A/N: We have finally reached the bitter-sweet end.
This story was a joy to write and your reviews and PMs helped me get through my occasional doubts and writer's block so I thank you all so very much.
Enjoy the chapter. It's long. It's fun and Rome is the icing on this final cupcake.
Rated M for adult themes and language.
You are cordially invited to celebrate the wedding of
Isabella Marie Swan
Jacob Ephraim Black
On Sunday Afternoon
June the 4th
At the Three Teacups Hotel
Wednesday, February 5
A newly engaged Bella hurriedly crossed the street in her brand new Prada boots.
They were an engagement gift from her mother who was beyond excited about her daughter's wedding.
She was constantly hounding her with e-mails, suggesting this and that….names for her future grandchildren and wedding ideas she should consider.
She even offered to fly all the way to Washington to help with the wedding but Bella blatantly refused.
Jini was the perfect maid of honor so they had everything under control so far.
She managed to book an appointment with the best wedding caterer in the city and the bride-to-be was running late for said appointment.
A slightly agitated Jini was waiting for her inside the bakery where she was supposed to choose the wedding reception menu.
Bella insisted on a three-course meal with an elaborate dessert menu that included cupcake cones, colorful macarons and mini-sorbet wedding cakes.
The catering lady jotted down her requests and gave her a catalogue full of wedding cake options to choose from.
The bride-to-be flipped through the pages with an unimpressed frown on her face.
"I want something different. Less cliche and more floral." She politely requested.
The older woman asked Bella a set of general questions before suggesting a few ideas of her own.
'How about a floating cherry blossoms cake? It was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings a few weeks ago. A four tier chocolate fondant with tiny pink flowers which are densely massed at the top and slowly drift down to the bottom.'
"Simple yet romantic. I love it!" Bella beamed, clapping her hands in excitement.
'Thank you, Jesus.' Jini sighed in relief, crossing out –wedding cake nightmare- off her Bridezilla list.
Later that day, both ladies had lunch at their favorite French bistro where they discussed the intricate details of the wedding. It was going to be held outdoors in a quirky hotel Bella discovered a few months ago.
It was the perfect backdrop for her big day, surrounded by pine trees and wild flowers…
She chose pale turquoise, ivory and pastel pink as her primary colors for the momentous occasion.
Each table was going to have its own unique centerpiece. Large porcelain teacups filled with lavender, snowdrops, jade roses and hydrangeas.
The bride-to-be was brimming with excitement, especially since Nina offered to be her bridal godmother.
The half-Italian model was in charge of finding the perfect dresses for Bella and her bridesmaids.
She solely promised to deliver a wide selection of designer dresses by the end of the week.
"If Nina manages to get her hands on a Valentino gown, I'm going to marry her instead of Jake."
'What about me? I've been slaving my ass off since Christmas and all I get is a flimsy hug?' Jini pouted.
"You and I have been married for sixteen years, silly." Bella playfully rolled her eyes at her best friend.
'Jeez, Swan. I never pegged you for a polygamist, but then again, you did sleep with Jake and his BFF.' Jini wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
"Haha. Very funny. Enzo's dry humor must be rubbing off on you." The brunette snorted sarcastically.
'My boyfriend's humor is far from dry, Bridezilla.'
Bella gasped in mock horror, pretending to be deeply offended by the B-word.
"How dare you, Madam?"
Friday, February 7
Bella unlocked the door to her future; a three-bedroom penthouse apartment that Jake had secretly purchased a month ago. He surprised her with the key two days later during a romantic, candlelit dinner.
The floor-to-ceiling windows provided a breathtaking view of the city skyline, and the lack of walls provided a healthy dose of sunshine every morning.
Bella fell in love with the penthouse almost instantly.
It was spacious yet cozy, and within walking distance from her office.
Jake had bought it with his fiancé in mind so he made sure that it catered to her feminine needs.
The master bedroom had a monster walk-in closet, mirrors included, and each bedroom had its own balcony, terrace excluded.
The kitchen had two separate doors connecting it to both the bedrooms' foyer and the dining room where a large terrace promised a whole lot of outdoor entertainment.
Bella was eager to move in but the apartment was far from ready. It needed a lot of work and a truckload of furniture.
Jake offered to hire a contractor but Bella stubbornly refused. She wanted the penthouse to be her own little project.
She had a lot on her plate though, so things were moving at a snail-pace so far.
