Epilogue 1 - Edward
In the ending days of July, I stood outside a huge estate, looking over the wedding site preparations. I scanned over the garden where the final touches for the ceremony were being put into place.
In a few short hours, I would marry Bella with all our friends and family in attendance. We would both remember it this time, and have more than just a few photos to memorialize the event.
I would have the memories of her walking down the aisle on her father's arm in a white dress. The thought made me anxious. We were doing things backwards, so I didn't think it would affect me, but it did.
Somewhere inside the large, Spanish style mansion behind me, was my wife. She was hidden away in the bridal suite with her mom, Eric, Alice, Esme, and Charlotte.
And I was going crazy without her. I wanted the hours to pass faster, just so I could be close to her again without some stupid barrier between us. We were already married, for fucks sake. Normal traditions didn't apply.
While Bella was initially thinking low-key, lavish is what we ended up with. There was no culling the guest list, at least on my side, and a small wedding, like the size of Carlisle and Esme's, erupted into four-hundred guests.
She didn't seem to mind though, and was happy building her fairy tale wedding. We hired a coordinator and she lucked out on getting us a venue in the small time frame we were looking at, all thanks to a cancellation.
The months passed quickly, and between her mentorship and the wedding, she was kept pretty busy. Add into all that getting the pool house ready for Eric's arrival. He loved the pool house and I loved seeing my wife happy to have her best friend so close.
Gifts started to pour in almost as soon as invitations went out, but the best one came in June from our lawyer.
It was the satisfaction of watching Lauren and Maggie in bright orange prison jumpsuits. They both took a plea deal, which diminished their sentences down to a few years each. Lauren's was longer, though, due to the aggravated assault charge. While Bella had fully recovered from it, a scar still remained at her hairline. A constant reminder of what a split second could have taken from me.
Even Maggie's fame and impressive lawyer couldn't keep her from jail after what she'd done. The two year sentence with possible early parole was nothing, but we ruined her with our civil suit. Everyone in the industry knew what she'd done. It only took a few days for the information to fly around, and she was blacklisted in a week.
In the end, while we were happy with them in jail, it wasn't as long as I'd hoped.
"Oh, Edward, there you are," Melanie, our wedding coordinator, called out as she walked up to me with her assistant. "I wanted to discuss something with you. There was a mix-up with the centerpieces." She pointed to one of the tables and the elaborate bouquets with crystal accents. "These are more expensive than what Bella had decided on, but . . ."
I waved her off. "They're beautiful, and she'll love them."
"Are you sure?" she asked, a little hesitant.
She'd probably been around one too many bridezillas, which Bella was not.
"It's so small of a difference, she won't notice." In fact, I barely had and I'd been looking at them for twenty minutes.
She smiled at me. "You're itching to see her, aren't you?"
I nodded. "I'm used to seeing her every day. This is rough."
"Well, not long left." She glanced down at her watch. "In fact, you should start getting ready."
A hand clamped down on my shoulder. "Yes, he should."
I turned to find Carlisle. "Hey."
Melanie headed off and Carlisle stepped in front of me.
"Jasper and Emmett are already in the groom's room."
I nodded. "Excellent." A knot then formed in my stomach. If they were already here, then . . . "Are they here?"
His smile faltered, and he nodded. "They got here just as I did. Mom assured me he'll behave."
My stomached tightened. "He better. I won't let him ruin this in any way."
"I won't let him even attempt to ruin this day for you," he assured me as we headed back in.
"He shouldn't even have the possibility of it," I grumbled. I couldn't stand the thought of my father tainting my wedding day. It was our day—mine and Bella's.
"Bella felt for Mom at my wedding," Carlisle said. "She invited Mom, not Dad, just like we did. He was just her plus one."
"I know her intentions were good, but it's our wedding. I . . . If he . . ." I let out a sigh. I was a mess, worried about what my father might or might not say to Bella. At the same time, I was happy to see my mom again. When I saw her at Carlisle's wedding, it seemed like she'd grown a bit of a spine.
When we rounded the corner, entering the large manor, there they were, about twenty feet away. It was so abrupt, no warning, that I almost stopped in my tracks.
As we closed the distance, I straightened my spine, steeling myself.
The look on my mother's face still made my chest ache. Longing and remorse. She'd aged since I'd last seen her years ago—they both had. I noticed it at Carlisle's wedding, but it was more prevalent when I stopped to really look at them.
"Hello, Edward." Mom stepped forward, her arms opening, hoping and waiting.
