This story won the fic of the week over at the Lemonade Stand! Thank you all so much for your votes xo
Also won 2nd place in the Best Completed fics for October /2012/12/05/top-ten-completed-fics-october-2012/ THANK YOU
Lolo84 and Capricorn75 thank you for your help, once again. Love you both! Thanks to all of you for reading. This is the last chapter so read it slow. See you at the bottom for my last little farewell.
"You ready, kiddo? It's not too late. We can always sneak out the back door."
"Sure, want to go get a Slurpee?" Leah looped her arm through mine, not a shred of nervousness in her body.
When she looked up and smiled at me, a funny thing happened. Suddenly, I was staring at five-year old Leah wearing a fancy dress and a pillowcase on her head as a veil. Lipstick stained her lips red, smudged onto her cheeks- but the smile on her face was radiant, just like now.
I fought back tears as I looked at my little girl. Honestly, I didn't expect her wedding to hit me as hard as it did. I mean, Leah had been out of the house for years already - I was used to not seeing or talking to her daily. I'd survived Jake's and Charlotte's weddings, too. This felt different. After today, it was official that all three of my babies were no longer mine, and that stung a little. Okay, a lot.
After today Leah would be known as Adam's wife, not Edward and Bella's daughter. Her students would call her Mrs. McCarty and not Ms. Cullen. She would wear a ring on her left hand that told the world she belonged to another. It was the little things that made it more real to me.
As I looked toward the altar, I remembered standing in my parents' backyard, seeing Bella walking toward me on her father's arm. I didn't notice her dress, make-up, hair, or the bouquet, although Bella assured me enough money was spent that I should have noticed. All I saw was the girl of my dreams walking toward me, the biggest of smiles on her face. The tears in her brown eyes spilled down her cheeks and soon I found myself trying to blink my own tears away but damn it, I couldn't stop them so I brushed them away with the back of my hand. Beside me, Carlisle stood with his hands clasped behind his back as he smirked at me, calling me a softie under his breath.
I have never taken lightly the vows that were exchanged that day. To love, honor, cherish, and respect. To always remain faithful. When you love someone as purely as I love my wife, those words resonate in your heart every single day. It has never been hard to live up to my vows. Now, had they been to always share the remote, not to fart in bed, or never ask if she was PMS'ing, we would have divorced a decade ago. Thankfully, loving Bella is the one thing I can do well; and loving my children is just as easy.
"How about we have a Slurpee date after you get home from your honeymoon, baby girl?"
"I think that would probably be a better idea."
Leah dropped her head onto my shoulder and I carefully kissed her forehead, mindful of the make up and perfectly styled hair.
Together we took that first step toward her future. One foot in front of the other, we made our way side by side, tears blurring my vision. And then I saw Adam, standing at the front of the church looking like he might shit his pants from nervousness. It was then that I smiled. It was rare that I smiled at Adam any more since he'd recently published his erotic novel. Yes, the one that was based on sex with my daughter. And yes, I just rolled my eyes as I walked down the aisle.
We stopped at the front of the church and Leah's eyes, which had been downcast for most of our stroll down the aisle, lifted and met Adam's. I felt, more than watched, the silent exchange between them. Not that I had any doubt, but the love between them was tangible. The joy that radiated from the two of them made it hard not to feel happy.
Adam made no attempt to hide the tears that stained his cheeks and I loved that he wasn't ashamed to look so vulnerable in front of everyone. But I knew the truth – he wasn't as much vulnerable as he was in love - with my daughter. That's really all that mattered. For today, I could overlook the fact that he wrote porn.
When the pastor asked who gave this woman to this man, I wanted to refuse and keep Leah to myself. But my mouth coherently said "Her mother, Isabella, and I do."
Before I could comprehend what was actually happening, Adam came forward and Leah's arm slipped away from mine as she took his hand. And yet it didn't make me sad. I smiled because I knew she was exactly where she needed to be.
I took my seat and Bella's hand fit nicely in mine, our fingers laced together, my thumb rubbing circles on the back of her hand.
During the ceremony, I was once again transported back to my own wedding day. The flowers were different, the music and venue, too, but the important parts were the same. I smiled as I heard my Leah profess her love to Adam. Then listening to him promise his love to my daughter - a vow I would hold him to as long as I was alive - left me with a lump in my throat.
I could have done without the kiss, though. Forty-two seconds really bordered on inappropriate.
We went to a local park to pose for photos – candid and serious. It felt like hours and hours, and I thought my face might break from smiling so much. Jacob passed me a flask and I sipped more than my fair share.
