A/N: It's not my playground, just my slide.
I am overwhelmed by the response I received from this fic. The number of people who reviewed, favorited, and followed this still astounds me. I cannot convey to you how honored I am. Thank you for receiving this little fic of mine and for being patient when my updating was sporadic.
I would also like to take the time to thank everyone for the patience. The past year has been more difficult than I can tell you. I had to watch the strongest woman I know battle the most horrific disease as it ate away at her body. For nearly six years, my mom put up one hell of a fight against cancer. Unfortunately, she lost her fight on December 21, 2015. I was actually on my way to see her when she passed away. We missed her by two minutes. I would not wish that pain on anyone. However, my mom is in a much better place and will no longer suffer.
As you can imagine, it has taken me a while to get my head back in the game of writing. I desperately wanted to get this epilogue out, especially for those who have waited so long for it. I wanted some ancient Greek customs to have a part in the wedding. After all, Aro was born in Greece. Due to the fact that we are dealing with vampires here, I have had to take some liberties.
I wanted some ancient Greek customs to have a part in the wedding. After all, Aro was born in Greece. Due to the fact that we are dealing with vampires here, I have had to take some liberties.
As always, I have no beta. I would like to thank Watermelonsmellinfellon for all her assistance in getting this out. She was a tremendous help with getting me to focus, something I have been unable to do for quite some time. All mistakes are mine. And now, on to the epilogue. Enjoy!
I lounged upon the large, cushioned window seat, gazing out at the beautiful, Italian countryside. In just ten hours, I would be walking down the aisle to become the wife of the most amazing, and dare I say, sexiest man I have ever known. I still could not believe how fortunate I was to have him in my life.
I never once thought that when I awoke that night and found Aro of the Volturi standing in my bedroom, that I would eventually be walking down the aisle toward him only a month and a half later. Yet the fates had obviously decided something else for me when Edward had abandoned me in a forest. I can't help but feel relieved at the minefield that I had somehow managed to dodge in the end.
I have so many significant things to do today, but I just want to sit and reminisce about the past. Aro and I have not known each other for very long, and yet I feel as though we have been connected on a far deeper level for a much greater length of time. This isn't simply me waxing poetic just because he is my mate.
Time is always changing for vampires. One day to a human is a mere blink of an eye to one of us. Objectively, I know that we have not been together for too long and that a normal human would balk at the prospect of getting too close in such a short time span. However, humans spend at least one third of their lives sleeping, and since we don't, we have more time to connect with each other.
We have hours to just spent in each other's company. I love when Aro serenades me with his sweet, silky voice. Sometimes I would read to him, even though he had most likely read the books a dozen times each. It was just being within his presence that made everything better, in my opinion at least. Not to mention our connection brought us closer together than even normal mated pairs.
I find myself not bothered in the least that I lost my virginity so quickly. The one who was meant for me had taken it like it was a gift and had returned it ten fold. I'm proud to be the mate of such a wonderful person, and I don't think anyone can ever understand the sheer joy that fills me when Aro enters my line of vision.
I am to be married within the next ten hours. Such a short time span seems so far away!
I have so much to do! There is a ritualistic bath to be taken before the ceremony, in respect to the Grecian culture that Aro was born to. Gamos was an important part of a Greek wedding.
I am to rest in a bath of lavender oils for exactly one hour in order to purify my body in preparation for the evening's events. Once finished, I am to be, at the behest of Dora and Didyme, dried with only white rose petals. I don't understand their vision but since they are both married and I am not, I plan to trust in their judgement.
After I am clothed, Aro and I will spend an hour inside the chapel, burning incense and looking toward a brighter future. I have already chosen Jasmine incense, since Aro isn't the one who has to go through the bath from hell. The Thurible that we are to be burning the incense in was acquired during a small skirmish around 400 B.C.. Aro had set it aside for something important, but he had never used it because nothing had ever felt right. I feel honored that our marital joining is worthy of 'one of his greatest treasures'.
With a sigh, I resign myself to the happenings of the day. All I needed was to exercise patience. Soon Aro and I would be married.