I stared at her, frozen for a moment, before closing the space between us. I leaned down and wrapped my arms around her.
How long had it been since I'd hugged my mom? The way my arms tightened and the vice that loosened around my chest, told me it'd been too long. I loved my mom, but I was so angry with her for not standing up for me, for staying with him. I'd forgotten how calming it was to be in her arms.
We parted and I looked over to my father and his bland expression. He didn't say anything, but he did look quite uncomfortable.
I stepped toward him, taking in the way he straightened, bracing himself for my attack. There was none, but I stared deep into his eyes, looking for some sense of remorse.
Bella had taught me a lot in our journey about love and forgiveness, and maybe right then was the starting point of mending our relationship.
But it all depended on my father.
"While I'll never forget what you did to me, Dad, I can forgive you," I said. There was a gasp behind me from my mom. "But that's up to you. All I've ever wanted was for you to acknowledge you did wrong."
His jaw tightened, lips pursing and relaxing as he struggled with a response. Such a stubborn mule, and sadly, a characteristic I inherited. But I wouldn't let it ruin my happiness or the happiness of those I loved. I learned that lesson the hard way.
"I did what I thought was best for your career," he said.
The blood in my veins began to boil, rising up. My career? I was seconds away from decking him, but when his head dropped, I stopped and waited. Carlisle was next to me, ready to punch him again.
When his head rose, I finally saw it, deep in his eyes—remorse. For what, though?
"It wasn't right of me," he said, then paused. "It wasn't what was best for you."
"No, it wasn't. Not in the least." There was no way I was going to relent easily. I was going to hear an apology from him or it was the last time I would ever see them.
He gave a hard nod. "Sometimes, as a parent, you make a decision for your child and it turns out to be the wrong one."
His words sounded almost rehearsed, which made me grind my teeth together. "Were you spoon fed that answer, or is that something you came up with on your own."
His blue eyes darkened and his brow furrowed. "Damnit, Edward. I'm trying here."
He was. I could tell. It wasn't anger, but frustration at his own shortcomings that was giving him trouble.
"I didn't do it to hurt you," he said as he struggled to get words out. "I thought it would help you, and it did for a while, but then you were hooked. And that's the guilt I've had to live with."
"Hasn't seemed much like guilt to me."
His jaw clenched and he looked toward my mother, then back to me. "I'm not an emotional man. It's not easy for me to express my feelings. I deal with things my own way, but I am sorry for what I did to you, son."
I stared at him, at the defeated face of my father. It took a lot for him to say it, but he did. And by his broken pride laid out before me, I knew he meant it. What he said wasn't to appease my mother, but the truth.
I stood there for a few minutes, just looking at him. Out of the corner of my eye, Mom was wringing her hands while Carlisle rubbed his hand up and down her arm.
My fingers did an involuntary twitch, waking me, and I lifted my hand up and held it out. He gEmmettd down and gave a nod before he slipped his hand in mine.
It was the first touch we'd had since I'd pinned him against the wall, ready to punch him, years before. The last time I'd seen them before Carlisle's wedding.
"Thank you," I said. I was too high strung to think of anything else to say. I stepped back toward my mom and leaned down to give her a kiss on the cheek. "I . . . Thank you for coming."
There were tears in her eyes when we stepped back, but there was also a small smile on her face. "We'll see you outside in a little while."
I nodded, and Carlisle leaned down for a hug before we continued walking.
"Wow," Carlisle said when we made it up the stairs and out of earshot. "I didn't expect that today."
I shook my head. "Me either. That's one hell of a wedding present." Acknowledgement. It and an apology were all I ever wanted. Some proof that he felt like he did something bad to me, his son.
"Oh, by the way, I haven't had a chance to tell Bella yet, but the results are in from the film score competition."
My ears perked up. Bella had spent so much time on her composition, and I knew how much it meant to her. Carlisle had even divulged how wonderful it was, and I could tell just by the look in his eyes as he spoke about it. He wasn't blowing smoke up my ass—my wife was talented.
He grinned at me. "She won."
I stopped walking. "What?"
He nodded and kept smiling. "Over eight thousand entries, and she beat them all."
I knew Bella was gifted musically, as Carlisle doesn't give out glowing reviews to those who don't earn them. But to beat out over eight thousand other people?
"She is going to go nuts when she finds out," I said, a huge grin on my face. I could just imagine her freak out, and the excited sex.
"Yes, she is. She should be getting something in the mail any day now."