At the reception, which was held at the local golf course, I was expected to make a speech. Leah told me that threatening Adam not to fuck things up was not acceptable. Damn it – she knew me well.
I stood behind the podium, to the left of the bride and groom. Of course, I forgot my wine so I had to go back to my table to get my glass as the guests snickered. Then I took a moment to collect my thoughts and took a deep breath.
"Welcome everyone. I probably should have written something down but I'm going to wing this." From her spot at the head table, I heard Leah groan – and probably Bella, too. Suddenly, I was regretting my decision to wing it. We all knew brain to paper was my forte, not brain to mouth. This may not go over well. Too late now.
"I have been given lots of advice on what I should and shouldn't say. Leah told me to keep it short, Bella told me no smutty jokes; Charlotte begged me not to embarrass her. Sorry, but I can't guarantee any of those things tonight. First of all, on behalf of Bella, Leah, Adam, Emmett, Rosalie, and myself we thank you all for coming to celebrate this special occasion. It means a lot that you are here. Trust me, if you hadn't come the whole seating chart would be out of whack."
Leah laughed as she shook her head. Really – the seating chart would be off kilter. She'd agonized for weeks over where everyone should sit.
"I'm so excited that this day is finally upon us. After so many years of living in sin, my eldest is the last of my kids to be married. Thank you, Adam, for finally making an honest woman of her."
Bella shot me a look and in my head, I clearly heard her utter 'Edward' in her disapproving tone. Apparently, I'd had a few too many sips from Jake's flask. I tried to rein myself in.
"This brings me to the point where I'm allowed to say embarrassing things about Leah when she was younger." I rubbed my hands together excitedly.
I went on to tell more than few of her embarrassing stories. The time she peed her pants but insisted she hadn't - her bum was only sweaty. Her first spanking where I told unsuspecting Leah that I'd accidentally cracked her bum. And don't go calling CPS on me, it was only a light tap. That didn't stop her from spending hours looking at her behind in the full-length mirror in the hallway crying buckets because I really had split it in two. And then there was her second grade class photo where her finger was shoved up her nose and the front of her dress pulled up.
Don't worry - I redeemed myself when I told of her accomplishments. Her impeccable manners and beautiful looks - both from me, of course. Graduating with honors from both high school and college. Landing a job at Bella's school teaching third graders. I was bursting with pride.
"Now, to help you with your marriage, I thought I'd tell you the key to my and Bella's marriage. Quite simply - patience and compromise. Trust me, I have been patiently compromising for years." Bella rolled her eyes and shook her head as I snickered at my own joke.
"Adam, some advice specifically for you. There is no challenge in a marriage that can't be overcome by one or more of the following: Saying: I was wrong, you were right, and yes, dear. 'I love you' works the majority of the time, too. Always have peanut M&M's in the house. Never go to bed angry by apologizing early so you can get some sleep even if you were wrong."
The guests laughed and Emmett hooted that he'd been doing it wrong for years. I cleared my throat as I knew the hard part of my speech was next.
"Leah, you look stunning tonight. Your mom and I are so proud of the young woman you have become. I may not have always said or done the right things when you were growing up and sometimes, I royally messed up. But everything I did, right or wrong, was done out of love. Though you're a married woman now, you're still my baby girl. Lea-lea, I love you." The last three words were weakened by the emotions that were bubbling up. I looked over at Leah whose teary eyes met mine and she blew me a kiss.
"Adam, today you promised to love Leah until your dying days. I have no doubt as to the love you feel for her. Not only because you declared it so publicly today but because I can see how happy you make her. You're a good man. Thank you for loving her with such a pure heart." My fist pounded my chest twice as I looked at my son-in-law; from the head table, Adam saluted me.
"I hope you will all stand with me, raise your glasses, and wish Adam and Leah well. Those of us who are married, know there will be trials and tribulations to come but love each other through it all and you cannot fail. To Mr. and Mrs. Adam and Leah McCarty."
And you can bet your ass I downed that glass of wine in four gulps as soon as I was done. There were more speeches and toasts and a dinner that I gorged myself on simply because it cost an arm and a leg. Adam and Leah had their first dance, their foreheads touching as they swayed, kisses and words exchanged quietly.
When it was time for the father and daughter dance, I almost expected Leah to step on my feet before we began. Instead, I tucked her close, our hands clasped as I held one to my chest. I was given the honor of choosing the song for our dance. You have no idea what a difficult choice it was. So many song lyrics spoke to my heart.
"Oh with all that I've done wrong, I must have done something right to deserve a hug every morning and butterfly kisses at night."
"How sweet it is to be loved by you."
"Go on, take this whole world, but to me you know you'll always be my little girl."
