Disclaimer:All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Pre-Readers:LuvinJ & Pooks79
SuggestedListening:Christina Perri – A Thousand Years (Breaking Dawn Part I Sountrack)
Dresses, flowers, colors, tuxedos, center-pieces, beauticians, venues, churches, reverends, bridesmaids, groomsmen…
Every hour of stress over the past year had suddenly turned into the moment Bella had been waiting for. In a little over thirty minutes, she would walk down the aisle, her arm looped into her father's, toward the man she had adored from the first moment she laid eyes on him. He had become her strength and her fear. Life without him was unimaginable, just as there would be no life without the sun. His radiant beauty and warmth pulled those closest to him in like gravity does the moon. Falling in love with him was only natural.
Bella's skin tingled. Butterflies swarmed in her stomach. Her mouth became dry.
Anticipation slowed time down. The moments leading up to this had been a blur of questions, disasters, breakdowns, and discussions of no value. Instead of being a willing participant, Bella sat at the antique vanity and stared at herself. She had come a long way from those thoughts of never being able to love again. It had been her soon-to-be husband who pulled her from the black abyss that was her life then. Bella had been fearful to let him in, but nonetheless, he carved a special place in her heart and planted himself there until their love rooted and began to grow. Persistence was one of his best qualities.
A smile crept onto her face, and the dryness of her mouth ceased. Bella closed her piercing brown eyes, the darkness behind her lids suddenly lightening up with the breathtaking smile of her fiancé. The image in her mind was what she expected to see as she became one step closer to the man standing at the end of the aisle. Bella took a slow, deep, cleansing breath through her nose, and as she exhaled through her perched lips, Bella's eyes fluttered open.
Charlie stood behind her. His eyes, which seemed to match hers almost perfectly, watered, but his thick bottom lashes caught the tears before they could fall.
"You look beautiful," Charlie exasperatedly said. As he placed his hands on Bella's shoulders, his fingertips shook nervously. From her sitting position, Bella reached up and gently placed her hand on her father's.
"Thank you," Bella replied.
It was unlike Charlie to show real emotion, but today was the day he chose to remind Bella of his fatherly love. "I'm so proud of you, Bells. You have become an intelligent, elegant, beautiful woman. I am honored to say you're my daughter."
Bella's chest tightened with emotion. She still did not see herself as any of the above, so to be told that she was seen that way in someone else's eyes was the greatest compliment she could ever receive. She had no words to use to thank him. Her words floated away as Charlie announced that his pride was she, his clumsy, danger-prone daughter.
Instead of vocally expressing her gratitude, Bella stood and wrapped her arms tightly around her father's neck. Physical contact between Bella and Charlie normally made any situation awkward, but today was a day for many firsts. Just as she pulled away Bella planted a soft kiss on Charlie's cheek. Charlie gasped and hugged his daughter tighter, thanking whatever God there was that she had made it out of the darkness she had found herself in years ago.
"It's time. It's time. It's time," Renee announced, intruding on the moment between her ex-husband and daughter.
Shrinking back a bit, Renee stopped her almost skip-like prance and tilted her head with a smile. She was proud of her daughter too. Renee walked to her daughter and placed her arm around her shoulders. And for a moment, it was as though they were a family again - Charlie and Renee sharing their pride and love for their daughter – but it was time, time for Bella to meet her soul-mate at the end of the aisle, to share their love with those closest to them, and to become a family that could withstand the test of time.
"I'm ready," Bella announced as she looked to her mother, then her father. "I can do this."
"You sure can, baby girl." Renee smiled proudly.
Charlie simply looped his arm and pushed out his elbow. Bella glanced up to him to see the redness of the tip of his nose and the water still in his eyes. Looping her arm around Charlie's, Bella took a step forward, away from the past that had almost killed her. She took another step forward to her future – a future that had been laid out in front of her in the most natural of ways.
The doors to the church swung open slowly.
There was nothing mythical about the love, the hope, and the need for him. It was real. It was true. It was honest love with fluttering hearts and gasping breaths. This was it.
The most beautiful of songs played in the background. The lyrics almost seemed to be written exactly for this moment.
"Don't let me fall, Dad," Bella whispered as Charlie's weight shifted forward.
"Never," he replied with an emotionally filled voice.
Bella and Charlie stepped forward between the open doors. Bella's eyes grazed over every person, every flower until her eyes reached the altar where he stood alone. Following the soft, white rose petals, Bella became one step closer to her future, her happiness. Bella floated on her feet elegantly. Disappearing with every forward step were her doubts and fears. Falling away, brick by brick, the weighted darkness faded and was illuminated by the sun, its warmth and brightness engulfing her as she came closer.
The love inside of her grew as his eyes blurred with tears. He bit into his full bottom lip to keep the tears at bay, but there was no stopping them. They forcefully fell as he almost disbelievingly watched Bella step up onto the altar in front of him. He wanted to say so much, to express how much he truly loved her, but the Reverend spoke before he got a chance.
Every breath, every minute, every argument had led them to this moment.
And suddenly it was time for him to speak, to vow his love to Bella, and he would do so proudly as he wanted to tell the entire world how his heart raced every moment she was near, and how it ached during those times she was not.
"Repeat after me," the Reverend said, but he didn't have to. He had memorized what he was supposed to say just so he could absorb Bella's radiance.
When the reverend stopped, he smiled and spoke: "I, Jacob Ephraim Black, take you, Isabella Marie Swan, to be my lawful wedded wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health 'till death do us part."
The beat of his heart tripled during his vow to Bella, but the rapid thuds in his chest ceased as her deep chocolate brown eyes passionately stared up to him while she repeated the same vows he had just taken. Coming from her, they were the sweetest words he had ever heard.
"I, Isabella Marie Swan, take you, Jacob Ephraim Black, to be my lawful wedded husband. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health 'till death do us part."
In that moment, their love could fill the universe. It was the sweetest of loves, the realest of loves, and the most natural of loves. And it was sealed with the tenderest of kisses as the reverend introduced the world to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Ephraim Black.