of funding a few weeks after Mrs. McCarty passed away. Truthfully, it would've been shut down a long time before that if not for her dedication and love for the place.
It looked exactly as I recalled it being all of those years ago. I hadn't been inside of it since the fire incident, and Edward knew that. Tears sprung to my eyes at the memory. "Are you trying to get me in trouble again?"
He chuckled. "No."
"We're trespassing," I said. Déjà fucking vu. "I really don't want to spend our wedding night behind bars."
"We won't," he said. "I was smart enough to ask permission this time."
He took my hand and led me through the stacks of books, to the back of the library. In the exact spot we'd been last time, a blanket was spread out on the floor with Edward's old, tan, acoustic guitar lying in the center of it. Vases of red roses surrounded it, along with dozens of candles that were already lit. I took a few steps forward, stunned, and started to laugh when I realized they were electric.
"Don't trust me with fire?"
"Yeah, no," he said. "I think we learned our lesson last time."
Last time. It had been a disaster last time, the entire relationship, but he was right that we'd learned our lesson. We were starting over and had our whole lives ahead of us, a second chance to get everything right. And as long as we were together, I had to believe that we'd succeed.
Edward pulled me closer to him, and I wrapped my arms around his neck. Pulling him down to me, I kissed him deeply.
"I love you," I whispered.
"I love you, too," he replied. "I always have, Bella."
AN: Well, that's it. The end. I promised I wouldn't end it like the movie (again, WORST ENDING EVER). It's been a pleasure writing this and my other stories, and I'm eternally grateful that you've read my writing. There aren't words for how much it means to me. Without you, fandom, I never would've believed in myself as a writer. I've made so many great friends, read so many great stories, and I look forward to reading more and making more friends. I've learned and grown so much, and despite all of the drama, all of the hate, all of the chaos, it's been worth it. You're all beautiful. Never let anyone tell you differently.
If you're interested in my original writing in the future, you can follow me on twitter: JMDarhower
Thank you. Truly.