But there was one song that stood out from the others. As the song played, I softly sang in Leah's ear and the lyrics reduced her to tears.
"But I loved her first and I held her first. And a place in my heart will always be hers. From the first breath she breathed, when she first smiled at me. I knew the love of a father runs deep. And I prayed that she'd find you someday but it's still hard to give her away. I loved her first."
"Damn it, I knew you'd make me cry!" Leah pouted in my ear.
"It's true – I loved you first. But I'm okay with Adam loving you, too."
As the song came to an end, I hugged her close knowing that soon enough, every other man in attendance would expect a dance with her and in the blink of an eye, she and Adam would be leaving for the night. I whispered that I loved her and savored hearing those words from her before Emmett pulled his new daughter-in-law into his bulky arms for their dance.
Besides my own wedding, I couldn't remember having that much fun at any one else's nuptials. I danced with all my favorite girls: Bella, Alice, Rosalie, Charlotte, Maddie, and Avery. Even baby Blaze got a turn with his grandpa.
Emmett requested the Electric Slide and I was impressed with Jake keeping up with Emmett and me. The best moves came from Ethan – that kid was a chip off the old block.
Unfortunately, there was one part of the evening that left a sour taste in my mouth. I literally cringed when Adam went under Leah's dress to retrieve the garter. First of all, he took a little too long for my liking. And did he have to wear such a smug grin on his face as he came up with it in his teeth? Really? Rosalie held me back as I growled under my breath.
When the time came for the bride and groom to leave, we lined up to say goodbye. I was thankful for another quick hug and an 'I love you' from my girl. Adam shook my hand and thanked me, not only for the day but for his beautiful wife. I quickly pulled him aside.
"I know you love her, but don't fuck this up."
"I won't, sir."
"And no offence, but I have no plans to read any of your books. As in ever."
Adam smirked. "Good thing because I'm about to get a whole lot of inspiration."
I wanted to deck him but I could only laugh. He was more like me than I cared to admit.
As the newlywed's slipped into the back of the limo, I waved goodbye and refused to think about what was ahead for them – the wedding night, the honeymoon, the sex. Ick.
My own honeymoon, though, I looked back on fondly. Two sex-filled weeks spent in a Hawaiian paradise with the most beautiful girl in the world. Did I mention sex-filled?
During our early dating years, Bella and I were rarely afforded the opportunity to have sex without fear of getting caught. Sometimes, she would sneak into my room in the middle of the night and we'd keep the noise to a minimum so we wouldn't wake my parents. Or I was sidestepping the third stair on my way down to where she was to engage in some sexy times. On the very, very rare occasion, we did it at her house but the risk of Charlie going ballistic on my ass was far too risky.
During college, yes, we had more sex but as obnoxious as Emmett has made it sound, we were curbing our enthusiasm because we weren't alone. More times than not, sex was a quickie in the backseat of my car. Not knocking it, but on our honeymoon there was absolutely nothing holding us back. Trust me, we took full advantage of it- leaving a broken chair, a couple of maimed pillows, and one very weakened bed in our wake.
The lingerie that Bella had purchased specially for our honeymoon certainly surprised me. Red lace nightie. White corset and panties. Black flowing nightgown. Her birthday suit. I loved them all. But when she slipped into one of my tee shirts after one love-making session, it was the sexiest thing I'd ever seen. My shirt swallowed her up and left it all to my overactive imagination. It hid her delicious curves but showed her smooth legs. I beckoned her to where I was sitting on the lanai with a crook of my finger. She'd padded over to me and straddled my lap, giving me a glimpse of naked pussy which lead to round two that night.
The first week of our honeymoon, we didn't emerge from our room once. We ordered in room service and only ate because we knew we needed to keep our strength up.
We were able to experiment with new positions – things I'd only dreamt about or seen in porno movies.
We made love countless times over those two weeks. And fucked just as much. I'd awaken in the middle of the night, my cock surrounded in her warmth. Shower sex, bathtub sex, making love on a patio chair at dawn, and blowjobs while watching a movie were all part of our fun. During those two weeks, we perfected being in sync with each other.
On our honeymoon, I learned more about Bella than I had in all the years we'd been dating. I discovered her weakness for the scruff of my five o'clock shadow against her inner thighs. She loved when I blew short puffs of breath against her swollen clit. Moans escaped her lips when I kissed the hollow of her throat and she would purr when I licked along her hipbone. It was then that I discovered how turned on she would get with dirty words whispered in her ear.
