Disclaimer: (CONTENT and LEGAL) All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Big thanks to Amery Marie and Sunflower3759 for beta-ing this chapter for me!
You readers have been so amazingly patient with me while I posted so many other stories rather than continue this. I am so excited for you all to read this, finally! It's relatively short, coming in under 25 chapters. I am almost done with it, still working on the last couple chapters and the epilogue.
This prologue is from Esme's POV, and the remaining chapters alternate between EPOV and BPOV. Chapter 1 will be the wedding (the one-shot in its entirety) and then the rest is all brand new chapters.
"Why do you think Edward's single?" I asked my husband, patting my face dry and peering at my reflection in the mirror as he put his toothbrush back in the holder.
Carlisle raised his eyebrows at me and shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe because he hasn't found the right girl."
"But do you think if he met the right girl, he'd want to settle down?"
"Probably. Why, do you have someone in mind?"
"No. Just wondering."
"Leave the poor boy be then, he'll find her soon enough," Carlisle chastised me gently.
"I just have weddings on the brain," I explained, smoothing lotion onto my face.
"I can't believe that Tanya and Riley's wedding is in just a couple of weeks," he sighed.
"I know. There's so much left to do."
We made our way into our bedroom and slipped under the sheets. I turned to face Carlisle and spoke. "My number one priority is finding a photographer. Did you hear that Alec Roberts couldn't do it?"
"Well, you can't really expect that he'll be free at the peak of wedding season with just a few weeks notice."
"I know, Tanya was just so excited about hiring him."
"I am sure you can find someone else. They may not be quite as good, but you can always look into amateur photographers."
"I'd just hate to have someone who was unreliable. Maybe I'll talk to Cynthia tomorrow."
"Yeah, as head of the Chamber of Commerce for Forks she knows everybody. I'm sure she's worked with photographers in the area before."
"That's a wonderful idea." Carlisle kissed me on the cheek and inhaled deeply; he had always loved the scent of my lotion. "I love you, Esme."
"I love you, too, Carlisle. Goodnight."
"Night." He clicked out the light on the bedside table and drew me into his arms as he had for nearly every night of the past thirty-seven years. I fell asleep making a checklist of things still to do for the wedding.
In the morning, I called Cynthia right away and we chatted for a few minutes before she invited me over for a cup of coffee. She lived just a few miles from me and I hurried to my car to drive to her place.
Once we were relaxing on her patio with a fresh cup of coffee, I asked her. "Do you know any photographers?"
"Sure. Why?" She pushed her short dark hair out of the way and I marveled that she hardly looked old enough to have a daughter in college.
"Well, you know about Tanya's wedding, right?"
"Yes, your niece is getting married at your home in a few months right?"
"It's actually two and a half weeks from now."
She glanced at me in shock. "Why?"
I told her the story about Tanya's visa issues and she nodded in understanding. "I'm afraid most photographers are going to be booked already. Have you thought about an amateur?"
I sighed. "That's what Carlisle suggested. I'm just worried about finding someone reliable."
"Well, let me think, I have to know someone." She sipped her coffee in silence for a few moments. "Oh! I can't believe I didn't think of this right away. Do you know Bella Swan?"
I shook my head. "The name doesn't sound familiar."
"Chief Swan's daughter."
"Oh, of course. No, I don't know her per say. She's quite a bit younger than my boys."
"Yes, she graduated with Alice. They're good friends. Anyway, she's a photography student at U Dub. She's home for a few weeks this summer and I know for a fact she's good. I had her take Alice's senior portraits. Would you like to see them?"
"Sure." I followed her into the living room and took a seat on the wingback chair while she sorted through a shelf lined with picture albums.
She brought me an album and turned to Alice's senior portraits. I flipped through them, impressed by the eye for photography a high school student had. "She was eighteen when she took these?"
"Must have been seventeen. It was the summer before their senior year."
"She's very good."
I flipped to the next page to see a photo of two girls on swings, their hair flying in the wind and laughter on their faces. I knew Cynthia well, but we'd only really become friends in the last few years, after Alice had graduated high school. I vaguely remembered talking with Cynthia and meeting Alice at some school event or function, but if I remembered correctly, it would have been when Edward was still in school, Alice would have been quite young.
"That's Bella." Cynthia pointed to the one with brown braids and impossibly long, pale legs. "She set up the timer to get one of the two of them together."
"They look close," I commented.
"They are. They were inseparable all through high school and went to college together. They still live in an apartment together."
I nodded. "Well, I'd be happy to have Bella photograph Tanya's wedding, if you think she'd be interested."
"I'm sure she would be. I know she's done a couple of weddings and she's always looking for more experience."
"Wonderful." I took a sip of my coffee, another thought occurring to me. "How old is Alice?"
"Twenty-two. Why, Esme?"
"Just wondering about setting her up with Edward."
Cynthia laughed. "Alice is a handful. I love my daughter, but she'd drive most men to drink. Besides, she's found a great guy. His name is Jasper."
"Bella's single though."
"Really?" I asked with some surprise, wondering what Edward would think of her.
"Yeah, broke up with some guy a while back, but I don't think she was heartbroken. She's a really sweet girl, and she's very pretty. Can't hurt to hire her to photograph the wedding."
"And we can always hope that sparks fly." I smiled at her.
She nodded to a framed picture on the mantle. "That's a more current picture of Alice and Bella. It was taken two years ago, I think."
I stood up to examine it. It was a photo of the two girls, young women now, with their arms around each other, cheeks pressed together and huge grins on their faces. Bella was dressed in a pretty sun-dress, cool and comfortable looking without too much skin showing. My eyes lingered on her dark brown curls and shining brown eyes.
