Epilogue

Edward and Bella didn't want a long engagement. When Bella had accepted his proposal, he'd followed up by asking her if they could go to City Hall that afternoon and do it. He didn't care about pomp and ceremony; he just wanted to make Bella his.

Bella had told him he was crazy. Besides, they'd never get a marriage licence that same day.

Having been married before and done the traditional white church wedding, Bella didn't want a fuss, but she did at least want to have her closest friends and Edward's family there, and she wanted something a little more personal than City Hall.

"Next week?" Edward hedged. She rolled her eyes and refused.

"Next month?" He'd begged.

"Next month," she'd agreed.

Most wedding venues were booked solid for the next two years, but on a whim Edward called the Signature Room at the Hancock building, who happened to have just received a cancellation that very same day.

It seemed fitting, that he would propose at Navy Pier, where they'd shared intimate stories and private moments, and really got to know each other properly for the first time. So in turn, there was no better place to exchange their wedding vows than the place they'd had their very first date.

The date was set for the second Saturday in May. Bella would be around twelve weeks pregnant. They weren't rushing into marriage out of tradition or obligation because she was pregnant; they simply wanted to solidify their commitment to each other. She hoped that she wouldn't be showing too much by then. Edward realized that the date almost coincided with the date they'd met, a year previous, in a smoky bar.

What was at first a one night stand with a nameless stranger, had turned into everything.

Bella had enlisted Alice as maid of honour, and Rosalie, her future sister in law as a bridesmaid. The Cullens, of course were ecstatic with Bella and Edward's baby news, but especially Rosalie, who had first called it when Edward had brought Bella home for Christmas.

Bella was saddened that she had no family to speak of that would be attending the wedding. Naturally, her hormones were all over the place, and more than once in the weeks leading up to the wedding, Edward had found her sobbing in the bathroom in the mornings. Every time, he had pulled her into her arms, like he had done so many times before, and whispered soothing words of comfort.

He couldn't fight her demons, and he'd never be able to take away the pain of her past - all he could do was love her, and give her a future - and hope that it would be enough.

Despite her melancholy, which she knew was partly hormonal, Bella was excited about the wedding and her future. All she could do was try to keep moving forward. About a week before the wedding, when she still didn't know who would be giving her away, she asked Edward his opinion on the subject. They were sitting on his couch with her laptop, close to booking their honeymoon. It was a toss up between Hawaii and the South of France.

"I was wondering... How would you feel about Tony giving me away?"

"Tony? Tony Masen?"

Bella rolled her eyes. "No, Tony the Tiger." Edward smirked. "Of course Tony Masen."

Edward pursed his lips, seemingly deep in thought. When he didn't respond, Bella continued.

"I mean, I know things are still really new with you guys - and you're still getting used to the idea of him being your father - but, he's been my mentor for longer than that. My boss for many years and now my partner. He's done a lot for me, and I'd really like to have him involved.

Edward smiled and pulled Bella into his side, placing a sweet kiss on her temple.

"I think that sounds perfect," he whispered.

x-x-x-

And so, at sunset on a warm and balmy Saturday in May, Edward and Bella exchanged marriage vows in a small ceremony with their nearest and dearest in attendance.

Bella carried a simple bouquet of creamy white roses, which perfectly complemented her simple, ivory a-line wedding dress, cut perfectly to conceal her barely there bump.

As Bella walked up the aisle on Tony's arm, she smiled, knowing she was walking toward her future. Her first wedding had been so fraught with emotion and anxiety. Hindsight was twenty-twenty, but she'd known even then that it wasn't right. The contrast to how she felt now was so obvious in the way she walked. With confidence, her shoulders back and her head held high. The way she couldn't take her eyes off her fiance, waiting for her at the makeshift altar, that was also adorned with roses and candles.

And her fiancé was a sight for sore eyes.

Edward in a tux was devastating, and any falter in her steps was down to the sight making her weak in the knees. She gripped tight to Tony's arm, knowing he would keep her steady. He wouldn't let her fall.

Jasper sang a ballad that he'd written specifically for the ceremony and Rosalie read one of Shakespeare's sonnets. There were tears and kisses and hugs all round as Edward and Bella exchanged traditional wedding vows. Everyone cheered when they had their first kiss as man and wife.

They walked down the aisle afterwards to U2's Beautiful Day, and it was indeed a beautiful day.

Dinner, speeches and toasts - with non-alcoholic champagne for Bella - followed, and as Edward pulled his wife into his arms for their first dance, he had never felt more content.

"You're perfect today, Mrs Cullen," he whispered in her ear, before placing a sweet kiss on her pale pink lips. Her cheeks were glowing, her hair was hanging in natural waves, framing her perfect face like a halo, and her eyes had never been more full of love.

"You're pretty darn perfect yourself, Mr Cullen.

x-x-x

The hot sun beat down on Bella's skin, causing a light sheen of sweat to bead across her ever growing belly. She took a sip of her iced water as she watched her husband's strong back and arms ripple through the water of their private pool. Lean, tattooed Edward had been hot a year ago when they'd first met, but strong, tattooed, tanned Edward was even hotter.

It could have been the fact that they were on honeymoon, or the fact that her hormones with running wild with the pregnancy, but Bella's sex drive had never been so high. They'd rented a private villa in St Raphael, on the south coast of France, which came with it's own pool and weights room. They'd been here for two weeks, and planned on spending two more weeks exploring the coastline, taking in St Tropez, Cannes, and Nice.

They'd wanted a month long honeymoon; some time out to relax after the crazy few months they'd had previously, and to enjoy some quality time together as husband and life before their world would be turned upside down with the arrival of Baby Cullen.

They'd start their days with walks on the beach, after which Bella would take a nap while Edward worked out in the weights room. Although it had only been a few weeks, Bella could see the definition in Edward's muscles, and it made her squeeze her thighs together as she watched Edward perform a perfect butterfly through the water.

Bella returned her glass to the little table beside her lounger, before rising from the chair and making her way down the steps of the pool. The water felt cool on her skin, providing respite from the stifling midday heat.

She watched as Edward executed a perfect flip turn, and made his way back toward her underneath the water. His head popped up out of the water, his hands gripping her hips, pulling her closer to him as he peppered kisses all over her stomach and ribcage.

"Mmm..." he murmured. "You're getting a good tan."

Bella steadied herself in the water by placing her hands on his strong shoulders, allowing herself to get lost in the sensation. Her desire for him was at an all time high, and she knew it would never dim or fade.

Edward's breath caught as he took in the sight of his beautiful, sexy wife; her tanned baby bump, the flare of her hips, the way that her chest heaved as her kissed her. How this girl had ever thought she was ordinary was beyond his understanding. Love shone from her like a beacon, and she radiated a peace he had never seen before.

He once again marvelled at how lucky he was.

How extraordinary their life together would be.

"Take me to bed, Edward," she whispered as he rose up out of the water, lifting her with him. She wrapped her legs around his waist and clung tightly to his shoulders. She never wanted to let go.

"Always."

~The End~

LONG ASS A/N, FEEL FREE TO SKIP:

Wow, well, what to say about this story.

I started this three years ago, as a newbie to the fandom. I had only been reading fic for around 6 months, and having written a little when I was younger, thought I'd give it ago. I wrote a 200 word flashfic for Shell Thimbles flashfic challenge, and thought, hmm, I could go somewhere with this.

I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I had no idea that authors had pre-written their stories, and stuck to an update schedule. I had no outline, only a rough idea in my head. I literally made this story up as I went along. But then I'd be at work and thinking about the characters and the story, and ideas would start to come to me. I got carried away. What started as a drabble, turned into so much more. I cringe when I read back over some of it. So many cliches, so much repetition. I wrote myself into a corner so many times. Like I said, NO IDEA what I was doing. RL always gets in the way sometimes, but the last two years of my life have been particularly crazy. Life as a working single parent is crazy busy, and i'd had virtually no time to myself, never mind time to write. So this was put on the back burner. I'd sit down, the very odd time that I did have a free moment, and stare at the screen, hating this story, having no clue what to do with it. Of course, in the meantime I have written other things, including a few one shots and contest entries, and the Twilight 25 challenge. So I can't say that time was my only factor in not being able to write this. For a while, I just wasn't feeling it. I wanted to delete it so many times. I've very much had a love/hate relationship with this story.

In Nov 2015, I was involved in a serious car accident. I was badly injured (albeit not life threatening injuries) and have been off work ever since. My son and I are very lucky to be alive. Without sound trite, it taught me that life is way too fucking short. Life is not supposed to be a race against the clock. Your health is your wealth and all those other cliches! It's true though. So my new years resolution was to make more time for me, make more time for my son, and make more time to do the things I love, writing being one of them. And of course, I have all this time on my hands because I'm off work.

I wrote one shot for the Control Possess Seduce contest. Because there was a time deadline on it, I set myself a challenge of writing every day. Once I submitted that, I outlined the rest of this story. I actually enjoyed writing the rest of it, and I'm happy with how it has ended. I hope the ending doesn't feel rushed, but these characters had been through the mill and deserved their HEA. I'll be working on completing the rest of my WIPs soon!

Mad love as always to my pre-readers, Karen, Madi and my beta, Emily, my first and best friends fandom. I couldn't have done all this without you! Thank you to Shell for hosting the flashfic challenge that inspired this story - I really miss that. Thanks Sparrownotes24 for my beautiful banner, and to Chocaholic123 for her encouragement in the early days too.

Thank you to every single reader and reviewer and pimper and tweeter!

I'll shut up now, 'cause damn, it's not an Oscar acceptance speech!

Until next time, lots of love, Meg xxx