'I spy with my little eye someone in a sexy dress...'
Her fiancé's voice floated across the chocolate-brown living room, spreading a smile on her face.
"Hey, stranger. Fancy meeting you here."
Jacob stepped out from behind the butterfly paravan in the corner.
His black tie was loose around his neck, begging to be removed.
'You kinda look familiar. Have we met before?'
He was still clad in his business attire, his blue sleeves rolled up to his elbows.
Bella licked her lips and dropped her leather bag on the maple parquet floor. 'Nope. A face like yours would be hard to forget.' She smirked.
Jacob smirked right back and dug his hands into his pockets. 'Does your fiancé know you like flirting with strangers?'
"Oops." Her eyes twinkled mischievously in response.
She placed a hand over her smirking mouth and watched him cross the length of the room in three confident strides.
'Naughty. Are we, Miss Swan?' He leaned forward to whisper in her ear.
"Hey! You're not supposed to know my name, remember?" She playfully nudged his bicep.
'Oops.' He grinned, giving her a chaste kiss on the lips. 'What should I call you then? Mrs. Doubtfire?'
"Haha." She reached up and tugged on his short ponytail. "I think my role-play name should have a sultry ring to it, don't you think?"
'Absolutely.' He nodded, wrapping an arm around Bella's waist. 'Now tell me about your day. How's the wedding planning going?'
"It's going great. Better than great actually." She raised a hand to tap on the nearest door. "Knock on wood."
Jacob chuckled and steered her towards the terrace, his hands resting on her shoulders. 'Are you sure you don't need an extra hand?'
"Positive." She replied. "Besides, you're already in charge of finding the perfect indie band, unless you want us to hire a DJ…"
'Over my dead body.' He declared with a huff.
Bella hid her satisfied smirk and turned around to face him. "Did you hire the talented photographer you suggested? 'Cause we need to check him off our list ASAP."
'Don't worry. Everything's under control.' He reassured her.
"Good." She sighed in contentment. "So, how was your day? Does your boss still call you his Golden Snitch?"
'As long as I keep bringing in the dough, baby.' He cockily confirmed.
"You're cute when you're cocky." Bella stood on her tiptoes and kissed his caramel cheek. "But don't let his words get to your head. Humility is your best quality, Mr. Black."
'My best?' He pouted, puppy-dog eyes blinking in full effect. 'What about my dashing good looks and endless charm?'
"Hmmm…they're second best." She jokingly answered.
'Ouch.' Jacob lifted a hand to his heart. 'There goes my ego.'
"I'm pretty sure your ego's down there, along with its peacock friend."
A deep chuckle escaped his lips, followed by Bella's trademark blush.
'I thought we got rid of your inner-prude, Bells.'
"Nah. She's still in there somewhere." She sighed. "Old habits die hard, I guess."
'Hmm…you just reminded me of a hip-hop track.' Jacob stared out into the distance, trying to remember the lyrics.
"Return of the Mack?"
"Umm…I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie?"
'Damn, honey. My booty's all yours. All you gotta do is ask.' He snickered.
"Shut up." She swatted his arm playfully.
'The song is by Nicki Minaj. It's called Your Love.' He smiled wickedly, knowing how much she hated listening to said artist. 'Some of her songs are catchy. I should borrow a lyric or two for my wedding vows.'
"Over my dead body!" Bella retorted.
'Maybe throw in a bit of Jay-Z and make it a rap song...' He teased.
"Yeah, and then we'll both break-dance all the way to the reception." She smiled sarcastically.
'Exactly.' He winked.
"God. You're such a dork. Next thing I know, we'll be waltzing to the rhythm of Indiana Jones…"
'Or Star Wars.' He chimed in.
She shook her head in amusement and stared out the window.
"I can't believe we're actually getting married." She confessed. 'That I'm going to be…"
'A blushing bride?' Jacob interjected.
"Yes." She giggled. "I wish there was a way to Photoshop my cheeks so they wouldn't look like raspberries."
'But you look so damn sexy when you blush.' He wrapped both arms around her waist and hugged her to his chest.
"Says the guy who calls me a ripe tomato." She snorted into his shirt.
'I happen to love tomatoes. They're juicy and plump…'
Bella narrowed her eyes and smacked him upside the head in one smooth move.
"Call me plump one more time." She warned.
