AN: Don't cry, kids. Two chapters left.

Chapter 43

Love was surrounding me. I watched as my father and Billy exchanged their rings under the bright sunlight as a light breeze made the limbs of Willow trees swayed around them. Their faces radiated affection and joy. It was beautiful!

I stood next to my father as his Best Girl. The bouquet of daisies I held were my favorite when I was a little girl, so Dad chose them for me. It was perfect.

Except for the slug.

He stood next to Billy in an ill-fitting suit that had an odd colored stain on the lapel. I'm sure Edward's sister had something to do with it. They had disappeared for a couple of hours and came back smelling of stinky cheese. The images that came into my head were disturbing.

The faces he was making were obnoxious, but Dad and Billy's declarations of love made everyone ignore that idiot.

I glanced over to where Edward was sitting next to his mother. He was holding her hand. I gave him a wink and he blew me a little kiss. This was going to be us soon. It was going to be lovely.

Truthfully, now that Esme and I were in a much better place, I could see a brighter future for us all. When she came to my room this morning, it was a surprise. A huge surprise.

I had just stuck rollers into my hair, as I looked into the mirror to berate myself. "Isabella Swan, it was incredibly stupid to let poor Edward talk to his father by himself. What if he hit him? The wedding will be ruined and your man will be in jail for assault! Oh God! Dad is going to have to do a citizen's arrest! He's going to have to arrest his future son-in-law! What are we going to tell the children?"

My mini mirror panic attack was interrupted by a loud knocking at the door. It was probably Alice. She had already forgotten most of the things she needed for the weekend. Shampoo, razors, a hairbrush to name a few things. It was surprising after seeing her luggage. Alice only came in second to Jane in suitcase size. I wonder if she filled them with case files and medical journals. Getting kinky with Jasper over the weight charts of pregnant patients. It wouldn't have surprised me a bit with those two.

I threw the door open. "Ali, what else could you possibly need?"

In front of me stood Esme Cullen. She looked like someone threw her into a gutter, made her roll around in filth, dragged her to a whiskey distillery and then dumped her in front of my door. Her stained sweatshirt had kittens on it.

"You weren't mugged, were you?"

She pulled me into a hug. "Bella, I'm so sorry!"

Esme Cullen was weeping and blowing her nose into my shoulder.

"It's okay," I patted her awkwardly. "Just talk to Edward for me."

She looked up with her eyes red and swollen. "He has a daughter. Carlisle, not Edward."

"I heard last night. I'm sorry." The poor woman must have been bottling all of her sadness up for years and taking it out on her family.

"He didn't cheat on me," Esme quickly admitted. "I meet her once. A long time ago when she told us about the little girl. That Maria woman was so full of life and I was so shy. My insecurities about her clouded my judgement about life and about you. I apologize for that. You make my son happy and I never could. Thank you for doing that for him."

"It's a bright and perfect new day to start fresh with Edward and Carlisle! You can be happy!" I hugged her tightly. "I'll stand by you and help any way I can!"

"Thank you!" Her eyes were filling with tears again, so were mine. She reeked!

I questioned, "How much did you drink last night?"

"A lot of hard liquor."

Apparently she bathed in it as well.

"Let's clean you up a bit."

It was time to make amends.

Things went fairly smooth, after Esme was reassured that Carmen wasn't actually Maria after several rounds of plastic surgery. Talking between the family happened, as I sat down to eat some tasty blueberry pancakes with Alice. Now as a glanced at Edward's family watching my dad sing the praises of Billy, I saw Carlisle's hand take Esme's. She smiled at him and he smiled back. It was so romantic!

Carmen was drinking out a flask. I should check if Carlisle got a paternity test on that one.

"You may kiss the groom," the officiant announced to my dad and Billy. It was beautiful, as my father dipped Billy into an passionate kiss.

Jacob started gagging.

He was hit in the middle of his head by a rubber band.

I turned to see my love smiling at me with a wink. I taught him well.


I stood on the periphery and watched as the guests congratulated the happy couple. In a ranking of top days of my life, this had to be one of the best.

Two strong arms wrapped around my waist, a kiss placed on my earlobe and followed by a whisper, "Have I ever told you how fetching you look in green?"

"Thanks, Emmett."

Edward whirled me around, still holding tight. "Stop teasing."

"I like your moves with the rubber bands, Grasshopper. I taught you well," I kissed his nose.

"I have the best teacher in the arts of rubber band warfare," he agreed. "Did you know my maybe sister has her tongue down your new brother's throat right now?"

I wrinkled my nose at the image. Gross. "No, but not surprised. Are you sure that she's your sister?"

He shook his head. "I'm thinking-"

"Paternity test!" We exclaimed in unison.

"I was thinking that during the ceremony," I admitted.

"We're perfect together! We even think the same things," Edward stated, as he glanced over to the series of high flowering hedges that created a maze. The pink blooms were beckoning us. "I'm thinking about getting lost in that maze with you right now."

"I'm thinking of ravishing you in it." I caressed his lips with my finger.

"See! Perfect!" Edward said with a grin.

Ten minutes later we illustrating our perfection in the middle of the maze. My back was being pushed against the prickly limbs of a hedge and it felt brilliant.

"Oh Edward! Do long division for me!"

That's when I heard my father yell, "Damn it, Bella!"

Oops. I guess we were being a little loud.