Once again, this took FORfreakingEVER, and I am so
very sorry. I won't go into detail here at the beginning,
as I know you are eager for storyline, but for those who
care to know, I will have a more detailed message at
the end.

Katy, I heart you SO MUCH. Thank you for pre-reading
and ftsh-ing and just being there. I know you saw me
fading. I just didn't tell you why...

Thank you, Fran, for all of the hard work you have put
into this story. You have been a lifesaver. And yeah, it
isn't the ability I lack, it is the self discipline. :(

Thank you to all who have read, and reviewed this
little story. You always put smiles on my face.


LWTC

Esme knocked softly on the sliding door to Bella's room. It was six-fifteen, and she knew that the girls upstairs had set their alarms for six-thirty. Being the experienced mother she was, and knowing her son as she did, Esme knew that he was in the room, sleeping beside his almost-bride. She couldn't help but smile as she saw how they had wrapped themselves around each other, completely entangled. Bella's head rested on Edward's bicep as she made it her pillow, her face pressed up against his chest. Her right arm was slung over him, and his left arm over her waist, with their legs intertwined. She almost felt badly for intruding on them.

Almost.

Sliding the door fully open, she used a soft, singsong voice as she approached the sleeping couple, "Merry Christmas my sleeping beauties, time to get up and prepare to get married."

Bella stirred, and snuggled more deeply against Edward's chest. "Mmmf. Don' wanna moof. Too early," she mumbled against his warm body.

Edward grunted his agreement and tightened his grip.

"Suit yourselves, but don't whine to me when the girls get up in fifteen minutes and discover that he's still here." Esme turned toward the door and grinned as she heard them begin to move. She knew that particular threat would prompt them into action.

"How'd you know?" Edward asked.

"Son," Esme chuckled, "I carried you for ten months, and raised you for eighteen years. I know you better than you realize. I knew you would come back to hold your girl. I also knew that you wouldn't cheapen the value of tonight's meaning by giving into temptation at the eleventh hour."

"Love you Mom," he said as he slipped into his jeans and hoodie.

"Love you, too," she kissed his cheek as he wrapped her into a hug. "Now, kiss your girl, and then do me a favor."

"What's that?"

"Use the door as a door and the window as a window," she shook her head. "I'd hate to see you fall and hurt yourself on your big day."

"Yes ma'am," Edward laughed softly through his nose, and rolled his eyes at his mother affectionately before sitting beside Bella on the bed and tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "I love you, Princess."

"I love you too, Edward."

Bella reached up, and drove her hands into his riotous mane, pulling his face down for a fiercely heated, albeit short kiss. Edward had just begun to melt when he felt her lips pull away, and he opened his eyes in shock, looking to her for some sort of explanation for the truncated passion.

"Just wanting to give you a small taste of my desire," she grinned wickedly at him, even as a blush spread itself from her chest, radiating across her throat and cheeks. As short-lived as the kiss had been, it was perhaps the most wanton and hungriest kiss they had shared.

"On that note…" Edward cleared his throat and gave her a quick hug before standing and adjusting himself, not so discretely. "My naughty bride, just wait 'til I get you alone tonight," Edward cocked a brow and grinned broadly.

The only thing that made it easier to leave the house was Edward's knowledge that after today, Bella and he would be married, and he would never have to leave her again. He ran swiftly back to his car and drove back to his parents' home to join the guys. He was elated to find them still asleep … all except Carlisle, who was sitting at the dining room table with two cups of tea in front of him …

a)/}—'—

"I can't believe you were such a killjoy, Bella," Katy grumbled over breakfast. She had figured they would have stayed up late, trading stories, bitching and bragging about their perspective men. She wanted to spend time with Bella, but she knew that her friend was nothing if not practical. Sleep was important the night before one's wedding, but she couldn't help but feel as if Bella had been inordinately hurried to get to bed. "Unless there was some pressing reason for you to get into the sanctuary of your room?" She asked in a voice dripping with innuendo, allowing the allusion to hang in the air, and watched Bella like a hawk for any sign of deception.

Sure enough, a twitch of the lips and a slight blush began to give her away.

"What are you hiding, my friend?" Katy's eyes beamed and a mischievous smirk settled onto her face.

"I don't know what you're talking about, Katy." Bella sighed heavily, and tucked into her eggs. "This is a really good breakfast, Mom."

All of the girls burst out laughing, knowing that she was hiding something from them.

"Why, thank you, daughter," Esme winked at her conspiratorially. "Now, all of you eat up. Carlisle should be getting the men and kids up any minute. We need to go do the Santa gifts with the children and clean up for the ceremony before we start getting ready. There's so much to be done, yet."

a)/}—'—

The living room looked like the aftermath of a tornado after the children opened their 'Santa' gifts. Surprisingly, none of them complained as they were told to start cleaning up the wrapping paper mess and put their new toys away. It only took the span of a half hour for the space to be put back to rights with everyone's cooperation.

They boys were excited because they were going to go snowmobiling with the men while the women set about getting 'beautified' for the wedding. Annie was a bundle of exhilaration about the wedding. Alice had told her the night before, as she was getting ready for bed that she was going to get to see Aunt Bella and Uncle Edward get married and that she was going to get all dressed up with her hair and fingernails professionally done.

"Auntie Bella?"

"Yes, my Annie?"

"You're gonna marry my Uncle Edward today?"

"Yes, I certainly am."

"Momma always says that she kisses Daddy lots 'cause they gotted married."

"Yes, married people do tend to kiss a lot," Bells struggled to keep her face serious as Annie seemed to be very concerned.

"Momma said that lots of kissing is what lead to having twins, and that there was no way that Uncle Edward was gonna stop kissing you once he got started, and that you probably would have triplets," her eyes were wide, and she looked as if she was waiting for confirmation. "Are you going to have babies?"

Bella opened and closed her mouth several times as she sought to find words to speak. "Maybe someday," she finally acquiesced.

Meanwhile, Alice, overhearing the conversation, covered her mouth with her hand as she suppressed her laughter. All of the adults turned their attention to the matching expressions of Alice and then Jasper as the conversation played out.

"Momma said to Daddy that Edward was going to kiss you as soon as he could," her pretty eyes looked extremely concerned.

"He probably will," Bella nodded, trying to match Annie's somber tone. "Why does that make you sad?"

"Because Momma said that Uncle Edward was gonna kiss you a lot … a lots, and lots," her big blue eyes welled up with tears. "She told him we wouldn't see you for a long, long time 'cause Uncle Edward might not 'let you up for air.'"

Bella pulled Annie into a hug, and fought to keep her laughter in check as she glared at the group of adults by the door that were nearly stumbling in concealed chortles.

"I promise I will not let the kissing," she swallowed hard, and hoped that the small snort of humor that escaped her wouldn't register with the little girl, "keep us away for very long."

"Pinky promise?"

"I swear."

Bella pulled back from the hug, and swore her pinky promise oath with her niece as the other 'adults' in the room finally lost it, and uproarious laughter filled the house.

A)/}—'—

As the finishing touches were being put into Bella's hair and makeup, Esme sighed contentedly. God had answered so many prayers in the form of Bella Swan. She sent up a silent prayer of thanksgiving for all that had transpired in the last few weeks. It had been a whirlwind of a courtship, but that was not surprising. The fact that this couple had been through so much, yet had been able to hold onto the goodness inside of them, was a testament to the fact that God is present in our lives.

Rose snapped pictures of each step of Bella's preparation for the wedding. She had personally hired a friend of hers, an instructor at a Cosmetology school, to come to the house and make Bella's hair beautiful for this special day.

The style that Bella requested was a soft weaving of her long tresses into soft, large curls that fell down her back, looking like an inverted cornucopia, widening toward her head, where they placed a mother of pearl and baby-pink rhinestone comb to anchor the veil. The comb was an heirloom and had belonged to her Aunt Sue.

Once in her gown, Bella looked every bit the Princess that Edward had proclaimed her to be.


Kind reviews are better than NOT having damage after a hail storm.
(that was a heck of a storm last night in Western Michigan. Oi vey!)

Last chapter, I had an Anonymous reviewer tell me that they were
flouncing because the story was taking too long, and Bella had never
dont anything to deserve Edward's love ... to them I say this:

LOVE IS NOT EARNED, IT IS FREELY GIVEN! Anyone to tells you that
you have to earn love, does not know the meaning of the word.

Okay. Some of you ladies know me on a personal level. Katy best of
all. See, I struggle with infertility, ladies. fourteen years' worth of
painful hope. One confirmed miscarriage, and many more of them
suspected. It has been a long and arduous journey, and I have
found solace in losing myself in the world of Twilight. I read to
escape. I read to forget. I read to self-medicate.
The problem with this, is that I tend to bury myself so deep when
days are hard, that I retreat from life. Well, I once again had a
suspected miscarriage last month. Why can't they confirm, you
might ask? Well, because I always lose them within the first 3-4
weeks, which means that the hormones have only really just
begun to build, and by the time my period is late, chances are
good that they are already dropping ... and they drop at a much
faster rate than they build.
ANYWAYS... I thank you for being patient with me. When the
depression drags me under, know that I am reading. A lot!

~Mary