I must admit that I do find everyone's interest in blood fascinating. Since I have never had to drink it nor would I want to, I still have that slight bit of curiosity within me.
As custom, at least, as much as we are following considering all of us are dead. There were just some things that would seem pointless for vampires to observe. I have never been particularly religious even in life, so I completely refused certain things outright.
'Til death do us part' was obviously not going to happen. We would not pray at an altar. I refused any sort of scripture, because it felt odd for a vampire to be religious.
Marcus did plan to do a traditional hand fasting for us, as he respected the fact that I do not practice religion and that Aro no longer considered religion to be a motivator in his life. Besides, it seemed much more romantic in my eyes.
Aro acquiesced to Charlie walking me down the aisle. It was a small, white, rose, lined space in the far end of the throne room.
My gown was a simple, light- blue, chiffon, dress to accompany my eyes, with a golden belt around the waist, and trimmed with golden embroidery. The style was Grecian in respect to the theme of the wedding, leaving my arms bared with the fabric bundled at the shoulders and clipped back by golden clasps that were emblazoned with the Volturi crest. The dress fell to my feet easily, covering the golden, high heeled sandals Dora had chosen.
I stood beside my mate, smiling brightly at him. He reached out and tucked a stray lock of hair behind my ear. My dark hair had been situated in a topknot with various strands curled and styled around to disguise the black band used to keep it in place. Dozens and dozens of bobby pins kept the artfully styled mess in place, making it appear deliberate and yet natural. The rest of my long hair flowed down my back and some strands brushed my collarbones.
Interspersed within the dark locks were little, flower pins I had received from Didyme. They were white gold with diamonds placed in the center.
My hair and skin were total opposites, making my eyes stand out the most.
"You are beautiful," said Aro, his burgundy eyes slowly beginning to darken with his obvious desire. I could feel my body answering the call of his own, but had to reign myself in. We had an entire evening planned out before we could partake of one another. Patience would never feel so good.
Charlie patted my back and sent a firm nod Aro's way, before returning to the rest of the gathered vampires in the main part of the throne room.
Marcus held his palms aloft, facing upward. "Present the tie."
Aro took up my hand in a smooth movement and turned by wrist until my palm faced the marble ceiling. From his pocket, he withdrew a large diamond necklace and placed the golf ball sized diamond in my hand. Then, he placed his right hand over it and linked our fingers together. Finally, Marcus stepped forward and took the snakelike, golden rope, and linked the two sides together after twining them around our joined hands.
In that moment, I was hit with the reality.
Aro and I were safe and sound. Our friends and loved ones were also safe and sound. We would be spending the rest of our eternity together with a low chance of hostility from other vampires who would wish to do our coven harm.
We had survived the battle with no injuries and no losses. And we would most likely survive any future conflicts just the same. By being united, we held the world in our hands and the possibilities were endless.
I beamed at my husband-to-be in the wake of this realization. I am an incredibly lucky woman.
I squeezed his hand a little tighter, opening up the connection between us so that he too could bask in the sense of togetherness and rightness. I deliberately brought up the fun memories, the sweet memories, and even the incredibly sexy ones such as him tearing Edward's head off with a simple yank.
His low, lustful growl told me all I needed to know. My job here was finished or just beginning, depending upon how you look at it.
"Do you, Aro Volturi, vow take this woman to love, to honor, to cherish, to respect, and to guide, for time and all eternity?"
Without breaking my gaze, Aro nodded and said, "I do."
"And do you, Isabella Marie Swan, vow to take this man to love, to honor, to cherish, to respect, and to guide for time and all eternity?"
How could I not?
"In the view of these gathered witnesses, I proudly pronounce you both husband and wife."
Marcus's hand fell away from our joined hands, and he smiled. "To eternity!"
"To eternity!" the others chorused.
Aro was sly. Instead of a usual kiss, her whirled me into his arms and dipped me like he was Rudolph Valentino. Against my lips, he purred, "I love you, my darling wife, Mia Stella Isabella."