Bella discovered secrets about me as well. Hell, I learned some new things, too. A strategically placed finger in a certain spot south of the boys can make me come in under a minute. Nibbling on my earlobe makes me shiver. Fingernails dragged on my upper thighs or down my chest and my eyes involuntarily flutter closed. Speaking of chest, my nipples discovered the joys of being grazed by teeth.
Our time in Hawaii wasn't all sex. We swam and snorkeled. Went out for fancy and not so fancy meals. Rented a Jeep and drove around the island – found ourselves a quiet little cave and had a quickie. (Okay, it was mostly about the sex.) The helicopter ride and para-sailing were definite highlights of the trip. We stayed in and watched movies, tangled up on the couch. Bubble baths where we'd discuss the names of our future kids and then stayed in the tub until the bubbles had disappeared and the water had run cold. Bella trusted me to shave her legs although I got a wee bit distracted when I got to her upper thighs. My wife sat on the bathroom counter and lathered my face with shaving cream and tried her hand at shaving but freaked out and handed me back the blade.
In the shower, Bella let me wash and condition her hair - that is probably one of my favorite visuals of the whole trip - her standing under the spray, her back to me. Warm water cascaded down her sun-kissed torso, shapely ass and long legs. I massaged the sweet smelling conditioner into her long, wet strands. Bella's head lolled down to her chest as my fingers massaged her scalp and paid special attention to her shoulders. The way she turned her head and glanced at me over her shoulder, the sexy yet innocent look on her face, good Lord.
Bella taught me how to play chess and then regretted it when I caught on quickly and spanked her ass. Turn around was fair play when I taught her how to play 'Rummy' and she snookered me. Card games turned into strip poker and you know how that ended…happily.
We hiked around the island and on one such occasion, Bella farted loudly in front of me. Yes, farted. She had never done that before, in all the years we'd dated and I busted a gut. After I finished laughing and wiped away the tears, I announced that the honeymoon was officially over.
I once asked Bella what her favorite part of the vacation was and she said it was the last night we were there. We'd ordered in room service and sat on our patio enjoying the last moments of the sun and our time there. We not only savored the meal but our time together as well. We polished off a bottle of wine with our dinner and were excited to get home to the little apartment we'd rented but hadn't yet lived in. When the honeymoon was over, our forever could begin, she explained. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to get home.
But first, after our wine and food were done, we made love as the full moon was high in the sky, illuminating our bodies in a soft glow. Afterwards, with the blankets loose around us, Bella's head on my bare chest, fingers intertwined, we slept peacefully. I remember feeling so content with my life. Fulfilled. I was giddy with happiness but more so, I knew I was blessed.
And that is what I hoped Leah and Adam came away from their honeymoon with and sustained throughout their marriage. It's what I wanted for all my kids.
Bella bumped her shoulders against mine and gave me a knowing smile.
"You're thinking of our honeymoon, aren't you?"
"Indeed, I was, Mrs. Cullen." I encircled her into my arms and kissed her forehead. "How would you feel about consummating our daughter's marriage tonight?"
Bella snorted. "I know that was supposed to come off as sexy, but it totally sounded creepy."
Before I could redeem myself, a heavy arm was thrown around my shoulder.
"Guess our kids are off to do the nasty tonight." Emmett chuckled, smelling like a brewery.
"Thank you, Emmett, for putting it so bluntly," I told him dryly.
"Relax, old man. Let's go rip up the dance floor. I requested the Macarena." With that, Em dragged me away from the disappearing taillights – my last connection to my daughter for two weeks – and onto the dance floor, grabbing me a beer on the way.
Before the night was through, I'd danced a whole lot more, embarrassing myself and my family with my drunken singing. Really though, what better way to go out than drunk Edward belting out a song from Dirty Dancing?
Now I've had the time of my life
No I never felt like this before.
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you.
Thank you for the love you have shown this fic and me. I've had the time of my life writing it and chatting with each of you along the way. And thank you so much for the well wishes for the little one in my belly. (Which I just found out is a little GIRL!)
If you come away from this fic with nothing else, remember to love with all your heart. Hug your spouse; kiss your kids. Laugh through the tantrums, the spilt milk and the whining. If you step on a Lego though, feel free to yell and curse – that shit hurts.
My beta wants me to add 'never pass up the chance for a good 'That's what she said joke' :)
I hope you'll take the time to review. Say goodbye to this family; to me. Maybe tell me your favorite scene/chapter. Which Edward did you like the best? Young-ward? Older-ward? Drunk-ward? Medicated-ward? Lyme-Disease-Ward? Grandpa-ward? It's too bad you never met Red Bull-ward, I'd bet he's funny as hell.
I'm off to press the 'complete' button now but before I do, two final words – from the bottom of my heart: