Disclaimer: 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.
"Okay, everyone gather around for a picture!" Renee called. Edward chuckled as Bella rolled her eyes and huffed, her tassel slipping down across her face.
"Here, let me help you with that." He grinned. She smiled appreciatively and kissed him quickly.
"Come on, you two!" Renee was relentless, and they both realized they wouldn't be able to put her off any longer. Obligingly, they scooted closer together. Edward wrapped his arm around Bella's waist, and Bella hugged her frail grandmother carefully. On Edward's other side, his mother and father slid next to him. He smiled at them, and they returned his smile warmly, if not a little awkwardly, before everyone turned their attention to Renee and her camera.
"Okay, Mom. That's enough pictures. I don't want to be late," Bella said as Renee continued to snap photos.
"Okay, let's go then." Renee leaned in and gave both Bella and Edward a quick kiss. "We'll find you afterward, dear." She, Bella's grandmother, and Edward's parents shuffled off to find their seats, and Edward and Bella were once again alone.
"Are you ready?" Bella asked, turning to him.
Edward nodded, but his stomach was assaulted by the butterflies that had been plaguing him all morning. She squeezed his hand knowingly, and they went to join the awaiting throng.
The next hour flew by in a blur. The only thing that seemed to keep Edward grounded was the reassuring and constant presence of Bella's hand in his. He was thankful that they were able to sit together. Before he knew it, Bella was squeezing his hand and looking at him meaningfully.
"You're next," she whispered.
Just as she'd predicted, his name came over the loudspeaker.
"Edward Anthony Cullen." There was a smattering of applause throughout the Great Hall.
Edward grinned nervously and stood. He walked toward the smiling man and woman, praying he wouldn't trip and fall on his way. He took the rolled parchment from the woman's outstretched hand, shook hands with several people, and made his way back to his seat. He swelled with pride. He'd worked relentlessly for this, and it had all been worth it. He'd just sat down when the next name was called.
"Isabella Marie Cullen."
Bella grinned and winked at him, and then she was gone. He watched her. She looked so much more poised and confident than he felt, and he marveled at her once again. Would there ever be a day that passed that he wasn't in awe of her? Even now that she was completely his, he still found it difficult to believe that she'd chosen him. But she had, and he thanked his lucky stars each and every day that she thought he was good enough.
A/N: Well. There you have it. For better or for worse, it's finished. I LOVED writing this story, and I appreciate and love all of the people who took the time to read it; even the ones who made their dislike of some of my plot and character choices very clear. :)
I cannot thank my betas enough. TwiMarti and mcc101180 are fabulous. And I can't forget to mention all of the wonderful friends who've been sounding boards and shoulders to cry on. You know who you are. You've gotten me through this.
Writing fic is an amazing experience. There's nothing else like it, and I'm so fortunate to be a part of this wonderful fandom. Thank you, thank you, thank you!