I'd be lying if I said the last three years have been easy, simply because they haven't.
Edward has been a saint. Patient and understanding to a fault through all of our ups and downs.
I've grown a lot. Making mistakes is a part of life and I have made plenty of those. Thankfully, none of them were bad enough to come between any of my relationships. Edward was never one of those mistakes. He has stuck behind me through thick and thin, and whenever I think I couldn't love him any more, he does something that proves me wrong.
Those first weeks after that fateful holiday when we met, were some of the toughest in my life. I missed him. He missed me. Apart, we were miserable, but we learned to cope.
When school ended in June, I moved in with Edward and Kate for the summer. It was sort of a test for us. We had spent six months travelling back and forth between Burlington and Seattle, and talking on the phone every night. Living together proved to be a challenge at first, but we found out a lot about each other.
Edward isn't always perfect. He likes order, but he leaves dirty clothes on the bathroom floor and has a weird routine involving floss. He does have his own teeth, so I don't mind any of it.
He's had to work around some of my quirks too. I'm not always sunshine and rainbows. PMS is my bitch, and he has learned to keep a calendar handy. I think he has an app for it on his phone. No joke.
He deals well with my brand of crazy; in return I love him with all my heart and soul. Oh, and I cook for him. And sometimes Carlisle. Feeding them seems to keep them happy.
We spent that first summer together working and making plans for that upcoming September. Since I wasn't going to live on campus and I was definitely not moving back in with my parents, Kate, Garrett and I decided to pool our resources and get a nice, big place together.
I was a bit hesitant at first. I didn't want to be the third wheel, but it was better than living completely alone or sharing a shitty place with a complete stranger. Kate brought it up and Garrett was all for it. We actually all got along really well. And Edward was over the moon, of course, since that meant he had both his girls under one roof.
I'm not sure how I lucked out so much in the friend department, but I'm thankful every day to have Kate in my life. She and I have shared such a special friendship, I actually would say we're more like sisters now.
If it weren't for her, I would not have met the man I'm marrying today.
It's Christmas and also, my wedding day. Edward won't be able to say he can't remember our anniversary. That's our inside joke. That as we get older and his memory fades, Christmas will always be our holiday. Our special time.
Last Christmas, when he got down on one knee and proposed in front of his family and mine, I thought that was the best day of my life.
It wasn't. It was pretty damn incredible, but I'm pretty sure today is gonna be even better, and will eclipse Edward's proposal by a long shot.
"Are you ready, Bella?" Kate asks; her voice barely audible through the door.
"I'll be right out," I yell back. Fuck, this dress is so nice. Mom and Esme helped me pick it out. Those two have become close friends. Esme had Edward very young and my parents had me later in their marriage. Edward is actually seven years younger than my dad.
If anything, my life has taught me that age is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. If two people can find each other and be happy, so be it. Age definitely does not define what a couple can accomplish in a relationship.
And that's exactly what I'm going to teach this little one.
Nobody knows yet, not even Edward, but I'm pregnant.
Looking at my reflection in the mirror, I don't see much of a difference in myself. I mean, I'm only a few weeks along, so it's not like I'm showing or anything.
Edward and I have been discussing kids. We want at least one together. We made a mutual decision that I would stop taking the pill in June when I graduated UDub with my Marketing Degree.
We didn't think it would be this quick.
I plan on telling him tonight when we're alone in our honeymoon suite. It will be my special wedding present to him.
"Come on, Bella. Let's see the dress," Alice yells back impatiently.
"Sheesh, I'm coming, I'm coming," I huff, rolling my eyes and steadying myself.
Here goes nothing.
The room erupts in giggles and wolf whistles when I walk out of the dressing room wearing my dress.
"Oh, Bella, you look gorgeous," Rose compliments.
"You look smokin'," Alice interjects, waggling her eyebrows.
"Edward won't know what hit him," Esme says as she walks toward me and takes my hands in hers. "I'm so happy for the two of you, Bella."
"Thank you, Esme. For everything." I give her a tight hug and smile at Angela who is currently wiping happy tears from her cheeks. Pulling back from our embrace, I look around the room, then take a deep breath letting it out slowly. "You girls...thank you so much for being here. I really love you all."
"Aw, B, we love you too, and wouldn't miss this for the world," Kate tells me as she fluffs my hair and fidgets with the back of my dress. "I mean, it's not every day that my best friend and my father get married."
I giggle. "I guess not. So let's get this show on the road, shall we?"
Mom and Esme hug me and leave to go take their seats while Alice and Angela wish me luck as they meet up with their groomsmen: Jasper, Alice's fiancé, and Eric, one of Edward's best friends. Rose and Garrett go next, followed by Kate, my maid of honor, and Emmett, Edward's best man.
It's a mix of all the people I know and love up there as I take my father's arm and make my way down the aisle.
There's beautiful music playing, but my nerves are frazzled and I'm not paying it much attention.
What I do pay attention to, is the gorgeous piece of man that is waiting for me under the beautifully decorated archway with Alistair, the Justice of the Peace.
"You're sure about this, sweetie?" Dad asks, looking down at me with so much love and concern in his eyes, as we slowly step forward.
"More than anything I've ever done, Daddy," I assure him; watching Edward's face light up and his eyes get glassy as my father and I near the front of the large reception room.
Dad lifts my veil and kisses my cheek. "All right baby. I love you. Be happy." He smiles and clears his throat as a stray tear slides down his cheek.
Alistair does his part in asking about giving me away and my father complies, handing me to my future husband.
Husband? Jesus, this is really happening!
The rest of the ceremony is a blur. There are exchanges of forever, followed by I do's and beautiful wedding bands, and then Edward's lips are on mine and I feel like I'm home.
He's become that for me. Home. A place where I can be myself and not feel judged. He loves me for who I am and in return I accept him wholly as well.
"Are you ready to continue our life together, Mrs. Cullen?" Edward asks softly, taking my hand in his once we're officially husband and wife.
"More than ever, Mr. Cullen." I smile up at him thinking how going home for the holidays has an even more special meaning now.
Then as I look around us and smile at our families and friends applauding our union as we walk down the aisle together toward our forever, I think, this has been one hell of journey.
Thank you all soooo much for reading. This has been a wonderful experience the second time around.
A huge thank you to Midnight Cougar who gracefully beta'd this last year. She's been a rock for me and I'll never be able to tell her how much I've appreciated it.
A new Christmas story will start posting on the 15th. I hope to see you guys then.