I reached out and grabbed his arm, stopping him. "We're leaving on our honeymoon tomorrow, I can't go without her knowing."
A grin spread on his face. "Good thing I came prepared with a phenomenal wedding gift."
I shook my head. "Always trying to outdo me."
"What did you get her?" he asked, knowing I'd been having trouble.
I was a failure in the end. Besides some lingerie for our honeymoon, I'd come up with nothing. "A vacation with no cellphones."
He shrugged and pulled open the door to the groom's suite. "That's actually quite huge."
"What does she win?" I didn't even think Bella knew what the prize was.
"Ten thousand dollars, five thousand dollars' worth of software and equipment, and who knows what kind of offers she'll get for the song itself."
When we entered the room, Emmett was out on the balcony on his phone, talking all sweet, and Jasper was missing.
"Bet you're happy to have her in your pocket," I said before rolling my eyes at something Emmett said.
Rosalie had him wrapped around her finger so badly.
"You bet your ass. As soon as I can, she's going to come work with me."
It made me happy that Carlisle and Bella had become not only friends, but allies. They were a lot alike, which probably added to them not getting along at first.
Their mentorship only helped them grow closer. It was interesting to watch them interact over the last month. Conversations with musical references and humming melodies—neither of which I knew much about. But Bella seemed eager to learn everything she could.
After an hour of slowly getting ready, and hunting down Jasper, we made our way out to the growing crowd. The anxiety spiked then, or maybe it was just excitement. Either way, my stomach was in knots and I couldn't stop fidgeting.
Dozens of movie sets, acting like a complete idiot in front of twenty people because of a prop that wasn't visible, yet it was a wedding to my wife that got me.
"Are you okay?" Carlisle asked as we took our place at the altar.
I shook my head. "Why am I nervous?"
Carlisle stared at me for a moment, then let out a little chuckle. "It's a wedding and you're the groom, enough said."
"But I'm already married to the bride."
"Doesn't matter. Just wait. She's going to blow you away in ways you can't even imagine when you see her."
Maybe that was it. I'd seen both his and Esme's reaction at their wedding, and as corny as it sounded—it was the happiest day of my life. Because unlike our drunken night, there was a relationship. Our wedding was planned by us and we were truly ready to start our lives together after all of our obstacles.
Renee and Mike made their way down the aisle, followed by Arianna, who was having a blast throwing petals around. The crowd laughed when she stopped and bent over to pick some of them back up, while Alice tried to get her back on track. She eventually made it to the end and was swooped up by her mother.
Charlotte walked down the aisle next, followed by Eric, Bella's Man of Honor.
Then, she was there. A beautiful, brilliant smile, beaming directly at me. My heart hammered against my ribs, almost fighting to get out. It was the vision I'd dreamed of—Bella walking down the aisle toward me in a white gown. Her arm was tucked into Charlie's and I couldn't take my eyes off her.
Every word I knew for beautiful, gorgeous, exquisite, didn't do her justice. There were no words to describe her.
I understood then why. Carlisle was right. Despite already being my wife, there was nothing to prepare me for seeing my fantasy come to life.
Everything I ever wanted was Bella.
Tears stung my eyes when I took her hand in mine. I couldn't stop staring at her. I didn't even hear the Justice of the Peace speak, but out of the corner of my eye I saw Charlie sit down.
We were in our own little bubble. The four hundred people behind us weren't even a thought.
"Do you, Edward Anthony Cullen, take this woman, Isabella Marie Cullen, to be your lawful wedded wife, to love, honor and cherish her through sickness and in health, through times of happiness and travail, until death do you part?"
Her bottom lip trembled and tears filled my eyes as the words left my lips for us both to remember.
"Place this ring on her finger and repeat after me." The Justice paused before saying the words as I brought Bella's hand up and held the ring I bought her a year before at the tip of her finger.
"With this ring, I thee wed, and forever pledge my devotion," I said, my voice catching on the last word.
The Justice then turned to Bella.
"Do you, Isabella Marie Cullen, take this man, Edward Anthony Cullen, to be your lawful wedded husband, to love, honor and cherish him through sickness and in health, through times of happiness and travail, until death do you part?"
She smiled at me and as a tear rolled down her cheek.
Two little words and everything was perfect.
After much consideration, I decided to rework and publish this story. I have added around 20k words of new content and renamed it Becoming Mrs. Lockwood. It will be published January 30th.
Thank you all for reading and loving this story. It means a lot to me.
Love you all!