'Damn, Bells. You hit like a…uh…never mind.' He bit the inside of his cheek and tried not to laugh.
"You think this is funny, don't you?"
'Humor is in the eye of the beholder.' Jacob quipped.
"Smartbutt." She left his warm embrace and retrieved her bag from the floor. "Come on. Let's get out of here."
He followed her to the door and watched her expectantly.
'You're going to shackle me tonight, aren't you?'
A coquettish smile danced on her lips for a few seconds before she gave him an answer.
"Don't tempt me."
Sunday, February 9
Nina showed up at Bella's apartment with a dress-rack full of bridal dresses.
The bride-to-be squealed so loud, she woke up her fiancé who barged into the living room with a baseball bat in his hands.
Nina wolf-whistled when she noticed his half-nakedness, so he dropped the bat and grabbed a throw pillow from the couch to hide his tight boxers.
'Buongiorno, bambino.' She chirped in a sugary sweet voice.
'Did you just call me a baby?' He croaked, squinting in the sunlight streaming from the windows.
'Si. I did.' Nina nodded, exchanging a quick glance with Bella. 'You look like a baby first thing in the morning. Makes me want to pinch your cheeks like this!'
Her high heeled Gucci boots clicked loudly against the floorboards as she crossed the room, aiming for Jacob's face.
'For fuck's sake, Snooki! I'm not twelve anymore.' He growled in protest.
'Tsk…tsk…tsk. You kiss Bella Donna with that dirty mouth of yours?' She teased, ignoring his Jersey Shore reference.
He yanked his face from her bronze grasp and snorted in reply. 'I don't kiss and tell, but I know someone who does.' He hinted.
The Italian beauty smoothed down the fabric of her long-sleeved sweater dress and flicked a loose cotton ball in his direction. 'Your fiancé and your sister don't mind my kissing and telling.'
"Wait a minute. How does he know about your infamous over-sharing?" Bella asked in confusion.
Nina strutted back to the couch, tossing her chestnut hair over her shoulder. 'Jacob here used to eavesdrop on our late night conversations. I caught him red-handed once but the little brat ran to his room and slammed the door in my face.'
'Damn. I miss being a horny sixteen year-old.' Jacob lazily grinned.
"You mean a nosy sixteen year-old." His fiancé snickered.
'That too.' He chuckled.
Nina ended up kicking Jake out of the apartment so she could show Bella the dresses she managed to acquire.
He moaned and groaned at first but eventually complied, dialing A.J's number on the way out.
The two friends met for breakfast an hour later and Jacob filled him in on the Italian model and her annoying bossiness.
'She's a walking, talking Italian version of my sister.' He huffed, taking a bite out of his French toast.
'Dude. You gotta introduce us.' A.J demanded.
'You already know her, you moron. She's the tall one with the short temper.'
'Hubba-hubba. Tall and feisty. I like it.'
'To each his own, Casanova.' Jacob chuckled. 'Drool all you want but you'll never get in her pants. She's engaged and faithful to the bone, unlike Eva.' He remarked.
'Don't remind me.' A.J groaned, turning his head toward the window.
'Cheer up, grumpy. I need my Best Man to be his usual sunny self today.'
'Dude. You woke me up at nine fucking AM. There's nothing sunny about being dragged out of bed at the butt-crack of Sunday.'
'Blame it on Bella.' Jacob said, raising a glass of orange juice to his lips. 'Ever since I proposed she's been acting like…'
'The Energizer Bunny? Yeah I noticed.' A.J cringed, remembering her extra-cheerful demeanor the last time they met for drinks at Carlo's Bar. 'I think she's hooked on Red Bull.'
'Nah. She's just excited about the wedding.'
'Girls go bonkers over the weirdest shit.' The Best Man shook his head in amusement.
'Hey. That's my fiancé you're talking about.' Jacob cocked an eyebrow, eyes twinkling with humor despite his warning tone.
'Chillax, dude.' A.J rolled his eyes at his best friend. 'You know Bella's my homegirl.'
Jacob placed his glass down on the table and leaned back in his booth.
'Jeez, Night. Sometimes you sound like a confused gangster who thinks he's from California.'
'My life. My lingo, dude.' A.J drawled, shrugging his broad shoulders in response.
'I honestly don't know what Bells sees in you.' Jacob teased. 'She thinks you're cool and I quote: a total sweetheart all 'cause you take her to IKEA.'