The pose and attitude were artless and unaffected. She wore just enough makeup to accent her features without it looking caked on. She really was lovely. She was a bit young for Edward, maybe, but it was worth seeing if they hit it off. Something about her made me think it was worth trying to set them up.
"She's lovely," I said, taking a seat back in the chair and sipping my coffee.
"She is. And one of the nicest girls you'll ever meet. I had no qualms about Bella and Alice going off to college. I'm sure they went to parties and drank, but I never worried that I was going to get a call saying they'd been arrested. They were too smart for that."
I sighed. "Emmett caused every single grey hair I have. But Edward was no worry either."
"I'm surprised to hear that Edward's single," Cynthia commented. "He's never had a problem getting a date before, has he?"
"No. Just decided to take a bit of a break, I think. But I'd like to see him settle down."
"After those modeling gigs, he could probably date any girl in Seattle that he wanted."
I sniffed. "Do you know what kind of girls go after him because of that? Not the ones I want for a daughter-in-law some day, that's for sure."
"Does he have any say in this?"
"Of course he does," I protested. "I just know he was complaining about some ridiculous woman who was throwing herself at him and how difficult it is to meet anyone decent. A little meddling on my part can't hurt."
"Well, why don't I call Bella and see if she's available to photograph the wedding. And if she can't do it, I'll try to think of someone else."
"Thanks, Cynthia, you're a life saver."
"I'll give you a call as soon as I talk to her," she promised.
I said goodbye and drove home hoping that Bella would be able to photograph the wedding. Edward's love life aside, there was no time to delay, the wedding was just a few weeks away and I knew how desperately Tanya wanted a good photographer to be there.
I was pleased when Cynthia called that evening to say Bella was available and interested, and I had a good feeling about things.
The next few weeks flew by in a flurry of preparations. I made sure to mention Bella to Edward, but other than being happy that Tanya and Riley now had a photographer, he seemed indifferent. There was certainly no guarantee of them hitting it off when they met, but I was hopeful.
Charlie Swan had been a solid presence in the community as long as Carlisle and I had lived in Forks, and although I didn't know his wife, Renee, personally, she was always friendly when we passed in the aisle at the grocery store. I had known Cynthia Brandon for years, and if she vouched for Bella, that was enough for me. It was up to the two of them now.
I took a final look around the yard. The lights and candles and bonfire were out. The guests had left and everything was dark and quiet. Despite the frantic rush of preparation and last minute scrambling the wedding had gone smoothly. Tanya and Riley had left to stay in a hotel for the night and would return in the morning for a family brunch. Before Bella had gone inside to copy the disc for Tanya, I had suggested she leave it in Carlisle's study. I also conveniently 'forgot' to give her the check, and gave it to Edward instead. I'd noticed that his eyes hadn't left her since they'd met, and he eagerly agreed to take the check to Bella.
Bella had been polite and friendly all evening, and I had no faults with her as a photographer. She was even lovelier than her senior portrait and had obviously grown into herself. Gone was the coltish, awkward girl and, in its place, was a self-contained young woman who carried herself well. She was less obvious about checking out Edward, but she had clearly kept an eye on him as well. I had hoped he would ask her to dance, but she had seemed reluctant to relax as long as there were guests still there. I hoped that when he gave her the check and her job was done, she would relax a little. Edward was charming, and if anyone could coax her to open up, it was my son.
I cursed myself for not inviting her to the brunch the next day. Tanya and Riley would have welcomed her there, and it would give her another opportunity to get to know Edward. I could only hope he had asked her on a date before she left.
I went in the house and was surprised to see the lights still on in the library as I passed. I headed over to turn them off and I gasped quietly when I saw Edward pressing Bella against Carlisle's desk. I hurried past, having no desire to linger, and congratulated myself on a job well done. Clearly, they had hit it off.
When I reached the bedroom, Carlisle was already in bed.
"Do you know what your son is doing in your library, on your desk?" I asked him.
He groaned. "What is wrong with Emmett? Don't he and Rosalie have any sense of decency? How many times have we caught them?"
I smiled. "Not Emmett."
"Really? That hardly sounds like Edward. And who…? Ahh, Bella, the lovely photographer."
"Yes. Did you see him all night? He couldn't take his eyes off her."
"I didn't really notice any interest from her, but I'm sure she was busy being professional. Although, I'd hardly say what they're doing now is terribly professional."
"Oh, Carlisle, don't be such an old man. I gave Edward the check, her job is complete and she's free to do whatever she'd like."
"Or whomever," he said dryly.
"I, for one, am thrilled. I would have preferred he didn't use your study, but I'm just pleased he found someone he was interested in. He's been lonely, I think."
"I know he has," Carlisle admitted.
"Besides, perhaps you ought to remember what we did in your father's office. And I was his secretary at the time."
He chuckled. "You have a point. Well, I hope they are equally lucky. Although you will be insufferable if you managed to successfully match them."
"Husband, after all these years, you just need to give up and admit that I am always right."
"Yes, love." He kissed me then, and all other thoughts fled.
Carlisle and I might not have been quite as wild as we were in our youth, but we still had plenty of spark left.
Notes: I really hope you enjoyed this! Let me know what you think.
Also, I have no set posting schedule for this yet. I am juggling quite a few stories right now. Other than a few chapters at the end of the story, this one is basically done.
My collaboration with Kherisma, called "Lose the One You Love", will post every Thursday.
I am also going to be posting a story called "Beyond the Break Room" soon.
I will be alternating posting chapters of "Life of a Wedding Photographer" with "Beyond the Break Room". You will get a new chapter of one story or the other every week as it's validated on Twilighted. Make sense?