The One That Got Away
A/N – Everything Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer, of course. I'm going to miss these guys! Thanks to everyone who made this a favorite or added an alert, and everyone who reviewed it – especially all my most faithful reviewers, whose comments mean so much! You know who you are.
Alice's newest intern stood in the doorway of the office. "Ms. Hale? I have Maggie from Twilight Studios on line 2. They want to confirm publicity details for the cast announcement."
"Thank you, Bree. And it's Alice, remember?"
Bree grinned at her new mentor. "Yes, Ms. Hale, I mean Alice. Is there anything else?" The girl was nearly bouncing, and Alice couldn't help but smile.
"That's it for today. Go home and get ready, and I'll see you in a few hours." Alice motioned to her. "Shoo! You don't want to be late for the rehearsal dinner, do you?"
Bree scooted out the door, and Alice paused for just a minute before picking up the phone call. What a week it had been. She hadn't planned on coming into work the day before Edward and Bella's wedding, but there were just some details that had to be taken care of. Bella's increasing fame and the media storm that came from the movie and real life having parallel happy endings meant lots more work for all of them, not that Alice was complaining. She hit the speaker button on the phone. "Maggie, dear, what can I do for you?"
On the other side of town, Edward and Jasper walked into the restaurant and saw Emmett already seated at a table. Edward braced himself for one of Emmett's bear hugs, and grimaced when his brother ruffled his hair. "Hey, watch it. I have somewhere to be in a few hours." He carefully set the little bag he carried on the table. He smiled thinking about the diamond and pearl earrings he bought Bella as a wedding gift, and how beautiful they'd look on her.
"Oh, come on little brother. You think she won't marry you if your hair's messed up?" Emmett laughed and gave Jasper a fist bump.
Edward returned the grin. "She doesn't have to marry me till tomorrow, but I'm not taking any chances. God, Em, I'm so glad you're here. Thanks."
"You didn't think I'd miss this after all the shit I had to do to…" Emmett stopped when Jasper gave him a warning look.
"After all what you had to do?" Edward sat down, and motioned the others to do the same.
"Nothing" said Emmett. He rubbed his hands together. "Say, what's good for lunch here?"
"Nice try" said Edward. "Now spill." Emmett looked like a little kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Jasper had to look down at the table so he wouldn't laugh out loud.
"Well, it's not like I was the only one, Jasper" Emmett shouted, and it was Jasper's turn to look embarrassed.
"Now Edward" Jasper said, in his best Texas drawl "let's just order us a few beers and toast your last hours as a single man." He waved the waitress over and took his time ordering beer and burgers for the three of them.
"Nice try, Jas. Now what's my brother not telling me?" Edward sat back and crossed his arms over his chest. He fixed his stare on his brother, knowing he would crack before Jasper would.
Emmett decided to just get it over with. "Well, I might have talked to Jasper about getting you to Ireland for a few weeks. And he might have talked to me about getting Bella to Ireland for a few weeks."
"Are you kidding?" Edward's eyes were wide with amazement. "You set this up? Both of you?"
"Not by ourselves. Don't forget Liam, and Alice, especially Alice" Emmett started counting on his fingers.
"Emmett" Jasper sighed. "Just shut up." He grinned as he looked at Edward. "We just set the table, Edward. You and Bella decided to sit down and have dinner, so to speak."
Edward couldn't believe it. "Next you'll tell me you paid that idiot kid to hit the puppy."
Emmett and Jasper both laughed. Jasper spoke first. "Edward, you know we wouldn't go that far. But Alice wanted her best friend to be happy, and you know that what Alice wants, she usually gets. We just put you and Bella both in the same place and fate did the rest."
Edward held up his glass and toasted his brother and the best friend he'd regained through all this. "Gentlemen, thank you. Whatever you did, whatever you set up, whatever you did to kick fate in the ass, I am eternally grateful."
Emmett smirked. "Grateful enough to set me up with Rosalie?"
Edward exchanged a look with Jasper before answering. "You're on your own there, buddy."
Bella looked at the earrings one more time before carefully sliding them into her ears, careful not to disturb her hair or the flowers Alice had carefully placed in the elegant braids. "Alice, is this really happening? I'm so afraid I'm going to wake up back in my apartment, staring at Edward's picture and just starting to write the book."
Alice leaned over and placed a kiss on her best friend's cheek. "It's all real, sweetie. Some kind of wonderful cosmic thread kept you two connected across all this time. You just had to find your way back to each other. Now that you have, the two of you deserve all the happiness that comes with it." She fussed with the back of Bella's dress. "Now, let's go. My darling man is waiting to escort you down the aisle and he looks fine in a tuxedo. I need to get out there and see him."
A few minutes later, Bella was focused on not fainting while standing in the back of the church, her arm tucked into Jasper's.
"Bella?" He whispered to her. "Look up, darlin'."
She lifted her head and took in everything around her. She saw Alice walking ahead of her down the aisle and Rosalie already standing at the front of the tiny chapel. She saw the old and new friends that she and Edward now shared. She had to laugh when she saw Bree, Kim, Claire, and Rachel sitting in the second row and looking dreamily from her to Edward and back again.
And then, as Jasper gently tugged on her arm to walk her down the aisle, she saw Edward. He was the love of her life, and he was waiting for her. And from that point on, he was all she could see. Her eyes locked with his and they both smiled. She felt Jasper place her hand in Edward's before he moved to stand next to Emmett. She felt the way Edward gently squeezed her hands.
Unable to resist, he bent down and kissed her gently. "You are beautiful, Bella. And I am the luckiest man on the planet."
"No, we are" she corrected. "We are the two luckiest people on the planet." And with that, they turned to the front and exchanged heartfelt vows.
Bella perched on a big, smooth boulder that sat on the beach, her knees pulled up to her chest and her arms wrapped around them as the wind blew her hair back from her face. She looked out at the greyish green water and remembered the dream she'd had back before any of this started. She remembered seeing reddish brown hair and green eyes, as the one man she'd always loved walked toward her on the beach, tossing a stick to a scampering brown dog. She remembered how hard she'd tried to shake off the feelings the dream had stirred up, because – at the time – it seemed so hopeless to think she'd ever see him again. Now she looked at her left hand where a platinum band rested next to a diamond ring, symbols of how her life, their lives, had changed.
It was Edward's idea to come back to Ireland for their honeymoon, and she had to admit it was perfect. Emmett had offered them the guest room in his house, but they politely declined, choosing instead to take Liam up on his offer of the little cottage. Now she was waiting for Edward to return from a walk down the beach. She would have gone with him – in fact, they'd spent very little time apart – but he insisted he just needed a few minutes and she should wait. She caught a glimpse of bronze hair jogging toward her, then watched as he pulled back his arm and threw a stick several yards up the beach. To her surprised, a brown flash took off after the stick. The dog scooped up the stick and ran toward her with it.
"Bailey?" She stood. "Bailey, is that you?" The dog, much larger than the puppy she remembered but clearly still growing into his huge feet, dropped the stick at her feet and happily licked her face as she hugged him.
"Finally" Edward said, as he reached her and drew her into a tight hug. "I missed you. But I brought you a friend."
"It's Bailey, isn't it?" She reached down to pet the dog again.
"It is" he answered. "I thought since he brought us back together, it was only right that we give him some love. I told Jenks we'd bring him back later on." He held up a bag from behind his back. "And Jenks sent us a picnic lunch. Sort of a tradition for us, don't you think?"
"I can think of a few traditions we've started in Ireland." She stepped down from the rock and tucked herself into his side.
"Do any of them involve a window seat?" His smirk was unmistakable.
"Oh, a lot of them involve the window seat." She laughed and stood on her toes to kiss his cheek. "And a few of them involve the meadow."
They held hands and walked up the beach. They both started to speak at the same time.
They laughed. She nodded for him to go ahead.
"Bella, I've never asked you. Why did you put the dedication in the book? Why then, after all this time?"
She raised their joined hands and placed a kiss on the back of his hand. "Because the story had been just waiting inside me for all that time. Every day when I'd sit at my computer to write, I'd look at our picture. I couldn't get over the idea that we were meant to be together. At the time, I thought there was no way for it to happen but it was in my head all the time. So the book was my way of giving us our happy ending. And the dedication? Well, it couldn't have been anything else. It was all for you, like throwing a wish out into the universe and hoping it would come true."
"And did it?"
"You know it did. All that I dreamed and more."
They kissed, a deep, passionate loving kiss. He took her face in his hands. "I guess I didn't get away after all. I was just waiting for you to find me."
She shook her head, correcting him. "No, Edward, we were waiting to find each other. And now we have."
No more words were needed, and they headed up the beach to write the story of the rest of forever.