'She said that?' His best friend instantly perked up, a bright smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
'Yep.' He popped the P and added, 'But she said: hell no! to the Gangnam Style dance number you suggested.'
'But…but it passed a billion hits on Youtube!' A.J protested.
Jacob shrugged casually and wiped the corner of his mouth with a napkin. 'Her wedding. Her rules, buddy.'
'Oh, Bella Donna. It's beautiful!' Nina gushed. 'You look absolutely stunning, cara.'
'I concur.' Jini nodded. 'My baby bro won't know what hit him.'
"You really think so?" Bella stared at her reflection in the full-length mirror.
She was wearing a white mermaid silhouette dress trimmed in French gold embroidery with a beautiful rose pattern adorning the elegant fabric.
The Claire Pettibone dress paid homage to the decadence of 18th century France. It was both practical and perfect for a garden wedding.
It also had a low-back with a cascading bustle that added a vintage feel to the romantic gown.
'No, hun. I know so. This dress has –Bella Swan-written all over it.'
Bella's smile widened, lighting up her porcelain face.
She glanced at her reflection one more time before turning around to face Nina.
'Oh Nina. Thank you so, so much for finding this beautiful gown.' She gushed. 'I truly feel like a Parisian Princess.'
'Aw, cara. It was my pleasure.' Nina pulled her into a delicate hug, careful not to wrinkle the dress. 'Consider it my wedding gift to you.' She surprisingly declared.
"Gift?" Bella all but squealed. "You mean I can keep it?!"
'It's all yours, tesoro.' Her exotic friend confirmed with a hearty chuckle.
"Grazie mille!" The bride-to-be thanked Nina in Italian.
'Oh hush.' Jini interrupted all the gushing and squealing, looping both her arms around her favorite gal pals. 'That's what bridal godmothers do. They make your dreams come true. Right, Nee-Nee?'
Nina smiled, catlike eyes twinkling in the afternoon light.
'I couldn't have said it better myself, Jini.'
Work was hectic but Bella put her heart into it.
Her client list was growing by the minute, making her the most sought after interior designer in the city.
A writer from Martha Stewart Living interviewed her for their Perfect Penthouse issue, and House and Garden Magazine featured one of her many projects in their March issue.
She framed both covers and put them on display in both her office and the newly furnished penthouse.
Jacob was also getting his fair share of bonuses at work. His boss was extremely fond of him and therefore, he was promoted to Junior Economist at the company.
His colleagues liked and respected him so he was everybody's golden boy.
Jini made sure that every aspect of her best friend's wedding was taken care of.
The bridesmaids' dresses were ready and they were able to find a reasonably priced antique store for the tiny ornaments they needed to decorate the garden.
Mrs. Black offered a helping hand and took care of a few things, including Bella's bouquet which was hard to find.
The bride-to-be wanted a unique flower arrangement so Sarah decided to use her own garden for inspiration.
She created a lovely wildflower arrangement for her future daughter-in-law, including a beautiful yet simple headband to go with the bouquet.
As for Billy Black, he insisted that Jake should drive to the wedding in style, so he bought him a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT.
Jacob almost fainted when he saw the classic sports car in his parents' driveway, especially when his old man handed him the keys and told him to take it for a spin.
He was speechless for a heartbeat then he was cruising down the highway ten minutes later, eager to get to Bella.
She was equally stunned when she saw the sleek blue Ferrari.
'Wanna go make-out in our old high school parking lot?' He cheekily suggested.
"As long as we get to christen the passenger seat." She replied with a sly grin of her own.
The countdown was on.
Jini double confirmed Bella's hair and make-up appointments, her bachelorette party guests and the relaxing pre-wedding spa day at the Four Seasons.
Everything was right on schedule.
Meanwhile at the Best Man's headquarters...
A.J was adamant on hiring a stripper for Jacob's bachelor party.
He fought with Julian about it and then Tony suggested they ask their friend if he wanted one in the first place.
'You offering to strip for me, Night?' Jacob teased, receiving a murderous glare from A.J.
'In your dreams, Black.' He snorted. 'So, is that a yes, or no? Or do you need to ask the Energizer Bunny for permission.'
A russet hand smacked him upside the head in response.
'Ow! So I guess the answer is fuck you very much, eh?'
Jacob sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration.
