~The Champagne Club~

90- Ceremony

Word Count: 1,888


Bella trudged up the pathway, her feet and legs tired from the long day of standing, turning, twisting, and rushing she'd done. It had been a long eight months since she'd been on her feet for such a length of time, and while she'd not been idle, the quiet life she had become accustomed to had made her soft.

At least for a waitress.

She climbed the wooden porch steps, digging her keys from her bag before unlocking the plain white door to her home. She was glad to be back, the day over and finished, her time with strangers and their many demands through.

She only had one person left to see, and he never demanded too much from her, for she was always willing to give.

A glance at the clock on the mantle, Bella realized she would need to hurry if she wanted to make the dinner she'd planned before he arrived home as well.

Stepping into the small kitchen, Bella bustled about her little domain, pulling glass dishes from cupboards, spices from the racks and items from the refrigerator all to simmer and mix together, the savory aroma of a home cooked meal filling the late winter's evening air.

Once all was ready, roast in the oven and gravy simmering, Bella made her way down the short hall to her room, determined to have a quick bath to remove the grease and ink stains of the busy day from her body, leaving only Bella behind.

It was a comfort, knowing that under the layers of whatever disguised her, be it the tacky orange and yellow waitress uniform or the short cut of her hair, Bella was still there.

Jasper hadn't been lying when he said things would be difficult for them if Edward testified against his father and the mob. In the six months since the fateful day Edward had taken the stand, everything they knew had been irrevocably changed.

In the beginning, the romance of their seclusion was welcome, the two lovers enjoying unlimited time with only each other's hands, lips, voices, and minds for company. It allowed them to explore their love, their hearts, their dreams and wishes, more completely than ever before, reaffirming for each they had made the right choice in choosing to be with one another.

But after the trial, where Edward had been largely responsible for helping to incarcerate not only his father, but a few other high ranking members and hench men of the Outfit, the world around them was no longer safe, and their small bubble once again popped, leaving them to seek refuge in another state, with Jasper's promise that the federal agent he was sending to their aide, Jacob Black, could be trusted.

Edward hadn't been so sure; not liking the way Bella had put a shine in Black's eye, but after some temper cooling consideration, he realized Jasper would never send someone who he didn't feel trustworthy.

Jacob brought them here, to a small town near the mountains, an almost speck of dirt on the map of Colorado, far from any who might wish them harm. It was remote but quaint, a few shops and stores, with friendly neighbors who welcomed them into their community, happy to have the newlywed couple settle there.

And though the town knew them as Benjamin and Angela Cheney, when the justice of the peace preformed the ceremony back in Montana, it was Bella and Edward's names he pronounced man and wife, though no records of the event could be found.

It didn't matter to Bella if history never know she'd taken Edward as her husband, and he her as his wife. She would know, she would be cherished and adored by him forever, no matter what name she answered to.

Rising from her bath, water slipping across her skin, Bella wrapped a towel about her waist before stepping across the hall to the bedroom, her feet carrying her to the closet where she perused the items in their lines; Edward's shirts shoved in with his trousers, her dresses and blouses hanging with care.

She plucked an outfit from the row and changed quickly, knowing Edward would return at any moment, and wanting to have a drink ready for him when he arrived.

Not that he demanded it from her, but only because she wanted to, serving him had always been something special for her, even when she tried to fight it. What a foolish act that had been, like trying to turn back the tide or rope the moon, it was impossible.

She was always meant to fall for Edward, always meant to wear his ring, be held in his arms each night, and share her love with him.

"Darling," Edward called out not long after Bella made her way back into the kitchen, announcing his arrival home.

"How was work, dear?" Bella asked as she met him in the hall, reaching up on her toes to place a kiss on his cheek.

Edward smiled, pulling his wife into his arms to hold close. "It was alright, I suppose," he sighed.

"You need to give it more time, Edward," Bella replied, giving him an understanding look.

It hadn't been the easiest transition for Edward; the once golden god of men, luxuries and riches at his finger tips, power and position exuded in his work and play had become a simple, modest advertising man for a small firm, providing a living for his family, meager as it may be.

Still, it wasn't as though he could practice law anymore, having lost his degree when his life was wiped clean.

"How was your day? Are you tired from the diner?" Edward asked, shaking off the thoughts of an unwanted past.

"A bit," Bella said, moving away to the kitchen. "But dinner will be ready soon, and then we can relax in front of the television if you want."

"That sounds fine, love," Edward replied, stepping over to the light green counter. He pulled a stack of envelops from his briefcase, thumbing through them as Bella checked the oven.

"Anything interesting?"

"No, just the usual," Edward answered. "Oh, wait, this looks like it might be from Jasper," he said, holding up a plain envelope, Ben and Angela Cheney's address typed in neat font across the front.

Bella smiled, happy to hear from the man she considered a friend. Though he didn't write often, knowing the importance of keeping Bella and Edward's location safe, he did occasionally send them a note or two.

"Should we have supper first?" Edward wondered, his stomach rumbling with hunger at the scents in the air.

Bella chuckled, knowing how her husband's appetite often took precedence before anything else.

She was always amiable when that appetite was for her, her own usual just as wet. Unexpectedly, vivid images of she and Edward tangled in linen sheets, bodies entwined as chests bumped and brushed, mouths crushing, kissing, sucking, hands roaming and stroking, hips colliding in nature's oldest dance played hotly in her memory, sending a shiver of lust down her spine.

"Bella?" Edward rumbled, his voice low and husky, the gleam in his eye showing he knew where Bella had disappeared to, very willing to find her there if she so desired.

Unfortunately for them both, the buzzing of the timer sounded loudly in the room, cutting the tension, pulling Bella back into the moment and her role of wife, leaving the vixen behind.

For now.

"Pot roast is done!" She chirped, smiling widely and scooting past Edward, who had pressed in close moments before. "You can take your drink to the table, and I'll bring this over once it's carved."

Edward did as instructed, enjoying the happy countenance of Bella, a broad smile on her face as she set down at the simple table, placing their meal in the center before dishing out servings.

They ate in comfort, sharing anecdotes from the day, smiles and soft touches of hands over the table, a brush of a foot underneath. The partnership and ease between them had grown in leaps and bounds since their first days, giving the impression they'd been together years longer than the truth allowed.

After they finished, dishes cleaned and stowed away as Bella insisted, they snuggled together on the worn sofa, Bella lying with her head on Edward's chest, his arm wrapped around her shoulders, rubbing absentmindedly as they read Jasper's letter.

One of Jasper's first letters described his return to Chicago, and his explanations about his short disappearance to the bosses, but those issues were quickly put aside by Carlisle as he mourned his son's death. Esme soon left him, unable to handle the part Carlisle had played in the death of her son, which she blamed fully on him.

It broke Edward's heart to learn it, unable to reach out to the only family member he felt wanted the best for him, but knew doing so would be catastrophic for all those involved, so he let his mother go, hoping she would one day understand.

Jasper's newest letter explained his current situation, where his superiors feared for him, the wounds of betrayal still raw and fresh in the remaining Outfit members minds, and looking for the rat among them.

Jasper assured them that the FBI would still be watching closely, but he would no longer be involved in the case, or the mafia, instead disappearing himself. He included mention of a hopeful travel companion; a work mate and friend of Bella's that he had come to cherish.

"It sounds like he's getting all the things he wanted," Bella commented, her fingers stroking Edward's palm.

"Or more than he bargained for with Mary Alice," he teased, earning a huff and playful jab. "I'm kidding! She's a lovely girl. I hope they'll have a happy life together."

"Me, too."

"Are you happy? With this life, sweetheart?" Edward leaned down, whispering in Bella's ear, inhaling her scent as he did so, still needing to hear her reassurance on occasion.

"Yes," Bella sighed, turning her head to the side, allowing Edward's lips to find a home on her neck. "The happiest."

"There's nothing else you want?" He questioned between soft brushes of his mouth and tongue to her throat.

"Mmm-mm," Bella hummed. "Well, maybe one thing."

"What is it? All you have to do is ask, and it's yours."

"I'd like to start a family," Bella whispered, turning so she could face him and gauge his reaction. She found excitement in his eyes, burning bright green and shining happy, the tug of his lips cresting into a smile.

"Really?"

"If that's what you want," Bella replied with a nod.

"I want it, so much, Bella." Edward answered as he kissed her tenderly, savoring Bella's responding kiss.

"We could start now?" Bella said moments later, breathless and flush.

"Kitten, you read my mind," Edward said with a devilish smirk, standing and pulling Bella up with him. He held her close, covering her mouth with his in a passionate kiss once again, which she returned with hunger, slowly making their way to their bedroom, where they could begin working on the next part of their journey together.

They had survived much in their lives, now it was time to flourish.


A/N: And that, my friends, brings us to the end of Champagneward and Kittenella's story.

I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have because it has been one great ride! The story has taken some turns even I didn't see coming, but I'm very pleased with where we ended up and I hope you are as well.

There will not be a sequel, nor any outtakes to this story. Yes, there are a few lingering questions out there, but just as in real life- we don't always get all the answers. If you truly have a desire to know something, let me know in a review and I promise I will answer as best as I can.

In that regard, thank you—each and every one of you— who has left a review for even a single chapter of this story. I never, ever anticipated getting over 3k reviews for this little fic, but I am so grateful and humbled by each one.

For all the encouragement, support, patient (and not so patient) waiting, for the beautiful reviews, for all the rec'ing and sharing of this story, I thank you.

And until next time, happy reading, dear ones.