'Look. If you wanna hire a stripper, be my guest, but if she comes anywhere near my lap, I'm calling the whole thing off. Understood?'
'Roger that, Captain Crunch.' A.J jokingly saluted his best friend.
'So, did you get a chance to check out the Chippendales eye-candy?'
Bella blushed as predicted.
"When I said yes to this party, I never signed up ff-or" She stammered "For Magic Mike, alright?!"
'Oh don't be such a prude, Bells.' Jini chided her. 'The girls are really looking forward to your hen night!'
"Me too, but…" She sighed. "I'm just not comfortable watching a bunch of hot men stripping for me."
Jacob suddenly waltzed into the living room after taking one of his long, steaming showers.
'Why not?' He naughtily snickered.
Bella rose from her armchair, looking adorably flustered. "I…I…"
'We're taking your fiancé to a Chippendales show for her bachelorette party.' Jini offered an explanation while basking in her best friend's discomfort.
'Chip and Dale?' He chuckled in amusement. 'As in the two Disney chipmunks?'
'No, you idiot.' She rolled her eyes at her brother. 'Chippendales; as in men who take their clothes off for a living.'
Jacob turned to look at Bella who was biting her lower lip nervously.
'What's the matter, honey? Is my sister forcing you to go to this thing?'
Jini snorted an offended 'as if!' but he ignored her in favor of his fiancé whose eyes were as wide as saucers.
"No." She shyly replied.
'Then what's with the virginal blush? Hmmm? ' He teased, stroking her cheek with the pad of his thumb.
"I...umm..wanted to make sure you were okay with me going. That's all."
He dropped an affectionate kiss on her forehead, his face breaking into one of his irresistible smiles.
'Go. Have fun, and bring me some souvenirs.' He said with a wink. 'I hear they sell mugs, caps and lighters so get me something with a Chippendale dude on it.'
"I will." Bella giggled, pulling him down for a proper smooch.
'Ugh. You two are the worst.' Jini complained. 'Oh and by the way, I heard from a turd that you're hiring a stripper for your bachelor night.'
Jacob broke the kiss and gave his fiancé a sheepish look.
"It's ok. I already know." She reassured him. "A.J called me this morning and filled me in on your lap-dance embargo."
'Interesting.' He remarked. 'So you're onboard with his crazy plans?'
"Absolutely." She grinned. "You know I trust you, right?"
'I know.' He planted another kiss on her rosy lips. 'And I trust you too.'
'Okay. That's enough mushy-mush for today.' Jini interrupted their sweet moment. 'It's my turn to monopolize Bella, so get your ass out of here. We have nails to paint and movies to watch.'
"And popcorn to make." Bella chimed in.
'Alright. Alright.' Jacob backed off, grabbing his keys from the coffee table. 'Enjoy your monopolizing while you can, 'cause once we're married this wonderful woman will be all mine!'
Cue the evil Voldemort laugh.
Sunday, June 4
Bella felt like she was having an out of body experience.
Everything felt so surreal, even the butterflies in her stomach.
She was seconds away from walking down the aisle with a very proud Charlie.
She took a deep, calming breath and nodded in response.
Soft, melodic music floated in the warm summer air as her father linked his arm through her own trembling one.
She felt both nervous and excited about seeing Jacob in his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo.
The wedding guests rose from their respective chairs once the music started, eager to see the blushing bride.
Bella tightened her grip on her colorful bouquet and took a step forward in her satin heels.
She smiled when she spotted her bridesmaids standing there in their matching lavender dresses.
They waved at her and pointed their naughty fingers at the handsome groom whose eyes were hooked on Bella.
His awed expression melted her heart and turned her smile into a delicate blush.
He followed her every glide, marveling at the way she looked in her elegantly white dress.
Her long hair cascaded down her back like toffee curls, crowned by a floral headband adorned with crystals and pearls.
Light, earthy makeup danced on her porcelain skin, making her cheeks glow and her eyes sparkle.
A blend of lilac and pink added to her whimsical look as she neared the green arch where her groom was waiting with bated breath.
A.J playfully nudged him with a knowing smirk on his lips.
'You're one lucky fucker, Black.'
Wedding vows and rings were exchanged, followed by a kiss sealed with affectionate I Dos.
Bella's mother almost flooded the ceremony with her happy tears while Jini, A.J and Nina tried to lighten the mood with naughty honeymoon jokes.
The newlywed couple danced to the song Beautiful by Late Night Alumni, officially commemorating their first dance….
Food was served, glasses were raised and both Jini and Nina gave heartfelt speeches that made Arabella dissolve into a fresh batch of tears.
The butterflies in Bella's stomach prevented her from indulging in the tasty Italian cuisine she personally chose for her guests.
Jacob, however, was enjoying the delicious chicken risotto along with his best man who wouldn't stop making eyes at Nina the entire time.
Two drinks and one cake slice later, the groom started encouraging his friend to go unleash his flirting skills on the single women at the reception.
'Stop fixating on Snooki, buddy. She's already taken. Remember?'
'I don't see no ring on her finger.' A.J observed, chugging down the rest of his beer.
Fast forward to fifteen minutes later, and Nina was slapping him across the face for grabbing her butt.
'Sorry, babe. It was an accident. I swear!'
'Sei un cazzo!' She insulted him in Italian. 'Get out of my face, Night.'
'Damn. That's hot.' He drooled, completely oblivious to her flaring temper.
Bella giggled in amusement and watched Nina give him the finger before spinning on her heels and strutting towards the cocktail bar.
'Men.' Jini muttered, plopping down on the empty chair next to Bella.
"Are you okay?"
'Yeah.' She sighed. 'So, are you ready for Rome?'
"I was born ready." She quipped.
"Hmmm?" Bella replied distractedly, nose buried in her Rome guidebook.
They were standing in line at the Vatican, home to Raphael's rooms and the Sistine Chapel.
'How do they say: where is the bathroom in Italian?' He asked while fidgeting uncomfortably on his feet.
Bella lowered the book and gave him one of her patronizing glares. 'Jake. I told you to use the toilet before we left the hotel.'
They were four minutes away from the ticket booth after waiting for over an hour under the warm Mediterranean sun.
'I forgot.' He admitted with an apologetic smile.
"Fine." She huffed, looking up the foreign words in the language section of her guidebook. "There you go."
He quickly memorized the question and sprinted to the nearest security guard.
"Men." Bella muttered, adjusting her heavy shoulder bag.
Her husband was forgetful on occasion, and they almost missed their flight because of him.
His boarding pass fell out of his passport while they were shopping at the Duty Free and they had to retrace their steps in order to find it.
He also managed to lose his hotel key card on their way over to the Vatican.
Yes. Jacob Black had his flaws but they were nothing compared to his generosity, loyalty and affection.
Bella paid for their tickets and waited for Jake at the entrance, head tilted back in awe as she stared at the ancient walls of the city.
Her husband joined her less than five minutes later, armed with his three cameras. A vintage Polaroid, a digital Canon and a Sony camcorder.
They headed straight for the Sistine Chapel before it got too crowded and Bella's ooohs and aaahs resonated in the quiet chapel, her gaze drawn to the ceiling which was painted by Michelangelo.
'Nice.' Jacob murmured appreciatively and tried to take a picture of The Creation of Adam but the security guards wouldn't let him.
'Bummer.' He muttered, but once the two intimidating guards turned away, he snapped a quick photo of the Last Judgment.
"Jacob! They said no pictures."
'Did they now?' He innocently smiled, draping his free arm over his wife's shoulders.
"I wanna stay here forever." Bella sighed dreamily while they were soaking up the sun in St. Peter's Square.
'I guess coming here is your wet dream come true. Eh, Bells?'
Bella rolled her eyes but nodded anyway. "Yep. All this beautiful Renaissance architecture is making me horny." She jokingly replied while nibbling on her ciabatta bread.
Thirty minutes later...
"Shoo! Get away from me!"
Jacob lifted his Polaroid and snapped an instant picture of his wife being hounded by a flock of pigeons.
She dropped the piece of Italian bread on the floor and they instantly gathered around it like hungry piranhas.
"Did you see that?" She exclaimed, watching the big, fat pigeons with curious eyes. "They almost attacked me."
'Welcome to Rome, baby.' He grinned while shaking the Polaroid picture.
A deep, throaty chuckle escaped his lips once he saw Bella's comical expression within the picture.
"Show me your masterpiece." She snatched the photograph from his russet hand and she was surprised to find that her face indeed looked hilarious.
'I'm so posting this on Facebook.' Jacob teased, earning a playful swat from Bella.
"No you're not." She fished out her itinerary and dragged her husband to the nearest gelato shop.
"The food here is going to ruin me for other countries. Seriously." Bella rubbed her full stomach after a wonderful Italian breakfast.
'No kidding.' Jacob sighed in contentment. 'If Rome was a woman, I would've definitely married her. No offense.' He heartily chuckled.
"None taken." She raised an amused eyebrow, taking a sip of her fresh orange juice.
'So, what's on the agenda today?'
Bella handed him their itinerary, smiling into the rim of her glass when she saw his eyes widen dramatically.
'Eight hours in historic Rome?' He whistled in shock, shoulders slumping in his chair. 'There goes our honeymoon sex.'
His adorable pout turned her smile into a chuckle.
"Don't worry. We'll have plenty of time for that." She reassured him with a blush.
'If you say so, honey.' He shrugged, stealing a black olive from her plate.
Bella reached across the table and squeezed his warm, russet hand. "You have no idea how much this trip means to me. It's been on my bucket list since I was a freshman in college."
'I know.' He surprisingly revealed. 'You had this big-ass poster of a pink Vespa in your room with the Colosseum in the background. It was kinda hard to miss.'
His wife's eyes danced with affection at his words.
"Thank you." She said out of the blue.
She laced their fingers together and gave him a light peck on the lips.
"For putting up with my early-bird routine and pretending to be interested in all the Renaissance stuff when you're clearly bored out of your mind."
'Are you kidding?' He grinned mischievously. 'I had a blast watching you get harassed by pigeons and tripping over the Spanish Steps last night.' He teased. 'You make one hell of a photograph subject, Bells.'
She pinched his arm and he retaliated by nipping her thumb.
'So, are you ready for your surprise?' He smirked while pulling her to her feet.
The surprise turned out to be a rose pink Vespa that Jake had rented from a nearby car-rental agency.
Bella squealed in delight when she saw the glossy bike parked in front of the hotel.
'Come on. Let's take it for a spin.'
The newlywed couple breezed past Venice Square on their way to the Colosseum.
The great Roman amphitheater was packed with tourists so they parked the Vespa within walking distance and bought their tickets from the gate.
"Did you know that the Colosseum was built to entertain the Roman people with gladiator fights and battle re-enactments?"
'Ah. So this is where Russell Crowe killed all those tigers.' Jacob climbed up the steps to the second level with Bella right behind him.
"Yep." She nodded distractedly, admiring the interior of the amphitheater. "Gladiators were mostly slaves or prisoners of war…"
Two strong hands suddenly lifted Bella from the steps and into a cool, dark alcove.
'You sound so damn sexy when you're in tour-guide mode.' Jacob whispered huskily in her ear, fingers flirting with her denim skirt.
"Jake…" She protested weakly when he hooked his hands under her thighs and wrapped them around his waist.
'How about a Colosseum quickie?' He temptingly suggested, licking the shell of her ear.
Bella looked up at him from beneath her lashes then dropped her bag to the ground.
The alcove was private enough so she flung both arms around his shoulders and kissed him. Hard.
"Oh my God! I can't believe we just did that." She blushed profusely once they exited the amphitheater.
Jacob chuckled and tucked her tiny frame under his arm.
'Bells. I'm pretty sure we're not the only ones who christened the Colossuem on their honeymoon.'
Later that day, the couple headed over to the famous Trevi Fountain with gelato cones in their hands.
They enjoyed their cold treat while admiring the statue of Poseidon at the center of the fountain.
Jacob directed Bella to stand in front of the winged horse chariot and captured her sunny smile with his digital camera.
"Lasagna!" She chirped, tossing a coin into the fountain.
'Did you make a wish?' He asked with a twinkle in his cocoa eyes.
"Yep." Bella nodded, placing a coin in the palm of his hand. "Now turn around." She instructed.
He turned around and closed his eyes, listening to the sound of gushing water behind him.
"Legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you're guaranteed a return visit to Rome."
Jacob smirked but kept his eyes closed.
'Okay. Here goes…'
He tossed the coin over his left shoulder and made a wish of his own.
"So, what did you wish for?" Bella asked with a curious glint in her chocolate eyes.
'A lifetime supply of happiness.' He divulged. 'You?'
"A lifetime supply of babies." She cheekily grinned.
One year later, Bella was pregnant with twins and Jake was the happiest man on earth.